My brain likes to categorize my memories. When I think back on my life, it is split into time periods. I have middle school, high school, senior year (it has its own category because I changed so much that year), the early days of my and Allen’s relationship / university, then married life / community college. That is all part of a larger category called Before. Then the next segment is simply called After. It’s the part of my life after college, but more importantly, After Diagnosis.
This weekend, I officially 100% moved the rest of my things out of my dad’s house. (Yes, almost 5 years after getting married). My dad will soon be packing up and living full time in his RV and travelling the country. (you can follow his blog Here)
My bedroom hadn’t changed much since I was 18. The contents had shifted and been picked through, but many things remained the same as I had left them when I moved to college in 2008.
Minus my Barbie and nutcracker collections from my grandparents, I took only one large box from everything. I had to purge most everything else. Now, being a highly sensitive personality, this was instantly hard for me. I’m a hoarder of memories, of momentos of the past.
One thing I kept was anything and everything I found that had to do with my experience of being a People to People student ambassador to England, Ireland and Wales between 8th and 9th grades. And while going through those papers last night, I found this:
It hit me in a new, weird way. I am diabetic and have been for almost three years, but I didn’t used to be.
I haven’t always had a chronic illness. I didn’t have to have to worry about things like carbs or cannulas or losing a foot. It wasn’t always a struggle to function after eating a meal of spaghetti and bread. I never had to go to sleep at night and wonder in the back of my mind if I’d wake up in the morning or not.
When I went on the trip back in 2004, I was a normally functioning 14 year old girl with big hopes and dreams. That girl had no idea that age 22 she would be diagnosed with a life-long condition that would test her patience, endurance, mathematics skills, make her sleep deprived all the time. And yet at the same time it would give her something even bigger than she ever imagined to be passionate about.
So although it was a strange revelation to be faced with so much of my life from Before, I’m grateful for the 22 years of opportunity I had during that time. And now I get to look forward to even greater things I will do After.