I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for 14 years. Diagnosed nine days before my ninth birthday (that makes me 23, then). By now you’d think I would have figured it all out, got it sussed, all over it. The truth is it’s bloody hard. And every website/book/leaflet I read fills me with fabulous (sometimes slightly conflicting) advice, which is all faberoony, but there’s just one small problem. That little thing called life.
And it’s no secret to those that know me that I like to go at full throttle most of the time. I’m a fingers in pies, work hard play hard kinda gal. Hell, I’m 23. These are the years. So I want to start writing this for all those out there like me (and there are a lot of ‘em. I know you’re all lurking out there, with your hangovers and your sore feet from dancing until the sun comes up) that are trying to be healthy, ‘good’ diabetics, but sometimes life just gets in the way.
Once upon a time, when I was a spritely youngen, I was an ace diabetic. Running around like a hurricane, playing in fields, doing all sorts of sports, walking ev-ery-where, all under the watchful eye of Mr and Mrs G. Then stuff happened, I found out I liked food too much, and didn’t like doing my injections enough. I was an awful diabetic for a couple of years. University for me was not Type 1 friendly. I came out the other side with a first class degree, but not a particularly happy bunny. Down on myself, not loving who I was and I knew sooner or later being a bad diabetic would catch up with me and I would do some real damage. So I decided to “sort my life out”, a phrase I throw around far too much, but in this instance it was exactly what I needed to do. I stopped drinking VKs (why I ever drank them in the first place I have no idea. Vile, sugary additive-filled poison). I started clocking the hours in the gym. I ate three meals a day instead of grazing like a cow, quite literally. And things got better. But diabetes control doesn’t just happen. It’s a day by day, minute by minute process, based on thousands of decisions often made without a second thought.
So now here I am. I have a fab job that doesn’t pay amazingly but I’m lucky to have. (I only say that because sometime being a good diabetic costs a lot). I work, I play. A lot. But I really don’t want to go blind, have kidney failure or lose a limb. Diabetes control is so so important. I don’t think I ever really considered long term side effects until recently, until I took a vested interest in myself and started reading, pouring over diabetes advice, experiences, treatment. It’s a fascinating, complicated sometimes daunting world. So I’m taking the plunge and writing about it as I go. I don’t want it all to be about bg levels, HbA1cs, injection sites. I want it to be about real life as a diabetic. A diabetic who sometimes eats chocolate, who has a shot of sambuca even though she knows it’s full of sugar, who can’t test her glucose because she’s run out of strips and forgot to pick up her prescription. I may have a first but I’m blonde. Naturally blonde, and a bit more blonde on top courtesy of L’Oreal. That’s a lot of blonde.