I won’t tell you a lie, I haven’t really watched soaps (specifically Coronation Street) since the tram crash occurred, so I had absolutely no idea that there was a featured character who had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. In fact, it wasn’t until I was scrolling through my newsfeed at 9pm that I saw a post from JDRF detailing how “If anyone had been affected by tonight’s episode of Coronation Street to click on the links provided for detailed support and advice”…
Of course reading the post I was immediately like:
And then, of course, when I realised that there was in fact a T1D character I immediately went straight to my tablet trying to find the episode…
I’m not sure what I was expecting.
Actually, I do.
It is a common occurrence that in the very rare circumstance that a soap, movie or series actually feature a character with Type 1 Diabetes they are shown very briefly usually having a severely bad hypo (sweating, convulsing and talking nonsense) and then vanish into thin air as they were only in one episode which of course leaves me sat there like:
This time though, I was pleasantly surprised.
There was a conversation between Summer (T1D) & her guardian speaking openly and honestly and nothing was filtered out. Summer was speaking about how she just wanted to feel normal. She was fed up of having to carb count everything and how all eyes are on her when it comes to planning meals or evenings out- something I, and I’m sure many others feel on a daily basis.
I cannot express how I felt when watching this episode, relief would be the best way to describe it though. I have been diabetic for coming up 15 years and whilst I’m sure there are some movies that accurately represent us, I am yet to come across one – bar steel magnolias! (If you haven’t watched it, go. Now. Run to your TV or tablet or mobile device and press play. I’ll wait.)
You can tell that this has been written and acted in an incredibly sensitive yet equally informative way and for that I am grateful- it might sound ridiculous being grateful to script writers who I don’t know but see it from my point of view, this diabulimia story line has made people talk.
Now more than ever.
The anger that I see on twitter about Summer being thrown into jail because the police thought she was drunk, how she’s silly, how she’s damaging her body or even how her friends and family should of noticed sooner.
No matter what is being said the most important thing is that Type 1 Diabetes and its potential complications are being spoken about.
Ever since I can remember I would always ask my diabetes team if there was a cure yet or if there would be one any time soon – I saw them once every 3 months so you can imagine how repetitive this became, every time they had to break the news until one day I just had to accept that it simply wasn’t a possibility at that time.
In saying that, the acceptance was a hard pill to swallow – I fondly remember on a family trip when I was about 15, my sugars were playing ball, I barely had to bolus and they were perfect the whole time. I thought that my pancreas had magically started working and that was the end of injections, the down days and strict meal routines for me. I was cured.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, what I was going through is quite common for T1D where essentially our pancreases has a little jump start and produces insulin before effectively dying again.
To summarise, I imagine it like this:
(I would just like to clarify that I am not a doctor, and of course what I’m saying Is not in medical terms; if you would like more information speak with your healthcare provider)
A bit rude if you ask me! It gives you a little glimmer of hope before brutally plummeting you back down to reality.
But that’s not what i’m here to talk about. I had accepted that this is my life many years ago- the injections, highs & lows, carb counting, HBA1C’s, thyroid complications, depression, anxiety and everything else that comes in between.
Many others whom have just been diagnosed or even those that are still in denial, they haven’t accepted it and that’s ok. Their day will come.
In the meantime though having this conversation will really help, knowing that you’re not alone in this crazy journey is something that we all need because believe me, it is difficult. SO difficult and unless you’re on the same journey you will never truly understand.
No matter whether you are diabetic or not there is something you can do to help.
You can spread the word.
In whatever way you can, start that conversation about diabetes.
Don’t feel ashamed or nervous or even embarrassed! If you hear in conversation something that you know isn’t accurate, correct them.
The more we can do to reduce the stigma surrounding us the better.
Lila Moss is taking the first step by being the first person ever with T1D to star on the front cover of British Vogue and I am so excited to see how much more we can achieve together.