17 and Type 1 Diabetes


A couple of weeks ago we featured Julie O’Sullivan from Kerry on the Thriveabetes blog. Julie is mum to 17 year old Abbie who has type 1 diabetes since she was 11 and Neil aged 19. Abbie came to Thriveabetes last year and attended the adult sessions while her mum attended the parents’ sessions. That’s where our paths crossed. I felt it was only fair that you were introduced to this courageous young lady who had to tackle some diabetes discrimination in her school. Here is her story.

O Sullivan Abbie (1)

My name is Abbie O'Sullivan. I am 17 years old. I was diagnosed with  type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. I live in Tralee, Co.Kerry. I am in 5th year studying for my leaving cert at the moment.

I have Type 1 Diabetes for 5 years now. I think every year gets a little bit easier to handle because you learn more and more each year what works for you and what doesn't and because there is more medical devices out there now to make it just a little bit more easier.  Still though, living with diabetes is hard work!

I didn't understand why I was diagnosed with diabetes because I was never sick before and was never in hospital since I was born and it just didn't make sense to me at all. I was terrified when I was told I had to go to A&E, I was more scared then of going into hospital then I was being told I had type 1 diabetes. Only because I had no clue what diabetes was but I knew what the hospital was like and I didn't like it.

The first 2 years were the hardest, I just couldn't get control at all with my blood sugars and it was very frustrating especially because I had just started secondary school. I was trying to get used to a new school, new timetable, new friends and teachers and then having type 1 diabetes on top of all that was very hard to deal with. But now, I am so used to it just doesn't stress me out as much as it used to.

Yes it has completely changed my life, I got an insulin pump last year and that has made such a difference and made life a lot easier. Recently I changed schools because of the treatment of some my teachers. They claimed that I was using it as an excuse to get out of class. And there were many other different occasions of being told off for checking my bloods in class or drinking lucozade in class to treat a hypo. In the end, I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to leave my friends behind and start all over again in a new school but now I've honestly never been happier!

Hopefully in the future there will be a pump that can be a continuous blood monitor as well and be accurate to make life easier. When I attended Thriveabetes last year I met so many other amazing diabetics ,some newly diagnosed and some who have diabetes for years and it's so nice talking about diabetes with someone who knows exactly what it feels like ! With diabetes I think that you're always learning new things and I learned a lot from Thriveabetes and its was a great experience.


Thank you Abbie for sharing with us and we are glad that things are going well in your new school.

Thriveabetes 2016 takes place on Saturday 1st October in Naas, Co. Kildare. Registration is open now and you can read more about our speakers here.