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.
I ate all the time, I’d cook a healthy meal for the family, but then I’d tell my husband I wanted to go out for pizza or fried chicken. I think a lot of the time I ate because I was bored.
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 it down with medication. After I was diagnosed, I was in shock. I was almost afraid to eat anything. Everything seemed to have sugar in it. But I started taking the medication and eventually I thought, ‘well that’s taking care of everything’.
So, after a while, I pretty much went back to the way I was eating before. I still ate loads of unhealthy foods.
After my initial shock, I didn’t think too much about my diagnosis. I took my medication and would eat what I wanted. This would often consist of high in fat Indian foods, takeaways and unhealthy snacks such as crisps and fizzy drinks.
Within five years, I was taking the maximum dosage 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 was still really bad.
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 but I said it couldn’t be done!