1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2021 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

10 years in 2 hours time.

Discussion in 'Success Stories and Testimonials' started by Dana_Heath, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Dana_Heath

    Dana_Heath Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    58
    10 years a diabetic on the 9th (just 2 hours away). It's mixed emotions, in one sense I'm bricking it, but on the other hand I'm proud of myself. I don't want to make a big deal about it, but I was asked to write about what I've gone through so far. I'm more nervous than anything for tomorrow- so sorry if you can kinda sense my nerves. For the much shorter, less detailed, and very minor story of how far i've come, you can take a read of "My 10 year story" on the Success Stories + testimonials page :)


    On the 9th of March 2006, I was a very poorly 7 year old. My parents figured something was wrong with me when I could down one of those water bottles (that are about the size of a large baby) and not need to go to the toilet afterwards. So we went to the local doctors, who immediately referred me to the hospital where they told me I had diabetes and then kept me wired up to god knows how many machines for a week. When they let me out, the first thing I wanted to do was go to school and see all my friends... But I had to stay at home for 2 months with daily visits from the nurse and phone calls every morning.


    When I was finally allowed to go to school, I was so excited. I remember buzzing on the walk there- which was only to be interrupted by a hypo in the playground. Parents were looking at me funny- had I just used a mobile phone and a pen to make myself bleed? Anyway, everyone was happy to see me- we were all playing in front of our parents whilst we were waiting for the bell to go. When it did, I turned around to wave to my mum (she'd been fired from her job because they didn’t like the fact that she had to have time off in order to look after me) but she seemed to be getting angry at other parents about something. I shrugged it off.


    At the end of the day when my dad picked me up, he told me that mum had to explain about me to the parents because I was different now. I understood I wasn't the same any more so I shrugged it off. But that was when things changed. Parents started talking, children started hearing- eventually if you so much as looked at me then you'd apparently get diabetes. So I spent another year at that school and left half way through year 3.


    New school- we moved house and my nurses recommended changing me to the closer school (it was only closer by a five minute walk). Things went ok. Then I left my medical bag slightly open once and someone thought it would be a good idea to pull a needle (in its protective case) out of it. After shouting at me, the head teacher decided that I should keep all of my stuff in the office (at the other end of the school) and when my mum -who now worked there- was ready she could come down to inject me. I forgot to mention I had a massive needle phobia... It stayed with me until almost the end of high school.



    Middle School came- where both the schools I'd been to would sent their pupils. I saw my old friends, they met my new friends. Everything was ok. Then someone decided that my nickname should be ‘Diabetic Dana’. I thought it was creative at first and went along with it. But, as time went on I came to realise that they saw the diabetes before they saw me. We were all at that age where you invite your whole class to your birthday party still- and I was so excited and always brought my friends presents with whatever money I had, months in advance. But then it became a regular thing that people were coming up to me saying that they had cancelled the party.


    I found out in year 7 that everyone was having parties after all this time. Here's an exact quote that I will never ever forget when my 'friend' told me the truth- "Everyone's parents are scared of you. They don't see you as much as we do. They don't want the responsibility of looking after you in case you end up dying in the middle of the night". Oh. And it also turned out that people were only my friends for the benefits they'd get- Free alton towers trips (disabled merlin pass +1 thing); first in for dinner; sitting out of P.E if I was having a hypo; etc. Benefits?! How do they see these as benefits? I hate it- they all just emphasise the fact I "wasn't normal" as everyone kept reminding me. I guess I was stupid to not realise then that people only spoke to me when they wanted something.



    Going back a year to year 6, that winter it snowed heavily and one weekend it snowed more than usual. I, my dad, my sister, and my mum took our sledges down to this big hill where only the locals knew about. We contacted some family too because we hadn’t all played together in ages. My sister started complaining that her socks were wet after about an hour, so my dad walked her home so she could change them and then come back. Just as they walked off, my cousin (who was 2 at the time) had just woken up so my uncle –who was sat in his van watching me and my mum sledging- brought her outside to watch us. He told us he’d just had a phone call from my aunt saying they’d be there in a few minutes. My mum and I climbed the hill, ready to show my little cousin her first taste of sledging. We sat on the sledge, and down we went.


    The snow was flattened from the people who were going down on it on a mattress earliar. We were speeding up- my mum dug her heels into the ground (I was sat just in front of her between her legs) and the snow started to hit me in the face. I put my arm up to stop it going in my eyes- and this is how I saved my own life. I woke up laying in agony- my mum was fidgeting to get from behind me and to my side. I lifted my head and saw my ankle and thought “that’s closer than it should be?” I think that’s when the pain hit me- I’d broken my femur!


