Staying informed about my condition has allowed me to look ahead and not let diabetes get in the way of what I want to achieve.
How long have you been living with diabetes?
I have been living with type 1 diabetes for sixteen years.
How were you diagnosed?
When I was a junior in high school, I started feeling unwell and losing a lot of weight. My symptoms got worse when I was a senior. I could not eat and was constantly throwing up. I was referred to the general hospital where they diagnosed type 1 diabetes.
Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?
My diagnosis came as a surprise. None of my family members had diabetes and I didn’t know any children that lived with the condition.
How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?
This period was tough on my family because I was regularly admitted to hospital and my mother had to take time off work to be by my side. After my diagnosis, I went through a wide range of emotions. I cried often and isolated myself from my siblings and friends. I felt I was different from everyone else and very unhappy.
What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?
Family support and education have been very important. My family encourage me on a daily basis and staying informed about my condition has allowed me to look ahead and not let diabetes get in the way of what I want to achieve. My mother’s diabetes diagnosis has also made me stronger, along with the awareness that other people living with diabetes look to me as an example.
What has been your lowest point with diabetes?
My lowest point with diabetes came when I did not have enough money for both insulin and test strips. Knowing that I cannot live without insulin, I had to go without the test strips.
Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?
Access to diabetes care in Ghana is a very concerning issue. Equipment and supplies such as blood glucose meters, test strips, insulin pens and syringes are expensive and not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. Insulin is covered but some health facilities ask for an additional fee. Donor agencies provide supplies but they are restricted to people within an age limit. If you are above it, you have to look for an alternative. Being unemployed makes it even more challenging.
What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?
I hope that the next 100 years will bring a cure so that people with diabetes no longer lose their lives to complications.
What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?
The centenary of insulin means a lot to me because insulin has kept me and millions of other people with diabetes alive across the world.