This is Jennifer's story.
It was a really lonely and difficult time for me. I had just changed jobs, moved interstate, (started a new relationship!) and was trying to establish a new network of friends. Looking back, I realise I worked hard to keep diabetes separate and hidden from those other parts of my life. I thought I’d be perceived as less capable at work and I was terrified I’d have a hypo in a meeting and jeopardise my professional image. It wasn’t something I felt comfortable sharing with new friends either.
It took me a while, but eventually I realised that diabetes was a part of me and not something that could be separated. It was going to be a part of my work and social life and accepting that was not easy for me. I was frustrated with having to leave meetings and social functions for an injection or to eat, stressed by having to plan meals and snacks around everything else, and sick of carrying an insulin pen and jelly beans everywhere. These things were an imposition on my freedom and my confidence suffered because I felt out of control. I even felt embarrassed that I must have done something neglectful to ‘get’ diabetes. Anxiety, I discovered, did not help keep blood sugar levels steady either.
And when these diabetes complications (on top of everything else!) almost had me beaten, I did something unexpected – I let go. I just stopped struggling. I realised diabetes wasn’t something I had to beat or overcome (like a bad flu); it was something I could learn to live with, and absorb into my daily routines. I stopped treating it as an imposing inconvenience, and started thinking about it like any other planned part of my life (money, travel, exercise, and career). After all it is a part of me, but it isn’t me!
The fear of hypos and the anxiety about my next snack or meal stopped and I felt in control again. Of course I still have hypos occasionally – regardless of how organised or prepared I am – but they don’t knock my confidence the way they used to and I don’t let them stress me.
I firmly believe now: “you can’t control everything that happens to you- but you can control how you choose to react to it”
Now I spend much less time focusing on my diabetes and more time setting goals in all areas of my life: work, social, relationships and health - diabetes just has to fit in, I don’t allow it to take over! I still face the usual challenges: lack of motivation and discipline, doubting myself, getting too caught up with work, blood sugar levels, tiredness and making up excuses to get going! I now have strategies to manage each of these challenges and so far I have achieved everything I have set out to do. It’s very empowering!
It’s now my passion and my profession to inspire, encourage and support others who have diabetes. I also work with Health Professionals to help them support us.
It took me a while, but I’ve got it now — I no longer focus solely on my diabetes, I focus on all of me and how to get everything I want out of life!
Jennifer is now a fully accredited Coach, Trainer and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner. She is dedicated to using her skills and experience to help others living with diabetes.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes in the world and it can be prevented with healthy eating and regular physical activity. While diabetes usually affects older adults, the worry is that more and more teenagers and adolescents are getting type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but it is not produced in the amount your body needs and it does not work effectively. Even though Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, excessive body fat particularly around the middle of the body, insufficient physical activity and a poor diet lacking in real nutritional values. Once you have Type 2 diabetes the challenge is that some of your symptoms can be changed and some may be able to be changed and some might get worse depending on your individual factors.
You are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of diabetes, are over 55 years of age or over 45 years of age and overweight or over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure.
In type 2 diabetes, many people appear to have no symptoms at all or the signs are dismissed as simply and parcel of getting older. By the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, diabetic complications may already be present. Type 2 diabetic symptoms include being excessively thirsty, passing more urine, feeling tired and lethargic, always feeling hungry, having cuts that heal slowly, skin infections and itching, blurred vision, gradually putting on weight, mood swings, headaches, feeling dizzy, leg cramps.
It is important to note that up to an estimated 60% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent this disease by following a healthy lifestyle of maintaining a healthy weight with regular physical exercise, by making healthy food choices and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels by not smoking or drinking alcohol and by keeping stress levels to a minimum by learning how to relax.
Choosing healthy foods and being active will help you to manage your blood glucose levels and your body weight. While I am writing this I can feel the guilt of having an exercise bike right behind me and not using it every day. Despite going for my diabetes blood test tomorrow I ate cake today. Even though I know that healthy eating for people with diabetes is similar to recommendations for everyone so there is no need to prepare separate meals or buy special foods or not eat cake. As mentioned in the Blood Type Post below, it is the ingredients in the 'pie' that make all of the difference. Healthy eating can be enjoyed by the whole family when the ingredients are garden fresh without preservatives or additives designed to tantalise taste buds instead of health.
Alan Coleman was a regular Golf Player who thought his health was in excellent condition. On being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes twenty years ago, he had made a conscious effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle and admits that he was feeling pretty good. Yet an unexpected check up identified potentially life threatening problems that might have otherwise gone undetected if he had not been pro-active about getting regular health check ups. In telling his story Alan is urging you to continually monitor your health, even when you are feeling fine.
This is Alan's story.
I was accompanying my wife, Barbara, who was getting her heart checked in a ‘stress test’ after she had been experiencing chest pain. Fortunately, Barbara was fine. Even though I had no symptoms and I was feeling healthy, on a whim, I decided to have my heart checked as well. My test revealed that I may have a problem and I was sent for an angiogram, which showed five blockages – three in the main arteries to the heart and two minor blockages. I thought the machine must have made a mistake; I was shocked at the extent of the damage that I saw.
A few months after the stress test, I was recovering from a triple bypass surgery.
I am grateful that my problem was picked up before I had symptoms and it became life threatening. I contacted a Sydney radio station to tell my story and within 24 hours, more than 1,000 people had contacted the clinic where I had undertaken my test.
I hope my story will encourage people to monitor their heart health to avoid potentially serious problems, especially for people with diabetes as they often fall into a higher risk category for developing heart disease. I was not aware of this increased risk until I was diagnosed with heart disease one year ago.
I urge others to consult with their general practitioner to detect potential problems and to stay on top of their health, particularly when it comes to their hearts: Because luck saved my life, I am still able to enjoy my much loved round of golf.
For more information: visit the Glycemic Index and GI Database website ( The glycemic index or GI ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels.)
To learn more about diabetes from the personal stories of people living with diabetes please go to: