Tag Archives: diaversary

This is what 27 looks like.

Aaaaand, just like that, I’ve hit the 27 year mark of living with Type 1 Diabetes.

No use burying the lead here. It is what it is. A cliché is a cliché. However, there is something unique about this coming year that makes it different from any other year living with this condition.

This next year is the last year I can say that I’ve lived more than half my life without diabetes. If you’re doing the math… I was diagnosed at age 28, so next year, I’ll officially be even diabetes- and non-diabetes-wise.

”It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.” – Clarence Darrow

Yet, I feel particularly good about this. In fact, I feel pretty good in general. I know I’ve had my medical issues in the past… knee surgery, pneumonia, and an appendectomy all in the past three years. But right now, in this moment, I feel strong.

I haven’t come down with the flu yet. And I got the vaccine back in October, so suck it all you vaccine naysayers. I’m getting a fair amount of rest lately, and I’m handling things at work pretty well during a very busy time.

”Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.” – Stephen Hawking

I don’t know how much interaction I’ll get with my fellow friends living with diabetes this year. I really hope I do. But I have plenty of demands on my time anyway, so I’m going to hope, but not worry about it.

In many ways, I’m going to treat this year as I’ve treated the past several years: do my best, accomplish what I can, don’t worry about the rest. Something is everything, if you know what I mean. I’ve got goals like everyone else, but goals are internal, while accomplishments tend to be outward. That’s the way I think about it anyway.

“It’s crazy, how similar we are. Here’s both of us, working through our stuff, trying to make something positive out of something really bad.” – Jenny Han

I will say that I’m excited about getting the podcast going again. There are many stories waiting to be told, and I can’t wait to get back to listening to people tell them.

You know, it’s funny… here I am talking as if my diabetes is wrapped up in my diabetes social media exploits. It’s not. There are many places where they intertwine, but one is not exactly the other.

”Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” – Carl Sagan

Really, what I want to do today is reflect on the past 27 years. I want to remember what those early days were like. I want to remember the terribly difficult times, and how I got through them. I want to take a moment and be grateful I survived it all. Because you know that with this disease, nothing is guaranteed, decade to decade, year to year, month to month, day to day, or even minute to minute.

27 feels really good today. 28 would be better. 29, 30, and beyond are waiting for me.

”Survival is how I got here. Resilience is how I’ll remain.” – Stephen Shaul

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26 Years: Let’s Go.

Well, it’s happened again. I’ve managed to check off another year of living with Type 1 Diabetes.
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The official milestone occurred on January 30/31 (it’s a long story). I went to work, where things were crazy busy, but I managed to get through it. After work, I went home, had a modest dinner, and wrote a little. Kinda boring, right?

That’s the thing this year. It’s not that announcing that I’m still here after 26 years isn’t wonderful. But I think I may have moved over from the “how many years can I rack up living with diabetes?” phase to the “how much more of my life can I live with diabetes?” phase. So far, I’m a little over a year short of diabetes being with me for half of my life.

Go ahead… do the math… I’ll wait.

I guess it would be natural to wonder, since I’m almost in my mid-fifties, if I should be worried about whether I’ll be around much longer considering my chronic health status. But I don’t really think in those terms.

It’s a normal thing to consider, but I also try to remember that the time spent worrying about what might happen (and when it might happen) takes time away from the time I have left to make the rest of my life meaningful. And fun. And spectacular. Besides… who, other than a teenager, thinks of someone my age as near the end?

26 isn’t a big diaversary, and I didn’t do anything fantastic to celebrate. Not that doing so isn’t okay. To be honest, I’m happy as hell to have made this milestone. But I’m more interested in what year 27, and 37, and 47, and all the years in between have in store. I’m not afraid, and I’m ready for the experience. Let’s go.

A few thoughts on 25.

It was some time Wednesday night when I realized:

This weekend, I will pass the 25 year mark of living with Type 1 Diabetes.
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Like many other diaversaries, this one has snuck up on me. I mean, I knew it was coming, and then I got busy with other things and forgot about it. Now I’m sitting here on Friday wondering what it all means.

I admit that though I was 28 years old at the time, I still don’t remember much about the day or days surrounding my diagnosis. Wait… that’s not true. I remember a lot.

At my first appointment with a new doctor, I went in for a complete physical, told him what I had been dealing with for several weeks (all the typical onset-of-diabetes symptoms), and he got a blood and urine sample. About two hours after I saw him, I received a call from the office asking me to come back first thing the next day. I did, and that was when I received the news that I would be living with Type 1 the rest of my life, and oh, by the way, I had a high level of ketones in my system, though I didn’t understand how serious that was at the time. I still expected to go to work later that day. One thing I’ll never forget is the look from my doctor after I asked him when he wanted me to go to the hospital. I thought he would say, “Let’s get you in next week, maybe Tuesday”. Instead, his eyes got big and he practically shouted “Now!”. The thought of it still makes me laugh.

