Amputations, depression and feeling judged: What it can be like to live with diabetes
Every day last year, it is likely that someone with diabetes in Wales woke up in a hospital bed without a toe, foot or leg.
A total of 404 amputations were carried out in 2016, according to Diabetes UK.
Amputations result from nerve damage, ulcers and infections.
Only a small fraction of diabetes patients have to undergo such procedures but their impact is lifelong.
Gwyneth Price, of Swansea , was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a 10-year-old and has now had both lower legs amputated.
Gwyneth recalled bouts of extreme thirst before she was diagnosed many years ago.
“Then you start the journey — it was all glass syringes, steel needles and urine testing back then,” she said. “You had to be admitted to hospital to be stabilised.
“I did my insulin injections — one a day — myself, usually in my thighs, occasionally my arms. I went through a phase when I hated it, but you just to learn to cope with it.
“My parents kept me close. They wanted to shelter me, more than anything. But I wanted to take the bull by the horns!”
Gwyneth’s complications surfaced in 2008, with a lack of feeling in foot nerve detector tests. Her fourth toe in her right foot became gangrenous and was amputated.
The following year she noticed her right foot had started shrivelling.
“The surgeon said they were going to have to do a lower leg amputation,” said Gwyneth, who lives with her partner in Wallace Road, St Thomas .
“It was that, or not living much longer — you don’t really have a choice at the time.”
Six weeks later Gwyneth was wearing a prosthetic leg and was back at h Continue reading