Involving my family has really helped me

Ibrahim found a way to tell his family what he needed from them 

About five years ago I received a shock with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. I had been feeling unwell for a long time and I was overweight and very unfit. I was 43 years years old, weighed about 17 stone and I’m not tall, so for a guy of my height that’s a problem. I was also drinking a lot of alcohol and smoked about 20 cigarettes a day. I was on medication for anxiety, blood pressure, depression, heart palpitations, cholesterol and acid reflux. To be honest, I felt ashamed to be so ill and withdrew into myself and found it very hard to accept help from my family and friends - my home life became quite strained, particularly with my children. Initially after my diagnosis I had a fair bit of help from the medical team but to be honest, after a while I felt quite abandoned and unsupported. I’ve seen the diabetes team and my doctor about twice a year, but there didn’t seem to be a way out for me and I have felt moments of deep despair.

After meeting my health coach for the first time I became aware of how I had mentally shut myself off. I discussed my family situation and we talked about ways I could involve them in helping me come to terms and start to manage my illness. We talked about my diet and what levels of exercise I am getting and what I felt would make a difference to me. My wife has always done the cooking in our house and I normally eat what she puts on the table, which is sometimes not good for my diabetes. So together with my coach we agreed how I would support her to produce a menu that’s more appropriate for my condition. I've also started going to the gym with my son.

I feel like a new person! In three months my diet has improved beyond recognition and I’ve lost nearly three and a half stone.  I’m now much more confident and feel in control. I still have bad days but I have also joined the online communities in My Health My Way and I sometimes share my experiences with other people there, which I find really helpful.

Note: Names, as well as other identifying details, are changed to maintain confidentiality and privacy.  Photograph is a stock image.

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