100 things – by Maria Evans
Maria Evans is Senior Marketing & Communications Executive at Diabetes UK, and was part of the team that sourced tips for ‘100 things I wish I’d known about living with diabetes.’ Maria has had Type 1 diabetes for 20 years.
100 things I wish I’d known about diabetes – after 20 years of living with diabetes are there really any undiscovered pearls of wisdom? Turns out there are – and lots of them!
When you have Type 1 you live in a bit of a bubble, of carb counting and bolusing, of hypos and unexplained highs, and of frustration that no one understands diabetes like you do. But whether you have Type 1, Type 2 or any form of diabetes, whatever the differences (and yes there are big differences!), everyone faces the same frustrations, fears and confusion at some point. And that’s why this book is so great. A tip is a tip, wherever it comes from, and there are some fantastic ones in there.
We spoke to people at Living with Diabetes Days, asked about sex on Facebook (definitely one way to liven up a Thursday afternoon), and emailed our supporters to ask for their tips on everything from travelling to school to relationships. And we had an amazing response, with over 1,100 tips submitted from over 500 people. At the start, I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to hear anything brand new. But the great thing about this book is that it helps you look at things in a different way, however long you’ve had diabetes.
Some of my personal favourites – “wash your feet as much as your face”. We know that one of the complications of diabetes is problems with your feet that can lead to amputation. That terrifying statistic of 135 amputations per week is great for gaining support for our cause but does nothing to motivate people with diabetes. But the simple mantra of “wash your feet as much as your face” always makes me smile and reminds me of the importance of foot care much more than a number ever will.
Another favourite is number 88 – “Even on a dull day, take your sunglasses with you when you go for eye screening”. A brilliant piece of advice and one that I didn’t fully appreciate until I forgot to take my sunglasses to my appointment – I won’t be making that mistake again!
What was really clear from the shortlisting process was the variety of tips that appealed to different people, and it was fantastic to be a part of. That’s why I’m confident that whether you’ve had diabetes for three months or 30 years, you’ll read something new, or something that jogs a long-forgotten memory or piece of information that is really quite brilliant.