When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you diabetes… Don’t! By Eden Milne, September 2015
We’ve all heard the media horror stories, but what’s it really like to have diabetes?
For me, 2013 was a good year, I met the love of my life as I was finishing my master’s and we started planning our life together. I was a carefree, fun loving 25 year old.
Scott and I just booked Vegas when it all started to go wrong. I noticed I’d started drinking around 8-10 litres a day, running to the toilet and becoming highly irritable. I was doing my best to ignore these symptoms but having a nurse for a mum was no help because after months of being on my case, she finally succeeded and dragged me to the doctor. A few blood tests later and my doctor was telling me it looked like I was diabetic but they had no idea what type yet.
I was in shock!
The thought of being dependent on insulin and injecting myself for the rest of my life was unbelievable, so I was wishing for a type 2 diagnosis thinking I could rectify my lifestyle to get rid of it. But on Christmas Eve I was sitting in front of a very experienced diabetic nurse who thought insulin was the only choice. My blood sugar was so high, she even thought she might have to admit me, my HbA1c (measures average blood glucose) was 124, I was told a normal person was 20-41.
This was where I broke down, I’d kept it together so far but the thought of spending Christmas in hospital was scary, I’d never been admitted for anything before.
Thankfully this wasn’t going to be my first time and I was sent on my way with my new blood glucose monitor and an emergency prescription for insulin. This was going to be my new best friend that came bloody everywhere. Gone were the days of going to a gig with just my car keys and phone in my pocket. I went through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and mourned my good health and all the other little things. The guilt set in and I began to question what I could have done to prevent this. Where did I go so wrong? I’d grown up with a good diet, fresh homemade meals so why did my pancreas decide to pack up and move on leaving me behind?!
From what I knew, more adults in their 20’s and 30’s were given a type 1 diagnosis and many believed it was from all the added unnecessary extras being put in everything we eat and drink now. So did that mean it wasn’t anything I’d specifically done?
I felt a mess, mentally and physically but the support I got was awesome. Scott and my mum kept me sane, my nurse kept me realistic and my friends were amazing. I lost some along the way but the true ones prevailed and were simply there when I needed them.
So where am I now…
I’m married and I have a daughter with my husband. And along my journey the words “have your family before your 30 for the sake of your health” rocked me. I still have so much to learn about my diabetes and unfortunately I moved away from home and so lost my nurse along the way. The Edinburgh hospitals have no clue and offer little help. They still haven’t taught me how to carb count, so here I am nearly two years into my diabetes winging it, but the good news is, I don’t blame myself and I genuinely believe diabetes was coming my way, wanted or not!
There’s no need to feel sorry for myself, I’ve had my pity party so now I’m getting on with my healthier life: exercise, healthy diet and extreme sports! It’s not what we’re given that defines us, it’s how we cope with what we’re given!