Living with Type 1 diabetes


THIRST, sunken eyes and a reduced appetite which resulted in a weight loss of about 15kg.

Anna Swain ignored the symptoms.

Some which had persisted for six months, some more recent.

Then it came to a zenith.

It was the day she was supposed to have moved in with her partner.

But he was concerned.

That day, she was particularly short of breath.

So concerned, her finance phoned the Healthline.

“He saved my life.”

By the time she was diagnosed at the hospital, she was about to go into a coma, she said.

That was three years ago, when she was only 37.

Living with Type 1 diabetes is now a way of life for Miss Swain.

“Although it could be heredity, getting Type 1 was not about lifestyle choices. It was an autoimmune disease, which meant the person’s own body attacked its own cells that produced insulin.”

Although there was no cure, yet .. it was controllable, she said.

The result is insulin – four times a day, beginning with a long-lasting insulin first thing in the morning, then every time she eats.

She also has to test her blood sugars regularly throughout the day.

As well as insulin jabs, her lifesaving diabetes kit, which she carries everywhere with her, also contains sugar-rich jelly beans, just in case she needs a sugar-rush.

Miss Swain has a message for us all.

“Don’t ignore any symptoms. I ignored them and nearly died.

“The key is to seek medical advice.”

The Southland branch of Diabetes New Zealand drop-in support centre operates every Friday, 11am-3pm, MS Society Rooms, corner Gala and Jed Sts. A diabetes nurse is available to take blood glucose and blood pressure readings, discuss problems, changes and provide other support.

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