Diabetes Love Letter: An Ode to Mandi’s Late Parents

By Mandi Franklin

To my late parents:

It was the winter of 1990 and I was spending the week at my aunt and uncle’s house while my parents were chasing sunsets in the Caribbean. I loved sleepovers at their house – we would play “grocery store,” paint my fingernails, and stay up late.

This time was different…

“She’s drinking so much water. She can’t seem to quench her thirst,” my aunt said to my mother when she called to check on me.

I was so thirsty that I would climb on top of the bathroom sink and gulp water from the faucet like a parched cat. My aunt and uncle knew something was wrong.

Photo credit: Mandi Franklin

My parents caught the next flight home and I was rushed to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is when the perfect world we once knew changed for me and my family.

“She has juvenile diabetes and we need to give her insulin,” explained the ER physician to my parents. Imagine hearing that your little, previously healthy 3-year-old now has a permanent disease that will need to be managed with multiple fingersticks and numerous injections daily.

Confused. Angry. Sad. Guilty. Numb. These are things that I am sure my parents felt at this moment.

Over the next few days, we learned how to cope with my new life with the help of the medical team, nurses, dietitians, child life specialists, and of course family support.

From that day on, my parents vowed to never treat me differently and promised that I would live a “normal” childhood.

Photo credit: Mandi Franklin

Looking back, I admire them for how they tackled this diagnosis and disease. I never felt like I couldn’t do something due to my illness. I was able to dance, play sports, go on vacations, and have sleepovers.

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 29 years. There are days when I want to throw in the towel and say “OK diabetes, you win.” The other days are just like yours, except with a few extra pokes and a special ability to count carbohydrates.

My parents taught me to live my life and never let my disease get in the way. Because of this, I do what I love and continue to chase my dreams.

In conclusion, don’t ever give up.

Thank you, mom and dad, for raising me to be a strong, independent, resilient, goal-crusher who just happens to also have type 1 diabetes.

Love you always,

Mandi

More about the author on her website and Facebook Page.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Diabetes Love Letter: From Briana to Husband

By Briana Payne

Dear Aaron,

You are my husband, best friend, father to our children, and partner in crime. You were there in the instacare clinic on a Sunday morning April 24, 2016, when I got the dreaded diagnosis of diabetes. We later confirmed the following week that it was type 1 diabetes because I had the antibodies present that come with type 1. I walked into an instacare clinic confused why I was urinating so much, and found out it was sugar in my urine that was dumping out of my system, since I was dealing with undiagnosed diabetes. We thought it was a simple UTI that I could fix, and quickly found out it was a lifetime autoimmune disease.

Photo credit: Briana Payne

When I first got diagnosed, you were the one giving me my Levemir injections. Nine months into the diagnosis, I gave a continuous glucose monitor a chance. You helped me to put it on my body, especially in harder to reach places, like the back of my arm, or near my backside. You’ve always been patient with me and figuring out my diabetes with the technology, injections, cost of insulin, glucometers, diabetes appointments, etc.

Aaron, thank you for your sacrifices finding a job that will provide good insurance for me to switch to when I turn 26 in April 2020. You went out of your way to get a better insurance plan that will make your paychecks a little bit smaller, because you want to be able to afford our healthcare costs the best way.

Photo credit: Briana Payne

This disease is not pretty, nor is it cheap. I’ve dealt with some high and low blood sugars that have affected me, and you have been patient with me through it all. There are times to this day that I still feel guilty that I got this autoimmune disease six weeks after we got married. You could have left me after discovering that your new wife had a new chronic illness, but you didn’t. You have always been a very loyal and dedicated man — I cannot thank you enough. Amidst all of the struggles with costs and the daily to-dos is with this disease, I know we can continue to navigate this life together.

Happy Valentine’s, Aaron. Thanks for being my valentine.

Love,

Briana

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Type 1 Helped Create My Family

Ashley is a member of one of the Facebook support groups I am a part of. I was so amazed by her story. This one truly tells the tale of silver linings. Without diabetes, she would never have met her husband or created their beautiful family.  *** As a young child in rural Iowa, I never […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

Shot Through the Heart: Dear Derek, Love Liz

Standing by your “sweet” one is what this month is all about! Our next “Shot through the heart” love letter just goes to show you that life can be that much sweeter when you’ve got an amazing person by your side.    To my love,   You mean so much to me. Let me tell you […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

Shot Through the Heart: To Jack, Love Mom

A mother’s love runs deep, and our next “Shot through the heart” love letter shows that a child’s love for their parents, can run just as, or even deeper.   Dear Jack,   Not many 11-year-old young men have parents that both have type 1 diabetes. Your understanding of our disease and the nuances that […]
Source: diabetesdaily.com

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