    We’d managed to uncontrollably go under an incorrectly built wall- there was a gap at the bottom and my right leg went under it- but my femur hit the sharp edge and stopped us dead in our tracks. My uncle saw, his daughter saw, my Aunty, Uncle, and their 3 kids all saw us crash- apparently they were just walking around the corner as we went out of control. All the kids were crying, my uncle phoned my dad and the emergency services. My dad and sister were just leaving the house so they turned round instantly and my dad sent my sister inside to our Nan. He immediately jumped into his car and had to show the ambulance where we were and how they could get to us. By putting my hand up- it resulted in me breaking my finger rather than fracturing my skull.


    That was the least of my worries though- I knew I’d be in hospital for a while so despite struggling to talk, I kept repeating myself “I need my Granddad Bear and Snuggles”. Granddad bear is this little colourful teddy my Granddad gave me before he became ill and passed away, and Snuggles is this big purple dog/ bear thing my Nan got me. [I’m not ashamed to say that I grew attached to items more than others- because they were all I really felt I had. I cherish the emotional value I get from these favourite cuddly-toys and they’re still in my bed today hahaha. I take Granddad Bear everywhere with me- if I was to lose him I wouldn’t be able to cope I don’t think. I never got over the death of my Granddad and I think that’s good- it shows that my heart is focused on the right things.]


    Anyway, back to the broken bones and stuff- Yeah, broken bones are a little off-topic from diabetes but you’ll see why I’ve mentioned it in a moment. I spent 2 days immobilised in bed with hectic blood sugars, before they could get me in for an operation on my leg. They gave me anaesthetic or something to make me sleep whilst they wheeled me to the other side of the hospital. But the nurses controlling me ended up slamming me into the wall right outside the operation preparation room (where they give you the proper anaesthetic stuff). After they calmed me down and drugged me up, I went into theatre. I woke up about 6 hours later than I ‘should have’ because the anaesthetics they gave me before the official ones affected me or something like that. Nice. But what’s worst? - They forgot I was diabetic! If I wasn’t lucky and my blood sugars weren’t stable throughout the operation then that wouldn’t have ended well. They also forgot that my finger was broke so nowadays it dislocates itself whenever it feels like it and the bones crack against one another when I move it.


    Despite missing a months’ worth of lessons, and ending up limited to a wheelchair for 2 months (and then working on crutches for a further 3 months), I wasn’t exactly getting low grades or struggling to keep up from all the work I’d missed. My highlight was “being the best pupil they’d had in five years in French class”. Don’t get me wrong- I always got more certificates and commendations than anyone else in almost every subject (probably because I had nothing to do in my spare time), but in French I excelled everyone by several grades. The corridors were always littered with my work on display, but nothing made me prouder than in year 6 when I’d done so much additional French at home teaching myself, and the teacher told me I’d be able to pass my GCSE with flying colours right now. I loved it- I wanted to be a translator and focused on that dream more than anything else. I applied for the school trip to France- it was extremely rare that people got denied, even if you weren’t very good at the subject. But I did. “We don’t want the additional responsibility of looking after you as well as the others. It’s an easy trip just for tourism and you’ll just make it difficult.” Oh. I just sat there, in the middle of class. I didn’t say anything- or rather there was nothing I could say. I remember feeling so destroyed and emptied from all hope of the future.


    I think this was where I just decided to give up. I’d tried my best- I succeeded in making myself shine, but it was always ‘Diabetic Dana’ that people would see, never just ‘Dana’. It took me quite a while, but I eventually built myself back up with new goals in mind- I loved cookery class and art, so decided to focus on them more and give up with French. Looking back now- it was stupid to give up my dream, but I guess when you’re 10 it seemed like the only option. A month after the week-long trip to France and all my friends were back was parents evening. Naturally, my parents wanted to hear from my French teacher as they’d notice I’d stopped being all nerdy about it at home. Here’s another quote I’ll never ever forget: “Oh Dana could have come on the French trip- it’s silly of her to think she couldn’t. We’d have just needed to have taken another teacher/ one of you [my parents] for her injections. That’d be discrimination if we told her she couldn’t come.” I stood up from my chair and my parents looked across at me. All I remember is throwing the chair across the hall (which was filled with teachers and parents) and storming out. My parent’s found me crying outside under the oak tree. She tried to make out that it was all a lie- was it heck! My whole class heard it but they all refused to admit it. I looked like a liar to the other teachers, but would someone lie about something they’re so passionate about? No.



    Fast forward to year 9 now: - the first year of high school. I still couldn't inject myself. I had no friends. Everyone opened up about how they thought I was always "attention seeking" or "faking it" or whatever else they said. I mean- yeah there was a few people who were really kind to me, but also they had times where they had better things to do than wait for me if I was having a hypo sometimes. In year 9 I went to my first sleepover. I couldn't believe it- I thought I wouldn't ever go to one- and they were a big deal from where I'm from. If you go to a sleepover, you're a proper girl- not just a girl. (I have no idea either). I guess what it meant was it left you how I felt if you didn't go to one- Why should I be girly if I don't do girly things like sleepovers? I don't know. I changed who I was because I never got invited to any. I went from wearing long dresses (because they hid my injection marks) to a mud-loving kind of girl. I'd rather climb a treethan go out shopping with friends (which let’s be honest- never happened anyway so that's ok).


