Jen Grieves’ #diaversary story

Jen's #diaversary: 16/05/1996

Eight year old me wasn’t ready for type 1 diabetes at all – I’d never even heard of the word before. All the new equipment and the language were completely alien to me – I was plunged into a whole new world. But it’s incredible how resilient children can be. I took it in my stride, I think mostly because I was unaware of what it all actually meant. But it was much harder for my dear parents, who did all the worrying and panicking on my behalf, wondering if I would be able to continue life as normal.

At some point the penny must have dropped that I was stuck with this thing. Diabetes turned out to be a big part of my growing up, but it didn’t take over because we simply didn’t let it. Yes, there was a lot of planning and worry, but I still went on school trips away. I still went to sleepovers, and bought sweets in the shop on my way home with my leftover lunch money. I still went to my dance classes, and to house parties when the time came some years later. We got on with it. Had I not, I probably wouldn’t have the opinion of it that I do now, that the condition is an irritating background noise. Yes it is always there, but I’m adamant that it doesn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do and living the life I want to live.

What helps keeps me positive is the progress in type 1 diabetes research. I remember being excited about picking the colour of my blood glucose meter! Now we have pumps, CGMs, smart insulins and whispers of a cure. That’s far more exciting than choosing between pink or yellow.

Living with type 1 diabetes for one day is tough, let alone day after day for the entirety of a lifetime. So each year on my #diaversary I try to acknowledge and appreciate my yearly successes with the condition. Now I can do this while supporting JDRF in finding the cure. That can only be a positive thing.