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29 Years with Type 1 Diabetes.

Even though my diabetes diagnosis was twenty-nine years ago today, I feel kind of done with letting it serve as a milestone marker for me.  In years past, I liked marking the day because it felt like a moment of flipping the bird (not this Bird) to diabetes.  Over the last few years, I’ve kind of liked not paying much attention to the anniversary; it was an opportunity to remove the bold underline from diabetes.  Diabetes is something that’s part of my life, but letting it blur my focus isn’t a good head space for me to be in.


Instead, I’m focusing on the shit I like.

Like how my daughter is five and a half years old and she’s a really happy kid.  The smile that spreads across her face when she sees the school bus approach in the morning is my new favorite thing.  That, and watching her walk with a book bag that’s half the size of her body.

[Total aside:  I also really like that, in our neighborhood, the school bus drives in and picked up the kids, goes up the road and through the cul-de-sac, and then drives by us again as it leaves our street.  Which means that the parents stand there and wait for the bus to come back, then we all wave like lunatics.  It’s a very strange custom and one I already find comforting.  (I wonder if the sidewalk group of showered-and-dressed parents eventually devolves into a ragtag pile of bed-headed, bathrobe-wearing, coffee-cup-clutching adults.)]

I like my husband.  So much that I taught our daughter how to write names in the peanut butter.  She thinks it’s a weird custom, but got all excited when given the opportunity to write “LOOPY” in the untouched surface of a new jar.

I like my job.  Living with diabetes can be an intrusion and as I mentioned last year, the intrusion seems to have dulled over time for the most part, but the career and the voice that I’ve had the good fortune to build as a result of this frigging disease is more fulfilling than any other job I could imagine.  I’m looking forward to the chance to meet with my European counterparts in Stockholm next week, and very excited for what’s on tap for 2016.

I like my health.  There are bits and pieces I’d change, if given the chance (see also:  bringing diabetes back after 30 years, mostly because I’ve kept the receipt this whole time), but on the whole, I am extremely lucky to have a disease where I can strongly influence my personal health outcomes.  I am in the driver’s seat, even if I have an unruly passenger.  Despite diabetes, I can still run.  I can still dance (badly).  I can make mistakes.  I can make a difference.  I can still stay out late and laugh hard (resulting sometimes in a snort, which is not cool, body).  I can raise a family.  I can be a crumb.  I can also be a good person.

I canAnd you can.  (Toucan.)

And I like you guys.  A lot.  Your support and camaraderie has been instrumental over the last decade, and I think I’m in a better mental health place as a result of this community.  Twenty-nine years ago, community was limited to my zip code.  Now, some of my best friends are based in this community, and I’m grateful as eff.  Access to this digital database of truly amazing human beings has been the best thing diabetes has brought to my life, islets down.

So onward, you guys.  ONWARD.  To another year of BYOI(nsulin).


11 Comments Post a comment
  1. My diagnosis was 29 years ago next week 🙂

    09/11/15; 11:40 am
  2. What a lovely post to read on a Friday afternoon.
    There is an old song that I like to hum to myself some days.
    It makes me smile. As did your post.
    “Accentuate the Positive & Eliminate the Negative”

    09/11/15; 6:47 pm
  3. Even though all this d stuff sucks, I am so very grateful to have known you. You opened my voice up to the world, which gave me so much confidence – not only in writing and advocacy, but at day jobs and to move forward from an unhappy life to one that I never would have imagined ten years ago. I can’t tell you this enough, even if I have over and over. 🙂

    09/11/15; 7:36 pm
  4. Angela Lamm #

    Thank you! You are such an inspiration

    09/11/15; 8:39 pm
  5. Jochen #

    Even though we’d prefer to live without this passenger, this guy has pretty much influenced who I am and what my professional career was and is like.
    And he made me meet great people like you. I love reading your posts and just want to say thanks.

    09/12/15; 3:53 am
  6. Amen! So well said, Kerri! I’m approaching my 36 year anniversary w type 1 and just like all of us, there are rough hours, days, even weeks, but I reflect on my life often and feel incredibly blessed, with both the good like my daughters, husband, friends, career, and the bad, all the baggage that comes with this frigging disease! I’m a believer that it is the struggles that make this life so sweet! 🙂 Thanks for writing from the heart, always love reading your words!

    09/12/15; 10:33 am
  7. Suzanne #

    My 9-year old son is coming up on his third anniversary and I love seeing posts like this. We spent nearly a year shell-shocked and grieving and then got sick of ourselves. We’ve shaped up and now the whole Diabetes thing is just what he has and what we do. It hasn’t stopped us from doing anything (in fact he’s out tuna fishing for fun with my husband and other son today way off the Cape) just how we do it. We have a long long long road ahead, and it’s encouraging and empowering knowing that it’s really going to be all right.

    09/12/15; 12:29 pm
  8. Dan #

    Hi Kerri,

    A great thoughtful and thankful article. It is good to see the sun shine through in your writing today. Sending greeting and salutations for another twenty-nine years. As always have a great day.


    09/12/15; 2:27 pm
  9. Pamela #

    Thank you, thank you, Kerri.

    Your blog is amazing and such a source of help/support/solace/strength for me. My daughter Katie (age 21) was diagnosed at age 4 and struggles now with depression, anxiety and suicidal urges – though not a primary factor, in part due to the relentless burden of T1d.

    Your messages about self-care, hope and staying close to the “tribe” of supporters is really helpful!

    We all adore your daughter and family’s presence in your blog and are most appreciative of your outreach and advocacy to the US and international T1d community.

    Wishing you and your family calm, healthy, peaceful and joyous days ahead. Take any and all breaks ever needed from your Sixuntilme blog. You deserve it.

    Pamela Posey
    Wellesley, MA

    09/12/15; 9:27 pm
  10. Michelle #

    I love that this post is like an entry from a gratitude journal! I resonate with what you are saying, diabetes is hard but life can still be great. Congrats on using these years of experience to make a difference in the world.

    09/12/15; 9:52 pm
  11. K2 #

    I am glad you are my friend & I’m glad you’re kicking ass in all dimensions!

    09/14/15; 10:33 am

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