Here is one of my old blog posts on diagnosis. Update – I now know my diaversary (July 24th, 2002)
I wasn’t sure how to start blogging about diabetes but I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any… I was about 8 when I was diagnosed, although unlike most I don’t know the date of my actual “diaversary”. I need to try to find this out at my next clinic. Maybe I could try to use it as an excuse for presents!
This is me and some friends before I got ill. Ironically I’m the nurse!
I had been ill for months and months. I looked scarily thin and still, to this day, I don’t like looking at photos of myself at that age. My poor mam had been tripping me back and forth to the doctors. It, shockingly, took 3 different doctors and Mam actually asking for a diabetes test before I was diagnosed. I remember in the days leading up to get the test done, she explained to me all about type 1 diabetes (not that we focused on the type 1/type 2 distinction at that time – very different story now). I think she almost knew, and was trying to soften the blow for me. She must have told me about exercise putting blood sugars down and sweet things putting them up because I can remember turning down juice my dad bought me the day before and cycling frantically in and out my road… trying to cheat the test!
I think this is when I’d started losing a lot of weight but certainly not at my worst. (on the right)
I can’t actually remember getting the test anymore but what I can remember is when the results came. I was playing at my house with my best friend at the time, Becky. We were supposed to be having a sleepover. Mam came in and said she had “a story to tell me”. I don’t know if it was the way she said it but I just knew. I had diabetes. That’s one of my most vivid childhood memories.
I ran upstairs crying, locked myself in the bathroom and refused to come out. I had to go into hospital that night. I’m not really aware of Becky leaving or me being coaxed from the bathroom!
The next thing I remember is arriving at hospital… I got about 10 injections and drips etc. (no biggie now!). I’m from Shetland, which is a beautiful group of islands, very far North of Scotland. At the time I think there were only 14 other children there with type 1 diabetes, so the next day I was flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. I was really really upset by the idea when I found out but when I got there I had a great time! I was on a children’s ward with playworkers and got to do arts and crafts, play games and stayed up late with the older children to watch the Big Brother final. My mam had already gone to bed then and I remember feeling like a little rebel.
This is Chubby, the teddy I got from Nanny when I was in hospital. I made him diabetic for a short while and injected him for a while too!
Of course it wasn’t all fun and games. I had to learn all about injecting myself, food, doses, hypos, hypers etc etc. I even had to skip breakfast and run round the hospital to learn what it was like to feel hypo, which is when your blood sugar is too low! I can remember being asked the same sets of questions over and over by lots of different staff, one of which was “are you feeling a lot better now?” The strange thing was, I had become so used to feeling that way, I didn’t realise I was ill. I didn’t even know what it was like to feel hungry or thirsty. I kept saying “I felt fine” which annoyed my poor mam I think because I was so drastically ill but I made it sound like she was exaggerating everything! She told me I used to come home from school crying because I was so tired. I never even thought of how hard it must have been for her at the time. I suppose you don’t at that age. My dad was in hospital too then, so she was all alone trying to comfort me and I just thought she was wrong for taking me to the doctor in the first place! She has told me since then though that she was actually relieved when I finally got a diagnosis because she thought I was going to die. I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like for her.
So although I was devastated at the time, all I was actually dreading was injecting myself. I now know that doesn’t even come into my top 10 hardest things about diabetes but at the time it seemed like a huge deal.
I’ll end this post with the 4 Ts… Diabetes UK focus on children in this but remember adults can be diagnosed with type 1 too.
What are the 4 Ts?
Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
Feeling more tired than usual
Losing weight or looking thinner than usual
By making sure children and young people get a quick diagnosis and early treatment, we can avoid them becoming seriously ill with DKA.