    Maybe this was what gave me my taste of adventure. The fact that I could be free from all the negativity and away from other people- I felt normal, there was no one to compare me with. In year 10, I decided to step away from my games and try and live more. I started disco-dance class and absolutely loved it- and it was around this time (8 years since I was diagnosed) that I finally managed to get over my needle phobia. When we were dancing, the teacher got annoyed when I had hypo's mid-practice. "What would you do when you're on stage and you're low? When everyone is watching?" I didn't know how to answer, so 3 months after starting I left. But a month before, I found out there was a local explorer scout group so thought 'what the heck' and tried it. Whoa.


    I could be me. "You have diabetes? ok. Well shout up if you need any help with anything or don't feel very good". Wait, did this leader just shrug it off like it's no big deal. Do it again! oh my god, this is amazing! They don't care- I love it! I mean, yeah they cared- but not in a judgemental manner.


    Camping? I hope you all have a great time! Crate stacking? sounds awesome- enjoy yourself!

    Wait a minute... I can come?.. With you all?.. I can join in too?!


    Me and the main scout leader's personalities clash a lot I know now, but I will never forget how I felt within 2 hours of meeting her. They were all talking about the camp which was happening on that weekend and I remember getting so lost in the conversation. The leader asked me to stay behind at the end and- you'll never guess- she asked me if I wanted to go with them! Erm- Yes! I knew one person who was going- the other 30- pfft no clue, and I'd only just spent 2 hours with about 10 of them.


    Result? loved it. We went on a massive hike in Cartmel, Cumbria. I was terrified on the way though- my first time away from parents- my first time with the majority of the people there, and spending 2 full days with people I'd spent no more than a couple of hours with. What was I thinking?- I don't think I was. Truth is- I'm glad I wasn't- because I felt like a new person: hiking, geocaching, wide games.. all of it!


    I think it all kinda hit me when I had a hypo on the mountain and the leaders of our group were like "Well now's a good time to have a lunch break then" They didn't blame me, they didn't shout, they didn't make a big deal about it. I fell in love with scouting.


    I gained the confidence to try new things- adventurous things. Climbing, quad biking, high-ropes courses, ice-climbing, tree-house building, bush craft, kayaking, canoeing, diving. You name it- I loved it.



    There was a 7 day camp coming up in Explorers to South Wales in the Brecon Beacons in August. Every day was going to be full of adventure and full of fun. £450 to go. WHAT!? I didn’t have £50, let alone the other £400! So I raised money- tonnes of money. I raised £500 within a few weeks running car boots and instead of using it to pay for the camp, I donated it to lower everyone’s costs down [which didn’t even end up happening in the end- when we were on the camp it got spent on this boring train ride round a hill and back]. So I carried on with the car boots, raised another £500 from selling all of my old stuff. My family insisted on paying for the trip because they’d never seen me so enlightened and passionate about anything before- but I wanted to show myself that I could do it. I wanted to be the only person that could say “I’ve done this. I’ve made it here on my own. I’m unstoppable.” And I did, and when, after a 4 hour car journey in the leaders’ cars, we finally made it- I didn’t know what to say. I’d never been to South Wales before- and it’s so different to North Wales. The sights, the sounds, even the smells were different.


    I’d never had so much fun in my whole life: we went climbing (and I was allowed to instruct!), pony trekking up a mountain, on that little train ride thingy, visited and explored the town of Hay-On-Wye, took part in a massive zip wire course, went on a ½ day hike up another mountain and back, went to this dinosaur park with show caves (there was massive plastic dinosaurs everywhere). It was amazing- bursting with activities and non-stop adrenalin… but, that took its toll on my blood sugars. I ended up skipping insulin because of how much energy I was using, and even after a large lunch, my blood levels would still drop to around 3ish. But everyone was patient with me, kind hearted and understanding- until day 5…


    On the fifth day was the mountain hike- but half way up after hiking for about an hour, next thing I knew was I was on the floor with (let’s call him leader B) knelt by my side trying to get my attention. I’d apparently been mumbling something to him about something and then started slowing down. I sat there completely out of it, stuck in one of those hypo-stares you get where you know there’s stuff going on but you can’t focus on anything. I remember hearing the fizz of a Lucozade being opened and I think that’s when I snapped out of it and realised what was going on. Leader B looked worried- really worried. I looked around and everyone did. All apart from the other leader (he can be called leader D). Leader D was frowning at me, saying that we can have a break when we got to the top. He doesn’t really see any of us often so I thought he forgot I was diabetic or something. Leader B told me to ignore him and brought over one of the other explorers to sit with me whilst he spoke to the other leader.


