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
"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
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
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
"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
"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