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"I love that exercise is my new favourite thing to do"

Andrea, 50, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 18 years ago, aged 32. Two years ago she decided she wanted to lose weight, got into running for the first time in her life, and is now taking on the Bath Half marathon with Diabetes UK.

 

"I actually said "I can't run" but then thought well, why not? And it went from there!"

Andrea's diabetes journey

  • Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 18 years, aged 32
  • Moved on to insulin medication 12 years ago
  • Decided to take more control of her diabetes 2 years ago
  • Running the Bath Half Marathon in 2018

Diagnosis

I didn’t feel ill when I was diagnosed but I was constantly thirsty and could never seem to quench my thirst.  My mum, who was familiar with diabetes suggested that my thirst was a symptom of diabetes and encouraged me to get it checked out. I remember leaving the doctor's feeling quite upset. I couldn’t understand why I had Type 2 diabetes and really thought that I could no longer lead a ‘normal’ life.

Changing medication

In 2005 I moved house and had to register with a new Doctor who could not understand why I was taking so many tablets to control my diabetes. When I told him about the side effects they were having on me (feeling bloated and sick) he immediately suggested that I would be much better off going on to insulin. I've always hated injections ever since childhood and the thought of injecting myself frightened the life out of me. I actually put it off for about 7/8 months, however, when I did first inject in 2006, I was amazed how easy and painless it was.

As soon as I started on insulin I immediately felt so much better. I certainly would encourage anyone in this situation to just go with it if it's been suggested.

Setbacks

One big upset in my life however was 12 to 18 months, after going on insulin, I had 2 miscarriages. I cannot say for sure that this was down to my diabetes but I feel it may well have been - I was also in my late thirties at the time. The outcome of this was that my ex-partner could not cope with not having a child and moved on to another relationship.  I have had to live with knowing that I will never have a child.

"It’s always hard work packing to go away and remembering to take all the medication you need"

I guess that how my life has evolved means that I have no ties and I love nothing more than travelling. I often travel alone but love going to different places and meeting new people.  I do sometimes struggle to control my blood sugar levels particularly when I'm away. But, although I do get occasional hypos, as well as hypers, I do fortunately recognise hypo symptoms and have never needed anyone to assist me with a hypo. Although it’s always hard work packing to go away and remembering to take all the medication you need.

Getting active

I have never been massively overweight but up to 2 years ago I guess I would describe myself as being on the ‘tubby’ side.  I joined slimming world and lost about 1 1/2 stone.  It wasn't always easy to lose the weight as when I first started losing the weight I started to get a lot of hypos and then was having to eat more to stop them and the weight loss was somewhat affected.

I started running just after I started losing weight but it actually happened purely by accident as one day I was about to do my fitness DVD but my DVD player decided to pack up.  I was raring to do some exercise but didn't know what to do until it was suggested to me to go for a run!  I actually said "I can't run" but then thought well, why not? And it went from there!  A did a few solo runs probably only a couple of miles at a time and did a mix of running and walking.  A friend of mine suggested I joined a group of ladies who were doing couch to 5k and I found very quickly I was with the runners as opposed to the walkers and was doing 5k.

Registering for the Bath Half

As I got more into the running I was regularly running 5k and then, in about September 2017, some friends at the gym I attend said they were thinking of doing the Bath Half and invited me to join them.  I decided why not!  I am now running 3 times a week, do exercise or gig rowing three times a week and have one rest day.

"Despite how diabetes has had adverse effects on my life in the past I don't let it get me down"

I generally feel pretty well and never seem to lack in energy to do all of these things that I want to do.  Despite how diabetes has had adverse effects on my life in the past I don't let it get me down and I love that exercise is my new favourite thing to do. It's just a shame sometimes that there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm now really excited and looking forward to the Bath Half.

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