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Maureen's story: gaining the confidence to get moving

A picture of Maureen smiling into the camera


Diagnosed in 2020

If it wasn’t for the helpline, I don’t think I would have had the belief in myself to get to the point I’m at today. It’s completely changed my lifestyle.

For months after her diagnosis, Maureen struggled to find a way to manage her diabetes. In her story, she shares how picking up the phone and speaking to our trained advisors helped her kickstart a new journey towards a more active lifestyle. 


Struggling to find the right treatment

My symptoms started around October 2019, just after I’d been diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). They gave me steroids to try to treat my condition, but then I started to feel really unwell. I felt dizzy, my vision was blurry and I was constantly thirsty. At one of my appointments, the doctor suggested checking my blood glucose (sugar) levels. It turned out that taking the steroids had pushed my levels up, and that’s when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

After meeting my diabetes nurse and chatting through my treatment options, I decided to try a low dose of medication to begin with. I was also told about other things to monitor, such as my diet and lifestyle, but I wasn’t given a huge amount of detail or support.

My appointment with my dietitian was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the medication I was taking didn’t end up agreeing with me at all. It left me with an upset stomach and caused fluctuations in my weight where I’d lose a bit and then put more back on.

When I first called the helpline, I was absolutely exhausted and felt so helpless. I’d come off my medication as it wasn’t working for me, but my weight continued to creep up and up. The doctors suggested I try a new treatment, but I was the heaviest I had ever been and I knew something needed to change.


Reaching out for help

Initially, I had reached out to the helpline to get advice about my diet and what to eat. After listening to what I had to say, they called me back and referred me to the Physical Activity service they were running. 

I would say I was quite active in the past, but I had a lot of surgery at the beginning of 2019 and that impacted what I could do. I spent a lot of time not moving around very much at all.

I used to love being outdoors, walking or exercising, so I wanted to get back to that place. But being so overweight and so fatigued all the time, I just didn’t know how... Even a quick trip to Tesco, getting some shopping and carrying it back to the car, would wipe me out for days afterwards.

I’ve found the sessions really good, and it’s so nice to have somebody who not only has the time to listen to you - but wants to. When you go to the doctors or ask to see your diabetes nurse or dietitian, there’s often a long, long wait before you get an answer to your questions. That’s what’s so different with the helpline - advice and support is almost instantaneous. 

I spoke through all my goals and what I wanted to achieve, and received that one-to-one support I had been desperate for. Having someone so invested in you, and knowing that they care for you, makes you really want to stay accountable and push on with what you’re doing. For me, calling the helpline was really a kickstart to transforming my life.


Making lasting changes

I’m definitely more active now, and I’ve managed to lose 75 pounds which I’m really pleased about. The sessions helped me on a journey to believe that I could overcome the fatigue.

With Francesca’s advice and support, I gained the confidence to start making small changes every single day, keeping consistent with it. I stopped having those wild swings where I was walking one day and then doing nothing for the next three or four days. 

I caught the bug of being outside and being a bit more active, and it became something I wanted to do rather than a chore. Moving more is a part of my life now. It’s also helped with my fatigue, as that’s gone now, and I don’t suffer from the same aches and pains in my joints either. Physically I feel better, and mentally I do too. It’s been great for me and I’m really glad I discovered the service. 

After I finished my sessions, I knew I wanted to get onto a programme and keep my activity levels up so I joined a women’s optimal health programme. It’s really helped me on my journey to lose weight and stay active, but it’s also led to my HbA1c levels going down and my diabetes going into remission.

If it wasn’t for the helpline, I don’t think I would have had the belief in myself to get to the point I’m at today. It’s completely changed my lifestyle. 

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