Storytelling allowed us to invite participants and their families to talk about their experiences. We asked each woman to tell us about her diabetes diagnosis story. In listening to their stories we were able to follow the participants’ daily lives and to understand the major changes their chronic illnesses made to their lives.
In this study, we observed transition or ‘movement’ over the twelve months after each woman’s diagnosis. We found an interesting pattern regarding the behaviours of the newly diagnosed women over the course of the study. When participants were first diagnosed with diabetes she was ‘warned’ about complications should she not adhere to a new lifestyle, but there were no immediate physical ramifications. Participants’ first efforts after diagnosis was to regain some control by gathering as much information as possible. Lifestyle changes were dependent on individual readiness and there was variation between participants. We found that transitional processes require time so that people could gradually disengage from old habits and behaviours.
We are looking forward to your thoughts on this research. If you have experienced a chronic illness, how does your experience compare to the experiences of the women described in this study?
L to R: Tina Koch, Fatemah Adili, and Isabel Higgins
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