Some of you may have noticed that instead of my almost-daily blogs I’ve been absent for nearly two weeks.

While I’d love to say it’s just laziness, or busy-ness, or a hiatus somewhere sunny and tropical, that is, alas, not the case.

It turns out I’m diabetic. Type one (the serious kind). I was diagnosed late, my blood sugar has been dangerously high for a few weeks, and my doctor tells me that had I waited another day or two I would have slipped into a coma.

As it was, I flew home to Durban and was put into hospital immediately, where I stayed in high care for a few days, and then in general care for a few more.

Not fun, let me tell you!

I’ve been home almost a week now, and I’m feeling heaps better. I’ve mastered the insulin injection, I’ve seen an amazing dietician and my blood sugar is (at last!) beginning to stabilise. And I’m feeling well!(ish). One of the symptoms of diabetes is dehydration, and I was severely dehydrated, so my eyes are still recovering (everything looks blurry close-up — could this be what old age feels like?). I’m tired. Really tired. I suppose that’s what happens when you give your system such a shock. And I don’t have any strength. But that will come.

Other than that, I feel fine. Better than fine. What a relief to not have any niggling unexplained symptoms and to know why I’ve been ravenous and thirsty for two months! Ignorance is most certainly not bliss.

So how did it happen? How does a person not realise she’s two days from a coma? Why did I get it?

Not 100% sure about that yet. Type one isn’t the lifestyle diabetes, so it has nothing to do with diet or stress. I exercise, I eat fantastically (besides the tea parties!) and I’m not overweight or unhealthy in any way. I don’t smoke or drink. But apparently it’s been in my genes just waiting for two immunological insults to wake it up. At least, that’s what I gleaned from my doctor. But I’ve been pretty fuzzy-headed for a while now, so I can’t be sure. Suffice to say, I couldn’t have prevented it, I have a non-functioning pancreas now.

But it’s not that bad. With the right eating plan I can eat almost anything (thank God! I love my food), and although I’m going to have to make some big lifestyle adjustments, I don’t think it will be too overwhelming.

I’m feeling quite positive about it all, in fact.

And now I am tasked with recovering, which is a lovely thing to do. I’m being looked after so well, the sun is shining, I have 15 hours of Boston Legal episodes to watch, and I am deeply and profoundly grateful to have come through all of this (relatively) unscathed.

So there’s my absentee note. I won’t be able to do PE for a while.



Bridget McNulty

Bridget McNulty is a writer, content strategist and creative director. She is the editor of Sweet Life diabetes lifestyle magazine ( and...

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