TYPE 1 DIABETES & THE ADRENALIN FUELLED INSULIN JUNKIE
A lot of family and friends often ask me about having Type 1 Diabetes and how I manage on a daily basis and live such a normal life. Well it’s easy for me, I was diagnosed as a child and it was pretty straight forward for me to adapt and the saying ‘you don’t really miss something that you never had’ was absolutely the case for me! The charity, Diabetes UK did support me in those early years as did the paediatric diabetes team at my local hospital. In 2014, I was fast approaching a diabetes related milestone and I wanted to do something really special to mark the occasion…
In order to get to know me further and my daily battles, I wanted to share with you a bit about my life as a Type 1 Diabetic.
The year, 2014 marked 25 years since I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. I was aged 11 when I officially found out and my first thoughts were no sweets, chocolates or cake and my chances of going on that school French exchange were pretty non-existent! I didn’t even consider the fact that I would become an Insulin Junkie for the rest of my life!! Then in came Diabetes UK and their support. I was overwhelmed by how many people out there; especially kids my age and younger, were going through the same thing as me. This really was the turning point for me and nothing would ever stop me from doing what I wanted to do! In the words of my diabetologist, ‘Diabetes decided to pick on the wrong girl’!
Despite having to constantly worry about blood sugar levels, insulin shots, pump therapy, carbohydrate counting, correction boluses, snacks, meals, exercise, hypos, future complications coupled with holding down a stressful full time job in clinical research, and juggling these with everyday life, I am fulfilling an amazing life. Yes I love life and I appreciate every day of it! I have never felt that my condition has stopped me from doing anything (well if it has, I have always found a way to get around it!!!). As long as my blood glucose levels are on track and with a bit of forward thinking I CAN do almost anything. I have travelled extensively around the world, done a bungee jump, scuba dived, volunteered at an elephant orphanage, done a few experiments with my diabetes (not recommended!) and maybe done some other crazy adrenalin pumping things that shouldn’t be mentioned here! So for me there was really only one thing left to do (well except climbing Kilimanjaro!), A skydive!!!!!
In December 2014, Dr C and I travelled around the globe and decided what better place to throw ourselves out of a plane than in the extreme sports capital, Queenstown, New Zealand. Dr C (he volunteered!) and I jumped 9,000 feet over Lake Wakatipu on 23rd December 2014. My main inspiration for this was that where I have lived a great life with Diabetes, I was shocked to hear of the very negative experiences from other people with Type 1 Diabetes. This is partially down to other people’s attitudes towards them and misconceptions of the condition. I guess this stems from their lack of knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes. Raising money for DUK was my goal!
Over the past few years, I have worked hard to educate the Asian community about the condition spurring me on to get the message out there to a wider audience. I wanted to help Diabetes UK to educate and raise awareness that having Type 1 Diabetes means you CAN do anything. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Just because you have this condition doesn’t mean you can’t eat sweets (As 29% of people thought in a recent survey). You just gotta inject that insulin for all the carbohydrate you eat! It is NOT cheating; just think how your pancreas works. Makes perfect sense to me!
I hope that my story can inspire people with Type 1 Diabetes to go and live their dreams and know that Diabetes UK is a great charity and their support is invaluable. My brief was quite specific – I wanted the generous sponsorship money that was being donated to go towards increasing education sessions of the disease. All Type 1 Diabetics should have the same quality of life that I have been so fortunate to have had and continue to have. The sky really was the limit for me!
If you’re in Queenstown and fancy chucking yourself out into freefall for pleasure or for another cause (I actually enjoyed it, Yes, I’m a bit crazy but I would do it again tomorrow!!) just as I did then be sure to contact the NZone team.
I would really love to read your comments below if you or someone you know has Type I Diabetes. This is most definitely a subject very close to my heart. What adrenaline pumping things are you into and does your Diabetes ever hinder you from doing anything?
Queenstown 5 Shotover St
Tel: +64 3-442 5867
For more information contact have a peruse of the N Zone Skydive Website
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