It’s not all Bad – by Helen May


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I have Type 1 diabetes and, currently, there is no cure. So it’s with me all the time. I can never forget about it: I am always responsible for my diabetes. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time it’s not an issue but, sometimes, I’d just like someone else to take responsibility.

Let me explain with an analogy: friends of mine with children are always responsible for their family. When the children spend time a weekend with their grand parents, the parents know they can have a break with someone else they trust looking after the family. The parents don’t forget they have children just like I don’t expect to forget I have diabetes; I would like some diabetes grandparents to look after it for a weekend.

I recently read an article describing this as “diabetes fatigue“:

“When you have diabetes, it can feel like your daily to-do list is endless. You’re tracking your blood sugars, medications, diet, and exercise. That can be a lot to take care of every day. It can make you feel burned out.”

One of the suggestions in the article to deal with this fatigue is to Think like an Optomist. So I gave it a go. Avoiding the trap of “it could be worse, it could be …”, I realised there are some good points about having diabetes. So here’s my Top Three Reasons Why Diabetes is Not All Bad.

1. I get something back from my taxes

I understand taxes: they fund roads, defence, education, benefit, healthcare … for everyone. I’m glad I live in a country where I know the state will look after me if I get into trouble. On the other hand, I rarely drive, I have no children and don’t get me started about the amount of money spent on defence. Until nine years ago, it seemed unfair. I know it’s childish. Tax is like an insurance not just for me but also for my friends and family. But I wanted some of it.

And now, I get value for money from my taxes: as well as all my prescriptions being covered, I get regular healthchecks. As Olly has written, whilst we are incredibly lucky to have the NHS, the service is varied. But to me, even mediocre service is better than nothing or having to pay to for it on top of our taxes.

OK, so there are some parts of this “insurance” that I would like better value for money: better service; not paying extortionate amounts for travel insurance; more investments into finding that cure for diabetes; .. but it feels good to get some thing back from my tax investment.

2. Instant recovery

As I wrote above, there is no known cure to diabetes. Which means I get hypos and I get hypers; when I am ill I need a meter to tell me if the problem is flu or just another hypo/hyper and if I get it wrong the long term consequences are pretty serious (heart disease, kidney disease, …).

When I am not ill, my body is sensitive to my blood sugar levels. If they are too high or too low, I get headaches, I have no energy, I want to go to sleep, I cannot concentrate. As soon as I realise I need to take a blood sugar reading and make the necessary correction (dextrose if I am too low or insulin if I am too high), I can feel back to normality within fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes is not quite instant but it’s pretty cool that I can go from feeling rubbish to great so quickly. Who needs sugar highs when you can make such a significant correction so quickly.

3. I’ve been introduced to new opportunities

Since being diagnosed with diabetes: I have gone back to studying through an Open University course; I have participated in a clinical trial; I have appeared on the radio; and I have this blog.

“But you could do all of those activities without diabetes”, I hear you say. True, I could but I didn’t for over 30 years of my life and diabetes was the catalyst. And who knows what else it is going to lead me towards?

There are still days when diabetes is a pain and, given the choice, I’d be happier without it.However, it’s not all bad: there are some benefits.

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i agree with everything your saying and i am not trying to be negative about things but what about people who are not getting taxes yet or are not studying yet for the younger generation i believe it can be harder, that is my thought personally