I've lived with type 1 diabetes for 36 years now. My grandmother and my mother both had and has type 2 diabetes. I have known no other life than a diabetic life.
I was seven when I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Seven-year-olds do not understand what diabetes means. It was the first time I saw my father cry, because he understood what that meant for me.
My first few months living with diabetes I spent in hospital. I was there for almost two weeks. I was home for a very short time and was hospitalized again. I got the flu. Unfortunately with diabetes, when you can't control your blood sugar because you're throwing up with the flu and everything else, you get sick with something called diabetic ketoacidosis.
When I got my insulin pump eight years ago, I caught the flu and didn't realize how significant it was, because it was the first time I didn't go into diabetic ketoacidosis. That was a life changer for me.
I have been very proactive on my health. I know what I need. I know what I need to do. For a very small time in my life, I was married to an abusive man and my control subsequently slipped. That was maybe a four-year period of my life. I'm paying for those four years to this day, despite my above average care of myself.
Despite the complications that I have, I still live a healthy, active lifestyle. I work out with my family, despite having peripheral neuropathy. My feet constantly have pain. I don't feel my feet properly and yet I took up running after that diagnosis. I do everything in my power to live a healthy life, with minimal strain to the taxpayers and to society.
I am doing my best every day. My best sometimes doesn't cut it. That's okay, because I cannot control what's happening internally. You know, the weather impacts your hormones and everything. I can't control that, so I just go with the flow.
Being here is stressful, something that I don't do every day, so I'm sure in a bit there's going to be a beep, beep. That's my life. I have had to adjust, and I have. Thirty-six years in I've kind of got it, even on those roller-coaster days.