The most important part of my life (My testimony)
Therefore, the existence of this story in this world is pretty unlikely.
Diabetes is a foreign and drastic condition that has ever happened in the history of my family. I got diagnosed when I was 14 years old, on the 28th of December 2011. 2019 marked my 8th year living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Alas, nobody in my family ever thought I would live up that longer and still depending on prescribed medications. I really salute everybody who played a part in the most critical time when nothing made sense to me. The loss of weight was one major thing that got my family worried the most. I looked terrible & felt like I was dead & living.
|28 December 2011, Day of Diagnosis|
In my early stages of diagnoses, I only depended on review check-ups as was recommended by my Doctor without further support from the Association because I was too ignorant to report there. With the fear of being admitted/put in the hospital, i used to eat less before testing whenever my sugar levels went too low/high. Sometimes I could impress my Doctor with the normal blood sugar reading ranging between (4-7 mmol/L), but few times it would be below 3.9 mmol/L approaching the hypoglycaemia level, which is thus grievous and petrifying. Additionally, my destitute blood sugar management was either hyperglycaemia (too high blood sugars) or hypoglycaemia (too low blood sugars) coupled with; loss of consciousness; immoderate thirsty & sweating, extreme tiredness & excessive hunger.
In 2018, I got enrolled at a University that was far from home. My family felt I was now
informed enough with the 6 good years of experience living with Diabetes. I could now be self-dependent. Fortunately, I got a recommendation letter from the Doctor to assist my plea for residence on campus (Bindura University of Science Education). This arrangement was and still is of help
in my blood sugar control with the proper medication that I take when necessary. My HbA1c has always been in the range of 6-7%, though at times I could reach hypoglycaemia. I could manage it as I always had to stay with hypo kit, glucometer and most importantly my friends knew my condition thus I felt more relaxed but always responsible. Luckily, there were no issues of denial nor stigmatisation against my Type 1 Diabetes or even if they did, I never paid attention as I had the most supportive and appreciative friends, staff from the clinic and even lecturers whom I had
told. Life at university has and is being a smooth ride that I do not imagine myself with any hindrance, limitation, and barrier or incapable of doing or serving my mates in any way a human being possibly can.
With the introduction of the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association that I got registered with in 2017 through the ZDA, I have managed to get to know quite a number of Zimbabweans who are diabetic. We have had the opportunity to share our experiences with one another to
motivate/encourage each another. Moreover, the association engages us in diabetic chats almost daily, through listening to the stories of the patients, how they would be performing and recommend if necessary. To the beautiful and inspiring experiences, we applause them and encourage them to live as role models. Whenever patients visit the association, they always get pamphlets and any other reading material for them to stay updated. Most importantly, the Association has an access to the most updated pamphlets written about diabetes, which are given freely to everyone who would have visited, and they encourage the dia-buddies (Diabetic patients) to always stay tuned to the recent information that gets to the Association, through their social media platforms they can possibly acquire and access.
|Diabetic chat @ZDA|
Moreover, the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association is favoured with a team of experts/professionals in the field of Diabetes that includes a Diabetologist & a Physician (DR.J. Mangwiro) as the head and his other team of specialists in Podiatric, Dentist, Optician, super energetic nurses who are volunteering to fight Diabetes. With all fortune the ZDA possesses, I have since then been attending Wednesday diabetic chats on several issues consisting of diet (health eating) and the
management of hypos. These mentioned engagements were helpful in my life for the 2 years I have been with the ZDA. The greatest of them all was the camp I was fortunate enough to attend in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 28th of September to the 2nd of October 2019, where I was representing ZDA as an Ambassador, as a Young Leader with Diabetes (YLD) alongside Macyline Sibanda, at the call of Mr. Jamanda the ZDA, Administrator. According to him the camp was a success with all the work he had to put up to make sure would participate.
|@the RGM. International Airport🛩|
On the exquisite camp which was above all the greatest. The camp encompassed representatives, around the Anglophone nations in Africa, thus it facilitated in responding the question(s) I have always longed for answers in my life (why can’t one abandon insulin, how can I lead a
healthy/normal life anymore & how can I possibly fit in in the community or will I ever
make it in life?). It also clarified to me that I was not the only patient stressing with the
condition but rather to get enough information, advocate and lobby to fight against Diabetes rather than giving up on life. The event was therefore an avenue that opened doors to the 2019 YLD and in better position to engage & persuade policy makers to act on a policy proposal. Additionally, these Ambassadors can lead and practice followership, use social media to raise awareness, communicate with our huge networking to break any barrier, always be alert and stay updated with information referencing the (IDF Atlases that are updated yearly) and other relevant and recommended resources.