    Next thing I realised was the leaders were having a full on argument about me: Leader B was defending me and leader D was going on about how I should be managing myself better and should stop holding everyone back. Oh. I admit my blood sugar levels were awful because I’d had so many hypo’s- but we were doing a lot of energetic stuff and I still believe I was managing it to the best of my ability.


    After a few minutes, I’d had enough of listening to him slate me off in front of everyone, so I put my rucksack back on and said something like “let’s get to the top then if that’s all you’re focusing on” A few minutes later and I ended up with leader B holding me up by my arm to stop me dropping- some explorers said it looked like I tripped something but there was nothing on the footpath to trip. I must have looked a total idiot- but they all stood up to leader D and told him we’re stopping for a bit. Leader D sat next to me and starting asking me such silly questions: “how long is this going to take? Why haven’t your sugars come up yet? Are you going to be like this all day?” I lied- I just gave him the answers he wanted so he’d leave me alone.


    Leader B saw the state I was in- this was the worst hypo I’d ever had and all I wanted to do was be in an easier environment to calm myself down and sort it out without feeling like a burden to anyone. He told the other leader that he was going to walk me back down to the car because if an ambulance was needed then at least it’d be quicker and wouldn’t require an emergency team to hike up to us with all their gear (because the terrain was unsuitable for a helicopter if it was needed). Of all the things for leader D to mention, it was safeguarding. For God’s sake. [For those who don’t know, a leader cannot be on their own with a minor- there must be either 2 leaders or 2 minors at the minimum]


    So, one of the other explorers had to come back down with us whilst the rest carried on to the top. Nobody wanted to come which was understandable- we went out for a hike and they all wanted to take part in the hike: even I didn’t want to give up but I didn’t really have a choice. After a few minutes, someone decided they’d walk down to the car with us, but for transport issues we had to sit there for an additional hour and wait for everyone else to return. It took 11/2 hours to get back to the car- there were times when I’d just zone out and I’d just be frozen on the spot, looking off into the distance or whatever, but when we got there my sugar levels finally started to level out after another half hour.


    When we all returned to the campsite, we did some navigational activities we were going to do on the mountain- pacing and stuff like that. The main leader (leader A) and the other female leader (leader C) came back from the shops when we were all playing navigational games and were quite clearly surprised that we were back early. When they asked, leader D took them into the main shelter (where we’d all sit and eat together) and told all of us explorers to keep away for a bit. Leader B stayed out with us but got called into the tent with the others after a while.


    That night, at tea in the shelter, leader B mentioned how many hypos I’d had that day and everyone went quiet. I just shrugged and leader A changed the subject a little by mentioning about another diabetic who used to be in the group many years ago. They went on about how this kid was irresponsible and would skip injections “just for a laugh” and be constantly having sugar-highs. The topic made me uncomfortable- especially how whenever she was saying how irresponsible this [now an adult] kid was that leader D would glare in my direction. I left the tent and sat outside on the picnic bench with a friend.


    I knew he was angry and annoyed at me for ruining his planned hike, it was pretty easy to tell- the comments he’d keep making or aiming towards me. What an idiot. All of the leaders ended up falling out. Leader B had noticed why I left the tent and came to talk to me, whilst leader C ended up going to her and B’s tent [they’re married] because of the massive argument they’d both just had against the also married leaders A and D. Leader B came and sat with me and my friend- I could see he was upset but was trying to hide it. I thanked him for what he’d done- he’d gone above and beyond what anyone’s ever done for me, and I also apologised for all of the arguing I’d caused. He shook it off saying he couldn’t have treated me how leader D did, but also insisted that that wasn’t what the argument was about.


    Leader D came out of the tent after a while, and went off with leader B again to talk. When leader B came back he said “I’ve had enough. When we get back home that’s it- I’m not being a leader any longer.” And he stormed off to his tent where his wife (leader C) was. I just looked at my friend- this was entirely my fault. None of the explorers had ever seen me cry- I’d only been there about 6 months but I had a reputation for being strong, courageous, and brave. But I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

    “I- um, I’ve got to- I should- I need to wash my face.” I said, and rushed off to the toilets. ‘Wash my face?!’ I thought, ‘what an idiot excuse’. I burst into tears just as I got to the building. ‘This is all my fault. I shouldn’t have come here- look what I’ve done. [Leader B]’s going to leave and it’s all because of me! He’s the reason most of us are here- why most of us stay and not quit.’ If there’s something about the Brecon trip I’ll never forget- it’s this disaster part of it. I felt helpless- I wanted my Dad, I wanted to go home… but I couldn’t. I didn’t have a way of escaping and I felt so alone. I just watched myself cry in the mirror- I saw what a mess I’d become. There was nothing I could do, except talk to myself. “C’mon Dana- what are you messing at,” I said “look at you- clean yourself up, pull yourself together and go back down to the campsite. Only 2 more days and then you’ll be at home again.” I cleaned myself up, waited for the redness in my eyes to fade and headed back down the path to the site. I knew I had to be strong.


