Marking a Milestone - 20 Years of Diabetes
Over the weekend, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. For awhile I thought I’d mark this anniversary by achieving some physical feat: a marathon came to mind several times. But, that didn’t feel quite right anymore. After mulling it over for awhile, I decided that the thing diabetes has really taken from me (and all of us living with it) is the freedom to eat and enjoy without the stress of blood sugar control. Also, I wanted to celebrate that this disease hasn’t beaten me and I continue to live a healthy, wonderful life, with it. So, on Saturday night a group of my family and friends met at a Mexican restaurant to eat, drink, and relax. Margaritas, chips and salsa, real flour tortilla: none of it was off limits for me! I knew my blood sugar would take a hit and I’d probably bolus more insulin in one day than I have in years, but it would be worth it!
We had a great time! A couple of my friends’ husbands commented that they didn’t even know I had diabetes. So, that led to some discussion of how I control my blood sugar and other general diabetes questions. It felt appropriate, somehow, to be discussing the disease at my anniversary dinner.
As this milestone approached and I started allowing myself to really feel the frustration and exhaustion of 20 years of maintaining my blood sugar, I struggled to articulate how I felt about my diabetes. Then, I just decided to put up a Facebook status update about the anniversary; I think I hit it on the head:
“20 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m proud to have lived well with it for so long. I’m also incredibly grateful that God blessed me with two wonderful children and helped me manage my blood sugars to keep them healthy during two high risk pregnancies. But, I’m also tired of thinking about blood sugar control… all the time. I’m more anxious for a cure (or an approved artificial pancreas) than ever before. This disease takes a huge mental toll and I’d love to redirect that energy to my husband, kids, and extended community.”
That last sentence says it all.