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Glenn tells his insulin success story

Once Glenn Lewis starts talking about a high ropes adventure park on the Gold Coast hinterland, it's hard to get him back on the topic of using insulin to treat his type 2 diabetes.

 

It's not often you speak to a 67-year-old man who describes with glee using planks of wood wedged in ropes to navigate across the treetops around Mount Tamborine. It's with considerable pride he relates he and his 31-year-old son used to compete in one day the beginner, intermediary and advanced courses at the TreeTops Challenge.

 

"I've always been an athlete. I used to love long distance running and surf lifesaving when I was younger, but when I got married and the kids came along, there wasn't enough time in the day."

 

Glenn is the first to recognise his genetic profile meant he should have tried harder to find some time for exercise.

 

"I can thank Mum and Dad for my high blood pressure and cholesterol," he said ruefully. "When I was working at Shell I had the highest cholesterol reading out of the 850 people who underwent a workplace check up."

 

Glenn, who worked as an instrument control engineer and production manager at chemical and manufacturing plants, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago.

 

Husband to Jan, father of five children and grandfather of 10, Glenn believes there aren't many situations in life that can't be improved by the disciplines he learnt in his work.

 

"Set the value, measure performance, and then work out what correction or control you need to improve that performance," he said.

 

That's the formula he's applying now to maximise the benefits of his insulin use.

 

"My GP said to me about a year ago, after my fasting blood glucose levels were rising to between 8 and 10mmol/L despite me doing the right things with diet and exercise, he wanted me to try insulin," Glenn said.

 

"I got my head around it pretty quickly and now my insulin use is stable at 34 international units (iu) daily and my last HbA1c [three month BGL average] was 6.4%."

 

Glenn said he asked his doctor if he should try experimenting with a little more insulin to reduce his BGLs further but his GP thinks he'll achieve his best results at this stage by focusing on food and fitness.

 

"I felt like a failure when my doctor suggested I start insulin," Glenn admits.

 

"I felt like I hadn't done the right thing, even though I'd been pretty active and watched my weight."

 

Glenn was like many people with type 2 who think insulin is something to resist. The reality is people with type 2 will live healthier lives by keeping their BGLs in a healthy range using whatever treatment is the most effective. The biggest threat to good health is ignoring your condition.

 

"The best advice I'd give anyone is get active in your management of the condition.

"Get involved with Diabetes Queensland. I'm not just saying that. I've learnt so much through the seminars and programs," Glenn said.

 

"I put to use the tips about how to lower my BGLs, how to cook food, the importance of understanding the glycaemic index, and the effect that high glycaemic foods have on blood glucose.

 

"The more events I attend, the more information I absorb.

 

"I get a lot of good tips from talking to the other people who are attending the same events.

 

"Everyone has got a different story and you learn a lot about diabetes just through listening to them."

 

Glenn's next event is DESMOND at Logan on April 8, after he attended the Diabetes Queensland Live Your Life Expo at Logan at the end of February.

 

Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND) is an education program to support people living with type 2 diabetes. Classes are small groups of around 10 to 15 participants to ensure everyone gets the answers to the questions of most use to them.

 

Diabetes events are not the only thing Glenn has to look forward to.

 

"My wife and I have three cruises booked this year. I'm someone who loves a glass of wine or a bourbon, a good meal, and a piece of birthday cake or a treat.

 

"The hardest thing about having diabetes is the people who don't know anything about the condition who advise you on what you can and can't do.

 

"I look after my diabetes. It doesn't mean I don't live my life."

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