Friday 9th September 2022

Meet Katie - A Type One Mum!

  • Type 1 for 18 years - Diagnosed at 22 
  • In Katie's words:  I reckon I must have had symptoms for a good couple of months before I actually did anything about it...It was summer holidays and we had gone to Rome for a long weekend… we walked everywhere, I was shattered by 9pm every night & I couldn’t stay awake to enjoy the evenings… put it down to all the walking we had been doing. I was soooo tired all the time… had massive dark circles under my eyes…
    I’d also started doing Pilates DVDs at home. I was made up because I lost lots of weight…it just dropped off, looking back I actually went very skinny, unhealthy looking.
    The thirst was ridiculous, drinking pints & pints of water, especially at night… & then consequently needing to go to the toilet constantly.
    Blurry vision…. Sat watching TV and not able to concentrate or see properly. Put it down to tired eyes…
    Back to work after the summer holidays, think it was my 2nd day back in class (I’m a primary school teacher) and I thought ‘I’m not right, I need to call the doctor’ So I did.
    Spoke to them over the phone and they asked if I could go in for a blood test the following morning. I did… and a few hours later they phoned me back… please come to the surgery now.
    I went in… went through all my symptoms again with the doctor, he wanted to do a dip urine test (at that point I still had no idea what was going on) and once I’d done that… he checked the little strip and told me to go straight to the medical assessment unit at Arrowe Park, my local hospital.
    I went to the hospital where they did more blood tests and urine dip. I was then put on a drip (insulin and saline) and told because of the high level of ketones in my body I was at serious risk of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) when there is severe lack of insulin in the body. This means the body can’t use sugar for energy, and starts to use fat instead. If left unchecked, ketones can build up and make your blood become acidic. If I hadn’t called the Dr when I did… I would have been dead within a week.

"I would love to see more awareness around the symptoms of diabetes and actually also more information around what this disease is."

Katie, as a mum and primary school teacher, her thoughts on creating a discussion on diabetes awareness.

[Katie's experience]
In terms of being a mum… it’s been really important to me for my children to understand my condition completely… they are 5 and 7 now and the older one particularly understands. It was only a few months ago that I was home alone with them and had a severe hypo, fairly unresponsive and drifting in and out of consciousness. My son was able to use his iPad to FaceTime my husband who was able to get home in minutes to help me. Since then we keep hypo treatments accessible to them so they can help me, if it should ever happen again.

As a teacher, having diabetes has actually been useful… as in both my last schools I worked in have had pupils who have been newly diagnosed. It’s been amazing to be able to support the parents and the children and help them to understand the condition as well as demonstrating to them that they can lead a normal life.

It’s useful to have someone on staff who can act quickly to the needs of the pupil without any hesitation. And help to explain to other staff and pupils in school what they need to look out for and to explain the ins and outs of the condition as there is still so much to be done to raise awareness of diabetes.

Instagram: @t1dmummylife

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