Hey, this ones going to be a little longer than usual…maybe get comfy!
Picture the scene, its late October 2017…My wife & I are on our way to the hospital, full of anticipation & excitement!
That’s probably not how many diagnosis stories begin I’m sure, but at that moment in time diabetes wasn‘t a thing, for me at least anyway.
No, we were on our way to hospital to for the birth of our second child!
We were scheduled for an induced labour & we’d already been postponed by 2 days…so our excitement was overflowing.
But I wasn’t feeling my best. Obviously knowing what I now know…I was presenting all the classic symptoms of Type One Diabetes, but at the time I’d not made the connection.
I was feeling fairly tired - but that was nothing new.
I was super thirsty…but i just thought I most be drinking the wrong things because its not quenching my thirst.
I was peeing a lot, but that made sense because I was drinking so much.
I went on the scales & realised I‘d lost a noticeable amount of weight, I’d always been skinny, but now I was super skinny (worryingly so!)
We arrived at hospital and were welcomed to the delivery suite, the procedure to begin the induced labour was done & then we just had to sit & wait - we were told it could take 24+hours, so to get comfy.
As nothing was happening, we decided I should see if I could get an appointment to see my GP, which I did, for later that day. I obviously googled my symptoms and fairly quickly diagnosed my self as diabetic (based on 30 seconds of research!).
It’s difficult to describe how I felt about that, it probably didn’t really sink in, partly because I didn’t really know what it meant, partly because I don‘t think my mind was particularly in tune, with the baby being due any minute!
At the GP’s office, I sat down & said to the doctor; “I think I might be diabetic”
The doctor laughed!
I explained my symptoms & then the doctor took me a little more seriously, quickly doing a finger prick blood glucose test & pee on a stick ketone test - then things started getting as little more serious. The doctor phoned the A&E department & warned them I was on my way, sending them a letter explaining what needed to happen. It was all a bit of a blur at the time, but the letter basically said I was borderline DKA & needed to go to ambulatory care.
I was seen quite quickly at A&E, but the doctors letter hadn’t been read correctly & I wasn’t sent to ambulatory care, instead I had a few more finger prick glucose tests and ketone tests.
The A&E doctor decided I wasn’t in DKA & I should go home!
I didn’t actually go home…I went across to the maternity suite!
The following day I booked amother appointment with my GP. Who promptly phoned my back in a bit of as flap, because I hadn’t been given any insulin yet!
Luckily, the hospital we we’re at also had a diabetes clinic. I was given an appointment to see a Diabetes Specialist Nurse straight away. Luckily for me, but rather uncomfortable for my wife…things were progressing rather slowly with the labour.
I spent the rest of that day, and the following two days back and forth between the ambulatory care (where i was given random shots of insulin), the diabetes clinic where I was given books, leaflets, needles, insulin, a glucose meter, test strips, prescriptions and a crash course in this new thing called diabetes.
On the fourth day, the 26th October, the main reason we’d gone to the hospital in the first place all kicked off, it wasn’t straight forward (because everything had been smooth sailing up to hear!) and I won‘t go into the details…but later that day our second child was born, coincidently the same date his older sister was born 14 years prior.
So what have I learnt over the last 5 years?
Well…I think being given a JDRF book on day one started a trend that habit that hasn’t really stopped…I started learning about my condition, why it happens, how its managed, what are the consequences..
I then spent a good couple of years learning how to integrate type one into my life, and vice versa. I began putting a little bit of weight back on. I’d lost quite a lot before my diagnosis, and I was fairly skinny to start with!
In that time took part in a couple of JDRF ‘Make a Splash’ events, which involves swimming 11miles (half the length of the channel) in my local swimming pool - but not all in one go! I completed the distance over a number of weeks swimming 20-30 lengths most nights of the week. This taught me a huge amount about exercise with type one & I wanted to explore this more.
In late 2019 I was beginning to get into resistance training. Something I‘d done on & off over the pre-diagnosis years but never really seen much progression in the past.
I joined the local gym and along with the burying my head in the diabetes books, I was starting to look more & more into nutrition & exercising and how to manage these alongside diabetes.
Then the world took a bit of a turn, Covid hit!
My job is largely office based, so I was sent to work from home and after about 4 weeks doing that, I was put on furlough.
I know that the whole Covid time effected people different and was a really rough time for a lot of people, but I can only speak from my own perspective and for me, it was great.
I’m lucky enough to have a nice house and garden space, I got to spend all day with my kids and because the boy was in pre-school and the girl was effectivly on study leave before her GCSE’s we didn’t really have an home schooling to contend with.
This freed up a massive amount of head space. It allowed me reflect on the last few years with diabetes…and where I wanted to go next.
There's plenty that happened in the time between then and now, which I will no doubt cover in future blog posts.
In 2020 I signed up to do a 5k Tough Mudder to raise money for Diabetes UK. With the on going covid restrictions, the event obviously got postponed, but I eventually got to run my event late 2021. How I managed my blood glucose through an even like this will be the topic of future blogs, but when I got to the end of the 5k my first thought was; "Lets go again!"
I really enjoyed the run and felt really energised. I signed up to do a 10k event the following April...Unfortunately one of my friends who had planned to run with me had to back out and defer his place to another event later in the year. So I immediately signed up to that event as well!
Then my gym also decided to put together a team to run at another event...so by the end of 2022 I've run 3x 10k Tough Mudders!
Coincidently, the 3rd of which, in Manchester fell on the day of my 5th Diaversary!
Which didn't actually dawn on me at the time, I'm not usually one for marking such occasions but this one I thought it's rather fitting...almost like things had come full circle, the only reason I got into Tough Mudders was to raise money for Diabetes UK, to see how far I could push myself, to give my training a direction & purpose, to take on the challenge of managing my Diabetes in a situation that I can't really replicate in training, to prove that Diabetes has not and will not beat me.