Two years on after a diagnosis of Type One Diabetes, I can honestly say life has changed. Not for the worse, not for the better, but it has changed. For one thing, the sight of blood no longer makes my tummy heave and my legs wobble.
The journey when your child is diagnosed with Type One is rocky. For the first few months I honestly felt broken, terrified that every high blood sugar reading meant a possible future amputation of a limb, scared witless that a low blood sugar would encourage a seizure.
It takes some getting used to. Assuming the role of your daughters pancreas is not an easy one.
But you do get used to it. You live with it, and you realise that it is not that bad, (most days.)
Plus you see an inner strength grow in your child that you didn’t imagine could sprout so early.
I don’t want to downplay the condition, but today is World Diabetes Day and it is all about raising awareness. Kids with Diabetes can do anything, be anyone (with the exception of the armed forces), in some case dependant on how they manage their condition they will face some diet limitations, but there are solutions on offer that can allow a child with Type One Diabetes to eat what they want when they want.
It gets easier.
Anyone with diabetes will always have to count carbs in their meal before eating a morsel. When they get ill, they will have to be vigilant with their blood sugar control to avoid trips to A&E, they will always have to inject in some way shape or form regularly.
They will have to plan their insulin around their exercise, girls will have to cope with PMS both emotionally and with insulin, because hormones can bugger up blood sugar control like nothing else.
When my daughter grows up, and if she decides to try alcohol, with or without my consent, she will have to factor in how her sugar levels will react to avoid ending up in a dangerous situation.
Diabetes doesn’t debilitate, or deny but it does require planning and control. Not words you often associate with a child, a teenager, or a young adult.
I don’t hate diabetes with the passion I used to. In some ways I respect what it has done for Molly, how she has thrown herself into fundraising, how she seeks out kids who have been recently diagnosed and tells them it will get better. It makes my heart melt and my eyes leak when I see her doing everything and anything to prove her diabetes will never get the better of her.
My kid is one in a million, but also the same as hundreds of other Type One kids.
Despite how much we let diabetes come along with us, stay with us, piggyback on every playdate and sleepover. Despite that the journey gets easier. I still want a cure. For Molly and her generation, and for their kids to come.
Because no child should have to make themselves bleed in order to eat.
And that is what a Type One kid does before every single meal.
Funding is still stretched in the NHS for Type One Diabetes, much of the resource is spent on Type Two. Because of our postcode Molly is denied access to a continuous blood glucose monitor, a funky little device that would lessen the amount of times she has to stab her finger with a needle before eating her tea.
We have an insulin pump – I am grateful for it every single day, but again because of the postcode lottery that exists within the NHS, we cannot choose which one would suit our child, we choose the one that our local area has funding for.
I read horror stories of parents being refused Test strips that a Type One child cannot survive without, stories of poorly trained teaching staff not being able to handle situations that are brought about by high blood sugars.
We need more education, more funding, more resources to be poured into managing this condition. It costs the NHS a small fortune dealing with the outcome of poor sugar control which results in later life in amputations, foot disease, eye complications and internal organ failure, to name but a few….
If we invested more in the start, in the management, in providing everyone with the options for advanced medical kit, then perhaps we could prevent the devastation caused by diabetes later in life.
If we found a cure, we could end it.
So why am I sharing this?
Today is World Diabetes Day, so it couldn’t pass without a post. But also I am looking for money (again). We are fundraising to raise more much-needed funds for Diabetes Uk, to help make the lives of this Type One warriors generation easier and complication free.
And in return for your pennies, I am going up a Mountain, and a bloody big one at that.
Come May 2015, I will be ditching my running shoes and replacing them with leather boots and a massive coat and rucksack and trekking 4000 feet upwards in Morocco. I have roped a friend in to join me, who better had strong hands because I suffer from a serious fear of heights, and I am not really a fan of walking. The trek is described as challenging, not for the faint hearted, and with sheer drops at times.
Even typing sheer drops makes my palms sweat and my legs tremble.
But as always, seeing how Molly has coped with injecting over thousands of times, seeing her do everything in spite of Diabetes, means that come rain or shine, I will conquer my fear and climb this flipping mountain.
To raise money for a cause I passionately believe in.
To show my daughter the extremes I will do on her behalf.
Please kick off my training by sponsoring me here, just a pound will do, every single penny makes a difference.