Happy Diabetes Week. This year, the theme is Diabetes & Me. Diabetes UK wants us to shout about how we manage our condition well and live life to the full. Google ‘diabetes week’ or search #diabetesandme for example, and you’ll probably be bombarded with hundreds of results. That’s because like me, hundreds, even thousands of people are taking part in this special week, championed by Diabetes UK.
For me, the biggest thing that enables me to manage my diabetes well, is my attitude to the condition. Let’s face it. If I didn’t have diabetes, I’d probably be staring at the TV, saying how bored I am, right now. The truth is, that despite its implications and potential of complications along the line, my life has changed a lot since being diagnosed with the condition in 2011. It’s changed for the better, that is.
Sure, diabetes is a horrible condition. The highs and the lows leave me feeling angry and wallowing in self-pity. It makes me want to throw in the towel, or at least pay someone to take my diabetes away from me.
Take my diabetes away from me. That right there, is what makes this condition so incredibly fascinating, in my eyes. You see, nearly 4 years have gone by and I’m still here. I am privileged enough to be able to check my sugar levels on a regular basis. I have access to test strips and insulin. I can even contact my local diabetes care team, to ask for their help (EDIT: beg them to help my sugars come back down so I can feel normal again). I’m very lucky.
And you know what, I don’t think I really would want my diabetes taken away from me. Not at the moment, anyway. I know, I sound slightly crazy, but there is logic to my madness…
Because I have diabetes, I’ve met some wonderful people, who now form a BIG part of my life. I never fail to be amazed at how many people online and offline, have diabetes and are advocates for living well, with the condition. Each and every person in my life who has diabetes, is a star. Diabetes is a full time job, on top of everything else in life. How amazing is that?!
It’s not just the people who have diabetes though, it’s the people who care for and support us. The nurses. The consultants. The podiatrists. Etc. I’ve had a lot of support from my diabetes team over the past 4 years. All the DSNs there are wonderful people. I’m going to push the boat out here and single out one particular lady, who was there right from day one. Jacqui.
Jacqui was the first DSN I saw, after being diagnosed, and really, she put up with a lot from me. All my pesky health conditions that have an effect on my diabetes. The fact that I don’t appear to have any hypo awareness. It really felt like Jacqui couldn’t do enough for me. When the consultants seemed to have forgotten about me, I would often have phone calls from Jacqui, telling me she’d been looking into Silver Russell Syndrome (SRS) or how my IBS could be affecting my diabetes. It was only through Jacqui that my GP agreed to arrange for numerous investigations, to delve deeper into my so-called IBS. It really felt like Jacqui was the only person who cared about me. Jacqui didn’t have to dedicate countless hours to finding out about SRS or IBS, or writing letters to my GP, but she did. She went beyond her responsibilities to help me.
For me, my relationship with Jacqui was the first time anyone had showed any level of interest in who I am, rather than just what numbers my sugar levels were on a daily basis.4 years down the line, there are still people like Jacqui, who don’t just care about numbers. I think I’d probably have lost my mind by now, if it were all about numbers.
So then, I guess I am grateful almost. My diabetes has opened a world of opportunities – opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t have diabetes. I’m off to the World Diabetes Congress in Canada later this year – I certainly wouldn’t be going to that if I didn’t have diabetes!