I was diagnosed at the age of 12. Like many other Type 1s, it came as a huge shock to my family and I and I was very close to death's doorstep. I remember feeling lethargic and dehydrated for 3 months prior to diagnosis. I had lost 15 kilos, putting me at 40kgs when i should have been 55kgs for my height. During the time, it did not help that i had a nasty lingering cold a month prior to my diagnosis. My parents took me to multiple doctors, each coming up with a different diagnosis. One said it was the cold taking its toll on my body, another said it was a chest infection causing the weight loss and constant tiredness, but no matter what antibiotics they put me on i was not getting any better. Another doctor claimed I was healthy and there was nothing wrong. Then one day, i started vomiting profusely. I couldn't keep any food down, I could barely stand up and found it difficult to focus on anything. My parents took me to hospital, despite my protests that I was fine and it was probably something I ate. From here it gets a little fuzzy. I remember waking up about a day later in the intensive care unit at Flinders Medical Centre. I was later told I had lost conciousness upon admittance, had a sugar level in the forties, had a dangerous level of keytones and was suffering the early stages of liver and kidney failure. After i had stabilised, i was moved to the children's ward where i spent a week learning all that there was about being a type 1 diabetic.
It was a huge shock to my mental state and shortly after being discharged hospital i became very depressed. I was uncooperative with my parents, hostile towards others, constantly crying because i did not fully understand what was wrong with me and why this had happened to me. I was first using the rocket to administer my insulin, twice a day, but it became too difficult for me to handle. I had a huge fear of needles and the sound the rocket makes when you press the button and how violently it goes into you only made it worse. It would take an hour for my parents to coax me to lift up my shirt and expose my stomach for the needle. This usually resulted in me becoming hysterical. I missed so much school and felt isolated. After a while it got easier and i learnt to live with it, but i was always bitter and resentful towards it. Slowly i began to regain the lost weight, went back to school, even went overseas a year later (my parents promised me a family holiday if i would really try and adapt to my new living condition) Over time, i converted to the pen method of injecting and found it so much easier as i had control on how fast the needle went in and at what pressure.
Before i knew it the years had flown by and i was doing ok, although i have had on going troubles with my levels dropping too low. I have overcome my fear of needles, (albeit i still hate blood tests. Anything going in, not a problem. Insulin, vaccinations, piercings, tattoos no issue. Anything going out - i faint.) i have mastered travelling overseas and adapting to new time zones and I have found an amazing man who has embraced my diabetes as a part of life and helps me with pretty much anything i need (sugar level checks, getting my pens ready, making me a sandwich in the middle of the night if i drop too low). I had learnt to accept it as life and can't remember not having to do an injection.
However, as all diabetic know, its a very fine line between too much insulin, not enough insulin and just the right amount. In june last year, i had a seizure in my sleep as a result of my sugar level dropping too low. I have been diagnosed with hypoglycemic unawareness, which means my body does not register when my sugars are low. Half the time when my levels are low, i have only picked up on it when i have done my blood level checks approx every 3-4 hours. Since the seizure i have had an up and down attitude towards my diabetes. I am sometimes terrified of going to bed and not waking up, which results in me staying up all night. Most days now i am good with it, always conscious of it being there, but not letting it get to me like it used to. Thankfully i have such supportive family and friends, especially my partner, who continuously help me work through it all. Hopefully in june this year i will get the all clear from my specialist and be able to get my driver's licence back.
What i really want more than anything is to make people open their eyes up and see that living with diabetes is easier said than done. People have no idea how much effort we put into ourselves so we can keep living. You don't realise how much your body does automatically until it stops.