The day that didn’t change my life – by Helen May


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20th January 2004. A date I will never forget. It was definitely the not the happiest day of my life but seven years later, I don’t think of it as a bad day. Just as Olly was saying, he remembers the day when his son was diagnosed with diabetes, I too remember the day I was diagnosed.

I don’t want to dwell on the downs and downs (I don’t remember any ups that day). I think instead of how lucky we are that modern medicine has progressed so we can be diagnosed and we can be treated.

As I have said before, from the start, I was told diabetes should not stop me doing anything. I have continued to walk, run, climb, cycle, date, slob (yes, I do have my days doing not a lot), holiday in new and exotic locations, try out new exciting activities, … I continue to live my life.

Yes, there have been small changes to my life. Most of these are things diabetes has led me to do rather than not do: take this blog for example. I think the biggest day to day change is carrying a handbag everywhere I go. I still don’t know what the average woman drags around with here day to day but I now join in with a bag of insulin pens, needles, lancets, meter and dextrose.

So in celebration of handbags, I always mark 20th January. Given the proximity to the most depressing day of the year, I’ve never have trouble finding friends to join me. We have had a slap-up dinner, just been out for a few drinks, celebrated in a spa and, one year, thirty friends and I spent a weekend in the country together.

This year, I haven’t decided how I’ll be marking the date but join me in a toast to modern medicine, the discovery of insulin, handbags and how my discovery on 20th January 2004, didn’t change my life.

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Glad to read diabetes is not holding us or our children back. I don’t think of diabetes as doom and gloom and determined to prove you can have diabetes and a lust for life.

I love to read I’m not the only on ecelebrating “Diabetes-Day”. Just a note of caution, Bethan: like you, at first, I was drawn to diabetic chocolate but after tasting it, I read more. Good ole Diabetes UK are my diabetes bible and I now follow their advice that it does not offer any specific benefits (http://www.diabetes.org.uk/In_Your_Area/N_Ireland/News/April-2010-News-Releases/). Now I enjoy good quality, nice tasting real chocolate … which probably costs the same as diabetic chocolate. (Just a thought for next year’s Diabetes Day!)
Mmmmm – now I’m feeling hungry.

Mike, you asked about travel insurance. Luckily, I have never been refused travel insurance. On the other hand as soon as I found out I had diabetes, I followed the advice of Diabetes UK and used their travel insurance. Yes, it is more expensive but most other insurers will cover you for everything but diabetes. In my mind, this is the bit of my health most likely to go wrong so I am not willing to take insurance where it is not covered and expect to pay more when the insurers are taking the risk.

So lovely to see a positive outlook instead of doom and gloom. Two of my four children aged 12 and 14 have type 1, and they live active, full lives, my son spending every spare minute mountain biking. He heads off for the day with his friends equipped with all his necessary medical supplies, plenty of snacks and Lucozade, and a lust for life.
I too am grateful and appreciative of the medical care and advice which we receive, and which makes having type 1 manageable.

Hi Mike,

Sure Helen will pop in to give advice about this from her point, but we offer insurance services for people with diabetes so you might want to get in touch with them, at least see how you get on. You can call them on 0800 731 7431 and there’s a bit more info on our site too.

Hope you have a wonderful cruise, and happy birthday to your wife!

Diabetes UK

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on Monday of this week.

Although I was expecting the bad news since having a series of fasting blood tests (aren’t they a pain!) it still came a s a disappointment to be fiomally told.

Coupled with the fact that we are going on a cruise, in April 2011, to celebrate my wife’s 50th birthday and when we applied for travel insurance we were told that I could not be insured by that particular company you do start to feel treated as second class.

I’ve noticed from your blog that you are active abroad could I ask who you get insured with and are they expensive?

I love this, my boyfriend was diagnosed with Type 1 little over a year ago now, we marked it as his “Diabetes Day”. He got a card and some diabetic chocolate :) Even though the day he was diagnosed was one of the most scary and horrible days, it was good to celebrate how far he’s come a year on.