'Great Wall of China challenge 2015 - £25k for 25 years'
Thank you so much for taking time to read our story which will hopefully give you an insight of our huge overseas challenge and why we’re doing it for Diabetes Scotland/ UK.
TREKKERS: * Amanda Croall * Meg Hardy * Angela Macrae * Lorna Denoon * Lee Thomson * Claire Fraser * Alison Graham * Ross Lyall
WHY?On Oct 16th 2015, I will have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes for 25 years!! A quarter of a Century, nearly all of my life, it’s crazy as my diagnoses and the emotions we all went through as a family, only seem like yesterday.
This challenge is a celebration of sweet survival, strength, courage, fighting spirit and perseverance of living with type 1 diabetes for 25 years.
But, as I’ve written previously, I’m thankful and feel very lucky to be here to write this and to continue to raise awareness of this extremely cruel condition. ALL the classic symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes were there starring my mum & dad in the face,(extreme weight loss, extreme thirst, tired, at the toilet all the time, Mouth blisters, severe headaches, blurred vision) she knew I was seriously ill, but the doctors misdiagnosed on 3 occasions. Finally, one doctor looked at me, tested my urine and sent me straight to Raigmore Hospital. I reached the hospital with a blood sugar of 50, (4-7 is normal range) and only hours from a Diabetic coma! I didn’t want to go to the doctors that day, but my mum insisted….motherly instinct saved my life. You know your child better than any doctor, it’s now a simple test, never be scared to ask, you could save your child or someone else’s life by knowing these symptoms.
In one day, my life changed forever. Immediately after diagnoses my life revolved around eating meals at certain times and dosing old school, syringe style, insulin injections: Every bit of food was documented, known as ‘Exchanges’ at the time (we now count carbs!), Every minute of sport and exercise had to be taken into account (I was a hyper kid too!), then testing, eating and injecting again. My mum and dad were now completely consumed at controlling my blood sugars as they were warned of the serious complications of Low and High levels. The balancing act had only begun and we had so much more to learn. Our daily routine was dictated by my meal times, my hypos, my injections, my blood sugar tests and my activity….being such an independent kid, I hated it and it wasn’t easy for my brother either.
Over the past 24.5 years I have been a pin cushion for tens of thousands of fingers pricks, injections and in the last 5 years, giving sets for my insulin pump insertion. Most people assume they are the worst parts of being a Diabetic, “I could never inject” is a very common quote we get! They’re annoying and painful at times, but you get used to them as they are bearable. But actually, the tough side to Diabetes is the psychological aspect, for taking away a simple childhood, for making it extremely difficult to be spontaneous, for making me scared I might not make it through the night, it makes us very independent, responsible, strong and mature at a young age, but it also makes us exhausted and anxious. Its 24/7, there are NO breaks, EVER, its relentless and constant.
Almost 25 years of Type 1 Diabetes, I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy! I’m clearly getting older (maturing!) and this challenge has made me reflect!! I always wonder what my life would have been like without Type 1, how easy everything would have been, could I have achieved more or gone further in my chosen sport? It’s sliding doors and it is what it is. These were the cards I was dealt so I decided Type 1 Diabetes was NEVER going to stop me achieving my dreams, it’s made things a lot more difficult, but it’s also made me more determined.
Having been a type 1 Diabetic for so long, I have experienced it in childhood, teenage years, school, University, travel, a World tour, living in New York, sport, adventure, pregnancy, working life, friends and family. During this time, huge advances have been made in diabetes treatments and the improvements are astonishing. I’m just extremely happy I had the knowledge to look after myself as best I could (with a little rebellion in there too!) so if there is a cure, ill have little or no complications and be able to enjoy it.I have been the happy owner of a PINK Medtronic insulin pump for 5 years now, so no more injections! I have also just recently been very lucky to try out the Freestyle Libre Flash glucose system where I scan a sensor which is on my arm and the reader tells me my blood glucose levels! No more finger pricks (or as many as before, as I’m a control freak so like to double check!) All of these new gadgets not only give a more flexible lifestyle, but they also allow us to have much tighter control of our blood sugar. Technology rocks!
All of this technology is only available due to the funded research which looks into the causes, preventions and cures in Diabetes. The past 25 years have seen HUGE advances and that is due to the sponsorship and funding from YOU! Money raised for Diabetes Scotland/ UK funds every aspect of a diabetic’s life in caring for, connecting with and campaigning on behalf of all diabetics. The amazing jobs these researchers do is breath taking, and having been at their presentations, the work is made real. It’s emotional to think one day we might live in a world without diabetes. A cure is very close, hopefully I, along with all my sweet buddies, will live to see it and experience a care free and spontaneous life once again.
BUT, until then I will continue to look after my blood sugars, look to a bright future and complete this once in a life time challenge of trekking the Great Wall of China with 7 other amazingly supportive friends, all to celebrate my 25th Diaverssary! They are all amazing, caring friends, some of whom have been with me on the sweet journey since day 1 xx The hardest part of the whole trip will be leaving my 2 wee divas for 10 days xx
We are leaving on Oct 10th from London and fly into Beijing. The next day our challenge begins, probably extremely jet lagged, but also soooo excited to trek and see one of the Seven wonders of the World for the first time!!! We will be trekking for 6 days, sleeping in basic accommodation and eating authentic Chinese food every day! My carb counting will have to be up to scratch! There will be no shops to buy Lucozade or any sugary sweet / treats to nurse a hypo, so myself, Alison and Ross’s diabetic management will have to be A1!
We are going to start our Trek in Badaling just North of Beijing and will be trekking for 9 hours a day for 6 days. We will be on the most challenging, steep, slippery, rugged and demanding sections of the wall then we hit the ‘Heavenly Staircase’! On the final day of our challenge, and this wasn’t planned, it’s the 16th Oct, the day I was rushed into hospital and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I think there will be some tears!!!
Other than achieving this awesome challenge, I hope we can all inspire others but especially my little 'sweet' buddies and friends....I want them to know that they CAN do whatever they dream of, even with Type 1 xWe want to thank you so much for taking your time to read our page and for supporting us on this amazing journey! Any donation is hugely appreciated, we can’t thank everyone enough xLets do this!
Thank you so much,
The China Dolls & Ross xxxx
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