It has now been four years since the April 2nd I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Each passing year has brought new perspective, new lessons, new moments of fright and new moments of triumph. As I reflect back on this past year I'm not sure I could have asked to accomplish anything more, with or without the big D. Graduation from a prestigious MBA program, gaining a job with a start-up in a field I was dying to break into, moving to the West Coast, accomplishing my goals at Ironman CDA, becoming more involved in Triabetes and meeting a fantastic and wonderful woman. The difference with this past year from each of the previous, in no way were any of my accomplishments "over coming" diabetes, I simply succeeded while having the disease.
After four long years of struggling with this disease, analyzing every blood sugar reading, every carbohydrate I've taken in I've reached a place where I embrace the disease. It is an incredible juxtaposition to say I've "embraced a disease," but I know how food will affect me, know what my body can accomplish at a given blood sugar and know what symptoms predict what my blood sugar will be. As I gaze out my window in Kona I think perhaps I've reached diabetic enlightenment.
"Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence." ~ Buddha
I've soaked in every lesson I could about the management of diabetes, asked as many questions as possible and put myself through nutrition experiment after nutrition experiment. Each opportunity to learn something new about blood sugar management has made me more comfortable with the disease. It has since turned from a fight to a relationship. I've become comfortable with the ebb and flow and know that at no time will my management of this disease be perfect.
After four long years I thank this disease for the world it opened my eyes to, I thank this disease for every opportunity it has presented. In no small way this disease changed me; and while my life has been fundamentally altered I would like to think I took the negatives this disease presented, embraced them and found a way to help them make me a better person. Now on my 4th anniversary of my diagnosis I'm hoping on a bike and riding into the blazing sun on the Queen K in Kona not worried about nutrition, not worried about the heat; simply thrilled that I have the opportunity to ride a stretch of pavement that all triathletes sacrifice so much for, even if its just a training ride for the day.