Deb Kelly was 17 years old when she experienced hyperglycaemia while driving on her way to a doctor’s appointment.
“I had only just got my driver’s licence, so I jumped in my car and drove off the doctor’s appointment, but on the way, I passed out and hit a truck. That was the day I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “Deb recalls the moment her life changed forever.
Although, she got out of the car uninjured the situation could have been prevented and proves how serious type 1 diabetes can be if not managed we. In the lead up to this day, Deb had experienced the signs of type 1 diabetes but wasn’t aware of them.
Her Mum had suggested she make an appointment with her family GP, as she was concerned that Deb had been looking a lot thinner. Deb had also notice she was thirsty all time, going to the toilet a lot and very tired.
The very first inkling she had that something was wrong was after school at a friend’s house. “Although I was hungry, the need the quench my thirst was my priority. I simply stood at the kitchen sink and downed glass after glass of water,” she explains, “Within 10 minutes or so, I’d be back at the sink, wanting another glass of water, resulting in endless trips to the loo.”
After being diagnosed by a GP and an Endocrinologist, Deb was determined to not let her diabetes change her life. Nearly 30 years on, Deb has honoured that pact to herself by living her life to the fullest! She has travelled the world and is married with a 14-year-old son.
She hopes her story will inspire Western Australians to become more aware of type 1 diabetes “Raising awareness about Type 1 diabetes has always been something I’ve been passionate about.” She says “The 4 T’s: toilet, tired, thirsty and thinner is a slogan that is easy to share and easily remembered. If only I was aware of these signs and symptoms 30 years ago!”
Every year, around 640 Australians end up very sick and in hospital with dangerous high blood glucose levels because the early signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes are not recognised in time. Half of these are children and adolescents.