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

Diabetes Love Letter: From Eoin to Girlfriend

Editor’s note: I had the pleasure of meeting Eoin at a diabetes meetup in New York City last month. He had just won the Myabetic award for “Diabetic Male Fitness Influencer” and rightfully so since he motivates people every day to be the best version of themselves. He tackles affordability issues, stigmas and teaches his followers proper diet and exercise techniques. He is also a diabetic fitness trainer. You can follow him at @insuleoin on Instagram. 

By Eoin Costelloe

To my girlfriend,

Where can I start? It’s almost like we were both diagnosed. Just on different dates;

Myself with type 1 diabetes on 01.04.2012.

Without knowing, you were diagnosed with ‘second-hand type 1 diabetes’ on 08.10.18.

I feel it’s fitting for me, first of all, to thank you. Thank you for the time we’ve spent together, and thank you for everything you’ve done. I don’t think you truly understand how special you are.

When we started dating it was something you were interested in learning about, something you didn’t know much about, but something you didn’t know would almost become your full-time job, just as much as mine.

I remember explaining it to you, breaking things down; how we carb count, units of insulin required, the reasons, the complications, what it entails. At the time you knew a minimal amount. From then until now, you have become a diabetes expert.

Photo credit: Eoin Costelloe

Maybe looking back now, you wouldn’t have been so keen to take on such an admirable role as a girlfriend – as I’ve always said, ‘it’s an invisible disease.’

I often think of diabetes as a part of me that no one sees. It’s a disease that can let you live a normal life if you treat it with respect, but it’s always on your shoulder, it never takes any breaks and never leaves your side.

We often see in cartoons or movies how there is a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. For the past 8 years of my life, since being diagnosed, that devil has made a home on my shoulder. For 8 years he’s been there, day and night, sitting on my shoulder with no contender, no dispute or objection, no angel on the other side.

Since the day we met, you’ve been that angel. You’ve been the challenger.

Photo credit: Eoin Costelloe

You have always prioritized my health, even during the times when I didn’t. You’ve told me to ‘check your blood sugar’ when I was lazy about it, or prodded me to ‘take your insulin’ if it slipped my mind or yelled at me to ‘not eat another roll of sushi!’ You’ve cared more than I ever expected you to.

Sometimes I felt like it was a burden, almost like a third wheel in our relationship. Maybe there were times I didn’t want to stop and check my blood or pause to inject my insulin because we were in a perfect moment and didn’t want anything to ruin it. But you were the one to pause, you were the one to always reassure me that we were in it together no matter what.

Every injection, every high, every finger prick, every 3 am low blood sugar and every ‘regretful pizza’ eaten, you’ve been there. You’ve shown passion and intrigue to learn about this condition for the sole reason to help look after me. You’ve lived through it by my side and never once complained.

There are no words or phrases that can articulate my appreciation for you. You’re a star, chaim sheli!

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

Search

+