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Hi, I am Di and I am Diabetic. I first found out I was prone to be Diabetic about 30 years ago; I was prediabetic to start with, and I found because I was very tired all the time. But, so I went to the doctor and we caught it quite early and, as I say, I was prediabetic to start with and just managed with diet. And then after a while it progressed into diabetes and we had to move to different forms of treatment. I have Type 2 Diabetes which is normally something that comes on slightly later in life. Most people with Type 1 are born with it or get it very young, but Type 2 come on later in life, usually around your 40s but it can be before then.
On a daily basis, diabetes doesn't really affect me too much. I am on two sorts of injections: one is called exenatide and then I am on insulin as well. The exenatide I have to take in the mornings when I get up, it is a measured dose, and then I don't take anything else until the evening when I have another dose of exenatide with my evening meal. I have to also take a number of tablets at that time as well, and then before I go to bed, I have to have a shot of insulin.
To be honest, I am not as good at controlling my diet as I should be. My head knows what I should do, but my heart, when I see something I shouldn't have, sometimes you know, you go for it. If it was every day, it would have a big effect on me but just on a one off basis, it doesn't really affect anything too much. Maybe just a click or two extra of that insulin before I go to bed at night, so that over the night, my bloods do even out. On a daily basis if I was going out somewhere special like for a day trip or out with my family, I would have to think a bit about what I have to take with me. My first injection I would do before I went out in the morning. I would then take my tablets with me and my second injection of the exenatide because I have to have that at a meal time in the evening. So it is just a case of popping to the loo and doing an injection. So it doesn't really affect things to a great extent, but because I manage to keep my bloods fairly even, I find that I don't have to go prepared with too much other stuff like glucose tablets because there is always a chocolate bar available if you need something - if the bloods went down. If the bloods go up a bit, I would have to do the exenatide a bit earlier probably. If I am going away for a couple of days, I take extra with me. I could do the insulin a bit earlier if I needed to if things got very high, but normally I can feel the onset of it so it is not a real problem. When my bloods are going low I get the shakes, my hands shake, and you sort of shake on the inside. It is very hard to describe. And if they are going up a little bit high, you get a very, very dry mouth, so as long as you act on those two things immediately, then it's not really a problem.
If I am looking at my daily intake of food, I would try and have something in the morning like a cereal, porridge is great because it is a slow release sugar so it stays with you. I would possibly have a banana mid-morning or something like that if I felt like I needed it. It is not a great issue - I am very fortunate that my diabetes isn't overly bad. I know some people have to be really strict with themselves but with myself and I am looking at a menu or something; it is basically have what you want within reason and face the consequences afterwards.
When it is going high, I get a very, very dry mouth and that is really the only sign that I am aware of and I would then sit down and see what happens. If it kept going up and up and up, then obviously you would have to call the Emergency Services because there is not really too much you can do about it when it goes too high, but it is always best to have your insulin with you.
When I am at work, I keep my insulin in my lunchbox so that if thinks do start to get a little bit high, I can have a few clicks of insulin just to bring it down. To help manage my diabetes I have to go for a review. It used to have to be every 3 months, then it got to 6 months but now I am on a year. You do a full blood test. Then you have to have your feet looked at to check that you are not getting any numbness or anything in your feet. They check your weight and your blood pressure, and just generally have a chat to see how things go. If the results aren't as they wanted, they try to talk you into going onto a course which I haven't done as of yet, but it could be something that in the future I would think of if I really needed to. They just keep a close eye on you and if there is any time you have got any problems, then you can ring the doctor and if you say you are diabetic then you do get attention fairly quickly.
Other people when they find out I am diabetic: "Oh you can't have that you can't have that..." I know what I can have and what I can't have. "You can't have that glass of wine. You can't have that..." And I don't think anyone really understands what it is like living with diabetes. As I said before, I am very lucky in that I haven't got it to an extreme amount. Some people, it just takes over their lives. But fortunately in the 30 odd years that I have had it, I have always been able to control it and keep it so that it doesn't affect my lifestyle to a great degree.