“One small word changed my life with di­a­betes”

Diabetic Living - - Contents -

When did your di­a­betes jour­ney be­gin?

I was di­ag­nosed when I was 25. I’d lost about 6kg while pre­gant and my vi­sion was play­ing up so badly, I wasn’t con­fi­dent to drive. I had a re­ally dry throat and a rag­ing thirst. My hus­band bought me sweet icy poles to suck, which of course didn’t help the sit­u­a­tion.

I was in­cred­i­bly sick on Christ­mas Day, but I didn’t go to Emer­gency un­til Box­ing Day. The nurses didn’t know how I was still stand­ing. I was six months preg­nant, but I didn’t have ges­ta­tional di­a­betes.

Af­ter the type 1 di­ag­no­sis, I re­mem­ber a young lad who was also di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes. His ac­cep­tance was fan­tas­tic and he in­spired me to get on with it, in­stead of weep­ing and wail­ing.

I was put on a strict regime to keep my glu­cose lev­els be­tween four and eight, and I was hos­pi­talised again for a month be­fore my son was due. I had no com­pli­ca­tions with his birth or, later, my daugh­ter’s. They are now both in their 30s and I have three grand­chil­dren.

I’m the only per­son in our fam­ily to have di­a­betes.

How did you find those early days?

It was re­ally tough. My mum died, we moved to Swe­den and I was ad­just­ing to life with di­a­betes.

I felt em­bar­rassed. In the be­gin­ning, I didn’t un­der­stand it was an au­toim­mune dis­ease.

Julie Chap­ple has been liv­ing with type 1 for nearly 40 years. She kept it a se­cret un­til two years ago, when her di­eti­tian said one word that changed her whole out­look

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