Why I Celebrate the Day I Was Diagnosed With Diabetes


Every year on March 8 (since 2000) you can find me celebrating with a different activity each year but always a red velvet cupcake. (Why always a red velvet cupcake? Tradition, and because I love them! Plus of course the “irony” that I celebrate with a cupcake.)

What do I celebrate?

I celebrate the day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I call it my DiaBirthday (but many others in the diabetes community call it their Diaversary – we’re all different, right?).

But yes, I celebrate it every year.

I started to put more into my celebrations at the age of 12 after my dad passed away from cancer. He passed away a few days after my birthday, and a few years later my grandmother passed away a few days before my birthday.

There was so much sadness surrounding my birthday – it was hard to want to celebrate. I expressed this from the moment I was about to turn 12 while my dad was sick and for years after that, but my family didn’t listen to me. I was just a kid, right? So every year we celebrated against my wishes which added to my negative feelings towards my birthday.

So, needless to say I just wasn’t a fan of my birthday for a long time. (I’m still not super into making a production out of it, but it’s something I’ve worked on through the years. It became easier once I finally grieved for people who passed away when I finally entered counseling my freshman year of college.)

I would participate in my birthday celebrations for everyone around me, but I would tune out as much as I could. But when March rolled around, I put my all into that celebration. I would go all out for my DiaBirthday. My dad had a huge impact on my views of myself in relation to my diabetes, including trying to make the day I was diagnosed as positive as possible – which I always appreciate.

I sometimes get questions and odd looks from people when I say I celebrate it – people impacted by diabetes as well as people who aren’t. I’m all for celebrating something instead of mourning a life I don’t remember (but I do have moments where I think, not…another…year…). It gives me something to look forward to. It’s a positive day instead of a negative one. At least I try to make it so. If I’m feeling burned out by diabetes, I try to put even more effort into my DiaBirthday.

But mostly, it’s still easier to celebrate my DiaBirthday in March instead of my birthday in November because there is still a cloud that surrounds me – no matter how far I’ve come.

So every year on March 8, you’ll find me with a red velvet cupcake and a way to celebrate. Just like birthdays there are bigger celebration years than others. (I wonder what I’ll do for year 18?) This year, I celebrated it early by treating myself to concert tickets to see Panic! At the Disco. (It’s the most money I’ve ever spent on concert tickets but also the best seats I’ve ever had. Plus I’ve been fan for about 12 years.) But of course on the actual day I’ll be getting a red velvet cupcake, and this year I’ll be treating myself to some of my favorite movies and dinner out on the day of.

Happy DiaBirthday to me!

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Thinkstock photo via RuthBlack.


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