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After 63 years of living with diabetes, I enjoy life to the full

Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1950, Margaret talks about changing treatment, volunteering for research and her pride in receiving a gold medal.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes in 1950, I was 14 years of age and from a little chubby girl had turned into a four-and-a-half stone teenager, which I was nick named Starving Europe. Always drinking anything, and urinating every hour. At school I was given the left over milk to drink as I was thought to need it to build be up! Little was known of diabetes then and little did they know that they were doing me more harm than good.

I was thought to have scarlet fever, when my mother sent for the doctor. He entered the room and smelling the strong smell of ketone poisoning, he turned round and immediately used our telephone to phone an ambulance. I was fed bi-carbonate of soda mixed to a paste to kill the ketone poisoning, and was injected with insulin every hour to bring my sugar level down. I still went into a coma, but awoke to tubes all over me.

I am able to enjoy life to the full. 


Diabetes was very different then, testing your urine by boiling it in a test tube over a bunsen burner at least four times a day. Taking the same amount of insulin half an hour before a meal.Life is so much easier now, going out for meals with friends and having my insulin two hours later, after testing my blood sugar level with my Optium Exceed, which again has improved over the years.

After treatment in many different hospitals and consultants , I agreed to take part in research. I took part in researching many treatments including the now popular Novopen, and the most impressive one to me was taking part in Specialist knowledge About Carbohydrate Counting for Self Management, (SNACCS), which changed my life.

My worst moment was when I had a hypo through the night, and broke my shoulder with the muscles contracting. After three years I still can't raise my arm above my waist without pain.

I have been a member of the Diabetic Association for many years and was sent a gold medal on my 50th aniversary of diabetes, 13 years ago.

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