A message to young diabetic rebels by The Corn Flake Traveller
My recent trip to South Africa was epic; it was a beautiful country, with a fascinating history and an abundance of fascinating looking animals. I found the people to be friendly, level-headed, with a great spirit and desire for freedom; for this reason I made many friends and my experience with one of them inspired me to write this blog.
She told me about a school friend who was worrying her and as we drove South from the diamond capital of the world on our way to film an earth-ship, she gave me details. I was pretty shocked to hear her friend would go days without injecting. On one occasion she hadn’t injected in a week and Kayla had to persuade her to inject something. She does monthly blood tests and not surprisingly they are usually in the 30s. “It’s like she’s not even diabetic and she’s pretending she doesn’t have it – any pleas from family and friends to take care of herself are just ignored”.
It sounds like she either can’t face being diabetic or just doesn’t care, but either way I thought I would write about my experience growing up in the hope that she will read it and sort herself out.
I had some pretty rebellious periods during my teenage years where I would slip in and out of varying states of denial and have a nonchalant attitude towards keeping good control so I can empathise with why she does what she does. Looking back into my teenage mind I think it was hard for me as a 13 and 14 year old to even comprehend being grey and wrinkly so I just didn’t care when I was told ‘if you don’t have good control you will lose a leg or kidney when you get to 60’, it was too far into the future.
If I could talk to my young self I would say, you might not imagine being old but you better hope you make it that far and if you’re lucky enough to reach that age do you want to be elderly and full of life or elderly and waiting to die. There were also times when I just didn’t like being told what to do: I would think “don’t eat cake, you must be crazy, it’s lush…. balls to you I’ll eat what I want” so I wouldn’t monitor my bloods and would eat junk food. Regarding this issue I wouldn’t have much to say to my younger self as I still really hate being told what to do but I would say if you do eat sweet stuff monitor your blood sugar levels more often.
I think the main reason I had these reckless periods was I didn’t like the repetitive, controlled way I was told I needed to live my life. Having to inject and eat at set times so every day was the same and constantly having to think about blood sugar levels and carb content in foods made life feel robotic. So I would get bored of the routine and just get on with life and consequently my diabetes would become less stable. But even during these rebellious moments I was still aware deep down that I was cutting my nose off to spite my face and after awhile I chose to learn about the damage I could do to my body.
Being told that I would probably have a reduced lifespan made me develop my attitude towards life that I’m here for a good time not a long time but I also figured out that a good-long time would be best so I decided to do the very best I could to keep myself as well controlled as possible. So I guess I’m here for a good time and as long as possible but having a good time comes first. During my teenage years I changed my insulin intake from 2 to 4 jabs a day and using the fast and slow-acting treatment gave me much more flexibility. This was one of the most influential things in giving me more freedom and feeling less robotic encouraged me take better care of myself.
So I guess my message to young rebels would be – Yes your body is incredibly resilient and you are young so it has an incredible ability to heal but don’t get too cocky and don’t push it too far, your body is all your mind has got. And if you don’t care about your body then really you are not caring about life and having travelled in 76 different countries and experience so many things, I would suggest you give yourself plenty of time and a healthy body to explore this beautiful planet you find yourself on.