I always acknowledge my “diaversary” along with the celebration of my birthday. I was diagnosed around the age of 4 (not sure on the exact date), so I just subtract 4 from my age to figure out how long I’ve actually “had” type 1. It also gives me the opportunity to ignore that time frame and focus on the sweet harmony of “Happy Birthday” because no one is going to start singing about diabetes.
That’s the funny thing about the whole Type 1 thing. It’s so easy to ignore. It’s very simple to just act “normal” and pretend like your blood sugar really isn’t 250 and you really don’t feel completely hung over for no reason. It’s easy to eat whatever you feel like and forget to bolus. It’s easy until you are looking at your husband like a deer in headlights with sweat pouring down your face, completely unaware that you are still in attendance at Easter Sunday mass and you are unable to answer if your blood sugar is low or not. It’s hard to ignore when he is walking your sweaty, wobbly self into the lobby, leaving your kids with your in-laws, while you pour your last ounce of energy in trying to look inconspicuous, trying to look “normal”. And as you stand in the lobby eating Skittles and listening to the organ music overhead, your only focus is how humiliated you feel. In that moment, I feel completely helpless and entirely useless. Those moments when everything was normal just a second ago and then everything is completely out of my control. Those are the moments that I just hate. There is not another word for that feeling. Just hate. Normalcy is so far gone, not only because I’m reminded of the fact that I have this disease, but my mental reaction is so far beyond rational thinking that I want terribly to “be normal” when I’m so physiologically incapable of it. And to top it off, I usually treat my most important support person like total crap. My poor husband who is trying everything he can to help me, has to get past his bitchy diabetic wife who thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong, in order to keep me from being completely unconscious. I’m frankly surprised he hasn’t just waited for me to pass out to the make the whole process more efficient. I would have :)
And then just like that, life is back to normal. Skittles work their magic, I smile half-heartedly at my husband to let him know that I’m so embarrassed and more grateful than I could ever explain. He puts his arm around me and I feel so loved and so taken care of that I’m grateful that I’m in church. A perfect place to be grateful. I make my way back into the church and realize that the majority of people sitting probably didn’t even realize I left and if they knew why, they would have been back there trying to help.
So while Type 1 is so easy to ignore, my advice is to be careful that you don’t. Because just like that, it comes barging through the doors on Easter Sunday and slaps you right in the face forcing you to stop everything and pay attention to it. Diabetes doesn’t like to be ignored, it likes a steady and consistent amount of attention. It wants to be part of the family, included in your daily activities, acknowledged on holidays and special occasions. Which is not even close to easy, but I have to admit, it’s worth it.