5 years

Tomorrow is my 5th diaversary (I was diagnosed with t1d five years ago tomorrow). I’m stuck in bed sick- how fitting.

Some things that have dawned on me:

- My diabetes is in kindergarten
- My diabetes is older than one of my cousins
- I’m half way to the “there will be a cure in 10 years” benchmark (they say that every 10 years)
- I’ve had this for 5 years and I STILL do really stupid things, like putting in 34 grams of carbs into my pump instead of 13.4 as my blood sugar. Guess who had to eat precisely 34 grams of carbohydrate at 11pm…
- I’m 7 months off being out of teenager-dom, so I’ve basically had this for the majority of my teenage life

Even though 5 years isn’t a long time to some, for me it’s been a really big and important chunk of my life.

Just take a minute to think of what you were like at 14.
Now think about how different that person is to who you were/are at 19.

Not the most fabulous age to get a chronic illness. It was the time of dodgy headbands, no straighteners, horrific skin, braces, friendship dramas, a wardrobe full of black clothing, a never-ending conflict of “who am I?”, no self-confidence and a whole lot of “am I normal?”


A fairly typical (if anxious) 14 year old.
Now throw in diabetes symptoms and you have 14 year old Bec. The same 14 year old Bec who left a classroom while low soon after diagnosis, because testing in front of people was just "so horrifying" for a few weeks.

I don’t really like pre-diabetic 14 year old me. She was a bit doom and gloom. Quite frankly, diabetes did me a favour.
I got to grow up a little quicker.

This had its merits in some ways. I managed to avoid a lot of train wrecks. But I do feel like maybe I missed out on something important. Maybe in the strive for “perfection” (which I now know doesn’t exist) I didn’t make an important mistake. One that I needed to learn from.
The running joke is that I’ll hit my late 20s and go off the wall then. Apologies in advance for future antics when I grow up enough to care less about what anyone thinks.

But growing up does something else besides simply throwing responsibility at you.
It makes you feel a little better.

My confidence increased. I mean it’s not fabulous, but at 14 I never would have worn the clothes I wear now in all their multi colour glory. I never would have initiated conversations to make the friends I have. I never would have said “thanks” if someone gave me a compliment. I never would have driven a car- I was resolute on that one for years!

And there’s nothing like a chronic illness to solve an identity crisis! I’ve worked out my own opinions, my own thoughts and my own goals…. for now. I’ve worked out just how I tick.
I’m still ridiculously flawed, but I think everyone is.

I still get upset before tests and assignments are due. I still apologise too much. I still say and do stupid things. I still question myself at times. I still blush a little when anyone who isn’t a friend or family member talks to me. I still procrastinate all the time. Most annoyingly to everyone around me, I still convince myself and everyone else that I’ve failed every single exam and assignment and get pleasantly surprised whenever I get results back.

So don’t get me wrong, there’s still a whole lot of growing up to do. But at least I feel better than I did 5 years ago. So thanks diabetes, you managed to do something right. Cheers to the next 5- someone ought to bring me some cake when I hit 10.

Comments

  1. Five years is HUGE!!!! I think you deserve a lot of credit for all you have learned and done. Congratulations on five years lived well. I know it sure isn't easy. <3

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