I became a caregiver to my parents at a very young age. We lived in the township, and back then, helpers or live-in nurses weren’t a norm. Both my parents suffered from Type 1 diabetes, which meant that they needed insulin. I played the role of a nurse because I assumed that I knew the disease well enough. Little did I know that my turn was coming.
Back then, we didn’t have digital machines to helps us gauge blood sugar levels. So, I had to prick them with a needle every morning before breakfast, and use a colour chart to determine the blood sugar levels. My father also suffered from hypertension. This meant that the sodium content in his food had to be lower, but with a bit more sugar because his sugar levels were very low.
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I was trying to be a child, but also had the massive responsibility of taking care of my parents — so, this was a very difficult journey for me. That period was the foundation phase of me building up my knowledge about the disease, and learning to live with it. It is very complicated, and I didn’t know that it was hereditary until I was much older.