I was diagnosed just prior to Christmas in 2009. That was the worse time because I had to say no to all those Christmas parties. I wasn’t allowed any sweets or alcohol. I didn’t even attend my work Christmas party. I felt really quite down. I was told in no uncertain terms that my whole lifestyle had to change.
Migraines were becoming too common so I went to my local doctor. For about six months the doctor kept telling me to just go home, take some time off work, get some rest and take some Panadol. I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was going. I was conscious of the time I was taking off work and had concerns that I was going to lose my job.
WorkHealth visited my work, so I booked an appointment to have a check up. I didn’t think there would be anything wrong with me. The WorkHealth representative ran the routine checks and told me that from her results, I was on the verge of having a stroke or a heart attack: ‘You’ve got high blood pressure, high cholesterol … I think you have got diabetes’.
By this point I knew from the way I was feeling that something was wrong with me. I felt like collapsing a lot of the time, to say the least.
When I was first diagnosed I was in denial about it. I moped around for about a month before I pulled myself out of it and thought, ‘this is what I’ve got, how can I change it?’
I started walking from my house to the train station each day – so about 10km. I would go for a walk at lunchtime and I just changed my eating. I was a size 18 or 20, but within six months I went down to a size 10 or 12. I lost about 20kg.
In hindsight, being diagnosed woke me up to a lot of things and brought out a new energy in me. I have only had about three migraines since being diagnosed, which is really great.
We do not tend to think diabetes is going to create a lot of complications; you think you will just keep on living like normal, but that’s not the case. It really impacts on your life in ways that you don’t expect.
I feel like if my doctor had said something earlier then I could have prevented some of this. Maybe it might not have been so bad.
A lot of people are in denial about having diabetes when they’re first diagnosed, or even when they are overweight and at high risk of diabetes, but I think that’s the worst thing you can do. You’ve just got to get your head around it. I try to live a very normal lifestyle, I still love going out and having my wine, but you’ve got to know your limitations as well.
Melissa has been living with type 2 diabetes for two and a half years. Diagnosed at the age of just 31, she is among the 275 Australians diagnosed with the condition every day. Melissa has made some tremendous improvements since being diagnosed. It made her realise how unhealthy her lifestyle was and forced her to make positive changes. But she wishes she could have prevented diabetes in the first place.
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition with about 275 adults diagnosed every day. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.