I’m turning 30 this December. There. I said it. Yes, I know that for those of you much older than that, it sounds ridiculous. And for those of you much younger than that, you might be thinking “that’s old.” For me, it’s definitely a milestone. There’s a few things I don’t like about it: my joints are a little achy, hangovers now last two days instead of one morning, and people seem to think it’s more ok than ever to ask when Jacob and I are having kids (answer: none of your beeswax). But mostly, I’m stoked on 30. I feel accomplished in my career, thrilled to be engaged to an amazing man, excited about being an aunt to my adorable three-month old niece, and enjoying knowing myself much, much better than I did 10 years ago when I was just entering the decade long soul-search known as your twenties. Yes 30, I’m ready for you.
But something else in my life has a birthday right around the same time. Christmas Eve this year will mark 20 years with diabetes. I remember when I turned 20, thinking to myself how crazy it was that I was entering DOUBLE DIGITS of years with diabetes. Now I’m close to entering double decades, and that is totally crazy – and a little scary to me.
It’s scary to me because I feel like 20 years is a number that’s associated with a lot of crappy stats about diabetes. “People who have diabetes for longer than 20 years have a higher risk of amputations/blindness/neuropathy/insert shudder-inducing horrible thing here.” It feels like I’m stepping over a threshold where things just go downhill from here in the diabetes department.
Then again, most folks with diabetes for 20 years haven’t had access to a CGM and wireless pump. They haven’t had the tools to keep their A1cs in the sixes and low sevens for almost a decade. They haven’t all been able to run a half marathon with a bat-belt of diabetes tools attached. They haven’t had home glucose monitoring since the day they were diagnosed, or on RDNA insulin since day one either. If I had to look at my diabetes history, I’d have to say I’ve had two decades in an incredibly fortuitous time in diabetes management. And the added bonus of having insurance and education is not ever to be taken for granted. I have the tools for good management, including the mental faculties and a job, which not everyone can say.
I feel incredibly lucky and blessed for what I’ve been able to accomplish in almost 20 years with diabetes. And I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be the strong woman that I am today without diabetes. I wouldn’t have the career I’ve built, and I wouldn’t be engaged to the most amazing man I’ve ever met. My path in life has been shaped by having diabetes.
So as I careen through the last few months of my 20s, I only have one wish that I’ll make on my 30th. And since I’m a blogger and write about everything on here anyways, I don’t feel like I’m blowing it by sharing my wish with you all. When I blow out 30 candles on December 17th (IF I can blow out 30!), I’ll wish for three more decades – and more – of all the blessings I’ve had up until now. Diabetes included.