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Insulin-dependent diabetes

Chandler Bennett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2004. She maintains a positive attitude to life and has learned to manage her condition.

Chandler Bennett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2004.

She maintains a positive attitude to life, and has learned to manage her condition by calculating the carbohydrates in her food and taking insulin.

"When I was diagnosed, my first thought was, 'Oh my God, why me?' I used to be terrified of injections, so that side of it completely scared me.

"I was self-conscious at first. I didn't want to inject myself in front of everyone. I thought it was going to be embarrassing and everyone at school would think I was injecting drugs in the middle of lunch.

"If I hadn't taken the medication, my blood sugars would have risen and I would have started to feel dizzy. If I'd continued not taking insulin, I would have got ill, probably thrown up and eventually I would have died.

"When you have type 1 diabetes, you have to calculate the carbohydrates in your meals. A piece of toast has 20g of carbohydrates, and I have one unit of insulin for every time I eat 20g of carbohydrates.

"It was a foreign idea. I hadn't ever considered food as something to be calculated. Sometimes school lunch can be a bit difficult because you don't really know what's in everything.

"It was tricky and I made mistakes at first. You have to expect that. However, you get into a pattern and everything becomes second nature.

"It definitely affects my sports. I have to check my blood sugars more frequently when I'm playing sport. I do quite like competitive sprinting, which is difficult because adrenaline in sport brings your blood sugars up rapidly.

"A few months after I was diagnosed, I moved on to the insulin pump. It was a good change for me. It definitely gives me a lot more flexibility. It's like a bigger injection, once every three days, and it pumps in insulin throughout the day.

"Sometimes I get little red spots on my body, which makes me self-conscious when I'm going to the beach. I don't really like to wear bikinis.

"It was definitely a bit of a nightmare at first, but if you approach diabetes with a positive attitude, it just becomes another part of who you are.

"Everyone can control diabetes. You just have to put in the effort. It's worth it, because when it's controlled, you feel you're just like everybody else."


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