Introducing: Helen May
January 2004 – I remember it very well. Work hadn’t been great so I wasn’t surprised to be feeling a little run down. But the need to go for a pee every 5 minutes… well … it was enough to make me visit the doctor.
Until then, the most serious illness I had every suffered from was tonsillitis at the age of seven. So I was shocked to find out that at the age of 37, I had type 1 diabetes. Yeah, shocked was definitely the word for it. But once I’d calmed down and started to get on with my life, I realised that the best advice I’d received was from the diabetes nurse: “Diabetes should not stop you doing anything”. And that’s the philosophy I’ve followed ever since: holidays around the world: Nepal, Uganda, … long distance walks, skydiving, … more about that later.
It was after a few years of reading the Diabetes UK magazine, Balance, when I started to think there might be a gap in the diabetes literature: there’s some great articles about some incredible people who just happen to have diabetes like Steven Redgrave; there’s plenty of information about people who have not only diabetes but other complications to deal with. But what about normal people: people who, like me, seem to be able to manage their diabetes, have no amazing talent but want to live their life to the full … with diabetes?
So that’s me: I’m in my early 40s, had diabetes for nearly 7 years which I won’t let take over my life and want to share my experiences with other people with diabetes or people who know people with diabetes. I want to prove my diabetes nurse right: diabetes does not stop me doing anything and should not stop anyone else in the same situation.