Creating opportunities to help people in East Kent to live happier and healthier lives

You can beat Diabetes – I Have

In 1988 at the age of 52 my GP looked me in the eye and said, “Mr Urwin I have to inform you that you have type 2 Diabetes.” I had no idea what this meant. I asked the question “Can you please explain what this means and what I can do to continue to live healthily with the disease?” His response was: “Your body is producing too much sugar and can lead to serious health threats such as a heart attack and damage/ loss of eyesight. I’m sorry to say that you will have to learn to live with the disease for life”

His answer shocked and stunned me. I asked again “Is there anything that I can do?” The GP replied: Sorry there is little you can do. I can help you to live with the disease by prescribing drugs. This was the very first I heard about Metformin. Consequently, I have been popping Metformin ever since.

It is now 2020, 32 years later and I have succeeded in my self-imposed mission to manage my Diabetes. Nevertheless, the predictions of the GP in 1988 proved to be correct. I suffered a cardiac arrest in a foreign country in the year 2001 and experienced the worst two years of my life since 2018 with painful leg ulcers and gout, all due to Diabetes. Luckily, my eyesight remains excellent for my age for which I am grateful Throughout I was oblivious to the potential of losing my eyesight. and going blind until today when a friend sent me this YouTube clip.

Can I please request that whether you are not diabetic, pre-diabetic or diabetic you take just 20-minutes to watch the clip. I’m confident that it will raise your self-awareness. It maybe influences beneficial changes in your lifestyle so avoiding the traumas I have experienced.

I learnt about the difference between Artery and Venus Ulcers. Hardly a day went by without a hospital, GP Surgery and Podiatry Clinic for leg dressings. At each visit I could not help thinking of the potential of gangrene and amputations something my GP in 1988 had not mentioned. I had never thought about until my ulcers started to appear. Then in July 2019 following a visit to our GP I self-referred myself to A&E. Following around 7 hours of investigations I was retained in hospital with fluid on my lungs and had difficulty breathing. I was discharged 7 days later and designated a ‘NHS ‘Heart Failure’; not a term that I particularly like!  Naturally my wife and I did not feel that our quality of life was good during the two recent years suffering the leg ulcers.  

Despite all of this I acknowledge the expertise, skill and dedication of the medical profession both in Luxembourg and our NHS following our return to the UK in 2002 complete with a successful quadruple heart by-pass. The cardiology professionals in Luxembourg and Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital are excellent and kept me alive and active. They rapidly fixed me when things went wrong and always ensured that I had a good quality of life. Fortunately, I have been healthy and fit enough to be able to travel the world with my wife, between 2002 and 2019.

On 5th August 2020 my Diabetic Nurse telephoned me and said “I have good news for you. You have successfully reduced your HbA1C from 8.3 to 4.5 which means you are pre-diabetic, Well done and congratulations”. She does not realise how much this meant to me as my GP has never shown interest. My personal feelings and emotions on hearing the news were stronger than when I crossed the line of my first London Marathon.

I have a strong desire to ‘give back’ to share my self -managed learning of ‘how’ I achieved my goal of pre-diabetic, so improving my quality of life. I have a list of habits specifically acquired to reduce sugar and effectively reverse diabetes. I’m willing to share these important lifestyle behaviours with those wishing to reverse their Diabetes or tackle Obesity. Our ‘virtual’ Thanet Diabetes SML Community group is your opportunity to get involved in your own learning to improve your quality of life We aim to re-establish this group towards the end of September 2020 with a maximum of 10 dedicated Diabetics.