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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.

Diabetes UK

Francisco CasteloDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016

My diagnosis

In all honesty, it didn’t come as a total surprise to me when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Sadly, diabetes runs in my family – from my grandparents and parents to my siblings. So it’s fair to say I did know the risks, but I suppose it’s still one of those things where you don’t think it will happen to you.

I visited my GP after I began to experience symptoms such as going to the toilet more frequently and getting nerve pain in my hands and legs. The pain had even got to the point where I was having trouble sleeping at night. My whole body was aching and it felt like I had just done a tough session at the gym. The doctor confirmed I had Type 2 diabetes and my HbA1c levels were way up there – above 9mmol/l, which meant I needed to be put on Metformin.

Read Francisco Castelo's complete story

KhadijaDiagnosed with type 1 when she was a baby

Managing diabetes

I was born five weeks early, hence my name Khadija, which means early baby girl! My pancreas was overproducing insulin, which meant I was having a lot of hypos, and so the doctors made the decision to remove my pancreas when I was four months old.

I was monitored by a diabetes team and had to check my blood glucose levels daily, before starting on insulin injections when I was nine. I’ve found managing my diabetes challenging at times but in 2017 I went onto the Freestyle Libre (flash glucose monitor), which made a huge difference to my life. 

Read Khadija's complete story

Ivor HellerFound out he had a high risk of type 2 diabetes in October 2019

Feeling unwell

I had been feeling achy, tired, having night sweats, just generally feeling quite unwell in myself for quite some time. This in itself wasn’t a huge shock because I had been through a tough few months.  

A year previously I had major surgery to remove a tumour, and part of my lung. Following this we lost my mum very suddenly. She had been a carer to my father, so after this I started visiting him 4 or 5 times a week, combined with working full time. I was getting home late, not eating well or getting much sleep, and I was feeling terrible through these difficult circumstances.

I decided to go to the doctor to get checked out. The doctor ran some tests and told me I had a high blood sugar reading of 7.5 (mmols/l)  which put me in the high-risk range for type 2 diabetes. I googled lots of diets and advice but found it all confusing.

Read Ivor Heller's complete story

Lizzy CorsbyDiagnosed in 2008.

Lizzy's fast-acting mum recognised signs


I'm Lizzy Corsby, from a little town in Northern Ireland called Ballymena, famous as the hometown of Liam Neeson. I'm 32 years old, Mummy to Harrison, wife to Jamie and teacher to the most amazing young people.

In 2008, I had been feeling really unwell for only a few days with the classic signs - severe thirst, constantly running to the loo, sudden weight loss and the worst mood!

My mum who has type 2 diabetes spotted the signs and checked my blood glucose levels using her own metre. Remaining quietly calm, she and my Dad packed a bag for me and explained I needed to go to the hospital.

Mum explained upon arrival to A&E I was seen immediately. Within 15 minutes I had been given my first shot of insulin. When I finally came round, the first thing I remembered was the severe thirst and need for the toilet had gone! I'll never forget the staff in the hospital.

They were amazing when they explained, that I had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and it was for life. They patiently talked me through my new regime, and although I was relieved to understand why I'd felt so ill, I couldn't grasp the concept that this was for life.


Coming to terms

Move forward almost 10 years and I've perhaps grasped this concept, or at least most of the time. I have days, even weeks when it's such a struggle but I have an incredible family who support me.

Every day I'm grateful for the fast actions of my Mum. The hospital staff told my parents that if they hadn't acted so quickly I wouldn't have survived the night.

Read Lizzy Corsby's complete story

Lynsey ChoulesDiagnosed in early teens in 1999.


I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 6. I remember being crazy thirsty all the time. It was my little brother’s birthday and I was filling up two-litre bottles and drinking them. That was the final straw for my mum. She’s a podiatrist and had always worked in diabetes clinics, so she knew I needed to see someone. 

Because my dad’s in the Navy, my parents moved every two years. So, at 11, I went to boarding school in Suffolk. The first two years were okay, but by the time I was 13, I started to pretend my diabetes wasn’t there. 

My HbA1c was constantly high, but I hid it from everyone around me – even my mum who called me a couple of times a week and would always ask how my bloods were. I’d lie and say everything was fine and then change the subject. 

Read Lynsey Choules's complete story
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