I was diagnosed when I was 11 in 1964, when my family and I were on holiday in South Africa. I don’t remember much but I can recall my mother’s distress and the instant quenching of my uncontrollable thirst after my first insulin injection.
In 1972 I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy and told that I would slowly go blind. In November of that year I got a call from my ophthalmologist that a professor in Germany was having amazing results in using experimental laser therapy. The year after I underwent the procedure which was very successful – I still have excellent eyesight today.
My kidneys failed in 1996 and I had to begin home dialysis training. One of the nurses told me that Westmead were part of an experimental kidney/pancreas transplant program. Three years later, I received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant – no dialysis and no hypos!
I am a director and co-founder of ShareLife Australia. For years I have dedicated my efforts for Australia to have an organ donation system that will procure as many organs for transplantation as the leading countries, so that those suffering from organ failure will have the same chance for a better life that I have been so privileged to enjoy.
Diabetes is just part of my life and I have to live accordingly. I think it’s better to focus on what I can do rather than what I cannot do. The many advances in technology have made living with diabetes so much easier.