After three days in the hospital I was sent on my merry way, and I started this long 25 year trek that puts me in the spot where I am now.

I was so different then. Different city, different job, different look, I still had some hair left on top, and a lot more energy. I knew practically no one else living with diabetes and never (I thought) came into contact with anyone else living with diabetes. What this does is skew your perspective. Having no other influences, I tended to trust everything I heard about diabetes, from family members, employers, and doctors too. By and large, they were way off the mark.

They were off the mark partly due to either incorrect or outdated information with regard to diabetes. But they were also off the mark because they didn’t know my diabetes. For my part, I didn’t know that my diabetes and how I managed it might differ from how someone else lived with this disease. I largely ignored my diabetes because everyone else did. I wasn’t in the emergency room or in danger of organ failure. And most of all, I wanted so desperately to live my life without it being pointed out that I also lived with diabetes.

As I grew older, I realized that regardless of what I wanted when I was 28, there was indeed no separating me from my diabetes. One of the critical things I discovered was that that’s okay. Diabetes sucks, but it’s a part of my life, and I won’t, I can’t, be ashamed of that. If I buy into that, it will kill me inside.

You may be wondering whether I’ll be filing paperwork to ask for a 25 year medal from Joslin or Eli Lilly. I’ve thought about it, but to be honest, it’s not a huge priority for me right now. If I get part of a day free where I can compile everything and send it in, okay. If not, meh.

It’s not like I feel I don’t deserve a medal. I do. I even think it would be kind of cool. But I’m also reminded of the people out there who were diagnosed a year ago, or five years ago, or forty years ago who have been living their own version of diabetes hell, all by themselves, ever since diagnosis. Those people deserve a medal too. What makes me more worthy?

What about the people who lived with diabetes for some time, whose lives were tragically cut short due to hypoglycemia or ketoacidosis or some other horrible, unjust happening? I cannot accept something as trivial as a medal without remembering those who were never rewarded, and yet paid the ultimate price.

Okay… positive spin… This weekend marks a milestone, but I want and expect to celebrate many more milestones in the future.

Shortly after diagnosis, I read that a man in the United States living with Type 1 had an average life expectancy of 59 1/2. I know that number should probably have skewed upward since then. But for me, 59 1/2 plus many more years has been a goal since diagnosis. At 28, that threshold seemed very far away. Today, it’s less than six years.

More goals, more milestones, and more celebrating them. Why the hell not? Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be looking back on the great and not-so-great things about my diabetes at 25. Feel free to list yours below.
 

Another year, another…

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Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I realized that I had completed another year living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Often, when the day comes around, I think about how great it is that I’ve lived with this chronic condition for so long, without any significant issues. Sometimes I even celebrate a little.

But this year, I was so obsessed with getting ready for this business trip, I completely forgot about the diaversary.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. After 24 years with diabetes, I can’t expect every year to be the same.

What was your last diaversary like?
 
 
 

Living well is the best revenge.

So it’s Friday. End of January. Whenever the calendar comes around to the 30th and 31st, my mind starts going back to 1991.

On January 30th, I saw a new doctor (still my Mom’s doctor) for the first time. We went through a physical exam and I gave some blood and a urine sample. Later that afternoon, the office called to ask me if I could come back to see the doctor first thing the next day, January 31st. That’s when I received the news that I would be living with Type 1 Diabetes for the rest of my life. I was 28 years old.

There’s a lot more to that story, and my mind goes back to every detail when these two days come around again. When I mentioned this 23 year diaversary to Maureen she was like, “Oooh… should we get a cake and celebrate?”. I said no. I feel like it’s important for me to celebrate the fact that I’ve made it this far. It’s not quite so important that I devour something as a memento. Though a little peach pie would be nice. A little peach pie is always nice. But I digress.

After work I’ll head home via the liquor store, and I’ll enjoy some pizza and salad with my brother-in-law, who’s in town on his way to New York, where he’ll start soon at the Bronx Zoo. Our next door neighbor will join us, and probably a couple of others too. I’ll take a moment to check my BG and work out the special dual-wave bolus (known by me as the Karen pizza bolus). Come to think of it, a martini would be okay too.

And that’s the best thing about surviving 23 years with this bastard of a condition known as diabetes. I have to do what I have to do, but in the final analysis, if I’m still living a good life with great friends and greater family? That’s something to celebrate!

No doubt parents of kids with diabetes want a cure. No doubt all of us want a cure. But in the absence of that, I think D-parents, and all of us, just want to know that a good life is possible even with diabetes on board. You know what? It took me a lot of long years with bad numbers and rebelling against the daily grind of this disease, but I am living a good life. I’m not going to blow smoke and tell you that it’s a walk in the park. But whoever said “living well is the best revenge” really knew what they were talking about.
 
 
 

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