Sky News reporter Stephen Dixon, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 17, has written in the Daily Express about how he has lived with the condition for 20 years.
Although Stephen has had his ups and downs over the years, he has mostly enjoyed good health and good diabetes control. He puts this down to "getting to grips with the condition, embracing it and trying to enjoy being diabetic".
"DSNs can be superb"
Stephen has recently switched to using an insulin pump, which he feels makes it easier for him to achieve good control. Although he acknowledges that such technological advances can make a big difference to the lives of people with diabetes, Stephen thinks that it is important to recognise the crucial role played by healthcare professionals – and the responsibilities of people living with the condition:
"We always have to remember the care given by diabetes specialist nurses up and down the country, which can be superb. Not everyone is as lucky as I am but there’s an easy way to tell if you’re getting the care you deserve. Your nurse should listen to you as much as advise you, as every patient is different. Of course they can’t do either if you don’t turn up for your annual or biannual checks so you’ve no one else to blame if you can’t be bothered to attend.
"I’ve learnt from my mistakes and gone from being someone who had good control to someone who has excellent control. That’s not me being smug, it’s something which every diabetic can and should do."
"I am proud of being a diabetic"
Stephen dislikes it when people think of themselves as ‘victims’ of diabetes:
"I am proud of being a diabetic and that is one of the reasons why I’m an ambassador for Diabetes UK. It is a key part of my life and my identity and it is something I embrace and own. It has given me focus, responsibility and incredible access to healthcare professionals.
"We need to take responsibility for our own health and take guidance and help when we really need it.
"Let those dedicated hospital staff deal with people who need urgent help and we can manage ourselves on a day-to-day basis leading healthier, happier and longer lives."