A mother of a child with type 1 diabetes wonders whether to celebrate her child’s first year since a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.
My family passed an important diabetes milestone: my seven-year-old son Miles’ first diabetes anniversary on October 23. As the “diaversary” approached, I grew excited and proud that we would soon be celebrating a full year of firsts with diabetes.
But as I thought more about it, I wondered: is it really a celebration, or is it something to mourn? How will we recognize the day in a way that is meaningful and supportive of our son? What are we supposed to “do?”
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Glu asked community members their thoughts on the subject, and 80 people responded. There were typically three camps, including those who:
1. Recognize the date and reflect quietly: These individuals simply mention the milestone to friends or family, share it on social media or mentally add another “year” to their diabetes history.
2. Celebrate another year of health and diabetes management: Some mark the occasion by treating themselves, their family members or their children to special outings or gifts, especially for significant anniversaries like 10, 25, or 50 years.
3. Don’t notice or don’t know the exact date of their diagnosis: A small group lets the date pass without any recognition or fanfare at all.
The variety of responses was very interesting but not surprising, as we all have different ways of managing the social and emotional aspects of this disease. As a parent, I have a different perspective on what the date means to me than a patient, and I’m sure that my son will grow into his own ideas about his diaversary.
As I read all of your responses and talked to others in the T1D community, I began to see the date as an opportunity to celebrate my son, our accomplishments as a family, and as a way to treat all of us to some fun. I bought congratulatory cards for everyone (because even a three-year-old loves opening up a card with his name on it!), and wrote personal messages of thanks. Miles decided we would celebrate at Legoland Discovery Center here in Boston, and we even splurged a bit in the gift shop. Yes, we stopped to check Miles’ blood sugar between Kingdom Quest’s Laser Ride and a visit to Miniland, but a year into this journey, diabetes didn’t stop our fun.
Like everything with diabetes management, there are many ways to approach the diaversary, and whether you choose to recognize it or not, the important thing is that you and/or your child is living and thriving with T1D every day of the year.