Mike - Interview 16
More about me...
Mike had gone to see the doctor and happened to ask about having a health check. So he felt shocked when diabetes was diagnosed. Mike had noticed no symptoms of diabetes, but looking back, he is glad the diagnosis was made early on.
Mike likes to eat, drink and go out with friends. He is still able to have a busy and active social life, but now is aware of what he is eating and how that affects his diabetes. So he occasionally indulges himself with food and drink but knows that he then needs a few days of 'frugal living'. He manages his diabetes by diet alone, and apart from a slight loss of sensation in his toes, he has experienced no other diabetic complications.
Mike felt he was a bit overweight and that the diagnosis of diabetes forced him to consider how he looked after himself. He also became more conscious of how much exercise he did, and started walking a lot more instead of taking the car. Mike is an active and regular visitor to the local diabetes support group meetings. He feels that there is a lot to learn there and he likes to chat with other friends with diabetes about his experiences.
Although his father was diabetic Mike didn't understand much about it. Initially he felt very...
Mike thinks diabetes is caused by hereditary factors as well as lifestyle.
My brother is three and a half years younger than me. I keep pulling his leg, I say, 'Have you had a check recently, because it's your turn next? Beware. Beware.' So you know, it hasn't bothered me, I've just assumed that's the reason, and if I had looked after myself a lot better, you know possibly I would have delayed the onset of it, although I probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself so much.
When he was younger Mike could eat and drink what he wanted but since having diabetes has had to...
I was told I needed to lose some weight, which I found difficult to do. But I am still a little overweight [laughs] so I do need to lose some more. And I have tried to cut down on the amount of alcohol I drink, and have done so. So I have had to take a lot more interest in myself, if you like. Exercise a little more. If I wanted to go round to the shops that are only five minutes away I always got the car out to go round and get a paper or whatever, whereas now I don't. I walk, it is ten minutes there, and ten minutes back which is twenty minutes exercise.
So I do walk where ever possible, which I never would have done before. I go to the local football down the road. It is just over a mile. So I walk down on a Saturday afternoon. Or if there is a mid week game. So I walk a mile there, just over and a mile back just over. So I have walked a couple of miles, besides having a game of football. I have got friends there, so if it rains I get a lift back, so I don't get wet, but I have tried to exercise more. And eat more sensibly and drink more sensibly to look after myself since I had the diabetes.
At first Mike took metformin but for several years now he has controlled his diabetes with diet...
Mike questioned the need to take a statin but his doctor persuaded him.
But I was very reluctant to take them. In fact I think I said to him, 'I don't want to take them.' But he persuaded me to, so I do take as I say statins one at night for the cholesterol which has brought it down, you know, say to about three and a half, whereas it was almost, just over five, I think 5.1 and the previous one was 4.9. So you know it has brought my cholesterol down. But it is just my sort viewpoint I don't like taking medicines unless it is very, very necessary.
Mike has lost some feeling in his toes so he checks them regularly for any cuts to prevent them...
It's been explained to me, loss of feeling, if you get a cut or a sore and it does become infected with loss of feeling, you are unaware of it. So the need to take care of my feet as well has been emphasised to me, so I do try and take more care. I do trying and check them occasionally and make sure I do see the chiropodist once a year the same as the optician, so I do ensure that I do get the right checks.
So' And the loss of sensation in my toes, as I say, it's not great, I'm almost totally unaware of it. So it hasn't bothered me at all, other than the fact that I need to keep an eye on it to make sure that when I get any sort of cuts which turn septic or anything like that, you know, which I might be unaware of. So I haven't suffered any physical discomforts whatsoever from diabetes.
Mike reflected on how diabetes led him to be more thoughtful about himself and his future.
I always remember going to a meeting at [the hospital] with a dietitian and there was a small group of us about ten, twelve, who had all recently been diagnosed with diabetes and the dietician who was very good and gave us excellent guidance, she was telling us what we should be eating and the quantities of food that we should be eating. And we were puffing and blowing at some of the things she was saying, and then she pointed out that this is what she ate normally, and what she did normally, and she didn't have diabetes. And how important it was for us.
So when I look back, I've never been very sensible with eating and drinking or exercising. But now I try to be more conscious and more sensible to negate the effect of diabetes and keep it under control.