On the day of my diagnosis, I like to think that my second life began. I was only 18 months old, but my diagnosis with T1D has shaped the way that I take every step for the past 20 years. A diaversary is a celebration of T1D, and it often happens on an individual’s date of diagnosis, annually. As a kid, my friends with T1D would sometimes talk about their diaversaries but mine was so close to Christmas and was filled with a number of negative sentiments for my family that I never celebrated.
This year will be different, though. This year marks 20 years living with T1D, and I think that is an impressive milestone. It has been anything but a smooth road, and I have learned a hell of a lot. What I have yet to learn, however, is how to celebrate a diaversary. A quick internet search brought up fancy cakes that look like insulin pumps, and plush pancreases. That isn’t really my style so here is my plan of attack for December 28th, 2018. It is nearly completely planned around food.
Lunch: Urban Herbivore. This was the first restaurant that I went to when I was younger where I was able to consistently manage my BGs after. I would like to give them my business as a thank you for many years of food ideas that worked for my BGs.
Dinner: Cheesy, garlicky spaghetti squash and barbequed chicken thighs.
DESSERT: Almond flour lemon yoghurt cake. Yeah. Sounds delicious and totally BG manageable!
I want to celebrate the new skills that I have, but I am positive that there are people out there who look at diaversaries as an opportunity to take a load off. Diabetes holidays are also a great tool that I have used in the past. They are all about making a plan to be safe and have something else on the forefront of your mind. I like to coast at 8-10 mmol (144-180 mg/dl) and live my day with 3 alarms that remind me to test. Otherwise, I only test if I’m feeling particularly terrible and take a load off. It can be incredibly comforting to know that even if you put the ball down for a day, the world won’t come crashing down.
Some other ideas that can be in combination with the ones I have listed above or could be applied in isolation include:
PAARTTTYYYY! Plan a party for/with people who support you in your diabetes management. This could be other people living with T1D, friends, and/or family! You could even toast some notable figures in diabetes research if you’re a nerd like me.
Make something. Start a rock garden or mosaic and every year on your diaversary, contribute a piece to it. One day when you’re a medalist (T1D for 50+ years), you’ll have a real masterpiece!
Connect with other T1Ds. I always find it hard to maintain long-distance friendships, and I know I’m not alone in this. Plan skype chats with T1Ds that you would otherwise lose contact with! Stay in the loop! Get the Beyond Type 1 app and see who is in your area!
However long you have had T1D, whatever your management style is, celebrate your accomplishments. Be proud of the struggle that we share, and talk about how proud you are. Successful diabetes doesn’t get covered enough in the media so if you can celebrate it once a year, WHY NOT?