Happy National Diabetes Week to my fellow Aussie d-friends! This year’s campaign, ‘280 a Day,’ asks us to help raise awareness of the 280 Aussies who are diagnosed with diabetes every day.
Going by the stats on Diabetes Australia’s website, there are 1.1 million Aussies living with diabetes. 120,000, or 10.9% of those people have type 1 diabetes. And of those 280 people diagnosed a day, around 31 of them are told they have type 1 diabetes.
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on May 9, 2010, there were 30 other people going through exactly the same thing I was. And although I wouldn’t have wished it on any of them, its a very comforting thought.
30 other people were feeling weak. Lethargic. Exhausted. Thirsty. Nauseated. Breathless. Constantly needing to urinate. Losing their saliva. And their appetite. There were 30 others out there who, just like me, were not feeling like themselves. There were parents, just like mine, who were starting to worry about their child’s deteriorating state. Other doctors across the nation were hearing patients recall those symptoms I was having. Its likely that there were others, like me, who were misdiagnosed. And there’s a very good chance that there was someone else, just like me, who had to be rushed to hospital with severe ketoacidosis.
There were 30 other lives that were changed permanently on the 9th of May, 2010. 30 other people had their very first blood glucose test. The first of thousands and thousands. 30 other people were told they would have to take insulin injections for the rest of their lives. And to overcome their fear of needles. And there were 30 other groups of loved ones feeling concern and uncertainty.
And there’s one thing that I would like to remind myself.
It’s not my fault.
I didn’t do anything to cause this. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I didn’t have an unhealthy diet. I didn’t eat too much junk food. I didn’t have too much soft drink. I wasn’t a lazy person. I wasn’t overweight. I didn’t spend too much time in front of the television. My parents took good care of me. And my loved ones had a good influence on me.
Type 1 diabetes is a complete and utter mystery. And there is absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent it. But I have been able to live a relatively normal life. And hopefully, a long and healthy life.
I have still been able to enjoy cake.
I’ve still been able to jump on boats.
I’ve still been able to eat in restaurants and laneways in foreign places.
And I can still be a cool cat, too.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you that type 1 diabetes is your fault. And don’t let type 1 diabetes stop you from doing anything.