Olivia was diagnosed only a short time before Thriveabetes happened last October. She contacted me to try and meet other newly diagnosed people. We met at Thriveabetes and I have asked her to write about her diagnosis because it's so fresh in her head and she is still navigating her way through it.
I am Olivia Pyne from Youghal, Co Cork. I work as a PA for Gas Networks Ireland in Cork City and I have a son Daniel who is 11 years old.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in June 2014 at 46 years of age, so almost 2 years now. Approximately 18 months prior to that, I picked up a tummy bug that just didn't go away so I felt unwell for much of this time. I was under a lot of stress at the time. I had belly ache, wasn't enjoying my food, was losing weight I didn't need to lose and had no energy. In March 2014, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I didn't know anything about Diabetes at the time (boy, was that about to change!) so I did my research and decided I would manage it with diet and exercise, even though I already had a healthy lifestyle. I remember thinking at the time, I will just have to eat healthier and exercise more!
Over the next 3 months, I went from trying to manage it with diet and exercise, to taking glucophage, to adding diamicron - and all the while my blood sugars were rising and I was losing even more weight and feeling truly awful. By this point, I was feeling so unwell I was unable to go to work and finally ended up in hospital with DKA.
I can still vividly recall the moment the Consultant told me that I probably had type 1 diabetes (I had to wait 6 weeks for the GAD antibody test to confirm) and I would be on insulin for the rest of my life. The utter shock and disbelief that this was happening was the feeling I had and that it surely must be a mistake. I can remember having to inject myself that first time with the nurse, and how kind and patient she was with me - Joan was her name. Being told I had type 1 diabetes was one of those life defining moments like when I went into premature labour 10 weeks early with my son or when I got the call to say that my brother had died. The sheer terror of the moment and what was to follow and the valley of tears.
I remember the consultant telling me that the diabetes came as a result of the tummy bug, and that I would start to feel better very soon. It didn't register at the time but he was right. Since starting on insulin, I have bucket loads of energy, and I don't have any more tummy troubles.
I have to say the first 18 months were rocky to say the least, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions - you name it, I have felt it.
Being a late onset diagnosis, I have found that losing spontaneity was a huge thing for me initially and I would panic about making arrangements etc but isn't it amazing how we adjust with time, and it has gotten easier. I have hypo anxiety and as a result of that, I have been hyper vigilant and really it has been overwhelming at times. I don't sleep well and this is probably my main issue now. I do have a lot of energy and wonder sometimes if it is the insulin that keeps me awake but the professionals tell me it is more then likely to be anxiety. Maybe it is a bit of both. I live alone with my son so that is probably a factor too. I would love to hear from anybody who is having similar issues or who has overcome them?
I feel I have come a long way since diagnosis, ask my family and close friends and they will tell you what's it's been like! I have looked for and accepted support from many places and I feel that each has been a stepping stone in my gradual return to normality. And my wonderful son, he is so wise. When he says things like "I think you should relax about the diabetes mam, it will be ok you know", it stops me in my tracks and I think he is so right, take a chill pill and live life.
I am starting to find my way with diabetes on board, and I'm making it my friend. The positives since diagnosis are that I've taken up running 5k a few times a week, I am more conscious of what I eat and I bake my own low carb cakes and cookies and they are delicious! I listen to my body more and meditate regularly.
Looking back to when I first starting feeling unwell, I had a lot going on in my life and was under considerable stress. I was juggling a lot of plates - I was a working full time mother with a commute to work long days, I was also studying for 2 years for a Diploma in Parent Mentoring at UCC so a lot of deadlines to meet. I think when we put our bodies under long term stress, if we don't take heed and slow down, our bodies will let us know, and messages come in the form of illness. So I will be taking care of myself from now on!
I hope that by telling my story it will help someone out there that is struggling with a new diagnosis. I would encourage those people to reach out to others with diabetes and also find a good therapist who will help you come to terms with the psychological impact of this life changing condition. It does takes time to adjust and it really does get better, so please hang in there!
I want to thank Olivia for volunteering her diabetes story for Thriveabetes and for her honesty about how she feels. Reading her words brought me back to when I was in the first months and years of living with diabetes.
And remember, Type 1 Diabetes is more common in children but that does NOT exclude adults from being diagnosed. Please click on this link for the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
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