Callie Sennett is a final year student at Southampton Solent University, studying Business Management and Marketing. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at just 18 months old after a bout of gastroenteritis.
Positivity is the way forward
As a 21 year old that enjoys living life to the full, Callie is really open and constructive about her diabetes. She understands that it can be difficult to accept at times, but as she grew up she learned a useful coping mechanism:
“It can be annoying, but you have just got to think that there are people with far worse issues. In comparison, diabetes isnt bad at all.”
Her life has had few restrictions, with medication being an easy part of her daily routine. She goes on to share some of her experiences to help other young diabetics manage their condition.
Learning the hard way
Callie went to boarding school when she was 13, and suddenly had to be fully independent with her medication. She did go through a rebellious stage with her doctors, and not all of them were as inspiring as others:
“I was that that stage where I just didn’t want to listen to anyone. It got so annoying having to listen to people preach about it when they hadn’t lived with it.”
As a result, there were points were she would skip her medication, which gave her high fatigue levels, mood swings and nausea. Therefore, she viewed this unpleasant experience as a good learning lesson:
“I would suffer the consequences if I didn’t take my medication. You quickly learn that it’s not worth it.”
Growing up and moving on
Although Callie’s teenage years were “horrendous”, they taught her to grow up quickly, and manage her condition properly. For example, medication is now an unforgettable part of her daily routine:
“They make it so simple and quick that it takes a matter of 3 seconds. If you forget an insulin shot, you feel bad, and you know it.”
She had a friend who also rebelled against her diabetes, but she was diagnosed when she was 14. This made Callie realise her own situation wasn’t as bad:
“In that sort of sense I think Im quite lucky because I haven’t known any different. It’s quite a weird thing for a 14 year old to suddenly have to deal with.”
She was obviously starting to become more optimistic, and regarding life choices, the only thing it has limited her from doing is teaching Sport in the Army. Everything else, such as travel and university, has been easy for her to pursue.
Other medical conditions
Unfortunately, diabetes is often accompanied with other health complications. Callie also has an underactive thyroid, and is more susceptible to the common cold:
“I know for a fact that all of us diabetics get the flu twice as bad and for twice as long.”
Other conditions that diabetics might suffer include:
– Heart disease
– Liver damage
– Nerve damage and amputation
– Overactive thyroid
As a result of these potential complications, we asked Callie if she concentrated more on exercise and healthy living:
“In my later teen years, I literally just wanted to have fun and do what I wanted. But now I’ve got a little bit older, and hopefully a little bit wiser, I’m thinking more towards future health problems”.
There’s a wide range of support for diabetics including local nurses, national forums, and charities. Callie is a member of Diabetes UK, and finds their Facebook page incredibly useful. She also believes that celebrity endorsement is the way forward:
“I suppose it could change negative feelings towards diabetes. It’s a good idea.”
To summarise, Callies main piece of advice is as follows:
“Don’t panic! It takes time to adjust, but you will get there. It’s not the end of the world, so just try and be positive about it.”