Change of lifestyle after diagnosis

Rachel Curran with her mum and dad, Gillian and Chris, and her younger brother Jamie.
Rachel Curran with her mum and dad, Gillian and Chris, and her younger brother Jamie.

A local family has said their daughter’s Diabetes diagnosis has led to a complete lifestyle change for them.

Ten-years-old Rachel Curran was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes earlier this year after becoming very unwell.

Dad Chris explained that the family’s knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes was ‘vague’ but in hindsight Rachel had been exhibiting symptoms for a while.

“We really didn’t know what to look for. Rachel has been complaining of pains in her legs and was getting tired and things like that. We put it down to growing pains initially.

“Looking back she was drinking an awful lot of water.”

Rachel took a turn for the worse when her parents were away for the weekend and she was staying with her grandparents.

“She got very tired and was experiencing shortness of breath. Her grandparents rang out of hours and they were told to take her straight to hospital.

“Rachel was in DKA, when the acid in her blood had built up to a point where she was shutting down. She was very sick and had gone down hill very quickly.”

Rachel was started on fluids immediately to flush out her system and started on insulin. She spent five days in hospital.

“We attended the Choice course and it was absolutely brilliant. Without that course we would have found it very difficult to know what we were doing.

“The diagnosis has lead to a real change in lifestyle. Before our knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes would have been vague, now whenever we look at food we see carbs not food.”

Chris said the family is constantly reading the back of food packaging and looking at the amount of carbohydrates contained in food.

“Sometimes you don’t realise what you are eating until you actually look at these things. It is a constant thing, you can’t take a day off from it.”

It has also been a huge change for Rachel, who Chris admits has her good days and bad days.

“I think that with us around her, being strong, it gives her the encouragement that she can lead a normal life and eat what she wants to eat. That is helping her live with it.”

The 10-year-old who is in the middle of preparing for the transfer test gets five doses of insulin each day.

“She does her own bloods and has a device fitted so we are able to scan her with her phone. She is only child in her school with diabetes, but they are great about it. They are aware what happens when she goes into a high or a low and how to manage that.”

Chris said the T1 Club, an independent club for children with Type 1 diabetes has been ‘fantastic’ for Rachel.

“She is getting to meet other people in similar circumstances and chat to them about things relating to diabetes. In school she is different, but in the club they all have the same condition.”

This weekend the T1 Club, in conjunction with the Old Library Trust, will be holding an event to mark diabetes awareness week in Brooke Park this weekend. There will be a sponsored walk in the park and followed by entertainment and refreshments in Brooke Park Sports Centre.

The event is open to everyone and donations to the T1 Club would be more than welcome.