The 25th of June is a special day for a number of reasons. First and foremost – It’s 6 months until Christmas!! Get excited guys. But secondly (sorry – this one isn’t as fun as Christmas), today is my so called ‘diaversary’. I’d never heard of this word until delving into the wonderful T1D online community a few months ago, but even though for the last 12 years it’s been a day that I’ve kind of thought about, shrugged my shoulders at and moved on from, I quite like the term. Let’s be frank here – type 1 diabetes is fine – it’s OK. We can live with it, we can even nail it and be proud of it, and it certainly shouldn’t stop us from doing anything we want to. But T1D is also relentless, SO so frustrating, and a full-time pain in the butt. So actually, I think it’s quite nice to have a day to take a step back, give yourself a pat on the back, and recognise what a damn good job you’ve done again this year. Even if my blood sugar is sitting at 12.3 mmol/l right now… Go me. I’ve done great 🙂
So what’s my ‘diagnosis story’? Apologies in advance but honestly – it’s pretty dull. After reading a number of stories online over the past few months, I actually feel almost guilty about how ‘lucky’ I was in a sense. I don’t really know any other type 1 diabetics, so naively I have bobbed along for the past 12 years thinking that everyone pretty much went through the same scenario as I did. I’ve recently realised that this isn’t the case, and actually, I was realllllly fortunate to be diagnosed when I was.
So here it is, drumroll please – I peed. A lot. Like – all the time. My Dad’s nickname for me was ‘SlackBladder’ (no joke – he felt AWFUL about this when he realised this was actually due to a chronic medical condition. It’s alright Pa, I forgive you. Hehe.)
So there I was, sitting in the GP’s office with my Mum, actually discussing some other medication (I think it might have been skin related – I can’t even remember it was so off-track from diabetes!), and my doctor had noticed that I was looking a litttttle skinny. Well, really skinny. With my GP being a T1 diabetic herself, I imagine she was particularly alert to the symptoms expected. After some further chat involving my Mum agreeing that ‘yes she has been quite tired recently’, and ‘yes now that you mention it she has been drinking more than usual lately’, as I told them both 15 minutes into the appointment that I was desperate for yet ANOTHER wee, it all started to click. The glucose monitor was out, my finger was stabbed, and that was that – my blood was 17.2 mmol/l, and I was a diabetic.
The rest of the day was a bit surreal – I honestly had no idea what diabetes was, and my only experience of it until that day was knowing a girl in my class at primary school, who was always allowed to go to lunch first and eat KitKats during lessons– so yeh, at the point I can’t say I was too concerned! Even when being taken to hospital and being shown how to inject into an orange, my nurse explaining that ‘hyper’ wasn’t the same as being excited and energetic, and my parents crying all over the place, it still didn’t sink in – to be honest, I think I assumed it would just go away. And besides – no big deal I thought – a couple of injections a day, a few glucose tablets here and there, and maybe I’ll even be allowed to wear a bracelet to school – this’ll be fineeeee. Bless young me.
Anyway, so that’s what happened! Luckily, DKA was never on the cards for me, and my doctors think that they diagnosed me really early on, which coincided with a long honeymoon period and the mild symptoms. One thing I remember that still makes me laugh about that day, however, is one of the first things my GP said after first telling me the glorious news. Whilst trying to explain what diabetes was and meant, as if to ‘rub salt in the wound’, she told me that I would ‘never be able to eat carrots again because they are too sweet’. Now – as lovely a woman as she is, I don’t know where this ‘fact’ came from – carrots are the least of my worries! Thank gawd I didn’t listen – what would hummus be without carrots?!