I’m sure that being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is easier if one is a bit older. Firstly there are the physical benefits. As Dr Powrie reminded me, I’m probably closer to death than a child so have less time to develop the health complications linked to diabetes. Also there is some evidence that going through adolescence with diabetes increases the probability of complications. So I’m lucky to get it now. Not to mention that I’ve had 32 years of merrily running around without a thought as to what my pancreas even is.
The other thing about growing older is that there has been more time for many of my friends to undergo hard times of their own, whether it be bereavement, unemployment, health problems, stress or depression. By now I’ve realised that life isn’t always easy and that one would be incredibly lucky to go through it without something shit happening. I’ve been incredibly lucky in all aspects of my life until now, and now some shit has happened to me. That’s life.
I also believe – strongly – that happiness and contentment spring from a sense of achievement. That doesn’t mean winning an Olympic gold or becoming prime minister but it does mean making the most of one’s talent and circumstances and continually learning, developing and growing. So I am what I am: diabetes is going to make life more complicated but it won’t affect my happiness, because that is derived from satisfaction at achieving whatever I set my mind to given the cards I’ve been dealt.
Other than free medicine prescriptions for everything, there are other benefits from type 1. I feel closer to Emily than ever, and she has been amazing. She’s totally taken it in her stride and has been cheerful and supportive and not even a tiny bit sad. It’s incredible that she’s been so cool about the whole thing. My family and friends too.
Some people with type 1 refer to it as being given a “gift”. I can only assume this is ironic, but people do say it has inspired them to do things they would never have done without it. I’m finding that I can understand that desire. Over the past few days I have had a whole bunch of crazy ambitions. I want to write a blog. I want to run a marathon and then an ultra marathon and raise money for the JDRF (a type 1 diabetes charity). I want to hold a charity fund raising event with Steve Redgrave as the after dinner speaker. I want to be a motivational speaker! I want to design an app to predict calorie consumption by the muscles during exercise! This is all ridiculous of course. I can’t even get my blood glucose on a sustainable path yet so should probably concentrate on that first.
I have applied for a London marathon spot for JDRF though. When answering the question of why I want to run for JDRF I wrote “because I have type 1 diabetes!” I didn’t tell them I’ve only had it for a week because they probably wouldn’t give me any chance of finishing. I also want to run a personal best (I don’t know how much diabetes will slow me down, but luckily my personal best is pretty slow so at least that will help me!)