Saturday, April 11, 2015

25: A Damn Good Place To Be

This morning I woke up like every other morning.

I laid in bed for a few minutes soaking in that I was, in fact, alive. I breathed and was breathing normally, the morning light was just starting to filter through the cracks in my blinds. My dog was snoring lightly at my feet, my fiancé was breathing deeply at my back.

Saturdays are usually pretty laid back for me. I get up, go to the market for some veggies and flowers and leisurely take in the morning. I prefer to do it solo, I get a lot of thinking done wandering through fresh vegetable stands and baked goods with a coffee in hand.

The sticky night stuck to my neck, elbows and knees. Spring is finally here (maybe) and the warm air, and thick fog show it.

I rolled over to check my phone and my insulin pump buzzed. Low battery.

As I went in the bathroom and splashed water over my face, last night's hazy memories caught up to me. I changed my infusion set at 1:30 am after ripping one out in my sleep. As I came to, I remembered the squeal of the high blood sugar alert  invading my deepest sleep. My pump laying on the floor too far away from me.

I remember fumbling in the supply closet for everything I need for a site change, while trying not to wake the others.

I remember the needle piercing my skin on my right arm and the slight twinge of annoyance that this is what I was doing while everyone else in the world was seemingly asleep.

This morning I woke up like every other morning, but it wasn't.

Today marks 25 years living with type one diabetes.

Over the past 25 years, there have been some advances we can  truly be proud of. We are pushing for better treatment in the school systems for littles who are living this life, better treatment in the workplace, better treatment options...trying to get insulin in the hands of people who can not afford to stay alive-at no fault of their own.

Often messages get muddled, there are people who fight over the dumbest things like numbers and definitions, and who's experiences trump others.

I have taken on the role of a patient advocate because I think that's where my strength is. In my professional life I work for the world's leading funder of research for a cure for type one diabetes. Diabetes is my life-and I made it that way. I want to give a voice to those who don't have one, or have the desire to have one.

I do what I do for me, and for others. Not because this is the worst disease in the world, but because it is A disease in the world. It is one that affects millions of people worldwide. No matter the type or how to treat it, there is still just too much unknown about it for me, personally, to stand aside and not take part in pushing.

So I have lived 25 years with type one diabetes. What has it done for me? It has shaped my career, my future goals and my personal circle all for the better.

It has taken minutes, hours, even days from me in self-care.

There are, and there always will be times in life with a chronic illness that I am sad, angry and annoyed. But I live my life trying not to let those moments win over the ones where I feel overjoyed, happy and fulfilled.

Type One Diabetes has made me a fighter. Maybe I would have been a fighter if my immune system stayed the course 25 years ago, maybe not. But I stand up for what I believe in, I push for what I want and I will defend every one's right to do so.

My personal goal, over the past few years, and the coming years is to help people living with chronic illness feel supported and well mentally while the physical illnesses are treated by medical doctors. I guess I can say out loud that I am starting to get the wheels in motion to focus on mental well-being in transition care. I don't know where it will take me, but I am excited to find out.

And if it wasn't for my pancreas calling it quits 25 years ago, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now.

And this is a damn good place to be.

I guess I have come out of blogging hibernation.

6 comments:

  1. I love this post so much xoxo

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  2. Sweet! I've lived with type 1 for about 8 years and every year (my "diaversary" is also in April) I feel like its harder and harder to remember life without it... Keep rocking it ;)

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  3. Our experiences tell us who we were -- how we respond to them shapes who we become. Sounds like you're on a great path!

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  4. I'm also excited to find out where you're heading from here. Glad your hibernation is over. Happy 25!

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  5. 25 years is a huge accomplishment!! Congratulations. And thank you for being such an inspiration.

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