A few weeks ago something happened in my diabetes story and I completely forgot to share it!
I know that other diabetics will understand what I am saying when I say, that you include certain people or certain details in your diabetes story when you tell it to someone for the first time. I don’t mean your diagnosis story, I mean your diabetes story. When you have a meaningful conversation with someone about the disease and how it has affected you.
After starting with my diagnosis, I usually will mention my pump and how it has drastically changed my life for the better. I always mention my third grade teacher, Mrs. Richardson. She was so welcoming to me as an 8 year old and she made me feel extremely comfortable in the classroom with diabetes. I remember when I got my very first insulin pump I ran to her to show her I was so excited. It is something I will never forget because no one else was excited to see it like she was.
A few weeks ago, I emailed her, thanking her and reminding her for treating me so kindly:
My name is Erika Szumel, I’m not sure if you will remember me, I was a student of yours about ten years ago. Maybe if I tell you my story, you will remember me a little better. I was, hopefully one of, your only students with Type 1 Diabetes. I remember you being so welcoming to me and making sure that I was comfortable in the classroom and always taken care of. You didn’t make me feel different, just cared for.
I am now a student at Seton Hall University and I still think about having you as my teacher. I remember that year I received my first insulin pump and I was so excited to show you. You were so excited for me! It was the best feeling in the world and I will never forget it.
I just wanted to say thank you so much for that, even though it seems small, it meant so much to me, and clearly it still means a lot to me. Whenever I tell someone my diabetes story, I always manage to include you in it. I haven’t met many people or teachers like you that have made me feel so comfortable and great about my diabetes. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
So thank you. And if I ever write a book about diabetes (it’s on my bucket list), you will be a part of the story. And you will have one of the first copies.
It was wonderful to hear from you, and OF COURSE I remember you! Congratulations on your attendance at Seton Hall University, but I’m not surprised since you were such a terrific student. Reading your message of how I impacted your life brought such tears to my eyes. To know that my small acts made such an impact in your life will forever be etched in my heart. Diabetes was enough for an eight year old to deal with, so it was so important for me to make you feel no different than anyone else. I’m so glad I succeeded! I am so honored to be a part of your Diabetes “story” and will be waiting for an autographed copy of your book! :+)
A letter like this is an invaluable reward that most will never understand, so thank you for taking the time to write to me.
Feel free to stop by The Hoop before the end of the school year!