It's been six months since the doctors in Iceland told me what I already knew. Six months since they showed me how to use a glucometer and I, still not entirely believing the diagnosis, saw my blood sugar at 20 mmol/L and then being told it was only supposed to be between 4-7 mmol/L. Six months since my first insulin injection. Six months of constantly being aware of my blood sugar. I can't believe it has only been six months, as it seems so impossible to me that I once never knew my blood sugar or even what numbers were normal, that I was never had to inject insulin before eating, or that I once was considered young and healthy and at low risk of any health problems.
It has been both harder and easier than I anticipated. At first, I thought I was never going be able to eat really anything again without my blood sugar spiking through the roof. After about a month, my levels got as steady as a type 1 diabetic could hope for (read: not steady at all, but in range most of the time) and I haven't actually had to change my diet at all. Physically, I feel fine most of the time, it is well-controlled and my A1C is very good not only for a relatively newly diagnosed T1D but a T1D for any length of time. The harder parts are the comments from others who don't understand that still annoy me more than they should, the anger at the unfairness of a cruel universe, and the feeling of absolute betrayal by my own body. I've never felt such a disconnect between mind and body and always think, "How could you do this to me? We're supposed to be on the same side here." There's the fighting with insurance companies and pharmacies, the struggle finding empathy when friends complain about their problems which seem so insignificant compared to having a body that is trying to kill you, and the despair when realizing that this is for life and now my life will likely be at least a decade shorter since my poisonous blood is harming every major organ.
I waited a long time for a misdiagnosis or to hear that it was just some temporary, passing phase. That never came, so I decided I might as well embrace it and do something productive with my diagnosis. I still have a hard time not hating my body and I'd still give anything to go back in time before my diagnosis, but already one good thing has come out of it...
I am going to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a published author! Very soon, my children's book Gliding on Insulin will be published! I'm not going to give away the whole plot, but I will tell you it is about a young T1D figure skater who travels the world for her competitions.
,And that's not the only thing I have planned. Here's what you can look forward to:
1) More advocacy work with Beyond Type 1 and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
2) More T1D-related blog posts.
3) And, in June, I will take my type 1 diabetes platform to the Miss Colorado stage!
Oxford is my favourite town in all of England. When I lived in London and even now when I visit, I usually try to make a point to visit Oxford. With the Narnia-esque lampposts and the town's rich intellectual history, I never tire of walking through the different colleges.
Brighton is another frequently-visited day trip for me. Though the pebbly beaches of the English channel may not be a tropical paradise, it has a traditional English seaside feel and also the historical Pavilion.
Bristol was a surprising favourite for me, perhaps due its lesser-known status. It really isn't a touristy town and on both of my trips there, I encountered no other Americans except for my friend and me. It is full of interesting attractions too like the SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension bridge.
When it comes to the rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge, I am firmly team Oxford. However, Cambridge itself is beautiful and full of historical charm as well. Plus, you can go punting on the rivers, to get a unique look at the city.
Even if you haven't read Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," as many times as I have (five times - I think?), you can still appreciate Canterbury. With the famous cathedral and the stunning streets, I could have spent days here.
Like any good English major, I made a pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare's home and town. It was the epitome of what I pictured an English town to look like. My favourite part was seeing the signatures of English authors over the centuries carved onto Shakespeare's windows like Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens.
One of my favourite day trips of my whole year in England was a day trip to Cadbury World in Birmingham, followed by a trip on the Severn Valley Railroad. The steam railroad has a long history and riding it was like stepping back in time.
8) New Forest
Famous for its wild horses and also the ferry to the Isle of Wight, this area is quaint and full of unspoiled countryside. It was in Lymington, that I saw one of the gold postboxes for the first time. All the 2012 British Olympic champions received a gold post box in their hometowns. This area is known for their sailing and I saw a bunch of hatchling (children) sailors practicing to be the next generation of elite British sailors.
What other towns make great day trips from London?
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as an ice-skating coach in Iceland and an avid student-traveller around the world. In September 2016, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes so travel as a diabetic will also be a topic in future blog posts. You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: email@example.comHappy Travels, Crystal
What am I up to today? Check out my Instagram feed below to find out!