Last weekend, Saturday June 11th, marked my eight-year diabetes diagnosis anniversary day. On Monday morning a co-worker asked about my weekend and what I had done. I told him about visiting GS in Eugene and going on a hike for the diabetes diagnosis anniversary. He said, “You celebrate being diagnosed with diabetes?” I laughed and responded, “Well I don’t know about celebrate, but since it was such a life changing day I do like to find a way to mark it somehow.” He contemplated my response for a moment and then nodded in agreement.
I have chosen to mark the anniversary day over the years in different ways. From making a new piece of medical alert jewelry to spending the day writing. This year a hike seemed fitting, as I am about to head to San Diego for InsulinDependendence University and then on to Yosemite for backpacking with Testing Limits. When I arrived at GS’s house, I noticed a nicely wrapped early birthday present on the kitchen table out of the corner of my eye. There was something silver and round resting on the top of the present. I thought it was two very small bracelets nestled side by side, but when I stepped closer to the table I realized that it was not bracelets, it was a number eight. GS leaned over gave me a hug and said, “I thought we could use a prop to take photos with on our hike.” I was rendered speechless.
One of the things that diabetes has taught me is to embrace being myself. As GS and I were hiking, I remembered a poem I had written in the spring of my second year in this relationship with diabetes. It was pre-celiac diagnosis and I was on a liquid diet because my body was struggling. The doctor I was seeing at the time was recommending for me to be on anti-anxiety medication. I wanted to say to her, “Of course I feel anxious, I don’t know what is going on with my body not being able to digest solid food. I think it is completely normal that I am feeling anxious, actually don’t you think it would be strange if I wasn’t?” But wanting to be the good patient and also knowing that I would soon be returning to working full-time hours at the architecture firm, I decided to follow her recommendation and try the medication. The following poem was my response to the experience.
Over the last week, I have reflected upon my speechless response from GS giving me the number eight. I realized his overall thoughtful nature, kindness and love make me feel seen, supported, and cherished for the woman I want to be, for the woman I am.
We must first learn to see, appreciate and love ourselves for ALL that we are before others really can. I have diabetes to thank for being one of my teachers in learning this life lesson. As we reached the summit of Spencer Butte three little words popped into my mind, “Eight is great!”