It’s been a little over a month since National Diabetes Week, when we launched our Let’s Prevent Diabetes campaign, and while this year’s focus was on type 2 diabetes prevention, it was an important week for people with all types of diabetes. Megan Hatfield has Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA), or type 1.5. LADA is an autoimmune condition (type 1 diabetes) often diagnosed in people over 30 years of age.
This year’s National Diabetes Week focused on preventing type 2 diabetes. Although there is nothing preventable about the type of diabetes I have, I still support all efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes for those who are at high risk.
My Diabetes Week started with a visit to the podiatrist. It actually had nothing to do with diabetes, but involved fitting new orthotics to give my anatomically challenged feet relief. Needless to say, shoe shopping is one of my least-desired pastimes.
On Tuesday I visited my endocrinologist. I always come out feeling good after appointments with my endo.
Wednesday saw me visit the Medibank Icehouse at Docklands for the Diabetes Australia –Vic ice skating day for children with type 1 diabetes. I, along with other people with type 1 diabetes, helped these young novice skaters around the rink (not that I am an expert having not skated for many years). I spent most of my time with a child of about six years who was skating beautifully. However, in the late morning she became quite uncoordinated during a lap of the ice rink. Leaving her with another volunteer, I skated over to her mum and got her blood glucose meter. Wouldn’t you know it, her blood glucose levels were below 4mmol/L. No wonder she was uncoordinated. Fortunately, the next time I saw her she had recovered – the only thing she needed help with was removing her skates and zipping up her pink suede boots.
It continues to amaze me how well these young kids, who are mostly on pumps, deal with it with no fuss or fanfare. I recently told another person who has type 1 diabetes that I was diagnosed in my 30s. He replied that it was a bit ‘rotten being diagnosed in your 30s’. I wasn’t aware that there was a good time to be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of the type. It is a case of rising to the challenge and doing as much as you can to not let it ruin all other aspects of your life.
Friday 13 July was the dinner at Grossi Florentino, which I mentioned in my first blog , to celebrate taking the plunge and using an insulin pump. It was quite fitting, actually, as I officially connected to the pump 24/7 on Friday 13 April.
My celebration dinner was in the upstairs dining room and it was divine. The wait staff were perfectly attentive and identified all ingredients in each dish on the Gran Tour menu, in a dinner that spanned three hours. These explanations were all part of their regular service, but they allowed me to ‘guesstimate’ how much carbohydrate I consumed so I could pump appropriately. Although I did test my blood glucose levels several times that evening, the waiting staff and patrons did not react.
I’m not a big fan of chocolate, so at my request, they were happy to change my dessert from the chocolate soufflé to the Mt Edna, described as a pistachio semifreddo, meringue, raspberry sauce, chocolate crumble, cinnamon polvoron, stones.
Now the week is over and it’s back to reality. I’m going back to work for the business end of the year, with a year 12 class in my teaching allotment.
It’s important to try and minimise the intrusion diabetes has on our lives through prevention, or for me and others with diabetes, improvements in treatments and pump technology, and the support of family, friends and specialist health teams.
Megan Hatfield is a Diabetes Australia – Vic member. The thoughts expressed in this blog are her own. DA–Vic thank her for sharing her story.