Last night, for the very first time, I went to a support group meeting. It was fantastic, for a number of reasons.
At the meeting last night, the President of Diabetes UK, Richard Lane, was there. He gave a fascinating talk, a bit about him (he was the first person to have islet cells transplanted - a quick google will tell you more), some about the things Diabetes UK are focusing on in the coming year, a little about the research DUK are doing at the moment. Did you know 80 people are about to undergo islet cell transplants? Amazing stuff.
I passed on the info about the Diet Drinks Awareness Campaign, which he seemed very interested in. Let's hope we hear from him!
I spoke to him about my desire for a pump - he started by asking me (in front of the whole room of people, I was one of 3 type ones in the room!) if I had a pump and sensor. I replied "I wish! I've been told I'm not eligible." He then spent some time talking to me after his talk, he has given me his business card so I can call him about my quest for a pump. He then whipped off his shirt so he could show me his pump and transmitter/sensor!
He spent a moment talking about DAFNE, and asked if anyone had been on it. I raised my hand, then he asked me about how I found it, what it was like etc - so I got the chance to tell everyone how fantastic it was.
I also met a man who had had a pancreas transplant. I had no idea that this was a possibility - when I asked a few years ago, I was told that it wasn't possible to have a single transplant - i.e. it would have to be with a kidney, lung, etc. The guy - I didn't even find out his name! - said that after years on MDIs, a few years on a pump, he was still swinging from 32 to 2 in a matter of minutes. His consultant put him forward for the transplant, and now he no longer takes insulin. He's on 12 anti rejection tablets a day (2 different drugs), but stared out on over 45 per day! He said they also transplanted part of his bowel?! I really don't know the ins and outs of it, but it was fascinating to meet someone like that. I hope he will be at the next meeting. He also gave me the contact number of a DSN he said is amazing, so I will look to get transferred down to Glos asap.
So: I encourage you to find a local support group. Granted, of the 25-ish people there, I was 1 of 3 type 1s. But going to a group, and knowing that the people around you know what it is like to BE diabetic (person with diabetes!) is a wonderful feeling.