My name is Amina Mahdi-Gonzalez I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1995 at the age of 11.
At the time of my diagnosis diabetes wasn’t new to me as it is a common trait within my family. It tends to skip a generation and only affects the females. I was aware that I was in that generation where the percentage for developing type 1 diabetes was pretty high. I already had two first cousins who had also developed it from a very young age.
However, my diagnosis was still a great shock and a realisation that my life was about to change. Having some knowledge of diabetes and what it was, allowed me and my mother to recognise the symptoms of type 1 as they started to occur.
The symptoms were subtle to start with but advanced rapidly over a course of a week. I was constantly tired no amount of sleep ever resolved my sheer exhaustion. I developed an uncontrollable thirst and carrying a 2 litre bottle of water became a familiar thing to me. This was accompanied by frequent urination, morning, noon and night. The constant lingering fruity taste I endured consumed every inch of my mouth and not to mention my drastic weight loss. I became a walking skeleton! As these symptoms unfolded before our eyes we knew that this possibly, most likely was type 1 diabetes. To this day, I still believe that the knowledge we had helped us take action, which helped me get the treatment that I needed.
I believe that teaching starts at home and now that I’m a mother it has become very important to me to teach my son about diabetes. I want him to be able to know and recognise these symptoms. I also wanted to reach out to others and share my experiences, which is why I began my blog (www.sugarhighsugarlow.com). Through my blog I’m able to combine my know-how of living with type 1, my degree in Biomedical Sciences and my research background to help others become more aware of type 1 diabetes. I’ve also been very fortunate to make many new friends and exchange details of our lives with diabetes.
Diabetes has been with me now for the past 19 years it has matured with me and made me the strong woman I am today. I’ve had a great support network from my family, friends and some of the nurses and doctors. On the other hand, even with their support I’ve still had my ups and downs and ultimately I’ve realised that it’s my diabetes and my responsibility.
I’ve learnt that my condition is something that I shouldn’t hide from or be ashamed of, but something that is a part of me but does not define me. It can be overwhelming but even with its difficulties, I try my best to stay positive, stay strong and I can definitely say that it has taught me the virtue of patience and being patient.
My advice to people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is, acceptance and taking responsibility can be difficult and may take some time. Nevertheless I feel that this is one of the most important parts of being able to progress with the best management and control of your diabetes. If you feel overwhelmed don’t suffer by yourself, there are so many amazing diabetes support groups out there and diabetics just like you and I. Most of all stay positive about your new life, develop an understanding, stay vigilant of your blood glucose levels and stick to a routine.