Hi Rosa! So we've discussed this a bit already during our talks but can you talk about your experience of how you think your pancreas stopped working and when this happened?
In school I was bullied a lot and I feel that this could have contributed towards diabetes although being diagnosed several years later and it makes me angry that being stressed due to other people made me ill. I feel like maybe if I wasn't so anxious all the time I could have avoided becoming diabetic. As you know I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 20 but when I went to the doctors and they took my HB1Ac they had told me that I had developed diabetes in September which is when I moved away for university but when I think about it the move away from home wasn't stressful although certain elements were but not to the point which i think would have made me ill so whether the build up throughout the years and being slightly more stressed than usual caused it, I don't know.
How have you adjusted to the diabetic lifestyle opposed to your lifestyle before you were diagnosed?
To be honest I haven't really, I think that I'm still in denial because I haven't accepted it within myself to say I have an illness, its too hard. I wouldn't know how to say I've adjusted apart from having to include taking my injections measuring my sugars and everything else having diabetes brings. I would say that I haven't dealt with my illness in the best way and have found I distance myself from people as I panic I feel like they'll judge me so since I've become diabetic my lifestyle has gotten harder and my anxiety levels have risen dramatically if that makes sense.
What's your medication routine? Do you inject or are you on an insulin pump?
At the moment I inject insulin up to 5 times a day, I take insulatard in the evening and use novorapid for when I eat although the amount of injections depend on how unhealthy my portions are and so I tend to inject 4-5.
Do you find it difficult to stabalise your glucose levels and are you happy with where your HBA1c is at currently?
Usually I'm really good but on those bad days I take it really personally when I cannot stabalise my sugar levels and what I've found is that if I'm stressed my sugars are naturally higher no matter how much insulin I take and its really winds me up because I'm then stressed that my sugars are high and its ends up being a vicious circle. In terms of my HBA1c I'm not entirely sure what the number is but my nurses are happy with how I'm doing and have told me that if anything its slightly lower than average which to me is a positive as I know I'm not causing any damage to my health.
Obviously everyone has their good days and bad days with any medical condition but can you point out your worst day?
My worst ever day was in the early stages of my diagnosis as I refused to accept I was diabetic because every time I measured my sugars they were always good so in my mind I was convinced that I wasn't ill that I was normal and then one night I went clubbing and I drank too much which caused me to collapse and be taken into hospital. I was absolutely terrified and it gave me the wake up call I needed to realise I am ill and that I seriously risked my life for a stupid drink.
Did you cope well with that situation or do you think you could have been better prepared? I know that I feel like if I was to take a turn for the worse, I'd know how to cope and what to do but it's always different when that moment actually arises.
Not at all, it made me realise how serious this illness can be and how its essential to do all that you can to stay away from the bad parts diabetes can bring.
From personal experience, I was lucky with the majority of the people I was surrounded by in school in regards to them understanding the seriousness of diabetes but sometimes I felt like I didn't want anyone to know in case they thought I was exaggerating or making a big deal out of it. Do you ever get that feeling or is it different because you were diagnosed at the age of 20 and therefore the people you were surrounded by were older?
I felt exactly the same, I still do now but I'm slowly starting to realise I need to accept and deal with my diabetes. I don't care anymore if people think of me as a drama queen I will make a big deal out of it, always because we diabetics know what can happen and others may not necessarily be aware of the dangers if can bring. Although I'm at an age where people are supposed to be more mature, I was away at university when I had to deal with my diagnosis and felt incredibly lonely as none of my classmates really took the time to understand what I was going through or even ask if I was Ok so dealing with it myself and not having a clue what I was doing was tough :(
Do you find that you are still able to obtain a similar diet to what you had before you were diabetic or have you had to completely change it?
No I've had to become a lot healthier and cut out a lot of junk food which is hard to remain disciplined at as I'm a slight chocoholic and it makes me sad when wanting to eat something unhealthy and not taking enough insulin for then having my sugars being really high which makes me realise again how bad certain things are for me and that I am diabetic!
How do you feel about the exercising aspect of diabetes? For myself, I find it difficult to stabalise my levels throughout the duration of a workout, which is very frustrating and sometimes puts me off wanting to exercise all together!
Oh god this for me is an advantage to diabetes I totally get what you mean as I'm the same as I once tried to exercise throughout the summer and put on weight instead of losing it so I gave up in way I kind of feel privileged to say cant exercise because I'm diabetic and I know its an awful excuse and that I really should but its so hard to keep on top of as well as keeping on top of your life, I feel like I don't have the time to be a diabetic.
I'm not sure if it's just me, but I obviously hope for a cure for diabetes however I wouldn't have changed anything about being diagnosed with it as I feel it has sort of made me who I am today and has provided me with more independence and strength. Can you relate to this or do you wish that you hadn't been diagnosed at all?
I can totally relate to this but at the same time i wish I didn't have this illness holding me back although it shouldn't I don't think any diabetic can say it doesn't affect them in any way. I feel all those people who bullied me in school have won because they have their perfect lives with nothing turned upside down and for me diabetes was like the cherry on the cake of all the bad things that have happened to me. At the same time I feel like being diabetic keeps me going, it has too because I have to get to the same finish line as others and be able to say I've done it and I have diabetes. I know that everyone should try and make the most of things and be positive but life was so much easier before.
We've previously discussed that the media tend to talk about the negative side of diabetes a lot rather than being more positive and encouraging. What would you like to see the media do to increase awareness, positivity and encouragement surrounding diabetes?
I would love for people to know more about diabetes as its such as serious illness and some people don't think its that big of a deal. I would also love for some peer groups to exist where we can discuss being diabetic and help each other out. I've found it incredibly hard to cope whereas other people I've met seem to get on with it but I personally cannot accept it, I don't want to deal with it and the worst part is that I will be a diabetic for ever and ever and it sucks because I use to be normal and I just cannot accept it!
Thank you so much, Rosa for participating in this interview! Why not visit Rosa's awesome blog 'Life Is Fun Being Me'? You can also give her a follow on Twitter too!
Thank you for taking the time to reading this interview, I hope you found it as interesting and helpful as I found it. We need to remember that diabetes is an illness and it is important but as long as we take care of ourselves and treat it with respect, it will respect us.
I've got lots of posts on diabetes here so why not check them out? It's also World Diabetes Day tomorrow (14th November) so please help to raise awareness of diabetes in whichever way you can! If you'd like to join me on my 'Take Back What's Yours' campaign which is all about empowerment against diabetes, bullying, self-esteem, anxiety & any other medical or mental health issue, please check out this link to more information on what we do! We'd love to have you on board so do get in touch by email or tweet me! My links are below!
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Thank you again!