Alison Armstrong, 40, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 22 years ago and has been using an insulin pump for the last 15 years.
“When I was first diagnosed, there was an adjustment period. You ultimately have to choose how to deal with it. You can ignore it or learn to accept it as part of your lifestyle. However, if you ignore it there are many complications that can result such as heart disease or neuropathy. To me the choice to manage well was easy.”
Alison experienced some challenges initially when diagnosed, including how to manage her diabetes given a busy and stressful schedule. She was faced with different social situations while attending university, including dealing with alcohol consumption, studying at odd hours of the day, joining a rowing team, eating healthy and managing an exercise routine. In the beginning, using a needle to inject her insulin was also a challenge and sometimes it would take half an hour in the morning to go through the process. Since her diagnosis, Alison is grateful for being able to turn to her healthcare team for support and what she refers to as a “multi-team approach.”
Alison is married and has two sons - a four-year-old and seven-year-old. Mealtime can sometimes be hectic for Alison, but what’s worked for her family is getting everyone on board in terms of nutrition, exercise and making changes when necessary.
“Some advice I would provide to someone who has just been diagnosed with diabetes: if you choose to commit to a healthy lifestyle, you can live a long and healthy life - eat right, work with your healthcare team to get your concerns addressed and access resources from the Canadian Diabetes Association. You may face overwhelming situations, but you have to take it one moment at a time.”