Alex Williams has lived with type 1 diabetes for over forty years. It’s been a long road, with many highs and lows along the way.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1974 at 17 years of age. Since then I’ve been emergencied to hospital in an ambulance many times, including once in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A consequence of the worst of these episodes many years ago is memory problems that affect me to this day.
I have combined my love of long distance walking with my silent fight not to let my life be determined by my diabetes, to experience some amazing sites and life changing moments. I’ve slept on a rock at the top of a cliff at Wilsons Promontory and under a sheet of plastic in the sand dunes at Oberon Bay. I’ve slept under the stars in the desert of Saudi Arabia and walked in 56c heat in Morocco in the Marathon des Sables.
My greatest adrenalin rush has been skydiving and my greatest regrets are two: not being allowed to get my pilots licence because of having type 1 diabetes and not finishing the Marathon des Sables.
My greatest prides are my three daughters with my fantastic wife and not letting this overwhelming illness determine my life.
After living with type 1 diabetes for over 40 years, I have come to a time when I believe I can help people better understand what it is like to live with this illness for every minute of every day of your life.
By helping the public understand a little more, people living with type 1 will benefit in a number of ways. The easiest to understand is if their sugar goes low in a public place, such as the Bourke St Mall here in Melbourne. A member of the public who is nearby will hopefully have learned something from reading the blog and realise that the person is not drunk or on drugs, but may simply require help getting a fruit juice, which will help them back to good health.
To that end I have started a blog, in which I describe in simple language some of the issues we face day-to-day, and what we need to do to overcome the situations, remain safe and healthy and get on with our daily life. So far I have received excellent feedback from people in various parts of the world, so it seems that I might be having a little bit of success helping people understand a little bit more.