JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charityStoriesTackling type 1 myths: why we created our own website for people living with type 1 diabetes to discuss the condition freely

Tackling type 1 myths: why we created our own website for people living with type 1 diabetes to discuss the condition freely

Author: Fiona Boylan's story | Posted: 07 August 2015

By Fiona Boylan, co-creator of thepincusions.co.uk.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time when we’ve been told something about type 1 diabetes and believed it to be absolute fact, only to realise later that it simply isn’t true. The fact is, only 10% of all diabetics are living with type 1 diabetes and generally, very little is known about this disease. Here are just some of the type 1 myths I have come across in my 12 years living with type 1 diabetes:

“Is it because you ate a lot of sweets as a child?” –Yeh I’m not sure there’s any link blog_FionaBoylan1

‘’But you’re not THAT fat” –Oh how sweet of you to use the word ‘that”.

“You can’t eat crisps anymore” –Mm that’s a new one.

“Yeh my dad’s mate with diabetes has just had his leg cut off” –Helpful.

 “My friend has got type 1 diabetes and because of all the finger pricking, can’t feel anything in his fingers anymore” – Oh great, well I’ve been diagnosed a week so comments like that keep me going.

“Do you like ‘feel’ something when you inject the insulin” – Yep, I reach a higher state where I talk to unicorns! 

Are you sure you should be eating that?”- You’re right, I shouldn’t, how careless of me to be living with this condition for 12 years and only just realise I can’t eat this cake when you, you kind stranger, who doesn’t really know much about my condition, pulled me up on it.

“I read this thing that if you stop eating sugar you’ll cure your diabetes”- I am turning my back on you now.  

These are just some of the many hilarious and sometimes fairly annoying comments I have come across in the past 12 years.  However I wouldn’t have had a clue today either if I hadn’t been diagnosed at the tender age of 18 when I’d just started uni. When the doctor tested my blood sugars (which read 29) and told me I had type 1 diabetes I replied ‘but isn’t that for old people…?”

That’s the whole reason my partner-in-crime Abby and I started our website The Pin Cushionsto educate others and raise awareness. It really helps to talk to others about your condition – like-minded people that are also living with type 1 diabetes.

When I was diagnosed I knew no one living with type 1 diabetes. But it really helped me to meet others through courses such as DAFNE and WINDFALL and through fantastic charities like JDRF. It sounds stupid but I couldn’t believe how normal we all were. Everyone had their two legs and no abnormalities and were doing regular things, challenging things, exciting things…just like me. The strangest and funniest thing was being in a room full of people all injecting or finger pricking or adjusting their pumps. My boyfriend said he felt like I was part of some special club now; I think he was almost jealous!

And that’s why The Pin Cushions was formed. The Pin Cushions aim to re-brand type 1 diabetes. We want to create a place for realistic not idealistic advice- a place for people living with type 1 diabetes to meet, share experiences, ask questions and communicate freely with those who really are in the know.

The Pin Cushions believe that type 1 diabetes is something you live with – it is NOT something that should rule your life. We hope that on our website you can find reliable, inspiring and up-to-date information.

Get in touch at www.thepincushions.co.uk or find them on Twitter and Instagram @thepincushions.