MENU

Jenny’s been living with T1D – or as she calls it, TOD – for over 20 years. It hasn’t stopped her from building a successful career as a musician though!

After living with type 1 diabetes for 24 years, you learn to live with it in your own way. I’ve decided to call it TOD because: 1) it sounds like a persons’ name, 2) it gives me a person to get angry with when I have bad TOD days, 3) I find it funny and you have to find something to laugh about when you live with it every day!

Jenny
Jenny (left) with bandmate Ashlea

TOD arrived in my life when I was eight years old. My blood glucose levels were so high that I was in a coma when my parents carried my limp body into the emergency room. Three days later, I woke up and had to start learning how to inject oranges (and myself) with insulin.

I learnt to eat healthy foods early on and my family were a huge support. While I might have wanted a white-bread jam sandwich like all the other kids, they insisted on wholemeal bread, Vegemite and a tomato.

The hardest thing about having diabetes at that age was the reaction of my peers to being ‘different’. “You got diabetes because you ate too much sugar / you were too fat”. I felt isolated and I was thrilled when another kid with TOD arrived at school.

TOD doesn’t stop me from living my dream. I work as a music teacher and a performing musician in folk/acoustic duo The Littlest Fox. Over the last four years we have travelled Australia playing festivals and shows to thousands of people, and recorded four albums.

I still have challenges though, around managing low and high blood sugars while performing. If I’m high, I can get grumpy and irritable during practice. If I’m low, sometimes I need to walk off-stage to scoff a handful of lollies, and my bandmate needs to cover for me and play solo. I always test before, during and after the show, but sometimes you can’t control what your blood sugar is going to do!

I used to be embarrassed to talk about TOD because I thought people would make the same kind of judgements they did when I was a kid. I’m grateful that more people know about TOD now and, if they don’t, I try to share what I know.

Leave a Reply