Malcolm talks about how going on a course makes living with diabetes easier. He is supporting Taking Control, a Diabetes UK campaign aiming to make sure people have the skills and knowledge to manage their diabetes.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when I was 55. I went into a complete panic. I spent four years wandering around on my own.
No one mentioned a course to me until I heard about DESMOND at a Diabetes UK event. After that I chased after my doctor and got him to put me on it.
DESMOND helped me understand what diabetes is. The course explained what metformin and other medicines do and how they help. Once you begin to understand how your medicine affects your body it makes a tremendous difference to how you look after your illness. How your body works is explained and that gives you a better idea of why things happen, why you get tired.
Once you begin to understand your diabetes you can control it better.
In DESMOND there are other people in the room with the same problems. You think you're alone in your symptoms and how you are feeling but you are not. Talking together was really rewarding. You begin to feel less lonely, less isolated. Suddenly you know you're not alone, you have people to share this with.
It took the worry away
Going on the course made a big difference. It took the worry away. It reduced my HbA1c. It reduced my cholesterol. I lost three stone in weight. My blood pressure came down. I am still scuba diving at the age of 69. Now I understand the condition I don't worry. I can go away on holiday and know my diabetes is under control. It doesn't stop me doing anything I want to do.
I think going on a course is essential. You see your doctor once, twice maybe three times a year. But diabetes is a daily event. You're only going to be able to manage your condition once you understand your diabetes. And you need education to do that.
If you don't get offered a course by your doctor ask to go on one.