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|01 Dad worked sugar cane, Mum in markets. Father strict. England aged 22. Siblings left too, because employment limited. Worked as maid before came to England. Left school early…|
|02 …No-one made me stay on. Loved running. Attended Anglican church. Childhood seemed happy at time. Children in St. Kitts now…|
|03 …imitate American TV – guns etc. |
Ate sugar cane, fruit.
Diagnosed after big baby. Mother died 1982. Diagnosed after return from St. Kitts, 1983. Don`t know re family diabetes – questions discouraged.
|04 Came here 1960. Mother diagnosed, St. Kitts, 1965/6 - bad treatment. I visited before she died. Doctors said kidney trouble. Dad said shouldn`t ask questions.|
|05 Mum died before my next visit - on insulin 1st, then tablets. Questions discouraged – so I won`t live there. Family didn`t take illness seriously. Illness causes shame – even for West Indians here.|
|06 As mobile carer, I visit West Indian lady – secretive re illness. I know what`s wrong from 19 years caring. West Indian people use illness against you in argument. Shame prevents help.|
|07 Arrived here 1960 – thought houses factories. Laundry, then Birmingham factories. 2 children in 1st marriage, divorced, then 3 children in current marriage. Cleaned Selly Oak Hospital, then nursing home…|
|08 …then mobile care. Took son with me. Always working. |
English people nice. Ignore racism.
|09 Knew husbands from West Indies. 1st started having affairs, so divorced. |
Felt thirsty. Working at Selly Oak – nurse asked re urine. GP had said OK.
|10 Nurse said ask for blood test. Instead, visited St. Kitts. On return, diagnosed during D & C. Symptoms months before. Children banned me from kitchen; lost weight; then tablets gradually increased.|
|11 Doctor recommended insulin year ago, but I wasn`t ready. Now going on insulin. Was on insulin 1997-8 during cancer treatment.|
|12 Had lump but didn`t want to take doctors` time. Had part removed…|
|13 …cancerous. Chemotherapy. Told everyone – no shame – helped recovery?. Tell everyone to get help. Husband didn`t accompany me to hospital – children did.|
|14 Treatment made sugars high, so went on insulin. Didn`t work - because injected at wrong times? Hope better this time. |
Tested blood frequently - fingers infected – now test twice weekly…
|15 …new machine. |
I decided blood sugars justified insulin year after suggested by consultant. Medical staff nice.
|16 1983, didn`t ask questions - do now. Doctors know more than nurses. Specialist nurses will give insulin training. Don`t need to alter type of food - just eat less.|
|17 Dieting difficult – hungry. |
Steam food, separately from family food.
|18 Won`t adjust insulin – I`d eat more. |
Always had exercise. No car in St.Kitts. Aged 9, did housework – punished if done badly. Here, sewed to 2/3 am then back up at 5 am. Didn`t have car. Now cleaning supervisor & mobile carer. Leave house 4.30 am 6 mornings, clean, then breakfast, then caring.
|19 Sleep in afternoons, then caring 4 evenings. Only had 1 hypo – recognise symptoms.|
|20 See GP re colds. Hospital twice yearly for diabetes, once for eye check-up after laser, once for cancer – now unnecessary. No other problems. Relatives now have diabetes.|
|21 Husband now diabetic – doesn`t take my advice! |
Advice: know your body.
Without diabetes would eat more. Diabetes & cancer didn`t stop me working.
Children helped diet. Diagnosed in 1983 after big baby in 1979.
|22 Now aged 66. Hoped to retire to West Indies, but not since cancer. Clients deteriorate after retirement. Still have much to give to them. Christian faith helps.|