“Frank, when you first got diabetes, what were the symptoms?” Mum asked me on the weekend.
Of course, Mum knows the symptoms of diabetes well enough. But I knew exactly why she was asking. I was actually thinking the exact same thing myself.
“The weight loss was the very first thing, but that was a few weeks before I was diagnosed. I didn’t even notice that until the very end. Then I started to feel a lack of energy, and the thirst, a few days before. Eventually I couldn’t even get out of bed.”
“Were you eating?” (if you want to get Mum worried, just tell her you don’t feel like eating!)
“Yeah I was, up until a couple of days before.”
My sister hasn’t been feeling well. It seems like a bit of a virus that’s been lingering around over this past week or two.
Of course, I know the symptoms of diabetes all too well. I still remember my own, as though they happened only yesterday. I was certain that this was nothing to worry about. But I could still feel the knots in my stomach, turning. I was anxious, and I could feel myself begin to tremble as we were talking it through.
That instinct was still there. That instinct of diabetes symptoms will always be there.
I hate this disease. I hate how time consuming it is, I hate how much I have to think about it, and I hate how I feel because of it. There’s only one thing I can think of that would be worse than having diabetes itself. That would be having to see any of the people that I love live with it.
In this very moment, as I am writing this, I realise exactly how all the courageous diabetes parents and families in the world feel.
I realise exactly how my own loved ones feel. When they hear the prick of a lancing device. When they hear the clicks of my insulin pen. When they see me shoving sugar down my throat. When they hear noise coming from my room at 2am in the morning.
I’m not ashamed of my diabetes.
Diabetes hasn’t held me back from doing anything.
I don’t spend my time worrying about diabetes.
But knowing that my loved ones have to see me live with this disease day in and day out, is far worse than having diabetes itself.