Fleur has always been such a healthy child I couldn’t believe it when Ruth told me she had type 1 diabetes. I was on holiday at the time and rushed straight to the hospital when I got back.
My thoughts seemed to change every minute and I would say to myself, “At least it’s not a tumour”. I thought I knew about type 1 but I soon realised I didn’t. As we all learned about it I felt more in control but also more scared.
I worry about Fleur’s future and how she will cope in secondary school, with exams and travel. I’ve also been very worried about my daughter and son-in-law. They are doing a wonderful job with Fleur and dealing with her condition hourly. But who is helping them? I live 60 miles away and I wouldn’t know what to do when Fleur’s blood glucose goes high or low.
Ruth has always been a very positive person but I have seen her become less so, worrying about all the possible complications Fleur could face.
My life has also changed as I feel neither confident nor competent enough to look after Fleur without Ruth or Steve there. They used to come and stay with me in the holidays and we would go to the cinema, circus and restaurants. Last summer we were digging up potatoes and picking tomatoes together in my garden. Now when I go past a favourite restaurant I hope that I will be able to take Fleur there again on my own, someday.
The amount of type 1 research that is happening is very reassuring. I have a neighbour with the condition who tells me there has been a sea-change in treatments for type 1 over the past 30 years and that everything is improving. Complications don’t need to happen if type 1 is managed properly. And I have been reading about islet transplantation, stem cell research and artificial pancreas trials and it is very encouraging. It feels like this is a very promising time in research.
Children should never have to struggle with type 1 – it’s so important to come up with a cure and better treatments. I have no qualms about supporting JDRF now I understand what they do; I feel they have become part of our lives. I believe so much in JDRF’s research, I want to leave a gift in my Will to help.