Mark Butterfield's story
Mark, pictured recently, has lost five stone, and made many new friends as a Diabetes UK volunteer
In 2015, I was told I had type 2 diabetes. This was bad news but even worse for me because I suffer from needle phobia.
I didn’t know much about diabetes or the different types, except that it meant having injections every day. I immediately imagined a life of having to give myself injections which was terrifying.
My doctor saw my fright and on finding out the reason, reassured me that my type 2 diabetes could be treated by making changes to lifestyle and taking tablets. I felt immensely relieved.
Prior to 2015 I did not take care of my health. I weighed 21 stone and had difficulty in moving around. I drank heavily, up to nine pints of beer a day, and knew little about eating healthily. I knew that this lifestyle had contributed to the type 2 diabetes and was determined to take myself in hand.
My doctor gave me metformin. These tablets were to help manage blood glucose and could help me lose weight. I also stopped drinking. I loved chocolate and used to eat a full packet in one go. I gave that up too and I began to eat more healthily.
Shortly after deciding to take better care of myself, I came across a leaflet from theBristol Diabetes Support Network and noticed that meetings of one group were held close to my home at Knowle West Health Park. Although nervous, I took the plunge and went to my first meeting. People were very friendly and it was good to see many people living successfully with diabetes so I began to attend regularly. The topic at one of my early meetings was exercise and I was given a leaflet about a walking group based at the Health Park. I joined the group.
It was hard work but I was determined and a year later I had lost five stone in weight and was able to walk longer distances. I was due to see my doctor on 1 August 2016 for a follow-up appointment - a memorable date in my life because the news she gave me was absolutely amazing. My blood glucose was back in range and I could come off the tablets. My diabetes was in remission!
Two years later, in 2017, I have an active social life. I have made many new friends and am an active volunteer. I am a walk leader and am studying to become a Health Champion in the local area. I regularly do Tai Chi and take long walks with the walking group. I also am on the committee of the Bristol South Diabetes Support Group. I use a range of digital tools to help me monitor my health and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
My life has been transformed!