Monthly Archives: November 2012

Could my diabetes lead to a career change?

It’s funny, the different ways that diabetes has changed my life – mostly, in the way that I view my abilities.

Pre diagnosis, I was firmly a humanities girl. I avoided the maths and science faculty of high school like the plague, up until the point where I actually had to take out my map to find a classroom if it was ‘that’ side of the school building. Science and maths were never my thing – languages, essays and piles of politics and history reading was always my strong point, where I got my As. I got Bs in Maths and Science, so obviously I ‘failed’, and I hate things I ‘suck’ at. (Once a nerd, always a nerd)

Then I got diagnosed, and the educator left me overnight with a pile of reading. However this time it wasn’t literature or history, it was stone cold facts about this disease that had suddenly thrust its way into my life.

Trust me, this is all leading somewhere, keep going!

I remember that night vividly. I stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning reading the entire pile of information she gave me. I read about what my pancreas did, what ketones are, what beta cells are, what insulin does and why not having any is a bad bad thing. I read and read and drew myself little diagrams, and I woke up the next morning determined to figure out once and for all what was happening to my body. The educator came in the next morning, and I remember saying something like ‘so are we upping my basal rate? Cos my BGL was 17.3 this morning.’ She just about fell off the bed!

I realised that I had been shortchanging myself since I was 14. I didn’t ‘suck’ at science  or maths – I was actually quite good at science (and reasonable at maths). I’m not super fast, or any kind of maths or science whiz (flashcards are my best friend), but I GET it. I understand it, I just have to learn it in my own way, draw my own diagrams and make up my own explanations.

Why am I telling you this? For a while now – I’m talking since the start of 2011 – I’ve been considering completely switching my uni course to something completely different, something I know I never would have considered if I wasn’t diabetic. I study a Bachelor of Arts at the moment, majoring in French and dabbling in Literature, Theatre and Chinese. I’m aiming to do a Dip.Ed afterwards and teach in secondary schools. It’s great, however the pretentiousness and lack of real world relevance does get me down sometimes.

I’m considering switching to a Nursing/Midwifery course.

Diabetes has actually given me the courage and the self belief that I could do a job like that. When I was diagnosed I realised that I wasn’t a dud at science, rather I was a dud at being confident in my own abilities. My awesomeness at understanding my own disease has actually made me realise that my brain can understand what our bodies do! I would love to work with diabetic women all throughout their pregnancy and afterwards, providing prenatal and post natal care, helping with all the normal things as well as all the issues diabetes brings up. Obstetrics has always fascinated and interested me, (I watch One Born Every Minute and A Baby Story religiously!) and I know that I’d be a freaking fantastic midwife.

HOWEVER, I’m torn. I want to do both. Teaching and nursing/midwifery excite me equally. My plans hinge on my exam results…

If I go well plan is to continue on, do teaching, and if I end up hating teaching then I’ll head on back to uni and do midwifery 🙂  I may really help kids with diabetes in schools, that could be cool… If I do badly, I’m applying ASAP and getting the hell out of Arts. My grades have been slowly declining this year, thanks to feeling disillusioned and fed up with the pure wankiness of the course. Bad exam results could be a sign!

The point of this post? Thank you diabetes, for broadening my horizons!

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diabetes and dating

There are many conditions/illnesses/whatevers you can hide. You don’t have to bring out that skeleton in your closet until you’re completely comfortable with the person.

Diabetes is NOT one of those conditions.

Dates usually revolve around some kind of food or drink. Diabetes also revolves around food and drink. Ah, here we have the problem.

Diabetes is a bit of an ‘in your face’ disease. If I could just subtly pop a pill before eating my life would be complete. Unfortunately, diabetes involves blood and needles and a 30 second spiel (that I have down to an art) as soon as the food comes out.

My sister said to me ages ago ‘Well coeliac is the same. You have to tell them that you have a disease’. I disagree  With allergies, intolerances etc, you have to tell people but it’s generally accepted. All you’re saying is “I can’t eat that”. Diabetes involves that level of uncomfortable plus blood and needles. People are SHIT with blood and needles. Trust me, diabetics deal with sooky and dramatic people (who think that the fact that we have a needle out means we’re going to stab THEM) constantly. A lot more people will be making disgusted noises at someone pricking their finger than at someone who refuses the bruschetta entrée.

In the past 2.5 years that I’ve had diabetes, I’ve had many strange experiences while going on dates. At times, I see it as sort of a silver lining – if a guy is rude about me pricking my finger, he’ll be rude about a lot more and isn’t worth my time! I’ve had guys look at me like I just sprouted three heads and a tail, when 10 seconds before they were flexing their flirting muscles. I’ve had a guy (he was a bit of a health freak) tell me that if i just got my shit together that I could reverse it. One guy was so grossed out (back when I was injecting) he had to look away and do some deep breathing ‘to calm myself down’. Granted, that last one isn’t particularly rude but it was a bit ridiculous…grow a pair of balls buddy.

It’s really scary pulling my pump out…I’m essentially laying all my cards on the table all at once. Diabetes kind of forces you to just declare a private part of yourself within the first hour.

However, the guys mentioned above have been in the minority. Mostly guys (everyone really) are pretty chill. They get interested, ask a question or two and then we move on. Just how I like it. Most recently, one guy was so chill about it, it was like I’d said something like ‘I have a cold’. I was so happy about that I practically skipped home.

It still scares me every single time, telling someone I have diabetes. Date or no date. I know that’s probably a very stupid way to feel, but I feel like it immediately smacks this label on me, when I am so much more than diabetes. Call me the short girl, the brunette girl, the girl with the honking laugh, the girl who talks really fast – but for the love of God I can’t be known as the diabetic girl. I’m not ashamed of it, but I’d rather my personality be what leaves an impression, rather than the fact that I stuck a needle into my thigh.