Monday, 23 June 2014

5 years

June 21st 2014 was the very day 5 years ago that I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. 

I didn't get it from eating too much sugar, nor did I get it from having a bad diet. Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas- my body no longer produces insulin. Insulin turns the sugar from the food we eat into energy for the cells and if there is no insulin the sugar just builds up in the blood; which is very dangerous.

I have to replace the insulin my body does not produce by having multiple daily insulin injections or using an insulin pump that delivers insulin via a cannula under my skin...without insulin I would die. On top of giving myself insulin I need to test my blood sugar 4+ times a day to make sure it's in a safe range. My blood sugar fluctuates constantly every single day; from high to low. High blood sugar makes me feel thirsty and tired and has been the reason for me being in hospital four times in five years in diabetic ketoacidosis- a life threatening condition which can result in a coma if left untreated. Low blood sugar makes me feel weak and shaky and very hungry; this too can result in passing out or a coma if left untreated.

Even though diabetes has put me through a hell of a lot in these past five years I have actually found something positive in a life with type one diabetes too. In between all the rubbish I've tried to raise awareness as best I can, I've spoken in Parliament for both Diabetes UK and JDRF, I've spoken at a JDRF gala and I've got a blog about life with type one diabetes which has conjured up over 27,000 views in just over a year.

I wish I didn't have type one diabetes at all, but I know that sitting around moaning about it isn't going to change the fact that I have it; so I channel my frustrations into something positive instead. However, I still definitely have my down days, I have days where I cry about it, and want to give up...and I know there are things worse than type one diabetes but it doesn't deny the fact that type one diabetes is still potentially life-threatening, and poses the risk of devastating complications for me, like blindness, kidney disease, limb amputation, heart disease, nerve damage, and more.

Although my life is in my hands 24/7 and I have to deal with everything that is type one diabetes; I love life and I am so grateful that I have such supportive parents, family and friends- and I especially do not know how I would get through all of this without my parents and I am forever grateful to them for all their love and support. I have had and will continue to endure thousands of injections and finger pricks, and hundreds of pump cannula changes, along with many sleepless nights, and tears and lots of hospital appointments, and I've been through five hospital admissions (including diagnosis), but I still smile.This disease has taught me responsibility and has made me stronger. I won't give up until there is a cure.

Bring on the rest of my life with type 1; because I know I'm strong enough to deal with it, even if sometimes I don't feel so strong.