Vasiliki Goula

Diabetes has made me stronger, more patient and more committed to inform and help other people with diabetes.

How long have you been living with diabetes?

I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 28 years.

How were you diagnosed?

I was diagnosed after experiencing serious symptoms. I lost 15 kilos in 10 days and felt very unwell. As we did not know enough about diabetes, we thought it was a virus. When I could not speak and was close to going into a diabetic coma, I was taken to the doctor, where I was diagnosed.

Did your diagnosis come as a surprise to you?

It was a big shock for the whole family. Nobody knew exactly what they had to deal with. Suddenly I had to constantly inject and follow a strict diet. Everything was very difficult at the beginning. I was slow to understand what exactly was happening.

How did your diagnosis affect your family or loved ones?

For my family, living with this new situation was quite difficult. They had to suddenly change their way of life but also manage the stress and responsibilities that arose.

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

My family’s support, a healthy lifestyle, and, most importantly, the moral support of other people with diabetes that I connected with and continue to do so every day with joy, through the association that I represent in my city - Sweet Life Patras.

What has living with diabetes taught you the most?

Diabetes has made me stronger, more patient and more committed to inform and help other people with diabetes.

What has been your lowest point with diabetes?

The only time it made me feel down was at the beginning when I still did not know what was going on. I suddenly had to face a new situation and the challenges that came at school and in my daily life. When I realized that I can do what I can with diabetes, then everything got better and my goal became to manage and inform myself about my condition as well as possible.

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

The only time I had trouble accessing medicines and reliable new technologies was when I was not insured. Good quality consumables are frequently not available and this is something that I try to change through my association.

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

I would like diabetes to be simpler. To have a cure and a way of predicting it. New technologies help in better management and will hopefully advance to the point that, even if type 1 diabetes can't be prevented, it won't be an issue.

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

I would like to see an end to discrimination of people living with diabetes and easier access to insulin and diabetes technology for all.

What does the centenary of insulin mean to you?

It makes me feel very grateful for those who discovered it. It is the key to our survival and I am very happy that thanks to this discovery I can live. I hope that access to this basic component of our life will be made easier all over the world.

The Insulin at 100 campaign is supported by