Diabetes Instinct

“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.


  1. Frank! You made me cry! What you have to do day in day out is huge and you cope so well. It’s amazing how much perspective you have and the compassion you feel for families is so obvious BUT it’s you who has the shitty end of the stick ( a good old Scottish expression which came to mind). We are holding the same stick, hopefully helping you hang on, but we don’t have the messy end!

  2. Suiikerduyfje

    Since 2007 I also have diabetes type 1 (LADA). Two years later my brother asked me how I felt that there was something wrong with me. And I answered: Do you think have diabetes too? And Yes he thought so. And yes he had diabetes 1 too. On the same age as me; 51.
    We are different ofcourse , but it is a pity, now we are a little bit the same, with the same illness. And I agree with mumoftype1. And I like to read your Blog Frank. From the Netherlands, regards, Suikerduyfje.

  3. It’s really not as bad for us. We get time off from it. I know my boy feels the same as you though. The other night he woke up in the night, felt high, tested, corrected and didn’t wake me because he wanted to let me sleep. He’s 12. You guys get the raw deal, we just want to make it better and I wish I could take it away from him. Every parent is the same x

    • Thanks Elly. It’s still a huge job, and you are affected by diabetes just as much as us. It’s great that your boy is taking so much responsibility at his age, and like me, he’s only thinking of you 🙂

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