I waited until today to write this post.

I don’t know the reason why, really.

We were all sitting around last night, The Great Spousal Unit and The Live-In Niece and I, discussing it. I remember I said that the same thing happened this year that happens a lot of years around this time. In the beginning of January, I start to think about it, and by the end of January it’s somehow slipped off of my radar. Only this year, I remembered again, a day in advance.

And Maureen, in her psychology-major voice asked, “Why do you think that is?”. I don’t know… I’m forgetful? Absent-minded?

“Yes, you are… but I think it’s more than that.” You mean like I’m avoiding it somehow?

“I don’t know. Maybe. You always seem to dislike dealing with things that are unpleasant.” Yeah, well, who doesn’t?

But she has a point. I don’t like reliving that day in my head. It’s probably not the worst day of my life, but it’s definitely in the top 3. Or top 2. Or maybe there’s 1 and 1a. But when I do relive that day, I get sad, and angry, and then mad at myself for making a big deal of it and letting it affect how I feel in that moment.

So how do I deal with it this year, in a semi-public forum? Do I celebrate, like I try to do for my birthday? Do I curse the course of events and go around with a scowl on my face all day? I think either, or both, would be appropriate.

Instead, I decided to sit down and pen a letter.
January 30, 2013
Dr. M____,

Twenty-two years ago today, you correctly diagnosed me with Type 1 diabetes. From that moment forward, my life has changed in ways I couldn’t have imagined then.

First of all, let me say thank you for taking the time to investigate what was obviously wrong with me during the two months leading up to that point. There were two other doctors who couldn’t be bothered to do a blood test or take a urine sample. If you couldn’t be bothered either, well… I don’t know how I would have ended up.

Second, thanks for staying on me those first few years. I think you could have been a little more forgiving about my dietary choices and my lack of BG logging diligence, but you did instill in me a feeling that this is my diabetes, and I live with it every day. I own it.

Finally, I want you to know that I’m doing well these days. My wife and I have had a good life in Baltimore for almost 19 years. Today, instead of twice-daily injections like when I was diagnosed, I’m hooked up to a Medtronic Revel™ insulin pump. My last A1c came in at 6.2. I’ve completed two triathlons, and hopefully a third this year. And I’m writing a blog about my diabetes, talking about my daily experiences, investigating diabetes-related issues from time to time, and advocating for others like me.

Every journey starts somewhere. My journey with this disease began in your office back in January, 1991. I can remember it like it was yesterday. But that’s only the beginning of the first chapter. Subsequent chapters have had their ups and downs, but there’s still a lot more of this story to tell. I think it will be a long time before the final chapter is written. I hope you’re well, and I hope you understand how lucky I was to have connected with you so many years ago.

All the best,

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  • surfacefine  On January 30, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Love it! I learned the endo who took care of me at CHOP and put my parents on the She’s-A-Child-First-And-A-Diabetic-Second path died years ago. I wish I could have sent him an update letter. Good for you! xo


  • Mike Hoskins (@MHoskins2179)  On February 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great letter! Definitely that doc’s diagnosis care is worth remembering and recognizing, even 22 years later (when there are still way too many cases where they don’t take the time). Hope the diaversary was a smooth one… looks like you reflected on the positives and progress of what’s materialized since then, and it’s always good to mark how far we’ve come in getting to just one more year forward. Thank you for sharing this, even as tough as it may have been to think about!


  • Scott K. Johnson  On February 11, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I love this approach to your diaversary. Seems very appropriate and right for you.


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