Friday 13 January 2017

Reflections on a Diaversary

Today is my 33rd year of life with Diabetes.

Despite the fact I don't remember life before Diabetes due to being diagnosed as a baby, I do remember life before insulin pumps, disposable insulin injections, glucose tablets and even blood sugar/ glucose meters that test in seconds rather than minutes.

Looking back to three decades first meter, back in the 1980's in fact used to take 3 1/2 minutes. My parents have told me how when they were checking my bloods as a baby, these 3 1/2 minutes seemed to take forever, especially when they thought I was hypo.

When treating hypos, there was no glucose tablets or lucozade in the recommendations at the time. One of my least favourite memories other than the early use of the Glucagon injection is one of having heaped teaspoons of glucose powder being stirred into a glass of milk for me to drink. A taste which has stuck with me for years despite not having it for almost three decades 😷.

Insulin came in two separate vials - one cloudy and one clear, with a strict procedure on what order to draw up the insulin and the ratios of each vial needed. By the time my parents came to injecting me, the needle was often starting to become a bit blunt as it had already been into both vials before getting anywhere near my skin! This didn't make injecting a baby any easier I'm sure...

Insulin pumps were an invention on Tomorrow's World and things of dreams for most of us in the UK Where I was only on one injection of insulin a day for a number of years as a child.

So how do I feel about my Diabetes looking back over the past 33 years?!?
Well apart from the promise of a cure being "5 years away" not ringing true, and the needle-less injection that I trialed in the late-eighties being far more painful than an actual needle, I would say that I, my diabetes and the treatments now available have come an awful long way! 
I have been through some serious highs and lows over the years, with my most difficult and problematic patch being in the last few. Nonetheless, I would also say that my biggest advance and progress in terms of treatment, welfare and health has also been in the last 6 months since starting on an insulin pump, blogging and arranging Diabetes Meet-Ups. 

Although this chronic disease has meant lots of doctors visits and hospital stays over the last year, it has also brought me a new-found strength, amazing new Diabuddies, a wonderfully supportive online community and demonstrated what the love and care of friends and family really means when things really are tough-going. Withkout Diabetes I would have probably not known or fully appreciated these things.

As I look to the next year of my Diabetes adventure, on a day which marks my Diaversary and also the 6 months mark from when I received my pump, I want to say a massive THANK YOU! 
A huge thank you to those I know and love, those I've chatted to online and in Diabetes events, for the amazing people who fundraise for Diabetes so others can do research into this disease, and all the Healthcare Professionals in the NHS who help us day-to-day 💙. It is down to you then we are where we are today.

I am so very grateful for all the treatment and support that I and my parents received at the time of diagnosis in the 1980's and right the way through the last 33 years. I look forward to the continued research and developments going forward including closed-loop CGM and pump systems and the 'Artificial Pancreas'. There are lots of things going on in this area of medicine right now!

So as I go on to enjoy my Diaversary, what am I most thankful for after 33 years of Diabetes?
In all honesty, I am grateful that I'm still here! Diabetes is still a serious and chronic condition that sadly still claims lives. I do not take for granted the treatment that I've received and the hard-work of my parents and myself over the years to get to this point.

Wherever you are in your Diabetes journey, remember that there will be difficult times, but you're defintely not alone in them. There is an amazing online and offline community who are there whenver you need them, so please don't try to do it alone!

Now it is time for me to bolus, blow out the enourmous number of candles and eat a very small celebratory cake 😉

Until next time, keep injecting 💉 and pumping 📟 insulin!
R x

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