Diabetes past, present and future

Anniversaries – diaversaries – are for remembering. And today, my twenty-sixth diaversary, I’ve remembered that diagnosis day, and a lot of what has happened since. I’ve had a sensor fail. I’ve also enjoyed doughnuts, coffee and sunshine, and an AID so smart it has cleaned up all my diabetes incompetence and delivered a day of 95% TIR. Measure for measure, it’s been a good day!

My life would be impossibly different today if diabetes hadn’t moved in all those years ago. So much of my life, and so many of the people in it, is because of diabetes. The utterly confused and terrified twenty-four year old woman who walked out of a GP appointment after a diagnosis of T1D would never have believed the turn my life would take after I fell head first, and completely accidentally, into a life of diabetes advocacy. She wouldn’t recognise who I am, or how I fill my days and the people alongside me, the never-ending decisions I am forced to make, or the ever increasing stamps in my passport. She wouldn’t understand the normal that is my every day. But in the same way, I don’t remember her normal. (And thanks to Effin’ Birds for so beautifully illustrating that for me…)

Diaversaries are for remembering, but they are also for looking forward. Advocacy features so overwhelmingly in my future (and my present – I’ve spent a day off today working on an Australian grassroots community campaign). And so does advocating beyond our borders with the global access work I am so honoured to do at JDRF. And that means looking forward to people with a shared vision for real community and community involvement in ways that are meaningful and impactful. When I think of the last twenty-six years, community and others with diabetes feature so strongly. Because community is everything.

But perhaps most of all, diaversaries are a good opportunity to be hopeful. Advocacy has shaped who I am and how I have lived with diabetes, but hope has too. It’s as much of a driving force as anything else, something I hold on to every single day. I’m hopeful that access to diabetes care, insulin and other meds and technology becomes more equitable and that the heavy burden of diabetes casts an ever-diminishing shadow.


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