“I’m the first to admit I’m not the perfect example because I sometimes struggle with my sugar levels and I like to have a drink, but I think that helps others to open up."
Dave was 40 years old when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After feeling ill for several months with what he thought was ‘just a bug’, he finally went to see his doctor. In many ways the diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise to Dave.
“My dad was diagnosed when he was 50 and I knew that I was also at risk because I had put on quite a bit of weight over the years. I was over twenty-one stone when I was told I had diabetes. Ten years on I have lost about four stone through diet and exercise but I do still like an occasional drink.”
Dave was impressed with the support he had from his local doctor’s surgery and the information he was given. He was determined to help others who were in the same situation as him. When he heard that Diabetes UK was starting a new support group for people with Type 2, he volunteered to help set one up in his local area.
“I think the fact that we are in a group where everyone has the same condition really helps because we can share our experiences. Having diabetes can be traumatic and scary, especially when you are first diagnosed but we all understand that, and people feel able to ask questions that they might not ask their GP.”
The group meets once a month, and as well as talks by dieticians and other health professions, people get a chance to talk to others with the same condition. Dave says they get a real mixture of people, from those who’ve lived with diabetes a long time to those who are finding it hard to change their lifestyle.
“I’m the first to admit I’m not the perfect example because I sometimes struggle with my sugar levels and I like to have a drink, but I think that helps others to open up. One chap seemed quite fed up and mentioned he was finding it hard to eat healthily because he travels a lot with work. We all came up with some practical suggestions and he left the group that night feeling much more positive and saying he would give it a go.”
“It’s still early days but I hope that this groups grows so that we can reach more people with this sort of help. Not everyone wants to talk but just knowing that you can go somewhere to be with people, who understand what you are going through, and get practical advice and support is great and much needed.”