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Life with diabetes

Living with diabetes can be difficult, but you shouldn’t need to put your life on hold. Here are stories from people who have learnt to adjust to life with the condition.

Karen smiling

KarenDiagnosed with type 1 at four years old

Childhood with diabetes

When I was young, it was hard because I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t eat sweets or have sugary drinks. God bless my mum, she didn’t understand either. So, Mum never went out of her way to give me sugar-free drinks. She used to bake cakes and would never tell me I couldn’t have any. When my sugars went really high, the GP would just come out and give me a big dose of insulin.

Read Karen's complete story
Pauline smiling

Pauline McCullochDiagnosed with type 1 around her 40th birthday

Work and study

In 2018 I started a master’s degree in History of Science and Medicine that I did part time while working. I wrote my dissertation on diabetes in the post-insulin era, something I probably wouldn’t have considered doing had I not been diagnosed with the condition myself. I’ve been working as a fundraiser for Diabetes UK since 2014, and took over managing the membership team in 2018. I love my job, being able to raise funds for Diabetes UK gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Knowing that all of our dedicated supporters and members are helping us to achieve our mission and assisting with our vital research in to all types of diabetes, gives me hope for the future, for all of us out there living with this condition, that we may finally find a cure.

Read Pauline McCulloch's complete story

Jon PeachDiagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged five

Managing diabetes

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was five, so I’m well versed in managing my condition. I use the FreeStyle Libre, which is handy as my job as a PE teacher means my activity levels vary a lot, so my diabetes doesn’t always do what I’d expect. 

My levels are pretty spot on at the moment but that’s not to say they will be in a few days’ time. Since the lockdown I’ve been nowhere near as active. I would usually cycle to school each day, but I’m working from home at the moment and my usual 10-15k steps a day is closer to 3-4k around the house or in the garden. My wife is a nurse so is still going out to work. When she’s at home at the weekends and can watch the children, I’ll try and get out for a run or a cycle. I’m trying to get my little boy to ride without stabilisers so we can go out a bit further together. We’ve also been doing the Joe Wicks workouts, which are great. In fact, I’ve been telling my students to try them, as it’s important they keep fit and active during this time. 

Read Jon Peach's complete story
Diabetes UK

Francisco CasteloDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016

Life in lockdown

During my time at home I’ve been organising the house and doing the things we tend to say "I will do that later." So tidying cupboards, sorting papers, carrying out repairs and painting. It’s been great creating new spaces and energies around the house, and it’s certainly kept me busy.  

I think eating healthily and keeping active are really important. I bought a yoga mat and do 30 minutes of exercise every day. Music has also been a lifeline for me.  

I have stayed in touch with family and friends via social media and it's been great to do video calls with lots of friends all at the same time – most don't know each other. 
Then there’s the TV and social channels, which show people are doing extraordinary things, which helps give me that extra boost.  

Read Francisco Castelo's complete story
Diabetes UK

Francisco CasteloDiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016

Challenges of living with diabetes

Although I feel happy and healthy, there’s no doubting that living with type 2 diabetes is hard. I struggle with the restrictions on what I can eat and drink, especially if I go out to restaurants. Some social situations can also be awkward when I have to explain to people that I can’t eat certain things due to my diabetes.

However, having seen my grandmother die from the condition, I always knew how important it was to take my diagnosis seriously – and this meant making changes for the better. I think the problem with diabetes is that people don’t see the effects upfront. They think of it as a long-term problem, so ignore it in the short term. Changing my lifestyle and accessing my health checks has meant I have avoided any complications so far, and I hope my story can encourage other people to do the same.

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Read Francisco Castelo's complete story
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