Katie Doyle, NY
A graduate of the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University, Katie runs a media company, Cambia Creative, and is a producer, writer, and photographer. Her work has appeared on Spring.St, Beyond Type 1, Her Packing List, in Market South’s The Life magazine, and the Diabetes New Zealand magazine, among others.
As a Story Terrace writer, Katie interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
I smiled as I stared down the Kawarau Gorge, taking in its impossibly blue contents from very high up. It was as if my senses were on fire: the air smelled sharply fresh, all the colors were exploding, the river rushed deafeningly through my ears, and the Velcro band attaching me to the bridge weighed heavily around my ankles.
I’m a fan of following tradition, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense. While they are inherently full of life, traditions also reflect it. St. Patrick’s Day is one such day—but for me, its traditions hold a different kind of significance.
Over the last few years, I’ve found myself at comparable heights in the snow-covered Italian Alps and in a similar state of sensory overload celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in cities with deep ties to the holiday like Dublin, Ireland, and Boston, Massachusetts. I have a tradition of challenging myself to do something out of the ordinary each year in honor of the day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
A fun, voluntary challenge that coincides with commemorating a diagnosis of something very challenging—and not always fun—makes this demanding chronic disease a bit more bearable. Sometimes, I feel indescribably tired, when the weight of the word “chronic” feels so heavy. The week before I was poised to bungee jump off that New Zealand bridge, the little boy I was nannying summed up my tumultuous relationship with diabetes perfectly during an unrelated car-ride tantrum: “I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. LIVE. LIKE. THIS. ANY. MORE.”
Diabetes makes it hard to see past the day-to-day maintenance it requires. It simply never lets up—especially when I’m trying to sleep, eat, drive, think, work, walk, talk, plan, play… One second, one moment, one breath of reprieve remains buried in its demanding disregard for everything else in my life.
Then, I blink. I remember I’m tied to this bridge by a piece of elastic, looking out over the bluest water I’ve ever seen, warmed with love from all of the people in my universe. I get a rush of adrenaline and, suddenly, all of the work that goes into all of the living is worth it.
A version of this article was previously published on Where in the World is Katie Doyle?, The American Association of Diabetes Educators blog, and in Diabetes New Zealand magazine.
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