Today I turn 30 years old!

What a strange sentence to write, since oftentimes I feel that I am simultaneously much younger and much older than 30. I’ve got a childish sense of humor and a penchant for video games and shirking responsibilities, but I also quite enjoy going to bed early and have my fair share of aches and pains that I complain about almost daily. But in reality, I’m merely entering my third decade of life, and taking my 25 years of diabetes (so far) along with me.

I’m also bringing the following mantra into my thirties: The best is yet to come. That’s because I have an unshaking faith in knowing that I’ll make many of my goals, hopes, and dreams turn into a reality in this decade – I will manifest them into existence, dammit, if that’s what it takes.

In addition to my excitement over this realization, it’s also beginning to dawn on me that this attitude can apply more specifically to my life with diabetes. I’ve seen for myself in the last 25 years just how far we’ve come, in terms of everything from standards of care to technology. How can I not have confidence, then, in the belief that the best is yet to come for myself and all other people living with diabetes? I can say with utmost certainty that the technology will only continue to get better, accessibility barriers will continue to be broken down, affordability will continue to improve, and my own diabetes care and treatment will continue to adapt and advance as time goes on.

So today, rather than mourning the end of my roaring 20s, I’m welcoming my 30s with open arms and the expectation (to riff on the movie 13 Going on 30, in which turning 30 means that one will be 30, flirty, and thriving) that they will be marked by a period of thriving with the knowledge that the best truly is yet to come.


Lessons Learned from Another NDAM Come and Gone…

As Carrie Bradshaw would say…”and just like that”, another National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM) has come and gone.

And yes, I learned a couple of lessons in the past 30 days.

For starters, I learned that my mindset going into NDAM was identical to my mindset at the end of it: Pace yourself. Life with diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint, and it deserves to be treated as such.

I also learned that it’s a whole lot easier to drown out the deafening noise of NDAM online when I choose to be mindful about how much content I consume during the month of November. I kept my focus on everything that pertained to my work at the time, and I decided to remove my personal feelings about social media and NDAM from the equation. That made it so much easier to keep my attention on the specific initiatives I was hoping to accomplish during the month, and I was able to make sure that work stayed separate from anything I shared on my blog.

And finally, this particular NDAM reminded me that you get out of it what you put into it. I could’ve put my heart and soul into diabetes advocacy last month and I’m sure I would’ve gained so much from that experience, but since I had enough self-awareness to realize I just didn’t have the same number of spoons to give this year as I have in years past, I made the conscious decision to cut back. I don’t regret it for a second, especially considering that this extra attention could be placed on my actual lived experience with diabetes and taking extra steps to improve my management. That manifested itself into one of the best endocrinology appointments I’ve had in recent years, and truly, what more could I want out of NDAM? After all, I can’t be the kind of advocate that I’d like to be if I’m not taking proper care of myself…so if the only outcome I have from this NDAM is that I’m finally feeling confident in myself and my use of my diabetes devices, then I have absolutely no regrets about that whatsoever.

Reflecting on 2020

2020. What a year, am I right?

This blog post is NOT going to be a recap of how “unprecedented”, “historical”, “chaotic”, or “uncertain” this year was – we all know exactly what it was like and we most definitely don’t need a summary of it.

Instead, this post is going to be a short reflection on some of the cards I was dealt with this year…

What exactly did I do in 2020?

Well, for starters, I made one of the most heart-wrenching decisions of my life to move back home last January.

In February, I was trying to heal from the damage caused by this decision.

And then, well, March happened, and suddenly nothing was certain.

I stumbled through April and May along with the rest of the world, trying to adjust to this “new normal” (I promise I won’t be using that phrase again in this post).

I flailed into the summer months, a time in which it seemed like things might be getting better, only for a bout of depression and anxiety to darken the light at the end of the tunnel I thought I had seen.

In September and October, I chose to dip my toes back into adulthood. By November, I was moving into my new place and getting used to living on my own.

Now it’s the final few days of December and I’ve got a dog (more on that in a future post) that’s joined me in my home, making it a little less lonely.

I’m marveling how in all the changes, challenges, and emotional upheavals lead me to this place that I’m in – and I’m not referring to my dwelling.

Normally, I try to go for bold and bright colors on photos for my posts, but this solemn black and gold scheme felt right with the theme of this post.

I’m talking about this new mindset – one that I haven’t quite defined yet, but one that has developed because of my determination to get through all of the above and still somehow maintain a good grip on my diabetes (and regularly keep up with this blog, to boot).

