Sunday, 21 August 2011

Diabetes From A BFF's Point Of View

My first ever guest post comes from my BFF Amy at 

She is my Type Awesome person, my D Police and my part-time pancreas/D-Mom so it's my pleasure to share her view on the big D!

If you would like to guest post on Teapot_Diabetic then just click Contact Me and drop me an e-mail! :)

Diabetes From A BFF’s Point Of View
"Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down" - Fall Out Boy

Emma (my BFF) was diagnosed with diabetes just after her twentieth Birthday, approximately two years ago. She’s a type one diabetic, who treats with insulin injections. When I found out she had diabetes, I really didn’t know a lot about it. I knew what diabetes was, but that’s about as far as my knowledge went.

For those of you reading this who aren’t diabetes savvy, I’ll do a quick run through. Diabetes is caused when the organ in your body that creates insulin, the pancreas, doesn’t work correctly. Insulin is the chemical the body uses to control blood-sugar levels (the amount of sugar in your blood-flow), and without it, the body will push sugars level to a dangerous high, which can lead to a diabetic-coma.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetics have usually inherited the diabetes from somewhere in the family gene-pool. They tend to have to treat using insulin injections, but some cases may require a diabetic insulin pump, which is connected to the body around the clock, feeding you a constant stream on insulin.

Type 2 diabetics, usually develop diabetes through-out their life, and are normally diagnosed much later on it life. Some very lucky Type 2’s can treat with diet regulations, or oral medication, but some cases will have to inject. The injections for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, must be issued after every meal, and for general corrections to the blood-sugar levels, which are monitored with a metre. The testing of the blood-sugar levels must be done periodically through-out the day, and then treatment provided when necessary.

I knew Emma when she was diagnosed; we had worked in the same department of our place of employment for a while. But we weren’t close at the time. However, Emma took my medical curiosity in her stride. I can be a little bit of a pain when it comes to things I don’t understand, and tend to ask several questions, until I do understand.

I didn’t have much idea about diabetes, but Emma patiently, and thoroughly answered every question that I asked, and seemed to perceive that I meant no offence by this, and that I was just a little curious. Within these conversations, and due to some extra-curricular activities (outside of work fun), we began to grow close, to the point that I now joke and call her my BFF (Best Friend Forever).

Emma is amazing with her diabetes, and is a true inspiration. She’d probably say that she doesn’t think that she handles it well at all. But I beg to differ. From my reasoning, a diabetic has to walk a fine line of monitoring your sugar levels, whilst not letting it become an obsession. If it were me, I’d constantly be giving my finger the little pricks that it takes to test. But Emma seems to have got this balance just right. She has the odd little hiccup with the levels, but it (the diabetes) doesn’t stop her from doing anything.

She has a very refreshing sense of humour about her diabetes (even sporting t-shirts with the slogan "Ducking Fiabetes"), and seems able to overcome any problem that D has to throw at her. Her strength in the face of Diabetes makes me proud to be her friend.

I know that her "adaption" period after her diagnosis was really hard. I sometimes wish that I had been her close friend before her diagnosis. I’m not sure if I would have been much comfort to her during this life-changing time, but I sure would have tried my hardest.

However, she did have some amazing support. I can never thank the Diabetes Support UK Forum members, and fellow D-Bloggers and members of Circle-D for the support they have provided Emma. It’s a difficult time for newly diagnosed people, but the Forum gave her answers to questions that the NHS (with all it’s well-meaning) couldn’t, and gave her an ear of someone who knows exactly what she was going through. The support the Forum members offer is invaluable, and, as I’ve found out from the couple of diabetes meets that I have had the privilege to attend, they are amazing people, who all seem to have that same drive and strength to not let the diabetes beat them.

It’s not all plain sailing with diabetes (as you can probably imagine), and like most people in her position, sometimes Emma finds herself quite down in regards to her circumstances. Almost anything can affect your sugar levels, and as a non-diabetic, I sometimes take my pancreas for granted, but Emma doesn’t have that choice. Occasionally, after a particularly bad hypo (when her blood-sugar levels have dropped to well below what they should be, which can have some rough after-effects), or due to the finality of her diagnosis, she can seem troubled by her diabetes. It’s at times like this that I would pay the world for a cure; just to see her smile again.

I love Emma, with or without diabetes, but for her sake and peace-of-mind, I wish it was something that she could escape from. She would say that she moans a lot, and is forever apologising to me about off-balance level readings, or for being down, and I say, I want to be a good friend to her and that I will always want to offer any support that I can, even if it’s just a little thing.

Although diabetes is a life-long circumstance, Emma has decided that she will be in control on diabetes; diabetes will never control her, and it’s this fighting spirit that makes me love her so much. Plus the fact that she’s the funniest person I’ve ever known. Diabetes making it’s presence known or not, Emma is the person I have the most fun with, and the person I admire more that anyone else. She’s a true friend, and I hope that she knows, as long as she the BFF (which will hopefully be man more years) we’re a team, and despite everything, we’ll kick D’s ass!


Northerner said...

Lovely post Amy :)

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