Living with Type 1 Diabetes
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now and it’s not something I talk about much at all. I don’t even really like thinking about it that much to be quite honest and I actually (stupidly) used to be quite embarrassed about it if the truth be told, but it’s such a big part of my everyday non-online life (and so many other peoples out there) that I really felt l needed to get this down. Instagram and the images I share are absolutely the best version of myself and I think its so important tot remember that is the case with most people and there is a lot of not so great things that go on behind the scenes un-shared. When I was 22 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I cried a lot. I spent a week in hospital and I had to learn to inject myself on a daily basis - not that easy let me tell you. Supposedly it’s hereditary however no one in my family has it so it was a massive shock to say the least. Being a Type 1 diabetic (not to be confused with type 2 which is my pet peeve) basically means that my pancreas doesn’t work and so doesn’t release insulin into my body when I eat, as it should, therefore I have to inject insulin into my body every time I eat (with the exception of foods that don’t contain carbs of any kind). So every time I eat a meal, beforehand I have to prick my finger to check my blood sugar levels and then inject insulin accordingly, depending on what I’m eating and the level my blood sugar is at. It’s such a faff and an absolute ball ache to be quite honest, but in order to stay on this planet it’s an absolute necessity. In terms of eating (one of my favourite past times) there isn’t really anything I can’t have, I just have to make sure that I take the correct amount of insulin along side. I’ve always had the biggest sweet tooth and so when I was diagnosed I thought my life was over if I could never chomp on a another dairy milk, but to my delight this wasn’t the case. I mean diabetic or not, I’m pretty sure chocolate for breakie isn’t the best idea, but the doctor said to me that your body doesn’t know where the carbs are coming from so long as you take insulin to balance it. Always a key thought of mine as I’m spooning Nutella out of the jar and into my mouth. I’ve gone through so many emotions with my condition (? - not that I really think of myself with a life long 'condition' - I might start crying if I think about it too long...) over the last 7 years. The first year was probably the hardest getting used to everything and actually remembering to inject but now it’s literally like second nature and I almost can’t remember my life before having it. I’m generally a pretty positive person (post 10am, lolz) and for the most part I’m just so glad it’s so manageable and let’s be honest here, things could be worse. But there’s always gonna be those times when I just get so frustrated with it - why me? But why anyone, with any illness. You’re allowed to wallow in self pity a tiny bit every now and again I’d say because it’s not fair at all, but life isn’t fair and you have to focus on the positives and make the most. I’m so lucky it’s manageable, I’m so lucky that we have such an amazing NHS and I’m so lucky that it doesn’t stop me from doing the things I want to do. I’m not so lucky however, that I have to carry my insulin and blood test kit EVERYWHERE making a tiny handbag situation very difficult haha.
On the whole I'd say I'm pretty good at looking after myself but of course my blood sugar is up and down on a daily basis. It's a fine art to get it spot on (in my opinion) and I do have to constantly remind myself that i'm doing my best but its so hard not to get frustrated with yourself when its too high or too low, particularly because of the way it makes you feel. Recently I’ve been having a lot of hypos where my blood sugar levels go too low and it really knocks me and i'd go as far as to say ruins my day. If I wake with low blood sugar I feel really disoriented and a bit dizzy, not to mention it makes it difficult to actually wake up which isn't ideal. Diabetes management is like trial and error as obviously everyone is different and has different insulin sensitivity. I could also eat the same things every single day and take the same amount of insulin but can assure you that that wouldn’t necessarily result in my blood sugar levels always remaining the same! Overall I try my best but still live my life and eat what I want as I don't want it to rule my life, so I'd like to think i've got a decent balance. Diabetes can be scary and daunting and don't get me wrong I'd give anything to make it go away, but it's totally manageable and i'll bet most of you reading this (unless you know me personally) didn't even know I had it! It can be scary thinking about the future with a long term condition and I feel like I have a million questions with no answers, but as long as you look after yourself and try your best to manage it, things will be ok (at least thats what I tell myself!). But positivity with any illness or condition is so important. I just wanted to write this because there are lots of people out there navigating all kinds of health issues, getting frustrated and worrying about the future but you’re not alone, and if this helps even just one person then that can only be a good thing. Now if scientists could just hurry up and find a cure that would be great, thanks.