There should be better awareness of diabetes and its causes to remove the widespread stigma and stereotypes that remain associated with the condition
How long have you been living with diabetes?
8 extraordinary years. I was diagnosed at the age of 11, back in 2013.
How were you diagnosed?
Thanks to my mother’s instincts I was able to avoid going into a diabetic coma. Losing 7kgs in the span of two weeks, along with the usual symptoms like thirst and frequent urination made us visit the doctor, who suggested lab tests.
Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?
I still remember when they told me my diagnosis. I fell on the floor unconscious. No one in my family had type 1 diabetes so it came as a shattering surprise.
How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?
My immediate family was distressed as much as I was. Following the diagnosis, unawareness and stigma around diabetes made the situation worse. The days after the diagnosis were the hardest for us to find hope and keep a positive attitude.
What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?
Access to the latest diabetes research and managing techniques plus the tools required to monitor and analyze blood glucose. Joining a local diabetes community also proved to be a life changing move for me.
What has living with diabetes taught you the most?
Although diabetes is a life-long learning experience, resilience and staying positive in the wake of a serious crisis are some of the most impactful lessons I have learned.
What has been your lowest point with diabetes?
In 2020, I dosed too much insulin and woke up in the emergency room due to severe hypoglycemia. For the first time in my life, I had a near-death experience. This was mentally hard to overcome.
Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?
Many people with diabetes struggle to meet their daily needs so I’m grateful to be able to afford the basic diabetes supplies. I still can’t afford the latest technology that is so common in developed countries.
What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?
I would love a cure, but that still sounds too good to be true. In the meantime, we need more advanced technology and tools that are accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live.
What do you think needs to change to improve the lives of people living with diabetes in your country?
Better access to quality medicines, unavailable in rural areas, and other technology to manage diabetes, which is currently unaffordable. There should also be better awareness of diabetes and its causes to remove the widespread stigma and stereotypes that remain associated with the condition.
What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?
The centenary of insulin helps put into perspective the progress we have made over the years. The struggles of heroic figures like Banting remain relevant and help me realize that more needs to be done to improve the lives of people living with diabetes around the world.