Sunday 4 December 2016

You don't have diabetes now, he said. Well done

Jolhn Greene

Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30

John Greene no longer has diabetes.
John Greene no longer has diabetes.

This is not a story with a happy ending, because we are a long way from the end, but it is a happy story.

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First things first, though, and it was a good week in the pool. The difficulties experienced the previous week became different experiences in hindsight; I see them now as part of the learning process, and not a reflection of my own failures. Grainne, my instructor, clearly knows what she's doing and even in those times when I am frustrated I don't lose sight of that. I came very close to completing a length of the pool too. I didn't make it but I think I will this week.

From the start, my fear of being part of this project was rooted in my own recent history. I decided to learn to swim before I knew of the 'Change Is Possible' series and was initially reluctant to share my thoughts because it is such a personal journey. As a catchline, I was afraid that 'change is possible' might sound glib, even condescending. If you smoke, you know you shouldn't, you don't need to be preached to; if you eat too much, you know you need to change your eating habits; and if you are overweight you sure as hell know it, and you know what the consequences are likely to be.

As someone who once smoked, and ate both badly and too much, I never found any inspiration in hearing from someone who had quit smoking, or lost weight or ate healthily. I always felt there was nothing worse than being confronted by the bleeding obvious. Ultimately, I figured the motivation to change comes from within. I understand now that the real value of 'change is possible' lies in its message: finding a way to unlock the answers already within you.

At the start of the year, my GP told me I had developed type 2 diabetes. It wasn't a great surprise, but it was such a massive disappointment that I had inflicted this on myself. The GP said that a lifestyle change could reverse it but at that moment her words didn't really get through. In truth, it took a few months before I finally took action.

Last Monday I had my first appointment at the diabetes clinic in the Mater. Just over an hour after I arrived, the doctor shook my hand and wished me well. You don't have diabetes now, he said. Well done.

TIP: Don't stop now.

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