Monday, 15 June 2015

Diabetes And Me

A blog on here is sadly a rare thing these days.  It’s not that there’s nothing to say, it’s that there’s less and less time available to write any of it down (though I still have my regular post over on the Diabetes UK Blog site)!  That said, I felt inspired to pen something, however brief for Diabetes Week.

This year’s theme is “Diabetes & Me” and having already read so many wonderful posts I thought I’d throw my own opinion into the mix.

Put simply, I truly believe that since the start of 2013 I’ve been able to control and understand my (type 1) diabetes more successfully than I had in the previous 10 or 11 years and that the reason for that is threefold:

1.       Finally running out of excuses and actually attending a DAFNE course – a complete step change for the better
2.       Having regular opportunities to speak to people with diabetes face-to-face at local group meetings and other events
3.       Being involved in part of the wider diabetes online community through Twitter in particular

I’m sure I’m banging the same drum as many other people, certainly with respect to that last point, but the effect that talking about your own experiences of diabetes with others who completely understand everything you’re saying is unquantifiable.  We’re all members of a club we wouldn’t have joined by choice, but those things that unite us are the same things that we can use to support each other when things aren’t going to plan.

At the end of the day, those ‘every day’ experiences like hypos, carb counting, finger prick tests, hypers, tiredness like no other – they’re all things that people who aren’t in the club can’t understand in the way we do.

I recently spoke at an event in Sheffield where GPs had come to learn more about diabetes and I made the point that over 99.9% of the time someone has diabetes, they’re managing it all by themselves.  It’s down to us to become experts in our own right and education and peer support are the foundations that we build on.

I went over 10 years without speaking to another person who was the same as me.  Ten years of never speaking to another person who knew how sickening it can be to have a hypo.  Ten years of not really understanding how fattier food can affect my BG levels.  Ten years without feeling like anyone else understood what I was going through.

It’s incredible to look back on that today and feel so much more secure in how to deal with whatever diabetes throws at me.  It can be incredibly nerve wracking to open up to people about your diabetes, but I can promise you the benefits you’ll get will be incredible.

If you’re on Twitter, you can look me up @BroomOwl and if you’re in the Sheffield area, I chair the Sheffield Group of Diabetes UK who meet monthly.  More details about what we do and how we can support you are on our website

Happy Diabetes Week


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