I was invited to speak about living with Type 1 Diabetes at North Staffordshire Diabetes UK living with diabetes day, which was yesterday. The North Staffordshire group did a great job of providing lots of different information stalls which people could walk around. Lots of volunteers were there helping out on the day. There were free health checks such as blood pressure, weight and even a stall where you could have your eyes photographed for a quick retinopathy type picture. What was really great too was the stalls included a DESMOND store, which helps with food adjusting, a medic alert stand displaying some of the jewellery available. A podiatry team, the diabetes UK stands and lots more.
I was able to talk to the medic alert stall as my mum and dad have paid for my membership since my diagnosis. I have a dog tag style necklace now but have had various sports types bracelets in the past. There are lots of different medical alert jewellery available at different prices not just from medic alert. My mum and dad told me that they like this service though as they can translate medical information in lots of different languages so when we are abroad on holiday it is good to know that translating my medical information would not be a problem and everyone understands the symbol.
In the next room to the stalls there were various talks during the day. The Lord Mayor of Stoke and the Mayor of Newcastle under Lyme opened the talks. They were very nice to chat too and I asked if those chains they wear around their necks are heavy and if they got back ache! The first talk was all about eyes from Staffordshire diabetic retinopathy service and a lovely man named Andrew Brown. My talk was next.
I told everybody that I try not to let my diabetes interfere too much but it does. I would give anything not to have diabetes but I have, so I have to make the best of it and I can do that by helping with awareness. As much as I want to be like my friends my body is not like theirs. I explained that although I can do things like scout camp, when my friends are all eating chips and drinking hot chocolate late at night they are fine but when I did that to be like them my bloods went so high my meter couldn’t give a reading and I was sick. My friends dont have to think about what they eat and drink, I have to think about how to bolus and what to bolus. That makes me sad. My friends dont have to think about carrying a testing kit and if they have enough lancets, strips, if the meter is charged up or if they have enough hypo treatment. They dont have to worry about carb counting and if the food and drink is a fast acting or long lasting carbohydrate. It does upset me as I am different. My friends dont have to worry at school, I have to deal with everything they do but manage my bloods the best I can too and if I go high or low I am not thinking about my lessons. What i can do though is share my experiences to help others understand. My mum has always told me that everybody is different so I am doing my best to learn how to be like my friends but in a different way.
The next talk was from the research director of Diabetes UK – Dr Elizabeth Robertson. Lots of things being studies to help everybody with diabetes. Then Professor Hanna a endocrinologist (I had to check that spelling) gave a talk. There was then a panel at the end which included everybody that gave a talk and the podiatry team.
I made a new friend yesterday too. I wont name him but he has Type 1 Diabetes like me but he is a grown up. He seems confident with his carb counting and with maths so that gives me confidence too that I will also get better at this as I get older. So I want to thank him for showing me that. Between us we ate a load of grapes that were provided for snacks but our bloods didnt go too high afterwards! My mum told me she had been talking to a lady who’s little boy was diagnosed with Type 1 at the beginning of the year and is thinking about an insulin pump for him. My message for her is that her little boy will be ok because she is helping him by learning about diabetes. He could even come and give a talk like me in a few years time! Its hard at times but it does make you more determined.
I have added a couple of photos – one of me giving my talk and the other of me sitting on the panel with Dr Robertson and Professor Hanna. I am sorry to everyone else on the panel but my mum only took my pic so you are missing off it! My mum is hopefully going to be sent some of the official pictures so I will update my blog with those too!