I already know what you’re thinking… diaversary?
A diaversary is the anniversary of the day you were diagnosed with diabetes! Some people go all out with cakes or even parties to celebrate. It sounds silly, but to a T1D, it’s exciting to realize that we successfully survived another year with this disease.
For me, a diaversary is a day to reflect.
August 13, 2008 will forever be stamped into my mind as the day that changed my life. It was the last day I ate without counting carbs or calculating insulin, it was the last day I went without poking my finger, and it was the last day I had ultimate freedom.
While I can easily be grim in remembering this date, I try to stay optimistic about it! Yesterday, I took time to reflect on all the amazing opportunities T1D has brought my way. I have made lifetime friends, and there are things that I would have never had the chance to experience if it weren’t for T1D. I also like to take the time to think about how much the support and encouragement of my family and friends has helped me through this disease. I know that there are plenty of nights that I could have died while sleeping if my mom had not woken up to take care of me. I also know that I would not have the perseverance and determination that I do if it weren’t for the constant positive words and motivation I receive from everyone around me. Lastly, my diaversary makes me think about how much I truly am looking forward to a cure! While I strive my best everyday to fight diabetes, I can not wait until the day where my life is no longer a struggle.
5 years of living with T1D has brought a whirlwind of new friends, opportunities, and blessings, but it has also brought emotional, physical, and mental daily challenges. I honestly hope that yesterday was my last diaversary, but I know that I will continue to thrive in my fight and wait for the cure!
The worst parts of diabetes that no one ever talks about:
1. Shaving your legs when your pump site is on your thigh. It’s pretty common to find a circle of stubble on my leg.
2. When your sugar is low at night after brushing your teeth. Nothing is better than the combination of apple juice and toothpaste.
3. Pump site and sensor tan lines. There is a huge white circle on both sides of my stomach year round.
4. Having to plug in your site in public (especially in jeans). No, I am not reaching down my pants for fun. This is a medical emergency!
5. Just like the last one, having to bolus when you are wearing a dress. Oh, just casually slipping my hand up my dress…
6. When your parents ask you if you are high… in public. To all of the strangers who have heard this in the grocery store, they were talking about my blood sugar.
Last night, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend Mary Poppins on tour. Madelene Trumble, who plays Mary Poppins, has been a Type 1 since her first day of kindergarten. JDRF arranged for about 10 Type 1’s to first meet 3 cast members before the show. They taught us the dance to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and then we were served dinner. After the show (which was incredible, I might add. If you have the opportunity to see it, you have to!), a few other cast members came on stage and answered everyone’s questions. When Madelene was asked how she manages her blood sugar on stage, tears streamed down her face. She said it was a constant battle and she learns something new everyday (something I think every Type 1 can relate to). Madelene Trumble was so sweet to stay even after that to talk to all the Type 1’s who came. Not only did she autograph and let us snap (more than a few) pictures, she actually took her time to interact with us. We shared laughs over comparing pumps, I showed her how my CGMS works, she answered questions about where she hides her pump when she’s on stage, and she shared how she stashes juice boxes everywhere backstage. I can’t imagine having those thousands of eyes on your every move while you’re singing and dancing, all the while worrying about whether your blood sugar is in check. Madelene is truly an inspiration for me, and all other Type 1’s. She has to chug juice during costume changes, hoping she will make it through her next scene. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet her and I can’t wait to see all the even greater things she will go on to do!
Everyone living with Type 1 has a story to share, and for most, that story began on the day that changed their life forever… the day they were diagnosed. For me, this day was August 13th, 2008. All summer long, I had been losing weight, I was thirsty all the time, and I constantly had to go to the bathroom. On the first day of 6th grade, I threw up on the bus on the way to school. I was beyond mortified. I found anything possible to blame it on, the “bumpy” bus ride and nerves. A couple days later, I did the same thing. I finally talked my mom into driving me to school the next morning, but she only would on the condition that we make a doctor’s appointment. Being my shy, awkward, middle school self, I completely dreaded going to the doctor. I had no clue what they would tell me. Since I have some family with diabetes, both Type 1 and 2, my mom asked the doctor to check me for it. She knew what all the symptoms were, and she finally admitted to herself that it was a possibility I may have it. The doctor immediately knew something was wrong. I had lost way too much weight for someone my age, my face was almost gaunt. Tests were done with my fingers crossed and all we could do was wait for some results. The doctor said if nothing was definite, she would send me to specialists, which scared me more than anything. The next day, I received a check out slip at school. When the office helper brought it to me, my heart sank. I wasn’t even thinking about being sick, my mind went straight to something being wrong with my family. I expected my mom to tell me someone had passed away, but instead she told me we were going to the hospital for me. I was beyond confused when she told me the doctor called her and said she thought I had diabetes. The only thing I knew about diabetes was that my grandma had it and she had to take shots every single day… that scared me to death. Little did I know, shots would soon become painless. Anyways, my mom and sister drove me to the children’s hospital which was about 20 minutes away. My mom was checking her mirror to make sure I was still coherent, and all I was worried about was when I was going to get to eat. The emergency room is all a blur to me. I do remember getting my I.V. and my older sister yelling, “Wow, that’s a big needle!” I also remember just wanting something to eat and the doctors telling me I would be lucky to get a few ice cubes tomorrow. I ended up staying in the hospital for three days. My parents and I had to take classes on diabetes management and diets. It was such a scary time, but everything just seemed surreal. I didn’t know what my life would become and I think that scared me more than anything.