Living with type 1 diabetes can be extremely challenging, however, it’s important to embrace the positives of the condition.
Ellie, founder of a successful type 1 diabetes blog, does this by educating others about the condition and raising awareness.
In Ellie’s first post for telmenow.com, she talks about when she was first diagnosed with the condition and how type 1 diabetes inspired her to raise awareness…
I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes since I was 11 years old. My diagnosis was the first experience I would have of the way people handle type 1 and the education, or lack of, that there was and still is surrounding it.
My GP didn’t diagnose me properly, even after a fasting blood test of 16mmols he wanted to do another blood test in a couple of days. Thankfully my mum is smart and bought me a blood sugar meter so we could keep an eye on my levels…a day later, the meter read ‘HI’ meaning that my blood sugar was over 33mmols and, before I knew it, I was in hospital being officially told: “You have type 1 diabetes”.
I think from that moment on, knowing the discrepancy that surrounded my diagnosis and knowing that people, especially healthcare professionals, should be educated on type 1 diabetes to a far greater degree. I soon realised that things could have ended up a whole lot worse for me, no thanks to the GP.
‘I was bitten by the awareness bug!’
From the moment I was diagnosed I took it under my wing, took it on the chin and carried on with my life, all while adjusting to a new routine.
In Year 8 at school I had to go to the office to do my insulin injections because they had the sharps bin in there.
My friends would take turns coming in to watch me test my blood sugar and inject and sometimes I liked to scare them by pretending to jab them with my needle.
It was rather amusing watching them shriek in terror at a 2cm needle. That all went on for a while until I grew up and was confident enough to do it wherever I was at school.
I adopted the attitude of, even if people stared, just ignore them. Soon, I saw it as an opportunity to educate them instead.
After living with type 1 for just under three years, I started my blog. I wanted to get my attitude and my ideas and awareness out to a wider audience.
It was all well and good educating everyone around me but what if I could do more? What if I could get lots more people to listen to me? And I did just that.
A blog to educate others whilst also being a diary…
After just a few months, my blog reached 10,000 views and it’s got over 85,000 views to date.
It isn’t just a platform for raising awareness but it’s also my diary. It’s where I get to vent about my frustrations, all while teaching people what a life with type 1 consists of.
I’ve been to Parliament a few times with JDRF and Diabetes UK on separate occasions – I’ve done speeches, I’ve been a professional blogger for Diabetes UK at the Diabetes Professional Conference, I have done lots to raise awareness and continue to do so and welcome any opportunity to.
I suppose you could say that being a voice for people, being the one that is willing to stand up and do a speech to MP’s on behalf of everyone with type 1 diabetes, to be someone who went to Glasgow to get the word about the talks at DPC16 out to the wider diabetes community, and so much more, has given me a purpose.
‘I decided to do something with my diabetes.’
I didn’t want to sit around and let diabetes get the better of me.
Living with type 1 diabetes is hard though. It’s tough and you would be lying if you said you’re type 1 diabetic and never experienced some degree of burnout.
Despite me raising awareness and doing all that I do to get type 1 diabetes in the spotlight, I have been through diabetes burnout many a time and I guess that has helped me understand both sides of a life with type 1, having tight control and having no control.
Testing your blood sugar 5+ times a day, insulin pump site changes, insulin injections, carbohydrate counting, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, shakiness, thirst, tiredness, all things that type 1 diabetics go through on a daily basis and it’s not easy.
It’s 24/7, 365 days a year. I guess what I’m trying to say in this blog for you all is that, the struggles diabetes can put you through can be hard ones to muster but it’s worth it, because after all the routine that is living with type 1 diabetes is life.
Insulin is what keeps us alive. So take the struggle, take the new life that you are now living because of type 1 diabetes and try to find the positives.
They’re there, I promise, you just have to be willing to look for them.
Raise awareness, be a voice, campaign for an area of diabetes that you feel passionate about and maybe our struggles with diabetes can make change.
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