I don’t remember being diagnosed and I’ve never been good at the “what’s your first memory” thing – I’m sure what I think are my first memories are actually just stories I’ve been told by friends and family enough times that I’ve absorbed them into my brain via osmosis.
However, as the broken pancreas has been a constant throughout my life, it’s given me quite a list of firsts that I do remember:
- First time I met another diabetic: at a Diabetes UK family weekend. Quietly watching a very grown up 5 year old boy do his own injection and thinking “freak!”. Then realising that I did that too.
- First time I was sick on a doctor: on a Diabetes UK children’s holiday aged 6. I think even the Dr was amazed by how much vomit a 6 year old can produce.
- First time diabetes made me look like a genius: when asked to name an organ of the body at school, my classmates went for the ever-so-dull heart, lungs, kidneys. I was the only one who knew what a pancreas was.
- First time I realised diabetes stops some people doing stuff: aged 9. I was gobsmacked. It had never even crossed my mind that diabetes could stop you doing anything.
- First time I had fish and chips: aged 10 when I got my first Novopen and could eat more than a miniscule number of carbs per meal.
- First time I realised Dr’s weren’t always that clued up about diabetes: hearing a Dr shout at a pancreatically challenged child on the ward who was running around “It’s no wonder your blood sugars are so high when you’re running around so much“.
- First time I realised quite how scary complications can be: when I got a slightly abnormal kidney test result and having discarded all sense of perspective and spent a short while with Dr Google had virtually signed myself up for dialysis by the end of the day.
- First time I realised the value in double checking stuff: when the second kidney result came back perfectly normal, just like every one since.
- First time I realised not everyone shares my expectations of my diabetes: when my optician told me that some retinopathy is to be expected after 25 years of diabetes. Factually correct, but a million miles away from the expectations I like to set for myself.
- First time I discovered the power of the internet and diabetes: when I was thinking about getting a pump and CGM and wanted some real life stories from people who’d used them both, rather than just the marketing spiel from the manufacturers. I got all that plus a huge wealth of diabetically useful stuff online.
- First time I realised what a shock diagnosis must be: when I started using my insulin pump after 23 years of diabetes and felt like I’d entered a whole new world.
- First diabetic blog post: taking a step into the great unknown of cyberspace to look back on 25 years of being pancreatically challenged
Any more interesting diabetic firsts out there?