On a cool Autumn night, forty-four years ago, I went to a movie with a very tall, very cute guy. I met him at the end of my freshman year of college. He was an art major, I was in education. We went out on a few dates that summer, then started seeing each other when the fall semester began; movies, football games, campus activities.
I really liked this boy. We had fun, laughed, talked a lot, and got to know a little bit more about each other as the early weeks of the semester went on. I was having fun. Smitten, for sure, and felt he was feeling the same.
On that cool Autumn night, we were alone, talking, sharing some kisses, and I don’t mean Hershey’s! He became quiet. He said he needed to tell me something. I was sure he was going to tell me he liked me, I was a really nice girl, he didn’t want to hurt me – basically, the discussion took on the air of a break up about to happen.
Instead, he told me he had a disease. Diabetes. He had to take shots every day and watch what he ate. Sometimes, his sugar levels went low and he needed to eat something right away. He wanted me to know.
My heart went out to him and what the disease meant in his life. I knew just enough about diabetes to understand it was a life sentence and involved daily injections of shots. I admired him for his courage, instinctively sensing how hard it must have been for him to tell me he had a life-threatening, incurable disease. He told me about when he was diagnosed in high school how much school he had missed his freshman year college before he was finally put on insulin, and of how his mother arranged for him to have enough fruit and good food from his dorm’s cafeteria.
We talked long into the darkness that cool Autumn night in 1969. Society was changing, but not so much, not yet, when a 19-year-old boy was forced to deal with such a disease. He talked, and I learned more about his determination to be as normal as possible, and I think he learned that I wouldn’t turn away from him because of the burden he carried.
We continued to date through college, had the ups and downs of young love, graduated – and then, Tom and I married. We’ve had a good life, raised two daughters and have enjoyed the blessing of watching our family grow – and we have done it dealing with all the complications and implication of Type I (Juvenile) diabetes.
Now, four decades later, on another cool Autumn night, we have decided to share our story of living with diabetes in a companion blog, Brittle, which we just launched. We hope to help others dealing with Type I Diabetes, to tell of frustrations and worry, but with some humor and hope as well. From the proffered “blueberry pie cure”, to the “hospital from hell”, There are posts to be written that anyone who has a long-term condition (or even short-term) will be able to relate to,
If you are so inclined, please stop by Brittle once-in-awhile. We’re just getting started along this leg of our journey and are not yet sure of how often either one of us will post, as life so often gets in the way, especially here on the Cutoff.
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