MY DIABETES KIT
At the age of 13, Charlotte
Mitchell started her
diabetes life, then in
2020 she celebrated her
'diaversary' having lived exactly half
her life (26 years old at that point)
with the condition. Here she recalls
how it all began.
"I hadn't realised how ill I was, as
it had been a bit of a gradual decline.
No one in the family picked up on it.
There's six of us, mum and dad and
I'm the eldest of four sisters. In the
February of that year, I had briefly
wondered whether I had diabetes.
I'd been drinking a lot of water and
had disrupted nights due to going
to the toilet, which was unusual for
me. Coincidentally, I'd been flicking
through a magazine which had a page
on diabetes and read the symptoms,
the four Ts as they are now known:
toilet, thirsty, tired, thinner. I went,
tick, tick, tick, tick. I spoke to my
mum who phoned the doctors, but
he said he wasn't concerned because
at that time, we had a new fridge
that could make ice and the doctor
seemed to think maybe I was just
drinking more due to the novelty
of using it. I wasn't even offered a
"Neither my mum nor I
questioned further at that point.
Then my period stopped, which was
very odd. Fast forward to August and
I was enjoying the summer holidays.
Every year we went to my nanny and
granddad's caravan where we were
spoiled with ice-creams on the beach
and nice things like that, generally
a wonderful time. I came home at
the end of the visit and felt so tired I
slept all weekend.
"On the Wednesday we were
due to fly to the US for a special
trip to celebrate my mum's 40th
birthday, however both my parents
knew something wasn't right with
me. On the Sunday, I'd gone to get
some water and as I walked back
upstairs, out of nowhere, I had a
short argument with one of my
sisters. That was out of character,
but of even more concern was
that I was gasping for breath. Dad
took me to the walk-in centre that
lunchtime and they did a blood
test there and then. As my blood
glucose was 40mmol/L, I was told
I needed to go to A&E immediately.
As a 13-year-old, I was very scared.
I'd never been in hospital before and
everyone around me seemed to be
panicking and no-one explained to
me what was happening. I became
incredibly anxious. It was a traumatic
experience and the aftermath
is something I've only started
considering and processing in the
last few years. Unfortunately, having
spoken to many other wonderful type