November 2016: World T1D month. 

As I’m sure you’re well aware, November is type 1 diabetes awareness month. For us diabetics it’s usually a time of celebrations, because we got through another year with T1D and we’re still in one piece. However for me, about this time every year since I started high school I seem to have some sort of break down. I just can’t seem to cope with it anymore! Maybe it’s caused by the new academic year and all the changes it brings, maybe just because it is November and it’s a month of diabetes positivity. But I thought I would revisit the first time having type 1 really hit me hard, November 2012. (Year 8, second year of high school and in the middle of gaining my independence with T1.)

I wrote this little piece on my mums’ timeline, so it was my first taste of putting my thoughts down on a page. It isn’t written very well and I apologise for that but it certainly gets the message across:

“this is jessica here. mum told me to write this on her account because none of my friends would understand.

I’ve had a really bad day – really bad. i think i must’ve cried 3 times? 4 times? it all started when we went to hastings to do some shopping and, i forgot my test strips. yeah i was really angry with myself. as was mum when i told her. on the way home from hastings i started to explain how the simple things like making sure i had test strips, was forgotten. i check every morning i have the glucagon in case i need it. the strips get forgotten. so i can’t check whether i needed to use the glucagon or not. i was really angry with myself.

then i explained to mum, how, at school, i can’t be bothered to test, something else is going on and i want to be a part of it. also i can’t be bothered to look atmy pump when it starts to siren because ignored t. i don’t want to be different. having a test kit that lights me up and a pump that yells at me-it makes me different. i don’t want to be different i want to be normal. what’s worse is. my friends think it’s cool to be diabetic. i get to have an awesome beepy thing an awesome light-y upp-y thing and i eat sugar in class. that’s what i hate. why should they love it? they don’t understand. diabetes makes me stick out like a sore thumb. my friends think it’s fun when I test when i’m hypo bacause i talk rubbish. but i don’t like having to rely on a machine to tell me if i’m ok. my friend hannah – she feels sick , she goes to the medical room and goes home has medicine… mum said but that is totally differnt. i said yeah but if i feel ill like that i have to test my blood to check i wont collapse in the next few minutes. it’s the same situation but i have to deal with it so differently. i wish i was like hannah. but i’m not. i’ll never be. because the diabetes will never go, i can’t escape – ever and i know that. i can only dream. and in my dreams i have the perfect life. a life without diabetes. 

going back wards a bit i said i couldn’t be bothered to test or do my pump right and everything. i said also if i talked to joe solo (ffl) i would say yeah i promise to test. but actually the next day i would totally break that promise and not do my morning test because relying on that machine to tell me if i ok, singles me out. it’s horrible. i’m thankful that frederick banting created insulin otherwise i probably wouldn’t be here, but really diabetes kills. and most of the time – i’m scared. but because i haven’t collapsed say in the middle of cooking class or something because i haven’t tested. i can’t believe that would ever happen. 

mum and i sat down and talked to me how we were normal and my friends were the odd ones, i agreed.but tomorrow i will be just as different as yesterday. and i will feel just as different as yesterday. she can try to let me test less use the sensor and that. but really she can’t take away the diabetes, she can’t. i will be attached by a tube to a machine that keeps me alive for the rest of my life, i will be sticking needles in myself forever.

sorry it’s long but i’ve had a really bad day. xx”

I was 12 then. But 4 years later aged 16, it hasn’t really changed that much. Of course what I hate about and struggle with with diabetes changes and evolves with me – maturing, expanding and shifting with every new obstacle. At 12 years old driving and university were barely even on my radar and yet now they are a huge part of my life (or more precisely, getting them into my life is a big part of my life!) and at the other end of the spectrum the idea of being different has completely  fallen off my list of priorities in recent years. 

But the core of the problems is always the same. I dislike having diabetes. I cannot get rid of it or fix it. Essentially, I am sick of being ‘sick’. This time of year these feelings crop up in different forms, presenting with new feelings and I’m not afraid to say my care slides. I am struggling, as I always seem to this time of year. 

So November is a time of diabetics celebrating life, showing the world that we can and will beat diabetes over and over again because that’s what we do. Eating plenty of cake and absolutely kicking diabetes’ butt as we love doing. November challenges me, pushing me to get better at what I do and how I cope. World diabetes month is hard for me, but I’ll get through it. And I know this because I’ve done it before. 

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from indomitable will.” – Ghandi. 

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7 thoughts on “November 2016: World T1D month. 

  1. As a younger man, I felt the same way. These days (42 years later) I have no idea what I would do if I were not PWD.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of October 31, 2016

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  2. Oh Jess you’ve brought tears to my eyes, thank you so much for sharing this. My son is now the same age as you were when you wrote the original post, so much of this i see in him now, primary school was a breeze when he was diagnosed and surrounded with friends he’d had since he was 3. His move to Secondary School has really highlighted all the the points you raise, yes his care has slipped, I’ve had to learn to compromise expecting perfection from him now is something that won’t happen so I tend to take over much of the care at home to make life as easy as possible for now. Your post has given me hope, and I thank you for that, it’s the being different that he struggles with most and I hope he evolves in the same way you have. Well done and congratulations on becoming the remarkable young woman you are.

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    • Thank you so much. Secondary school seems to do this to all diabetics it seems! Diabetes sucks but he’ll get through it.

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  3. Thank you for hitting me straight between the eyes. I can so easily forget all the hell my 14 year old is going through when he forgets his stuff and drives me up the wall. I hate diabetes and I wish it was mine not my two boys. Thank you Jess. Sorry this doesn’t make sense. I’m bawling my eyes out just now! Xxx

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  4. I’d love you to meet Maddie one day Jess. I send her your blogs, because I think sometimes they will help her feel like I understand what she’s going through, when actually, even though I’m her mum, I can’t possibly know the full extent of how she feels. I think she’d like you, and your realness around diabetes. She is 12 now, in year 7, and I can see how much she has on her plate, and how much diabetes gets in her way. It doesn’t help that it has been crazy to control recently. I really feel for her when she’s having to intervene so much. Then it must feel exhausting, and what 12 year old wouldn’t feel down about it? Thank you for this post.

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    • I’d love to meet Maddie one day. Year 7 is so hard because of the huge life change and having T1 just makes it harder, but everyone gets through it eventually xx

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