Well, wow. It’s been almost a whole year since I last wrote anything on this blog, which is really quite shameful. I’m still here, still kicking, and my predictions from my last post have mostly all been realised (no shocks there!) SO much has happened in the last year, D-wise and elsewhere, but lets not dwell on my absence. I’ve decided to just pick a topic, and write. In the last year, there’s one thing I’ve grown to acknowledge and appreciate more than ever, and that’s my D-family. For those of you who maybe don’t know me personally, you won’t know that I actually live with a whole family of T1D warriors, that’s right: both my mom and sister also share a piece of this demon, we’re all just that unlucky… Now, you might be thinking “wow, how terribly unfortunate”, you’d be right, but actually this certainly comes with it’s perks, too…
I was diagnosed at the tender age of six, and in complete honesty, I can’t remember a single day before injections, blood and general life with D. No sympathy is needed here though, I count my lucky stars that I didn’t have to endure the crazy teenage adjustment to living a completely new less-than-normal life – the same of which cannot be said for my sister… In the weeks, months, and even years after my diagnosis, I was the only person in my family with Type 1, the only child in my school with it, too. Soon after though, the diagnoses started to come through thick and fast, with various other extended family members being welcomed to the D-club. This new life soon became my norm and I didn’t really think much of it. I knew I was different from the other kids, they’d be enjoying their sweet treats and summer ice creams (that Novolog 30 life sure was different to today, thank God!), the other kids would be out playing and I’d get called inside for my scheduled jab, but I was so easy going I didn’t really care in all honesty.
When I reached the age of ten, on my mom’s big 4-0, life decided one diabetic child was not challenging enough for my super-human super-hero parents to manage and cope with. Oh yes, my sister got her D-club invitation too. As a thirteen-year-old rebellious kid, her transition was not as smooth as mine. But now, finally, I had someone who knew, really knew what life with D was like. No longer an attentive observer but a real living, fighting T1D warrior. We attended hospital courses together, gave shots together and even went to each others hospital appointments with one another – on a slight side note, my parents could have likely mortgaged a second house for the amount they spent on hospital car parking over the years… alas, your kids’ health comes first, right?
Finally (we hope), it was mom’s turn. Firstly diagnosed as a type 2, and now firmly diagnosed as a type 1, my mom, my sister and I all share this journey together. As anyone living with T1D will know, some days are tough, really tough, both physically and mentally. It’s on these days that I truly value the amazing support network we have within each other. No one really knows what it’s like to live with D, only those that have to. On the days one (or multiple) of us is feeling rough, we’ve been up half the night dealing with low and high blood sugars, we’ve had a particularly bad hypo, or we’ve got that horrible headache, unquenchable thirst, ratty-attitude, general all over pain high blood sugar feeling, we can count on each other for support. One ends up in the hospital; we’re all there. Someone’s low, don’t sweat it, sit down and I’ll bring you some glucose. I’m feeling emotional, generally shit about things, that’s OK because I know I’ve got someone to talk to, when they say “I know”, they really do. Someone needs a hand with their sensor insertion? I’ve got your back. We need a carb count for dinner? Only one person has to work it all out, we can do shifts with carb counting! WHAT AN ACTUAL BLESSING IN DISGUISE.
As you can imagine, the stockpile of D supplies in our house is an actual joke – we even have a separate fridge not in our kitchen, just for insulin and glucagon, this is in addition to the two draws, one cupboard, and mahoosive box in my room. Another perk of having a D-family is actually being able to share said supplies if one has been a bit crap at ordering and we’ve ran out (this is never ever mom, always me actually…) Ran out of test strips? No bother, you can borrow a box of mine. Out of insulin in your pump and we’re eating out? That’s OK, take a shot of mine. Quite possibly the best one yet, not sure if your drink is diet? Let me try!
As you think about it, you’re probably thinking “yeah, as unlucky as they are, they must have the most supportive network going” and you’re exactly right. Now, I can’t write a whole post on my D-family without mentioning my dad. No, he doesn’t have it, sometimes he might not truly know, but my God, if anyone (non-D) knows, it’s him, because my word he’s been through it with us all too. From the literal injections he used to let me give him (not with insulin, of course!) back in the old days when I first got diagnosed, to being there beside the hospital beds with his joking character (that never fails to cheer me up), he knows, he really, really does.
We are not the only family out there living as a trio of type 1’s, but we sure are rare. I take my hat off to all the D-parents out there, fighting everyday for good numbers and health, and to all the partners quietly looking after their loves D-demons, too.
We can’t fight alone.
With love and blessings,