Type 1 Diabetes: Ana’s Story

Twenty-year-old Ana is celebrating her 10-year anniversary living with type 1 diabetes. Since her diagnosis, Ana has learned so much about herself and her accomplishments.

ana Ana is a 20-year-old college junior, studying business at Villanova University. She was born in Spain but grew up in Argentina, Miami and finally Chile, where she graduated from high school and where her parents still live today. Two years ago, Ana moved to Pennsylvania to attend college.

At Villanova, Ana is very involved in her extracurriculars. She cheerfully leads tours for perspective high school students, gets involved with on- and off-campus community service projects with her sorority, Kappa Delta, and serves as a counselor to freshmen students through the Orientation Program. She also studies — very hard — which has paid off; she’s made the Dean’s List every semester!

Ana also has type 1 diabetes, but obviously, she’s never let it slow her down. In fact, she plans to spend the 2015 spring semester studying in Paris, after she collects her “vacation supply” of diabetes equipment!

 

Ana's 10-year anniversary as a diabetic

In the 10 years since her diagnosis, Ana had learned so much about herself and her accomplishments. She wrote down what this bittersweet, 10-year anniversary means to her.

“Ten years ago my world was completely changed. On Dec. 8, 2004, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and it is safe to say that from then on my life would never be the same. Those memories seem so long ago now and I barely remember life pre-diabetes. Today almost seemed like a birthday, and as people saw the beautiful bouquet of flowers my parents sent and asked if it was my birthday, I realized that today kind of is. On Dec. 8, a new part of me was born – diabetic Ana. In these past 10 years my diabetes has become integral to who I am. It is so much a part of my identity that I don’t think the two can be separated.

The 10-year anniversary for a diabetic is a big day! For most of us, our diagnosis story involves a doctor telling us that in 10 years they will have found a cure for diabetes. I somewhat naively believed this for a very long time, mostly because I didn’t want to accept that I would indeed have to live with this disease for my entire life. So I clung to this “10 year hope” that a cure was coming.

Then one day I was reading a blog from my favorite T1D blogger and she was talking about her “10 year hope” story when she was diagnosed, 25 years ago! As I realized that I had not been the only one given this string of hope to cling to, my world was completely shattered. It took a while to move past this truth, and on the tough days when diabetes is just too much, the veil of hopeful ignorance fades.

Fast forward a few years to today, the 10-year anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis. The day is pretty bittersweet. On one side it’s bitter because deep down I hoped this day would never get here, and I continue to pray that I won’t have a 20- or 30-year anniversary. But today is sweet too! It’s sweet because it’s a milestone crossed and I should celebrate as such. It wasn’t easy getting here; living every day for 10 years with this disease that won’t quit isn’t easy. But I am here. I am well. I am great actually – with my lowest A1C in years! And at the end of the day I may be diabetic, but I am still me.

So yes, today Dec. 8, 2014, is kind of my birthday. Maybe I’ll have a slice of cake to celebrate, with the appropriate insulin dosage given of course. Happy 10th Birthday Diabetic Ana! In the words of my favorite T1D blogger, Kerri Sparling, Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.

celebrate the years with your family. recount the stories and look how far you've come. use your experiences to encourage others. take pictures, write down your thoughts and continue to hope for a cure!
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