This Diabetes Awareness Month, we hear from a London mum – Lisa – and her 15-year-old daughter about how they are doing three years after her Type 1 diagnosis.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over three years since my daughter’s Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. It it was so daunting at the time, but carb counting and insulin jabs are now just part of our lives.
In 2016, a diabetes awareness campaign run over the summer made me reflect on symptoms my daughter was experiencing, whereas previously I’d thought of them in isolation. She was always thirsty and constantly needed the loo. That made sense, after all it was the summer and it was warmer than usual. Then she lost a lot of weight. It seemed to have happened overnight and this worried me a little. How could I not have noticed? Again, at the time, I thought she was just becoming more aware of what she was eating. But blood tests came back confirming that she had Type 1 diabetes, and that same day Georgia was admitted to hospital with sugar levels so high the glucometer couldn’t read them.
The most amazing, patient, kind and caring nurses, doctors, dieticians, therapists and psychologists helped us get to grips with managing my daughter’s condition, after which our local children’s diabetes team took over her care. Since then, we’ve had the same consultant, and always see the same nurses and dietician when we go for our routine appointments and we know we can trust and rely on them. The team are also just at the end of the phone (or email) if we ever have any concerns or questions.
Georgia is managing her sugar levels well, but the smallest change can throw even the best sugar management out of the window. So I think it’ll always be a learning experience for us – but it gets easier and easier as time goes by and new technology becomes available. This year, Georgia started using the freestyle libre/flash glucose monitor, which makes it so much easier to monitor her levels and gives her an indication of what is happening with them. This gives her a warning when her sugar levels are rising or falling too fast, so she can take action to address it.
Having diabetes hasn’t held Georgia back at all. She’s been on several trips abroad with her school – each time her diabetes nurses meet with teachers to go through her care plan – she plays sport, and she can enjoy ice creams in summer and party food with her friends, so long as she carb counts to work out how much insulin she needs.
So, as a parent, I’m grateful for several things: I’m grateful to campaigns like this one that led to my daughter’s diagnosis and the start of her managing her condition. I am really grateful to the NHS for the wonderful care that Georgia has received – without her team, this new way of life would have been a lot more difficult to navigate. And I’m grateful to my daughter for dealing with her Type 1 diabetes in a positive manner and taking responsibility for her own health.
Hello, my name is Georgia and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on the 11 August 2016 in the middle of my summer holidays. Even though it terrified me when it all happened, I knew I had to take control and just get on with it.
Yes, I miss stuffing my face with cake and not having to worry about counting the carbs first. But it’s now a part of me, and it’s hard to remember what life was like before my diagnosis.
I’m managing my diabetes pretty well, and my HbA1C levels are almost optimal. But, I have had a few hypos, which have been scary for all of us. This past year, my health care team arranged for me to get the freestyle libre, which means I don’t have to prick my finger so often anymore. It makes it easier to manage my levels as it gives me information about whether they are rising, falling or staying the same. It’s great to have this new technology, but I still hope that one day there will be a cure!
Raising awareness of health issues like Type 1 diabetes is important and I want other young people like me to know that there is life after diagnosis!