Understanding that life is a challenging journey, where we thrive when we are able to create a healthy relationship with ourselves, has been very important for my diabetes care.
How long have you been living with diabetes?
I have been living with diabetes since the age of 12.
How were you diagnosed?
Like many, I was unaware of diabetes and its associated symptoms. After feeling unwell for a long time, I went for a routine check-up and my blood glucose was found to be very high.
Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?
Yes. My diabetes diagnosis was the first in a tight family, without any other apparent risk factor to consider.
How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?
Living with diabetes can be challenging, but it can be worse for the parent of someone affected. As I struggled with daily battles and got my fair share of minor defeats and major wins, my parents could not help themselves from feeling responsible. This is a reminder that although we benefit from active support, we can also be a source of support for loved ones around us.
What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?
Understanding that life is a challenging journey, where we thrive when we are able to create a healthy relationship with ourselves. An active focus on the emerging and growing ecosystem of technological solutions that make diabetes care more engaging, interesting and your own, has also been important.
What has living with diabetes taught you the most?
Living with diabetes has showed me that there are two paths in life: thrive or survive. In the first, we wake up in charge of our days, responsible for our fortunes and our experiences and crafting our own path. In the second, we are using diabetes as an excuse for our lack of interest in life.
What has been your lowest point with diabetes?
The ongoing and dynamic world of diabetes has showed me that things can change from one moment to the next. The lowest point is when I have, and certainly will again, overestimated the value of having a comfortable control strategy, and get demotivated when life happens and I have to start from scratch.
Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?
No. A short answer that demands a strong sense of responsibility and awareness towards the millions of people living with diabetes in low- and middle-income countries with a high probability of not having access to the required care.
What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?
Universal access to the emerging solutions that are currently being developed in the area, which will certainly make the last 100 years of diabetes care look like a few years.
What do you think needs to change to improve the lives of people living with diabetes in your country?
In Portugal, a large part of the community lives at increased risk of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the latter being the most common. Trusting that the movement can be started by dedicated organizations and institutions through innovative social programmes, the biggest change needs to be done by each individual. For this to happen, we need to raise awareness of the condition and its impact and facilitate access to diagnosis and treatment.
What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?
It is a celebration of life.