Free diabetes testing today at Walvis Bay

Floris Steenkamp

Today, 14 November, is World Diabetes Day. This day is observed every year on this date, as this marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who co-discovered insulin in 1922 alongside Charles Best. The work in this field is also recognised of Dr. Nikolai Paulescu of Romania in the same year.
A free wellness pro-gram and diabetics tests will be conducted today at the Saint Raphael Health Recovery Clinic in Walvis Bay (across the street from the Dunes Mall where Langer Heinrich Crescent connects to the airport road) be-tween 09:00 and 12:00 and thereafter at MPACT at 44, 3rd Street East from 15:00 to 17:00. The project is hosted by the Lions Club of Walvis Bay.
As part of today’s observance of World Diabetes Day, a former Walvis Bay resident, Dr Silvana Nienaber (Teleman), who lives with diabetes shared her experience of living with this disease. She highlights the importance to learn and understand diabetics and to manage the disease constantly: “As most of you know I have had type 1 diabetes for almost 30 years.
Before I go into the latest stats of diabetes and what can be done to prevent the complications that come with this disease, I would like to briefly share with you my personal journey with diabetes.
So far this road has been very interesting….from not knowing or understanding what was happening to me at a young age (which I’m not going to state as in my mind and in my own delusion I’m still only 21!!!) to the bruises all over my body from having to have blood taken every 2-4 hours with needles that were so blunt that I can still feel them tearing through my skin.
I clearly recall injecting at candle light and my mom boiling glass syringes at all hours of the night, as during the Communist Romania, the government decided that we should all be deprived of basic services.
Moving to Namibia made managing my diabetes easier having modern facilities and technology. However, I found that no medical specialist understood what I was experiencing and how food and life in general affected my diabetes.
It has taken me many hypoglycemia (and for the non-diabetic readers it is the worst experience of in a diabetic’s life) and many keto acidotic comas to get me to realise that the best person to look after me and my diabetes is ultimately ME!
So, I changed focus and started to learn as much as possible about diabetes and how it affects me and what I can do to try and make diabetes my friend.
It still is a work in progress – we have our ups and downs. What I have realised looking back over the last 30 years is that I am so grateful for having diabetes – it got me to where I am today and it has given me a deeper insight into myself.
I know that I have so much more to learn and experience on this journey with my diabetes and to be honest it is scary. Complications can set in at any time (when I was diagnosed, I was told that they can occur after 10 years). But it is also exciting. I have challenged my diabetes every step of the way for the last 30 years and I look forward to doing it for the next 30!
No one knows for sure what the cause of type 1 diabetes is or how to prevent it! For us, the type 1 diabetics, no one has given us on opportunity to choose between changing our lifestyle and getting diabetes. It just happens!!
We know what the predisposing factors for type 2 diabetes are and yet, so many choose not to listen to the advice of their health care practitioners.”

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