Welp, it’s official: I’ve now lived more than half my life with Type 1 diabetes. Today marks 16 years since the diagnosis that changed my life in every possible way. I’ve now known what it’s like to be “sick” longer than I ever knew what it was like to be “healthy.”
The truth is, remembering my life as a regular kid without a chronic illness feels like trying to tap into a stranger’s memories. Sure, I lived most of my childhood without a deadly illness, but when something life-altering happens to you at age 15, everything prior to that becomes sort of a blur. At a time when I was supposed to be focusing on high school boys and cheerleading practice, I had to learn how to keep myself alive while my body did whatever it could to shut itself down. It’s hard to really tap into a time when I didn’t have to spend every waking (ok, and sleeping) hour walking the tightrope that is life with diabetes.
I’ve written quite a few posts like this since then. Most of them have been longer and more emotional than this one. And while there’s always more to say, the thing that feels most important to remind myself today is something I’ve shared before: my struggles have made me kind of a badass.
While I’ve certainly spent some time thinking about how my life would’ve been a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have to do the work of an internal organ 24/7, I also recognize that I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The empathetic, compassionate, independent, resilient, grateful person that I’m pretty freaking proud to be. When something so intense is your day-to-day reality, you don’t often stop to give yourself any sort of credit—it’s just your life. Which is why I choose, every year, to spend this day—my “diaversary”—patting myself on the back a little bit.
I have a creative career that I’m passionate about, the most loving family I could ask for, an amazing support system of friends, and a fabulous life in New York City that I used to dream about. I’m a giving, loyal, and considerate friend, daughter, sister, aunt, and coworker. I love the people in my life fiercely and I put my all into everything I do. I also have a lot of fun along the way—and wear some bold outfits, obviously. I think those are pretty cool accomplishments when you factor in that I’m acting as my own doctor, therapist, nutritionist and advocate every minute of the day.
Here’s to the next 16!