“Joslin Diabetes Center established this award in 1970 to recognize the remarkable achievement of those individuals who have lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for fifty years or more. We now extend this tribute to you for your conscientious and courageous attention to the many difficult details involved in successfully living with diabetes over these any years.”
This is the medal that the Joslin Diabetes Center offers to acknowledge those who have lived with diabetes for 50 years. I had never seen one before this one arrived in the mail for me.
After years of consternation, internal bickering, and some outside encouragement, I finally decided to apply.* It was incredibly difficult to allow myself to ask for acknowledgement for living with diabetes because I’ve never known any other way other way of being. Diabetes is part of who I am, and asking for acknowledgement is not.
Yet I decided, “Why Not?” Diabetes is integral to who I am, and an essential piece of my life story. (It is also one that I’ve been asked to give a presentation about at an upcoming conference.) Despite all its challenges, and the dire prognosis given to my family since I was diagnosed so young, I have lived and thrived for almost 57 years with this condition, continually making and changing plans because of the influences diabetes has had on my life. So I accept this medal with great humility and a touch of honor.
*However, getting the documentation “required” to prove I’ve been diabetic for over 50 years was an adventure unto itself. None of the hospitals keep records from that far back, my pediatricians are no longer alive, my father and grandparents who could have vouched for me are also deceased, and my mother is no longer sure of when, exactly, I was diagnosed. Fortunately, with the help pf my mom and sister, an old family friend, and my 94 year-old Godmother I was able to sleuth together enough information to be accepted.
Thank you to my family, friends, and, of course, my husband and my blood sugar alert dog, Rainie, for all your nurturing and support. My life has been, and continues to be a truly miraculous adventure. I’ve lived through many challenges, and out-lived the “odds” I was given at diagnosis. I would not be here if it were not for you!