Yes, exactly 50 years!  I was diagnosed on Monday, January 25, 1965 at 5:30pm, in Great Neck, NY, sitting in my doctor’s home office, with my mom.  I remember it as if it were yesterday. Stillerman

He pulled his chair from behind his desk and held my hand and talked to me.  Told me I had a disease called diabetes mellitus and that I would have it for the rest of my life and I had to take shots.  I was a few weeks past my 11th birthday … and I simply could not understand what he was telling me.  Diabetes … the word sounded to me like I was going to develop polka dots all over my body. 

 Mom and I went home (she kept crying) … not to the hospital as my mom promised to give me shots.  And she did, all through the night after I peed on Testape (a yellow strip of paper that turned to dark green if I spilled sugar into my urine).  I prayed for yellow.

TesTape JPGMom started reading (no internet, went to the library) and crying (she told me that I might not live to be 40). Dad went into action, raising money for research and only believing that I would live forever. He was better at giving me shots, but the thinking at that time was that a man giving a little girl shots had sexual overtones (?!), so mom took over that task. And she was VERY bad at it! I quickly learned to do my own shots and urine testing.



Fast forward to today! FIFTY YEARS!  I didn’t die at 40! I figure I’ve taken over 100,000 injections of insulin, used over 1500 insulin pump infusion sets and pricked my finger for blood sugar tests over 300,000 times. But, with all that, I’ve had a very fun and interesting life. 

As the anniversary approached, I’ve pondered how to celebrate 50 years. Going out to eat a big meal didn’t make sense.  Eating a huge ice cream sundae was only looking for trouble. So what marks this day and the accomplishment of surviving?

First, I live in amazement and gratitude. Time just happened.  MySnap2nightscoutI am blessed to have had access to the most incredible technology. I’ve had fantastic support along the way: my parents and grandparents were very involved always, my friends hang in there with me and my husband is beyond my wildest expectations for a partner/cheerleader/problem solver.  Indeed, he has planned some special evenings at the theatre and fun activities for the next week. 

Plus, I’m getting a 90 minute massage today … now that’s wonderful!

And starting today, I am creating a series of greeting cards “Celebrating 50” which I’ll sell on my website … with all proceeds going to and JDRF. Check back in a week … buy lots and often, knowing that your $$ are going to support others in the diabetes community.

There, now that feels like the way to CELEBRATE!


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