“One small word changed my life with diabetes”
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