Tshemba volunteers offering education on healthy eating choices

Transforming Lives: A Personal Journey of Overcoming Diabetes

May 2024
Volunteer story

In our latest blog post, we share an inspiring story from one of our nurse communicators at Tshemba. This personal account details her journey of transformation, resilience, and the power of proactive health management. Read on as she shares how a diabetes diagnosis became a pivotal moment of change for her, leading to a healthier, more fulfilling life, and how she is inspired to guide others toward better health and well-being.

I am a 34-year-old married woman with two children. I am a diabetic patient who was diagnosed in November 2023. I simply lived my life without taking care of myself and had poor dietary habits. I just ate whatever I enjoyed. I would always drink something cool or sweet with my meals. I would eat chocolate every day and always keep one in my refrigerator. Whenever I went shopping or to the mall, I had to bring money with me so that I could buy my favorite meal from Hungry Lion, which included chocolate-covered ice cream.I would have lunch every time I went to the mall. I had no time to exercise or stretch; all I did was eat and sleep every day. I have a family history of diabetes. I was overweight at the time.When they diagnosed me, I weighed 110 kilograms. I did not notice anything amiss with my weight. The only thing that was going on was that I was constantly in discomfort, with joint problems, fatigue, and foot pains. I exhibited the symptoms of diabetes but was unaware of it.I just kept leaving, absorbing the pain. I frequently urinated, became thirsty or dehydrated, and experienced a hazy vision, a lack of energy, and itching on my perennial portion. Despite all these signs and symptoms, I did not do or say anything to address the problem.

I lived and adapted until I was offered the position of nurse communicator at Tintswalo Hospital by the Tshemba Foundation. I worked as a translator for doctors at the OPD while they collaborated with their patients. Listening to the patients being hospitalised and telling how they felt and what was going on let me realise that the indications and symptoms I was experiencing were typical of a diabetic individual. I knew what was going on right then. I was not feeling well on one of my workdays, so I went to get my blood glucose levels checked. The results indicated that it was extremely high. I opted to contact the same doctor with whom I had previously worked. My blood was obtained, and my HBA-1C was assessed. I waited for my findings to arrive the same day. My HBA-1C results revealed that I had diabetes.

My doctor sent me to a nutritionist. They supplied me with diabetic tablets, specifically Metformin, and told me that I needed to begin treatment as soon as possible. The nutritionist helped me see and grasp my position better. The following day, I went home and gazed at my spouse and children. I determined then that I needed to go for them, because my children were still too little to be motherless. The only thing I needed to do was adjust my lifestyle. I started going to the gym, exercising every day, and changing my diet. I stopped eating sugary meals and instead consumed sugar from fruits and veggies. I never liked fruits and veggies; I used to buy them but rarely ate them, particularly vegetables. Following the dietician's health plan required me to eat a tiny piece of veggies every day. When I compare how my meals used to look to how they appear now, I see a significant difference. I never liked drinking water, but now I drink four litres every day as prescribed by the dietician.

After three months on the plan, I went for another check-up, and this time my results were normal at 5. I was very thrilled and encouraged that what I began doing did not go to waste. Now that the symptoms I had and the anguish I endured had subsided, I began telling people with confidence about my current lifestyle.

I decided I wanted to help diabetics by urging them to modify their lifestyles and practice what dieticians recommend. They should maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise.They, like individuals who do not have diabetes, should maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and have regular checkups. Reflecting on my previous deeds. As I pass on my diabetes knowledge, I want you to be aware of the signs and symptoms, how it developed, and how to avoid its negative consequences. I wish to learn more about this issue and continue to care for myself. I encourage everyone who is not feeling well to not sit at home and, if they detect changes in their bodies, to see a doctor about their illness.

Nurse Communicator

Tshemba Foundation