I recently marked the thirty-third anniversary of my type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I didn’t throw a party, go out to celebrate, or do anything too unusual. But the day was special for me, and I’d like to talk about why.
I make a conscious choice to use my diabetes diagnosis anniversary as a day of positive reflection and acknowledgment. While I do appreciate the sad feelings that sometimes come, I don’t want those feelings setting the tone for the year ahead.
What are some of the things I think about? I’m glad you asked!
I think about the continued advancements in the technology I’m using. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was using urine test strips to check my blood sugar levels. Now I have a gadget the size of a small lighter. I can get an actual blood sugar result in a few seconds, rather than an approximation from hours ago.
I have a continuous glucose monitor that transmits an approximate blood sugar level to a receiver every five minutes. This receiver has a graph, trending arrows, and alarms that go off if I’m too high or too low. Not many years ago, this sort of thing was a dream!
I have an insulin pump that does all of my diabetes math for me, and even allows me to micromanage my background insulin doses. I know it sounds crazy to be excited about this, but I can remember the days of insulin being delivered by syringe. We’ve come a long way since then!
I think about all of the great friends I have in the Diabetes Online Community. I love that the community continues to grow, and that I am finding new blogs and Twitter feeds almost daily. I love that so many people who started sharing their stories long ago continue to do so. I love that some of the online tools such as Facebook and Twitter have helped people with diabetes connect offline and within their communities.
I think about the amazing power and potential of the diabetes community, and how people are changing the world by simply sharing their stories. We sometimes underestimate the influence we have not only within our own community, but how we may help other communities grow. We are showing people that experience is powerful, and that yes, they should start a blog or a Twitter account about living with whatever it is they live with.
I think about how hard I work to take care of myself. I take time to pat myself on the back for going to the gym to play basketball, for cycling so much last spring, or for learning how to jog this season. There are so many days where I feel like staying home to relax, or I feel like caving in to the pressure of deadlines or tasks that need to be done. It would be so easy to skip a workout, and I could probably manage to justify it. But I know that exercise is an important part of my diabetes management, and working out is even easier to justify!
These are just a few examples of what I try to focus on. I hope you can see how taking time to reflect a little bit can be a powerful thing. I know that the drudgery of diabetes can get in the way, clouding our vision and pulling us down a bit. But take at least that one day of the year to clear it away and set the tone for the next 364 days. It’s something I think we should all do more often than once a year.
Scott Johnson is living with type 1 diabetes and blogs at scottsdiabetes.com. Johnson is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2013 The DX: The Diabetes Experience