Christmas Eve and 20 Years of Diabetes

Merry Christmas Eve, to all those who celebrate it! Christmas is one of my absolute favorite holidays. I love spending time with my family and friends, attending mass, baking (and eating) Christmas cookies, and decorating the tree. This time of year is pure magic; a time when I feel most joyful.

This Christmas Eve also marks my 20th year of living with type one diabetes. I don’t remember much from that night in 1997, seeing as I was only four years old. I recall tons of family members visiting me in the hospital and bringing gifts for me. One of the gifts I received was a honey-colored teddy bear that I particularly liked and hugged often throughout my hospital stay.

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Beyond Type 1 featured me on their Instagram Wall of Warriors last year. This is how I #LiveBeyond.

Twenty years with diabetes is a long time. Too long, especially since every couple of years since my diagnosis I’ve been told that a cure would be found “soon”. I’ve come to accept the fact that “soon” just might not be within this lifetime, and rather than dwell on that, I choose to focus on the joy of life itself. How lucky am I to live a full life, surrounded by loved ones, employed full-time, with a roof over my head and food on my plate? How lucky am I to be able to have access to the insulin I need and to have a choice when it comes to the pump and meter I use? How lucky am I to have the knowledge and willpower it takes to manage a chronic illness every second of every day?

I’m extraordinarily lucky. I’m blessed.

That’s what I’m focusing on joy on this significant diaversary. I’m embracing the spirit of the season and recognizing the good in this life. Diabetes takes things away from me sometimes – a full night’s sleep, an occasional dessert, a missed trip to the gym – but I refuse to let it take my joy.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Eve and 20 Years of Diabetes

  1. I’ve heard the getting close to a cure too often as well. My big hang up 40 years ago was hearing “You’ll have a heart attack, stroke, loose your sight, loose a kidney, or other body parts” because I didn’t take good enough care of myself. Either I’m one of the toughest people or most likely it is not as critical as advertised to keep blood sugars in range. Highly likely its the later. I like to keep them as close as possible but I don’t freak out as much from the highs anymore. Highs of 600 (33.3) are needed to get me concerned. Getting turned to the dark side so early in life (like my Star Wars reference?) it helps I always thought. I had to get used to not eating candy and other sweets after being started on them earlier in life. Once the link was broken though it was not very hard to say no to cake and candy at birthday parties and such. Did you have any issues cutting them out or were you not ever touched by them in the beginning? My Christmas this year was very tame as there is not many left to celebrate it with after my aunt passed last month. My sister and I, we live together still, cooked and took dinner to my only surviving aunt at a care home. She no longer can remember us well but loves the attention. lol It is good to let her know we still think of her and care, even if it only lasts a few minutes after we leave.

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