You never forget the first time you feel ‘normal’.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was two years old. It’s the only life I know and I’ve lived a very normal, middle-class, single white female suburban life. I didn’t realize how much I was longing for normal until this summer.
It happened for the first time on Day 10 in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. We rode a 75-mile day on the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile bike trail, which took us from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, PA.
In what became the joke of my logistics leg (the first two weeks of the ride) I secured a discounted dinner at a bar and restaurant and lodging for us outside of a local bike and rafting outfitter…next to some train tracks…where active trains passed by every half hour…all night long.
The only thing that redeemed this with my teammates (and myself) was that we were within a five-minute walk to the Youghiogheny River and a nice cold dip after a hot ride. Perri and I were the last to join the team in the river and what I saw when I walked up were 19 other T1Ds, with medical devices of every brand, size and color you can imagine stuck on us. I wasn’t hesitant for a second to slough off my clothes and hop in the water with my fellow T1D cyborgs. For the first time in my life I felt part of the ‘in-crowd’.