So, having a chat the other day with a mate at work about diabetes. He commented that he would be devastated if he were ever diagnosed as diabetic. This set me thinking about how I felt and what support I got when I was given the news seven years ago – and what advise I would offer to someone newly diagnosed today. I’m not sure I felt devastated – more shocked. I knew I’d not been well and in hindsight all the classic symptoms were there. I remember heading off to the chemist at 0830 for my free diabetes check. I remember the result 23.6 mmol for a fasting test, and I remember the chemist telling me I had to go to my GP immediately and that he would ring him to explain why I was coming. The GP was ok. Took more blood tests. Asked me to go back in a week for the results. Gave me a blood meter. That was it. Didn’t explain how to use it. I didn’t know what to ask. Two days later I was in hospital – I don’t know what my BG was, just that the meter said HIGH. this was the turning point. The staff were brilliant. The Consultant explained everything to me and checked my understanding. They were very patient showing me how to inject insulin. They also referred me to our Diabetes Centre and a lovely DSN called Linda. So what advise would I give. Firstly, and most importantly – don’t panic. You not alone and thanks to social media and the internet there is some fantastic support available. Reach out to the online community and talk to people who understand how you feel. check out the Diabetes UK website which will let you know what support you can expect from your GP etc. this will also help you prepare any questions you may have. Don’t blame yourself – you’ve done nothing wrong. Ask, ask and ask again. Your going to be given a lot of information that you need to understand. Understanding is, I believe, the key to managing your diabetes. And finally, focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. It’s a huge learning curve so don’t expect everything to fall into place overnight. Keep a smile on your face and a good sense of humour. Your going to have some bad days ahead. But these will become manageable. And the good days will keep on coming. Just remember that you control your diabetes – don’t let your diabetes control you.
I have Diabetes – so what. Big deal.
I can beat this. Not medically – not yet. But mentally, daily, I beat diabetes. I control my diabetes – my diabetes does not control me.
I wake every morning with a smile on my face. Because I can.
I have my morning cup of tea with 2 sugars. Because I can.
I’m diabetic not sugar intolerant.
I go to work. Because I can.
I get frustrated, annoyed, I laugh and get bored. Because I can.
I go home.
I get mugged by my two Springer Spaniels. Because they can.
I have a shower, supper and get told what I’m watching on TV by my partner.
Because he can.
I decide what type of day I’m having. Not my diabetes.
I don’t tell anybody to test there blood if they are in a bad mood – so don’t tell me.
I hate needles. I hate endless blood testing. But I don’t hate diabetes.
Diabetes and I have an enduring, love hate relationship. It has educated me. Made me laugh and made me cry, and made me very frustrated. As I have made my DSN very frustrated. I have met many great and truly inspirational people through DOC. I have good days and bad days – but so do non- diabetics.
How do I face the challenges that Diabetes brings – head on. Toe to Toe. And with a smile on my face.
I focus on the “I can…..” Rather than “I can’t…..”
I make mistakes and learn from them. If I don’t know I ask. If they don’t know I educate. If I need support I ask. If support is needed I give. My ear is your ear.
I ignore the people who judge diabetics. Because I can.
I talk to people who don’t understand Diabetes. Because I can.
I eat what I want to eat. Because I can.
I have a comfortable life and share it with the guy of my dreams, two cats, and the Springers. I love the job I have. I love my friends.
What more could I want.