Yolanda Geldenhuys – TIA and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes

Yolanda Geldenhuys shares her story for the first time publicly in hope that her honesty inspires people to take action or keep on making the good health choices.


Yolanda Geldenhuys (50) lives in Fourways, Gauteng with her husband. She has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Sharing my story publicly for the first time feels very liberating. Talking about diabetes that is hailed the silent killer. Yes, it’s true. I didn’t think that even though I exercised four days a week, lived an active and mindful lifestyle that my health would make me stop and take notice of what I ate.

How did I find out that I have Type 2 diabetes? Surrounded by two paramedics in the training room at work after suffering a traumatic transient ischemic attack (TIA) (minor stroke) on 17 August this year. My vitals were being checked and the paramedic said to me, “You are a diabetic.” I responded by saying,”No, I’m not.” She said, “With a blood glucose level of 29, you might be.”

Needless to say, I was shocked to hear that and struggled with the thought in the ambulance on my way to a hospital.

Frightened of my new normal

Thankfully, I didn’t suffer any mobility or speech side effects from the minor stroke and was prescribed blood thinners and cholesterol medication. To treat the diabetes, I was prescribed gliclazide, metformin and dapagliflozin.

After a week in hospital with constant testing and monitoring, I left the hospital frightened with my new normal of having diabetes: pricking my finger three times a day and monitoring everything I eat. Does it contain sugar? Even the slightest amounts can be detrimental to my health. Reading food labels, making sure I eat the right things, at the right time, in the right quantities to ensure I recovered to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle, which I was able to do.

Yearly health checks are so important

What I have realised on my three-month journey to discovering how to manage my new normal is that everyone has to be aware that going for yearly health checks is so important. Please don’t skip it because you feel okay. I walked past the testing station at work multiple times during Wellness Days, thinking I’m too busy to stop and do the necessary health check.

My travel picnic basket

As a busy professional, travelling for work regularly, sometimes to smaller towns that don’t have all the conveniences of a big city, it means I need to pack healthy snacks, fruits and my own sugar-free options. I call it my travel picnic basket.

Adjusting to my new normal was very difficult, because my happy meal was chocolate cake but it’s also easy as I have found a whole world of sugar- and gluten-free options. As long as I’m mindful of what I eat, if it’s processed and how much sugar it contains, I can live a healthy life.

Exercise

Not forgetting regular exercise. I’ve realised that the days I’m active I feel better, and my glucose is more controllable the next day. Will I ever live a life not managing my diagnosis with medication? Maybe not. But I always revel in the blessing that I’m around for my family, especially the two grandsons that I love spending time with.

What I do know, it that I’m even more mindful of the snacks and sweets I give to them. Not only for the sugar rush, but so they can grow up to be healthy young boys.

Good family support

My family support has been phenomenal. My husband has supported me immensely, even changing his eating habits and welcoming the healthier choices every day.

Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on editor@diabetesfocus.co.za

MEET OUR EDITOR


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]


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