Living with Type 2 diabetes – by Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith is a comedian and writer who has Type 2 diabetes and has been a long-time supporter of Diabetes UK. 

It is 16 years now since I heard that sentence but I still recall the doctor’s exact words and his curt delivery of them. “You have diabetes and you will have to inject yourself with insulin every day for the rest of your life.”

This diagnosis came a year after I had nearly died from an attack of acute necrotising pancreatitis which almost certainly resulted from my excessive boozing over the previous 25 years. It was interesting to spend a night or two in an intensive care unit but not an experience I would recommend on TripAdvisor. Although I was left with chronic pancreatitis, I gave up alcohol and following one more scare and a week in hospital, my condition slowly improved and I returned to the comedy circuit and wrote a show called ‘My Last Hangover’. This ended up on BBC Radio 4, so at least I made some money from it all.

Then, 9 months after my collapse, I began to lose weight, feel constantly tired and found my vision becoming distressingly blotchy. Oh dear, what was this? My darling partner Beth did her best to reassure me but we were both really worried. When the doctor at St George’s hospital in Tooting spoke those words I was hugely relieved to learn that it was not something worse and that it was treatable. It also meant I was able to write a column in Balance magazine and now a blog – hello again to all of you.

I have had diabetes now for a quarter of my lifetime and I can report that, despite a few hypos, various occasions when I really should have resisted those delicious puddings and a few false alarms, I am still here, still working and I can still walk up hills faster than most of my non-diabetic friends.

What’s more, although I would not recommend anyone seek the condition as a lifestyle, I have enjoyed a solidarity with fellow sufferers and been constantly reminded that we are very lucky to have the NHS. As you will learn from my future blogs, I am not the most diligent or virtuous of people with diabetes but I am still here and, after I press ‘send’ at the end of this sentence, I am going to find my blood sugar monitor out and prick my finger for about the millionth time.

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