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!