Highs, lows and being diagnosed.

Diabetes revolves around blood glucose levels. (Also called blood sugars/bloods/sugars/levels).

A non diabetics blood sugar would be between 5mmol and 7mmol. I know this is measured differently in different countries, but I’ve only ever used mmol. I have had lows of 1.2mmol and highs where my meter has lost the ability to read exactly how high my blood is, I just knew it was above 30mmol. I’ve mentioned before, anything can impact my bloods and I have to monitor them constantly.

When I was 9, I became ill. If I didn’t eat enough, I developed a headache, I felt sick, and I went white as a sheet. I also lost a lot of weight, although this wasn’t noticed by anyone at first as I lost it so gradually. So my mum took me to the doctors as she thought I was suffering from hypoglycemic episodes, which is basically low blood sugar. I was referred for some blood tests, and it was a case of wait and see. About a week later, my family and I were shopping at a big outlet type shopping centre. It was one of those days where you were treated to a McDonalds and some sweets in return for behaving as you were dragged around a bunch of shops you didn’t care about.

When we got home, there was a note through the door from the doctors. They had been trying to get hold of us all week, and after a few failed attempts, they had turned up at the house. The note said that my blood test results indicated I was diabetic and I needed to get to A&E. We rushed up there where I underwent some more blood tests. After the day I’d had, with the food I’d eaten, you’d expect high blood sugars. Nope, all fine, all normal and I was sent on my way after a pretty scary few hours.

We thought that would be the end of it, but my GP requested a repeat of the original fasting test, as my results were borderline and he wanted to see if it really was a one-off. To cut a long story short, the results came back the same and I was referred to Alder Hey Childrens Hospital for further testing. Now the first consultant I saw, told me not to worry, as I was “definitely not diabetic” … Imagine telling that to a scared 9 year old. I thought I was off the hook, I thought that was it, the tests would be fine and I could go back to normal.

Nope. I went back again a week or so later for a glucose tolerance test. It basically meant me sitting in a hospital bed all day, playing games and drinking a big bottle of Lucozade so they could do my blood sugar again and compare it to my blood sugar before I had drunk the Lucozade. A few hours pass and I’m called in. My blood sugar was 24. It was the most crushing, heartbreaking feeling. My first thought was honestly “Does this mean I’m going to die? Why isn’t my body working?” It sounds silly, after all, this was 12 years ago, but trust me, you don’t forget a moment like that.

The months that followed were a complete re-adjustment of my life. Learning which emotions did what to my bloods, what foods I could eat and what foods to avoid. (This was before the 4 injections a day begin. At the beginning it was just 2). My entire world was turned upside down and it was never going to go back to how it was before. Growing up is bad enough, growing up with this hanging over everything you do, is even worse.

Nowadays, this is just my life. It’s the norm and I get by most days just fine. There are still days when I drop too low and some days when I go to high, it’s all trial and error, hoping you judge things correctly and hoping that if you do get it wrong, you realise quickly enough to fix it before it gets too serious

Diabetes is like walking a tight rope, but as time goes on, I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at balancing.

Humour around Diabetes (and why it isn’t actually that funny)

So, I don’t know if I’m the only one to notice this, and maybe I’m reading into things too much…

But has anyone else noticed how often diabetes is joked about? Whether it’s in a TV programme, a meme or just an ignorant tweet / Facebook post, us diabetics are the butt of jokes far too often.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can laugh at myself, I don’t get offended easily and I’d like to think I’m generally quite a laid back person. I also have no problem poking fun at my condition, I honestly feel like if I couldn’t laugh, I’d cry. But sometimes, it does hurt when I log into any social media platform, to see another picture of cakes labelled “diabetes” or “diabeetus” as seems to be one running joke

For a start, and I touched on this in my previous post (Type One Diabetes and the stigma around it) all the obesity and unhealthy eating jokes are actually aimed at Type Two Diabetes. I’m not condoning this, as all diabetics know that each and every case is different, however some cases of Type Two are caused by obesity, and can even be reversed. I must stress though, I know this isn’t the case all the time. But trust me, if I could reverse this by eating more healthily, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d be the happiest, healthiest little thing there was.

Unfortunately, Type One does not work this way. Yes, to a degree, healthy eating makes a difference, of course it does! After all, who doesn’t benefit from eating better? But there is only so much healthy eating I can do. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating a carrot stick or a chocolate bar, at the end of the day, my pancreas still doesn’t work.

(I’m already planning a post around Type One Diabetes and eating after some comments made to me the other day, and if you’re reading this, I know you know who you are, ha!)

Back to my original point though. You don’t see jokes about cancer, depression etc, and rightly so! The problem we face, in my opinion, is that Diabetes is a joke condition to a lot of society. It’s why people feel they can make the comments and jokes they do, why the media never feel the need to specify that the majority of the time, the column inches are about Type Two. It’s why people like me, have for years felt ashamed of their condition. There is simply┬ánot enough awareness.

People who have read my first post (Yes I keep plugging it, but I am really quite proud!) have said it really opened their eyes and they had never realised or even considered what we go through every day. That’s what this is all about for me. I’ve spent years embarrassed about being a diabetic, not talking about it, not accepting it. I don’t care if 10 people read my blog or 100, because if for just five minutes (maybe ten, I tend to waffle on) then 1 person sees life from my point of view, then I’ve done what I set out to do. Of course it would be great if word spread, whether it’s through my blog or not. (But it would be quite cool if it was through my blog, so feel free to share it…)

I hope that anyone reading this, and maybe in the past you were someone who would make comments or jokes about diabetes, I hope that this has just made you think a little bit about what you’re saying. Type One Diabetes is a chronic, serious and sometimes scary condition. It isn’t pictures of cake or desserts that yes, quite honestly would take a whole load of insulin for me to even consider eating (But knowing me, I probably would give it a go. In fact there is no probably, I’d give it a go). Some diabetic jokes honestly make me laugh out loud, I just wish people would learn the difference between humour and ignorance.

Thanks for reading!