So.... today was quite a big day for me! I was due to meet up with a girl in year 6 at my school (age 11) who is also diabetic and on a pump. I'll admit that I got a bit excited. When the school nurse first asked me a few weeks ago if I'd be willing to speak to her (we even share the same name!) I agreed without needing to think about it. I think she may have been under the impression that I would think it was a bit of an inconveniences, a chore? Quite the opposite! I've spoken before about how much I wish I knew more people with diabetes; people who can truly 'get me' and who I can relate to. So I think I'd formed in my head this idea of a 'mini-me' with medtronic pump and someone who would be equally excited as me... the dream image was all a bit too good to be true! I do feel the nurse mislead me a bit, as at the start of our 'D-meeting' the girl (S) seemed a bit reluctant.
I'd meant to be talking to her about a school trip she's going on, a five day trip to Devon to this place called 'sporting manor' (no guesses as to what you do there!) I went on the same trip, about 9 months after starting the pump. However, I 'broke the ice' by trying to empathise with some common Diabetes grievances - commonly, teachers who help too much but sometimes not enough, and also I let her have a bit of a rant about her consultant who 'didn't have a clue'! I could relate, as although my consultant is just amazing, on one occasion I did have the consultant she mentioned, and he told me to solve my hypos by 'giving more insulin...' And how much was he getting paid to tell me that!?
Overall though, I left our little meeting feeling a bit deflated, and that wasn't due to the suddenly plummeting blood sugar! I think it was just because I got the sense that she wasn't quite aware of diabetes. And maybe that's a good thing - she said she tests only about 4 times a day, as opposed to me where it's more like 14! And she does just seem to get on with her life. However, when she told me her blood sugar had dropped to the 0s (>18) before - I thought my all time low of 1.8 (32) was bad!
I think what worried me most though, was that she seems to be able to be like this because her parents do so much. She told me how she doesn't even go into hospital appointments, doesn't do set changes or have any real input into her basal pattern etc... I suppose the set change thing will come with time. I always did my own - just as I did my own injections - and whilst my parents (thank goodness) enforced the latter, this meant that when I started the pump there wasn't really a question of me doing it. And I am so glad because it meant I was independent from the beginning. I think the other two things worried me more though. Although I was pleased to see how 'normal' her life was, doing loads of sport etc... when she gets older it probably will catch up with her, and it will be that much harder when she has to make the transition to University etc... and I guess that was hard for me to see - I felt like I could have said something, from experience, but then at the same time it wasn't really my place!
Maybe I just wish she'd been a bit more 'enthusiastic' to see me? I know I got my hopes up, but I feel like diabetes has changed my life so much, surely there will be some 'connection'? As cheesy as that sounds! And towards the end I did feel that she relaxed, and hopefully I did help her in terms of understanding that teachers are just trying to be supportive etc... It's strange though, she was worried about them being 'over-protective' - I'm the opposite! Sometimes I worry that they just forget altogether, which can be hard. What also worries me is that I'm not sure some teacher are even very 'aware' of my diabetes, so that's all the more reason for me to be independent and in control. I would hate being 'out of the loop' with my diabetes treatment though. It would feel so strange - it's my body after all, my life!
One exciting bit though, was that I got to see the Animas pump 'in the flesh' for the first time. I have to say I'm staying loyal to my loyal medtronic veo Blue! I was rather jealous of her metre though - NO testing strips! That would certainly make my mum happy, reducing the Hansel and Gretel like breadcrumb-trail of strips... I really need to stop that!
I really do hope that this won't be my last D-encounter, because although at the beginning I did feel like it was going to go nowhere, by the end I was really happy I had agreed to do it. I guess I should just remember that, for a lot of people, they aren't quite ready to be so open about it - says the girl only started to talk about it a month ago, so I'm not exactly one to talk! It's just reached that stage, 10 years around this weekend (I was diagnosed about the time of the golden jubilee!) that I want to 'find my way' again a bit, when it comes to diabetes. To really feel positive about it and my medication, before I enter the 'real' world and have to take full control. And although blogging and meeting people through that and twitter has been so good, to meet fellow 'dweeps' (to use Kelly's phrase!) would be really great - hopefully I will be able to do that in the near future!
- Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
- I cannot deny that, ever since I have been diagnosed, I have had the most incredible support; I am so lucky that the healthcare where I live is fantastic, and the team I have so supportive. Nevertheless, what I want to do through this blog is to talk about all the highs and lows emotionally that diabetes can bring. I have found over these last ten years, that Diabetes is so much more than just numbers on a screen; it can provoke many feelings of frustration and is able to be isolating at times, so I hope that by writing this blog and sharing my experiences, that I will be able to help and encourage other young people with diabetes; to feel that they can talk and that there are other people out there ready to listen. Diabetes should never steal dreams; it should only make it all the more rewarding when you reach them.