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Diabetes Chats: Meet the Expert

Every Wednesday at 8pm, the Sweet Life diabetes community gathers together on Facebook (over at Diabetic South Africans) to talk about all things diabetic-related. Ever wondered who runs the chats? Meet Leandra Thompson, our wonderful diabetic chat expert!


1. How long have you been diabetic?

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the beginning of 2006. I also don’t really refer to myself as being diabetic. I know it is just a word, but I tend to feel that “being diabetic” makes it sound as though “diabetes has me” rather than the other way around. It almost makes me feel defeated. I like to think that “I have” diabetes. I control it, even though this is definitely not true a lot of the time.

2. What’s the most challenging part about diabetes for you?

The most challenging for me are those curve balls – you know how today your regime just works perfectly, and if you do it exactly the same on another day you get the complete opposite results. So I guess put simply I find the inconsistency of diabetes the most challenging.

3. What’s the best thing about being diabetic?

Eating speckled eggs when low and not feeling any guilt whatsoever!
But more seriously, there really is nothing I could say I like about diabetes. Having diabetes has made me more aware of my body and my health generally. It makes me eat healthier (more than I might have had I not had diabetes) and I am constantly aware of what I am eating (especially because of carb counting). I also try to be active, considering I work 9 – 5 (at a desk), so time is scarce. I can truthfully say that had I not had diabetes I would likely not have been as aware of these things, or considered them as important as I do now. Although, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

4. What do you love about the diabetic chats?

For me, connecting with other people with diabetes is important. Since I was diagnosed I sought peer support online. Mostly these are not local, and I always wished we had more local support – not medical support, just support from other who are going through the same thing and having similar issues each day. The friends I have made online have been awesome – from abroad I actually met a few for dinner about a year ago in Melbourne. And I also have a very close friend from NZ who I’ve never met – but we message one another and stay in touch all the time, even sending gifts to each other’s kids. There are certain things only someone else with diabetes “just gets”.

5. What makes your life sweet?

The most adorable, sweetest, funniest, and all-round best kid in the world, Cameron,  my only son (and only child).
Join Leandra for this week’s diabetic chat on Facebook at 8pm on Wednesday!
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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.