Over the past year my life has done a complete U turn and dramatically changed for the better. In June 2011 I was continuing on my path of self destruction just like I had done since my diagnosis in 2002. During yet another admission with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) I stumbled/collapsed on to a tie hating, batman loving, knight in shining armour who gave me the help and courage I needed to turn things around. However this didn't happen straight away, and for six months after meeting Partha (my diabetes consultant) I carried on being stubborn, scared and naive about my diabetes. Fortunately Partha is even more stubborn that I am, and in January this year he convinced me that enough was enough and I decided to change before it was too late. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him and I hope he knows how grateful I am that he hasn't given up on me, even though I don't always show it.
Being pro-active and engaged with my diabetes has been a real eye opener for me and I can't believe the amount I've learnt in just one year! I fell in love with the diabetic online community (#doc) as soon as I joined. I've spoken the most wonderful and inspiring people who motivate me everyday and keep me from falling into my old trap again. Connecting with other people who have diabetes, their families and carers is the best education I could have asked for. On top of that there are health care professionals who encourage us to speak up and tell them what we need for our health so they can make those changes. The feeling of having an online community this strong makes having diabetes so much easier and I wouldn't be able to get through it with out those people.
I've been lucky enough to meet a few of the people I speak to online: Anne, Izzy, Dave, Melissa, Alex, Joe, Zoe, Gavin, Mairead, Martyn, Ben, Kevin & Mr Grumps.
Anne and Izzy - thank you both for being such good friends to me and for always knowing what to say when I needed it the most. Last but certainly not least there's Hannah, my online diabetes sister who knows me inside out. At 17 years old she is mature articulate and inspiring and I'm proud to call her my friend.
There are so many more people to mention for showing support to myself and each other but there just isn't enough space... you all know who you are and I hope to be able to put more faces to names in the next year.
This year I have also been privilaged to be able to work with Diabetes UK as a Young Leader, helping to change healthcare for young people with Type 1 diabetes. On October 13th 2009 someone from the Diabetes UK Careline helped me in a way that no one ever had before. I don't know who this person was, but they saved me that day without even knowing it. For that I am eternally grateful and I am honoured to be able to give something back to this amazing charity.
I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has given me writing oportunities over the past 12 months: Diabetes UK, The Independent, The Portsmouth News, Diabeto Device, Timesulin, Plymouth University, The Journal of Diabetes Nursing and DRWF Wellness magazine.
Attending The Diabetes UK Big Event, Diabetes UK HQ, The European Association for the Study of Diabetes and Animas HQ have all been brilliant experiences as well and I look forward to many more in 2013.
So cheers 2012 and onwards to 2013 whatever it may bring.