|1st day with Ambassadors and trainers in the Advocacy Camp.|
|@Magnolia Hotel & Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
The support I always get from my family was so profound that without doubt I told myself I
could stand against thousands of men. It is always encouraging to have people that tries to fit in your situation to avoid stigma and any form of negligence whether in terms of diet, physical activities. Mr. Charles Dzikiti, my father has always been a hero in my entire life, always monitors on the amount of carbohydrates that I take, if medications are being taken correctly/consistently, altogether with what is required of diabetic patient to maintain the balance in terms of healthy wise encompassing (glucometers, testing strips). He would also encourage me to visit the Doctors regularly and to go through my blood sugar test readings and always would ask for clarity. Thus I would say my life has been an entertainment, where some would be
watching whilst I would be living it. Lastly, the most crucial part would be the moment I would have gotten on hypoglycaemia, my little brother Ryan would always figure it out early since we always shared a room. He would wake me up and make sure I am conscious and able to take my first and usual activity that is to check my blood sugar and he would be in a position to administer the hypo treat himself whenever necessary and fit to.
|An exquisite accompaniment to the Airport|
Additionally, mothers love is always the best and it never dies. This I have seen from my mother (in black dress) since day 1 of diagnosis and I am very grateful to her. I would say my mother was the only person who understood me the most since she had to stay with me when I got hospitalised for over a month. She couldn’t understand a thing then and sometimes I could even see her cry but she had to be strong for me and I knew I had someone to learn on me from that critical moment that got better when I was put in intensive care unit and that she was the only person that was allowed to see me. In addition, my mother needed a hand(s) to lean on and fortunately, she had the most wonderful family who not only supported with their finances but encouragements, visiting us daily when I was in the hospital, medication supply when I used to buy from pharmacies. My whole extended family had to ride with me in the fight against diabetes and since I was eager enough to extend my knowledge on the subject, they now listen on what I would have to say and they just support their Ambassador and for Zimbabwe Diabetes Association. Therefore, family support is the greatest in every situation just like it was and still is
|My mother at the far right (in black dress)|
Living with diabetes has been a life changing moment to me and so has been to my family too. Fortunately, I accepted the condition of Type 1 Diabetes, which I understand I was born with though it was diagnosed later when I was 14 years old. Therefore, I volunteer to be of service to the people living with diabetes and even to those who are not (in making sure they stay healthy and active physically to prevent Type 2 Diabetes especially those at risk). As an activist and an Advocate who is ready enough to be of service on the fight against diabetes, that will only be achieved through attending educative sessions on health issues and sacrificing your time in getting educative material from the International Diabetes Federation Atlases. Thus being a member of the IDF young leaders with diabetes would put me in a position to stay updated with informed decisions, which I would thus volunteer to impart to others. Many thanks to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) for creating the wonderful opportunities which focuses on extending the knowledge of the young leaders living with diabetes in the necessary skills to fight against diabetes. It is with pleasure to stay engaged with such an organisation, which has over the years been the global voice of diabetes aiming at promoting diabetes care, prevention and securing a cure worldwide. Moreover, these life changing opportunities brought up by the IDF, has broken the barrier(s) to Diabetes Awareness & advocacy across the globe. Advocacy camps and Congresses are held yearly and the young leaders with diabetes (YLD) are always
invited to share their experiences, present the Diabetes care, Access (status quo) and to suggest possible solutions to help in the fight against diabetes from a community level to the global level. I would therefore proudly say that the IDF has introduced me to friends, as they would call but to FAMILY.
|With T1D Fighters from across the African Region|
In support of the current theme FAMILY & DIABETES, as the Zimbabwe Diabetes
Association Ambassador and young leader with diabetes, I was introduced into the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation from Radio station to Television, as part of Advocacy and the raising of awareness. Moreover, I was very fortunate to get interviewed by the Voice Of America (VOA) Studio seven that broadcast in Washington DC, USA. Therefore these interviews helped us as an association in spreading/raising awareness on diabetes as we received many phone calls and more visits from those who needed the service of the association in any way be it access to free insulin (from the Life for Child program), diet issues, and any other related areas on diabetes. It is interesting how beautiful the relationship between the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association has turned with our local broadcasters, they can request for an interview with any of our representatives thus helping us raising awareness on Diabetes.
|Broadcasting live on ZBC TV National News at 1700|
UNITE FOR DIABETES👌