Commemorating Diaversaries

Every year on June 1, I have a tradition. I go to a restaurant that my family has been going to for as long as I can remember and I eat pizza to commemorate the day I was diagnosed with diabetes – my ‘diaversary’. This is the same restaurant I was at 16 years ago just before my diagnosis. Every year, my parents join me for dinner and my mom always says, ‘now why are we celebrating the fact that you have diabetes?’ I remind her that we are not celebrating. We are commemorating my diaversary.

This commemoration is important for me. Like it is for most people, being diagnosed with diabetes was a significant event in my life and the day I was diagnosed, my life changed forever. While it’s certainly not an occasion for celebration, I don’t think it should be ignored. Commemorating my diaversary each year gives me the opportunity to reflect on these challenges, as well as the many positive things and opportunities that diabetes has given me, as I start living my next year with diabetes. I always encourage people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes to commemorate their diaversary in a way that is meaningful to them. It is a way both to grieve the things that diabetes has taken away and recognize the things that diabetes has given us.

Oftentimes life, including life with diabetes, gets so hectic that we don’t have a chance to reflect on the things that happen and the impact they have on us. A diaversary is a good time to take a minute and acknowledge the impact that diabetes has had on your life. People with diabetes often feel that something has been taken away from them. A lot of times, it may feel easier to just gloss over, rather than acknowledge this sense of loss and other difficult diabetes-related emotions. However acknowledging this sense of loss and that things are difficult can be a helpful step in not letting them become too overwhelming.

When acknowledging the impact that diabetes has had on your life, it’s important to also recognize your successes. Sometimes we don’t recognize when things are going well or getting better. The diaversary can be a chance to look at the things that are going well in your life (diabetes-related or not) and to celebrate them, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. The diaversary can also be a great opportunity to acknowledge what’s going well and congratulate yourself for your work in making that happen.

Finally, in addition to reflecting on the past, the diaversary is a good time to look to the future and think about what you want to accomplish over the next year. Dream big, but also be realistic and specific, setting some goals you know you can (with some hard work) accomplish in the next year. Use your diaversary to push yourself to do better, both with your diabetes management, and in your life.

As I start another year of life with diabetes, I see a lot of positives, but I see a lot of work that needs to be done. Over the next year, I will continue to manage my diabetes the best that I can and I will also continue working on behalf of people with diabetes to bring awareness and effective interventions to address the behavioral and emotional aspects of diabetes. I hope that next year on June 1, when I go back to that same restaurant, I will be able to commemorate another year with diabetes and celebrate all that I have accomplished, both for myself and on behalf of people with diabetes.

Do you commemorate your diaversary? Write a comment and tell us about what you do!

7 Comments


  1. After 34 years T1D I called my parents and told them I would really like to know the exact date I was diagnosed. They then went through all of their files and boxes and found my discharge paperwork from the hospital in a box of letters to Santa. So next year on April 20th I will join you and commemorate my Diaversery and continue to work at better control and advocate for my fellow PWD.

    Reply
    1. Mark Heyman

      Thanks for your comment Jared! When April 20 comes around next year, I look forward to hearing about what you do – please do let me know.

      Reply

  2. I celebrate every January 11. My mom took me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with Type 1. She took me home to pack a bag for the hospital and out to McDonald’s. Now, on 1/11, I eat a happy meal with chicken nuggets and a Dr. Pepper to celebrate another year beating diabetes and being thankful for the advancements in its treatment and always hoping and praying that a cure will come along so I can celebrate the date I was cured. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Hello Mark, my middle son, aged 17 has just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, 10 days ago. It was on 17th September, which is my mother-in-law’s birthday, although the GP strongly suspected it the day before. So maybe we will say 16th September is his diaversary, if he wants to have one. It is a steep learning curve at present!

    Reply
    1. Mark Heyman

      Hi Tracy! Thanks for your comment. I’m sure you and your son are going through a big transition. Try to remember, it does get easier when it’s not all so new. Know that there is lots of support out there if you need it – let me know if there is anything you and your son need. I am happy to help you find resources!

      Reply

  4. I will never forget December 16th 2011. I was 12 and where as both my sister had food allergies I had always been health issue free so it came as a bit of a surprise to be diagnosed with something as life changing as diabetes . I have acknowledged the day for the last 3 years and I plan to this December too.

    Reply
    1. Mark Heyman

      Thanks for your comment. What have you done on December 16 to acknowledge the day?

      Reply

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