Woman turns life around after diabetes
Eyes on diabetes is the theme of Diabetes Awareness Week. Beginning on World Diabetes Day Monday, November 14, the week is focused on eyes as one of the organs affected by the disease.
However, diabetes is a threat to many other body parts.
That’s what Palmerston North’s Waima¯ rama Freeman discovered in February when she learned she had diabetes.
The diagnosis came following a visit to the family doctor where the 33-year-old had described losing 10kg and drinking three to four litres of water a day.
‘‘My mum, dad, and gran all have diabetes. The amount of junk I’ve eaten – chocolate and the sweetest cakes from the bakery – no wonder I’ve got diabetes,’’ Freeman said.
When Freeman and her partner Haley Kereama attended the Manawatu¯ Horowhenua Tararua Diabetes Trust self-management classes, they were made aware that complications caused by diabetes affect eyes, heart, circulation, kidneys, and can lead to amputations.
‘‘I was shocked. I’d never heard bad stories about losing sight or legs because of diabetes before.’’
Others in the classes added to the impact with their stories.
‘‘When you see someone in your class who hasn’t managed their diabetes and had a heart attack, it makes you realise how real it is.’’
Family support became vital. Freeman’s whole family changed how they shopped, cooked, and what they ate.
‘‘My partner was the one making me take it seriously. We cut out all the sugary snacks, processed foods, and puddings.’’
She also adopted the message of 30 minutes exercise a day.
‘‘I love walking. It’s always in my head, 30 minutes a day from the classes.It makes me feel rejuvenated’’.
While the steps she took have turned things around, Freeman is continuing to learn about how to provide herself and her family with healthy food and lifestyle choices.
While diabetes is at present incurable, it can be controlled, and those with the disease can lead a full and active life.
Members of Diabetes Manawatu will be at 130 The Square by Number One Shoes today and Friday between midday and 2pm to answer any questions about diabetes and related conditions.
Waimarma Freeman, second from left with her partner Haley Kereama and her whanau’s six children shortly before she was diagnosed diabetic.