Today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day (WDD). WDD was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization as a response to the rising rate of diabetes diagnoses across the world. In 2007, the UN passed the United Nations World Diabetes Day Resolution and made November 14th World Diabetes Day.
Today, the attention of the world is turned to diabetes.
Funny. It's been a focus in my life for the past twenty-two years.
I wear it draped around me like an invisible cloak, one you can't see until I show you the sharp edges. This disease, this type 1 diabetes that you can't see or smell or taste unless I bring you in. It's my hidden disease, my quiet battle.
Look at me and you'll see my father's eyes. My mother's smile. You might see that my jeans are hemmed because I'm slightly on the shorter side, or that my purse has a few little bite marks in the strap from where my cat Siah nibbled on it as a kitten.
But look closer and you'll find my insulin pump, tucked into a pocket or resting in my sock. My fingertips, dotted brown from testing my blood sugar. My thighs, dotted red from past insulin pump infusion sets. My arm playing host to a Dexcom CGM. A pattern of stinging stars on my body, left by diabetes.
Listen to me and you'll hear my loud laugh. You'll hear my off-color jokes and my foolish attempts at puns. You'll hear me talking fast. Or maybe you'll hear my music, either coming from my desk or my home or my car. You'll hear me talking about my husband, or my family, or my cats, or my much-loved nieces and nephew. You'll hear my passion, my ideas, my voice.
But listen closer still and you'll hear the quiet 'boop beep boop' of my insulin pump, the gentle shunk of the lancet as it pierces my skin, the sound of the meter bag being re-zipped. And if I let you in, you'll hear the veiled tone of uncertainty when I speak about my future.
Its presence is folded into everything I do. My wedding dress this past May was fitted to my form, but also included a pocket for my insulin pump. A night out with my friends includes laughter, a few drinks, and someone gently asking, "Have you tested?" A kiss is interrupted by "you taste ... high." It explains so much of why I worry and why I work so hard.
I have lived with type 1 diabetes for over 22 years, and my future holds decades with this disease. Diabetes is every day, and there is no cure. But just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. Those of us who live with diabetes feel it every day, physically, emotionally, and financially. Type 1 diabetes deserves the attention of the nation and the promise of a cure. For Hannah at Dorkabetic and Sara at Moments of Wonderful, who live with diabetes every day. Or Shannon at Mom Wants A Cure, whose son has diabetes. Thousands of people, waiting on a cure.
Today, on World Diabetes Day, I'm honored to have the chance to raise my voice here on BlogHer. So many people know what diabetes is, but not enough people know what diabetes is really like. I'm excited to be writing here at BlogHer, connecting with other women who are dealing with chronic illnesses, find hope and inspiration, and show the world that there is life after diagnosis.
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