D is for Diagnosis – Lucy Thomas
I was 13 when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – not that it was a straightforward diagnosis in the slightest! During October half term, 1998, on holiday in France I developed the most outrageous thirst which refused to go away – this continued for about 6 weeks, gradually getting worse and worse. Neither my mum nor I knew this was a symptom and on top of that I was having a really awful time at school and my mum was convinced I was ‘putting it on’ to get time off.
Eventually it go so bad (as well as the thirst there was severe weight loss, vomiting and the most horrific tiredness!) that mum took me to the doctors who said (and I remember this clearly) ‘I don’t think it’s diabetes it’s more likely to be something with the stomach’ and told my mum to take me to our nearest A&E which was 45 minutes away in Truro. The drive there was one of the longest of my life, little did I know but by this point I was slipping in and out of consciousness (I thought I was just sleepy) and the drive there consisted of my mum shouting ‘Lucy stay awake!!!!’.
A morning in A&E including X-Rays, ultra-scans and some blood tests confirmed there was nothing wrong with my stomach – it was Type 1 Diabetes and one of the worst cases the doctors at Treliske had ever seen, apparently. I was whisked off to a children’s ward connected to all sorts of machines and told by the nurses ‘look you’ve got a lovely bed by the window’. By this point I was beyond caring and just wanted to lay down, which I did and quickly slipped into a coma for about 24 hours before coming round to the doctors telling my mum that she was lucky she bought me in when she did as I probably wouldn’t have made it to the weekend.
However all of this would have been avoided had my family and I known about the symptoms but we just thought, who goes to the doctor if they’re thirsty! Now of course I’m fully educated in the matter and can never stop going into a slight panic when one of my friends declares that they’re really thirsty.
15 years on and I rarely give my diabetes a second thought – it’s now just part of my daily routine and whilst it does sometimes present it’s challenges it’s certainly never stopped me doing anything!
The one positive thing that came out of having such a dramatic diagnosis is the fact that I never want to feel that ill again. It was awful and the immense delight of feeling better was so overwhelming that ever since I’ve done everything I can to make sure I don’t jeopardise my health, to make sure I’m never that ill again.
It’s just not worth it.