'Turning my life around'
For Jason McEwen, 33, a management consultant from Cheadle, research and development through technology has made all the difference to his life following his diagnosis with diabetes: screening and blood checks have enabled him to keep in control and stay as healthy as possible.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in June 2011 after my employer sent me for an annual health check and the results came back saying my blood sugar was high for a fasting result. I didn’t do anything for a couple of months, and then, in June, I went to the GP for a test and got confirmation that I had Type 2 diabetes.
Up to that point, I had absolutely no idea that I had diabetes: I was having a bit of trouble with vertigo and my eyesight sometimes went a bit blurry, but I didn’t connect this at all with diabetes. So, when I was diagnosed, it was a massive shock to me and my family; I thought this was something that just happened to people in their 40s or 50s.
I went through so many emotions – anger, depression. I couldn’t understand why me and what I had done to deserve this. Eventually with support from my family, and Zoe, my wife (pictured right, with Jason), I was able pick myself up, dust myself down and move forward.
I decided that I had to completely change my lifestyle for the better. At diagnosis I had a BMI of 34 and was obese, but since then I have lost two and a half stone. I have removed all high fat and high sugar from my diet. I still spoil myself now and again, but it isn’t half as frequently. I have got myself a personal trainer and go to the gym 3 or 4 times the week – I used training for the BUPA 10k Manchester run for Diabetes UK to focus my training schedule and I have changed my working lifestyle to give more of a work/life balance.
The importance of diagnosis
Now I have to take tablets everyday and check my blood, but I do feel a lot better, a lot healthier and I’ve got more energy. If work hadn’t provided me with a private medical screening, my diabetes probably wouldn’t have been picked up — it could have gone much further down the line as I got older, by which time there could have been much more damage done and that is frightening. If anybody thinks that they might be at risk of diabetes, they should just get a test. It only takes a second and it is too important to ignore. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it’s not the end of the world and there are ways of managing it. For me, managing my diabetes has actually turned a lot of things in my life around for me – for the better.
This article was first featured in the June 2012 edition of Diabetes, which was published by Mediaplanet, and appeared in the 12 June issue of the Guardian newspaper.