19th November 2011.
The majority of diabetics out there know their ‘diaversary’. The day that their whole life changed. The day that they were diagnosed with a disease that will ultimately alter their future dramatically.
For me I can vividly remember the face of the nurse who sat down with me and confirmed that I was diabetic. I remember being hooked up to a drip to re-hydrate me and I remember the other two bags of fluids that they hooked up to me as I was so dehydrated that night. I can remember the phone call over the Christmas period 5 weeks later confirming that I was definitely a Type 1 Diabetic and that I was just on a “honeymoon period” and that this disease wasn’t going away. I remember my first hypo (f*** that was horrible – still is!). I remember being 29.3 in my first week of testing and panicking and going for a run around Aylesbury. I remember going back to work feeling like everything had changed in one week. I remember all the firsts. That’s the kind of horrible stuff that sticks with you.
But I also remember when I embraced it. When I finally began to accept it. When I used it to my advantage. When I gave this disease the middle finger and said “bring it on”.
Let me explain.
If I look back on my life and who I was pre-diagnosis (let’s call it pre-D shall we?) a lot has changed since then.
Pre-D I didn’t really know who I was. I wasn’t particularly healthy (not by my current standards anyway), I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, I wasn’t very confident, I didn’t have much in – to be honest I was lost in most aspects of my life.
Being diagnosed with a disease like Type 1 Diabetes focused things for me. It was a complete shift. Suddenly, my priority was me and my health. I had to take care of me. Almost everything else became secondary. It wasn’t something I had particularly thought about before. I had always exercised and eaten fine but suddenly I wanted to really know as much as I could now.
I’ve mentioned before on the blog that at the time I wanted to be the first person ever to beat Type 1 Diabetes and I truly believed I could – even though it was eventually unattainable. In the depths of a honeymoon period and on zero insulin at the time I had confidence that I would be able to achieve this goal. So I set about learning all I could about nutrition, exercise, learning bits and pieces over time on the key to a healthy body and mindset.
This wasn’t an overnight process. It took years. Reading hundreds of articles, listening to loads of podcasts, watching YouTube video after YouTube video. Buying good cookbooks and learning decent food preparation. Being consistent.
All of this brought a new purpose in my life. I had stumbled across something I was getting more and more passionate about. I began being introduced to people in the health and fitness industry who I respected and wanted to learn more from. People like Ben Coomber, Phil Graham, Andy McKenzie, Alex Ferentinos, Phil Learney, Steve Cook, Elliott Hulse, Daniel Wheeler, The Lean Machines and many more. I followed diabetic bloggers like Ninjabetic and Jen Grieves and introduced to wonderful diabetics through social media.
All of these people helped influence and change my life beyond anything I could have ever imagined 5 years ago. Some of them know it. Some of them don’t. But thank you to every single person – you have truly made such a difference in my life.
All of this brought confidence, slowly. I had something different about me but I liked it. I still do. I like proving that a diabetic can do anything #thisdiabeticCAN.
Without diabetes I wouldn’t have met the majority of people in my life now. I wouldn’t be as mentally or physically strong. I wouldn’t appreciate my health as much as I do. I wouldn’t have found my passion. I wouldn’t have learnt to not sweat the small stuff. I wouldn’t appreciate life as I do now.
I also wouldn’t have started this blog and I’ve been incredibly honoured to know that this little piece of me on the internet has not only helped people manage their disease but also helped save lives. It’s stopped people considering doing something unthinkable. This is something I never thought I’d be able to achieve and for that I am eternally humbled by. Diabetes is a horrible disease to live with but I hope what I am trying to achieve here is helping you, the reader, in some small way.
So even though I have a disease which I have to think about and deal with on a constant 24/7 basis, that it isn’t something I’d wish on anyone – I am actually thankful for it.