People with Diabetes
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The year before diagnosis

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The year before diagnosis Shortly after diagnosis Emma (left) with her sister and mother on holiday
Emma Cherry, 2005
 
 
Interview 34 Emma Cherry

Person with diabetes
Born in Banbury in 1978.
Diagnosed Type 1 in Oxford in 1988


Overview: By the time Emma Cherry was diagnosed in 1988, GPs were familiar with childhood diabetes; hospital children`s wards were used to dealing with it, and Emma remembers a wonderful diabetes specialist nurse who showed her how to inject herself, and later called at her home twice daily to supervise her early attempts. Her schools, university, and colleagues at work all accepted her without any fuss, and she has never been made to feel `different`. Injections and blood tests are such a routine part of her life that she wonders how she would cope with a cure!

There is also an interview with Emma`s mother, Zin Cherry.

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 13 December 2004

 Short samples

1 In 1988, dietary rules were still quite strict – Emma was taught about “exchanges”, and told she mustn’t have sugar – but there was help in the form of food labelling, which was widespread by the late 1980s [ 53 secs ]

2 Emma remembers that her mother was very upset when she was diagnosed, but is grateful to her parents that they didn’t communicate any tension to her as she was growing up [ 59 secs ]

 
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01 Lived in Bicester. Mum at home until secondary school. Father in family furniture business. Comfortably off. One sister. Happy. Loved school. Early diagnosis due to Mum – took me to GP & to John Radcliffe Hospital same day. Told unusual not to need drip.
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02 Everyone calm. In hospital a week. Felt well. Mum more upset than me. Surprised I was expected to inject, aged 10. Wonderful specialist nurse supervised injections in children`s ward & at home. Missed her when moved from paediatrics.
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03 Mum & I did blood tests. Horrible machine. Hated test more than injections.
Looked at food labels. No sugar - didn`t mind, but resented prescribed food at prescribed times – cried. In hospital, Mum cried.
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04 Didn`t know re diabetes. Dad now has it, & late uncle. No known trigger. Nurse explained & Rupert Bear booklets. Explained to friend. Card from school. Grandma adapted recipes.
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05 Family coped well. Joined Oxford Diabetes Parents Group. No fuss. Holiday in Ibiza. Family changed diet – I didn`t feel different.
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06 Sister taunted me – maybe felt left out. School reacted well – I talked about it, no great fuss. Blood-testing in class.
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07 Injections twice daily – Human Protaphane. Then mixed long-acting with short-acting. Resented snacks when not hungry. Became keener on PE – allowed chocolate before swimming.
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08 Moved to secondary school, 1989. Changed to 4 injections 1990/1. Injected in medical room. Loved pen regime – no longer had hated snacks, more flexible, allowed pizza.
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09 High sugars – passed out, 1990/1. Hospital. No problem with low sugars.
Took Protaphane (later called Insulatard) & Actrapid. Easy to inject tummy. Consultant found hard to take blood.
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10 In teens, alcohol difficult – alternated with Diet Coke. At university, drank too much & missed Mum`s cooking – in hospital couple of times.
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11 Moved to High Wycombe clinic, but preferred Oxford & moved back. Easier to tell truth to familiar staff – otherwise, tell what`s expected. Sad to leave paediatrics` 3-monthly appointments. Boyfriends relaxed re diabetes, like me. Consultant suggested bringing boyfriend!
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12 Diabetes hasn`t affected career – sometimes off longer with cold. Retail, then customer care. Diabetes a bonus – lunch-hour at reasonable time! When first diagnosed, people ignorant – less so now.
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13 Diabetes fits with work, but recently stayed in hotels – difficult – worried Mum. New job easier.
Current partner has medical problems – understands need for support with no fuss…
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14 …Father nagged, partner doesn`t.
Diabetes hasn`t stopped me doing anything except scuba diving.
Changed from Actrapid to Humalog – even better. Apprehensive re having children, but think big babies is old wives` tale.
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15 Take diabetes for granted – don`t know how I`d deal with cure! Has made me healthier. Parents laid back, even when had hypo.
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Transcript
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Extras
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