I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the day before my mother’s birthday – it was 11 June 2013 and I was 20 years old. My health had been suffering and I went to an endocrinologist who did a thorough blood test which revealed a severe situation. I was never hospitalised, but I had an HbA1c of 19% and a blood glucose test that returned 31 mmol/L, but was I functioning normally: studying, working, tutoring and completing my exams.
I have always been a big eater until my diagnosis, which caused weight gain from the insulin – which I wasn’t prepared for – and caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. I struggled a lot poor body image, especially when I could no longer fit into my clothes and needed to buy jeans two sizes bigger than my old ones. On the third or fourth night after my diagnosis, I went to dinner with mum and ordered my food only to realise I had forgotten to bring a needle for my insulin pen, and I broke down because I couldn’t eat “normally” anymore.
Today I don’t worry what people (even complete strangers) think when I test my blood glucose levels or pull out my insulin pump. I am healthier than I was last year. I go to the gym regularly, I eat well, I cook more and have become far more creative in the kitchen. Diabetes doesn’t have to be a burden in your life – in fact it can lead to positive change!