Today is my five-year anniversary of my diagnosis of diabetes.
While I don’t necessarily celebrate diabetes, or having it, there are several things I am celebrating…
✽That I’ve managed to survive for the past five years. When I was first diagnosed, I was scared. After I went into DKA 24 hours later, I was terrified. There were days I just sat and cried, because I didn’t think I’d be able to figure it all out. I just kept telling myself it would take time, and that five years from now, I’d be okay. And I am.
✽I’m celebrating that not only have I figured out to how to live my daily life with diabetes, but my extracurricular life has been good, too. I haven’t let the fact that I have to inject daily insulin stop me from doing what I set out to do. I’ve travelled to Tokyo, Venice, Cairo, Mallorca, Athens and beyond, all while dragging along every medical necessity and a whole lot of snacks. I’ve gone to plays, concerts, sporting events, resorts with no electricity, inside pyramids, shopping for an entire day, hiking along the beach, to work, to work functions, for walks by myself.
Some is big stuff, some is little, but they’re all accomplishments. I went from being scared to being alone (I was by myself when I went into DKA and drove myself to the emergency room), to small advances—an hour here or there, a small excursion outward—to not thinking twice about throwing a Nutrigrain bar in my bag and walking out the door at any given moment. I celebrate my freedom to do what I want, not despite having diabetes, but along with having diabetes.
✽I’m celebrating the fact that I can inject myself without hesitation. I went from being the little girl who required four nurses and her mom to hold her down so the doctor could give her a booster shot, to being the woman who uses needles daily. My first insulin shot took me 20 minutes to do—15 minutes to screw up the courage with the syringe poised above my thigh, 30 seconds for the actual injection, and another four-and-a-half minutes to stop hyperventilating.
✽I celebrate my ability to add, subtract and multiply—sometimes without having to count on my fingers. I hated math all through school and it was definitely my worst subject. I celebrate that I’ve made peace with mathematics, and I’m working on making peace with numbers, no matter how high they may be.
✽I’m celebrating that my husband, who was only my live-in boyfriend at the time of diagnosis, has managed to stick with me through all the trials and tribulations and has been open to receiving a diabetes education along with me. I celebrate my family and friends who support me, but still treat me like Lora.
In honor of my anniversary, my husband and I hit the “good” grocery store last night and bought two gorgeous steaks, giant shrimp, marinated olives, brie and fresh-baked bread. Tonight, we’ll have a nice grilled picnic on our deck and just enjoy what looks like is going to be a lovely summer evening.
Happy anniversary to me, and to everyone else who had one more great day, regardless of diabetes or because of it.
As always, more to come...