The Best Laid Plans

You know what they say with the best laid plans…

…something always goes awry with them. It doesn’t matter how meticulously pre-calculated they are, or when/where they take place – sometimes, they just aren’t meant to be.

Such was the case with my Christmas plans this year. (And a partial reason why I’ve fallen behind on my twice-per-week blog posts.)

I know, I know – I had written a whole blog post about how I was going to spend Christmas, particularly Christmas Eve, celebrating my diaversary in the company of my loved ones. And I did…sort of. Except it was just one loved one, who unfortunately had tested positive for it-shall-not-be-named just a day before.

Even though he was entirely asymptomatic – and I was testing negative with at-home test kits and a PCR test conducted by my primary care doctor – we decided it was best to stay away from others and skip out on our highly anticipated Christmas Eve plans with my family. It was pretty devastating, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t count my blessings over the situation. First of all, my partner was feeling great (seriously, it was a completely different experience compared to what we both dealt with when we fell ill with the same condition this past spring) and I was on the road to recovery from a mild head cold I’d been dealing with. Second, we were still able to make the most of the holiday by going for a ride around town to see lights in the neighborhood and ordering sushi to feast upon at home while watching Christmas movies. It was an enjoyable way to spend the holiday, but I definitely missed my family and was a bit heartbroken I couldn’t see all my relatives as I’ve done my entire life, every Christmas Eve.

The only thing missing from the whole ordeal – besides my loved ones, of course – was that I didn’t think about my major diabetes milestone of officially living with diabetes for 25 years, not once, throughout the entire day. My mind was far too preoccupied. But now, in hindsight, it’s serving as additional proof to me that diabetes isn’t always at the front and center of my mind. Sometimes, there are things that take precedence over it. And honestly, that’s a pretty cool thought for me to hold onto, especially on the days where it seems like diabetes is determined to ruin everything for me.

It’s only in charge when I allow it to be. I have ultimate control. I can’t think of a better message to be driven home to me on my 25th diaversary (rather, in the days following my diaversary).

25 Years

This Christmas Eve marks 25 years since I was diagnosed with diabetes.

25 years feels like a significant milestone – and that’s because it is. Diabetes has been my “normal” for that entire length of time; I don’t remember what it’s like to live free from its burden.

I accepted that long ago, but still experience some sadness and bitterness over it from time to time. Can you blame me? There are times when I find myself envious of people with diabetes who were diagnosed later in life and have memories that remain entirely unimpacted by diabetes, but when I find myself getting swept up in morose emotions, I ground myself by remembering that (as trite as it may seem) everything happens for a reason. My diabetes story has taken very deliberate twists and turns, whether or not I was aware of them when they were happening. Each and every challenge, all the emotions, and the many experiences and relationships it has brought into my life were bound to happen, and I’m glad that they did because they’ve made me who I am today.

And today, just a few days shy of officially celebrating my quarter-century diabetes diagnosis, I find myself once again being so happy that it’s happening on a day that I will be around so many of my loved ones. I say it every year, but having my diaversary on a major holiday makes the celebration that much more special to me. The day is always more about spending time with my family than it is about diabetes. Instead of sadness, I feel joy in the reminder that diabetes can’t and won’t overshadow Christmas or any other day for that matter.

So here’s to 25 years of a life enriched and uninhibited by diabetes – and many more to come.

My 24th Diaversary

My 24th diaversary shall be known as…the one I almost forgot.

My diaversary, which falls on Christmas Eve, has never been something that I actually actively celebrate because I’m always too busy celebrating the holiday season with my family. And that’s exactly what happened this year: I was living in the gift of Christmas present (there’s a pun in there, I know) rather than reflecting on that fateful one 24 years ago.

My 24th year of living with diabetes…my, how time flies when you’ve got a broken pancreas and robot parts on the outside of your body.

It feels fitting, really, that I didn’t remember my diaversary until a couple weeks after it came and went, because this Christmas Eve was extra special in a different way. It was the first significant holiday since the pandemic hit that my entire family could be together. And I mean my entire family – I saw both my mothers’ side and my fathers’ side, and even my big brother was able to come home from Nashville for the week. So I was spending the holidays really rejoicing in the fact that we were all able to safely see one another for the first time since Christmas 2019, rather than dwelling on my diabetes diagnosis.

After all, it’s the people who surround me that make something like diabetes manageable. My supporters – family, friends, partner, dogs – are the ones who motivate me when I’m experiencing diabetes burnout. They’re the ones who let me cry on their shoulders when diabetes is too much. They’re the ones who high-five every diabetes triumph that I experience. They’re the ones who remind me that my life is not defined by diabetes (despite how much I talk about it). So with that in mind, I can get behind doing what I did this diaversary: celebrating them instead of my diabetes for every Christmas Eve to come.

My 23rd Diaversary

My 23rd “diaversary” (anniversary commemorating the date that I was diagnosed with diabetes) is tomorrow. Yes, that also happens to be Christmas Eve.

I was four years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes…so I don’t remember life without it. I’m not the type of person who gets overly emotional when sharing her diagnosis story because it’s just a foggy memory to me. So what is the significance of my diaversary to me?

It’s two-sided:

On the one hand, my diaversary is the day that my life changed forever, that I had something taken away from me, that I lost a “normal” childhood.

