This blog is for you.
Are you a person with Type 1 diabetes of any age but most likely over 12?
Are you the only person you know well with diabetes?
Do you just want to be 'normal' like your friends?
Why can't you eat what you want when everyone else is gorging on chocolate?
Does blood testing scare you?
Why does it scare you? Is it the pain of the stab or the pain of seeing a number that proves you’re failing again? And does that number come with massive guilt?
Does the idea of a check-up fill you with dread?
Does the standard "How is your control?" question at other medical appointments also hurt you like a knife when asked?
Does every other person with diabetes have either perfect control, or blindness and amputations? They must have, as those are the only two options offered.
Are there so many things to control and juggle that it’s overwhelming?
Is it all too complicated and hard to understand?
Do you have other medical things going on that mean diabetes isn't your only worry?
Do you sometimes eat food without injecting when you know you really should?
Do you get mad at people that should care about you always telling you what to do?
Even if they don't say it, do you feel like they wonder why you’re not doing better?
Have you had diabetes for many years but still don’t understand some things that you think you should know? Does this make you feel Diabetes Stupid?
Do hypos scare you?
Does being high scare you?
Is it all just too much hard work to bother?
Now ask yourself a few more questions and think carefully about the answers.
You're not the only one!
I'll say it again. YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE!
What does a blood glucose number actually mean?
- It’s not a score, it’s a sign of what you need to do next. If it’s low, eat something, if it’s high, then maybe you need some fast acting insulin or some activity. Don't feel judged.
- You know this already but it’s not going anywhere for a very long time. So maybe it’s time not to fight it; time to work with your diabetes instead of against it? It is part of you and you are special, so it is special too. It's not going away. Maybe it's time to woman-up or man-up and face it head on.
- No it's not fair you've got to test, inject, and handle the highs and lows when your friends don't. And yes it does make you a bit different. But they've got their own hang-ups too. Trust me; everyone has something that they think makes it hard for them. At least your challenges come with sweets as medicine!
Whose hospital appointment is it?
- It’s yours. It’s not the doctor’s. So prepare beforehand. If you’ve got questions or things that are worrying you a lot, write these down and take them with you. And don’t move from your seat until they have answered your questions. You live with diabetes 24/7/365. Make sure that your one 20 minute segment with a consultant every 3, 6 or 12 months is valuable.
- If you are finding things hard; tell your doctor or nurse. If they know what you are really thinking then they can help you better to smooth things out.
Am you the only person who finds Type 1 Diabetes hard?
- No. Definitely not. I do!
- We're all out here. You are not the only person with the Type 1. You know this already. But you are also not the only one who finds it hard. Keep remembering this and change the way you think. You’re not failing, you’re finding it hard. And it can get better.
Have you got a plan for your diabetes?
- Make a plan. Ask yourself what would you like to change? Then seek help to make that change. Go looking and the responses you get might surprise you. People want to help. Including people like me. And also people closer to your age who are living through the same challenges as you today.
- Find information? Use the links at the bottom. Dip in, dip out, then dip back in when you have a better idea about what you want to do.
- Speak to people like you. Yes, they exist. Is there a local diabetes group for young people? Have a look online. Ask your diabetes nurse. And if there isn't, ask them if there’s anyone else locally who they think you might get along with.
- Ask the stupid questions. You might be surprised as others probably don’t know either. Diabetes IS complicated. No-one expects you to be an expert and know everything just because you've had it a month, a year, a decade, or your whole life. Please never be afraid to say "I don't understand".
- Talk to your parents, carers, partners or family. They want the best for you. They really do. I was younger once and it’s only now as a parent I can understand how much my parents worried about me. Take a chance on telling them you find it hard. What is there to lose? Nothing. You’ll probably find you'll gain their respect. They are probably the people closest to you and the ones that ask you most frequently what your latest blood glucose number is or how much insulin you’ve taken. They do this because they worry about you. And they've heard the same doom laden promises of the future as you have. After you’ve read or watched this, talk to them. Tell them how you feel.
Now it's time for some cliché phrases
It’s your diabetes, no-one else's. You can own it and you can be the one in charge of it.
You are not alone. Open the door and you will find others facing the same struggles as you.
This photo isn’t to prove how I like jumping over fire. It’s to prove that nothing should hold you back and any limits are mostly set by you. Let's lift those limits as high as they can go.
Make a change by clicking through the links below and/or talking to people close to you about you and how you feel.
This blog is also available in video form here. The words are the same, the medium is different
T1 Resources - This is your encyclopedia of Type 1 info with all links doubly checked by a healthcare professional and then someone with Type 1 like you.
JDRF - The worldwide charity with a single long-term goal - to get rid of your diabetes. That's sounds pretty perfect to me. The website has some great articles too.
Diabetes UK - The UK's largest diabetes charity that also looks at Type 2 but still has plenty of advice for Type 1s.