Diagnosis Changed My Life Completely
Staying with his sister during a six-week visit to Australia for his 40th birthday he collapsed and was taken to hospital.
"I'd been there for about a week and hadn't felt well but put it down to the heat," explained Tom, a retired council manager, now 57 who lives with wife Irene in Coventry, England.
"But when I was in hospital in Brisbane I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I spent the rest of the holiday in hospital which obviously was a bit disappointing."
On his return to the UK Tom struggled to come to terms with the change in his health.
Services for diabetes back then were not as progressive and he found it hard to accept the reality of his situation.
Having no experience of diabetes among friends or family, his idea of 'diabetics can't eat sugar' was a misconception he had to put aside quickly and learn how to adapt his lifestyle to keep himself well.
"I had to look at my diet, focusing on slow-release carbohydrates, lots of fruit and vegetables and cutting down on alcohol.
"It took a while because I think when you are diagnosed with something like this it's a bit of an emotional merry-go-round and you do go through a grieving process for your old lifestyle."