At times, I would go for months without the necessary supplies to monitor my condition. I had to guess whether I was high or low
How long have you been living with diabetes?
I've been living with type 1 diabetes for 11 years.
How were you diagnosed?
When I displayed symptoms, I was taken to a local clinic where a nurse said that I go to a city hospital to be tested for diabetes. I was taken to a private doctor who tested my urine for ketones and determined that I had type 1 diabetes.
Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?
It was a huge surprise to my entire family. Nobody knew about diabetes so we didn't know what we were dealing with.
How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?
Diabetes changed all our routines. I was a teenager when I was diagnosed so my mother made sure that I followed all the recommendations from my doctor. This meant that she was never away for long. She would make sure that I didn't eat sugar, walk barefoot and that my blood glucose levels didn't go too high or low when I went to play with others.
What are the most important things that have supported your diabetes care?
The most important things have been following my doctor's recommendations; being aware of highs or lows; testing my blood glucose regularly; support from the diabetes community; my eagerness to learn and challenge myself to do better; attending conferences to learn more about diabetes management; and the latest insulin treatments.
What has living with diabetes taught you the most?
Living with diabetes has taught me to be more responsible, that I can be a role model for others, that doing the right thing almost always pays off and that we can only change things by getting involved, engaged and coming together to demand the change we need!
What has been your lowest point with diabetes?
Being discouraged from doing certain things because I have diabetes and the feelings of pity from other people.
Have you ever experienced issues accessing diabetes medicines, supplies and care?
At times, I would go for months without the necessary supplies to monitor my condition. I had to guess whether I was high or low. It's difficult to live a healthy and quality life without a blood glucose meter or other monitoring device. I've also had to always ration my insulin when I didn't have enough to last until my next refill.
What would you like to see change in diabetes over the next 100 years?
I would like to see insulin freely available to everyone who needs it and more therapy and treatment options that reduce the number of injections currently required to manage type 1 diabetes.
What do you think needs to change to improve the lives of people living with diabetes in your country?
Manufacturers should reduce insulin list prices and governments should be more involved in procuring diabetes supplies for their citizens. I would also like to see less countries dependent on imports or donations for their diabetes medicines and supplies.
What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?
The diabetes community should continue to advocate and not celebrate. We remain grateful to the discoverers of insulin and stand in solidarity with everyone who advocates for insulin to be available and affordable to everyone who needs it.