I was interviewed by the JDRF magazine yesterday. They asked me about my running, fund raising, diagnosis etc. If they publish an article I will post a copy on here.

They did ask me one question that I feel very strongly about. “What one thing would make my life as a type one better?”

Before I start, I should say that I was diagnosed as an adult, less than two years ago. I’m sure having diabetes as a child or being the parent of a type one child is significantly more challenging and I’m sure there are plenty of developments (like the cure!) that families will wish for, and quite rightly so.

However, from my perspective, the things that make my life better are exactly the same as the things that make non-diabetic’s life better: a supportive family and network of friends, maybe a strong relationship (certainly the case for me), a fulfilling job, good health, etc.

I’m very thankful that I’ve been diagnosed now and not ten, twenty or fifty years ago. Diabetes care is so good now that I can lead a totally normal life. I have to eat nuts rather than sweets, and prick my finger several times a day but that makes a totally negligible impact on my quality of life. It takes an investment in time (to understand how blood sugar reacts to going for a run, for example) but it’s possible for a diabetic to do almost anything that anybody else can do.

So I think it’s really important that people with type one get on and lead a full and fulfilling life. We have the tools to do that already. We’re not victims. We’re not disabled. If we spend too much time wishing for the next development in care or wishing for the cure, we won’t live and enjoy all that life has to offer.

We would all like to be happy, and I’m convinced that a fundamental driver of how happy we are is not what happens to us, but how we deal with what happens to us. There’s the famous study that shows that after a couple of years people who had lost a limb or won the lottery were no happier or sadder than they were before a seemingly life changing event. In my case, my diagnosis drove me to start long distance running and learn more about diet and health. I’m just a normal person and have as many flaws and weaknesses as the next person, but I’m proud of the way I’ve dealt with my diagnosis. In a surprising turn of events, I’m happier now than I was before. I’d love a cure to be discovered, but I certainly won’t waste time waiting for it!

Blood test and soup. I was feeling worse than I looked at this point!

Doing a blood test half-way through running 100km round Mont Blanc. It was hard for me to do with diabetes. It was hard for everyone else to do without. The diabetes didn’t make any difference to my enjoyment of the event.

4 comments

  1. Always enjoy reading your blog posts. Well done on all your amazing running and fund-raising achievements.

    One thing I would like to see that would improve my life as a type one diabetic is carbohydrate values of food PER PORTION, in a MUCH BIGGER font than is typically used these days on all packeted food. These days we’re lucky that carbs are on most food. Sometimes it’s per portion but sometimes it’s per 100g (and I’ve just eaten my portion and didn’t weigh it) and typically in a teeny-tiny font that many aging diabetics (you’re young now, but this will bug you in years to come) may struggle to read. When we are basing our insulin on this figure we better read it right!

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    1. Thanks! Yes I’ve certainly got much better at maths than i was with all the arithmetic one has to do! I would also like chain lunch places to publish nutrition information on their websites. I have no idea how many carbs are in a katsu curry from Japanese canteen for example – except knowing from experience that i have to take loads of insulin! But i still think that’s a minor life problem in the grand scheme of things! The other change i would make is my memory. I forgot to take my insulin to work this morning so had to eat minimal carbs all day…

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      1. Forgetting your insulin is a real pain. I think in 30 years as a diabetic I’ve only ever done this maybe three times which, given my memory is amazing.

        Having said that, because I inject (not on a pump yet) insulin so regularly, maybe five times a day on average I sometimes work out the carbs, calculate the insulin dose, log it all in the MySugr iPhone app (before I forget it all) and then sit down to eat completely forgetting to take the insulin…or did I? It’s similar to that once-in-a-while drive to work where you don’t remember anything about the journey. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember if you had the insulin five minutes ago or didn’t and are simply remembering a previous injection.

        So yes, better memory for me too 🙂

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