Yesterday marked my 21st year of living with type 1 diabetes. That’s 7,665 days with diabetes compared to 4,015 without. It equals 1,092 weeks and 183,960 hours of counting carbs and dosing insulin.
I’ve used somewhere in the neighborhood of
- 30,500 insulin syringes
- 1,200 pump site changes
- 46,000 test strips
- 6,500 glucose tablets
- 6 seizures from insulin shock.
- 2 hospital stays—both a result of other illnesses in which diabetes compounded.
- roughly 10 middle-of-the-night, panic-inducing phone calls to my mom while low as a college student or young adult.
But in those 21 years, there have been some other significant numbers… I’ve been to the other side of the world and visited four foreign countries and five customs stations with a bag full of diabetes supplies and explained type one diabetes to numerous strangers—occasionally in another language.
I’ve been an attendant in the weddings of three diabetic friends. I’ve been a keynote speaker at a major diabetes fundraiser. I’ve been featured in a diabetes research video, and I’ve penned multiple columns and news stories about diabetes statistics, research and advocacy as a journalist and freelance writer.
I’ve participated in four JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes events in three states, soon to be five rides in four states. I’m on my third-generation insulin pump and my second-generation continuous glucose monitor. I’m on my 17th blood glucose meter which reads my blood sugar in five seconds compared to the 60 seconds it took 21 years ago.
People ask why I celebrate my diagnosis day. “But isn’t it a sad day?” They ask. “Isn’t it difficult?” Yes, sometimes it’s hard to look back on those kinds of numbers and reflect. But then I pause, and I think about the second half of this list and I remember…
With the help of those who love me, I’ve contributed more than $16,000 to type one research in 21 years of living with type one diabetes, and $12,000 of that has been through the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes program the past four years. That’s why I ride.
I want to continue to impact the course of research so others don’t have to reflect on 21 years with type one diabetes. This year, I’m committing to raise $10,000 for type 1 research because as my friend, Moira McCarthy Stanford, beautifully stated, “Imagine if the next generation was the first generation without type 1.”