Today marks 6 years since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 6 years since I listened to the panicked phone-call from my doctor, who had spent all morning trying to get a hold of me while I was sat in work meetings. 6 years since I took my first insulin injection and vowed to learn how to count carbohydrates so I could take care of myself the best I can.
Many people find celebrating a diaversary a bit bizarre, but for those of us who do celebrate it is our way of taking control of a potentially depressing date. Plus – do you really need an excuse for cake?
For the first 2 years I really marked the day. There was cake or brownies and it was well remembered. On my third diaversary though, I woke in the early hours as my waters broke. Piglet had the decency to wait until after midnight to finally arrive, so I don’t share the day with him, but it is now largely spent thinking about his birthday and making plans for the next day.
One of the things I was told when I was diagnosed was “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better”. 6 years down the line I now see what they meant. The thought of life with a chronic illness doesn’t get easier, the act of injecting yourself or inserting pump cannulas, or counting the carbohydrates on every single thing you eat. But as with all things, practice makes perfect and you get better at it.
There is nothing that I can’t make a pretty good estimate of the carbs for now. I no longer feel overwhelmed when presented with a buffet or a restaurant meal where I’m not sure of the ingredients. I rarely hesitate before replacing my pump cannula, I instinctively change my basal rates and don’t dread hospital appointments. I’ve gotten better.
This is now what I try to tell people who are newly diagnosed. That they too will learn how to handle things in their own way, and in time it will feel easier, even if it’s not.
Today there will be cake – but only because we are at baby group where there is always cake (that’s why everyone goes to these groups right? For the cake?) and because Piglet and I will be baking his cake for tomorrow. I’ll be sure to have an extra lick of icing, just because I can!
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