Dianne Bain was healthy and fit until coronavirus struck and left her barely able to work and enjoy life.
As a mother of three boys, Dianne was used to juggling family life with a busy job. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12, she had managed to remain healthy and had hardly been to the doctors through her life.
But, one morning in April 2020, Dianne woke up with a fast heart rate and suddenly started feeling very sick, had a terrible headache and was confused, which made her husband think she was having a stroke.
She woke up in hospital with encephalitis, an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed. She returned home a week later but continued to feel ill and unable to recover.
Her headaches worsened and she suffered an array of problems, dizziness, rashes, hallucinations, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, aches and much more.
The 47-year-old, who lives across the Shropshire-Wales border in Llansantffraid, said: “Because I didn’t have any breathing problems or a fever, Covid wasn’t considered as being linked to the encephalitis.
"The doctors at the hospital thought that the problem was related to my diabetes, which made feel very upset and misunderstood, as I always worked hard to manage my condition. That experience was a terrifying ordeal, and it was only the beginning of a horrible year”.
After being hospitalised another two times Dianne was diagnosed with post-Covid syndrome. She spoke out to support research by Diabetes UK into how Covid-19 can affect those with diabetes or can even cause diabetes.
She said: “After all this time, I’m still struggling. I’m doing just one day a week at work but even that is really draining. Some days I’m okay but it’s like having a hat of symptoms – you get to draw one each day. It can be exhaustion, chest pain, sore joints, lack of balance or vision impairment”.
After receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and because she lives in an isolated rural area, she is less worried about the pandemic but says more support is needed to people living with the debilitating after-effects.
She added: “The care I received from my GP, who diagnosed long Covid, and my diabetes team has been exceptional. I also found a good support network, but we still desperately need more research and clinics.”
Dai Williams, of Diabetes UK, said: “Covid-19 is a new illness, and we are still researching how it impacts on people with diabetes. It’s positive that post-Covid syndrome is being recognised. We welcome new investment and hope to be engaged in the new services to tackle clinical needs for people with long Covid.”