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"When doctors said my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic"

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I was 59 when I was told I had Type 2 diabetes. It came at a difficult time – just months after I’d had a heart attack in 2011.

For the next three years, I was on ever-increasing medication for my diabetes, so when my GP mentioned the DiRECT trial, I jumped at the chance. At 95kg (15 stone) and feeling more ill every day, I was desperate to improve my health and my lifestyle.

Low-calorie liquid diet

The diet was very difficult – I can’t say otherwise. Having just liquid rather than actual food for such a long time (17 weeks in total) is odd. And as part of the trial I had to come off all my medication, which was initially a little daunting. But I was absolutely determined. 

I made a lot of sacrifices. My husband did all the cooking and food shopping. My husband and any guests would eat in the dining area and I ate separately in the living room. It was also around the time my first grandchild was born, but I still stuck to it. 

Having a liquid diet made it easier in some ways, as I didn’t have to think about food. I also had great support from all my family and friends.

After four months on the liquid diet, I was able to gradually introduce food into my diet with the help of my GP and diabetes nurse. I was regularly weighed and my blood glucose levels (HbA1c) were checked. I also started keeping a food diary, and kept active by going to the gym and walking 10,000 steps a day.

One of the lucky ones in remission

Around the time I started re-introducing food into my diet, I was told that my Type 2 diabetes had gone into remission. I’d lost 16kg (2.6 stone) and was now down to 79kg (12.4 stone). When doctors told me that my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic, absolutely amazing! I don’t think of myself as a diabetic anymore. I get all my diabetes checks done, but I don’t feel like a diabetic. I am one of the lucky ones to have gone into remission.

By the end of the first year, I was down to 71kg (11.3 stone) and at the end of the two-year trial, I weighed 72.5kg (11.4 stone). 

I’ve been eating normally now for a year since the trial finished and my Type 2 diabetes is still in remission. My weight has now stabilised – and I’m wearing size 10/12 clothes. 

I’ve not taken any medication for diabetes in three years, I can’t believe I am back to normal weight, exercising every day and feeling great!


Isobel Murray, 65, from Largs in North Ayreshire was the first person in Scotland to go on the trial. People are taking part in DiRECT for two years, but everyone was recruited at different times. This means some people are still on the trial, and some have finished. Everyone has completed one year, which is why the researchers can announce those results. Isobel has now finished the trial and can share her story.

Find out more about our DiRECT research into a low-calorie diet and remission.

 

Research like this is helping us create a world where diabetes can do no harm.

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