Diabetes: My Story
I can honestly say I probably had the worst Easter Holidays of my life.
Because in that time I was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
It came as a huge shock to me and my family, I cried for a hours after learning the news knowing it was going to change my whole life. I was particularly scared about going into hospital: when I did I was surrounded by serious faces. People were constantly apologising, telling me that once I got used to it my life would be back to normal. I found it hard to believe them.
I had to stay in hospital for three days, to learn the ropes and everything. I was taken through the basic rules of daily injections, testing my blood, hypos and such until the word 'diabetes' became deafening. It was horrible, but having my family there made it a bit easier.
For those of you who don’t know, type one diabetes is when your pancreas stops producing enough insulin in order to get glucose (sugar) to the cells in your body. In order to help this you must take daily injections supplying your body with the insulin and make sure you watch all the carbohydrates you eat, making sure you cover them with enough insulin. It was difficult to adjust to, but I had a great diabetes specialist who taught me everything I needed to know and she made me feel like I wasn’t the only one in the world who had to live with this. I knew I wasn’t but it sure did feel like it.
It's now a few weeks after I was diagnosed and I think I may have gotten the hang of everything. I still feel a bit choked up thinking about it though, watching all my friends eat so carefree makes me slightly jealous but after explaining to them about the diabetes they seem to understand more. Although the injections seemed, in a way, frightening at first I have slowly learnt to overcome them. I have also learnt when to snack and what to eat before meals. Eating during a meal isn’t really a problem seeing as I cover it with insulin anyway.
I was slightly scared when I was told about a possible hypo, if my blood sugar dropped too low that I fainted or, at worst, went into a coma. I was assured it was very unlikely seeing as I would control the diabetes and not let my blood sugars drop that low. I was also assured that other people in my school had diabetes, as well as others in my swimming club. This helped a little.
As for swimming, I can still go: the sessions are gruelling and demanding so I was worried I would have to give up or move to an easier pace group. However it turns out my injection schedule was flexible to my athletic lifestyle and keeping up my pace of swimming would be fine. I just have to make sure I bring a sugary sports drink with me in case of a hypo.
I have also adjusted to taking my insulin injections when I’m in school, trying to continue like normal it’s hard but I’m determined to do it.
I was told that I should continue my life like normal, and that I should fit diabetes around my life not my life around diabetes.
Diabetes seems to be the start of another phase in my life but it sure as heck won’t be the end of it.
Image credit: 'The Pincushion Effect' by duisburgbunny. (Clicking on the link will show a number of artistic groups on Flickr run by people coping with diabetes)