Today my little (ok I guess he is now 6'4!) brother is celebrating his 17th Diabetes Anniversary. You may wonder why my family chooses the word celebrate? Will, my younger brother, was diagnosed with type 1 just over two years before me, he was only 5 when he got it. My parents made a conscious decision that every year, on the date that we had been diagnosed, that we would CELEBRATE our accomplishments of that past year of how hard we had worked. My parents have always told us they would do anything in their power to change lives with us so that they could have diabetes and so my brother and I didn't have to go through it. Because we know that can't happen this is something they can do to show their support in a tangible way.
You will never hear from me that diabetes is some walk in the park, because it is not. It's a tough disease. You never get to take a vacation day from it and that can lead to exhaustion, burn out, and less compliance. My parents wanted one day a year where my brother and I could feel patted on the back and be acknowledged for how hard it is to live with and manage diabetes.
Every year on December 1st I send Will a little care package and a card telling him how he's inspired me to live a better life despite having diabetes. And I'm always so surprised at how many friends of mine remember my anniversary in March and will send me a card or simply pick up the phone and give me a phone call.
To people who have diabetes: There are people in your life who want to support you. If this is a way that people can, be sure to let them know this is a way that they could.
Diabetes supporters: This doesn't have to be some grand gesture...a simple phone call, or a just "thinking about you" card that you send in the mail explaining how proud you are of that person and that you're always there for them.
From my own personal experience this has meant so much to me over the last 14 years of living with diabetes.
Do you celebrate your dia-anniversary? I'm interested to hear from you!