    Just as I reached the campsite, I saw a rather frantic-looking leader B. He ran over to me and asked me where I’d been, and he explained that everyone was looking for me. I started to explain myself as we walked towards the camp but couldn’t help bursting into tears. I stood there apologising to him, trying to keep quiet so to not draw the others’ attention. He tried to calm me down, but with all the safeguarding malarkey he daren’t hug me or anything. He told me to stand behind his and leader C’s tent and he’d sort something out. I waited for a few minutes, trying not to cry loudly but to also stay hidden within the trees. They both came out of the tent and leader C told me to follow her.


    We walked back up the path to the toilet block so that no one could hear our conversation- I told her everything: about all the snarky remarks I’d been getting about my diabetes; the occasional glares fired at me; how I was prepared to do anything to get home. She was furious- she didn’t believe it at first, but the more I explained the more she realised the things everyone had shrugged off were building up. I started crying- I didn’t care that she was there, I didn’t care if everyone could see- I just didn’t care about anything. The next thing I knew was she was hugging me- she wasn’t judging me for crying. I thought she’d have just stood there and told me to man up or something, but she saw how much leader D’s words had gotten to me. Leader B came up to us after a while- he’d told the other leaders they’d found me and I was alright, and he wanted to see if I actually was or not (without having all 4 leaders crowding around me).


    Leader C told him what I’d said, and he just looked at me and I could see he knew what I was on about. I kept saying I was sorry to him, and no matter how many times he told me none of this was my fault- I just couldn’t believe him. I mean, if I wasn’t there- or rather, if I wasn’t diabetic and didn’t have any hypos- then nothing would have kicked off like it did.


    In the end, all 4 leaders ended up surrounding me, B and C defending me, A was defending her husband saying I must have imagined it all because “he’d never do anything like that deliberately” and D just stood there denying everything I said was ever mentioned. B noticed this, got angry and after an argument they all had right in front of me, he said he was sorry that I saw everything and I wasn’t imagining because he heard the majority of what’s been said. He then stormed down to his car and drove off.


    Things calmed down; one by one the leaders went back down to the shelter tent. I just sat at the picnic table outside the shelter watching the shooting stars. I’ve never seen any before- ever. I think the total I’d counted was 46 over the 7 nights we spent there. I find it funny now how, in all the chaos and madness and “banter” that went on, I managed to find such a calming magical moment that made me feel warm inside. I sat there watching the stars long after everyone went to bed at 12. Another 2 hours- I don’t know what I was waiting for to be honest- maybe for B to return or something. I ended up getting in my tent sometime after 2. I fell asleep not long after.


    You know when your sugars have been an absolute disaster and sometimes, when you’ve pushed yourself too hard; your body can’t take it, right? Well at 4 in the morning I threw up. I have no idea how, but I managed to do it without waking anybody up too. I didn’t even know it was possible to throw up silently- but I guess it is? I went to the toilet after to clean myself up (yes it was in the ends of my hair and there was some on my chin too). After feeling a little cleaner, I took the path back down to the campsite and snuck through our little maze of tents and managed to avoid all of the guide lines… except for one. I stumbled but stepped forwards quick enough to save myself from face-planting. Once I’d steadied myself, I looked up and saw a pair of legs standing in front of me. ‘Oh God. Oh no. please don’t be [leader D]’ I thought. I slowly stood up straight and when I realised who it was, I must have had the biggest grin on my face. B was stood there in front of me, said he’d heard me run off and thought I’d actually packed up all my stuff and ran off down the mountain.


    He asked if I was alright, and me being an idiot I just said “yeah, I wasn’t very well but I’m ok now”. I could have said anything- something about him being back, but no. When I unzipped my front door, I looked at him after realising I should have said something and said “Thanks for coming back”.


    The last 2 days were awkward- none of the explorers knew what had happened and I had to swear not to mention any of it to the others. Only my close family know about it now- oh and of course now you. Because people don’t realise how much things affect you- especially when you’ve got to keep quiet about something that’s made you feel so down. So there we go- here’s one of many weights off of my shoulders.



