A Dungiven woman who suffered complications with Type 1 Diabetes, which left her unable to work, is urging others with the illness to take it seriously.
Aisling McReynolds decided to speak out about coming to terms with the illness after what she described was “a wake-up call.”
Aisling has suffered from Type 1 Diabetes for 14 years.
She stopped taking her medication, however, and six months ago she was diagnosed with a Diabetes complication called a Charcot Foot which, if left unsupported, often resulted in lower foot amputation.
She’s had to wear a cast for 21 weeks.
“That was a real wake-up call,” she said, “but it was a blessing in disguise.”
Aisling has since met with a kidney specialist and was told her kidneys aren’t functioning at the capacity they should be.
“You don’t realise the damage it’s done,” she noted.
Earlier this month Aisling was rushed to hospital in an ambulance in the middle of the night.
“I went to bed and I felt okay,” before explaining that a family member later checked on her but “said I looked dead.
“I woke up in the hospital and I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalled.
Aisling admits she feels guilty neglecting her diabetes, but she’s determined to turn things around.
She hopes by sharing her experience it will teach others - not just people living with diabetes - but anyone with an illness, the importance of following the doctor’s orders.
“I’ve been sick for several years, but I hope to get back in education,” continued Aisling, who’s just had her arm tattooed to say she has Type 1 Diabetes.
She also wants to fundraise to help Diabetes UK once she’s back on her feet.
“Things seem brighter now I know what I’m dealing with. It’s really important to do what the doctors tell you.
“You can have Diabetes and be fit and healthy, but you can never forget about it.”
There are more than 86,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in Northern Ireland, according to Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.
The Limavady Diabetes Support Group meets at LCDI Roe Valley Hospital in the town. Meetings are held every other month, on the third Monday, at 7.30pm.