Diabetes Blog Week topic: So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes.
I saw the movie Steel Magnolias when I was 16….I was healthy and active, with not a care in the world (except, would my friends and I go cruising that night and scope out the cute guys who were also cruising in their cars along the downtown strip? Sigh.) Imagine my surprise when, 5 years later, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. When I asked my doctor how this would affect my life – outside of having to take shots, monitor sugar, etc – she said, “well, you can probably expect to live 10 years less than you would have without diabetes, and depending on when you decide to have children, it may or may not be a good idea.” Ugh, that didn’t sound hopeful or inspiring at all.
Of course, my thoughts went back to Steel Magnolias and how complications caused by diabetes post-child-birth led to Shelby’s untimely death. The movie is so old, I hope that wasn’t a spoiler for anyone. Also, many of us diabetic women sort of hate that movie. It’s a downer, and shows one of the absolute worst possible outcomes of a woman not in control of her diabetes having a baby.
Long before my diabetes diagnosis, there was one thing that was a constant desire in my life – I wanted to have a family and be a Mom. I always loved children, loved spending time with my friends who had babies, and could never get over the joy of teaching a young child something new, and seeing that sparkle of wonder in their eyes. I longed to share that with my own child, and experience parenthood with a loving partner. I hoped and prayed every day that having diabetes now would not steal that joy away from me.
I was 35 years old before I married my husband, and we started working on having a family. As a woman of “advanced maternal age” (the doctor’s words, not mine), I faced many hardships and risks because of that, never mind the silly little body-debilitating disease of diabetes. Through close to 3 years of fertility treatments, IVF, and a roller coaster of emotions and hope and pain and everything you can imagine…the light at the end of the tunnel became my wonderful, perfect and amazing little girl. Screw you, diabetes. I did it.