Please briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Deborah Lloyd, however most people call me Debbie. I am 67 years of age and have been married for 48 years this year. I have two children and 2 granddaughters. My husband, Graeme and I are now retired and in my down time, I like to keep active as I walk every day. I also enjoy singing and dancing and am learning to play the ukulele. And back in 1960, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus at age seven.
Can you tell us a little about your journey with diabetes?
After my diagnosis, my mum was happy that I was not going to die, as it was a “treatable” condition. However, I remember my dad cried.
In those days, to test blood sugar levels, you had to put urine and a tablet in a test tube and the colour change would let you know how high or low your levels were. If it turned brown, your sugar was really high however if it turned green, you were probably around mid-range. If it turned blue, you were in a good range. My friends loved it because they wanted their urine tested as well.
My parents didn’t treat me any differently to my brother (who was 5 years younger and did not have diabetes). I was brought up to be like everyone else, but of course I had hypos and probably overdid it sometimes.
My husband and I have owned a couple of businesses on occasion. Now we’re retired, however back then, we would work seven days a week. My husband has always been a wonderful support to me, particularly on difficult days.
How do you manage your diabetes?
I used bovine insulin for 59 years. I had to change last year because they were no longer making my bovine insulin anymore.
I have a history of my blood sugars going low at night and in the morning too – Dexcom has changed my life in this way. I can close my eyes now and know if it’s going low at night, an alarm will let me know. Previously my husband would set an alarm around 2am to wake up and check me.
How far we have come all these years from when I was young!
Have you ever had to call the AMSL Diabetes Technical Support line? If so, how was your experience?
I have had to call the AMSL Diabetes customer care team a few times. I’ve found everyone I’ve spoken to so very helpful and genuine about helping me with my technical problems – either with my sensor or Dexcom G5 transmitter.
And generally, how do you approach your diabetes?
I try not to let diabetes impact my lifestyle – the words “you can’t do that” are not in my vocabulary. But of course, it does from time to time.
Last year when I had to change from bovine insulin, that was just before we travelled away in our caravan for 4 ½ months around Australia. It made things difficult, but I believe everything is possible if you have the right attitude.
Editor’s Note: Debbie has never let her diabetes stand in the way of what she wanted to do, whether that be singing, dancing or learning the ukulele. In 2010, Debbie received the silver Kellion Victory Medal for living with diabetes for 50 years. At that time, she said she was “going for gold.” In 2020, Debbie was due to get her gold Kellion Victory Medal for living with diabetes for 60 years.
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