Drew, 13, talks about life as a teen with type 1 diabetes…
I first found out I had type 1 diabetes after I started feeling very thirsty all the time and was losing weight. My mum and dad took me to the hospital after calling 111. When we got there, I got my blood tested in A&E then I had to go to intensive care and get a drip in my arm, which was very sore. I felt very scared and confused because I don’t like needles and I’d never stayed in a hospital overnight.
When I was first told I had T1 diabetes, I felt confused and upset. I didn’t know why it had happened to me. I didn’t understand it all properly – it was a lot to figure out. Using a needle was the worst part for me. I had to learn about how to inject myself and how to do finger pricks to check my blood levels before being able to leave the hospital.
I was in hospital for two nights and they let me away early because it was my 13th birthday on the last day of my stay. The nurses were really nice, and they gave me a present on my birthday.
Life After Diagnosis
It was difficult after leaving hospital. It was confusing trying to work out carb counting – I have to work out the carbohydrates in every meal I eat to make sure I inject the correct amount of insulin. I kept having a lot of hypos. Hypos is when your blood sugar drops too low and makes you feel dizzy and unwell. It’s much better now because I don’t get so many hypos.
My diabetes nurse is very supportive. My mum and dad are, too – they help me count carbs and order my medicines. My PCS (Pupil Care and Support) teacher has been really nice. She gave me a pass to use at school to let me leave for lunch earlier which gives me time to inject and means I can go for lunch at the same time as my friend. My friend is very supportive too.
A Day With Diabetes
I have to inject insulin four times a day, sometimes more. I also need to make sure my kit is filled with insulin, needles, lancets, and test strips. I take this with me everywhere I go. I also make sure I have treatments for hypos – I usually carry small packets of Haribo, cartons of pure apple juice or full-fat Coke. It’s a lot to carry around.
Diabetes & School
I usually inject in the bathroom. I’d rather go there than the medical room because that would make it obvious I have an illness. I don’t really like to talk about having diabetes. I used to eat out at lunch but now I bring a packed lunch because I can make it in the morning and work out the carbs at home, making it easier to inject at school. I have to wait 15 minutes after injecting before I can eat which makes it a bit stressful at lunchtimes. Sometimes I wish I could just eat without thinking, like everyone else at school.
Diabetes & Me
The worst thing about having type 1 diabetes is how it’s changed my day-to-day life. I don’t like waiting to eat and I don’t like needles, even though I have got more used to them. Having diabetes has brought me closer to my mum because she does most of the cooking and counting carbs. I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating and now I eat more vegetables and low-carb food, which is good.
Written by Drew Dolan
Drew is 13 and enjoys drawing and art. She also likes animals and has many pets, including tropical fish, stick insects and dog called Rhum.