MADELEY resident Caroline Rudnicka (33) is a diabetes researcher helping find ways to better manage and cure the disease she also lives with.Ms Rudnicka has revealed her personal diabetes journey ahead of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Research WA’s upcoming free public seminar ‘Where is the cure for diabetes hiding and why haven’t we found it yet?’ on November 13.
“I was diagnosed in 1989, about a month short of turning six,” she said.
“We had just finished moving into a new suburb when I began to display the symptoms of type 1 diabetes – agitation, exhaustion, constant thirst.
“My parents thought I was just moody due to the fact that I had moved away from all my friends.
“Shortly after moving, we went on a European holiday and my escalating symptoms were initially put down to jet lag.
“Thankfully we were visiting friends in Sweden and the lady we were staying with had a son with type 1 so she recognised the symptoms and drove me straight to the nearest hospital.”
Life since then has involved constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections for the currently incurable condition.
After completing her final year of university, Ms Rudnicka got a role on a project to study diabetic kidney disease.
“When I read about the work, it suddenly dawned on me how incredible it would be in the position where every day I could come into work to learn about my diabetes and diabetic complications,” she said.
“I have been doing medical research ever since.”
After so many years living with type 1, Ms Rudnicka said she still hoped medical research would find a cure for all forms of diabetes.
“Given the complexity of diabetes, I am so grateful for the breakthroughs in managing the condition,” she said.
“However, a cure would be mentally, emotionally, physically and financially liberating – not just for me; it would also impact my partner, my parents, friends and co-workers.
“I might be the person who has diabetes but I am surrounded by a network of people who are always worried about my health.
“When you have type 1 diabetes, you can never switch your thoughts off of your diabetes; you constantly carry this weight of ‘diabetes burden’ as it impacts every aspect of your life.”
Diabetes Research WA’s free seminar on Monday will be at City Farm in East Perth from 6.30pm, and World Diabetes Day is on November 14.
To attend the seminar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9224 1006.