Swimming in the Type 2 team for Swim22 – Mark Humfrey

Diabetes has popped up in many different ways throughout Mark’s life. Now living with Type 2 he decided to take on Swim22 and has completed it. Four times!

Mark-237x237Mark-passportI have had three heart attacks, the last one 15 years ago, and am now a Type 2 diabetic. I have a family history of Type 2 diabetes and had been borderline for a long period of time but I am now firmly in the Type 2 team.

I was originally prescribed half of the standard Metformin dose but after my HbA1c crept up I went onto the normal lower dose. Type 2 diabetes can be helped through exercise and reduce HbA1c levels so Swim22 was a good excuse to do a good deal more exercise. I am hoping that by taking part my HbA1c score will fall back below 58.

I swim regularly so I thought that a good challenge would be to swim the whole thing at least twice, 44 miles! I originally planned to complete it in 2 mile chunks but have instead settled for 3km swims, an hour each morning.

Having completed the first 22 miles I celebrated by taking the Eurostar to Brussels so I can actually say I went to Calais. I have kept swimming past 44 miles and am rapidly approaching 90!

My weight loss during this swimming marathon has been in the order of 20lbs (almost a stone and a half or 9kg). I am just coming up to my six monthly review and my bloods will soon be heading off to be tested. Once I get the results I will know if the effect on my HbA1c has been as good as I hope.

Along with diabetes being in my family, diabetes has found other ways into our lives. When I was a teacher in Basildon, along with my wife and daughter, we were helpers at Springhill Summer Camp, near Southwold. The camp hosted holidays for children with Type 1 diabetes and was supported by the British Diabetic Association, now Diabetes UK.

When my daughter was older, possibly inspired by Springhill, she trained as a dietitian at Nottingham Uni and went on to work in the NHS. She now works in north London with people who have all types of diabetes. Then, a real surprise, when my daughter’s husband became ill and was found to have Type 1 diabetes. As it does with so many families, diabetes keeps shaping our lives in unexpected ways.

If you’d like to sponsor me then please do. Here’s my JustGiving page.

I’m still swimming!

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