Hello, November. We meet again.
That one month of the year where my social media feeds turn blue and light up with diabetes awareness.
Much like Halloween, Diabetes Awareness Month isn’t really a thing here in Australia. Aside from marking World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November, our National Diabetes Week takes place in July. Even though I’m just about ready to hang up the Christmas lights and put my feet up for the Summer, it will undoubtedly be hard not to feel obligated to join in and reconnect with the DOC.
One of the first things I was told when I was diagnosed was that I’d have diabetes for the rest of my life. And that it would be a pretty normal life, because it was manageable.
But the one thing that nobody ever told me, and the one thing that nobody ever readied me for, was the fact that diabetes is for the long haul.
Nobody ever stressed to me the monotony of doing those same tasks day in and day out, forever. Whoops, I mean until the cure arrives in five years time. Those annoying little tasks that I know I should do, but really don’t want to. Just like the thought of brushing my teeth at night when all I really want to do is turn the lights off and go to bed. Sure, there are shiny new toys that occasionally pep things up, but the gloss eventually fades.
Nobody ever told me how much mental energy I’d have to devote to this thing. How every single thing I want to do today revolves around numbers and insulin and goodness knows what else. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, it might distract away from the energy I have to put towards the other aspects of my life.
Nobody ever told me that I’d still be explaining diabetes all these years later, to those same people who asked me those same questions eleven years ago. Being your own advocate is exhausting.
Nobody ever prepared me for the fact that there’s never really a finish line. I mean, sure, there are diaversaries. There are decades. There is cake. There are victories. Like a great A1C, or news of an all clear diabetes screening for another year.
But nobody ever prepared me for just how ordinary and unremarkable these things would feel after I’d marked them over and over again. When all I have to look forward to is doing it all over again on the long road ahead.
Happy diabetes awareness month.