Blue is one of my favorite colors. My eyes are blue, so it’s always been a color I wear well. Navy blue is one of Auburn’s colors, and we all know how I feel about my alma mater. I’m wearing blue today but not because it matches my eyes or because it’s game day. I’m wearing blue today because it’s World Diabetes Day, celebrated internationally to raise awareness about all types of diabetes.
Around the world, monuments and public buildings will shine blue in honor of this day. It’s celebrated on Nov. 14 because today the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, the man responsible for the discovery of insulin. I’m grateful to Banting, as well as thousands of others who currently work in diabetes research. Without these people, I wouldn’t have this life. I am advocate for many reasons and one of the biggest is research — for a better life and one day, for a cure.
I know I often make diabetes look easy. To me, it usually is. I don’t struggle with diabetes the way others do. It rarely burdens me or brings me down. Most of the time, I don’t mind my insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor being my sidekicks. Diabetes rarely impacts my life in a way where anger or bitterness result. To be perfectly honest, the only time I feel significantly resentful is when I’m riding. But I use that feeling of annoyance as internal motivation to keep riding. For me, diabetes is like brushing my teeth. I hate brushing my teeth, but I do it because the alternative is even less enticing. I’m in no way diminishing the seriousness of diabetes, only explaining how I choose to look at it.
I have my internal battles from time-to-time, but I am lucky to have the perspective I do. I know others aren’t as fortunate. Many of my friends juggle other illnesses and diseases along with diabetes. Depression is often a by-product of diabetes, as are eating disorders. For many parents, they treat diabetes without having it and the disease easily becomes all-consuming. Diabetes requires constant attention and monitoring, and burnout can be swift and heavy. It’s not a disease that’s simple, and it can turn deadly at any given moment.
So today, I wear blue for myself and my own journey with diabetes — for the years I resented it and this new season where I embrace it. For the perspective I have and my openness in sharing with others. I wear blue for my friends who have children with diabetes and for the moms who still get up at 2 a.m. I wear blue for the teens who wrestle with finding normalcy amid finger pricks and site changes. I wear blue for those who struggle to find insulin and afford medicine, for the millions living with diabetes and don’t yet know it. I wear blue for my friends who manage diabetes well and for those who find it a bit more difficult to deal with. I wear blue for my fellow advocates, whom I’m proud to call friends. I wear blue for me, and I wear blue for you.