Hi, my name is Sharee, and it’s been 5 years since I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was Easter weekend and I was in year 12. I hadn’t been feeling well for awhile and after pigging out on Easter eggs all weekend I was feeling even worse. Doctors had told me it was just a result of glandular fever which I had had the previous year, but I knew it had to be more. Mum is a nurse and after seeing how tired I was and how much I was drinking she tested my sugar levels…. thank god she did they were 30 and I was flown to the RAH.
Since that day I have been seeing diabetes educators, dietitians and endocrinologists on a regular basis. I didn’t know much about diabetes when I was diagnosed so it was a big learning curve for me and I’m not going to lie it has and is hard but positives have came out of my diagnosis as well.
I was forced to drop a subject at school because I had missed too much being in hospital and managing my diabetes. This was a big blow for me because I had planned to go to university. However I now have a Diploma of Business Administration, Diploma of Population Health and have completed short courses in global health, advanced medical terminology, chronic disease and project management, just to name a few. I have also been lucky enough to work with Diabetes Outereach in a project support role, which i loved and learnt a lot from. At school I never really knew what I wanted to do but since being diagnosed I have a strong interest in health promotion and am actually considering a career as a diabetes educator!
I have also travelled a lot in my time since leaving school and have been lucky enough to travel to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, USA and Canada. I am returning to Cambodia this year to participate in a volunteer project with a school, health clinic and homeless shelter. Having diabetes has meant a little extra planning in my travels, but I haven’t missed out on a thing, I even ate chilli coated tarantula in Cambodia! I have also had the opportunity to write reviews / articles on my trips and have them published on the diabetes counselling website. In addition to this I have been interviewed by Diabetic Living about travel and diabetes. I have a real passion for travel, human rights and international health and hope to one day work in this field. Travelling to countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have been a real eye opener culturally but have also made me very aware of how grateful I am to have the support team like endocrinologists and diabetes educators on hand when ever I need them. Although I wish I didn’t have diabetes, I am grateful every day that I live in Australia and have diabetes.
Diabetes has its ups and downs and I don’t think I would understand as much as I do about diet and exercise if I hadn’t been diagnosed. I have to constantly monitor and adjust things to suit my lifestyle and whilst sometimes it can be tiring I have gotten use to it and it has became part of my every day life. There are always new tests and programs happening in the field of diabetes and if they can put a man on the moon I am sure one day they will find a cure for diabetes, but until then I am happy to keep learning more. Diabetes is part of my life now and I work hard to keep it under control but I don’t let it stop me from doing the things I want. In reality I think that there are far worse situations and things that could have happened to me.