Dear Type 1,
How to start.
You moved in with us six years ago, I’d like to note that you have not paid a single penny towards the mortgage or even the food bills. In fact you have overall drastically reduced the household income, thanks to you I walked away from my career and have carved a living out of odds and sods – meaning I can work from home whilst also being a full time nurse – to you.
I don’t like you.
Not one bit.
But what I would give to have you running riot through my blood sugars rather than my child’s.
She was only six when you moved in.
She is now twelve.
And it is harder.
Because she should be thinking about school, boys, posting stupid pictures on the internet.
And she does.
But she also dedicates at least a third of the day to you.
You, who have done nothing to deserve that amount of time from anyone in this house.
She thinks about her blood sugars before she eats (which as a 12 year old is a million times a day), she considers you before she launches on the trampoline, she worries about you when school trips are upcoming, she worries people won’t see her because your great ugly swede is in the way.
She thinks far too much about you, and in turn so do I.
But how can we not?
When you are handed a Type 1 Gremlin as a permanent lodger in your child’s body how can you divert your thoughts. Living by sugar levels is a normality one is forced to accept.
A friend of mine asks recently. how much you figure in our life.
My first reaction was to say very little.
Which, is probably horse shit.
The days have gone where we give you attention, but your presence cannot be ignored. You leave a mark on our home like the specks of blood you leave nightly on the bed sheets. Life runs around you.
This week we have inserted four cannulas to feed you your insulin, we have corrected your tempers with four needle injections. I have tested your levels every night, twice a night – because sleep is something you like to ignore. We have written letters to school about you, packed medical supplies a hospital ward would be proud of, to keep her safe at school.
I’ve read two articles about kids you have killed – no nice way of writing that. But it is your ultimate aim – thank christ for medical evolution. I’ve read about Brexit fears on insulin supplies, I’ve looked at the depression rates linked to children with diabetes. I’ve spoken to other families who are fighting for their kids to have the right to test their blood sugar in the classroom, others who can’t access decent diabetic kit, purely because of their postcode.
Then closer to home, we have cried about you, because at any age, no one wants to be diabetic. But for the kids – it is especially hard. When all they want is normality, you, you little fucker exists to make them stand out from the crowd.
We have counted carbs in every meal, and have had at least fourteen episodes of hypoglycemia, one of them worryingly low, where my finger hovered over call with 999 punched in.
We have tried out new exercise regimes and one of us sat up with you all night recording how it impacted blood sugar levels so we know for next time.
She has tested for your levels at least 50 times in one week, 50 more drops of blood you have taken from my kid.
What do you give us in return?
Honestly, the only benefit you have given to our world is avoiding queues at Theme Parks.
I’d love to queue two hours to ride The Wicker Man at Alton Towers if that was the trade for life without you.
I’d do it bloody daily.
The purpose for this mini rant?
I just needed to remind you that although I accept you are here to stay, I don’t need you to think I like it. And in writing to you, I hope between the lines others realise what an exceptional being my daughter is, sharing her life with you.
I hope people realise that having a Type 1 lodger is not living with a manageable condition. It is more akin to living with an unpredictable, relentless, insomniac who has no respect for the rules. I hope some one is incensed somewhere about the lack of support for schools, the postcode lottery that exists for medical supplies and the exhaustion that comes with this condition.
I hope when people see my daughter, they can see past your shadow. Whilst still acknowledging what she does every day is far more than any child should be expected to cope with.
You took away my daughter’s pancreas and installed in her a warrior type mentality.
You took away my right to a full nights sleep and instead gave me my own soap box to use to try and educate the masses.
You may have messed with the wrong family.
on behalf of my incredible Type 1 warrior.