While Iâ€™m not â€œofficiallyâ€ participating in National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM), I do like the topic for today and thought Iâ€™d post my own letter. Iâ€™ve posted one to myself as a newly diagnosed girl before, but not as myself entering into adulthood. So, here goes!)
I know you think youâ€™re grown now because you are of the â€œlegal ageâ€ to do most anything (except purchase alcoholic beverages). But let me tell you, youâ€™re far from it. This letter is coming from yourself 9 years into the future, so listen up and take this with a whole spoonful of salt, not just a grain.
This year will mark a big one on your calendar. Youâ€™ll have more freedom to go as you please and do what you want as long as you stay under house rules. And, seeing as how itâ€™s August, youâ€™re starting college as well. Youâ€™ll start out thinking you want to be a nurse, but really dig down deep. Thatâ€™s not your calling. Because the day will come when your mom will skin her leg really bad and the sight of it will make you cringe, thus settling in your mind that you canâ€™t do the nursing gig. Granted, yes, you love health and learning about how the human body works. I mean, who can blame you? Youâ€™ve been under doctors so many years, you could probably educate them on a thing or two! And lab work? Who needs a phlebotomist? Youâ€™ve seen it done so many times, you could probably draw your own vials for testing, right? But Iâ€™m urging youâ€¦ change your major before you start all the nursing classes next semester. Get an arts degree. Go into computer programming. Go to the guidance counselor and get put on the right track that will let you graduate with a degree that will get you somewhere that will show off your abilities to create art and design. And donâ€™t even THINK about taking that summer offâ€¦ you wonâ€™t go back. Then youâ€™ll be thrown into the work force by necessity because youâ€™ll come off of your momâ€™s health insurance. After that, your life will be hard as youâ€™ll stick with jobs that you absolutely hate just so that youâ€™ll have health insurance, which you know you need. So, save yourself the trouble and stay in school and get your degree. But donâ€™t leave homeâ€¦ thereâ€™s something big going to happen in three years.
As far as your diabetes goes, stop playing around. This mess about not checking your blood sugar for weeks on end has got to stop! Do you honestly know what youâ€™re doing to yourself? Youâ€™re currently on ACE inhibitors because you have impaired your kidneys. Granted, youâ€™ll later start taking care of yourself, and your kidneys will go back to working like they should again, but because you didnâ€™t care and didnâ€™t want to care, you now have â€œrenal diseaseâ€ as a permanent mark on your chart, and no matter what happens, doctors and nurses will always keep a closer eye on your kidneys because of it. Yes, diabetes sucks. Yes, itâ€™s totally uncool and depressing because you are not like everyone else â€“ as much as you try to be. But you are trying so hard that you are losing focus in the fact that by ignoring it, it gets worse. Diabetes will not go away. Itâ€™s a part of you. No, you didnâ€™t ask for it, but you have to deal with it.
And donâ€™t worry about the stories youâ€™ve heard about your cousin who got married and his wife left him because of his diabetes. Part of that, Iâ€™m sure is not true. But even if it were, youâ€™ll learn that one personâ€™s fate doesnâ€™t make it your own. In three years (the reason why I said not to leave home), youâ€™ll meet a man who will love you beyond your diabetes. Who will not ever judge you or look down at you or even look at you in the slightest difference from anyone else.
(Sidenote: While youâ€™re dating said awesome man, your beloved pump that you have had for 6+ years will dieâ€¦. and youâ€™ll freak out, as always. But do yourself a favor please! I know youâ€™ll say you canâ€™t afford to go with another company and youâ€™ll just stay with the one you have, but I beg you â€“ do what you can to switch to the company you had in your heart to go for. You ended up going with their pump later anyway, and you were much happier. /sidenote)
The January (20th, to be exact) after you turn 22, he will propose to you. Youâ€™ll be waiting for him to pick you up and he wontâ€™ because heâ€™ll be in â€œtownâ€ with his sister and mom. Youâ€™ll get mad, but Iâ€™m urging you not to. I know youâ€™ll be firing mad and drive to his house to meet him there to save time since heâ€™s already late, which is okay to do, but let him off the hook this time. Because that day will be the day heâ€™ll ask you to marry him and be his wife. And, in October of this year, this man will marry you and promise to love you no matter what â€“ in good times and bad, diabetes included.
After this, youâ€™ll be looking for answers, for comfort, for friendship with other diabetics. Youâ€™ll find a wonderful place on the internet â€“ a social place where tons of other diabetics meet and post stories and support each other. From here, youâ€™ll be a twitter-geek and youâ€™ll even start blogging. Donâ€™t second-guess doing this as it will become the best thing you have ever done for yourself health-wise. Youâ€™ll relive your passion for writing down your thoughts in books, but youâ€™ll do it as an online journal for all to read, and youâ€™ll read otherâ€™s online-journals as well. Seasoned veterans of diabetes, as well as those of parents of children with diabetes too. Youâ€™ll make so many friends, and a few will be very close to your heart. They will teach you that itâ€™s okay that youâ€™re diabetic, and share your victories as well as your sorrows. They will understand you better than anyone else can. And with their support, youâ€™ll learn how to better manage your diabetes. Youâ€™ll learn how to care about it the right way, and not see it as an embarrassment to have. Youâ€™ll see better that YOU CAN DO THIS.
This man will also ask something of you that you have been dead-set on never doing in your life â€“ Be a mom. Not by adoption, but the whole pregnancy kit-and-caboodle. Youâ€™ll be reluctant because you wonâ€™t think youâ€™ll be able to handle it. But youâ€™ll love him so much, you donâ€™t want diabetes be the reason to deny him something he wants as well. Youâ€™ll even give in and try for months and nothing will come of it. Youâ€™ll start to think youâ€™re broken in more ways that just pancreatically. That your diabetes caused you to not be able to be a mom. Well, let me tell you. The Saturday after â€œBlack Fridayâ€, and the day of your hubbyâ€™s 29th birthday, youâ€™ll find out youâ€™re pregnant. And, just a month and a couple of days before your 27th birthday, you will give birth to a wonderful baby boy, and the NICU pediatrician will look at you and tell you that if the records hadnâ€™t indicated that his mom was a diabetic, youâ€™d never know. He will be healthy and strong. The journey to get there wonâ€™t be easy â€“ there will be lots of nights of frightening lows, as well as days where youâ€™ll be going so high that your insulin needs will almost triple what you took pre-pregnancy. But youâ€™ll get through it with Godâ€™s grace and tons of help from your wonderful husband, family and friends.
You are 18. Stop trying to â€œgrow upâ€ and be a 30 year old. Take this time to learn who you are, diabetes and all. Because as you learned a little later in life the hard way, everything you do and have all comes down to YOU. Not what someone else has or what someone else did to you. Itâ€™s all about the choices you make and how you handle and take care of yourself. Love who you are and what God made you to be.