Me, Myself and My Diabetes.
This week has been ‘Diabetes Awareness Week’ so I thought it would only be right to share with you my personal experiences.
I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 6 years now. To say it is challenging would be putting it lightly. I know there is always someone worse off and that I am lucky compared to some people, but when I was diagnosed it was exceptionally overwhelming.
I was 18 and about to leave home for the first time to travel around Australia for 6 weeks. Suddenly I had to have a whole separate medical bag for all my medical equipment, special ice packs to keep my insulin cool while travelling and I even had to attempt to calculate how much of each medical supply I would need for my entire trip. This was just the start. Trying to work out when to take my long-lasting insulin with the time difference and while being on a plane is more confusing than I can explain. You don’t want to be high but also I worried about having a hypo mid-air, alone. A guessing game started the day I was diagnosed and I’m sure it will continue to be a guess (although maybe more informed and experienced) till the day I die.
There is no break from my diabetes. It’s something I have to think about 24/7. I want to put this into perspective for someone who doesn’t have diabetes. You want to pop out in the car, so you do. Well for me (and all other diabetics) I must check my blood before I drive and it must be above 5mmol/l. I must make sure to take something sugary in case I have a hypo while out. I must check every 2 hours on long journeys but also be truly aware that my levels could drop in minutes.
An area that I find so simple but yet so time consuming is the ordering of my repeat prescriptions. I have to make sure that I have enough medication at all times and that I reorder with enough time so that I do not run out. I kid you not it is like running my own pharmaceuticals.
As I have grown older, I find I explain the ins and outs of my diabetes to more of my friends but I never talk about how my diabetes has affected me mentally, ever. This is an area that I haven’t yet addressed or come to terms with, even just writing the above sentence has brought tears to my eyes.
I don’t talk about how the hypos and hypers exhaust me. How when I am high at night I don’t sleep well and wake with horrific headaches. Or how I prefer the above to a night hypo, as the affects for me are even worse. Sweating, feeling so sick, and yet having to force myself to eat even though I’m not hungry, having to wait half an hour to re check my bloods before I can think about trying to get back to sleep. I don’t talk about how having to remember to re order my medical supplies annoys me. How I envy my friends and especially my family for in my eyes being free. To just grab their keys and leave the house, while I have to have packed my bag before doing anything. How frustrating it is when one day I get it all right and then the next day I do everything exactly the same but get it so so totally wrong. How I hate the ugly bruises I get all over my stomach from my injections. How I have to plan my life around check ups and appointments. How other people wince at the ‘pain’ while I inject and actually feel the pain. How I always have to carry medical equipment in my bag. Sometimes I don’t want to carry a bag, I just want to get up and leave with just my keys, but I just can’t. How I worry about the fact that I need to have such good control of my level before even thinking about getting pregnant. How I worry that if I do have children, they will be cursed with this from a young age and that I will become one of those over protective, obsessing mothers (and rightly so). How I worry about ever living alone, as what if I need help in the night. How I often just think, WHY ME!
At first, I would obsessively think about all of the above thoughts in bed and just cry. Now I don’t even think about them. I almost try to block the thoughts out of my mind. Maybe I am just too British for my own good or maybe this is the only way I can cope. I’m not sure if I’m dealing with my diabetes in the right way.
All I do know is my name is Charlotte Whittles-Jackson, I have Type 1 Diabetes and I am
P.S. If this something that you feel has helped you, if you need any help adjusting or alternatively if you feel you have tips to help me please do email me : firstname.lastname@example.org