Okay, I suppose I should start by saying, I have Diabetes… I’m 14 years old. No teenager would want to be told ‘NO you can’t have chocolate! NO, you can’t have ‘Coco Pops’ for breakfast! NO you can’t eat sweets all day!’ So it wouldn’t be the most exciting thing for a teenager to hear…but when I heard that I had diabetes, I’m not going to lie, I cried. I loved not caring about my bloods being perfect, or caring how many Oreo’s I could eat, I was happy eating all the stuff I wanted! But that all changed after I got the news and when my Uncle sent a text to my mom…‘Welcome to the Darkside.’

I shall begin my journey about 1 / 2 years ago. It was around December 2011 when I was losing weight and drinking a lot. I wouldn’t even make it up my 13 step stairs without being exhausted when I reached the top. I was going to the toilet a lot too. Every 5 minutes I would be drinking something because of how dry my mouth would be and going to the bathroom non-stop. My mom had noticed something was up, but she though it was probably just me growing up. I was drinking a lot more than I use to. But nothing I drank would satisfy the need to drink.

So I went to my friend’s sleepover birthday party. As parties would normally have, a birthday cake, lots of fizzy drinks, lots of chocolate and sweets, I was doing my normal EATING WHAT I LOVE contribution to the party. I didn’t even put on weight whenever I ate. I don’t normally like ‘Diet Coke’ at that time, but I kept drinking so much of it. I’d say I drank around a big bottle and then lots of water. I kept going to the bathroom. While my friends we’re doing each other’s makeup (there was 6 of us altogether) I was running up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom. Yeah…..so fun huh? I went to bed that night, I couldn’t sleep at all. All I wanted to do was drink. My mouth was so dry.

I had a soccer match the next morning. I was the goalkeeper and so I would normally bring a bottle of water in the goal with me. I had forgotten it that time.  During the match I was shouted at the side-line and signalling ‘I NEED A DRINK OF WATER!’ I waited until half time. I gulped so much water down my throat, it just went dry again. My step dad said ‘Well you shouldn’t have stayed up so late at the party’. I knew myself that it wasn’t the party’s fault.

I went to the doctors a couple days later. My sister had a bad cough so we went to see what was happening with her…little did I know that I was finding out what was really wrong with me. My mom had said ‘Doctor can you check Leah’s blood’s because she’s not herself lately?’ and stuff like that. He checked my bloods on a diabetes monitor. Guess what they read? ‘’HI’’ the doctor checked my bloods twice because he thought it was broken. The doctor had said ‘you might have diabetes’…..my heart sank. Really? What? Why? I just was in shock. I could feel the tears pushing through. I went back to the car with my mom and sister and just cried. My mom reassured me saying ‘you might not have it?  It could just be a one day thing then it’ll go away’. Well I’m writing this a year and a half later…so I don’t think it was a day thing that would go away.

I went to the hospital the next day, with my overnight bags packed just ‘in case’ I had to stay the night. Some nurses took me away to get my bloods taken. I was 29.9…it was a bit high. The normal bloods should be between 4.0 and 7.0. The doctor had then told me about 1 hour later…’You have diabetes’. I didn’t know much about it then. So I had my bed and everything all set up for the week ahead.  Doctors had come in once and a while to tell me how to work the insulin pen and the testing units. A dietician had come in to tell my about how I can’t eat sweets and chocolate like I use to. I wasn’t very happy. To this day I’m still not over that fact that I can’t have this and that. I can have a treat once and a while but not all the time.

Some of my family members have diabetes so it wasn’t a new topic. My Uncle, my Aunt, my Granny and my Granddad all had diabetes. Some of the people on my Granddad’s side had diabetes too. After I got diagnosed, my cousin got it the same week as me.

When I’m testing my blood and taking my insulin injection, people ask me ‘does it not get boring?’ OF COURSE IT DOES! But it’s what keeps me alive and I’m going to have to deal with that. My diabetic friend told me ‘diabetes is a blessing. You’re supposed to be healthier than everyone else.’ It’s true. People who aren’t diabetics don’t understand how hard it is sometimes, just waiting for your bloods to either be ‘perfect’ or ‘high’. I don’t want to lose my legs or my sight, or any part of my body, but that’s up to me and the people around me to help and understand that diabetes isn’t something I can quit when I feel like it. It’s going to stay with me forever.

Know that having diabetes isn’t the end of the world. I’ve met amazing people along the way with great support. Don’t let diabetes control you, I’m still learning. So thanks for reading, I’m going to go test my bloods…….

By Leah

If you would like to write your own story of diabetes or someone you know, please send it to hfarrell77@gmail.com. Entries are limited to 1000 words or less. All entries will be posted on both Helena Farrell Consultancy Website and Diabetes Insight. The story with the most likes/favorites/re-tweets on Facebook and Twitter by December 18th 2013 will receive a 100 voucher for either One4All or iTunes.

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2 Thoughts to “‘Welcome To The Darkside’ – 14 yr old Leah’s Story of Living with Type 1 Diabetes”

  1. Deirdre Bowers Kavanagh

    Fantastic story all very real and Leah you are one strong girl and it is a pleasure to know you

  2. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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