Type 1 Warriors: Hazel’s story, diagnosed aged 29…Mike O'Brien
Hello Funky Pumpers!
The main reason we wanted to include a blog on our website was to provide us with a platform to offer guidance and advice and grow our community.
It’s hard for all of us to comprehend the difficulties of living with Type 1 Diabetes – we can only attempt to imagine, empathise and support.
And that is why we need you, our beloved community, the warriors who live with this condition day in and day out, and know the highs and lows (literally and figuratively!) and have a lifetime of knowledge to share.
In this week’s blog post we talk to Funky Pumper’s very own Hazel who was diagnosed at the age of 29. Hazel has worked with us for a year and a half. Here she tells us her experience of living with Type 1.
Can you remember how you felt on receiving your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed 3 days before my 30th birthday which was a bit of shock. I was thirsty, tired and generally unwell which was what prompted me to get checked out.
I was scared because I had no knowledge or understanding of what was involved – all I could think of were syringes and needles and I remember very clearly asking if it meant I would die early. I also felt confused as no one in my family had it and being diagnosed as an adult, kept wondering how I had ‘got’ it.
For some reason I was insistent that I was still going to be having my 30th birthday party – how wrong I was!
How has it affected your life?
Completely. On a day to day level, I have to make hundreds of micro decisions every day around food – counting carbs, how much something weighs, looking at packaging and deciding how much insulin I need. There are lots and lots of decisions to make on a daily basis.
In general though, I do find I try to embrace life a bit more. When I was first diagnosed I was scared to do anything new as I didn’t know if I’d have a hypo. Now though, I don’t let it put me off . The Libre sensor has been a huge game-changer for me in this regard. It’s allowed me to be out and on the go without having to worry about stopping to test my glucose levels. Before I would have had to stop by get my glucose meter and test strips out. The Libre has given me a lot of flexibility.
How has it affected your family?
My mum, in particular, is constantly worried about me. She got particularly stressed about meal times when I was living at home, bless her, as it was all new to her too – the counting carbs and timings around insulin injections. When I met my partner (3 months after being diagnosed) he learnt alongside me how to handle it. He’s really supportive and has learnt how to do things like manage meal times with me.
Do you have any tips for those newly diagnosed?
Get reading and informed – it really helps to understand T1D and how to manage things. Also, don’t be hard on yourself – if you’re having a bad day with your levels remember that you won’t get it perfect every time. You can eat something one day and be fine, the next day you could eat the same thing and get different results. There are many factors that can affect your results.
It’s an individual disease as such, you have to learn what works for your own body. The hospital can give you guidance but everyone is different and what works on someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
On a practical level, what do you recommend for other Type 1 Diabetics?
I always have DiaWipes on me. I used to use alcohol wipes and didn’t realise it could affect the readings. I’m never without them now!
I always keep Glucose SOS in my Hypo Kit too – I add the powders to water when my glucose levels are low. They’re really handy so I keep them in my kit just in case.