    A School trip opportunity came up in year 11, and because my grades were pretty high in the majority of my subjects I was given the opportunity to sign up. It kind of hit me as an “oh no” moment- I just remembered feeling how I did back in year 6 with the opportunity for the France trip. But at the same time- I knew things were going to be treated different because it’s a different school- be that for better or worse. I told myself I’d apply, but also to not get too excited about it- just in case. I sat in the hall; I filled the form in within minutes of them being handed out. I rang my dad and I think I shouted at him explaining everything with such excitement and to drive down to the office and sign the slip. He had a read through, but I could see the doubt in his eyes. He signed it and said “I hope you get it” and I ran back into the school, up the old stairs- fell half way up but got back up again- and burst into the room. He was running a lunch-hour lesson.. Whoops. But like I cared- first to hand it in, and they said “First come, first serve”. Now what’s your excuse? Oh you didn’t expect me to apply? Tough.


    My dad spoke to me that night, it was a long conversation. We just spoke about how amazing it would be to go- but at the same time he was trying to stop me from being too excited. I understood why, he knew I knew why. It’s like a track-record for being disappointed but that didn’t matter to me then- I felt like I had nothing to lose.


    After what felt like years, a month passed and they confirmed the placements on the trip. I went to school an hour early to see the notice board before anyone else. I looked down the list- I wasn’t at the top, or in the middle… my heart sunk. Then, I saw it. Right at the bottom of the list- My name!!


    I was going to Poland! Me!! Abroad! What? I phoned my dad up the moment I’d calmed down and told him. He couldn’t believe it- he didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say. I just remember smiling and grabbing my phone so tight. I felt accepted.


    About a week away from the trip, they finally asked me to present them with my care plan, and they also wanted to speak to me separately from everyone else. “No biggie” I told myself- they just want to ensure confidentiality and what not. I went to the teacher in the lunch break like he asked, and he basically told me “We’re not going to be caring for you. I don’t like needles so I certainly can’t help you out so I don’t think there’s a need to try. I think the other teachers are going to be the same. Is that ok?” Oh dear. This was not the best time for something like this to be raised. I started shouting at him. I was gobsmacked. I didn’t know what to say at the same time but I sure as hell wasn’t going to give him time to talk. He tried to shout louder- saying stuff like “You’re too much of a responsibility- If it was up to me you wouldn’t be coming.”


    When about two or three other teachers rushed into the room I realised what I’d done. Talk about shouting oh my god! My voice must have echoed through the corridors and into the teachers’ meeting a few doors down. Whoops. I stormed out of the room, full of anger and hate and the feeling of betrayal, but with no way of venting it out. I just shouted as I left the corridor “Well if I pass out looks like I’m [in trouble] because I’m going to have to wake myself up in order to give myself the wake-up injection designed to NOT LET ME DIE!” Of course- as an angry 14 year old, there was a lot more words in what I was shouting which aren’t suitable to repeat. I sat down on the stairs at the other end of the school, everyone was watching- they’d all just seen and heard me shouting at what appeared to be no one. I guess they were all wondering who I was talking to, but it didn’t take them long to find out.


    “Dana! Come here- I heard your little remark… How dare you!” He screamed as he walked down the corridor towards me. Everyone was watching. No way was I going to stand down- ‘I’m standing my ground’ I thought. I wasn’t in the wrong. He was.

    “How dare I?! How dare you! I can’t believe you had the nerve to pull me into a meeting to tell me that I’m going to get not one ounce of help or support when I need it with my diabetes?!” I fought back. I remember the argument- word for word. [It seemed something worth remembering so I wrote everything down: all of it. Every detail once it had finished.]

    “This is NOT a conversation to be had in front of everyone here. Come outside and we’ll talk out there” he shouted louder. ‘Talk’- yeah right. I didn’t even think before I spoke, but I’m not ashamed:

    “This is about me and I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m not the one being an [idiot], I’m not the one discriminating against someone because of a medical condition. [Insert excessive rant here].”


    I thought I’d best please him and go outside- it’s not like the school was lacking any drama that day after all of that. We went outside and stood near the doors. I wanted a way to escape if it got too much. My heart was pounding, I was feeling anxious- I took a deep breath and just went for it. ‘Keep it civil’ I told myself- don’t give them an excuse to kick you off of the trip. He carried on shouting; I stood there and spoke in monotone. I decided it was for the best if I hid all emotion from him- he seemed to feed off from getting a reaction from me.


    I reacted calm, I just stood there and nodded- I listened to what he deemed to be the correct thing to say. It tore me to shreds- not one mention of my hard work, my effort in every subject, my clean report- just about the amount of times he’d seen me drinking Lucozades or eating Fruit Pastels and being so irresponsible. Yes Sir, I’d just down a bottle of Lucozade all in one ‘for the lols’. Idiot. I kept quiet for as long as I could- a good 10 minutes stood outside in the middle of October, absolutely frozen to the bone and all I could do was bite my lip. I found doing this helped when I was little, but I managed to make it bleed this time. I can only imagine the state I looked when I started talking with blood dripping from my lip as I spoke.


