Knowing where to start with your diagnosis of diabetes can be a challenge. But it’s not a challenge you have to face alone. Here we share stories from people who recall how they came to terms with their diagnosis and adjusted to life with diabetes.



"It never crossed my mind I had diabetes"

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago at the age of 42. I was admitted to hospital with an infection in my knee. They did a blood test and said: ‘you’re diabetic’. It was quite a shock. There were signs, looking back, I was drinking a lot of water and was tired a lot. I just didn’t join the dots. It never crossed my mind. 

As my dad has type 1 diabetes I knew quite a lot about diabetes. I also knew how insulin works in the body and also some of the difficulties of living with the condition. (I’ve got A levels in Chemistry and Biology and a Chemistry degree). 

Initially I didn’t get much healthcare support. They said they’d make an appointment with a dietitian and that never happened. They did offer a three-month gym membership but that’s not my thing so I turned it down. I get my annual checks with the GP and three monthly HbA1c checks.

When I was diagnosed, I became a member of Diabetes UK. The magazine (Balance) is good and I like the stories and the recipes. I also went online and a did a ridiculous amount of research about the condition. 

After I’ve done the Liverpool Wellness walk, I’m going to try and find a local half marathon to walk.  

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Tim Hill

A type 2 diagnosis

My diagnosis essentially came about by luck. My doctor had told me I had high blood pressure, but it wasn’t until I took a trip to the opticians and they picked up a spot in my eye, that I got tested for the condition. I told my boss about the spot in my eye, and it was him who encouraged me to get tested – he lives with the condition so knows only too well how serious it is.  

I was then very quickly given a type 2 diabetes diagnosis by my doctor. It was such a wake-up call.  

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Freya HaydonDiagnosed 2014


Freya, 19, lives in Dover, Kent, with her parents and a younger brother and is coming up to the 10th anniversary of her diagnosis. She is currently on a gap year and considering a career in the legal profession. As well as working, she has also trained to become a Young Leader for the Together Type 1 project at Diabetes UK.

Freya says:

“Both my parents are nurses so when I began showing some of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes it didn't take them long to decide that they should take me to hospital for a check-up. When I look back, I was just surprised to be called out of my primary school classroom as I didn’t feel ill.”

“A fingerprick test at the hospital came back at 21 which is very high. I stayed in hospital for a few days and, once back home, started to learn how to self-manage although with a lot of help from my mum in the early years.”

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Snita Sharma



I had gestational diabetes with my eldest son. Afterwards, I was told I could develop type 2 diabetes later in life, but at the time I wasn’t made to feel that it was really important. 
Then when I was 40, I visited a relative who had type 2 diabetes and told her that I was feeling unwell and tired all the time. She urged me to go to the doctor, and a test at my GP confirmed that I had developed type 2 diabetes. 
I asked my doctor if I could try to manage it with my diet, but she said my blood glucose levels were too high and that I needed to bring this down with medication. After I was diagnosed, I was in shock and almost afraid to eat anything. But I started taking the medication and eventually I thought, “well that’s taking care of everything.” 
After the initial shock, I didn’t think too much about my diagnosis. I took my medication and would eat what I wanted. Within five years, I was taking the maximum dose of metformin and was advised by my doctor that I needed to start taking more medication. I begged for some more time and went home to talk to my family. My husband suggested I join a running club. I hadn’t done any exercise since school, but I had nothing to lose, so I joined a beginners’ running club, which I came to really enjoy. I even learnt to ride a bike and swim, and started doing triathlons. But my diet still wasn’t what it needed to be.  
As I approached my 50th birthday, I sat down with my sons to make a list of things I wanted to do before entering a new decade. One of the things they suggested was putting my diabetes in remission.  

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I have a family history of diabetes. My grandmother was a nurse and lived with type 2, however I was still caught off-guard by my diagnosis. At 6ft 2in and with a naturally broad frame, I didn’t notice myself gaining weight. I was always wearing baggy clothing and it’s only now when I look back at photos, I can see it.  
The passing of my grandfather had a great impact on me, as he was undiagnosed for many years with type 2 diabetes. Then in 2012 I received my own type 2 diagnosis, which felt really significant. After struggling to manage my condition for five years, I was in a bad place. I didn’t want to be prescribed so much medication and I just didn’t know how to deal with diabetes. I had a lot of misconceptions about the condition, and it felt like I was stumbling about in the dark.

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