This past week has been a very interesting one for me when it comes to diabetes. Yes, interesting, exciting, and challenging. Let’s start at the very beginning…
So, last week some of the wonderful Diabetes UK team Ethan, Jon and Ben popped round to my flat to film a new video. (I did briefly mention this in my previous blog #FightForFlash.) They are currently filming a whole bunch of videos which are remakes of some very old “how to” videos that were definitely in need of an update. The old videos are very outdated and Diabetes UK wanted to make them more current, fresh and relatable by using actual diabetics – fancy that! I was very fortunate to be asked to take part and soon you’ll be able to see me in action teaching you ‘How to inject safely as an adult.’
The team and I had such a great day and we really flew through the shots and script (that’s working with an Actor for you!) Not only did we film the “how to” video, but Ethan recorded a little interview with me asking various questions about living with diabetes, how I was diagnosed, how I cope with it, things I find difficult etc. He also filmed me preparing my lunch on the day, which definitely made me feel like I was taking part on Come Dine With Me. Hopefully the video will be out soon and I’ll be able to cover my social media in the link for you all to watch. Watch this space!
I have been working non-stop over the past week or so. I have just worked day 9 of 16 in a row and I am definitely feeling it! However, I have been having a great time working at various different places with lots of variety, so that has definitely kept me on my toes. One of the jobs I’ve had this week has involved promoting the Taste of Bromley event. As part of the event, brochures are handed out which contain various vouchers for discounts off food and drink stores within the Glades Shopping Centre. There is also another offer involving the public spending £10 on food or drink and bringing their receipt to a stand in the centre to receive a free alcoholic or non-alcoholic ice pop!
Whilst working on this event I encountered a lovely couple who took time to have quite a long chat with me and it’s safe to say it was very insightful. They came into the centre and I informed them about the event and the ice lolly offer and the wife of the couple asked “do they have sugar in them?” to which I replied “yes, probably. Why, are you diabetic?” and, you guessed it, she said “yes”.
I told the couple that I was a type 1 and the wife told me that she had type 2. Herself and her husband seemed really taken aback when I told them that I was type 1. The husband actually said, “but, you look amazing, you’re glowing! You’re not overweight or anything like that!” This really does go to show how little people actually know about diabetes.
As always, I am quick to inform others of whats right and wrong when it comes to the stigmatising and misconceptions of diabetes. We talked for quite a while and the couple were very intrigued by what I had to say. I told them all about type 1 and it not being genetic and weight having nothing to do with it. I also told them about how being diagnosed with type 2 doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with weight either. I really do hate how everyone seems to automatically associate diabetes (generally) with weight and eating too much sugar. It really does infuriate me. I really do feel that the media has such a huge part to play in this ongoing misconception as they are constantly misleading and immensely informing the general public when it comes to what diabetes actually is. They really do lead people to think that it’s the wrong doings of the diabetic that have lead them to having diabetes. It really needs to be rectified.
The couple were also talking to me about what I can and can’t eat. I told them what I always tell people, “I can eat whatever I like, as long as I inject correctly for it.”
I think they really don’t quite know the difference between type 1 and 2. The wife was telling me how she controls her diabetes with her diet at the moment, which is the case for some type 2s. It really is very different to type 1. She also said how she was struggling to think about things to cook, so I told her that the Diabetes UK website has loads of great recipes which are fabulous for type 2 diabetics and she said she would definitely be looking into them.
After the couple had gone on their way, the girl who I’d been working with, Abbie, complimented me on how great it was that I could offer so much helpful information to the couple and that they definitely seemed to appreciate it. I felt like I’d really done a good deed.
At another job some workmates of mine have been individually getting really interested and intrigued about diabetes and have been asking me various questions to help themselves better understand the condition. I really do feel that it’s great that they’re asking questions and trying to learn about it. Some of them really do have an eagerness to learn more because they admit that they literally don’t know a thing about diabetes. Some of them don’t even know what diabetes is, never mind what it entails.
Any opportunity that I have to educate people on diabetes then I will grab it with both hands and run. I just believe that it’s so important that people are as clued up as possible. You never know if it’s going to happen to you. I definitely didn’t know that when I was 16 I was going to be diagnosed with diabetes and have to live with the condition for the foreseeable future. I really do wish that I had known something, anything, about it.
If you are diabetic and you feel confident talking about it then do it! Get talking and spread the word. Not only can you educate others by talking about diabetes, but you could really be helping another diabetic by getting them talking about their condition, especially if it’s something they find hard or need help with. You can follow the hashtag #talkaboutdiabetes on social media too.
Last of all, I just want to remind fellow diabetics to keep vigilant in this hot weather we’ve been having! For most of us type 1s, heat really does effect our blood sugar and makes it drop into hypo territory. I must admit, I think the heat really has been having a huge effect on me as I’ve been having quite a few hypos overnight since it’s been really hot. It’s utterly exhausting so make sure you check your blood sugar before bed and have enough to eat before you sleep too!