I write about this once a year and once a year only. Fourteen years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I remember that day in chunks: when my pediatrician told us to drive to the hospital, when the nurse weighed me and commented that I was skin and bones, when I had to pee so badly as they were admitting me that I almost went in my pants, the first shot they gave me, the first shot I gave myself, sobbing in my mom’s arms in my dark hospital room, convinced that I’d never be able to eat pizza again.
Type 1 diabetes isn’t one of those diseases that people know you have. Aside from insulin pumps and hordes of empty juice boxes, we’re undetectable. I don’t hide my condition, but I don’t bring it up either. It’s a part of me now, locked into every moment of every day, burned into my routine, into my history, and into my future.
This is my confessional. Sometimes I’m still embarrassed to bring out my insulin pump at the dinner table, even with my closest friends. It’s been fourteen years and I still struggle with dosing food correctly. I don’t like to admit when I don’t feel well and I cancel doctor’s appointments when I’ve had trouble controlling my blood sugars just so my doctor won’t find out that I’m “failing” at being a good diabetic.
I’m not shy about my disease. I always welcome conversation and questions and will share my stories to anyone that cares to ask. It’s a strange dichotomy: being an open book that’s shoved inside a backpack.
Thanks for listening to my D-Day story. I guarantee next March 26th will reveal another chapter.
Today’s one of those anniversaries I’d rather not celebrate. It’s a day that commemorates the moment my life changed 13 years ago, a day I lost a little bit of my childhood innocence, forced to grow up in the car ride to the hospital. I try not to pout or draw attention to my situation on the regular because self-pity is as unattractive a vice as any, but if there’s one day I’ll let the tears fall, it’s today, D-Day, March 26th, the day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
If you see a T1D today, give them a hug for me. Let them know you care. This disease is more grueling than you can imagine, more relentless than meets the eye, and more life-threatening than we dare to admit. Though we may not let our vulnerability show, I promise, your love and support means the world.
For me, September marks the start of type 1 diabetes season, meaning it’s when I start gathering my team and raising funds for the Walk to Cure Diabetes in early October. The song I’m singing in the video above is inspired by “House of Gold” by twenty one pilots, only I’ve rewritten the lyrics to raise awareness for T1D. I’ve published my version in a previous post which I’ve also included again below. I realize that this post is a little different than all my others, but as a diabetic of 12 years, I think it’s important to step out of my box and mix it up in order to convey just how important this cause is to my heart.