Fatima Omer

Trusting myself and accepting things as they are has really helped me to deal with my condition.

How long have you been living with diabetes?

I've been living with type 1 diabetes for over nine years.

How were you diagnosed?

I was diagnosed four months before I got married. I was dining out when I suddenly felt back pain and had difficulty breathing. I went to hospital where they gave me an injection that eased the pain. I had a restless night and the next morning the pain got worse and I collapsed. According to my discharge summary, my lungs filled with water and I went into a coma. I was eventually diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?

It was a great shock to me and my family. There was no history of diabetes in the family and I had never been ill before I was diagnosed. My father was surprised the most.

How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?

Everyone around me was shocked. I was newly married, quite well-known among my debating circle and doing programmes on the radio .

What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?

My parents, my family and my husband have always been by my side. After I was diagnosed, I was shattered both physically and mentally. The attitude and behaviour of people around me just made me feel worse, like I was paralysed. I decided to overcome the situation by trusting myself and things started to get better. The NGO "Meethi Zindagi" has given me the platform to open up, share my experience and connect with other people living with diabetes. This peer support has been very helpful.

What has living with diabetes taught you the most?

Acceptance. For me, acceptance is the to key to deal with all situations. Trusting myself and accepting things as they are has really helped me to deal with my condition.

What has been your lowest point with diabetes?

The weeks following my diagnosis were the worst period of my life. I suffered almost complete memory loss, was in a wheelchair and could not speak.

Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?

Diabetes supplies are too expensive and so I have to work very hard to get them. I have also faced challenges accessing medicines and supplies when travelling to other countries.

What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?

I really hope that a cure will be discovered and I would also like to see improved awareness of diabetes among the general public.

What do you think needs to change to improve the lives of people living with diabetes in your country?

Better awareness of diabetes among the general public is needed to get rid of ill-judged advice and stigma that can make living with diabetes challenging. More seminars and talks need to be organised to help the general public understand that living with diabetes does not mean that you cannot live life to the fullest. I also wish that the government would do more to improve the lives of people living with diabetes.

What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?

The discovery was a real blessing but there are still many people with diabetes who are dying because they cannot afford insulin. As we mark the centenary, we must do something to improve this situation.

The Insulin at 100 campaign is supported by