Teaching third grade with my bestie was always a blast, especially since we taught in "open classroom" spaces. This concept not only allowed us to be in side by side classrooms, but also created a sense of community, support and good old-fashioned f-u-n. If the teachers are happy, the students are happy! I giggled each time I heard her get parents' attention for the annual Open House by saying, "Has anyone lost a wallet?!" as she frantically waved one in her hand. Worked like a charm!
Luckily this was the environment in which I was working when I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 27. No one, not even those within the non-walls at school, put my symptoms together. Why was I always so thirsty? Why am I so tired? Why are the words moving on the page? My bestie, next-door-teaching-buddy shared in my bewilderment when I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Wow, eating salad for lunch is helping me drop some weight! It was my bestie/teaching buddy who heard me tell stories of each doctor visit, trying to figure out why I was not feeling well and why treating the symptoms was simply not helping.
Finally, after not sleeping because of intense muscle spasms, I made another doctor appointment. I had blood work drawn and, because of the results, I was put in the hospital the next day with a blood sugar level of 496. My symptoms were finally connected and my diabetes diagnosis came to be.
WHAT?! Diabetes? I knew nothing of the subject. Absolutely nothing. The few days in the hospital were filled with dietitian meetings and diabetic educator information. Overwhelmed, yet determined, I knew I would conquer this so-called disease.
Life changed quickly and time passed. The open classroom atmosphere continued to witness struggles and celebrations. With the support of my family and school family, I was not alone. The disease would not get the best of me.