The first time I heard of the concept of a “diaversary”, I thought it was really stupid. It was probably a month or so into getting the disease that I heard about it, this “diaversary”; I was overwhelmed with fear, shame, the pointless minutia of managing diabetes. “Celebrating” the anniversary of a diagnosis? Seemed like a joke.
Why would you “celebrate” the 1, 2, 10-year anniversary of getting diabetes? Why in the world would you want to remember a day that, for me at least, ranks as one of the worst ever? What was there to celebrate?
A lot, of course. Because as the year went on, and I got smarter, and I grew and I learned and I messed up and I learned again and messed up again and learned again, I realized that I’m not (obviously) “celebrating” diabetes.
I’m celebrating living. With diabetes. In spite of diabetes. Through diabetes.
I’m a little bit proud, today. One year ago was a very bad day, and today was a lot less bad. One year ago I was very sick, and today I am less sick. I haven’t been in DKA for 365 days, which seems like a victory. One year ago I didn’t know anything about how to manage this, and today, I know some things.
Not everything. As if to remind me that it’s still my Lord and Master, diabetes did not treat me so well today, but as I blasted past 250 this afternoon, I thought “OK. This sucks. But I know what to do.”
A year ago, I did not know what to do.
So why not celebrate?
But, here’s the kicker.
That’s not all.
Because my diaversary is not a celebration of me, of my disease. Because, for better or for worse, this disease belongs to everyone I know, too. Everyone who has helped me through this godawful year, who has supported me when I needed it.
The point of the diaversary is to celebrate everyone else to whom it belongs. Who have suffered with me this last year, who have grown and given of themselves.
And so tonight, I gathered the five people who have seen me at my ugliest – my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my boyfriend, and we partied the best way a Type 1 Diabetic can: by eating a crapload of meat.
Delicious and gratifying. The perfect Diaversary.
But it felt very important to jump on the internet tonight (rather than drift away in the daze of my meat coma) to wish all of you a happy Diaversary, too. To those of you who are my friends, who have put up with the nonsense of diabetes for the last year: congrats, and many happy returns. To those of you who I haven’t seen in months, or years, but who are reading this: congrats, and many happy returns. And to those of you who I have never met, but who have bothered to read my rambles: congrats, and many happy returns.
I am acutely aware that every single person reading this blog has had a hand in my survival in the last year. Writing about my experience has been a saving grace, and the fact that anyone – anyone – bothered to read it has been a miracle. Incredible, amazing.
So, thank you. Thank you so much for your support – whether it’s been in person, via email or messenger, or just the support of bothering to click a link and read these words. There is no end, no end to my gratitude.
Please, do something kind or fun for yourself tonight – it’s your goddamn diaversary! I gift you this holiday, this February 26th holiday, that you can and should celebrate every year for the rest of your life.
Because honestly, what’s the point of life if not to celebrate at every possible occasion?
You – yes, you – Helped Jessie Survive.