Do you want to know something? Living with diabetes is a pain in the arse. I’ve had 40 years of it – it is one of those ‘hidden’ disabilities, it is just there, always there, always impacting on how I feel, what I can do, even how I think and behave. It is not just a physical thing, it affects my brain – I can’t ever ‘forget’, it affects my moods, my competence, my confidence and even the words that come out of my mouth. I fill out a form – do you have any disabilities? No! I am as competent as anyone. More so in fact, because I have a hidden disability that I have to deal with every day.
At the age of 11 I got this damned thing. I went through my teenage years denying it – don’t treat me any different! But if you were told, at the age of 11, that if you don’t follow the rules and look after yourself, you are likely to end up blind, lose your feet, on kidney dialysis, would that suddenly make you ‘behave yourself?’ Or perhaps goddamned it, I’m going to live my life to the fullest and fuck living for a long time, I’m going to live for a good time? And then you get caught up in a car accident at the age of 13 and your life is fucked anyway, and if you live until you’re 30 then you’re doing damned well?
Jeez, and people wonder how I turned out the way I did. I am. And I’m 50 now. And I’m off again to challenge the naysayers of 1977. I have my sight, I have my feet, my kidneys are doing fine. I’m in the process of trying to get enough medical supplies to last me the year I’m away. Anybody would think I’m the first and only person ever to have asked! I know I will have a massive supply of medication to take with me, yes, diabetes and all its complications are a pain in the arse! But it will not stop me from doing what I want to … need to do.