Like Father, Like Daughter: Gareth’s Story of Living with Type 1 Diabetes, Part II

This article was written by Gareth Collins, a type 1 diabetic living in Brisbane, Australia.

Click here to read Part I.

Over the years, there have been terrible lows where I have not been able to remember what I have done until my blood sugar levels have risen again, and I have had highs where my veins feel like they are full of mud and every muscle in my body is in pain. With all the negatives, there is always a positive, as the world needs to be balanced – well, I hope so anyway.

The years prior to September of last year taught me more about my body and what goes into it than I would expect any non-T1D to know. With hard work and never taking something that was to happen without having a reason why, I honed my skills in listening to my body and what it requires.

T1D is not a perfect science, and any doctor who thinks that highs and lows do not happen obviously doesn’t have the understanding that we do as we stand on a see-saw while balancing on two other see-saws – mistakes happen, and calculations are a part of each and every second of the day.

My Partner in this War with T1D

The biggest thing, though, that having T1D myself and having to manage it myself prepared me for was the day when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with what I said I would never wish on my worst enemy: She was to be my partner in this war with T1D.

Being only 2 years old, she had and still has little idea on why we need to inject her and give her blood tests. However, she has ultimate trust that we do what we have to and that it hurts us emotionally as much as it hurts her. I will impart all that I have learnt over my 24 years and all that I am going to learn. I am also sure that as she grows to understand what this disease means and what management means to her, I will learn just as much. There isn’t a day that goes by with this disease that something isn’t learnt, and as long as you are aware, you will be able to use it to your advantage.

Diabetes Is Just One Part of our Lives

As stated earlier, the biggest part of the advancements in management was the insulin infusion pump. The system allows for a level of normality to be put back into life. As this was such a big change for me, this was something that I would make a base standard of care for my daughter and for my wife as a career of a child that needs 24/7 attention and monitoring.

Even now, due to my daughter not knowing why we have to do it, my daughter has difficulty with the day we have to complete her set change on her pump. However, as I tell my wife, I would rather she think she hates me for 30 seconds every two or three days compared to every two or three hours if she was to be on MDI.

It isn’t an easy life managing your own T1D as well as managing it for a little princess; however, it is manageable with attention to detail and understanding that errors will be made and that they are a great method to learn from.

All in all, T1D is a part of my and my daughter’s life; however, it is just that – a part. Each and every day, life comes first. We push ourselves to be the best we can, knowing that errors will be made and learnt from and that we can do anything our hearts and minds want to.

I reminisce over the last 24 years and look forward to the next. I continue to document my experiences, thoughts and feelings in my blog so that my daughter and others can learn from another and know they are not alone in what they experience each and every day.

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