When I first met Niki, I had no idea she had diabetes (not that it mattered to me of course). It wasn’t long before I found out though when we went for a coffee at the café and she took insulin for it. Some of my family members have Type 2 Diabetes and I’m ashamed to say that I never really took the time to find out more. All of that changed the minute Niki whipped out her insulin pen within an hour of meeting her.
I now have a greater understanding of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. I understand what it takes to manage this condition on a day-to-day basis and the many thought processes involved. And I understand that there are many dangers and I watch my fiancée keep herself alive every day. That’s not scary anymore, it’s the reality for her and she does it so well. Aside from being the worlds foremost expert in “Niki’s T1D” she also has the most amazing human qualities which she readily extends to strangers.
One of my favourite examples of this is when Niki took infusion sets to a complete stranger one evening. All because they’d travelled to Oxfordshire and had forgotten their spares. Niki didn’t hesitate to do this for someone she’d never met before. And this is typical of the caring and nurturing person she is. She’s the most caring person I know and this also shows in the social media family she’s part of. There is a mass of support to be found there and Niki is very prominent in making sure people can find that. The friendships that have been made there are many, and I’m so glad I get to count these people as friends too now. (Not to mention my relief that they all approve of me).
Her first insulin pump
After just five weeks of being with Niki, we travelled to London to get her first insulin pump. It was a stressful day for me: I knew the hopes and fears she had for this method of managing her T1D. I didn’t want her to be disappointed. All those concerns disappeared upon seeing the tears of joy roll down her cheeks as she officially began pumping insulin. I knew at that moment the relief she must have felt at having the ability to calculate her boluses more accurately. But also the freedom she hoped the various functions would give her.
Ups and downs
Sadly, that first pump hasn’t always made life easy for Niki. My heart has broken watching her struggle and break down because of it. There are always other considerations, in addition to the standard daily thought processes, Niki has. Where to place the cannula, how to dress to accommodate it, what to wear to be able to access it. Kaleido has already eliminated some of the pump-related clothing issues for Niki; she suddenly owns dresses…without pockets!
I’m seeing her begin to feel more confident and comfortable in her own skin, especially around her diabetes management and it’s so good to see that again. I see Kaleido has the chance to give Niki the freedom to choose how she lives her life. Because even though she is absolutely amazing at everything she does, especially keeping herself alive every day, this will go a long way to helping her actually live it.
Matt is the fiancé of Niki, who writes a series of blogs for Kaleido about wearing Kaleido for her wedding. Niki is mumma to Moomin and has been the director of her type 1 diabetes since 2001. When she’s not hanging out with her family, working or planning the wedding of the year, she can be found writing about her life with T1D at whatnikididnext.wordpress.com. Niki is also passionate about research and living well with diabetes.