Fighting diabetes - Making a dream a reality

minute read
January 30, 2023
A grandfather, happily holding his grandchild in his arms.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story. Photo credit - Abrar Hashim.

My name is Taimoor Khan, and I’m 64 years old. When I was 15, I joined the armed forces. When I was 18, I got married. My life was full of joy and happiness.

And then, when I was 45, I learned I was suffering from type 2 diabetes.

At first, I took it well. Life was great, and I didn’t need to take medicine (not until I was 60).

From 45 - 60

Between the age of 45 and 60, my lifestyle was perfect.

I focused on self-care and worked hard to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Every day I was physically active and ate a diet rich in garlic and fibre.

I’d retired from the army and was the father of 7 children. My family were very attentive and supportive, and I felt very cared for.

However, I had a heart condition, which may have contributed to my diabetes.

After I turned 60

Once I crossed 60, my health started to fail day by day. My immune response was very low, and sometimes my blood glucose level went as high as 420mg/dL.

My doctor advised me to take insulin tablets. My family supported me with this, reminding me when I needed to take my medicine. My daughter also took on the responsibility of giving it to me.

However, I became very impatient, angry and annoyed at my kids. And every morning, I was very harsh with my family because whenever I felt like I needed to eat something, I wanted it immediately. This created a gap between us.

Another problem was pus in my kidneys, which caused me pain and made my moods worse – This is when I started to take my diabetes very seriously.

Changing my behaviour

Knowing I needed to get my diabetes under control, I motivated myself to check my blood glucose level regularly – I checked twice a day at home, using a glucometer.

I also focused more on physical exercise. A colleague told me that if you have diabetes, you should go for walks and swim – Being active (both physically and mentally) makes your body more sensitive to insulin, which helps your body maintain a more stable blood glucose level.

Being physically active also helps lower your risk of heart disease and nerve damage.

Facing complications

There are a lot of diabetics in my family, so I was fully aware of diabetes symptoms like hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (conditions caused by low and high blood glucose levels) and worked to avoid them as much as possible.

As time passed, diabetes damaged the small blood vessels in my body. This caused my blood pressure to become unstable and stiffened my blood vessels. This led to high blood pressure.

Suffering from a combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes made me very stressed and anxious. This greatly increased my risk of heart attack and stroke – I had 2 heart attacks.

Fighting my diabetes

Despite my stress and anxiety over my condition and disease, I stayed focused on getting better.

I listened to my doctor, following his advice about maintaining a proper diet and taking my medication regularly.

I kept up my physical activities and started avoiding calorie-rich diets. Instead, I followed a nutritional diet that was low in carbohydrates, lipids and sweets, and high in fibre.

Every year I suffered from pus in my kidney, but I monitored myself, stayed calm, and fought against it.

Over time, I began to see results. My insulin resistance decreased, and I started living more in the moment, having fun with people and experiencing joy. I began to feel happy again.

Where I am now

Following my doctor’s advice, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, my diabetes remains under control.

Sometimes I feel tired, and my body shakes. When this happens, my daughter-in-law brings me pomegranate juice with plenty of water. After drinking this, I feel normal again.

I worry a little about my children. Diabetes is a hereditary disease, and because of my family history, my kids are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. One of my youngest daughters has already been diagnosed with it.

However, I know that it’s possible to fight against diabetes – It’s not a dream, and it is possible.

In my case, my family and my dedication to self-care made it possible. My wife fully supported me and remained calm every time I was angry. My kids continued to love me and helped me stay happy and relaxed.

And if I can fight diabetes, even with my heart and kidney problems, anyone can.

So join me, fight diabetes, and make it possible for you too.

Graphic of a male profile picture.
Taimoor Khan

Taimoor is a 64-year-old retired member of the armed forces. He enjoys spending time with his family, and is passionate about spreading awareness of diabetes so future generations can avoid it.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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