In an interview with the BBC, four time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave says “diabetes has to live with me, not me live with it”. Now there’s a man after my own heart. That could have been me speaking. I have the same expectations of my diabetes.
Then he talks about the careful balancing act of wanting people to see that diabetes doesn’t stop him, but equally not wanting to make it seem inconsequential and easy to live with. I’m now jumping up and down shouting “me too, me too!”. It seems we diabetics want it all ways. Don’t pity me, but have some respect for how hard this is at times.
By this point I’m thinking, I may not be very good at rowing (I can do once round the boating lake but then my arms start to ache and we start going in circles because my right arm gets tired quicker than my left) but when it comes to diabetes I’m Olympic standard.
I’m heartened to hear that Sir Steve’s latest sporting injury was acquired slipping down a hill whilst getting to his car – this sounds like exactly my kind of sporting injury, clumsy and unnecessary. As a child I broke my arm through the very dangerous activity of falling off the sofa.
As I read on I’m not in the least bit surprised when Sir Steve says “Every waking moment you’re aware that you’re diabetic, but you develop a new sense – what you’re going to eat, how much insulin you’ve got to take with that food that you’re taking, what sort of a stressful day you’re going to be living because that affects the blood sugar levels as well…so you’ve got to look at a lot of different things.”
Yes, yes and triple yes, that’s exactly it, couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s the thing about diabetes, it’s always there, it never goes away.
Of course, as my diabetic twin, Sir Steve uses a pump like me. I knew this already because I got overexcited a couple of months ago when my eagle-eyed husband spotted his infusion set through his T-shirt on a TV show. I know this makes me sound like some kind of stalker-type freak but really I’m not, it’s just surprisingly exciting to see someone else with a pump out in the real world rather than at a diabetes event.
I therefore (modestly) conclude that even if my rowing is pretty poor, my attitude to diabetes is Olympic gold medal winning standard. And as I think diabetes is best played as a team sport, please join me on the podium to collect your medal.