13 July, 2011 in Video Blog
Alison and Tim talk about their respective diagnosis of diabetes. Alison doesn’t have much to say as she can’t actually remember her diagnosis at the age of four and so Tim gets a chance to speak for a bit.
Back through the mists of time when I was a small child during the halcyon and sunny decade that was the 1980′s, I often thought about what my job might be when I was all grown up.
This is, of course, not wildly unusual; with many a small boy yearning to grow up to be a racing driver or a train driver (I think it’s the membership of the Transport and General Workers Union that particularly appeals to the five year old train driver to be).
I, however, was different.
At the tender age of five, I knew that modelling was the career for me. But by then I had already realised I had the lop-sided face of an irascible pug licking mustard off a nettle, so general modelling was clearly out. But what could I do, what could I do? That was it â€“ hand modelling!
As you will all, of course, know; hand modelling is a very specific type modelling where only your hands are in shot (the name kind of gives it away). You know the sort of photograph â€“ the manly hand in the advert that clutches the can of foaming beer, the hand and wrist that shows off the trendy cufflinks. Yep! That was the career for me.
My early research showed that hand modelling was a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog (sorry Neville) industry and that I would have to be something special to get ahead. So I worked hard, got a clutch of GCSEs and bunch of A levels in difficult subjects (I had a bias towards to the arts, but don’t hold that against me). I then studied through arduously long days and nights to get a degree in law. All the while I slathered my hands in expensive creams, lotions and tonics; avoided manual labour and kept my nails beautifully manicured.
So far, so good. But I still didn’t feel I was ready to become the hand model I’d always dreamt of being. So I took a temporary McJob as a specialist in Internet-based intellectual property â€“ something we’ve all done in times of need â€“ to tide myself over in the meantime.
Seven long years elapsed and on 6th December 2005 I finally felt ready to resign from my job to at last become a hand model. But the very next day disaster struck and I was diagnosed with Type One diabetes.
Almost immediately I started testing my blood glucose six, seven or even eight times a day and before long I had developed the “pepper pot” fingers that are the internationally recognised badge of diabetes. No reputable agency would employ a hand model whose finger tips were covered in the tiny black spots inherent in constant BG testing. In an instant my hand modelling future was in ruins.
I sobbed for a week and had to return, shame-faced, to a career in a niche, IP-focussed consultancy and my childhood dreams were crushed. All because of diabetes.
So dear readers, let me know in the comments below which of your fictitious potential careers have been ruined by the horrific scourge that is diabetes.
18 June, 2010 in Living with diabetes
Just the other day we had an interesting discussion over on the Shoot Up forums (there are some sensible debates over there you know. It’s not all weak puns and inane banter. Well, not entirely).
We were discussing the difference between people’s experience of diabetes depending on whether they were diagnosed at a very early age (and so knew nothing other than injecting) or whether they were diagnosed much later in life and so could remember what it was like to have a working pancreas.
I was diagnosed with Type One at the relatively ancient age of 28 and so spent a healthy chunk of my adult life not knowing what the hell diabetes was â€“ something to do with chocolate and injections or something or whatever. So I very much knew what it was like not be in the failed-pancreas club.
Immediately after diagnosis I was just pleased to have found out what had been wrong with me all those months and thankful I was no longer drinking pint after pint of water and feeling absolutely wreaked all the time. However, as the days passed, I did have the occasional bought of self-pity (and why not?) in which I shook a metaphoric fist at my broken pancreas. As we all know, getting the balance of good diabetes control right is not easy and occasionally my frustration at not getting it right all the time turned to regret at having damn diabetes in the first place.
But since those early days, I’ve not really looked back with any sense of regret about being struck down with diabetes. It sounds trite, but you get on with whatever hand of cards you’re dealt with. There’s no going back to having a working pancreas and a cure is very unlikely. Unless, of course, you have a handy TARDIS to travel back / forward in time. Which I don’t. Pity.
So, no, I don’t harken back to the days before my diagnosis â€“ I just keep a stiff upper lip and get on with it. But what do you think? Is it best to have had a pancreas and lost it or to have never have a pancreas at all?