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What is a Diaversary is a term that all those affected by type 1 diabetes understand.
In simple terms, a ‘diaversary‘ is the anniversary of your diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
It is a huge milestone as you have successfully managed type 1 for a full year.
A full year of many ‘highs‘ and ‘lows‘ and a minimum of 1460 injections not to mention countless finger pokes or site changes if you happen to have a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) or insulin pump.
Our 5-year-old grandson celebrated his first diaversary on Saturday.
It was one year ago that our daughter called us from the hospital in tears as she told us of our grandson’s diagnosis.
None of us knew what the year would hold as we were not familiar with type 1 diabetes.
We had a lot to learn and the stakes were high.
Our grandson’s life depended on our ability as a family to effectively manage his diabetes.
We all had to learn how to properly manage his diabetes and it was scary.
It didn’t take very long for diabetes care to become just a normal part of daily life.
A kitchen scale and calculator became necessary tools essential to every meal as they were used for carb counting and insulin dosing.
Here we are a year later watching our grandson have fun in the pool with his parents and siblings as we celebrate our little hero and I find it hard to remember life before diabetes.
So why celebrate diabetes?
When families or individuals choose to celebrate a diaversary it isn’t diabetes they are celebrating.
What they are celebrating is a year of successfully managing an all-consuming disease.
Celebrating the diaversary or not is an individual decision.
Some people choose not to acknowledge their diaversary in any way.
Some people choose to celebrate with quiet reflection, or perhaps some time out in nature hiking, rock climbing or perhaps canoeing or kayaking.
And then some choose to celebrate with a party and cake much like a birthday.
In the case of our grandson, we celebrated his strength and resilience as he adapted to a new normal.
We also celebrated our daughter and son-in-law’s efforts at keeping their son at his healthiest possible levels throughout the year.
Everyone did a phenomenal job as the only time Alex was admitted to the hospital was at the time of diagnosis while they figured out his insulin requirements and taught his parents how to care for their young son.
They celebrated Alex’s strength by taking him out for dinner and giving him a nice cake, naturally, he was injected with the proper amount of insulin to accommodate the carbs he ate.
But hey, if celebrating a kid bravely taking a minimum of 4 injections and countless finger pokes a day with no fuss or tears isn’t a reason to celebrate then I don’t know what is.
Learned So Much
This roller coaster that is the type 1 journey has taught us so much.
Until Alex was diagnosed we did not know about things like:
- carb counting
- long-acting insulin
- fast-acting insulin
- finger pokes
- pen needles
- A1C levels
- waking hourly every night to check blood glucose levels
- highs (hyperglycemia)
- lows (hypoglycemia)
I have no idea the date when all these terms transitioned from scary to normal but somehow over the year, it happened.
Building this website to help other grandparents through their journey with a type 1 grandchild has helped me get educated about all things type 1 related and I am so thankful for that.
I also got to add a whole lot of new recipes to my cooking which allows all of us to eat a little bit healthier.
Endured So Much
It has been an interesting year, to say the least, and our young grandson has had several significant changes going on in his life:
- June 20, 2019 – diagnosis day
- July 2019 – young cousins moved away so he could no longer play with them daily
- September 2019 – started kindergarten
- 5th birthday in October 2019
- march 2020 – COVID lockdown
For such a young child these are huge events in his life.
As I stated earlier he has endured all the finger pokes, site changes for his CGM, at least 1460 insulin injections although that is based on 4 injections per day I believe there were several times he required more.
Being woken in the night and made to eat because he is ‘low’ countless times.
Through it all he has been a trooper, never complaining and always just accepting his new normal.
Day in and day out, with no break, young Alex and his family show incredible perseverance as they battle to keep Alex’s blood glucose levels as close to the target range as possible.
Dealing with and treating the many ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ is a daily struggle and yet they rise to the challenge daily.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days in this past year, with every moment being consumed with managing Alex’s diabetes.
I am beyond proud of how my daughter has risen to the occasion and just does what has to be done to keep her son alive and well.
It is not an easy thing to be a type 1 mom and she does it well.
Counting the carbs for each meal he eats and then calculating his insulin dosage. Sounds simple enough, right. Add the knowledge that the very medicine you are injecting to keep him alive could kill him if you get the dosage wrong.
Pretty scary stuff especially trying to do it with complete exhaustion due to lack of sleep.
She has not had a full night’s sleep since Alex was diagnosed. Even when he slept over here to give her a break she still woke every hour and wanted me to text her his numbers so she could go back to sleep knowing he was safe.
Alex has two older sisters who are 15 and 12 and both of them have had their lives revolve around their little brother’s diabetes care. They both have learned how to do his finger pokes and count his carbs.
It has been a journey that has affected the entire family in one way or another I must say everyone has adjusted beautifully.
Does it mean everything always goes well?
Of course not, it is diabetes.
Sometimes diabetes just kicks butt and despite everyone’s best efforts, those sugars don’t want to come down.
Or like on Saturday when he was here swimming in the pool for some family fun on his diaversary, his sugars went from 15 to 3 in a matter of five minutes for no apparent reason.
To say it was scary would be an understatement.
But we just treat the ‘low’ and carry on because it is all you can do.
So yes my superhero is my 5-year-old grandson.
This little boy has his first injection before he is even out of bed in the morning, then he has to have a minimum of three more throughout the day.
Then there are the finger pokes. Yes, he has a CGM but it has a 15-minute delay so for mealtimes we do finger pokes to know his current numbers, because yes they can change that fast.
We also do finger pokes if his CGM is showing a low, we want current numbers before treating him.
When he goes for play dates with his friends, his mother needs to go too because you can’t just dump diabetes on another family.
As for sleepovers with friends, something most kids do enjoy, Alex will be able to have kids sleep at his house but he can’t go to their house for the night because they don’t know diabetes care and he is still too young to do his diabetes care.
At school, he has missed recess because he was too ‘low’ and couldn’t go out to play.
Lots of things he has had to adjust to and he does so without complaining.
He has done so well that I don’t think he even remembers life before diabetes, I know I barely do now.
So, Alex, you are my superhero for embracing your new normal without complaint and just amazes me with your resilience every day.
What is a Diaversary is unique to Type 1 diabetics and their families.
Some choose to celebrate it and others choose not to.
It is a personal decision and for those who choose to celebrate, there are many different ways to celebrate.
Keep in mind these people are not celebrating the fact that they have type 1 diabetes, they are celebrating that they successfully managed it for a full year (or another year).
Type 1 is all-encompassing. By that I mean you have to think about diabetes before, during and even after doing anything.
You are constantly monitoring blood glucose levels, counting carbs, injecting insulin.
You can’t even sleep a full night. You need to wake up and check blood sugars.
It is never-ending, no time off and there is no cure so this is your life for as long as you live.
To me celebrating Alex’s resilience and perseverance in living life to the fullest and not letting diabetes stop him is worth celebrating.
To me, my grandson is my superhero.
What about you? Do you know any Type 1 superheroes? Do they celebrate their Diaversary?
Share your celebration ideas below in the comment section.
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