I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 about two years ago. I was expecting it partly because I had been told I was prediabetic, partly because I am obese, and partly because it runs in the family - my father's side.

My aunt Dorothy had it, she was overweight and died when she was 68; her sister, my aunt Jenny, did not have it - she was well into her 80's before she died, she remained slim and was still swimming regularly in her 80's.

I cannot recall what I was told at the G.P.'s surgery when I was diagnosed as prediabetic - but with hindsight it would have been extremely useful if the doctor or nurse had stressed to me how dangerous diabetes is and that I could do something about not getting it; this DID NOT happen. I ignored the warning thinking I was going to get it anyway as it ran in the family. (This despite knowing that aunt Jenny never got it.)

So it happened - I was diagnosed two years ago. But still, I cannot recall anyone telling me how serious it was or that it was a progressive illness. All I remember was being given loads of booklets (which I don't recall reading). I do remember saying to the nurse that I would try and control it through my diet but, after a few months without success and my symptoms getting worse, I agreed to go on medication - Metformin 500 mg three times a day with food. Unfortunately, I kept missing the middle one.

I was also told I could attend a free course to learn about diabetes; I attended this, I think it was about six weeks, in the next town. I thought it a waste of time: having designed and run awareness courses I believe I know a bit about training and, frankly, this course left me totally cold.

I turned to my friend for support, she also had diabetes; she told me once I had got my medication right I would be fine. Well, she was grossly overweight and, whilst taking her medication, she continued to eat sweet things so I thought I too could. Sadly, she died, she was only in her mid 60's. That was a shock. Another close friend had died six months earlier, her death was related to MS and she, too, was in her 60's. I am 71.

Because my brother collapsed and died of a heart attack when he was 53 on holiday, my mother died from heart failure when she was 60 (an illness brought on through rheumatic fever she had when young), then I later learnt, after connecting with my half-siblings after my brother had died, that our father had also died from a heart attack when he was 53: it seems likely Stephen, my brother, had inherited the same condition as our father. So I assumed I, too, would die young. Well, I am still here and have reached 71, so that prediction did not come true. But then there is the predisposition to diabetes.

I have been overweight for many years; I did lose weight rapidly through diet and exercise about twenty years ago but quickly put it back on again. Obesity also appears to run in the Foster family as not only was my aunty Dorothy big but so was my grandma Foster.

So I am still here, having outlived both my parents and my brother. But it is also two years since being diagnosed with diabetes type two and with my symptoms getting significantly worse.

I have also just experienced my wife's father dying from prostate cancer - he was given a few weeks to live over two years ago but managed to survive for another two years and two months. Supporting my wife and her mother over this extremely difficult time, in particulaly the last two weeks was, to say the least, extremely stressful. However, it has also given me a rude awakening.

I do not have to accept that my diabetes will get worst until I die of a complication. There have been lots of stories in the media lately of people who have reversed their type two diabetes by diet and exercise.

One positive thing I did do when I was first diagnosed was to give up alcohol, well, red wine: I used to drink quite a lot, sometimes two or three (occasionally more) bottles a week. I stopped drinking alcohol immediately and found it very easy to do - I tried having a glass with a meal in a restaurant and found I did not like it. I do, occasionally, have half a glass of beer but that is it.

I have also cut down on the amount of food I eat. I have lost three stone in the past two years - I am not sure whether this is because of stopping drinking and cutting down on my food or simply a symptom (unexplained weight loss) of my diabetes. I do NOT get any exercise - I sit at my computer all day. So I suspect it could well be my weight loss is another symptom of my diabetes.

The other symptoms that have got worse over the past two years include: itchy skin; blurred vision; increased thirst; dry mouth (especially at night); having to go to the toilet regularly - at least twice during the night; headaches (migraine - but this could be due to dehydration as I do not drink enough water); and, more recently, fatigue. Diarrhea is another symptom which is possibly a side effect of the pills.


I live at the top of a steep hill which makes walking difficult; I also get lots of pains when I walk so that has put me off significantly. Well, we have been without a car for the past week which has meant I have had to walk every day. And I am going on holiday next week so I intend to do a lot of walking (where it is flat) and swimming; I will also have regular meals where I will have a choice of lots of salads. So I am looking on this holiday, a delayed honeymoon, as a way of kick-starting my new lifestyle.

We, my wife and I, have also found a lovely old cottage not far from where we currently live and have had an offer accepted so we are hoping it will go ahead: getting fitter will enable me to help with the decorating and moving. So I have lots to look forward to. Will continue this blog when I get back from my honeymoon.

I would highly recommend anyone with diabetes to access Diabetes UK - I am currently learning much more about diabetes at my own pace instead of being overwhelmed by too much information. I can dip into the learning zone and find out more about the different symptoms and how I can take control of my diabetes, which is exactly what I plan to do.