Diabetes kit, Desang diabetes magazine

KITLIVING

I

ulia Stefan was 20 when she

was diagnosed with T1D. She

says, "I was living in London

at the time and went online

and used the NHS symptom

checker and diagnosed myself. It said to

go to hospital, but I didn't go. At that time

my grandad was ill and I didn't want to put

more pressure on the family. Looking back,

I didn't realise how dangerous that was.

"After about a month my symptoms

were so bad I was falling asleep all the

time. My grandad died so I went back

to Romania for his funeral. Once my

parents saw me they knew straight away

something was wrong and made me go to

hospital. It all happened at once. I was less

upset about my diagnosis then I was about

losing my grandad. I was in hospital for a

week in Romania then, when I came out,

I went back to university. I was studying

architecture at East London University. It

took about a year and half before I saw

anyone in an actual NHS diabetes clinic

as I had been diagnosed abroad, so the

referral took a while. However, there was

a nurse at my local GP surgery near

Limehouse who had other Type I patients

and she helped me a lot.

"I'm 28 now and attend clinic at

Mile End Hospital. I'm a self-employed

architectural designer working on several

projects. I also blog, run a YouTube

channel and make jewellery out of used

diabetes equipment such as pump tubing

and insulin cartridges and hope to sell

these online soon along with stickers to

go on Libre sensors.

On tap

Rosie Vincent was diagnosed on 21

December 15 years ago at the age

of eight. She is 23 now. "I lost loads of

weight and knew something wasn't

right. I started having to have a drink of

water out of the tap during the night,"

she remembers, "I told my mum how

thirsty I was. She got the last doctor's

appointment that Friday night. He told

us to measure what I drank and measure

how much I weed out over the weekend.

He suspected it was diabetes and when

we went back on Monday and told him

the results, he said 'you've definitely got

diabetes'. I didn't go to hospital but had

a crash course, a day full of information

about living with diabetes. A nurse visited

us on Christmas Eve and gave advice on

eating at Christmas time. For injections,

I used to hold a cushion while my mum

jabbed me. My grandad had borderline

Type 2 diabetes. Then, about three years

later, my older sister, who is four years

older than me, was also diagnosed with

Type 1."

Vincent was born and raised in Suffolk

and attended the James Paget Hospital,

moving to London in 2014 to study drama

at Queen Mary University, from which she

graduated in 2017. "I do two jobs now,"

says Vincent, "I run the Roman Road

Trust, which is a an organisation focused

on regenerating Roman Road high street

in Blow and Globe Town in east London.

I'm also a drama facilitator with children

and teens, helping them to access their

creativity if they are limited by a condition.

I also do ad hoc bits and pieces such as

going into schools and teaching maths

through drama."

Top: Iulia Stefan. Middle:

Rosie Vincent. Above: Libre

Earrings by Stefan.

continued over

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