9th of February 2009 was the day I had appointment that would change my life forever. What started out as a sinus infection dragged on into months of illness before a random discovery of high fasting BGLs and diabetes. Like…what? And so it began. 9th of February marks the beginning of my life with diabetes; my diaversary.
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon the Diabetic Connect Diabetes Education (#DCDE) chat and the topic was on “diaversaries”. For many, a diaversary is a deeply personal thing and could mean different things to different people. What does it mean to me?
I considered my diagnosis to be earth-shattering and it broke me in so many ways. I was angry at myself because everything I knew about diabetes meant that this diagnosis was my fault. I was ashamed and embarrassed because I was too young to have type 2 diabetes. I felt unhealthy because having diabetes meant I was overweight. I felt alone and isolated because no one around me understood what it was like to be living with diabetes. I lived in a blanket of darkness.
In hindsight, I would call my diagnosis a rebirth in a way. The initial discovery was tough and difficult. But as I learned more about type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes and everything in between, I became fascinated. I became angry at the misinformation, ignorance and stigma that surrounds diabetes. Then I met other people with diabetes. We shared our experiences; the good and the bad. They inspired me to take charge of my health. I became empowered.
Now I advocate against the stigma that is associated with diabetes. I moderate support groups for people with diabetes. I research about how mHealth can help diabetes education for young adults and empower them. I am helping to set up a growing community, which aims to change the face of diabetes around the world. I am doing anything and everything I can to ensure no one will be left in my position as when I was diagnosed with diabetes.
So today on the 9th of February, I celebrate my eight year of living with diabetes; my diaversary. I will celebrate all the hardships I have overcome, the friendships I have made and the amazing projects I have been a part of because of diabetes. I celebrate all the accomplishments I have achieved in spite of diabetes. And I celebrate my body and my health, which is possible partly thanks to the advancing medical technology we have. All in all, I celebrate life.