A bag of gummy worms, well Colin the Caterpillars to be precise, what could seem less threatening…? I mean they are called Colin for goodness sake, that is a middle aged, balding white man, who works in a bank and hates his job kind of name. However this little bag of yumminess started my life on an entirely new path.
At the end of March last year at about 1 am I realised something wasn’t quite right. I have always been a good sleeper, I once slept through an earthquake, I’m not even exaggerating! Well, this particular evening sleep was a distant memory, I kept getting up to go to the loo every 5 minutes and my mouth felt like the Sahara. It was at about 3am that I started to panic and I suddenly became a doctor with a degree in hypochondria.
The funny thing is my worst suspicions would soon be proved right. It couldn’t be diabetes, could it?
At 7 I called 111 to seek urgent advice and had a doctor’s appointment for 9. I did a sort of panicked half run, half walk, to the surgery and sat in a crowded waiting room filled with the old and infirm, impatiently waiting to be called. I’ve never been more afraid to hear my name in my life. As I sat in this uncomfortable, squeaky, green leather chair opposite my doctor and listed my symptoms, voicing my fears out loud she shook her head, gave a wry smile, and said: “You’ve been googling haven’t you.”
She handed me a pot and said she needed a ‘sample’. So a few minutes later she dipped in this stick and out it came dark purple. The good doctors expression changed, bad news, my heart sunk as the words “It’s not often I am proved wrong, but I’m sorry to say you have diabetes, type 1 most probably,” tumbled out of her mouth.
I often wish for the ground to swallow me up when I get myself into embarrassing foot in mouth situations, but this time the blackness crept in uninvited. I got that horrid feeling in the pit of my stomach, the same feeling that comes on those vertical drop rides. All I thought was I’m going to die.
I sat there not really listening as my doctor reeled off facts and information just staring at this speck on the beige wall. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t really feel, I was just numb.
I was then ushered into the nurses office who apparently specialised in diabetes. I took one look at her kind, motherly face and burst into tears, pathetic gut wrenching sobs erupted from my mouth and I made no attempt to stifle them. So there I sat inconsolable, in a sterile unwelcome room with a woman I’d met two-seconds ago, 152 miles from home, thinking life was quite over.
So after spending seven hours in a hospital, learning I would have to inject 4 times a day, watch my diet, and start regular exercise it was quite a day.
Here I am a year on, still alive and very much thriving. I realised diabetes didn’t have to be a death sentence. It’s all about moderation has become something of a motto, and I’ve realised sugar isn’t the enemy. So even though my pancreas has given up the ghost I don’t have to.
It’s hard to believe a bag of gummy worms started this mess.