Anne Costich is celebrating her Golden wedding anniversary with a special present.
After living with diabetes for 50 years – being diagnosed the week of her nuptials in October 1972 - she has been awarded an Alan Nabarro medal.
A volunteer at Royal Preston Hospital for the last 15 years, after retiring from teaching, Anne can vividly remember the events of half a century ago.
Anne said: “This week is really special because it's my Golden Week - I celebrate my 50th anniversary golden wedding anniversary, and also 50 years of having been saved by daily injections of insulin since October 1972.
“On the Monday I was diagnosed, Tuesday I did my first injection, Saturday I got married!”
While there remains no cure for diabetes, developments in monitoring and treatment have allowed Anne to have a relatively unencumbered life, for which she is thankful: “Absolutely. The developments have been incredible. No cure as yet, but we're still hoping. But yes, certainly the insulin we have now, and the blood sugar monitoring are absolutely phenomenal. And that's what helps you to keep going.”
So which warrants celebrating more, her Golden wedding anniversary or the 50th anniversary for diabetes?: “For me, unfortunately, or fortunately, they go together.
“I can't separate the one from the other because my husband has saved my life on several occasions. He's always saying, ‘What's your level now?’ Have you had enough insulin? Have you done this? Have you had enough to eat, et cetera?’”
Anne now takes great pleasure in easing others’ worries as they come into hospital: “I love it. I meet so many people and people are so grateful if they get information that they need. It's a bit frightening. I think for lots of people coming into the hospital, they don't know where they are, if it's a new hospital, they're afraid of the treatment that going to get maybe, and there's this fear that people have, and it's kind of settling their anxieties a little bit and trying to normalise it.”
Having lived with diabetes for so long, Anne has also come through the COVID-19 pandemic, having her first jab on the first day they became available – “I thought it was absolutely phenomenal because it's an absolute life changer!”
And as a volunteer, encouraging face mask use is important to her: “One of the most difficult things has been to try and encourage people to wear face masks, because there's a kind of an innate revulsion about covering your face and your mouth.
“That feels uncomfortable for a lot of people. Most people are perfectly happy. They think we're saving lives. Let's go with it. But it's the few people who were not happy about wearing them. And it's trying to encourage them that it is a good idea to wear masks.”
She also believes getting vaccinated is absolutely vital: “Some people definitely believe that it's a malevolent thing and they're fearing the worst. And some people have genuinely been quite ill after their vaccinations. So it's trying to understand where they're coming from, but I find it very difficult to accept it.”
In terms of accepting things, she is a proud recipient of her Alan Nabarro medal: “Well, I was so thrilled because I've been kind of looking forward and wondering whether I would achieve 50 years, because you never know, especially living through COVID and all the ill effects. So to have got here, I’m absolutely thrilled to receive it!”