Maira Butt

Diabetes has strengthened my bond with my family and I've grown to love each of them more.

How long have you been living with diabetes?

I've been living with type 1 diabetes since June 2015.

How were you diagnosed?

I was rapidly losing weight and feeling ill for a couple of days. Symptoms included high fever, vomiting, nausea and body pains. My parents took me to our general physician, who checked my blood glucose level. It was over 550. I was immediately taken to hospital, where I was diagnosed.

Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?

It definitely was, but I was 11 and didn't realise that I was facing a life-long condition.

How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?

My maternal grandparents had type 2 diabetes, so they thought they had passed it to me and felt guilty. At the time, they didn't know that type 1 diabetes was completely different. My mother cried a little the moment the doctor told her, but she knew she had to be strong for me, so she quickly wiped her tears and didn't look back. Overall, diabetes has strengthened my bond with my family and I grew to love each of them more.

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

My mother, with her love, patience and constant struggles for me, the amazing peer support I found through Meethi Zindagi, and the technology and devices available today are all important factors contributing to my diabetes care.

What has living with diabetes taught you the most?

That health is the most precious thing in the world. It can be taken away from you in an instant, so it should be constantly cherished.

What has been your lowest point with diabetes?

I think that life is a mixture of highs and lows for everyone. I have faced many of both, but I have not hit rock bottom yet. I believe that I have a long way to go to learn more about my condition and how to deal with it. Maybe I'll reach my lowest point during that process.

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

Apart from the increasing prices, access to the supplies and medicines is not a problem. I think that I am very lucky to have a father who supports, protects and constantly provides for me. He has never let any kind of concerns or stress reach me.

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

A permanent cure, definitely. If not, then I would at least like to see insulin pumps, CGMs and the latest devices more generally available and accessible.

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

Cheaper and more convenient access to insulin pumps and CGMs is very important. My country is still far from others in terms of availability of technology and latest devices. There is a need for more education and awareness, both people newly diagnosed and those living with the condition for many years. I also think that trained diabetes care teams in hospitals should be available to help people with diabetes understand their condition.

What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?

A healthy diet and lifestyle for the whole society. Insulin is very important, and not only for people living with diabetes. I think it's a time to pay gratitude for this wonderful blessing, without which our life would have been unimaginable, and to fight to make it accessible to everyone who needs it.

The Insulin at 100 campaign is supported by