Twenty five years with Type 1 diabetes. Wow! This feels like a big milestone that I wasn’t sure I would celebrate. Twenty years ago, I rebelled against this disease. Fifteen years ago I feared how to live the rest of the life with it. Ten years ago, I for sure would have thrown a tantrum at having this disease. Today, it still pisses me off to no end that I never got that five star chocolate back that I used to get everyday. I was given an insulin pen in my hand instead but I am still proud of what I’ve overcome and done with this condition.
I am not only celebrating living with diabetes but today, I celebrate my mother, who I love to the moon and back. My mother is a warrior who blazed a hundred trails that we walk down today. I am so proud of her impact in my everyday life and cannot be more grateful for her contributions. She gave me strength and determination to make it 25 years so the credit is as much as hers as mine.
I was diagnosed in 1994, when I was just 2 years old. Even though I don’t remember the details of that day however my mom is the one who told me about my diagnosis when I grew up.
My mom has always been my support system my entire life .She has always been there and she has managed each and every aspect of my life relating to diabetes. From food to exercise and from low sugars to high sugars , she is my superwomen. My mom has spent sleepless nights just to ensure I am alright. She used to wake up everyday in the middle of the night to check my blood sugar. I believe that whatever she has done for me, a ‘thank you ‘would just be an understatement.
During my school days I was always at the receiving end of misconceptions and bullying regarding diabetes with the statements like “diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar” “it is caused due to lack of exercise” “it’s a communicable disease” and so on. In 11th standard, one of my close friend told me that they all want me to stay away from them and not be their friend as diabetes is also a cause of homosexuality. That statement shooked me so much that for the next few days I sinked into troublesome thoughts and judgements about myself that “ Why am I diabetic” , “what did I do to deserve this ?” and most importantly “why me ?”. After few days of introspection, I decided to let go of these thoughts and rather accept it as a part of me. I made it the motto of my life that diabetes is a part of me and I won’t let it define me.
In 2012, I got the chance to speak with Dr.Apoorva Gomber and this was the first time I interacted with another Type 1 and it got me all excited and nervous. But definitely the best decision of my life because I gradually met other diabetics and what more could I have asked for , I ended up getting a beautiful family.
A family called DIYA. By getting in touch with other diabetics, I realized that I am not alone and most importantly I have a support group where we love and care for each other like a family. I learned the importance of ‘us’ over ‘me’, for a community which has inclusivity as it’s core value is the one stays together. The importance of proper diabetes management was taught to me by my DIYA family . I learned how my experience and knowledge about diabetes can also help others in their diabetes management. I realized how I can help people who are living with diabetes and have to struggle every month for basic needs of insulin and supplies. Most importantly I became the best version of myself with my DIYA family. I still say that if I am a better person than what I was in the past then it is all because of the people who helped me in this transition. The wise word “A person is known by the company they keep“ is entirely true especially in my case.
The people with diabetes are some of the dearest friends I have . I agree we do fight, cry like kids and often show our varied moods to each other ( thanks to Diabetes) yet we stay together and are inseparable . Our friendship is not limited to casual Hi and Hello but we make sure to check up on each other and take care of each other’s health and diabetes management. I don’t think I will be able to find such deep and true friendship’s anywhere else. Even during a problem they will come to your aid in a blink of an eye and will help you out with whatever they can by sticking around till it gets resolved.
Life is a journey and like every journey it has it’s share of ups and downs however with diabetes I believe that you are not walking alone. Take a break , look around and you will find an entire group of fellow travellers with their syringes, pens , pumps and cgms all walking with you. If anyone stops then others wait for that person. I can only say that living with diabetes isn’t difficult at all on the contrary I got diagnosed with diabetes and I ended up with a family. If I still think about this question ‘why I got diabetes? ‘I can only say “why not me.”
To my mom and to all diabetic family.