Kay Bellwood, mum and carer

Kay Bellwood@NHS from 13/11/17 to 17/11/17  

Twitter: @Kaylabetes

Job title: Mum of a child with Type 1 Diabetes (also a Registered Nurse)

Place of treatment: Children’s Diabetes Team, William Harvey Hospital, East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I’m 43 year old, married for 12 years to my Husband Ashley, we have been together for 20 years and he is a hardworking hairdresser. I have a very small family and live a mile away from my parents! My mum received a Liver transplant 6 years ago after developing an autoimmune disease and I raise awareness for Organ Donation now as well as Type 1! My friends must get fed up with me! We have a bunny called Ebony though M would like a Hypo Dog!

I joined twitter a couple of years ago and love a tweet! I balance it well (I hope) with working for the NHS too; I work hard to share info, raise awareness and support others and remain professional.

Most things in my life as like many other parents who have children with Type Diabetes (T1) is described as before diagnosis and after diagnosis of Type 1.

Before M’s Diagnosis at aged 6.5 on my actual 40th Birthday on July 24th 2014 we were a family of 3. he was becoming independent, able to be left at school, friends parties, beavers etc and he played competitive tennis.

I was an Intensive Care Unit Sister working  long days and nights saving the lives of so many- including those with life threatening emergencies due to T1… I loved my job and was well respected with 17 years experience.

I thought nothing of going out for an evening with friends and even had the odd weekend away!

I recognised he had T1 myself and rushed him to the hospital where i worked and the rest is (a horrid and traumatic) history.

Diagnosis is bereavement and at now 3 years on I have moved through that period and am very accepting and try to support others. I work hard to raise awareness for T1 families and adults. I have a plan for setting up a local parents support and share and co – run a closed Facebook support and advice group for parents in Kent. I sit as Parent rep for our Children’s Diabetes Team. M too is the most amazing advocate for T1.

Not long after diagnosis I had to give up my job for a less stressful Mon- Fri  9-5 (ish) job. I now work as a Safeguarding Nurse Specialist and love my job working for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust. I’ve been with the team 5m after previously taking a role in the training and education Team and then the Quality and Patient Safety Team. so yep, back to a challenging job again!

Our life has changed beyond recognition as he is either always under supervision with myself, husband or at school where they have full training to care for him. He cannot be left with anyone that isn’t fully trained- we stay with him at all clubs and I’m a Cub leader – though I enjoy that most Fridays really!

His blood glucose is tested at least 2 hourly during the day and 2-3 hourly at night.  I’m the main night tester unless I’m ill or having the odd night away or get so overtired then Ashley will do it. we used to share it a bit better until he started marathon Training as he ran the London Marathon in April for JDRF. With each test i have to decide what course of action to take – make adjustments with the pump, treat low BGs or test for ketones if high to detect illness or potential emergencies. The last few months have been very challenging due to a new class at school, illness, growth spurt and having the flu vaccination – all affect his blood glucose levels.

Life is full of repeat prescriptions, supporting school and facing many hurdles. But he is happy and I strive so hard to be positive.

I have recently managed to take up tennis lessons once a week for an hour and manage some months to get to a local book club- if too tired from difficult nights though I cant read! I love Strictly and try to watch the odd Drama on TV. My vices are wine and a G&T.

I am tired but proud…. he is happy and proud.