I wish I'd been given more information when I was first diagnosed, as opposed to being told you have diabetes and someone will see you in six months’ time.
So in addition to running the Newport support group, I'm currently volunteering with the health board and the expert coordinator for structured diabetes education. The aim is to get more bums on seats at the courses, so I rings patients and ask if they want to do these courses, explain what's involved and that I've done it myself and can vouch for how good they are. As a result, they seem to be getting more uptake. I think that a lot of people don’t realise there is structured education out there so working on the promotion of these courses is essential.
I'm also on the reference panel for the Diabetes Research Unit at Swansea University and reviewed new Pocket Medic videos before they were made public. They show sensible ways to shop and what to look for on food labels. When I was diagnosed, what I was going to feed my family was a real panic. I think these videos should be compulsory viewing for everyone at their diagnosis appointment.
When I was first diagnosed, I was in a bit of a rut and felt really sorry for myself because I was unwell. But I now feel that my diagnosis has given me a purpose – to spread my knowledge and raise awareness with as many people as I can.