The unexpected ending and overwhelming beginning by Natalie Welsh



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So it was coming up to the last few hand-in dates for my final year of university. It’s been an unforgettable time, to say the least! First year living alone, meeting and making some amazing friends and learning to be independent! Until the unexpected happened…

Feeling moody and under the weather – which is unlike me at all, I proceeded to the doctors. Only ever going if I’m extremely ill, and this time I most certainly was! Thinking I’d be given antibiotics and be on my way was the biggest understatement I could have ever made. I had been very wrong. On May 10 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Surprised. Shocked. Scared. The startling result made me speechless.

All explained after days of tiredness, blurry vision and an unbelievable thirst, (and ask any diabetic about the early symptoms and they will agree!) this was unpleasantly all too prominent to obtain a normal lifestyle. I had been grabbing anything I could get my hands on, including two litre bottles of fizzy drinks, six pints of milk and uncountable bottles of water. All gone in 24 hours which never really helped my penny saving pockets as a poor student! Just no drink was enough to quench this undying desire.

Packing my bags it all became very real at just how life changing this was going to be. With numerous counts of blood taking it was a surprise I had any left by the end of my hospital visit! Hooked up to three drips at a time this was unquestionably not where I wanted to be in my last few weeks of uni. I should have been out celebrating my first year of accomplishments!

I battled on and four days later I began to feel like my old happy-go-lucky self. Pumped full of insulin I was free from hospital but unfortunately it was straight to the diabetes health centre as it wasn’t over just yet. Eye tests, examinations and yet more blood taken! I was finally allowed home and was so excited to be reunited with everyone back at halls.

With no medical history, no awareness and no idea what was going on, the concept of diabetes to me was extremely vague. With the help of family, friends and a fantastic support system at the hospital it’s became the norm now, even after such a short time of being diagnosed. Information and understanding was extremely important to me and at the end of the day, knowledge is power.

And so my life of being an insulin-dependent diabetic has begun!

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Welcome to our exclusive club.
I hope you soon realise that your diagnosis is not life changing. There is nothing in “the Diabetes Handbook” (if only there was such a thing) which says you cannot continue your chosen, post-university path.