On the 6th of May, myself and my team members, Alan Cole, Sam Trace and Genevieve Groom, are undertaking to complete the London West Tough Mudder course. This is a military grade obstacle course with 20 obstacles along a 12 mile run. Some of the obstacles include electric shocks, pits of ice and mud that must be swum through, Augustus Gloop tubes to climb while water is coursing down on you, and wheeled hand-over-hand bars. Why in the world would we subject ourselves to such madness? On 18th February, 2017, I will have been a Type 1 Diabetic for 25 years! A quarter of a century, a large portion of my life, and I want to celebrate being healthy so far and hope that this may continue. So, I'm competing in this challenge to help raise funds to enable the wonderful research and advancements in the treatment of diabetes to continue.
When I was fifteen, amidst all my teenage angst, my journey with Type 1 Diabetes began. At that stage, I had to rely on syringes and drawing up insulin. I felt like I was some sort of a junkie. The injection I took in the morning dictated what and how much food and carbohydrates I could consume for breakfast AND lunch. It was insane when I think about it now...
Things have improved massively over the years and I have been very privileged to have lived a relatively ‘normal’ life, having travelled extensively and lived abroad several times, jumped out of planes and have been able to do most things (I was gutted when I found out that I couldn’t be a pilot, but that was ok as I could still be a spy…!). Some of the improvements have been the introduction of ‘insulin pens’ as opposed to syringes, the development of new insulins (I used to use pork insulin whereas most are now synthetic) and better insulins which give me a more flexible life. There are amazing technological advances coming though and it is due to research being undertaken by charities such as Diabetes UK that HUGE advances will continue to be made. You never know, one day there may even be a cure!
There are times when I question my definition of a normal life. With diabetes the main battles are with hypos (low blood sugars) and hypers (high blood sugars). Hypos are very dangerous if untreated (I have still not forgotten the look on my husband’s face when, not long after starting to train for Tough Mudder, he came home to find an ambulance outside the house and was greeted by 3 paramedics! Thankfully I had somehow managed to call 999 for myself but I was very lucky on this occasion. I have had to train the kids on what they need to do if they find Mummy collapsed which is not a great thing to do – fortunately they have not yet had to do this). The long term complications due to hypers (high blood sugars) can be quite catastrophic. I am truly blessed that at the moment I am not showing any real signs of complications but the next 25 years may not be quite so rosy. I try my hardest to be a well-controlled diabetic so that I can minimise my chances of getting long term complications but the hard thing to accept is that, the longer that I am diabetic, the higher the chance of complications just because I will never be like a ‘normal’ person.
I am very aware that I am lucky that I don’t have anything more debilitating but when I inject insulin at least 5 times a day, test my blood sugar about 10 times a day (you should see my finger tips!), have my brain constantly calculating when I will eat, how much carbohydrate I will eat, am I stressed, have I exercised or am I going to exercise and the list goes on, it can really take its strain. It has made me a very strong and determined person however it is also very very exhausting as it is with me 24/7; there are NO breaks, EVER, it is relentless and constant.
I also want to raise awareness of this extremely cruel condition and make people aware as to what they need to look out for in order to diagnose Type 1 diabetics (it can kill if left undiagnosed):
• Unintentional weight loss
• Extreme thirst
• Visiting the toilet all the time
• Mouth blisters
• Blurred vision
You know your child better than any doctor. It is now a simple test, never be scared to ask. You could save your child or someone else’s life by knowing these symptoms.
I would be so grateful if you could sponsor me and my team to take part in Tough Mudder. Taking part in Tough Mudder is a real challenge for a ‘normal’ person, but for a Type 1 diabetic it is going to be very tough and challenging. I started ‘training’ 2 years ago and have had amazing support from dieticians, clinicians and nurses to enable to carry out this challenge for which I am really grateful. This makes me even more determined that I WILL WILL WILL finish and raise funds to help continue this fantastic research to help my future but even more so for the future of others.
We want to thank you so much for taking your time to read our page and for supporting us! Any donation is hugely appreciated - we just can’t thank everyone enough. As one of my favourite sayings goes: ‘It is better to live one day as a tiger, than a thousand years as a sheep’… Bring it on!
Thank you so very much,
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