Hello Diabetes, are you still there?
Yep. Still here.
This was a question I repeatedly asked for years, wondering if that day would be the day I’d finally be free; I’d finally get the cure I’d been promised from the very beginning.
As the years passed, my question gradually faded – as did the promises.
On Aug. 23, 1987 (my sister’s 18th birthday) I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes; I think she may have finally forgiven me 😉
This diagnosis came after months of me wasting away.
This diagnosis came after my whole family got the throwing up flu, and I never got better.
This diagnosis came after weeks of my mom monitoring, with a notebook and pencil, the excessive number of times I was running to the washroom to rid my bladder.
This diagnosis came after I reportedly ate half a roast and drank a near full jug of lime Kool-Aid.
This diagnosis came after months of my parents wringing their hands and squishing their foreheads up in fear.
They didn’t think I noticed.
I was nine years old when my life changed forever.
I was promised a cure by the time I was 16, then by the time I was 21.
I am now 41.
I spent years hating this disease, revolting against it, cursing the hell out of it.
When I finally accepted it, I wanted to be better with it, and I refused to let it define me.
I ran marathons. I hiked mountains. I rode a fondo. I cycled the rain-soaked cobbles of Belgium. I travelled multiple countries, sometimes solo, many times with my husband. I had a child at the ripe age of 34. I excelled in one career and am about to embark on yet another.
My diabetes has not defined me, but it is very much me.
I wouldn’t be who I am without this disease.
So many of my life stories (good and bad) are this disease.
I wouldn’t be pursuing this career without this disease.
I am strong because of this disease.
I am empathetic because of this disease.
I am an advocate because of this disease.
But still, 32 years in, I would prefer not to have this disease.
I’ve shared my story so many times over the years that I feel people are going to start throwing their dirty socks at me just to shut me up.
But it’s a story I can’t stop telling.
It’s a story I won’t stop telling.
Because the second I do, that’s one less story, one less ounce of pressure, one less person pushing researchers, funders, and government to support finding a cure.
I can’t let that happen.
Insulin keeps me alive, but insulin is not a cure.
It’s not enough.