I’d been thinking for a long while about starting a blog based on the trials and tribulations of my life living with Diabetes and being an Actor – so here it begins.
I want to start by telling you my Diabetes story. For some of you, you may already know this story, or you might actually feature in it! For others (especially if you are a fellow Diabetic) I think sharing your diagnosis story is important, we are all in the same boat at the end of the day.
The day everything changed…
When I was 16 years old, I started feeling quite unlike myself. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time for when my symptoms began, as to be honest, it’s all very much a blur. However, I started beginning to feel an unquenchable thirst which would bring me to stand in the kitchen at 3am drowning my body in pint after pint of water. Obviously, I didn’t have a clue why I was so thirsty, but the immediate reaction to drinking so much liquid is the inevitable feeling of needing the toilet. I would find myself getting up during the night 3,4 even 5 times to go.
Whilst the excessive drinking/weeing situation was going on, I also started to lose weight. I ended up losing 1 stone in 2 weeks. NOT HEALTHY. At the time, I initially didn’t really notice the weight loss as I was a rather lithe 16 year old and it was difficult for my parents to see it too as they saw me everyday. Oh, and finally my vision started to go – I don’t mean I was completely unable to see, but I would sit in the classroom absolutely unable to see what was written on the whiteboard. At the time, I would have to ask my friend Katie if I could copy off what she’d written.
The symptoms were all there, but as an average 16 year old girl who had never encountered Diabetes before, I had absolutely no idea that it could be the reason for all my discomfort.
I remember being in the queue for lunch at School and saying to my best friend, Dave (who to this day is still my best friend) that I was thirsty all the time. “That’s a symptom of Diabetes you know” he told me. “Don’t be stupid, I don’t have Diabetes.” I quickly dismissed his comment, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t constantly play on my mind.
The more I thought about what Dave had said, the more the weight of his comment consumed me and eventually curiosity got the better of me. One night at around midnight, whilst my Mum and Dad were sleeping, I decided to go onto the Diabetes UK website and look at the symptoms. This was all the evidence I needed. Right there in front of my eyes was a list, of which I could tick off four. I ran across the landing and burst into my parent’s bedroom shouting through tears that I had Diabetes. Thoroughly startled my Mum and Dad didn’t really know what was going on. They asked me why I thought that and I explained about going onto the website and seeing that I had four of the symptoms. They eventually managed to calm me down and said we would book a Doctors appointment for the following day.
To this day, my Mum and I still find it ironic that the Doctors appointment that changed my life was scheduled for 9.50am, which is also coincidentally the exact time I was born.
So that was that. I went to the Doctors, they took a urine sample and found that I did indeed have an extremely high amount of sugar in my urine, and I needed to be sent to hospital immediately. In hospital they checked my blood sugar of which the outcome was 27.0mmols. This is extremely high. (If you think someone without Diabetes has a blood sugar reading of around 4.0 – 6.0mmols.)
I was kept in hospital overnight, with a drip in one arm filled with water to try and hydrate my severely dehydrated body and a drip in the other arm filled with insulin.
Everything happened so quickly, I felt like I went from knowing nothing to knowing as much as I possibly could about Diabetes in the space of 24 hours. I’m not going to lie – it was utterly terrifying. I felt like I was inside a snow globe that had been aggressively shaken, leaving nothing but destruction behind. My Mum and Dad were beside themselves with shock and partly blamed themselves for not noticing the symptoms in me sooner. Never once in my life would I blame them. They are my absolute rocks and inspiration. I can’t really speak from experience, but you would go to the end of the Earth and back for your child/children and you would do anything to take away the “bad stuff” in their lives.
I had to learn how to check my blood sugar and inject myself with insulin immediately. Everything just went from there. I was now a Diabetic and I had so many things to think about. As I was trying to take control of my condition, I couldn’t quite eat exactly what I wanted to I felt very limited and sad. It took rather a long time to get used to the whole idea.
What solidified my determination to succeed and get a hold of my condition was something my friend Katie said to me. “To be honest, it’s probably best that this happened to you. You’re one of the only ones who could deal with it.”
And that, is exactly what I am doing. I’m not only dealing with it, but I’m living with it and getting on with my life. I was diagnosed on the 28th December 2006 so thus far I have lived with it for over a decade.
I think it’s safe to say that Diabetes has taken a big part in my life, but I’m dealing with it just fine.