Joni is supporting Taking Control, our campaign to make sure everyone has the skills and confidence to live better with diabetes.
When I was diagnosed 20 years ago, diabetes courses were not available. I thought to go along and be with others who lived with the same condition was going to be very useful, I was excited.
There were about 14 people in our group. There was a chance to talk amongst ourselves, to be able to share our stories from when we first became diabetic, what we wanted out of the course, how we hoped it would be helpful. But it was very informal and that made it very relaxing.
It was interactive and drew people in. But if you didn’t feel like talking you didn’t have to.
We learned how Type 2 diabetes occurs, about the medicines, how they work and when best to take them. The course taught you helpful things like the managing and monitoring of your diabetes and the best time to test your bloods.
It put aside some misconceptions; for example, it’s not just about eating sweeties, because I wasn’t really a sweetie eater. It was more about looking about my diet and recognising there were things like potatoes and rice that would increase your blood sugar because of the way your body broke it down.
The other thing that it helped me to do was to realise that I am the main instrument here and what I do makes the difference between living well and not. But you also learn that doing one small thing, no matter how small you might think it is, it is big because you’re doing it. That was huge for me.
It’s helped my overall wellbeing. Before, there were times when I felt I wasn’t up to doing something as I was extra tired and I’d feel a bit low. I came to understand that it doesn’t just affect you physically – it can affect you emotionally.
It has given me more confidence; it has helped me lose quite a bit of weight, so my diabetes is very well under control and my drugs were reduced slightly. It’s been a godsend.