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Celebrating 50 years of living with diabetes

Lois talks of her pride at receiving the Alan Nabarro medal to celebrate 50 years of living with Type 1 diabetes.


When my son was born 45 years ago we always watched the children's programmes in the afternoon. Sometimes before his programme started there was a yoga programme which I tried and enjoyed. So I therefore joined classes to learn and practice.

Unfortunately some three years ago I accidentally slipped down the stairs at home and broke my left knee.

The doctor in the fracture outpatients department at Queens said he could not understand why somebody of my age would wish to be able to run again let alone do a full lotus!

I have always been extremely lucky that my doctors have always listened to any worries I had concerning my health. My GP told me he only worried about my health if I was worried, so I was shocked when my fears were dismissed at the fracture clinic when I requested removal of the plaster cast from around my heel which would result in a blister that could not be cleaned or treated under the cast. This being caused by the plaster constantly rubbing away at the heel when I walked.

Fifty years ago in The London Hospital I was taught to be extremely careful of my feet, if I wanted to keep them! So, on my next appointment at Outpatients I again tried speaking to the doctor who dismissed my fears of possible complications with my foot.

Before going home I returned to the Plaster Room and spoke to one of the technicians who removed both the outer cast and the slab put on in the A&E Dept. Together they weighed a ton. It was a huge relief when removed and replaced by a much lighter caste leaving my foot completely free and making walking a lot easier, not to mention safer.

During the 1980s at The Royal London Hospital it seemed many diabetics were requiring dialysis. So my husband and I started saving for a dialysis machine. When I visited my consultant I told him we were saving to help with the cost of possible dialysis. He said that as I had had diabetes (at that time) for 20 years and had always had good to excellent control, he could not see the need for a dialysis machine ever arising.

He suggested we spend our savings on a good holiday so we went to India and have not stopped visiting the world since. We visited Vietnam and Cambodia in February 2012. I love parasailing and scuba diving but the energy involved convincing people I am fully aware of my condition and my ability to safely partake can be very frustrating.

I have been retired from my full-time job now for five years, but when I went back to meet my old friends and colleagues I proudly showed them the pictures my husband had prepared showing my medal. I am happy that people with diabetes can now choose to do anything their heart desires.

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