Type 2 diabetes real lives
In 2009 Lesley Mathews and her husband had just returned from a trip to Africa when Peter was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. They bought a blood glucose level (BGL) tester to monitor his blood, but when Lesley checked her own levels they were extremely high and the pharmacist advised her to see a GP immediately.
‘The GP diagnosed me as chronically ill with type 2 diabetes and commenced me on tablets,’ said Lesley. ‘I had appointments with an eye specialist, diabetic nurse educator and podiatrist, and frequent check-ups with the GP to monitor progress.’
At 61, Lesley had a successful business, but one that often kept her sedentary. Still, she ate a healthy diet and walked to and from transport and around the city. In the months prior to diagnosis, Lesley had also focused on losing about 15 kg through a restrictive diet and extra walking.
After diagnosis, Lesley started regular morning walks and her glucose levels were reducing, they were still too high, so she sought treatment with an endocrinologist. Following this, she also began brisk walking for one to two hours a day in preparation for a trip to Rwanda. There was still insufficient improvement in her weight and her BGLs and she was prescribed a small daily dose of insulin.
‘My husband and I have been on the journey together. My husband was very motivated, lost 20kg and remains free of diabetes medication. Over all, my weight has stabilised at a 25kg reduction. I am well, which I attribute to the excellent treatment I am receiving, and I have experienced no organ deterioration.
‘I have been following research at the Garvan, and other institutions, both here and internationally. My endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Clinic is involved in research into clinical diabetes, appetite and metabolism at Garvan and I have benefitted demonstrably from his knowledge.
‘I am very excited about the globally groundbreaking research into genome sequencing currently underway at Garvan. It will result in excellence of diagnosis which will identify best treatment options and provide for delivery of health outcomes we have only been able to dream of until now.’