In the days that followed my type 1 diagnosis, I struggled to sort out what my new normal would look like with this disease. At 27, I had anxiety about my blood glucose levels, but I also grieved the loss of a future I’d imagined, including a wedding that didn’t involve diabetes. Marriage wasn’t even a priority, and yet I realized this disease would now be part of every life stage, and that felt overwhelming.
One night in 2014, a new friend who was also learning to live with type 1 diabetes invited me to watch her boyfriend, a musician, play at a local club. Domenick, my future husband, was in the audience. If I didn’t have type 1, I never would have met him. Life works out.
In preparation for my wedding last year, I explained to the tailor at my first dress fitting that she needed to leave extra room in my dress to accommodate the width of not just my pump but also my continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Her eyes showed profound sadness as she leaned in and whispered, “Aw, sweetheart, are you sick?” A few short years before, a comment like that would have sent me into a tailspin. Instead, without pausing, I said, “I have diabetes, but I don’t think about it like that.” After all, diabetes led me to the perfect spouse: someone who is willing to love, support, and challenge me to live my best life.
With diabetes comes new friends, new outlets, and, yes, a new quality of life. You realize what truly matters. And you realize what you need in order to live a completely “normal” life, one in which your diabetes is so supported that it’s woven into your goals, blessings, and life events still to come.
On my wedding day, I made sure my devices were in the correct position to complement my formfitting gown, I ate healthful foods leading up to the ceremony, and I was careful to appoint a bridesmaid to be on glucose patrol in case of lows. Diabetes was present and accounted for, but it didn’t intrude on the celebration.
As I start a new phase of life as a married woman, I know the anxieties will continue; now, perhaps, they’ll be about family planning. But if I’ve learned anything in my 10 years of living with type 1, it’s that the pricks and extra planning are well worth it when I consider all the blessings that continue to come. You just have to make room for them.
Adriana Bocchino is a sixth- grade English language arts teacher in New York City.
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