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Living and working with diabetes

‘It is estimated that more than one in sixteen people in the UK has diabetes’. 

From a legal perspective, the subject of diabetes often arises within employment law and cases of clinical negligence.  But with such a high statistic of those living with diabetes, diagnosed or undiagnosed, there might very well be diabetics working alongside you, in your firm.

And did you know?  Our Prime Minister Theresa May has type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with in 2013.  She was first misdiagnosed with type 2 before being told she has type 1.  In an interview with Diabetes UK, Theresa May admitted her diagnosis of the disease had come as a shock but that she had gradually learnt to live with it, and be open about it. 

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, just before Christmas 2015, and it was a real shock for me too.  So in this blog, I want to share my experience of diabetes in this blog, giving some advice on living and working with diabetes. 

Discovering you have diabetes  
Initially when I received the news, I feared the worst.  For the first six months especially, I went through a whole range of different emotions. 
I remember for the first few months, eating anything and everything I possibly could.  It was a rebellious thing; I didn’t care how much sugar was in what I was eating and what affect it was having on my body, I simply refused that any of this was happening to me. 
 

Anger
I was annoyed and quite frustrated this had happened to me, especially at such a young age.  I began to push my family and friends away from me.  I didn’t fully understand this condition myself, so how could I help them to understand? 

Helplessness
It made me feel really down, knowing I had this disease, that it was incurable and there was nothing I could do about it.  I felt useless. 

That’s when I knew I needed some help, and there is a lot of support out there.  Having done that, I soon realised diabetes is manageable, that you can go and live as normal a life possible in both a working and personal context.  If you know someone going through this, or you are yourself, it can and does get better, I promise! 

Controlling diabetes – the fundamental steps
Exercise and diet are the two most important things to focus on, to keep diabetes at a normal level. 

I found with my diet, it was mostly during my time spent at work that I struggled to keep my sugars level.  The biggest reason for this was because I was going out at lunchtime, buying pre-packed food for which I have no control over the amount of sugar added to the food.  I also used to snack on fruit throughout the day, thinking it was a healthy option, when the reality was it sent my sugar sky high.  What I have learnt, is that it’s all about proportions. 

These are some of the steps I take to make sure my sugars don’t spike during the working day, 

- Meal preparation the night before not only saves you a lot of money but it also gives you the much-needed control of how much sugar and other macros go into a meal.  I find sitting down and planning each meal for the week is the best and easiest way to get this control.  I highly recommend this website to help get you started - http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/ 
- Snack preparation is just as important, especially if you like to have a snack during the day.  It’s important to measure out the correct portion before eating as with many foods, fruit especially, you may think they are healthy but they do still contain a large amount of sugar.  This website is great for giving you a guide to the amount of sugar in a portion of fruit - http://www.freedieting.com/calories/fruits_0900.htm 
- Treat yourself. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have a little treat every now and then.  If you have had a bad day at work, or been a bit stressed, you can still have a cheeky glass of wine or chocolate bar.  You just need to make it’s not all the time and to make sure you keep a note of any treats, so you can recognise any spikes in your sugar levels.   

Exercise has been really beneficial for me.  I find that exercising in the morning, before work really sets you up for the day and helps you stick to a healthy diet.  I have been using a personal trainer for the past few months to help me stay on track with my diet and fitness, but it’s not a necessity.  You can find a lot of information on the Internet to help you get the most out of your exercises. 

By following my programme, I have managed to lose an extraordinary amount of weight which has helped me build my confidence.  And with invigorated confidence, I was able to take a step forward professionally.  I made a career change, joining Interlink Recruitment which has given me the opportunity to meet new people and get involved in new and exciting tasks. 

The main thing anyone newly diagnosed with diabetes, or struggling to come to terms with living with diabetes needs to understand, is that it is one of the common conditions in the UK, so you are really not alone.  There are many forums you can join, to get support from others in the same situation.  I use, https://forum.diabetes.org.uk/boards/?_ga=1.221032408.1780972404.1474537107.

“Diabetes is like a rollercoaster; it has its ups and downs, but it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.”


 

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