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I was scared stiff of hypos

Marnie looks back at the time she felt out of control when she was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and realises she is now in charge of her body and her diabetes.

I grew up with a Mum who has been living with type 1 diabetes her entire life, but I never quite appreciated how much work goes into looking after yourself and looking after a family when you have this condition, up until I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes myself when I was 17.

I admit I was terrified to do anything at first - I thought doing the littlest thing would cause my blood sugars to plummet, to the point where my paranoia would cause me to set alarms during the night so I could wake up and check my blood sugar level. I knew what a hypo was but I had never had one and I was scared I wouldn't know what it would feel like, whether I would know what it was to treat it or whether it would happen when I was on my own. The first ever hypo I had severely disappointed my crazy expectations - a bit of Lucozade later and I was right as rain.

I remember the first time I ever caught the bus after being diagnosed and I must have checked my blood sugars about 5 times whilst on the bus; my biggest fear was having a hypo when I was on my own and surrounded by strangers. When I went out I purposefully took a bag that would hold a large quantity of Lucozade, just in case!

When I was little, my sisters would always beg my Mum to use her testing machine - they were fascinated by it, knowing what their blood glucose level was, but not me. I couldn't go near the thing, the thought of needles made me feel sick.

I struggled with the whole concept of needles at first - I remember sitting on the sofa the day after I was diagnosed, psyching myself up just to prick my finger to do a test. You can imagine how long it probably took me to then actually use my insulin pen!

Three years on living with diabetes, and yes I've struggled, yes I've had some bad hypos and yes I've had times where I haven't really looked after myself properly, but now I've arrived at a place where I've realised only I am in charge of my body and my diabetes and I need to take care of myself. Needles? Don't phase me at all now, I actually feel amused when I get my insulin pen out and some of my friends cringe away, shuddering at the sight of the needle.

I cracked on with college and passed my A-Levels and am now happy in a job. I've joined a gym and stopped pigging out on sugary foods as often (but not never!) and I'm putting full effort into making sure I control my diabetes. It just made it all that bit easier having my Mum support me fully all the way and having someone there to share experiences with.

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