It’s hard to remember a life that didn’t revolve around constant pricks of the finger. Days where I could eat whatever I wanted without thinking about the carb counts and insulin injections are all but a distant memory. Simply being able to do whatever I wanted without thinking about the impact on my blood sugar. Or not feeling so “different” or isolated from the people around me because of the invisible and complex nature of my condition.
I spent my eighth diaversary listening to fellow Perth T1D Neil McLagan talk about his recent solo bike ride from Perth to Sydney with a few of my fellow Young Adult Diabetes Committee members. Apart from seeing Neil’s name and his cause (the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre) pop up on social media a few times, I knew nothing about him. Admittedly, I just thought of him as ‘an athlete’ – something I would not even come close to qualifying as.
As we introduced ourselves, it was incredible to hear how many similarities we actually shared. From being diagnosed at the same age, to finding connection with others online and feelings of not being in a great place for quite some time. But the one thing that resonated most with me was the significance of finally meeting another person with type 1 several years after diagnosis.
Admittedly, meeting other people with diabetes is a daunting step, and something I would not have been willing to do all those years ago. But if I had to choose one thing that has been most beneficial for me in eight years of living with diabetes, it would have to be my peers.
Twitter. Facebook. The OzDOC community. My fellow Aussie diabetes bloggers, who feel like distant family members every time I embrace them when we are brought together. The Young Adult Diabetes Committee and our thread of Facebook messages that are a goldmine of daily support and laughter.
My peers, both near and far, remind me that I am not alone in this and are what lift me up in my daily self management efforts.
As I listened to Neil recount his enthralling story of survival during his bike ride across Australia, I wasn’t even thinking about how he was managing his diabetes. Diabetes wasn’t the focus of his story, but rather something that just played along in the background.
After eight years of life with type 1 diabetes, I’ve realised that my condition is not something that I need to feel overly conscious of or burdened by.
Don’t get me wrong, managing diabetes is no easy feat.
But like Neil’s epic journey, type 1 diabetes has simply become something that plays out alongside me as I go about living my life.
You can check out more highlights from Neil’s journey on his Facebook page here.