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World Diabetes Day was celebrated globally yesterday to raise awareness about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The Oamaru Mail invited people living with diabetes in Oamaru to share their stories. As Toby Lewis and Hazel Turner explain, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis does not have to hold you back.

Toby Lewis

Toby Lewis

Age: 15

Diagnosed: May 2017

Life with type 1 diabetes as a teenage boy is a rocky road with a lot of ups and downs, but it has made such a mark on my wellbeing as an athlete, student and person that I wear it proudly on my sleeve and hold my head high wherever I go, knowing that I an unique compared to the other people around me.

And I continue to go above and beyond the standards that are expected of a normal teenage with with no chronic illness to deal with.

But to have a perfect plant, you need rainstorms and sunny days.

Rainy days come where you play sports all day, have to wake up early and when you get up to go to the toilet, your brand new, fully connected and full-of-insulin needle site rips out with a wrong arm movement while getting out of bed.

Or getting glasses after never having problems with my eyes when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

But the glasses have helped my headaches go away.

The lost needles at 3am have taught me perseverance.

And being an inspiration to little kids with diabetes is what keeps me motivated and pushes me to become a role model, just like Justin Ludlow and Lance Ruehorn have become for me.

I have a great family, which is key to success in any situation. They keep me motivated, inspired and humble. They help me with everything, and the things my mum does for me sometimes makes it seem like she has diabetes herself.

I am grateful for the opportunities diabetes has given me so far, and look forward to all the rest that it will give me in the future, all while holding my head high, proudly representing type 1 diabetes and paving a path for the younger generation with type 1.

Hazel Turner

Hazel Turner

Age: 11

Diagnosed: March 2019

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March this year.

When I got it, it was a big surprise to my family.

I had been showing some of the symptoms, but we thought it was just a flu.

I got taken to the doctors, then to get a blood test, then to the hospital.

From there, I got taken in an ambulance to Dunedin Hospital.

I was in there for four days.

As I was getting better I was also learning how to do everything.

I normally inject NovoRapid insulin five times a day and Lantus once – I inject that at night and NovoRapid when I am going to eat during the day.

I test my blood glucose levels the same amount of times as injecting.

Sometimes it can really get me down because I just say ‘I want to be a normal girl’.

I know I am very lucky for the technology that is coming out.

I get an insulin pump in December so I am very excited about that.

I am grateful for insulin, my family, my teachers, my friends and community who have helped me along the way.

I look forward to more research being done so type 1 diabetics’ lives are even easier.

Thank you to everyone who has donated money towards diabetes.