My 18 year Journey
Today marks my 18th anniversary since diagnosis of Type One Diabetes.
As well as having a wine(or two) to celebrate after I finish walking this afternoon, I also decided to write a letter to help others understand a bit more into life with type one and just why raising money to find a cure means so much to me!
You and I have been through a lot. 18 years together, and you’ve never left my side, literally never. You have caused me a lot of stress and tears. You have caused me and my family a lot of pain and hurt. You have broken parts of my body that will never be repaired.
You have caused me to fear new relationships and challenge everything I love (sport, drinking, eating, travelling ect). I yearn to be free from needles, cords and machines that you have made my life reliant on 24 hours a day.
I have feared for my life, and been close to losing it. I’ve seen the pain of others living with this diagnosis and heard the stories of the innocent people who have lost their lives because of you.
I hate you and the pain you’ve caused me. The sleepless nights you have caused me and my family. The close to 50,000 pricks or injections to my body. The high and low blood sugars and the effects these have on me. The future fears of every health complication under the sun you can cause me, or the reduced life expectancy that you threaten.
I hate you and the close to $10,000 per year you cost me to stay alive if I want the best treatment. Truth is I can’t always afford this, or have to make sacrifices to achieve this. I wish I could afford to buy a house, but instead I choose to stay alive. This is my reality because of you.
I’ve kept a strong front over these years because I don’t want my friends or family to worry, and most of all I don’t want you to win.
Since day one, May 8th 2001, you were never going to define me, and I was never going to let you stop me.
There is another side to you. One I am quite fond of. Despite my hate for you, I have always believed you are the best thing that has happened to me. You have made me stronger, more determined and incredibly resilient. You have made me push myself to limits just to show others and prove to myself I can achieve anything despite every attempt you make to stop me. I love that you have made me who I am today. Inspired me to challenge myself, follow my dreams and feel grateful every day I am alive and living an amazing life with such loving family and friends!
You have given me opportunities I would have never had without you.
We will continue this loving, yet toxic relationship for now, but don’t ever forget, I will always be fighting hard to break up with you, and raising money that goes towards the best research in the world that will leave you as a distant memory.
To the other people you choose to live with too, we are all stronger and more resilient because of you.
I promised myself back in 2001 that I wouldn’t be a defined or a victim to your diagnosis. I hope my nine year old self would be proud of where I am today, and know just how much you have not stopped me! Until this cure is found, I will continue to raise money and awareness and keep living the most loving and fulfilling life! There will be plenty more tears, pain, fear and exhaustion, but what doesn’t kill me will continue to make me stronger!
Always remember just how competitive I am, and I will never lose this fight!
Eliza Bartlett - More than a diagnosis.