Diabetes Week 2022 is coming up from 13 to 19 June. It’s a chance to raise awareness of diabetes and highlight the support available to anyone living with the condition. If you would like to find out more about diabetes and the support available in Northumberland, come along to our free online event on Friday 10 June to hear from Colin Renshaw of Diabetes UK.
Colin will provide information about the different types of diabetes and how to manage and live well with the condition. We will also hear about national and local support available from Diabetes UK and there will be a chance to ask questions.
Here at Healthwatch Northumberland, two members of our volunteer team have experience of type 2 diabetes and have kindly shared their thoughts below.
Our volunteer James wrote a poem about his experience of type 2 diabetes:
From eating too many sweeties
Didn’t care what I ate
Always cleared my plate
What symptoms did I have?
Lots of trips to the lav
Drank like a fish
Even made a wish
Was first given tablets
But didn’t change my habits
Drinking too much coca colas
Along the way I am rotting my molars
Moved on to the hard stuff
Needle is in
Needle is out
Whoops am going to shout
Sugars is o so high
Sugars is o so low
How is going to go
Or maybe it’s going to snow
Have now changed my diet
I can’t really be quiet
How low can I go
Getting a healthier glow
Volunteer Colin answered some questions for us about his experience of type 2 diabetes and how this affects his daily life:
When were you first diagnosed with diabetes?
22 years ago.
What symptoms did you have?
I didn’t have any symptoms, it was picked up during a routine eye examination following sight loss (unrelated).
How did it affect your life?
The main thing is that I have to check my blood twice a day.
How have you managed the condition? What healthcare support did you get? Did you get help from any support organisations?
My diabetes was initially treated with Metformin tablets and I had an annual check with a diabetes nurse. After a period of time I needed insulin to manage my sugar levels and I attended a course on how to use insulin at Blyth Hospital. I continue to have yearly check-ups with a diabetes nurse – these were online during pandemic but are back to in person now.
What is the situation now – how is the condition and have you made any lifestyle changes to improve it?
I have to have meals at regular times and carry something with me to eat. If things get out of balance, I can have a ‘hypo’ (experience hypoglycaemia) but I’m good at spotting the signs.
Find out more about diabetes at the Diabetes UK website.
If you would like to tell us about your experience of diabetes services or ask a question about local services and support, please get in touch.