Who am I?

My name is Daniel or Dan and I have type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed at the age of 10 on 17 August 1996. I live just outside London.

Where am I from?

My family are from the Caribbean however I was born in London and have lived in the UK all of my life.

What do I know about type 1 diabetes?

I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for over twenty years and have first hand experience of the highs, lows and very lows the condition brings to a persons life.

What’s my diagnosis story?

Everyone who experiences a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has their own story. You could be the person with type 1, their parent, sibling or grandparent. You have your own individual story. Here’s mine.

It was the summer of 96 (enter a poor Summer of 69 joke here) and 10 year old me was enjoying the summer holidays. It was a ‘hot’ British Summer and the Ribena was flowing so I kept drinking and drinking and drinking. It was hot so nothing was thought of it by those around me. This all changed on 16 August. I was on a family trip to the cinema and we had to leave early due to me being unwell. I continued to be unwell for the rest of the day.

Fast forward to 1am on 17 August 1996 and I was still unwell. The emergency doctor was called. After he arrived, tested my blood sugar levels he said, you need to take him to Accident and Emergency. Now!

I didn’t know what was happening but when we reached the hospital, I soon realised. I remember needles and lots of poking, prodding and waiting around. It was early morning now and a doctor sat me down and said, ‘You have Diabetes’.

I don’t remember what was said after that but those words and the image of the doctor still stays with me until this day.

I stayed in hospital for a few days, the highlight being interviewed by a news channel about my diagnosis. Then I was off continuing my journey of living with type 1 diabetes and navigating this thing called life.

I’ve come a long way since then and overcome many challenges. I’m still on my journey and if I can get through it then I know you can.

Finally, as you have read I’ve had type 1 diabetes for a number of years but I am not the following:

– a ‘perfect’ type 1 diabetic (This does not exist!)
– an expert in managing the condition
– a healthcare professional.

In 2003, after suffering with symptoms since the early 1990’s, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As a high school teacher, I educated my school community and raised awareness so much that my MS Walk team consisted of upwards of 400 walkers. In 2011 I learned that I had broken at least 1 vertebra (line due to a fall thanks to MS) and underwent spinal fusion and decompression surgery, and continued to educate my community. Sadly, I became unable to perform
My job anymore and became disability retired in 2014. As I struggled to regain my strength and walk again, I found my way to meditation as a coping mechanism for the extreme sadness I felt, and the depression that was all encompassing. As I began to regain some strength I also incorporated light yoga to keep my body moving and my brain mindful. At the end of 2016 (12/30 to be exact), I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just like everything else in my life I put a smile on my face and did what I had to, and today I am more than 4 years cancer free. During it all I leaned on yoga and meditation because they are the best non-medicinal tools I know. I even became a yoga teacher so that I could share the benefits of the practice with others because I know first-hand how well it works. Just when I thought I had been given all that I could handle, I was then diagnosed with diabetes in 2018. While I certainly have had my share of obstacles, never once have I asked “why me?”. What I always say is “why not me?”, because I am no better or worse than anyone else and I clearly am swimming in a very shallow gene pool. One thing that has been constant for me is helping others, whether it has been advocating at doctor appointments, helping navigate the difficult waters to SSDI, teaching free yoga classes, or simply talking on the phone with those who need help. From where I stand, despite it all, life is incredibly sweet and I am grateful for every single day.