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Zin with Emma (left) and sister

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Zin with Emma (left) and sister Emma, the year before diagnosis Emma, shortly after diagnosis
Emma Cherry, 2005 Zin Cherry, 2007
 
 
Interview 90 Zin Cherry

Family member
Born in Stow Bardolph, Norfolk in 1956.


Overview: Zin`s daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 10, in 1988. While Emma says that after the shock of diagnosis her parents were `really laid back,` Zin remembers a time of high anxiety. However, she managed to hide her worries from Emma and was supported for several years by a very reassuring Diabetes Specialist Nurse called Sally Strang. Emma is well and happy - and her mother`s only regret is that she sometimes spoilt her and didn`t pay enough attention to her sister`s feelings. Nowadays, Zin thinks that diabetes `doesn`t seem such a big deal at all`.

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

Please note that Overview relates to date of recording 14 December 2007

 Short samples

1 Sally Strang frequently visited their home and said they could phone her at any time of the day or night. Zin feels that she couldn’t have coped without her specialist knowledge and support and that Sally played a more important role than any doctor. [ 60 secs ]

2 After Emma had been at secondary school for a couple of years, she was invited on a two-week school trip to France. Zin was very reluctant to let her go, as she didn’t know how Emma would manage without her mother nagging and organising her. [ 60 secs ]

 
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01 Born 1956, Norfolk. Grammar school. Gamekeeper father got job in Oxfordshire. Comprehensive school.
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02 Studied childcare. 6th months as nanny in Italy. Returned – met husband 1975. Married 1977. Emma born 1978.
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03 Aged 10, Emma thirsty. Took her to GP, 12th April. A & E, John Radcliffe Hospital. On ward, doctor couldn`t take blood – Emma always mistrusted him. I stayed in hospital with her – specialist nurse away. When doctor gave diagnosis, I cried. Never felt like that again.
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04 Hard to inject - didn`t like mother doing it.
No sugar, 10 gram carbohydrate exchanges, measuring at meals. Emma didn`t want breakfast. Battles. Special food on separate shelf. Emma didn`t like being different.
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05 Hospital taught re hypos – glucose tablets, HypoStop, Glucagon – nightmare. Emma upset to miss school trip. My mother had uncle with diabetes - she & I both suspected diabetes.
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06 Wonderful nurse, Sally Strang, visited us – more reassuring than hospital. Could phone her any time. When Emma behaved badly then passed out, Sally explained blood sugars. Thought I`d never cope - became second nature.
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07 3-monthly hospital appointment. Lovely dietitian. Diet became more flexible. Emma good re injections, reluctant re blood sugars. Consultant wrote ‘hopeless` – Emma disliked him.
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08 School supportive. Sally met staff. Cook did special meals.
With first hypo, I nearly gave insulin instead of Glucagon – upset me.
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09 Emily volunteered to be examined by student doctors.
Emma disliked being different. Dr. Dunger said everyone must know - everyone kept glucose for her. Emma liked Mars bar before sports. Dentist said diabetes helped teeth.
When sugars low, Emma threatened friend with syringe!
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10 Secondary school at 11, 1989. Previous friends knew re diabetes, others didn`t. Sally instructed school. School trip to France. I worried, she coped, I relinquished control. Sally: “you have diabetes: it mustn`t have you”.
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11 Hid worries from Emma. Devastated when lady talked of husband`s amputations & death.
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12 Periods could affect blood sugars. Teenage Emma behaved OK. Had ketones 3 times – told off, but didn`t understand what to look for. Emma to university - managed well. Diabetes became less important to me & her.
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13 Bought diabetic sweets. Spoilt Emma, but didn`t think enough re sister.
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14 Diabetic foods expensive. Sally: “you`re not diabetic, you have diabetes”. Seemed awful, but realised other illnesses worse. Hasn`t hindered Emma – she`s lovely. Couldn`t have managed without Sally.
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Transcript
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