Megan, 28 is taking on the London Marathon this year marking her 20th year of living with Type 1 diabetes. Here she tells her story from diagnosis to being inspired by her fellow runners to take ownership of her condition.
Let me start by saying I love my life. Diabetes may be a part of it that I cannot escape but it has never stopped me doing anything. In fact it's probably egged me on to do something more if I think I shouldn't... (which may at times not have been the best idea).
I haven't worked out yet if I'm having a quarter life crisis… but I have decided to run the 2018 London Marathon for Diabetes UK.
Having diabetes is not something that you generally shout about, but March 2018 will mark my 20th year living with Type 1 diabetes and I decided it was time I did something to give back to a charity that is close to my heart.
When I was 8 years old I was taken into hospital for tests after suffering with a virus for a number of weeks, not showing any signs of getting better the doctor's advised my parents to take me to A&E. That night I was diagnosed with Type 1 and admitted to Hospital where I spent three nights on the children’s ward not really understanding why my mum kept crying.
As I am sure people reading this will know there is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes but it can be managed by daily insulin injections. If diabetes is not controlled it can cause health complications such as loss of sight, kidney failure, lower limb amputation and cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes also have a reduced life expectancy than people without diabetes.
Megan’s diabetes journey
- Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged 8
- Attended our holidays for people with Type 1 to regain her independence and grow her confidence in managing her condition.
- Supporting us by taking on the London Marathon 2018
- Has been inspired by her fellow runners on the dedicated Facebook group and when she attended the marathon training day.
- Has gone on to sign up for a DAFNE course.
“Since receiving the call in June last year to say I had a place on #TeamDUK in the 2018 London Marathon, I have turned my diabetes control around”
I have chosen to run (possibly crawl) for Diabetes UK as they are an amazing charity working hard not only to find a cure for this disease, but they also give so much to support to individuals and families affected by it.
When I was first diagnosed I attended several holiday camps with other children my age, away from our parents where it allowed us to regain our independence and manage our diabetes on our own. It also showed our worried parents that it was not the end of the world, there is a life with diabetes and their babies would be OK. Without this support I am not sure that I would be the confident person I am today.
Yes - if you have diabetes you have to plan your life a bit more than others, you can’t just be spontaneous if you don’t have your insulin with you and you always need to make sure that you have hypo treatment readily available at all times. But I travel the world with my job for weeks at a time and I make sure I am prepared, I have an amazing family, boyfriend and group of friends who support and love me. Yes I've made mistakes and I am sure I will continue to make mistakes but learn as I go.
Since receiving the call from Lynsey in June last year to say that I had a place on Team DUK for the 2018 London Marathon I have turned my diabetes control around.
Over the years my diabetes has been far from perfect, in fact until I started my marathon journey I had not seen my consultant for 12 years. When I joined the #TeamDUK facebook page for the marathon I was interacting with people for the first time in years who were either diabetic themselves or had close friends/family who had diabetes.
At first I was just observing, even from this I was receiving so much advice just from reading other peoples comments and questions, then I began to ask for specific advice and everyone was so welcoming, the best thing was you never feel like you are being judged or asking a silly question.
I then attended the training day at DUK head office where we were given so much help and support from the team, I found out about new technologies that were available, received nutrition advice and had a talk from experts on training for the big day.
After coming away from the training day I decided that it was time I took things more seriously so I called my GP and asked to be referred back to the specialist consultants at the hospital. A few weeks later I had my first appointment with my consultant (that I was dreading as I thought they would just nag me) but it was the complete opposite, we talked everything through, how I had been managing and I came away wishing I had done this years ago.
Whilst I was there the nurse gave me a new blood glucose machine (apparently mine was ancient), changed my basal insulin to help with my training and talked me through all the new devices that were available, before now I knew nothing about insulin pumps or needless blood tests. More importantly they signed me up there and then for a DAFNE course.
Since being under my GP I had taken my control into my own hands and had based my insulin dosage on pure guess work. I just happened to be lucky that it had been enough to keep me out of hospital over the years.
Following the DAFNE course I cannot recommend it enough to others with Type 1, it has given me so much more freedom with my diet (carbohydrate counting) and has given me the skills to work out my correct insulin dosage. The course also teaches you so much more including sick day rules, rules from the DVLA and driving, pregnancy and just made me feel more confident overall.
The training for the marathon is tough and it is sometimes hard to find the time to train and it can be frustrating when my sugars are more unpredictable after training, but since signing up I have learnt more about myself and diabetes than I have in the rest of the 20 years since being diagnosed. It has really just reminded me why I am doing this and shown me again how much Diabetes UK does for all of us that we are not even aware of.