Starting insulin a big milestone

Robyn Reddish has tried everything possible to control her diabetes and avoid taking insulin.

Robyn tests out her new insulin pen.

She exercises regularly and controls her diet but it hasn’t been enough to stop her condition from deteriorating.

During a recent visit to the monthly diabetes clinic at Woodend Medical Centre, Robyn finally made the decision to start taking insulin, thanks to advice and support from community diabetes nurse specialist Kirsten Hatton.

Robyn’s GP, Steven McGregor, says Kirsten achieved in one morning what he and other doctors had been trying to achieve with Robyn for 2 years. ‘I have really admired Robyn’s efforts but she needs to be on insulin to stay well,’ he says.

Kirsten explained Robyn’s options to her, being upfront about the effects of each of them, and left it up to Robyn to decide the next step.

She says Robyn was ‘using everything her body had left to produce insulin. If you start treatment early, you’re protecting the capacity you have left.’

Robyn was first diagnosed with diabetes when she was pregnant with her 2 children. The diabetes disappeared at the end of her pregnancies but has returned in recent years.

At the clinic, Kirsten showed Robyn how to use an insulin pen, test her blood sugar levels, and monitor the amount of insulin she needs.

She advised Robyn to continue her ‘aquacise’ 3 times a week and to contact the Woodend Medical Centre practice nurse Marilyn Herbert-Spain if she had any problems. Robyn was also invited to Kirsten’s next diabetes clinic in Woodend.

This story is part of Canterbury finds better ways to care for diabetes patients.

Read the next story in this series: CVD and diabetes assessments a top priority for Settlers Health Centre.

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