It’s my 30th birthday on Monday. Yep, the big 3-0. Although that number sounds strange to say out loud only because I often still think of myself as a kid, it doesn’t scare me in any way. No quarter life crisis here, no pretending it’s still 29 plus another candle. No. Thirty, I am ready for you. I am ready because of all the experience that has led me to you. I have been blessed with a successful career, a fulfilling hobby in this blog, gratifying volunteer work through the Tour de Cure, and the most wonderful friends a person could ask for. And oh yeah- that other amazing thing that happened to me this year when the best person I know asked me to marry him. Truly, I have been blessed up to this very moment.
My birthday also falls just one week before another anniversary though, and that is the anniversary of my diagnosis with diabetes. It was the day of Christmas Eve in 1992 that my life changed forever. This year will mark 20 years with diabetes. And that is a number that does indeed make me feel afraid.
That number puts me in a category of “people with diabetes for longer than 20 years,” Two decades of lead time for this disease to do damage from the inside. It is double the time that my body had without this disease. What lies ahead for “people with diabetes for longer than 20 years?” Is it all downhill from here? Will the specter of “long-term complications” finally reveal itself as I pass this milestone, at a time where I truly feel like my life is just beginning?
I don’t know. Diabetes works unfairly, and it doesn’t give time back for good behavior. Sometimes we try our hardest only to be told by diabetes that it isn’t good enough.
But I also know how far we’ve come in the 20 years I’ve had diabetes. I started this disease with Regular and NPH insulin, a blood glucose meter that took a blood sample the size of a pea, and blind guesses about what my blood sugar would do next. Now I have on a wireless pump, a continuous monitor, and fast-acting insulin options galore. I feel lucky to live with diabetes in a time when all of this is available, and luckier still to be in a position to have access to it.
So while I’m much less excited about my “20th” than I am my 30th, I know that today, here and now, I can count good health among my blessings. And I know that I’ll never stop trying to keep my 10 year lead on my diabetes. Now, off to begin this here birthday weekend!