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“I’ve had my check up since I started doing the challenge and my HbA1c has been the best it’s been for six years.”

Lynn

After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2001, Lynn was shocked. She didn’t associate herself with having diabetes. But earlier this year Lynn decided to challenge herself and take part in the One Million Step Challenge by using her favourite hobby - line dancing. 

Lynn Matthews
Aged 70
Living with Type 2 diabetes since 2001 

Lynn’s journey with diabetes:

  • Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2001 following a routine check at the doctors
  • Decided to sign up to the One Million Step Challenge and line dance her way to one million 
  • Since the challenge, her HbA1C has been the best it’s ever been
  • She now wants to encourage more people to sign up to a challenge 

Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2001 when I had to go for a routine check at the doctors and gave my blood sample. The nurse asked how long I had been diabetic and I said ‘I don’t have diabetes’ so then I went for a glucose test. When the results came back they said I definitely had Type 2 diabetes and going by results I’d had diabetes for a long time – possibly as many as 15 years.

I was quite shocked at the time but looking back, once I knew the symptoms of diabetes, I had been very tired. I had three children and one of my sons is severely disabled and my daughter had a rare metabolic condition, so I put my fatigue down to looking after them and everyday life. 

Friends and family

When I was growing up, my grandfather’s brother had Type 2 diabetes and had complications from it - he was blind. My auntie, Florence, had Type 2 diabetes too. I had quite a lot of contact with it growing up so I knew what it was. 

My cousin Shelia has Type 2 diabetes like me and she is on insulin as well. She is one of seven children and out of the five girls, four of them have Type 2 diabetes. We see each other often to talk about diet and exercise, our levels and managing our diabetes. It’s good to talk with someone about it. I was diagnosed with diabetes first but she was border line diabetic for a while before she was diagnosed. 

Diet and exercise

I’ve always done some sort of exercise, I line dance three times a week and also do aqua aerobics. I can reach as many as 6,000 steps in one evening when I line dance, but I have always struggled to lose weight, no matter how much exercise I do. 

I do try and eat healthy foods but I get times when I rebel a little bit. Generally, I’m pretty good with my food but if I’m going away for the weekend I will have a little drink or treat myself. 

One Million Steps

When I first read about the One Million Step Challenge, I considered it for a moment, then I told myself there was no way I’d be able to do that many steps. But when I read that you could do it any way you wanted, I realised that as long as my line dancing steps counted towards my total, then I could do it no problem. 

I surprised myself with how many I ended up doing - 1.5 million steps. After I reached one million in August, I decided to carry on. In the final fortnight of the challenge, I really pulled out the stops to get the last half a million. I raised £1,249 which I never dreamed I’d be able to do. I’d set my original target as £150 but the more steps I did, the more people supported me. I line danced with my friends, but I did most of the challenge on my own.

I’d love for the money I’ve raised to go towards research into medication. Things have come such a long way for people living with diabetes and it would be great if they could continue getting better.

I’ve had my check up since I started doing the challenge and my HbA1c has been the best it’s been for six years. I’d like to put my diabetes into remission if that’s possible. 

Diabetes UK and me

I use the Diabetes UK Support Forum and the website to learn more about diabetes. I am interested in looking into diabetes and mainly use the forum to look at diet and the main emphasis seems to be on carbs. I think people eat fewer carbs than they did before. I also like to keep up with medication and what other people take to manage their diabetes. 

Lynn’s perspective

“If someone has just been diagnosed with diabetes, I’d say it’s so important to find someone to talk to about it. It’s much easier to talk about something when someone else has it because they have more insight into what you’re going through.”

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