    I don’t think I cared to be honest. As I started to talk it just so happened that the head teacher was walking down the forest path towards us. ‘Now’ I thought, ‘say it now.’ And I did: “So, you’re telling me that you stand by the act of discrimination which you’re also saying the school won’t question your decision because they don’t see it as a bad thing either? Alright- so I’ll not go. But you’re giving me a full refund and you owe me so much because I can’t explain how much work I had to go through to convince my diabetic nurses that I can handle myself and I should be allowed to prove it.” By this point the head teacher stood next to us, wanting to get involved and sort matters, but me being stubborn I phoned my dad, without giving either of them a chance to speak and put him on speaker to them. “Hi dad, so [explained what happened] and it turns out people are making decisions for me, which are solely based on my diabetes… Can you use the work phone and call the childs’ ward at the hospital and tell them to come into school to sort this out?” He did it; the teacher got almost murdered by the head teacher; the diabetic nurse came in to school the following day and we were all in a 2 hour meeting. He refused to listen to her, but I got to go to Poland!


    Krakow was amazing. It was so beautiful and every part of their life was so different to ours- there were horses and carriages parading the streets, old chapels and works of art cluttered the streets and made everything so much more vibrant. Even the pidgeons were happy haha- we all stood there feeding them and they’d sit on us and it was all so magical! 2 of the teachers took good care of me, I couldn’t believe how amazing and caring they were. They stayed by me with any matter that rose- and they treated me so that I didn’t feel different, but I knew that if I needed help it was right there.


    There was only one bad point on the trip which really scared me (well, 2 if you include getting lost from being disorientated because of a hypo). When we went to Auschwitz, there were signs up everywhere saying no bags, but the idiot teacher insisted that they wouldn’t speak to me- he’d sort it out. Next thing I know, as I’m going through the gate-thingy where they let one person at a time through, there was this massive Polish dude slamming me against the wall with his arm pressed against my neck restraining me. AAH!! He turned me round, yanked my small bag pack off of me, and made me empty it item by item. I looked up for the teacher to explain- I was expecting him to know some Polish at least. Oh no, how silly of me to think that- HE LEFT ME! I was shouting “Sir! Sir!” with this bodyguard pointing at my bag and pushing my head towards it telling me to empty it. I did as he was signing at me to do- the ‘hand in bag- hand out of bag’ type of sign language. Limited but clear.


    As I took my blood tester out he told me to open the case- and the idiot must have thought it was a bomb because he called another security guard over to monitor me whilst he went through the rest of my bag. I don’t really remember much from there- except the 2 kind teachers running over to me through security to pick me up. I was just a wreck on the floor- too scared to make a noise. It seems worse as I’m thinking back on it happening now- but I’m just glad the teachers got to me on time. I was shaken for the other half of the trip. So apart from my last two days being a bit hit and miss with flashbacks, I loved every minute of it. And I guess not everyone can say they’ve been thrown against a wall by a bodyguard… right?



    After the Poland trip, I realised that I could look after myself more than I thought. Don’t get me wrong- since I could inject I wasn’t relying on anyone, but we all know any help is greatly appreciated. I felt more confident than I did after Brecon- there, there was 4 leaders who knew what to look out for and took on the loco parentis of us correctly. Whereas in Poland we were allowed to wander around on our own or in small groups for several hours- only meeting up for time checks and stuff or organised activities/ trips. The best thing was the sense of the unknown- and usually that’s the worst! But you realise that whatever gets thrown at you, you can deal with it. You’re stronger than you think, and trust me- you get great delight when you prove that you’re stronger than others think.


    It's been 2 years since I joined scouts (well almost anyway), meaning 2 years since I figured it out. "What did you figure out?" you ask- I figured out who I am. Who I'm meant to be. Who and what matters most to me. What I value most in life.


    I'm now a volunteer climbing instructor, a volunteer bush craft instructor, I did some volunteering for helping to run laser-tag sessions, and a volunteer young leader for a scout group. The way I see it- volunteers changed my life- my scout leaders showed me to never be afraid of showing who you are. They inspired me to get up and get stuff done rather than hiding at home sat behind a screen all day. And they helped me see what I want to do with my life.


    Also, I'm now studying Adventure Sports [level 3 extended diploma] at Reaseheath College. I want to become a full time climbing instructor and live my life to the limit. I'm happy here, there are so many people who accept me and who I adore so, so much. Everyone is different in my class- and because of this I feel the same. I'm not the odd one out- we all are. I've now spent 6 months with all of these amazing people so far, and I think I've shined brighter than the sun in terms of kindness, respect for myself and others, and in motivation too.


    Oh and I almost forgot to mention- guess who’s taking part in the 2016 Roverway this August? This Girl! Most people have heard of a Scouting Jamboree, well this is like a smaller scale event with less countries taking part, and members of Girlguiding are invited to participate too.


