Ever since my diagnosis I have felt strongly about diabetes being a lifestyle rather than a disease. As time has passed I don’t feel the needles and finger pricks as much, and I understand my body’s needs when it comes to diet and exercise.
When I was diagnosed in 1998, I was 13 years old and felt very confused. I wasn’t sure what diabetes was or how I had contracted it. I had flashbacks to times playing sport and shaking, thinking it was nerves, or having to go to the bathroom several times during movies because of the sugary drink in my hand, or my eyesight becoming blurry after the Christmas holiday, and I remembered times when feelings of despair and unhappiness were magically lifted after eating. Months after my diagnosis, these issues started to make more sense and I began recognising what was happening to my body and what it needed to function.
It’s important for me to keep fit and I enjoy combining my active lifestyle with my love of travel. In 2011 I spent six months in Africa. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and experienced whitewater rafting down the Nile, cage diving with Great White sharks and Gorilla trekking in Uganda!
The key to living with type 1 is to be organised: always think about where you will be, and when and what you will eat next. You have to have spares … of everything. You never know when an insulin pen will slide out of your pocket and break, or your batteries will run out on your glucometer.
Having diabetes has compelled me to be a healthier person and encouraged me to push boundaries and achieve my goals.