Diabetes, Diagnosis, and Degree

1993 proved to be a truly monumental year. In July of 1993, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. In August of 1993, my 6-year-old daughter and I moved to Connecticut, where I intended to complete my master’s degree in Behavioral Medicine. In September of 1993, my daughter, shockingly enough, was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes.

In a very brief period of time, my entire world had turned upside down and inside out. I still remember being with my daughter at Yale-New Haven Hospital, receiving a crash course in the management of Type I diabetes. I was suffering my first ever MS exacerbation, and my ability to walk was seriously impaired. I hung onto the hand rails in the hallway, so as not to fall. My fatigue was relentless. I experienced periods of numbness and tingling throughout the entire length of both my legs.

My innocent daughter was all too happy to inform total strangers about her brand new diagnosis of diabetes, not having any idea of how drastically this disease would come to shape her entire life. Strewn among her dolls, stuffed animals, and coloring books were informational pamphlets about the role of insulin in the regulation of blood glucose.

I tried my best to focus on reading my graduate textbooks. Psychopathology was one of my required courses that first semester at Connecticut College. Twenty-five years later, I happen to be teaching this very course at a local college. My memories of those exceptionally trying months in 1993 are both startlingly clear, as well as remarkably blurred.

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