Bunbury woman Jess Storey was 21 when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
But close to a decade later, Jess – who is now 30 – has been told she has Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA), sometimes known as type 1.5.“I was going for my HbA1c checks, and they’ve always been OK but being quite fit and healthy, my diabetes educator didn’t really understand why, when I was doing everything right, why it was still not perfect.
“So, she asked if I’d ever been tested for LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) which I’d never even heard of, but it’s known as type 1.5.”
After undergoing a series of blood tests, Jess was told that she needed to start using insulin on a daily basis.
“It was a little bit of a shock, because, it does run in my family, but I never thought I would get it,” she says.
“When I was first diagnosed with type 2, I wasn’t really given much information, I was kind of just put on tablets and being so young, I just went whatever, and I probably didn’t really take it as serious as I should have.
“Being young, and with something so new, I didn’t realise how serious it was at that point.”
Admittedly, there have been times where Jess has experienced diabetes distress, where she has felt so overwhelmed by her diabetes that started to impact her social life.
“In the middle of last year I was really strict,” she recalls.
“I would only eat certain foods, I wouldn’t enjoy a bit of pizza here and there, I was getting really uptight about it, then my specialist back in Perth was like ‘You need to relax a bit and have a cheat night’.”
Diabetes WA Health Services General Manager Deb Schofield encourages people to get in touch with Diabetes WA for extra support if they’re experiencing any signs of diabetes distress.
“Diabetes is a complex condition and the more you understand about it the less overwhelming it can be,” she said.
“People feel less diabetes distress after receiving well structured, supportive self-management education.
“Diabetes WA offers hundreds of free workshops every year to build confidence and understanding on how to manage diabetes and reduce the feelings of distress.”
Jess says she’s finally at ease with her self-management, thanks to the unwavering support from her husband, colleagues and healthcare team.
“I think I’m finally getting the hang of it and being comfortable about managing it myself and understanding how my body works and that every day is going to be different no matter how much I try to control it,” she says.
“That was my biggest thing – I thought, if I eat the same amount of carbs at every meal and give the same amount of insulin and it’s going to be fine, but it doesn’t work like that.
“I still have my days where I lose it, and I hate it, but I think they’re getting further in between, so I’m slowly coming to terms with it and accepting how hard it is and it’s OK for it to not be perfect.”
For more information about Diabetes WA’s workshops please call 1300 001 880 or visit www.diabeteswa.com.au.