On Wednesday, I discovered that I had been alive for 14,979 days. Not satisfied with having ticked off another year and just celebrated another birthday, I got a glimpse of how many days I’ve seen.

Today, I have lived with diabetes for 6,078 days.

Often, when people have had diabetes for a number of years, they start to measure the practical things – xxx number of injections; xxx drops of blood; xxx visits to hospital; xxx hours sitting in doctors’ offices; xxx kilos of jelly beans consumed.

Often these numbers can provide context which can be particularly useful to illustrate the impact of diabetes on people’s every day lives. It helps those without diabetes understand the day-to-day tasks, especially their frequency and consistency.

As a person who has lived with diabetes for sixteen and a half years, what these types of little exercises show is just how consuming diabetes is. I start to think of the minutes, the hours and the days diabetes has taken. It’s a toll that, when measured – especially when measured long term – is so significant. And I never forget that have had diabetes in the time of 5 second BGL checks, disposable everything and minimal preparation required. Those diagnosed years before me have tales to tell of 2 minutes countdowns to get a BGL reading, or the need to boil and sharpen needles.

I don’t really like to measure the minutiae of diabetes – it depresses me and has the power to overwhelm me. What I do like to measure is the time passed and the way I am going despite that time. Because as crap as individual situations can be, as much as it sometimes hurts to jab my finger and draw blood, as much as the thought of having to eat another jelly bean can make me weep, I have 6,078 days under my belt of it all. That doesn’t make me feel upset. Instead, it makes me feel elated.

It’s Friday. Sixteen years ago, I was listening (and walking) to this.