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"I never felt having Type 1 diabetes gave me a restricted childhood"

Take Each Day In Your Stride, Hello :) 

My name is Francesca and I am 19 years old. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 18 months old and it was down to my mum to look after me that very best she could (and she has done a wonderful job and I couldn’t be more grateful).

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I always feel that is slightly easier to accept that I have Type 1 diabetes because I was diagnosed while I was a baby and I know no different.

I’ve had a real rollercoaster of a life so far but because you can’t see anything most of the time people are oblivious.

Growing up

I never felt having Type 1 diabetes gave me a restricted childhood but a ‘special’ and ‘unique’ one with memories. If we did anything or went anywhere it was made to feel special or an adventure and I have some wonderful memories because of that. My mum and dad just explained that we needed a little more notice and time before we went anywhere and needed to let people know that I had Type 1 diabetes and we had to know what was around where we were going and what facilities/shops where there etc. And because I was never made to feel ‘different’ or that I had a ‘condition’, my school life was no different to anyone else’s.

I have always had a lot of support and guidance with my diabetes management and one day would like to be able to feel I could give that back or help someone else out that has Type 1 too. I am thankful that my family 'put up’ with me during my adolescence years as I went through a phase where I wasn’t the easiest person to talk to about my diabetes but I am extremely glad now that I listened to my family and nurse and doctor as back then I was stubborn and didn't want to.

Sport and being out

My diabetes has never stopped me doing what I’ve wanted to do. I have always loved and enjoyed walking, swimming and cycling and being diabetic hasn’t stopped me. For example, if I wanted to go swimming I could just like everyone else but I would just have to check my bloods before I went in the pool and maybe have a snack which had carbohydrate in but not one with just pure sugar and then check when I had finished but bearing in mind to remain aware whilst in the water that if I start to feel ‘funny’ such as ‘low’ or ‘wobbly’ whilst swimming I would then need to go check my bloods.

The future

I have so many dreams and wishes that I wish to try and complete through my life and I’m going to make sure that my diabetes will not stop me. I want to help people gain an understanding of the condition and to raise awareness of diabetes.

It’s not easy having Type 1 diabetes as it is a 24/7 job and it’s no holiday. It might even have made me stronger and able to cope with life a bit better & have a ‘just get on with it and do it’ attitude.

It can get tiring having diabetes and you feel like you just want to run away but you find ways to relax and get used to it over time. I wish I could have at least a day off a month and not think of injecting or blood sugars or carb counting etc. but then I just think I am pretty lucky that I have the control of diabetes that I have and it makes me what I am.

Yes, I do sometimes hate my diabetes and yes I do ask myself Why me? but I accept that I am diabetic and that doesn't make me a bad diabetic it just makes me human!

Even though I could happily do without diabetes, I wouldn’t change a thing because it is part of me and my personality & it has made me who I am today. I am always going to live the life I want & love & my diabetes isn’t going to stop me. It may even help me in some situations. It’s what makes me, me. I know that I will always have support from my consultant (past & present), Nurse, Mum, Dad and Gran.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Best Wishes Francesca. Xx :)

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