    I feel like I’ve finally discovered -after what feels like forever- that I’ve turned out as who I was meant to be from the start. Yeah, there’s been tonnes of hurdles (way more than I’ve mentioned above), but that’s part and parcel of life, isn’t it really?


    For the first time in 10 years- I’m going to say “I’m normal”, and I’m going to shout it as loud and as proud as I can.


    So, yeah- I have diabetes, but do you know what? Diabetes doesn't have me!

    I know this was a lengthy read- 12 A4 pages to be exact! so thank you so, so much for taking the time to read this- it means so much
     
    • Winner Winner x 9
    • Like Like x 4
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Legend

    Messages:
    25,044
    Likes Received:
    30,534
    Trophy Points:
    298
    Phew! What a story. I was transfixed. What a winner you are and how proud you must rightly feel. I wish you all the luck in the world in everything you do. Thank you for sharing your story.

    :):):)
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Snapsy

    Snapsy Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,552
    Likes Received:
    2,736
    Trophy Points:
    198
    An incredible piece of writing, @Dana_Heath . I feel privileged to have read it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Am in bits!

    Your story has struck many chords with my own. Huge, huge respect to you.

    :writer:
     
    • Like Like x 7
  4. Enclave

    Enclave Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    2,602
    Likes Received:
    4,616
    Trophy Points:
    178
    Hi Diana, I have read and found your account of your life very interesting, and am somewhat upset that people have treated or mistreated you. But it has made you the strong person you are today ... in the words of the wife .. 'you go girl'
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Mike d

    Mike d Type 2 · Expert

    Messages:
    7,910
    Likes Received:
    11,250
    Trophy Points:
    198
    THAT said it all :) Brilliant stuff.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Hug Hug x 1
  6. john john

    john john Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    93
    What a special person you are. Best regards.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Hug Hug x 1
  7. Prem51

    Prem51 Type 2 · Expert

    Messages:
    6,760
    Likes Received:
    20,380
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Wow! Great writing and a great story. I'm not surprised you cried at times, tears came to my eyes just reading about the difficulties and lack of understanding you encountered. You are one strong and courageous young person. You should be really proud of yourself. I wish I could give you 100 'Winner' and 100 'Optimistic' tags, but I gave you a 'Like' instead as they are the only ones that seem to show on the 'Likes Received'. I look forward to reading more about your journey.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Mike d

    Mike d Type 2 · Expert

    Messages:
    7,910
    Likes Received:
    11,250
    Trophy Points:
    198
    The young lady should write a book :) I'm amazed at her courage, her defiance against the odds and her "never call it quits" attitude.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. msmi1970

    msmi1970 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    1,424
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Just Dana.
    i'm a big strong lad (well, maybe just big) & that brought a tear to my eye. i sincerely wish you ALL THE HAPPINESS in life...your strength & courage is astounding!!
     
    • Like Like x 7
  10. Dana_Heath

    Dana_Heath Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Awh it's great to read all of your lovely comments-
    you all seem to understand the aspect of it all- rather than being happy about it and just getting on with it like a normal day.

    It feels weird everyone knowing a lot of the things I've kept secret- but in a good way :)

    Thank you all so much for your amazing replies :shy::p
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  11. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

    Messages:
    13,443
    Likes Received:
    18,374
    Trophy Points:
    298
    Dana.
    I have to confess I saw your lengthy post and thought "oh god, an essay" lol.
    I too was enthralled.

    My best friend who is also type 1 tells me of similiar restrictions and carers fears.

    I've always thought she didn't do no wrong but people's fears causing situations to get out of hand.

    You like her are very strong women and more determined than some of her age mates.
    I know all teenagers have embarrassing memories of how they would have reacted differently in maturity, it's part of growing up. I bet you weren't the only concern at camp? In my experience all teenagers and adults react differently when not at home.
    I like you will always expect more from adults in charge. Most are just like us. Make mistakes. I bet off hand leader has more experience now.
    We all gain experience from our adventures. The more adventurous, the better the experience in my book.

    I'm delighted you have embraced these experiences and can help other people guide their lives.

    I have to say you have acheived so much including writing your piece for us to read yesterday. That takes some guts.

    I'd entrust my sons to you anyday. Well done. :)
     
    • Like Like x 4
  12. Ross.Walker

    Ross.Walker Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    461
    Trophy Points:
    103
    You are awesome, I love that nothing stops you reaching your goal. Truly inspiring
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Dana_Heath

    Dana_Heath Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    58
    @ickihun @Ross.Walker awh thank you for all your kind words ^-^
    sorry about how lengthy this was but I'm really thankful that you've read it and have some great comments to say about it
    :smug:
     
  14. Ross.Walker

    Ross.Walker Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    461
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Some people like you have no limits, show those who do what you are capable of and be a shining light for the new little ones who can look up to you as an exemplar of someone who manages the condition (is that the right word) to the life she wants
     
    • Hug Hug x 1
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook