You win some. You lose some.

Saturday 1452 – 29th Sept 2012.

This morning I spent a lot of time thinking ( I REALLY shouldn’t. I think, I think too much! ) and the reason for that this week is because yesterday (Friday 28th Sept – just imprinting that date) 2 momentous things happened to me on the very opposite ends of the happiness spectrum.

The happy bit ?   I made the last mortgage payment on my house so it is now mine.. Wey hey !!  I had about 4 hours to celebrate this and then came the not so happy bit, sitting in front of my GP I was told I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  He assured me that it was no good me thinking “maybe there has been some mistake and it’s not really that bad” ( he knows me well)  that I have 3 indicators and there is no doubt AT ALL. I am thankful to him for being so clear.

First I thought well it’s only Type 2 it would be worse if it was Type 1 diabetes but as my late brother died at 53 and one of the contributing factors was his Type 2 diabetes which he did not manage well I know that Type 2 must be taken seriously because it is a progressive condition.

If it is not well-managed it can lead to long-term health complications affecting many areas of the body including eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet. 

My reaction to this news? Within the space of a few hours I cried, raged, blamed myself because I have a very sweet tooth, laughed with a true friend, walked by a beautiful lake and meditated.

Nothing was changed except my attitude. I thought how lucky I was that, by chance of birth, I had been born in a country where the access to services and care of people with diabetes is very good indeed and it IS just that isn’t it.. the luck of the draw. 

How wrong is that? 

Very, very wrong because although I am an individual I am no different to any other person on this planet, I don’t deserve good care any more, or less, than any other human being and that makes me sad indeed.  We should all try to work towards ending this inequality.

I thought how lucky I was that my diabetes was discovered by accident because of blood tests that were taken for something else entirely and showed high blood glucose levels and it was suggested I have fasting bloods which identified it. I consider this very lucky because Type 2 diabetes can be more or less symptomless for many years

Immediately after I wrote this and while I was still researching on Diabetes UK I read an article on the website which indicates that there are thousands of people with high risk factors who are not being screened. I urge you to take a few minutes to read the article  “Flaws in NHS Health Check have “dire consequences” for Type 2 diabetes” here   I did have fasting bloods taken in 2010 and they were just within the normal range.

As for me I am where I am now and it goes some way to explaining how I’ve been feeling. I’m sure it will take a while to adjust to this news and make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage my diabetes but it’s just another of life’s hurdles to get over, under or round. We all have them don’t we and what defines us as a person is how we deal with them.  I intend to stay positive because I have been given a metaphorical kick up the backside and now have an opportunity to improve my health and fitness which will have lots of long-term mental and physical benefits. Life is for living and I intend to try to enjoy it as much as possible :D.

I thought this would be a good place to dispel a few myths because as I have already mentioned I was blaming myself so checked out what the Diabetes Uk website had to say about that and this is what I found.

Some things that do not cause diabetes

  • Eating sweets and sugar does not cause diabetes,but eating a lot of sugary and fatty foods can lead to being overweight.
  • You cannot catch diabetes, like a cold.
  • Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may make the symptoms worse in people who already have the condition.
  • An accident or an illness will not cause diabetes but may reveal diabetes if it is already there.

But these ARE the recognised risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes  according to Diabetes UK

Some of the risks factors associated with Type 2 diabetes are out of your control while others, such as being overweight, you can act on to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. You should ask your GP for a test for diabetes, if you:

  • are white and over 40 years old
  • are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old
  • have one or more of the following risk factors –
  • A close member of your family has Type 2 diabetes (parent or brother or sister). (brother in my case)
  • You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.
  • You have high blood pressure or you’ve had a heart attack or a stroke.
  • You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.
  • You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.
  • If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes.
  • You have severe mental health problems.

 But I am a couple of stones overweight so I did increase my risk and that’s why I am sharing this on my blog today because some of the risk factors mentioned are in our control.. particularly the overweight and heart ones.   Oh and by the way Steve Redgrave the 5 times Olympic gold medallist was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997 and went on to win his 5th gold medal after that.. inspirational . You can read what he says about it by clicking on his name and there’s a link there to a useful website for people with diabetes who want to take up sport or are already sportsmen/women.

I know I have readers from all over the globe so please do check out what help is available in your own countries – isn’t the internet great for this sort of thing !

If any of you my readers have a nagging feeling that you might have diabetes or are in high risk groups get it checked out with your doctor.. it’s very easy too.

Ending on a much happier note. I was at the wedding of good friends Jo and Peter today and had a great time.. I will probably do an extra post this week to share some of the photos from this very happy event but I will share just one with you. It’s a photo of the photographer and he just spotted me as I was about to click and pulled this face.. It made me laugh and he did too when I showed it to him.

Oh and don’t forget I HAVE paid off my mortgage.  YIPPEE

See ya’ll next week


You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.



35 comments on “You win some. You lose some.

  1. […] right in the past,  when I have been ill, first with work-related stress and depression, then my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis ( which unbeknownst to me at the time contributed in a big way to my earlier stress) and my […]

  2. Adrian Lewis says:

    Serious stuff, Helen – take care of yourself! I’m (certainly!) overweight myself but the TB tests are negative so far – BUT there is the possibility of my retiring soon, and if that materialises then I’m certainly going to healthier – with more exercise for a start! Take good care of yourself! Adrian

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks Adrian.. Ooo retiring soon.. I love the sound of that! don’t wait until then to get fitter though.. I was given a pedometer which is great and I am doing over 10000 steps a day now.. it’s easy 🙂

  3. Rachael says:

    First of all, congratulations on paying off your mortgage! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Second, congratulations on having such a positive attitude to a health challenge. That, as you know I have had to learn this year, is more than half the battle. You are inspirational. Go girl!

  4. Hey Helen………
    The complex carbs are on me…..:-)
    And seriously, I think a change, (even a forced one), to a healthy lifestyle is probably every bit as good news as giving two fingers to the mortgage lender…….
    So I’m celebrating for you on both counts.

  5. samroderick says:

    Every second is a brand new moment. Manage it well, surround yourself with awesome people, and love even more.

  6. So sorry to hear about the diabetes. You are a very strong-willed woman, and that is to your advantage.

    Congrat’s on paying off your mortgage!!!! I was a mortgage banker for years (before Bush ruined our economy). I rarely saw people paying off their mortgage, especially at your age. Well, technically I don’t know how old you are, but you’re not as old as a large chunk of people are that finally pay their mortgage off. That has to be a wonderful feeling having removed that elephant from your back.

  7. drawandshoot says:

    Oh Helen! Sorry to hear about the diabetes, I wish you well in working through it all – I have a terrible sweet tooth myself so I can imagine the adjustment will be difficult. Can you mange it just by adjusting your eating at this point?

    And as for your house, YEAH! Congrats.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thanks for your thoughts Karen. Visited practice nurse today and all good so far. I have about 2 stone I’d like to lose and have lost 3 lb ( or 1.4 Kilos) already, taking more exercise and changing eating habits.. I have been told 3 months of managing with diet and exercise changes and in 3 months the tests will be repeated and if I continue to do well there will be no medication needed.. 🙂 I am very motivated because one of the complications is Diabetic Retinopathy causing visual impairment and blindness.. so you can imagine the motivation is VERY strong..

  8. scillagrace says:

    Congrats on being mortgage-free! No more supporting money lenders, no more debt monkey! Type 2 diabetes is a wake-up call to change some diet and lifestyle habits; how difficult those changes seem is completely up to you and your attitude. I know you’ll do just fine because you have a very healthy attitude! Rewards and treats can come in other guises than sugar. You can still be sweet to yourself!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Thank you dear Scilla you sadly know better than most about Diabetes. Sugar and fat addiction are serious and I have them both but I have never been more motivated or determined. Have already lost some weight,kidney function is very good, as is liver, no ketones or glucose in this mornings urine test, not feeling quite so tired, my lack of concentration and memory lapses are explained, I will now be fitter and healthier than for years because I am changing my attitude to food and taking more exercise .. it’s all good. Oh and I’m mortgage free.. whey hey!

  9. anna says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m glad you caught it early so you can make changes. And thank you for sharing your story so we can all think. Now I’m going to go grab a measuring tape.

  10. Mark Goodwin says:

    Sorry to hear your BAD news Helen and very pleased for you to hear your GOOD news!
    I think that it’s quite pointless for me to start preaching and trying to give a motivational speech to you. You are a very bright and intelligent lady, you have so much going for you, this will be just a hiccup for you. I know you are the kind of person who can get behind something like this and sort it! Thank goodness it wasn’t worse news! We all know people who have come away from their Doc’s with end-of-the-world news!
    So sell that bloody house, rent a small apartment, and get travelling around the world taking pics.
    Sending you lots of positive energy and thoughts.

    • Helen Cherry says:

      Aww mark thank you so much for your words I appreciate them so much. I am feeling very positive after getting over the initial shock and am very motivated to get fitter and healthier.. Not going to sell the bloody house though do intend to drop to a 4 day week from next April and do plenty of travelling 😉

  11. ellyhuizinga says:

    It must be a very good feeling to own your house so congratulations Hellen and about the diabetes, my mother was diagnosed type 2 when she was 90. She decided to eat over the day small meals ( very small)and she ate 4 or 5 cashew nuts every day and guess what… she managed to get over the diabetes. I must say she had no overweight. But I also know another person who managed to control her Type 2 by eating small portions and eating nuts.
    I can imagine that it is quiet a shock , to hear this diagnose, but I can read You are trying to go for it, so maybe these tips can help. I wish you all the best.

  12. Oh Helen, no 😦 My Mum was diagnosed with Type 2 about fifteen years ago. She manages it very well. Guess that puts me in the at risk category as I head toward my half century. I’ll do as you advise. But hey, paid off the mortgage? That’s grrrreat!

    • Helen Cherry says:

      It does put you in the risk category Ziggy.. make sure they know that your mum has Type 2 diabetes at your local surgery and ask for fasting bloods to be done yearly ( insist!) eat well and exercise to stave off the disease or at least delay it.

  13. Happy home OWNING! That’s huge!
    I know several women our age with type 2. They got healthier when they were pushed into lifestyle changes, so cruel to be kind kinda works here. I’m probably right behind ya.

  14. mary haren says:

    sorry to hear about the diabetes,Helen, but knowing you, you will tackle it with your usual courage and determination.

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