My first blog post in a while… I’m so sorry, life has been absolutely bonkers and totally different to how I thought this year would play out! A large chunk of my life has been taken up by work after I was promoted in January from a part time Marketing Assistant to a full time position. I also finally managed to pass my driving test late March and I bought my first ever car, it’s PINK! Well kind of, it changes colour depending on the light, it might be pink today but tomorrow it could be more purple or red! So every spare minute I get away from work has been spent adventuring with Cici, cruising in our car. Wanderlust is my new favourite word!
I’m also busy packing, because my biggest wish for this year has come true… Cici and I are finally moving house! It’s currently being renovated by our new landlord, so we have some time to wait until we can move in yet, but we have a potential moving in date of August 1st. Hopefully we’ll get some warm weather by then and we can make the most of our gorgeous new garden before the colder months kick in.
Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about the now! I attended my first ever Diabetes UK Type 1 event this week at The Senedd in Cardiff, (when I finally got there, late as usual… bloody sat nav!) and I had a fab time! I got to finally put some real life faces to names of fellow Type 1 Diabetics I’ve met through my blog. Arriving late, I expected that I’d have to walk into a packed out room, all flustered and red faced with embarrassment as everyone stared disapprovingly at me. Instead, I arrived to find David & Ros wearing blue and waiting outside for me, which I really appreciated considering I’d never met them before.
Fellow T1D blogger David from T1 Diabetic, was my first Twitter friend and over the past year has introduced me to so many other lovely members of our #Type1Army. He keeps me in the know about Type 1 events happening across Wales (which have until now been difficult for me to attend, previously having to rely on public transport) and regularly messages me to remind me that the GBDoc’s Type1 Twitter Chat is happening, “like right now!” I should employ him as my PA, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on!
Ros also blogs about T1D over at Type 1 Adventures. David introduced us on Twitter, pointing out that we were both starting our Insulin Pump Training the very same week last July. Ros and I discovered that our training was being carried out by the same Animas rep (Pete, he’s fab!), just at different hospitals. Since getting our pumps, we’ve often sought advice from each other online with any pump related issues we’ve had. It was great to meet in real life though and compare our stories for real. We both agreed that we could never go back to MDI (multiple daily injections) and that our insulin pumps (the Animas Vibe) has given us an increased control of our condition.
Although the event gave me the opportunity to meet other Type 1 Diabetics in my age bracket, the speeches that were made during the event gave me lots of food for thought. The event made me realise that there’s still so much work to be done in raising awareness of our condition. I listened in tears as two mums told how they lost their sons. One lost her 20 year old son after his symptoms were mistaken for a hangover. He’d been diagnosed with Type 1 as a toddler and had always had fantastic control throughout his life. Although his friends were aware that he had Type 1 Diabetes, they weren’t aware of the signs of Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA), where the body has started to shut down, and sadly he lost his life within a day.
The other mum, Beth Baldwin lost her 13 year old son Peter in January 2015, when he was prescribed medication for a chest infection. Unfortunately, the chest infection was actually masking the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes and DKA, which resulted in his death. A simple finger prick test at his GP appointment would have showed he was actually experiencing the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes and this would have saved his life.
Hearing this makes me so angry. 26 years ago aged just 6 years old, I was diagnosed by chance. My GP believed I had a water infection and sent me & my mum off with antibiotics. On the way out of the surgery, my mum got chatting to the practise nurse who, on hearing my symptoms, asked if she could finger prick test me. I was rushed to hospital that day. 26 years later, GP’s are still brushing our symptoms off as common non-threatening illnesses and it’s wrong!
There’s no need, in this day and age for ANYBODY to be dying of undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes, or for existing Type 1 Diabetics to be dying from DKA unnecessarily. Since Peter’s death in 2015, Beth has been campaigning tirelessly for changes to be made in the health sector, and wants all healthcare professionals to take action when children and adults alike are experiencing the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes.
To save lives, we all need to remember the 4 T’s of Type One Diabetes:
Toilet Thirsty Tired Thinner
Everyone knows what to look out for with Meningitis, we’re given a little symptoms card with our red Child Health books when our babies are born. We all know how important it is to get our babies and children immunised against horrible, potentially life threatening diseases such as measles. How hard can it be to make everyone aware of the 4T’s of Type 1, a condition which commonly occurs in children & young people?
If someone you know has these symptoms, insist that your GP takes a finger prick test. It takes 30 seconds and is done on the spot, every surgery should have a testing kit! And if they refuse, I’m more than happy to let you use mine! What’s 30 seconds and the relief of knowing either way, compared to a lifetime without your loved one?
This week is National Diabetes Week, and Diabetes UK have produced an informative video with the help of Beth and 2 other mums of T1D children, aimed at raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes.
Please check it out and share with everyone you know. 16% of children are not diagnosed until they are in DKA, and in under 5’s, this figure increases to 24%. Too many and totally unnecessary! This is my mission for Diabetes Week, will you make it yours?
#KnowType1 #4Ts #ForDude #kissesforkycie #DiabetesWeek #Type1Army #T1D