Diabetes Awareness Month is Personal for Me

It was 1964 and I was a 15 year old  junior in High School, riding home on the subway on a beautiful November day in New York.  Looking for something to occupy my mind I began to read the subway posters.  My eyes caught one poster that read in bold red letters, “IF YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS, YOU MAY HAVE DIABETES.”   I continued to read down the checklist on the poster: Excessive thirst, frequent urination, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue.  I silently checked each symptom.

That past summer, my mother had been bugging me about going to the doctor because she was concerned about my drinking too much water.  I brushed off her concerns citing the hot weather. I had excuses for my weight loss as well.  In fact, I had excuses for all of her concerns, claiming in my assertive teenage voice that,  “I was the expert on my own body.”

When I arrived home, I told my mother about the subway poster and that I thought I had diabetes.  We were at the doctor’s office the next day.  This November marks 56 years of living with T1.

“Diabetes Awareness Month is Personal for Me” was written by Felise Levine, Ph.D. She serves on Diabetes Research Connection’s Board of Directors. She is a retired licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in La Jolla. She is a past President of Del Mar Community Connections and Past President of the San Diego Psychological Association. She has been living with type 1 diabetes for 56 years.

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