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Living with Diabetes

Why I celebrate my diaversary, and maybe you should too

5/1/2018 by Scott Johnson

Why I celebrate my diaversary, and maybe you should too

Celebrating diabetes diagnosis anniversaries (diaversaries)? What kind of nonsense is that? Why would anyone ever celebrate something as terrible as a diabetes diagnosis?

It’s not quite like that – I hate the diabetes diagnosis itself, but I DO celebrate taking care of myself each year. It’s hard work. We make it look easy. And we should acknowledge that and honor ourselves as often as possible.

I feel lucky to know the exact date of my diagnosis. I was only five years old and can’t remember much about it now. But many years ago, I heard about the Lilly Diabetes Journey Awards program and submitted my application. One part of the application process was tracking down my original diagnosis records. It took some doing, but I was able to get a copy of everything from diagnosis into early adulthood.

Through memory lane

It was a trip reading through my medical chart. It was almost a decade ago now that I applied for the award, and I can still remember feeling afraid of what I’d see in my records before I cracked it open. I was sure there’d be a lot of cold, clinical judgment describing a young man not trying hard enough. And as clearly, I remember the facts I found there which were just the opposite – a strong story describing a highly motivated person pushing my doctors for everything they had. Wow.

That taught me two lessons:

1. perspective is important, and

2. it's hard to keep my head on straight

A certificate and medal for living with diabetes

Like an anchor

I didn’t recognize it at first. But listening to my inner-diabetes-voice quickly showed that it’s one of the most critical and judgemental voices in my life! And diabetes is chock-full of opportunities to critique and judge! If I don’t pay attention and stay ahead of it, that voice inside my head can weigh me down. It can add a lot of mental baggage to the already hard job of managing diabetes.

Create opportunities to counter

So I counter that naggy internal voice by reminding myself that no matter how easy I make it look, diabetes is hard work, and I deserve some credit for that. I try my best to set realistic expectations. I work on progress - not perfection. And I grab any opportunity to celebrate myself for working so hard.

My diaversary happens once a year. That’s not often enough. But it is a powerful reminder to pause, reflect a little, and pat myself on the back for doing a damn good job taking care of myself.

And when I hit the big four-oh in two more years, my wife and I will host a huge party. You’re all invited! We’ll celebrate how much diabetes sucks and how awesome we are for taking such good care of ourselves and kicking ass along the way – because we deserve it!

Scott Johnson

Almost famous for his addiction to Diet Coke, Scott has lived well with diabetes for almost forty years and is currently the Patient Engagement Manager, USA for mySugr. He's been an active pioneer in the diabetes social media space for more than fifteen years and manages his award-winning blog, when time allows.

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