Zara Secker says being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was a huge wake-up call that made her realise how quickly life can change.
I had been suffering from thrush that wouldn’t go away. It became so painful that I decided to see a doctor. I found that when I ate anything high in sugar the thrush would flare up, and when I told my doctor this, he asked if anyone in my family had diabetes. I confirmed that they did.
I was overdue for my regular diabetes check, which is usually clear, so I didn’t think anything of it when she ran the blood tests. I was certain I wasn’t going to develop diabetes, but this time my results came back positive for type 2. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and winded me. It was a huge wake up call.
My diagnosis has made me more aware of the importance of looking after myself – eating healthily, exercising and having regular medical checks. I’ve lost a lot of weight which has helped to bring my glucose levels down to a healthy range and my eating habits have improved. I also feel like my moods are much more level and I’m happier than I was before my diagnosis.
I think the biggest challenge with living with diabetes, for me, is trying to stay positive and overcoming the frustration of having to watch what I’m eating all the time. I also find it hard to come up with healthy meals on a low income and having to take emergency food supplies with me when I head out and about. Sticking to my medication schedule and drinking enough fluid each day is also really challenging sometimes.
I attended a DESMOND course last year at Diabetes WA which I found really informative and useful. It helped me to realise that I’m not alone. There are many other people out there that not only have the condition, but are probably experiencing the same, or similar, highs and lows that I am. I try to get my hands on as many books and resources as possible. Knowledge is power with this condition.
My advice to people is that if you have a loved one, or know someone, who has diabetes, read up on what it is and speak with that person about how you can best support them. Knowing that they have the support of family and friends is absolutely critical to them managing the condition effectively.