So off we went to visit the house of some people we vaguely knew. I left that house determined not to fall asleep that night in case I didn’t wake up. Thankfully, the next day I had my first appointment with a diabetes nurse (this was 1990’s Ireland remember).
I think that going to talk to people who had first hand knowledge went wrong because the wrong people did the talking. I didn’t know what to ask so I said nothing; the other person with diabetes was only 19 and didn’t say much either. So the “mammies’ were “have at it”.
Today, I’m quite often in the other position – the person who is sought after for comfort and I wonder to myself “Am I saying the right thing?” I’m also wondering “what do they want to hear, what are they looking for?”
I remember the isolation I felt in those first years after diagnosis and how angry I became at all things diabetic. I got off on the wrong foot without support and it took me about 7 years to find a way of dealing with my diabetes. So I’d like to do “a bit” to preventing others from putting that first foot down badly.
With this in mind I compiled a list of things I’ve said to others or things I’ve read that I’ve found true and motivational and maybe some people can add to this list for me.
• Diabetes can get you out of stuff you don’t want to do but it will never stop you from doing anything.
• You can be at war with diabetes or you can co-exist with it – Diabetes will always be there so you have to decide if it’s a friend or enemy.
• Handbags & backpacks will accompany you everywhere to carry your gadgets & supplies.
• Diabetes is life changing and there is a period of adjustment.
• You will become your own doctor, dietician and diabetes nurse because your diabetes team do not live with you 24/7.
What piece of advice did you receive that has stayed with you since you were diagnosed?