April 4, 1988 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I know no other way of life.
I grew up thinking that precisely counting out 15 grapes, 4 orange segments and 1/2 of a cup of skim milk is what everyone did for snack time.
I grew up being told a “cure” was only 5-10 years away. Um, I was 2 when I was diagnosed, then 7 and 12 came and went, and then I graduated high school and college, and grad school…I’m still waiting.
I grew up traveling to Washington DC to speak to our Legislators, our Congressmen, Senators and even Presidents. I was told I “didn’t look like I had diabetes” – this gave me the passion (some call it fiery passion) that I have today about Advocacy and Education. What the hell am I supposed to look like?
I grew up first, pricking my fingers and giving myself multiple injections a day, to a glorious day when I was 13 that I began my first insulin pump. Tubing, tape and insertion sites became my new normal.
I grew up being judged solely by a number, my A1c. An average over every 3 months of my blood sugar levels. Oh, you’re a 6.5 – you’re doing wonderful to, oh, you’re an 8.2 – you must be doing something wrong.
I GREW UP, I’m 32 (for 26 more days) and I STILL HAVE TYPE 1 DIABETES. There is still no cure.
10,950 days I have had Type 1.
I still wear a minimed insulin pump and now wear a CGM (continuous glucose monitor on my arm).
I still don’t sleep.
I still fear needles.
I still hate knowing this is my everyday.
I still can’t just pick and and go without planning hours in advance.
I still fear the what-ifs.
I still fear not waking up because of a low blood sugar.
And I still hate. this. disease.
30 years doesn’t make it easier, it makes me angrier. It makes me want to throat punch people when they say, oh, just don’t eat sugar and you’ll be cured, right?
No, that’s not how this works. This is a life sentence. This is forever, until a cure. FIND A CURE. I’m done, I’m beyond done. I was done 30 years ago.
Today, April 4,2018 – I celebrate my 30th Dia-Versary, a date I never imagined would be here. But here it is. I celebrate I’m alive, I’m doing what I love every single day and I am surrounded by friends and family who have made my Diabetes not just my own to bear.
So to those who have supported me the last 30 years, today is a celebration and a day to drink a Margarita and say, hell, here’s to another 30 years of living!