In 100 stories for 100 years of insulin, News

“I thought it was Gout, but it was type 2 diabetes”

Elizabeth Duncan, aged 55, living with type 2 diabetes

Living with diabetes was very new to 55 year old Elizabeth Duncan’s world given no one in her family has/had the condition. Diabetes can be passed down to the next generation because of intergenerational factors (genetics) through to maternal hyperglycaemia, gestational diabetes and maternal obesity. None of these factors that Elizabeth is aware of, contributed to her condition. Elizabeth developed type 2 diabetes purely because of diet and lifestyle.

Elizabeth’s GP told her she was heading for a stroke and heart attack

Elizabeth went to see her GP for a check-up ten months ago for what she thought was Gout symptoms. She had swollen hot feet with pins and needles, felt thirsty and lethargic for three years. She also noticed her eyesight was going fuzzy and when she had cuts, they were not healing fast enough.

After having a full blood test Elizabeth’s GP diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes. She was put on Metformin 2000 a day with cholesterol and high blood pressure medication.

“My GP told me that I was heading for a stroke and a heart attack and that scared me,” Elizabeth said. “I love my pizza, pasta, salt and vinegar chips, chocolates and lollies……I lived my life eating what I wanted when I wanted.”

Diagnosed in July 2020, Elizabeth’s GP got her to register with the NDSS, Diabetes WA and was put on a care management plan to see a Podiatrist and Dietitian. Her Podiatrist checked her feet for high-risk foot (HRF) to avoid more serious conditions (foot ulcers) which can lead to an amputation. Her Dietitian gave recommendations helping her with an eating plan, and within a year her blood glucose levels dropped from HBA1c from 8.9 to 5.5 and she lost 20 kilos.

Elizabeth enjoyed connecting with others in the DESMOND program

“I did a DESMOND program in September 2020 a few months after I was diagnosed and I learnt about carb counting and reading food labels which I found really helpful……I really enjoyed connecting with others in the group and hearing their experiences,” Elizabeth shared.

Within the first three months, Elizabeth cut her diabetes medicine in half. She said she went ‘cold turkey’ and cut out all the treats that she loved like eating chocolates especially at night and she stopped eating her beloved bullets and liquorice. An avid dancer to live bands and music, Elizabeth can now dance for much longer and limits how much alcohol she drinks over the weekend.

“I have reached my goal weight so I’m happy with how far I’ve come but my ultimate goal is to have quality of life and still live life with some treats because once I start eating the treats I love, I want more like I have to eat the whole packet of chips and the whole chocolate bar,” Elizabeth shared. “I know how I can be, and I don’t want to fall into the same old habits……….I haven’t allowed myself treats yet because of this.”


Learn about our DESMOND program or speak to a Credentialled Diabetes Educator on 1300 001 880.

To mark 100 years since the discovery of insulin, Diabetes WA is sharing 100 stories from West Aussies living with diabetes. If you would like to #DWAjointhefight and share your story, complete these questions.

We will sharing new stories through out the year so follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.

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