There's a new Irish Diabetes blogger in our community: Sugar-Coated is Meadhbh Lewis, a 20-year-old student in Cork, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes only 18 months ago. And like a lot of people in Munster, she is a HUGE rugby fan. She started her blog, Sugar-Coated in the last few months and shares a lot of her diabetes journey with us there. I was also diagnosed as a 20-year-old student, so I relate to a lot of what Meadhbh is writes in her story below:
“Being newly diagnosed was really difficult and I knew nobody with diabetes, it was very much left to me to figure out and manage. I struggled badly at first, both mentally and physically”
Meadhbh Lewis and SugarCoated
How long have you lived with T1?
I was diagnosed out of the blue on Friday 13th January 2017, so just over 18 months. There was no history of the illness in my family, so it was a real shock to the system. It was a horrific week in ICU, so I’m determined to never have to be admitted into hospital again because of my diabetes. It’s a great motivator!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from Cork. I’m 20 years of age and currently I’m studying sports and exercise sciences in the University of Limerick. I also spend a lot of my time writing; be that for my diabetes blog or rugby articles that I publish on Last Word on Rugby.
Most of my interest revolves around sport
Most of my interest revolves around sport, last year I was 1 of 8 British and Irish Lions Ambassadors that travelled to New Zealand with the squad to try and tackle dropout rates in rugby. I think it’s really quite fascinating to have a keen interest in playing sports and managing Type 1 diabetes.
I always thought that living with this chronic illness restricted me from doing what I want, but I don’t let it stop me and I think it’s important to change that stigma associated with the illness. A nurse once told me that my course of study was far from ideal for a Type 1 diabetic and I couldn’t help but laugh, if I wasn’t as confident as I am in managing my illness that comment could really have gotten to me, and I think that people need to know that you can continue to do normal, everyday things with diabetes.
Being newly diagnosed was really difficult: I knew nobody with diabetes and it was very much left to me to figure out and manage. I struggled badly at first, both mentally and physically as I adapted to life with diabetes, the medical professionals could only help to a degree but at the end of the day, it was me who had to deal all the adversities that comes with type 1 diabetes.
I felt that the support base was very limited for Type 1 diabetics. I signed up to and organisation thinking that it would really help me adapt, but unfortunately it was a big let-down. It took 3 months to send me a care package, which included the very basic information that I already knew, and any letter I received after was focused on Type 2 diabetes, which was no use.
I guess I felt quite annoyed and frustrated that I was reaching out for help and they didn’t take the time to send me the correct information and help I needed.
I decided that that wasn’t fair and I thought that if I could share my experiences and tips for living with type 1 diabetes, it might help those who are newly diagnosed or struggling to manage, knowing that there are so many other who are in the same boat. The response has been really positive, and hopefully people find it useful.
How did you come up with the name: Sugar-Coated?
I don’t really know how I came up with the name ‘Sugar-Coated’ but I feel it’s quite ironic. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked if “I ate too many sweets” and if that’s the reason I have Type 1. I think that it’s really important that people know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 because they are completely different illness’s. It took me a while to muster up the courage to start my blog, I didn’t want people to think that I was trying to become a modern day “influencer”, but I’m really happy I did and hopefully it will reach more people who need a helping hand with managing Type 1.
We hope to hear more from Meabhdh as she continues her journey with type 1 diabetes. You can find more of Meadhbh Lewis on her blog SugarCoated - https://sugarcoated.blog and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter