At the age of just 17 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, on 19th September 2008 I had just had an amazing summer with the family as I had just left secondary school and was starting my performing arts course at college.
Start of college came round and I was heading off to start my next chapter of my life. Although I was excited I knew somthing weren’t quite right as I was feeling like shit let’s say. My parents had noticed 2nd week into college I was becoming extremely tired and just not myself. I would get in from college around 5pm and fall stright to sleep on the sofa. Then they noticed I was putting bottles of water in the freezer (as my mouth was extremely dry). I was up 3/4 times throughout the night to go for a wee, then they could see the weight was dropping off me. My mum booked me an appointment at the doctors. And that was the start.
The doctor new what my diagnosis was just by me telling him my symptoms, he told me he was going to prick my finger with a small needle to check my sugar level, I was so scared I made him do it on himself before me. I eventually let him test my sugar level and the reading came back at 37.8. He told me I was diabetic and send me straight to the hospital. I remember I burst into tears, I was scared, nervous, felt sick. My mum grabbed me and just cuddled me for ages and said everything was going to be ok. We left the Drs surgery with a letter to go home and pack a hospital bag.
Arriving at the hospital I froze at the door, I didn’t know what to expect, I’d never been admitted into hospital before. All I knew was I wanted them to make me feel better. The nurse greeted me and took me to my bed round in majors, Canulars were in my arm within a couple of minutes, I was being asked to do urine samples, given shots of emergency insulin. It was all going on, once I was settled and my fluids were up and running, the consultant came round to speak to me, I had, had the chance to settle down and process what was happening to me, I remember coming over feeling so sick, and saying to the consultant I feel like I’m going to be sick, he jumped up so quick off the bed and shouted for a nurse, couldn’t help but laugh at him. I was finally taken up to the ward were I would be spending the next week. It was about 11pm and everywhere was dark, my parents were not allowed to stay with me and had to leave. I’d never felt so scared.
The following morning, at around 6am I was woken by a nurse asking me to sit in the chair and have my breakfast whilst she made and changed my bed, I broke down and just cried for my mum. The nurse was so lovely, she stopped what she was doing and just hugged me. The diabetic team were due to come round and see me, little did I know I would be injecting myself by lunchtime. Mum and dad turns up and not long after so did the diabetic nurse, she introduced herself and jumped straight in, explained the main subjects of diabetes and then started to show me to check my sugar level. This was fine, it was when she said ok let’s do your injection, she showed me how to prepare my insulin pen and how to inject. I’ve had nurses do this for me since 7pm last night and now it was my turn. I checked my sugar level and prepared my insulin pen, the nurse asked where I felt more comfortable putting it, I decided on my stomach. And without thinking I just done it. I took my 1st injection. And that was the start, I still had loads to learn but I couldn’t believe I just put a needle in my stomach myself.
The week in hospital dragged and I was tired and frustrated, I had family visit constantly and keep me occupied. It was a Friday morning and the consultant was doing his rounds, he had a little chat with me and said I think your stable enough to go home now, I didn’t realise how serious it was, being told if my mum didn’t take me to the doctors when she did I would have gone into a diabetic coma within in days. The one thing the consultant wanted clear was my ketones, so off I went to do my urine sample again, results came back 5 mins later and I was all clear of ketones. I was going home. If I remember rightly I hugged the consultant and started jumping on the hospital bed.
Yes it was nerve racking going home, no medical team around me, no one to check I was actually doing things correctly. All I could do was call if I needed my diabetic team. The nurses were so good, they did check in with me on a daily basis. 2 weeks had gone by and my mum was going back to work, my Nan was coming down to sit with me, but reality hit me. I didn’t want this, I didn’t want to be diabetic, I didn’t want to inject myself or check my sugar levels. I went into denial and refused to do anything. My mum offered to do them for me, and I refused her too. She was at her wits end and didn’t know what to do. So she called my diabetes nurse, explained what was happening and then asked to speak to me. Mum gave me the phone and she asked me why I was not taking my injection or checking my sugar levels. I replied with I just don’t want to, Ive had enough of poking and prodding myself. I remember her voice and comments as clear as anything, and they were “ok don’t do them then, if you don’t do them your die”. Something just clicked and I knew I had to do this, I did not want to die at the age of just 17, and everyday since I always check my sugar level 5 times a day and take 5 injections a day.
11 years later and I’m still going strong, I have taken so far 18,480 injections, and most definitely more then that checking my sugar levels. My finger tips are bruised and sore, full of tiny holes. My legs are bruised and lumpy and my mood swings are up and down. No one really understands how diabetes really makes you feel unless you are actually living in it. People think you just take a injection and your fine, but no one teaches you how to deal with how you feel mentally day in day out. You have good days and bad, doesn’t matter how long you have diabetes it’s still the same and will never change, it’s your life now.
A type 1 diabetic is not someone who just sat and ate sweets and fizzy drinks, this is such an arrogant way of looking at diabetics, my pancreas decided to give up on me, my organ failed. This is why I am diabetic.
This is just the beginning of my life as a diabetic, the subjects I want to cover will allow people to know their not on their own. Diabetes affects every part of your life decisions.