I was once a Normal child, i'd go to school as normal, play out with my friends as normal, eat and drink as normal even test my parents patience as normal. I use the word normal because I never really had a problem, I took simple things for granted because I had very little to worry about.
Then on May 15th 2007 everything changed. I was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic, aged 15.
My diagnosis wasn't the most pleasent. I'd been ill for a while, all the usual symptoms but sempt to find my own personal reasoning for each. I blamed the thirst on the fact that I never really drank a lot as a child and therefore blamed the increased trips to the toilet on this. I blamed the tiredness and grumpyness on just starting my GCSEs and all the hormonal changed in my body. I blamed the weight loss on part of growing up. My doctor wasn't much help either. I was told that my symptoms were likely to be exactly what i'd put them down to, he told me i may be slightly aneamic so gave me an iron tablet and sent me home. It wasn't untill I was really ill and developed a 5-6month continuous ear infection that any of the clues were linked together. I was really sick of being deaf and suffering with earache so I tried the doctor again. I went after school one day, just throwing on some old clothes to get out of my uniform, expecting to be in the doctors for 10 minutes tops. I saw a different doctor this time and he took one look at me and sent me to the toilet with a tube for a urine sample. As i sat there I was confused as to why my urine would solve my earache. When I went back into the doctors room he put a beige ketone strip into my sample and it turned instantly Black. He took a finger prick sample of blood and his machine read HI. He told me I would have to go to the hospital right away. I was confused, he hadn't really said a deal but spoke to my dad when I left the room for the car. On the way to the hospital, still confused, I just complained that I wasn't wearing great clothes, clutching onto the letter the doc had given. We went straight upto the children's ward. I sat on a bed I was assigned to and my dad went to give the letter to the nurse on duty. I looked around and saw all these sick children, still confused because other than earache, i felt ok. I was then taken for a blood test and told my blood sugar readings were 42mmol/l and that I had type 1 diabetes. My dad went to ring my mum and the nurse tried to explain what this meant to me. It was later discovered that my diabetes is likely to have been triggered by an infection I had a while before as it is an auto-immune condition.
After a few days in hospital I had spoken to specialist diabetes nurses, proved I could do my own injections and was let home. It felt so good to be home and most of my family came to see me. I'll never forget the witty comment my granddad made when he walked through the door "alright sugar?".
I went back to school the next week, quite nervous. But all my teachers had already been informed. Some understood more than others, one even asked if i wanted the windows open and the lights dimmed?! I was on 2 injections a day of Novomix30 so had to stick to set meal times and specific foods. I felt embarressed as I had to quickly eat snacks on the move between lessons. Within 4 weeks of diagnosis I was back at the hospital learning the basics of carb counting so that I could go onto the more flexible 4 injections per day regime. I would inject a long acting insulin in the evening, and a fast acting insulin with meals. This felt much better.
I've struggled with highs and lows, blood testing, injections etc but i'm coping. My control isn't great at all and I hope for an insulin pump in the future. But i'm managing more now. I don't test my bloods as often as I should, I don't always inject as quick as I should after eating and I don't always do my 9.30pm injection of levemir at 9.30. But diabetes isn't easy, people don't understand the work that's put into keeping your sugar levels controlled. Every meal is like a maths question, counting the carbohydrates before eating..and then remembering to inject! There's a huge lack of understanding which often causes ignorance. Diabetes isn't a black and white condition, there are a lot of grey areas as we're all so different and require different techniques, amounts and even types of insulin. No type 1 diabetic caused themselves to be diabetic, none of us ate too much sugar and "became a diabetic", and all of us can still eat moderate amounts of sugar.
We need to raise awareness, and soon!
I take part in a 11 mile walk for Diabetes Uk on July 4th 2010 to help raise awareness and funds for a cure!