I’m a big fan of diaversaries. I’ve celebrated each one of mine for the past 20 years and have even gone so far as to create a line of greeting cards dedicated to them. But not everyone has the same thoughts and feelings towards the day our lives all changed. Nebraskan-turned-Oklahoman Kristin, who was also diagnosed at age 8, offered to write her thoughts about her 24th diaversary, which is happening this month. Take it away, Kristin!
A Guest Post by Kristin Ewing
Is it just me or does our society go crazy for any sort of celebration? Granted, the degree of intensity of celebrations varies but there is always a segment of the general population celebrating something. The majority celebrate things such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.
In one of my circles of friends, there is a significant milestone a large majority of us celebrate – the dia-versary – the anniversary of our diagnosis of diabetes. Myself? I’ve celebrated it a few times – maybe twice? I feel conflicted on celebrating. Let me explain.
First, start with the name this milestone of our lives has been given. Say it out loud. Dia-vers-ary. That first syllable, dia, it throws me. It just makes the entire phrase sound sad. If we’re celebrating, shouldn’t it be something with a more joyful sound. Something that elicits a squeal of excitement when you hear someone talking about how the day is fast approaching?
I’m also conflicted on celebrating because, honestly, I’m not very thrilled to have diabetes. I’d much rather not have it than have it. I’m confident in saying all diabetics share that thought. Now, the eternal optimist within me has absolutely no hesitations and looks forward to celebrating how many years I’ve been diabetes free once that cure is found.
What conflicts me the most is by celebrating my dia-versary is it forces me to remember the struggles as a small town kid being diagnosed with an uncommon disease in that area. Remembering those days, my struggles, the loss of my school friends, my rebellious streaks and so much more makes me cringe. Thinking about that time period as I write this blog post makes me cringe and has me wanting to run home to curl up with my puppy. So, yes, I’d really not celebrate something with so many negative memories.
But then I think about how far I’ve come. Seriously. Leaps and bounds galore. Instead of “I don’t give a damn” attitude towards my diabetes, I am slowly forming a “I don’t give a damn” attitude towards what others think of my diabetes. I’ve gone from crazy, scary, out of control to shockingly great control (although not perfect yet) with the help of a pump.
At the end of March, it will be 24 years since I was diagnosed with diabetes. I’m not sure if I will celebrate my dia-versary or not. Since I can’t even remember the exact date I was diagnosed – I just remember getting out of the hospital on April Fool’s Day – I’m just not sure. As I think about this, perhaps it makes more sense to celebrate my “pump-ersary” because has been the key in my positive changes.
However, if I do celebrate, I’m celebrating with style – I’ll be making s’mores on my outdoor fire pit. In the meantime, it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t celebrate it, what matters is a) dia-versary really needs a more positive name and b) it isn’t all glitter, sunshine and unicorns to have diabetes but I can certainly celebrate that I’m successfully conquering it by staying alive.
Question: Do you celebrate your diaversary? Why or why not?