As of yesterday, I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 19 years.
I wish I had something profound and wise to say. I feel like I should. I’m on this brand-new path to become a diabetes educator, where I will spend the rest of my career helping people fulfill their dreams by being the healthiest version of themselves. I plan to inspire, motivate, encourage, and comfort those who are struggling with the rigorous, frustrating and endless tasks that comes with managing diabetes. The disease that is never on auto-pilot, never on vacation, and never sleeps.
But this year, I don’t really feel like I have anything to add to the conversation other than to “Yep. Another year is in the books.”
January is depressing for me. Although a diaversary is (traditionally, I suppose, though I don’t know who created the tradition) a time of celebration that another year has been successfully lived and enjoyed, part of me is always reminded me that yet another year has been lived. With diabetes. And that so many more years with diabetes are ahead of me.
I like celebrating diaversaries, of course, which is why I created an entire line of Blue Cupcake Diaversary card. In honors my 19th diaversary, our whole inventory is 19% off all this week! Stock up now!
But my own diaversary has always been bittersweet. While I acknowledge the successes I’ve had with the disease, I also realize just how difficult it has made my life.
How it has warped my relationship with food, even more than it probably would have been had I only been a white twentysomething American woman. If you think your relationship with food is fucked up, try living with something that you need to survive but could also kill you. If I didn’t have to eat, things would be so much simpler. It’s rough.
How it complicates every aspect of my life, not just in food but in whether or not I can go for a run, or if I have to stop touring the museum to treat a low blood sugar, to whether or not I can even drive my car. Hell, it’s even stopped me from having sex!
It makes me sad, but I try to avoid letting it influence my day-to-day emotions. Honestly, no amount of whining or negligence is going to make it go away. It is what it is. I do what I need to do and I do my best to help others do what tey need to do, and that’s the long and short of it.
But then there’s the sweet part. All the friends I have made definitely tops the list. I swear to God, diabetes only affects the best people. If you have diabetes, chances are you’re also awesome. Diabetes has given purpose to my life. I have learned more about the human body, nutrition, fitness, psychology, economics, medical research and international relations that I ever thought I would.
Diaveraries are also a good time to reflect. It’s like a birthday or New Year’s or the start of a new season. Any anniversary is a good time to look back at the previous year and see what worked and what didn’t. For the most part, the past year didn’t really work. I was eating the wrong things, not exercising enough, and just kind of floundering around with my diabetes management. I mean, hey, it happens. But it’s sort of been a recurring theme for the last couple of years, truth be told. I’ll have a couple months where I’m awesome, but then even more months where I’m not awesome, and so the end result is generally just… Meh.
It’s been the Year(s) of Meh.
I’m so over Meh. Time to switch into Kick-Ass!
I have plans for the future as far as my health goes. The eating better. The exercising more. The monitoring blood sugars. The technology wearing (nope, still not on a pump, but I’m making headway on getting the new Dexcom!). The therapy going. All good things. All things that are definitely not Meh.
At the start of my twentieth year with diabetes, I have lived with diabetes for 70% of my life. And that percentage is only going to get bigger.
But I have a feeling that the Years of Kick-Ass will also continue to grow.