There’s something special about being able to celebrate* two milestones in my life on the same day. February 24 not only marks 46 years since I came into this world, but also 37 years of conquering an illness that could easily have seen it end if not for an awe-inspiring medical discovery in 1922.
The last year has seen a lot of changes for me in all aspects of my life. I was appointed as the Finance Director for the charity I’ve worked for over the last 3 and a half years or so, which has stretched me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, but has also been more fulfilling than I could have hoped. Working within the social care sector during a time of financial crisis following 2+ years of pandemic has been challenging, but the things I’ve learned and the friendships I’ve built at work have bolstered me during what could easily have been some mentally exhausting moments.
Both children – well, I say children, but really now one adult and one in their late teens – have started to explore and venture out onto the next steps in their lives and I’ve had to learn to balance wanting to solve all of their problems myself with allowing them to make their own mistakes and find their way through those challenges as best they can with our support as needed.
And my 37th year with T1D has seen another new technological development for me. Seven years ago I spoke about my introduction to the Freestyle Libre, the flash glucose monitoring system which turned me into the bionic woman and transformed the way I tested my blood glucose levels. Seven years on, my whole T1D life has been revolutionised once again as I’m now the proud owner of a “hybrid closed-loop system” or artificial pancreas, to use the vernacular, which allows my insulin pump to speak to the CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) I wear and adjust the steady administration of insulin to adapt to my changing blood sugars, activities and food intakes.
When that diagnosis happened on my 9th birthday, I’m not sure any of my family could have imagined the changes and developments that would happen to mean that I could spend a little less time focused on getting through each day with T1D in one piece and a little more on enjoying all that life has to offer.
Today will be a quiet day with family, enjoying time with my most favourite people in the world and loving the life I’m able to live with a new constant companion, my insulin pump, to help manage the one that’s been there for almost as long as I can remember. It is time to celebrate both of today’s occasions and I will certainly be raising a glass and a cupcake to do so.
*I thought long and hard about whether celebrate was the right word here or not. Should I have said that I “mark” these landmark points in my life rather than “celebrate” them, but I decided not. I do celebrate 37 years of living with T1D, of surviving all that it has thrown at me over the years and that is something to be proud of and that’s worth celebrating in style.
I will celebrate my 66th birthday and 49th diaversary on June 21 this year. I was actually diagnosed about a week before, but was released on my 17th birthday so it is easy to remember both. I was at Disney World when it was apparent I had developed diabetes and it took another six days to return to Indiana before I saw a doctor. I love my parents for not running home.
Happy Birthday and Happy Diaversary.