10 years ago, on this day, my GP told me I had diabetes. I remember sitting shell-shocked in her rooms as she went through another series of tests, I assumed for ketones, and asked me another bunch of questions. The appointment was a blur.
All I’d wanted was to get rid of this sinus infection that had been plaguing me for months and instead I ended up with a chronic condition. I remember the suspicious and confused looks she gave me and the blood work. It was like she couldn’t quite believe the whole scenario either. I had never felt so small and helpless in my life.
She sent me away with an urgent referral to my local hospital’s diabetes clinic to see an endocrinologist.
The word jumped off the referral sheet. Was this something I needed to be more worried about? I had no idea how serious diabetes was. Only that my grandparents had it and that people called it the old person’s disease. My emotions flew between confusion, worry, fear, panic, shame and anger.
Why did this happen to me?
I didn’t know how to tell my family. I just remember crying a lot and crying a whole lot more when I finally told my mum.
I was 19 years old and 10 years ago my life changed forever. There’s been countless of literal blood from finger pricks and endless blood tests, sweat from all those annoying hypos and tears from the frustration of fighting the stigma and accepting my diabetes diagnosis.
As cliche as it sounds, I feel like diabetes has given me a new lease on life. Diabetes has had a positive impact on my life. It’s given me a purpose with my advocacy and research efforts. Diabetes has connected me with the world in a way I could not possibly have imagined. There are still frustrated and angry tears from time to time and the sneaky hypos always get the better of me.
I couldn’t think of life now without my diabetes. It’s a big part of me but it will be defeat me.