Please don’t mistake all this self-reflecting as tooting my own horn; in fact, I struggled for weeks as to whether I should share any of this. (Funny how my diabetes is less personal to me than, well, my entire personal life.)

I guess the point of this post, though, is to finally catch my breath and let everything I’ve accomplished and survived this year to sink in…and you should allow yourself that moment of recognition, too.

I doubt there’s a single person on this earth who can truly say that they were untouched in some way by any of the events of this year…so now that we are about to put 2020 into the past, I say that we all deserve to take some time and think about how we’ve adapted to everything and find some sort of joy in that – especially if you’re someone who also deals with anything like diabetes on a daily basis.

I’m not naive enough to think that everything will go back to the way it was “before” the second the clock says 12:01 A.M. on New Year’s Day, but I am hopeful that 2021 will exceed 2020 in many ways. And hope is a good thing to hold onto in times like these.

Happy New Year to all my Cactus Huggers, online friends, and IRL loved ones alike.

Happy New Year!

They say that hindsight is 2020…well, I say that because it is officially 2020, we’re going to be hearing a lot about that little pun in the coming days and weeks.

So today marks the beginning of a new year; more significantly, an entire decade. The last time a new decade began, I was the tender age of sixteen. Ah, how young and naive I was then. If only I knew then what I did now…!

Happy New Year!
Welcome, roaring twenties!

On a more serious note, this decade of diabetes is bound to be much different compared to my last decade of diabetes. For starters, I’m beginning this one with a whole lot more T1D tech than I had in 2010: I’ve got my Dexcom CGM and my OmniPod insulin pump. I was also still in high school ten years ago; in the last decade I graduated, earned my bachelor’s degree, and I’m now five years into my career. Oh, and I also moved out of my parents’ house for the first time. Needless to say, much has happened in the last ten years, and I can’t believe I was able to summarize the biggest changes in just a couple quick sentences.

Anyways, they do indeed say that hindsight is 2020. Vision becomes clearer and you learn lessons from the mistakes you’ve made.

For me, this blog is actually a bit of its own 2020. It serves as a record of how my thoughts and feelings toward diabetes have changed, and with that comes a bit of clarity and insight. And I like it. It helps me process my diabetes and stay in tune with the emotions that come with it. So in that regard, I think a little hindsight can be healthy, as long as I don’t dwell in what I could and should have done – only what I can and will do.

With that said, Happy New Year. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2020.

Reflecting on NDAM 2019

November ended a couple short weeks ago: just enough time to allow me to reflect on how I feel about National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM) 2019. My experience can be summed up with the following three sentiments:

It was exhausting. It might not seem like it takes a lot of effort to post daily on Instagram, but for me, this was a major commitment! It was pretty tough to come up with an engaging post for every single prompt of the Happy Diabetic Challenge. I wanted each of my posts to not only generate interest in learning more about diabetes, but I also hoped that others would notice the thoughtfully written captions and, more importantly, blog posts that went with a handful of them. I’m not sure if I succeeded, but I was proud of myself for keeping at it. But man, I still feel like I need a bit of a social media cleanse after all that posting, liking, and commenting.

It was educational. This may have been one of the most enlightening Novembers I’ve ever experienced, diabetes-wise. I feel like I heard and listened to many diverse voices in the diabetes community – and not just the T1D ones. In particular, I found myself paying closer attention to T2D perspectives, especially on Twitter. By doing that, I realized that I need to make it a point to be more inclusive when describing diabetes, in general, to others. In the past, I think I’ve made the mistake of talking about certain experiences about life with diabetes in a way that sounds exclusive to type 1, and that simply isn’t always the case. So it’s my new mission to make sure I represent other types of diabetes as best as I can on social media and in person, going forward, so that I can do my part to end diabetes stigma about all forms of it.

Happy Independence Day! (1)
National Diabetes Awareness Month 2019 was a jam-packed 30-day period…to say the least.

It was empowering. Although NDAM 2019 kind of kicked my butt in terms of showing me how much I have to learn and triggering a social media burnout, it still doesn’t mitigate the fact that our amazing diabetes online community really comes together during this period of heightened awareness and advocacy. There’s something special about all of our interactions during diabetes awareness month: Whether they’re comments about how one person can relate to another, or a story about how someone changed someone else’s perspective, there’s power in these exchanges. Plus, it’s pretty neat to see how sharing the most mundane aspects of life with diabetes can result in positive change and growth.

Now that I’ve reflected on it, I’m ready to put the insanity of NDAM 2019 behind me…and feeling thankful that I have another 11 months to prepare for NDAM 2020 to make it an even better experience for myself and others.