My Story: Afra Willmore

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I used to see advertisements talking about waist size and the risk of diabetes and look away. I think I always knew I was at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes given my apple shape and the fact my grandma had type 2 diabetes.

Finally, routine blood work showed issues with my liver function, and my doctor referred me to a liver specialist. The consultant at my local hospital took one look at my shape (or lack of it) and told me he was almost certain I had diabetes.

When I told him about my tingling toes, he was even more certain! He requested a fasting blood sugar test, and sure enough, the diagnosis came back that I had type 2 diabetes.

I was devastated. I'm terrified of needles and was convinced I would spend my life in pain, not able to eat my favorite things, and unable to live a full active life.

Obviously now I realize that insulin is a good thing and injections are OK. Luckily, apart from when I was pregnant and needed to inject, and today I manage my condition with tablets. I don't even have to finger prick, just go for my regular HbA1c tests.

I saw a nutritionist who reassured me that I could still enjoy lovely food and that nothing was banned - all things in moderation was her message which I abide by – mostly! I am kept on the straight and narrow by fear of the conditions that can be caused by poor blood glucose management, especially all the eye-related stuff!

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I've cut down on the sugary food and carbs, and I'm more active, given the limitations on my caused by my fibromyalgia.

I have recently given up dairy after finding I was lactose-intolerant and that has helped.

I spend more on high-quality well-fitted shoes now, and my high heels are mostly gone. I use diabetes as my excuse to treat my feet to lovely pedicures and regular massages with moisturizing creams.

I have adapted my shopping and cooking to include more low GI foods which are healthier for the whole family anyway.

I have learned to listen to my body as I have realized I can tell what my blood sugar is doing from how I feel.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am proud that because of my talent for writing I can do my part in contributing to educating people about living a full life despite diabetes while hopefully entertaining them along the way via my blog and NewLifeOutlook as I am a contributor here.

I am always proud of my husband and seven wonderful children who inspire and support me every single day.

What's your advice to someone else living with diabetes?

Adapt your life, and don't give up. You can tweak your previous lifestyle quite easily to make it diabetic-friendly.

Advice for people with diabetes is advice that everyone should take on board for a healthy life – eat a range of foods sensibly and in moderation and take regular exercise. Don't become a martyr to the condition, just factor it in, and you may end up fitter and healthier than you were before.

What's your advice to someone else living with diabetes?

Adapt your life, and don't give up. You can tweak your previous lifestyle quite easily to make it diabetic-friendly.

Advice for people with diabetes is advice that everyone should take on board for a healthy life – eat a range of foods sensibly and in moderation and take regular exercise. Don't become a martyr to the condition, just factor it in, and you may end up fitter and healthier than you were before.

Don't give up.

Don't give up.

Is there anything else we should know?

I have been married for 25 years and have seven children – five boys, and two girls. I met my husband hot air ballooning even though I am frightened of heights. We got engaged after six weeks and married a few months later.

I have driven a steam train, have been on TV, presented my radio show and have met the Queen. I love to cook, but I am terrible at gardening and scared of spiders. I have more than 25 pairs of shoes and am addicted to thrift store shopping.

You can tweak your previous lifestyle quite easily to make it diabetic-friendly.

About Afra Willmore

My Story: Afra Willmore
I blog about family life, days out, cooking and eating out and offer tips and advice about anything food or family related.

Read Afra's Articles on NewLifeOutlook

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