Dear parent of a child with type 1 diabetes,
I just learned that Children's National Medical Center is publishing patient letters. As an old timer, I wanted to add my letter as it is just as pertinent now as it was then. Thank you Children's National for all you did for me, my family, and my future. I am now a pediatric oncology nurse at a Maryland hospital.
Written in 2005:
"Four years ago, when I was 13, and days away from entering the eighth grade, I received news that would forever change my life. Most people would consider this news unfair, perhaps even tragic, and I suppose I did too at the time. But there comes a hidden blessing sometimes from events one cannot change or run away from, and so in this regard I am fortunate.
When I think about where I am now and the reasons for it, I place a lot of weight on the timing of this event. Children and teens are generally seen as naïve and indeed we are about so many things; but we have a resiliency, discipline, and hope unmatched by adults, at times, when faced with similar circumstances. This approach or mindset gave me an edge up upon hearing this news, and it is probably why I confront things now with an open-mind and maturity I would not have otherwise without having gone through this.
So what happened four years ago? Does it matter to you, and how does knowing, or not knowing in any way affect your assessment of me? Ironically, these were primary issues for me four years ago, and yet now are the least of my concerns.
The key here, at least for me, is not what happened four years ago, but what I have learned since then and the effects this has had on my personal aspirations, sense of responsibility, and the perspective I have and enjoy now.
I remind myself daily of how much I previously took for granted and what little responsibility I had. I also try hard to make the most of each and every experience I encounter. And in this small degree, I am very proud of the choices I have made since then and hope that my self-confidence and capacity to adapt continues to serve me in the future as well as it has so far."
I could not have come this far without extremely good care from Children's National. Thank you all so very much.
And to the parents of children newly diagnosed with diabetes: dreams can come true just as always; don't let this disease stand in your/their way ever.
Samantha, Type I diabetic diagnosed at Children's National, August 2001.