So anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve spent my entire life watching my diet, avoiding toxic and harmful products and taking good care of myself. So imagine my shock when on Friday 8 January 2021, I found out that I had late-onset type-1 Diabetes.
To say the world fell out from under me would be an understatement! I was terrified, more terrified than I’d ever been in my entire life! I thought having a serious case of Covid in April 2020 was tough, but hearing a doctor in A&E tell me I was diabetic shook me to my core. I couldn’t be! My diet has been ridiculously healthy since I was a kid. I was vegetarian for over 30-years and have been vegan for over 2, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’ve never touched drugs, I don’t have sugar or caffeine in my diet. I live like a bloody monk! And I even built a company that makes sugar-free desserts to prove the damn point! There’s no way I could be diabetic!
But I was!
Rewinding a little bit… I’d been running with a paramedic friend of mine for the previous few months doing Couch-to-5k and we’d been doing brilliantly, but for the last 2 weeks, I’d been experiencing really weird, severe dry mouth, an unquenchable thirst and peeing every 15-20 minutes. I’d also noticed my vision was slightly blurry, which was very odd, and I was absolutely exhausted. I put the exhaustion down to long-Covid which I had been struggling with but I knew something was definitely off. So, after a quick call to my GP and a trip down to the hospital for blood tests, I assumed I was going to be told “you’re overdoing the running, slow down a bit, get some more rest…” - but that wasn’t it.
After a couple more tests at the GP, I was sent straight to A&E and after numerous (13) attempts to get blood out of me, thanks to begin clinically dehydrated, finally put on a saline drip. My tests all came back way into the red-line, meaning my blood glucose and ketones were dangerously high! We talked diet and, after explaining my lifelong goal of avoiding exactly this scenario, they soon decided this wasn’t type-2 diabetes that can be affected by diet and lifestyle. This was almost certainly type-1 which was likely triggered by my previous run-in with Covid! Double-whammy - lucky me! Whoohoo!
So after a few hours in a Covid-manic A&E and many tests, a nurse came and gave me an insulin jab, a small tablet to swallow and a prescription for the next day to get more medicine. Then they sent me home saying "if you vomit or collapse, come back in!"
That was truly the scariest moment of my entire life - and I’ve seen some scary stuff in my life! I felt completely lost, isolated, terrified and alone. I went home, cried and struggled to sleep in fear that I might not wake up and see my 2 beautiful kids or my wife again!
I don’t panic - I’m the guy who takes control of scary situations and runs toward the fire but the rest of that weekend was spent in total numbness, either online trying to find information to understand what was going on with my body or on the phone trying to speak to someone with some answers from 111 or BUPA. Nobody had any answers and I was left feeling completely out of control and terrified.
Finally, around Monday lunchtime I received a call from my new best friend, a specialist diabetes nurse who talked me through my situation, my diagnosis and what it meant for me and the rest of my life. It was good to hear a friendly, knowledgeable voice on the phone and I felt slightly more at ease, or less terrified. The sheer amount on information, numbers, stats, warning signs and instructions was completely overwhelming. I was physically and emotionally shattered.
Then to add more fun into the mix, I had to overcome my lifelong phobia of needles, instantly - so I could inject myself 4-times a day with insulin which would stop me going in a diabetic coma or doing serious damage to my eyes or vital organs. And not to mention the 6-8 finger-prick blood tests I had to give myself either. So, off I went; I laid down on my bed to give myself my first injection, incase I passed out whilst doing it; I figured, if I’m on the bed and it all goes pear-shaped, I haven’t got far to fall! But I didn’t fall or pass out. I did it! And for me that was the turning point! It didn’t hurt, I barely even noticed the needle going in and honestly, the finger pricks, which are now less frequent after only a few days, are barely an irritation.
From that moment, I started feeling more positive and stronger, emotionally anyway as I was still completely exhausted from what my body had been through in the past few days. But I was on top of this and determined to take back control of my life and my body!
I read up everything I could and asked a million questions. Knowledge is power and I felt better having a small grasp on what I was dealing with. There’s still a lot to learn & it won’t all be easy. There will undoubtedly be good and bad days, but I want to share that knowledge & my journey with as many people as possible and turn this into something positive. And hopefully my experiences and words will help someone else.
Once my mental strength returned, I start thinking about how I could make Kambee a force for even greater good! I founded Kambee with the vision of creating amazing desserts that could be enjoyed by everyone; vegans, vegetarians, people with mild intolerances or severe allergies, people following a Keto or low-carb lifestyle or anyone who just liked damn good desserts. In the past, when I've talked to many of my customers who were severely allergic to one ingredient or another, I was always able to reassure them that my products were safe and just as importantly, delicious! Because they are! Nobody should have to compromise because of their medical condition or lifestyle choices.
And now I’m even more driven to ensure that Kambee’s products are the best, safest, cleanest and most delicious dessert products out there. I truly believe with all my heart that my products can help people - we all need a little sweet treat, especially during these tough Covid days. But those sweet treats shouldn’t cause you more harm!
So now, I truly am the poster-child for my own products. I’m proud to say, I’m an insulin-dependent type-1 diabetic vegan dessert chef and I want to share my products with everyone; those who need my help, those that don’t and those who don’t even realise that my products are helping them.
Watch this space… there will be many new and exciting products coming down the pipeline over the next 6-12 months that will change peoples lives for the better and help to bring a smile to peoples faces. I was already dedicated; now I'm more driven than ever!
Thanks for reading my post. If you want to find out more about my journey or share your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.