Diagnosis… by Helen Whitehouse


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Weirdly, the main thing I remember about year 7 is how much I hated the bus from school. Mainly because it seemed to take millions of years, but also because I constantly was the nerdy little one who never ever got a seat and then would just linger at the front. But this one day I was never as glad to see the bus in my life.

It was January, it was freezing, I was aching and my hands where raw because I was carrying my pizza home from cooking so I couldn’t put them in my pockets. I flopped down in the seat, exhausted. I remember my mind focusing out, only clicking back into place when I realised we were at my stop. I struggled off with my bag ( at the time, seemed to be half my height and weight) and my pizza, seemingly knocking into everything on the way. It was only when I pulled the door handle to see my mum stood there with her car keys that I remembered we were going to the doctors…

That night was the 15th of January 2007, when I got diagnosed with type one diabetes.. People are always quite shocked that I remember the exact date, but if I am honest with you its only because I had a note in my school planner telling me I had to bring cooking ingredients. I had been not right, but not noticeably ill for a while.

I was constantly sleepy, had headaches and I was drinking so much you would walk into the kitchen and see ten different half full glasses lined up on the surface. But as an 11 year old, I did not notice these vital signs to be diabetes. My parents, however, did. I got sorted out so fast I was never seriously showing symptoms. I met my diabetic team straight away, learnt to inject with both a syringe and a pen, tested my ketones and my sugars myself.

I suppose I wanted to get back to normal. I wanted to be back at school and, even though I had only missed just over a week, when I went back everything had changed. Well it seemed to have. I no longer could just linger in the canteen with my friends all dinner, suddenly it was consumed by injecting. But you adapt, don’t you? You get diagnosed with diabetes but you also get given this special ability to adapt.

Now, I am in year 10. I have grown up from being a bewildered year seven to my own person. Diabetes has made me independent, even though sometimes it seems like a burden I think that I have, in a weird way, benefited from it in a way that you wouldn’t be able to understand unless you have been through it. I love going to concerts, right up at the front near the stage and I still manage to find time to slot my night time insulin in before carrying on with my life. Cause its just what you have to do and there’s no point moaning about it.

At first, I was worried about how my life would turn out living with diabetes. But now I know that I control the diabetes, it doesn’t control me.

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Thanks for the comments (:
Well, doing injections in weird places is one of the best parts- and the weird looks you get!! I have done the veggie burger/festival routine- it takes the upmost skill when the rain is pouring down upon you, your precious warming food and injector pen…

…And doing injections is really a big step- if you put it into context its a bit surreal. But its just reflex action when you get used to it…My friends find it quite cool…

Really looking forward to your blog as you are the closest in age to my 10 year old daughter – who found out on 25th September (just gone) that she has type 1. At least we have this time in getting used to it before she goes on to secondary school – where she will have even more responsibilities for looking after herself. She has done the blood testing but as yet not the insulin pen ( not good to be squeemish and have Diabetes!) but she will get there I am sure!

I too was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007 but was 35 at the time! I’m so impressed by children & young people who get on with dealing with this condition & learn to cope so well & so quickly.

Like you, I live my life first & I control my diabetes rather than be controlled. I have injected in strange places including whilst standing up trying to eat a veggie burger with one hand, getting needles sorted out in the other in the Glastonbury mud.

It can sometimes get the better if me, when the highs & lows get in the way. But I always pick myself up & get on with it again. That’s jyst what we have do, right?!

Keep up the blogging – I hope you inspire other young people with diabetes.