Type-1 Diabetes: Year 32

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 did.

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.

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