I don’t remember a time before I had diabetes. It’s intrinsic to me, and so for me it’s a huge part of who I am.

The month of August 2018 marks 23 years of being a type 1 diabetic… It’s strange, trying to review my feelings over the past 23 years I do not believe I’ve ever wished it away although it has caused great troubles at times. I don’t remember a time before I had diabetes. It’s intrinsic to me, and so for me it’s a huge part of who I am.

FACT: “There have been days, where it has taken everything from me, and it has taken all of my strength to keep my body going and fight another day……But it doesn’t define me. 

There have been days, where it has taken everything from me, and it has taken all of my strength to keep my body going and fight another day……But it doesn’t define me. I have diabetes, but I’m not diabetic, it doesn’t have me. What it has given me is strength to know I can do anything. I have met some remarkable people through some good times and bad not just other people with diabetes, but the doctors and family, coaches and friends who have supported me.

 

My start to diabetes was a bumpy ride as a misdiagnosis resulted in me falling into a DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) coma, which is generally fatal for a tiny 4-year-old body. My parents were faced with a choice that night, a decision of what to do if I continued to lay in a vegetative state. My first memory in life is waking up in a cot bed in the hospital, unable to string a sentence together but completely annoyed as I was a big girl and should not be in a cot…..

 

Little did I realize that, that was just the start of being unable to communicate to a world that wasn’t interest in listening…. My parents took great care to raise me, doing everything to the exact doctors’ instruction…. The endless sugar diaries, carbohydrate counting and insulin calculations…..

 

It seems pretty simple right…… just give your child insulin and carry on with life……. but what if the instruction guideline says….. to calculate your insulin, you need to ‘think like a pancreas’

It”s a game of numbers…… and if you don’t consider all the variables it ends in disaster.

So my sugar is 8……. well that would require 1 unit for correction….. but my body is under strain recovering from the flue so double it due to the infection creating resistance….. so 2……

I’m going to eat a roll, Mayo, lettuce and burger patty that would need 2 unit for the 25g carbs in the roll and 1/2 unit for the high fat, plus 1 unit for the protein….. so 3,5 for food but high fat means slow absorption so you need the insulin to deliver over 2 hours…..

The high level of exercise from the day before means that while your resistance is high from being sick your body is super sensitive to the food to insulin ratio for 24 hours so you drop the food intake down to 2….. pump input: 4 units…. 2 now… 2 over two hours

Done,
great…… just kidding I’m five years old and have decided that I no longer want
to eat everything on my plate.

When
I look at the cookery bookshelf at home, I start to gain an understanding of
how dietary advice for type 1 diabetes changed with the season…… making me realize
that nobody really had a clue what they were doing…… It started off with a
sugar free, low fat, high GI high carb diet….. then into eating for sustained
energy books, low fat, low GI foods, then sugar was slowly reintroduced as long
as eaten with Low GI foods, then it moved onto strict carbohydrate counting
using medium and low GI foods.

Then
the absolute worst….., just after my 13 birthday…..no more dietary advice for
type 1 diabetes- eat what you want and take insulin for it….. it made sense
right if you could calculate how much insulin a chocolate milkshake needed then
take the insulin and drink the milkshake…… but poor food choices, meant yo-yoing
sugars even if they do come back down…… result of yoyo sugars- an extreme carb
cycle, constant food cravings and loads of weight gain…… definitely going to go
down well with a teenage girl…..oh yes with yo-yoing sugars came yo-yoing mood
swings, concentration and energy levels.  

With
all the conflicting information about food…… most social events involving food
were not a pleasant experience for me…… every person had an opinion on what
I should and shouldn’t eat….. eventually I started to avoid all social
situations that involved food….. which resulted in many isolated years as a
teenager as the war on food grew stronger inside my head. 

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