Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are the target of Diabetes Action Month in November as the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the disease across the country.
For one Wanaka woman, it is a road she has already travelled.
Kim Nichol, 47, was diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2015. It marked the beginning of two years of serious health concerns.
“I have a family history of diabetes. Dad’s family all had it. I was in a bit of denial about having it and I would get short with people, but couldn’t control it. I got foot infections, it affects your eyesight.
“I needed to get rid of weight really quickly or it was going to cause major issues. I tried to lose weight and changed my diet, but I wasn’t winning. ”
Eventually, Kim’s doctor put her forward for a gastric bypass, meaning she would receive a completely new stomach. The day of the operation arrived in September this year and it was a success, leading to her losing 30 kilograms in weight.
Last week, she finally heard the news she and family had been waiting for.
“I went down to Invercargill and the surgeon said, “you’re diabetes-free.” I feel really, really lucky and my life is completely different. I can just get up and go for a walk without having to be regimented about eating. I feel like I’ve won the life Lotto.”
Kim is now turning her attention to raising awareness of the diseases, something she says there isn’t enough of.
“It affects a lot of people and it’s a silent disease. If you’re always really thirsty or think things aren’t quite right, go and get checked. It’s a simple test and you can do something about it.”
Diabetes Action Month is run by Diabetes NZ and aims to raise awareness of the disease. More information is available at www.diabetes.org.nz.
Pictured: Kim Nicol
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