“I’ve lost 16kg since diagnosis” Type 2 was a blessing for Bella Muxworthy
The removal of a tumour led to discovering type 2 for Bella Muxworthy, 41, a chef turned counsellor
When were you first diagnosed with diabetes?
Two weeks after I got married in October 2013. I felt really ill and the doctors found a tennisball sized tumour on my left ovary that was attached to my pancreas. I was told if they didn’t remove the tumour I’d get cancer, and if they did remove it I’d get diabetes – which is in my family. My grandfather and his mum both had type 1.
That sounds tough…
Dealing with the emotional side was really difficult. I got depressed and anxious. Then I discovered that because of the tumour I wasn’t able to have children. I feel so grateful for all the support from my husband, Troy, and other loved ones. But I had to mourn and get on and deal with my life.
How did you adjust?
Before the diagnosis I worked shifts as a chef so didn’t have time to sit down for proper meals. I also drank two to four glasses of fizzy drink or juice every day. Thankfully I had a great diabetes educator and did a lot of online research.
Food, exercise and stress affect people with diabetes in different ways so I experimented to see what worked for me. I knew how to cook healthy meals, so I cut down my portions and became more active. Now I eat more protein and less carbs, and I see a nutritionist every few months and an endocrinologist every three months.
Any other new habits?
I walk for 40 to 60 minutes daily. I love my calf muscles now! I do Zumba, yoga or Pilates once a week, and if it’s raining I put on an aerobics video or some music and dance around the house.
What has surprised you?
I didn’t know diet would have such a big impact on my blood glucose levels (BGLs) or how important portion control is. I’ve lost 16 kilos since my diagnosis. I’ve eaten so many different fruits and vegetables that I wouldn’t have tried before.
On my birthday I had a piece of cake, which I hadn’t done for five months. I started to stress out but my BGLs were fine. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have treats.
What treats do you eat?
Ice-cream is my weakness but I just have one scoop of Peters Light & Creamy with fruit! I saw how much my grandfather suffered – he had to have his legs amputated. He warned me about lifestyle choices.
Are there any positives?
Yes, I changed my career. I went back to uni to study psychology and now I’m helping some of my clients deal with their diabetes.
Do you have any advice for others?
Your mental and emotional health impact the physical side and all three have to work together for a balanced, happy life.
Life is good for Bella – thanks to her choices.