But on the other hand, it’s representative of the day that I was given something that gave me strength, independence, and courage unlike anything else in my life has ever given me.

I choose to focus on that latter part.

I’m not exactly grateful for diabetes itself, but I can’t deny that it has given me some very valuable things.

I don’t want to mourn the day that I was diagnosed with a chronic condition, I want to celebrate…and the fact that it coincides with Christmas Eve, a day that’s very special to me and so many others, is sort of beautifully poetic.

So rather than dwell on 23 years’ worth of insulin injections, fingerstick pokes, doctor appointments, and carb counting, I’m going to think about how all of those things have molded me into the person I am today: A person who has refused to let diabetes get in her way of the things she wants in life.

My 22nd Diaversary

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve (already) and it just so happens that it’s also my diabetes diagnosis anniversary…or “diaversary,” as it’s colloquially known.

This means that tomorrow marks 22 years of living with diabetes.

For some, that might mean I should celebrate with a cupcake or another special, carb-y treat. And I probably will, because it’s Christmas Eve and sweets are sure to be bountiful at any gatherings I attend tomorrow. But I don’t really plan to do so with my diaversary in mind; for me, it’s the holiday that’s got me in a more festive mood than the fact that my diabetes is 22.

I don’t really know how to feel about this diaversary. My feelings last year about my 21st were very clear: I was down in the dumps about it. I was desperate for a break. And I really didn’t say much more beyond that.

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If you were me, would you do anything special to celebrate 22 years of diabetes?

This year is a little different. I feel the same as last year in that I would do anything for just a single day off from diabetes, but also…I guess I’ve just learned to embrace the routine of it?

I dunno. My relationship with diabetes is always going to be a bit of a roller coaster, just as my blood sugar can sometimes be. I’ll have my highs and my lows, and in between all that…is how I feel now. It exists. It’s just…there. It’s been part of me for 22 years and it will continue to be a part of me as we head into this next decade. (Where’s that cure they’ve been promising us…oh, it’s another 5 years from now, right?)

So my diabetes is 22 and I’m feeling “meh” about it. And that’s perfectly okay. I won’t deny my feelings (or lack thereof). I’ll simply just continue to live my life with diabetes, learning from both the literal and figurative highs and lows as I go along.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, dear readers. Be well, hug your loved ones, and enjoy the spirit of the season.

My 21st Diaversary

Today, Christmas Eve, is my 21st diaversary. That right, my diabetes is officially “legal”. You can bet that I’ll be celebrating with a special shot tonight – and no, I’m not talking about the insulin kind of shot.

Last year, I wrote about the sheer joy I felt as I hit my 20th diaversary. While I certainly do feel joyful this time of year as I greet another diabetes milestone (and because I’m wrapped up in the spirit of the season), I also can’t help but feel a pang of sadness.

The fact of the matter is, I’ve lived with diabetes for 84% of my life. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.

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A birthday card to my diabetes.

I dream of a single day of normalcy. I want a day in my adult life in which diabetes isn’t at the forefront of my mind. Sure, I had just over a thousand days like that in my childhood…but the thing is, I don’t remember them. So they don’t count.

What I would give to have a solid, 24-hour stretch in which I don’t have to feel pricks from needles or hear buzzing, beeping devices. I wouldn’t have to feel as anxious about my blood sugars as I do on most days, and I would eat whatever the hell I wanted without a care in the world.

It sounds like a small ask, one day without diabetes, but at this stage in the game, it’d just be miraculous.

So on this day that is doubly special to me, I’m accepting that I feel a bit more negative than I did last year. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it feels good to admit it, rather than force myself to write a bubbly blog post that simply celebrates 21 years of diabetes.

I’ll celebrate my own way today and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year, knowing that my little diabetes funk will pass on its own.

With that said, dear readers, I wish you a fantastic Christmas. Spend the day doing whatever brings your hearts happiness, and remember to take care of yourselves.

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.

It’s the Holiday Season!!!

Only 21 more days until Christmas! I’m so excited that the most wonderful time of year is here. To celebrate, I’ve changed the header on my site to…

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…this dorky T1D dancing lady (me)!!!

It was like kismet when I saw this sweater in the store a few days ago. It’s a cactus that lights up and has the phrase “hug me” on it. How could I not buy it?! Hence, I decked myself out with the sweater and danced gleefully with my OmniPod PDM in hand to bring some Christmas cheer to my type 1 diabetes blog, Hugging the Cactus.

I want to take a moment to say how special HtC is to me. Truly, the first two months I’ve spent putting this blog together and writing new material have brought me, in the spirit of the season, joy. It makes me so happy to share with readers, near and far, who take time out of their days to click through my posts. I’ve learned quite a bit from the DOC in the years that I’ve spent blogging, and I know that I will continue to do so!

Besides the holidays this month, I’ve got a major milestone coming up: 20 years with type 1 diabetes as of December 24th. What do you think I should do to mark the occasion?

Again, thank you for reading my blog. I have some big plans in the works for it in 2018, so stay tuned! And if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of my new posts, please feel free to subscribe – the widget to subscribe is located on the right-hand side menu on the homepage here.

Christmas time is here!!!