On Sunday my boyfriend, Bobby and I had the pleasure of attending ‘Keep Calm, I’m Only Diabetic’ at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in Islington. The show is a stand up performance by my new friend Jonsel Gourkan and will be touring more venues around the UK throughout the year.
I have mentioned Jonsel in a previous blog. He is the author of ‘Diabetes Won’t Defeat Us’ which I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of the final draft before it was published. Very exciting indeed! ‘Keep Calm, I’m Only Diabetic’ is based on Jonsel’s book ‘Diabetes Won’t Defeat Us’ and it’s safe to say that it was brilliant!
After I first discovered Jonsel, which happened to be via Diabetes UK’s Instagram story, I decided to get in touch with him as I could see that we had a lot in common. Jonsel and myself are both Actors with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s very rare to find someone with Type 1 in the same boat as you who’s so easily accessible! It’s not every day that you come across another Actor with Diabetes in your every day life, so when I saw Jonsel on Instagram I leapt at the opportunity to get in touch!
From the outset Jonsel was really open, friendly and supportive and told me that I could get in contact anytime to talk about anything, especially if I needed any advice regarding Diabetes. It was lovely for me to strike up this very new friendship as I am always excited to meet other Type 1s and get to know them. It’s so important to learn from each other and to offer support and advice as it’s a daily reminder that you are not alone in your journey.
I had seen on Instagram that Jonsel has previously performed his stand up show at the end of 2017 and that I had missed performances due to being away performing panto. It wasn’t long before he announced that he was performing in Islington in January, so I was very chuffed that I would be able to go!
As always, Bobby, as supportive as ever, came along with me. I have said this before, but I am honestly so very lucky to have such a supportive and caring boyfriend who really understands the seriousness and importance of my Diabetes. It really does make such a difference.
The show had a great turn out for a small Pub Theatre venue. It was great to see the varieties of people who had come to see and support the show. The show was brilliant and very funny. Jonsel is a natural entertainer and really delivered the show with great comic timing and compassion. The show was very similar to Jonsel’s book and even had new material which I hadn’t previously read, so that was a great surprise. It’s so insightful to hear about someone else’s life with Diabetes and how they have dealt with living with the condition. Jonsel told some very scary and very funny stories regarding his Diabetes and it’s safe to say that he definitely experiences wacky hypos in comparison to me!
He has been diagnosed for much longer than I have (27/28 years) and has experienced an awful lot during that time. As funny as the show was, it was shocking to hear about how many times Jonsel had been assumed “weak” for having Diabetes or had been mistaken for a drug user when seen injecting. It really does ring true that the world needs to be educated when it comes to Diabetes. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; Diabetes is heavily stigmatised and people need to know what it really is.
On another note, as much as Diabetes is such a serious condition, it was nice to be able to see Jonsel poke fun at himself and the bizarre hypo experiences he has had. He really did make us laugh! Regardless of being able to poke fun and make jokes about it, Jonsel always reminded us about how important it is to look after yourself as a Type 1. So it was a great mixture of tones that balanced well throughout the show.
After the show the majority of the audience waited downstairs in the bar to have a chat, meet or catch up with Jonsel. It was so lovely to finally meet him in the flesh and it was as if we had been friends for a long time. He is so friendly, sociable and easy to get along with. We also discovered (much to Bobby’s delight) that he is a huge wrestling fan!
I had the absolute pleasure of Jonsel introducing me to other fellow Diabetics, Emma and Eric! Emma lives and works in London and trained as a dancer before she decided to change her career path and Eric was over in London on business, and is actually from Dallas. Emma and Eric had actually met each other prior to Jonsel’s show as they have both joined @typeonerun and had done a London run the day before the show! It was actually the first ever run for the London @typeonerun group. How fab! They were telling me about @typeonerun and it’s definitely something I would love to get involved with! Fingers crossed I can get myself involved with the group.
I also felt very inspired that evening to try something new. After talking to Emma about injection sites, she told me that I should try injecting in my legs. I have been diabetic for 11 years now and for every single day for 11 years I have only ever injected in my stomach. After getting so used to injecting in my stomach, the idea of injecting anywhere else freaked me out – not going to lie. I knew however, that the day would come where I would have to inject elsewhere when I eventually decide to get pregnant. Bobby has actually suggested a few times before Emma did that I should try injecting in my legs, but I always just felt freaked out. However, after a few wines and further encouragement from Bobby on our way home, I decided to give it a go. So on Sunday night I began injecting insulin into my legs and this is definitely a great achievement for me! It felt weird. My legs were probably in shock and were wondering what on Earth was going on, but I’m very glad I took the plunge. It’s fantastic knowing that I have choices now for where I can inject because I’m not too scared to do it. My legs are bruised already though, which doesn’t look great, but hopefully they will become accustomed to it soon and the bruises will clear up. At least it gives my stomach a rest for a while!
I also just want to say a massive thank you to the response I received on Twitter after I tweeted about injecting in my legs for the first time. The Diabetic community really are the most supportive people. I had so many positive and helpful comments tweeted my way and it was brilliant. So, thank you again.
All in all, it’s safe to say that Jonsel gave us such a brilliant show and gave me the opportunity to further my Diabetic friendship circle. I am very thankful for all of this and I hope that I stay in contact with my new friends. I’m sure we will! Fingers crossed for some diabetic catch ups!