I remember sitting on a bed in the children’s ward, wondering why my mum was in tears at the foot of it, thinking that it will be pretty cool to have to inject myself, albeit a bit scary.
I even remember my dad saying he would do my injections for me and my response being:
“Dad, I’ve seen you inject the cows on the farm – there’s no way you’re coming anywhere near me with a needle!” – I was 9 and obviously full of confidence that I could do this myself.
I also remember my nurse, Lesley, telling me that although it seemed like a lot to take in at the moment, I would soon be an expert on insulin dosage and blood sugar readings.
A statement my little 9 year old head was in disbelief about.
Sure enough though, within a matter of weeks I was “managing” my diabetes myself. I knew what my sugars should be, I knew how much insulin to take and I was injecting/pricking my fingers without any physical help from mum and dad.
For the first year or so I took on board my condition without any fuss – I actually used to get excited about having new blood glucose meters and new gadgets! But my attitude soon changed when I started to get bullied in school for having to test my sugars, or when my family used to make a scene at restaurants about “needing bread” on the table.
I even used to hide my hypos from my classmates, often disappearing to the bathroom for half an hour or so, which usually resulted in a search party being sent out for me and actually caused more hassle than if I’d just sat quietly in class and dealt with it.
There was a period of about 3 months where every single recorded sugar reading in my diary was faked – of course it didn’t take long for my doctors to figure out the reason why my perfect blood glucose diary and my not so perfect HbA1c results didn’t match.
As Vanessa will tell you also, I was in denial, I felt alone and I felt judged more than anything else. The concerns of my parents constantly checking on me obviously came from a good place but I hated the feeling of being watched all the time – what I ate, what I drank, when I injected, how I injected, how often I tested my sugars, were the readings the right ones etc.
For the most part of my teens I resented my diabetes to a point where I would just force it to the back of my mind, pretend I didn’t have it almost.
I did the bare minimum to keep myself going and when I went to Uni in 2009 things got even worse.
At the beginning of fresher’s, in the September, I was 9 and a half stone, fast forward to December and I was 6 stone – I looked horrendous and felt even worse. I’d been skipping my insulin to lose weight, a disorder, I later learnt, that is recognised as Diabulemia. It got so bad at one point that in my head my insulin injections were pure ‘fat injections’. At this point my doctor’s put me on the waiting list for a pump and I began the slow process of recovery