Wednesday, 10 August 2016

I'm just a normal person. Except I'm Diabetic.

I talk about diabetes a lot online. Mostly because it's not difficult to answer the harder questions online, because people can't see me blush instinctively and I can take longer to think of a more meaningful answer. However, when people ask me about my type 1 diabetes when I am doing ordinary tasks and going about my everyday life, I get embarrassed. 

I like to think that I can do everything everyone else can, so when someone asks about something to do with diabetes, it interrupts what I'm doing and makes me feel embarrassed. I'll be having a normal conversation with someone when they suddenly ask "What's that sticker on your arm?" I know they are just curious about what my CGM is  and it's good for them to know what it is, but it just ends up reminding me that I do have type 1 diabetes and I'm not the same as everyone else.

It's little things that give me a reminder that I'm diabetic. Things like having to sit out of netball practice because I'm hypo and I can't see, let alone run about. Having to stop at the side of a country road while cycling because my blood sugar is dropping and I don't want something to happen on a little road no one ever goes on. Even just walking to the shops and having to walk extra slow because my blood sugar is high and my legs feel like 

I'm always told that I can do whatever I want to. Do whatever job I want. The new Prime Minister has proved that, but I don't want to be prime minister. I want to get through one day not feeling ill, not constantly have to explain why I'm testing my blood sugar, and meet new people without having to tell them why I'm carrying my pancreas in my pocket.

I can do everything non-diabetics can do, but I have to take extra precautions, make sure people around me are aware that I'm diabetic, and this can be tiresome sometimes. I do live a normal life. I play sports, play guitar, use the Internet way too much. I'm just a normal person. Except I'm diabetic.

Until next time,

Alyssa x

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

My Next Adventure - Moving to University

As of the 3rd of September I will be moving across the country for university to start the new chapter of my life in Dundee. I will be studying Community Learning and Development (it's like a branch of social work). I am scared and excited at the same time. It is such a new experience that I don't know what to expect, if I will fight or flight, if I will cope or crumple.

I find it difficult at home to control my type 1 diabetes, but I have my sister and mum to prompt to and make sure I do what I am supposed to. Sometimes it is overbearing but I appreciate it because whenever something has happened, both my mum and sister were there, making sure I was alright. At Uni, as I will be staying in halls, I will be surrounded by people who probably wont know about diabetes, which means I will have to make sure they know what to do if I'm ill. Most of the time, I will have to deal with my diabetes myself, and not have anyone to remind me that I do need to take care of myself. This is the scary part.

On one hand, moving away from home means independence. I can make my own mistakes and learn from them. On the other hand, I'll have to do everything. I will have to learn how to cook, do my own washing, do the shopping, book my own appointments, order my own prescriptions. At home, my mum does a lot for me, so it is going to be a culture shock having no one to rely on but myself.

The nights out scare me a lot. Alcohol lowers blood sugar naturally, and that increases the risk of severe hypos. Alcohol obviously gives the liver a lot of work, and because the liver is hard at work filtering out the toxins, it can't give out glucose to bring me round from a hypo, so I have to be extra vigilant. I worry that I will accidently get myself in a state and end up in hospital, or worse. I just have to find a balance and keep an eye on my blood sugar.

When I get a job I will need to explain to them about everything. At my previous job I was allowed to take a break when needed, but what if my new employer isn't as accepting? I find the "what if's" are the worst. "What if" my employer doesn't accept that I'm diabetic and I may need to take a day off if I'm ill?

As far as the University learning itself, I'm not as worried. I've met with the disability team at Dundee University and they are putting provisions in place for me. All the lecturers will know I'm diabetic in case I'm ill and I'll have advanced notes in case I'm not able to attend because of illness.

I'm both nervous and curious about what this new chapter in my life will mean for me. Meeting new people, having new experiences, all of it is daunting, and the "What if's" are scary