A positive diabetes journey

AN estimated 4.5% of Sunshine Coast residents live with type 2 diabetes, with just as many living with silent, undiagnosed diabetes. While a diagnosis of diabetes can be emotionally difficult for many people, the good news is it can also open up a new world of knowledge and awareness of better health.

Robyn Tindal, Maleny local and consumer representative with the Diabetes Prevention Partnership, which works with the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS), has had diabetes for more than two decades and, like many others, was shocked and in denial when first diagnosed with the condition.

“Initially I did struggle with my diabetes but I chose not to bury my head in the sand and to learn as much as I could about the condition and healthy living,” Robyn said.

“Together with my GP I started on my journey of learning, building knowledge and connecting with other health professionals, services and programs to ensure I could manage my diabetes to the best of my ability.”

SCHHS provides free workshops for those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to support and motivate them towards positive self-management.

Kerry Roach, the SCHHS program coordinator, said the sessions included the support of social workers who provided information and a range of resources on emotional wellbeing, including strategies to understand and manage diabetes-related stress.

“If people are well equipped to manage their stress it will enable them to have a good quality of life and minimise certain risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes,” Kerry said.

Robyn also acknowledged that beyond her health care team her diabetes management had been positive because of support and connections from family and friends in her community.

“When I talk to others in my local community about diabetes, they help to normalise it. We learn from each other and feel more confident to tackle healthy living behaviours,” Robyn said.

The next ‘Type 2 diabetes & me’ workshop will be held in Caloundra on Thursday, August 12, from 9am–1pm. To register call 5202 9775 or email SC-T2D-Education@health.qld.gov.au

Photo: Maleny locals Robert and Robyn Tindal