Rubya Alam

What the centenary means to me cannot be simply put into words. I am alive because of insulin.

How long have you been living with diabetes?

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 15 years.

How were you diagnosed?

Childhood is generally full of wonderful experiences but for me it was different. While other children my age enjoyed fresh air and played under the blue sky, I spent my time alone in bed, exhausted. I have no idea what the tolerance level of a nine-year-old is, but I did my best. After a while, my parents decided to take me to the doctor as I was not getting any better. My blood glucose level was found to be much higher than usual.

How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?

Everyone in my family was stunned. They had no idea how to cope with the situation. A new chapter in life began for all of us.

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

The Changing Diabetes in Children (CDIC) programme and my endocrinologist Doctor Bedwora Zabin. Thanks to CDIC, I can say that I am a diabetes survivor.

What has living with diabetes taught you the most?

Everyone has ups and downs in their life. Mine have maybe been a bit different. However, I've got past the difficult times and I'm currently living a healthy life. Diabetes has taught me to be stronger and more sensible.

What has been your lowest point with diabetes?

Four years after my diagnosis, my father was transferred to Dhaka for work. I was in eighth grade and admitted to a renowned school in the city. I started studying really hard for the Junior School Certificate exam. It went well, but then I fell extremely ill at the beginning of the new year. I lost consciousness and was admitted to hospital. I was off school for a long time and when I was well enough to go back, I informed my teachers of my condition. They were very unsupportive and treated me callously. As a result, I experienced a mental breakdown.

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

I would like to see successful pancreas transplantation through stem cell research that does not require a donor.

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

In my country most people with diabetes cannot afford the cost of treatment. I therefore think that diabetes treatment should be subsidised to allow everyone to be able to access it. Mental health and psychological well-being should also be prioritised in diabetes care.

What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?

What the centenary means to me cannot be simply put into words. I am alive because of insulin.

The Insulin at 100 campaign is supported by