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Chrissie's story: looking forwards to a healthier future

Chrissie

Diagnosed with type 1 in 1967

I’ve realised how moving more can help you feel more awake and alive, and I’ve just felt so much better about myself as a result.

Hear from Chrissie as she shares her diagnosis story; remembering how diabetes care has changed over the years. Plus, she talks about her experience of joining our 10-week Get Moving course and how it has helped her on her journey to move more. 

Diagnosis

Coming to terms with my type 1 diagnosis

I was about 12 years old when I was diagnosed, it was around 1967 I think. I had all the usual symptoms and was quite ill for a long time, but no-one recognised that I had diabetes... it wasn’t that well known.

I only ended up going to the doctor’s to ask about diabetes because of one of my mum’s friends. She knew of someone else who had been diagnosed with the condition, and suggested my mum take me to the doctors with a urine sample and ask for me to be tested for it. 

Four days later my results came through. I was diagnosed with type 1 and I was sent to the hospital for almost three weeks.

The worst thing for me was definitely the injections; I remember the nurse coming to me and saying I had to do them myself but I was only 12 - I didn’t have a clue what to do. I wasn’t given anything to practice on, like an orange or something similar that others seem to have been given, and I was really scared, especially when I was told I was going to have to carry on injecting myself for the rest of my life.

The hospital was supportive and I had a really nice consultant, but the problem was the lack of knowledge around diabetes. I wasn’t told about adjusting my insulin, I had to wait to go in to get a blood test and then wait some more for my results… it was really hard to manage my condition and get to a stable, steady point. 

On top of that, I was bullied at school because the other kids didn’t really understand what diabetes was. You can’t blame them really, because no-one did at that time, but it made for a pretty miserable time. And then when I got into my late teens I obviously wanted to do what everyone else was doing at that time, but I couldn’t. 

Improving care

I changed hospitals twice in the 70s after I got married and moved to Leeds and then Harrogate. They reviewed how much insulin I was taking, taught me about carb-counting, and things started to slowly improve - both in terms of the care I was receiving and the understanding of the condition. 

We moved from glass to disposable syringes, insulin pens came about and the glucometer was invented around then too. It looked like a brick and was just as heavy as one, but it was life-changing! It does always feel as if there’s something new to get used to… you never stop learning when you have diabetes. But I’m thankful for the changes and how they’re helping me to live a better life.

I joined Diabetes UK when it was the British Diabetic Association back in 1970 I think, so I’ve been a member for a long while. The support I’ve received has been great, and I enjoy getting my Balance magazine through every quarter and hearing from other people with the condition - it makes you feel less alone. 

Activity

Starting my journey to move more

I first saw the Get Moving courses advertised in one of the Diabetes UK e-newsletters. I used to go to an exercise class every Monday, but they were stopped because of the pandemic and I was looking for something to replace that. I had tried a little of Joe Wicks and chair-based yoga on the NHS website, but I missed that feeling of getting active with other people. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed learning new movements during the 10 weeks and I loved the little chats we had at the end of each class. The boxercise class was probably my favourite, but I had a great time trying something new each week - it helped to keep things interesting.

Interested in signing up to future Get Moving courses? Email helpline@diabetes.org.uk or call 0345 123 2399 to find out more. 

I’ve realised how important it is to keep moving, and how easy it can be to introduce more movement into your life. I’ve been setting myself an hour each day, from 3pm to 4pm, where I do half an hour of physical activity and half an hour of relaxation - I find that if you set aside the time and plan it into your day, it helps you to stay on track and get it done.

I made notes throughout the course of the movements and activities we were doing, so I’ve got them to look back on alongside all the little tips and tricks we learnt to keep myself motivated. And I don’t do the same thing every day, I keep it varied - some days I’m gardening and other days I’m stretching. But it all counts and gets me moving.

I think I’ve realised how moving more can help you feel more awake and alive, and I’ve just felt so much better about myself as a result. Every week of the course was so positive and motivating, and that’s helped me to keep going and continue to feel that way!

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