Type-1 Diabetes: the 34-year diaversary

Today is the 34th birthday of my Type-1 Diabetes – it’s the Dear Diabetes’ diaversary, baby!

You all, I had NO idea up, until a few days ago, that my T1D was turning 34.

Holy smokes, Dear Diabetes is getting old!

I knew she had a birthday coming up.

It’s kind of hard to forget the day. She was born on my sister’s 18th birthday, after all.

But, I think I kinda stopped counting after year 30.

I mean, I’ve never actually been able to celebrate her day.

Recall, she was born on my sister’s birthday. That totally takes precedent.

And honestly, I’ve long struggled with that anyway: is she something to celebrate, or something to berate?

But the other day, I noticed a friend had announced her T1D’s 35th birthday on social media. And it got me thinking. Within seconds I had my calculator out, doing the simple math, and HOLY SMOKES 34 years!

Registered dietitian Katie Bartel reflects on 34 years with type-1 diabetes

Time to celebrate

Today, I’m choosing to – somewhat – publicly celebrate.

Yes, I spent many of my younger years with Dear Diabetes struggling.

And yes, I have had obstacles and barriers put in my way, so many, even in these more manageable years.

But I’ve also achieved SO much, despite type-1 diabetes and with type-1 diabetes.

T1D achievements

I have run 2 marathons, countless half marathons and 10 km, 15 km and 5 km races – with type-1 diabetes.

I have cycled more than 120 km, up and down mountains, through multiple cities, even on the cobblestones of Belgium – with type-1 diabetes.

I have travelled across Canada, parts of the United States, and multiple countries in Europe – with type-1 diabetes.

I carried a whopping, large fetus in my belly for 37 weeks, and h’oh my gosh it looked like a yoga ball on the outside, and managed my diabetes so completely optimally throughout that pregnancy – with type-1 diabetes.

I gave birth and had complete management of my diabetes throughout my labour – with type-1 diabetes.

I was a newspaper journalist and got to interview the most interesting people, and do the coolest things, like eat ice cream for free every single summer, tour the Fraser Valley in a blimp, ride in a stunt plane, nearly vomit in said stunt plane, drive a Zamboni, and be all inwardly nervous in the Seattle Mariner’s locker room – with type-1 diabetes.

And now, I am a registered dietitian, specifically for the T1D community – with type-1 diabetes.

Without a doubt, I would NOT have this career without Dear Diabetes at my side.

So today, along with celebrating my beautiful sister’s birthday, I will also take a moment (and a bite of cake) to celebrate my T1D.

Registered dietitian Katie Bartel celebrates her achievements with type-1 diabetes by her side on this 34th diaversary of hers

I am grateful for the opportunities this disease has given me, and the friends and community it has allowed me.

Yes, there are definitely days where I curse it so fiercely.

But, if we’re being completely honest, I wouldn’t be me without my T1D.

Do you celebrate your diaversary?


Please note, I have been writing this blog for more than 10 years and some of the comments and thoughts scribed in my earlier posts are not necessarily my comments and thoughts of today. I do not hide from those early posts, as they are part of my story, part of what got me here today.

2 thoughts on “Type-1 Diabetes: the 34-year diaversary”

  1. I totally understand and can relate. It’s been 39 years for me. Wonderful to read about your accomplishments and see how you never let T1D slow you down. in truth, for those who choose to fight, Diabetes breeds warriors. Keep up the good fight!

    1. Thanks so much Shawn! And congrats to you on 39 years strong!

      Diabetes can definitely be a beast at times, and some days are way better than others. But, I think for me, my goal of never letting Diabetes win has been a pretty solid motivator to keep fighting. Plus, all of you fellow T1D warriors are a huge motivator too!

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