Tody’s post comes not from me, but from fellow #HAWMC participant Hannah Malone, blogger, student and Type 1 Diabetes sufferer. Here is her “Face of My Disease”
I am a student , soon to be student nurse. I love horse riding and all animals. I am a bit of a chocoholic. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I’m a Taurus and live up to the stereotype of being stubborn as a bull and when I get mad I’m like a bull in a china shop. I’m a fussy eater. I want to travel. I am also a type 1 diabetic. Diabetes does not define me but it has helped shape me into who I am.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 2 in 1997. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition , it is not caused by eating too much sugar and it is not caused by obesity. For some unknown reason (the best theory is genetic predisposition and a environmental factor such as a virus) my immune system destroyed the beta cells of my pancreas. This is a slight problem as these cells produce insulin. Insulin is almost like a key. It allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter cells. Without this glucose builds up in the bloodstream but the cells are starving for glucose so send signals that you need to eat more. The body recognises the build up of glucose and makes you thirsty in an effort to flush out the glucose through urine. Without insulin and therefore without glucose the body starts to break down muscle and fats , a product of this is ketones. These ketones make your blood acidic and lead to something called DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis ) which left untreated is fatal. Insulin is not a cure but life support
To manage my diabetes I wear an insulin pump 24 hours a day which works almost like an iv drip (some people use a treatment called mdi – multiple daily injections . this requires 5 injections a day) . A small amount is released every few minutes called my basal insulin this covers the amount my body needs as background. Then I have a bolus insulin this I use when I’m eating foods. sounds simple? You then have to take into account that I have to count every gram of carbs I eat and figure out my dose for that according to ratios I’ve agreed with my team. I have to take into account where my bloodsugar is at and figure out how much insulin I need to lower my sugars , if I need any at all. Then what my bloodsugars were like at this time in previous days plus if I’m planning to exercise, what the weather is like (hot – less insulin cold – more insulin) , if I’m likely to be stressed (need less insulin) , if I’m ill (colds – more vomiting – less) and if my diabetes is just deciding to be a jerk that day. Even knowing all this and planning my bloodsugars will never stay in the range a non-diabetic would. This is where diabetes get a little more complicated.
I have a lot of respect for my diabetes and I tolerate it in my life. I respect the seriousness and the quick turns it can take just the other day my dad found me staring at the stairs unable to figure out how to get down them. My bloodcount was 1.9 a seriously low bg , the normal is between 4 and 7. I tolerate it and I take my medications as I should. I may not always get it right but I try my damn hardest cause I’ve seen the complications. I’m extremely grateful that I have the treatment I have. A pump costs £3000 many people in the uk can’t get this funded even when it allows better control for most. I am so grateful for the opportunities diabetes has given me, it gave me the opportunity to be taught to row by Steve Redgrave, to speak to 100 health professionals about my condition, basically got me into uni to study childrens nursing and it allowed me to meet some of my best friends. Diabetes has never and will never stop me.