Twenty years

20 years ago today, my mum picked me up from my university dorm room and brought me to the ER where I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I spent a couple of nights in the intensive care unit, then 3 days learning the basics of diabetes management. Then I was sent out into the real world to learn what it was really like to live day to day with my newfound life mate.

During the last 2 decades (or 240 months or 1044 weeks or 7305 days, but who’s counting?!), I have been:

•    checking my blood glucose levels,
•    injecting or infusing insulin,
•    counting carbs,
•    trouble shooting basal rates,
•    treating lows,
•    riding the blood sugar roller coaster,
•    dealing with burnout,
•    sticking medical devices on (and in) my skin,
•    filling insulin pump reservoirs,
•    scrambling to get sugar into my mouth,
•    battling high glucose levels that won’t come down,
•    being part robot,
•    planning my meals,
•    thinking like a pancreas,
•    feeling overwhelmed at times,
•    waiting for doctor and hospital appointments,
•    trying not to feel judged by the number on my glucose meter,
•    calculating insulin doses,
•    reassuring my family – and myself,
•    making sure I don’t run out of diabetes supplies,
•    having my eyes, heart and feet checked,
•    choosing my clothes carefully,
•    sewing pockets to house diabetes devices,
•    avoiding door knobs,
•    lacking sleep,
•    eating candy as medicine,
•    toting around a ridiculously heavy hand bag to store all my diabetes crap,
•    nursing bruises from injections and pump sites,
•    dealing with discrimination,
•    silencing the beeps,
•    finding the right diabetes technology to fit my life,
•    improving my math skills,
•    wearing blue,
•    sticking up for myself,
•    participating in clinical trials,
•    reading scientific papers,
•    finding my tribe,
•    being inspired by so many others living with diabetes,
•    running a marathon,
•    engaging in advocacy,
•    volunteering for my local diabetes association,
•    organizing diabetes peer support initiatives,
•    using skills learned from living with diabetes in my professional life
•    learning from other people’s stories,
•    becoming an expert,
•    sharing my experiences,
•    teaching medical students about patient perspectives,
•    attending and talking at medical conferences,
•    kicking diabetes’ butt,

Oh, and also generally getting on with the rest of my life.

Sorry, that got a little out of hand, but once I started typing, the list kind of grabbed a life of its own. There is no question that diabetes is a full time job and this list only scratches the surface of the mental gymnastics that living with D involves. I guess the point is that diabetes has added a lot to my life, some of it downright horrible, some of it tedious and time consuming, some of it stressful and emotionally difficult, and some of it utterly amazing. I could not have gotten this far without the ongoing support I have from my family and friends and of course, the amazing people with diabetes I have met along the way, in person or in the DOC.

And as a little diaversary gift, my diabetes gave me this today:


It doesn’t happen all the time, so it’s worth celebrating !

3 thoughts on “Twenty years

  1. Rick Phillips

    Hey someone owes you $1.00. I learned that from my friend Karen. Her husband gives her $1.00 for each meter 100. My wife has not signed on.


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