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Roxy Williams Shares her Diabetes and Pregnancy Story

Thank you to Diabetes Guernsey committee member Roxy for sharing her diabetes story with us, including her pregnancy journey.

When it comes to having diabetes, pregnancy can be a far more daunting experience than normal, and while it does come with risks it's undoubtedly worth it when you hold your little bundle of joy, just ask Roxy.

However, it can be incredibly isolating and lonely especially if you don't know anyone who has been through this. Roxy hopes that this story helps people to realise they aren't alone and she's there to help.

Could you please give us a little background to your diabetes (Type, when and how you were diagnosed and age)?

I'm a Type 1 Diabetic, diagnosed at the age of 12 after showing many symptoms.

What kind of complications has your diabetes caused for you?How do you manage these (do you need regular eye check-ups, medication etc?)

I have had a number of complications and have spent a lot of time in hospital with high blood sugars/ketoacidosis including a stay in intensive care. I've had various haemorrhages in my left eye which resulted in injections, laser treatment and a vitrectomy in Southampton earlier this year. I've since been advised that the same issue has now started in the right eye.

How does your diabetes affect your daily life/lifestyle?

I manage my diabetes using the Libre and Omnipod devices, as well as carb counting.

What about your mental wellbeing?

I try my hardest to manage my diabetes but it can impact my day. I have a stressful job which I think contributes to my high blood sugars. I often feel tired and have no motivation.

Is there anything you need to be particularly careful about/any specific challenges that you face?

I have struggled with my mental wellbeing due to the diabetes. It is a journey I am still fighting as new complications arise.

I have a 3-month-old daughter so I try to be careful not to have any hypos whilst looking after her, thankfully my blood sugar rarely goes low.

What advice would you give to someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes?

My advice would be, reach out to other diabetics for support, I never had that growing up and I feel that things would be different if I had. This is one of the reasons why I got involved with the charity, to support others. It can be very lonely sometimes so please, reach out.

Are there any misconceptions about diabetes that you would like to dispel?

I'd like to dispel the misconception that we aren't allowed to eat cake etc. We can, it's all about moderation. Most people carb count so will take this into consideration when taking their medication. Afterall, everybody deserves a treat.

This leads me onto my pregnancy journey:

At 32 years old I had dreamed of being a mother for a long time but I was petrified due to the complications that may arise, and at the time I didn't know anyone with Type 1 Diabetes who had been through a pregnancy (until recently) and there is quite a lot of negative information out there.

From a young age I was led to believe I shouldn't have children.

My journey began in April 2020 when I found out I was pregnant, and although it was planned it happened very quickly, I'd had discussions with the Diabetes Specialist and nurses before the pregnancy.

When I found out I went into total shock and fear and within two hours of finding out I was pregnant I called Alison the Diabetes nurse, because;
1. I had no idea how to manage my diabetes whilst pregnant, and,
2. We were in complete island lockdown.

They were great and reassured me, and from that moment I was very strict with monitoring my blood sugar. It can be dangerous for the baby if blood sugars go too high over a period of time so that was my number one goal. For the first and second trimester I had low blood sugars at least four times a day, then during the third trimester my blood sugars were higher and required a lot of insulin; three times the amount I usually took before being pregnant.

Having diabetes increases the risk of being diagnosed with preeclampsia so I was prescribed Aspirin to reduce the risk.

Before I was pregnant I'd been receiving treatment for a haemorrhage in my eye due to diabetic retinopathy, which we thought were under control but unfortunately the bleeds continued and got worse due to being pregnant. At around 34-weeks pregnant I was referred to Southampton to receive eye surgery however, as I was unable to fly at that stage in my pregnancy so, this had to be put on hold.

Due to the bleeds in my eye I was then advised to stop taking the aspirin, so I was seen on the Loveridge ward every two weeks. However, at around 32 weeks I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and over time this worsened.

I was admitted to hospital at around 35 weeks to have steroids to help the baby's lungs develop, as there were concerns I may have to deliver early. Steroids can affect blood sugar levels so I was monitored and kept on an insulin drip known as a slide and scale.

After a three day stay I was discharged but, as the preeclampsia had progressed I had to go to the ward daily to be checked and was advised I could deliver the baby any day soon.
Being type 1 Diabetic you will deliver at 38 weeks for the safety of the baby.
I continued to work (even from the hospital bed) up to 37 weeks.

I was booked in for a c-section due to my daughter being breech, but, on Sunday 22nd November I went for my daily check up and due to the severity of the preeclampsia and hypertension I was advised I would require an emergency c-section.

From that point things became emergent, my blood sugars were continuously low and doctors struggled to raise them so, I was taken in for surgery where my blood pressure went extremely high and there were concerns for both myself and baby.

It was an extremely scary and difficult day. My daughter was delivered at 37 weeks and taken straight to NICU and finally after four long hours I got to meet her.

Due to me being diabetic her blood sugars were checked regularly as there was a risk of hers being low, so we stayed in hospital for six days. Following the birth I developed an infection around my wound area due to being diabetic which meant I was a regular on the ward for another two months and was consistently prescribed antibiotics, in time it healed.

Fast forward to three months post-pregnancy and I've also received the eye surgery due to it being urgent as I could have potentially lost my eyesight.

This is the short version of my pregnancy journey, as I sit here writing this with my baby daughter Olivia, it was all worth it.

I wanted to share my journey to raise awareness for anyone who is considering pregnancy. I was taken care of by a wonderful midwife throughout my pregnancy. The Diabetes team was also fantastic and visited me every single time I was on the ward.

I don't want my story to scare anyone, it's to share the knowledge that if you do face complications you will be supported and you will get through it. It is amazing how well you handle the tight control on your blood sugar levels knowing it is for you and your baby, I never thought I could do it but I did and so can you.

I am on the committee for Diabetes Guernsey so if you do feel alone or scared/anxious I am happy to support you through your journey so, please get in touch.

Becoming a mother is the best thing I have ever done and I am extremely proud of dealing with the many issues I faced.

News Your Stories

Chris Opens up About his Complicated Relationship with Diabetes

As we know only too well, diabetes is a lifelong commitment, but when managed correctly it is possible to live well with the condition.

However, if you have diabetes, failing to look after yourself properly can put you at risk of some very serious complications that can be life-changing.

We caught up with Chris McDonnell, who over the years has suffered various complications due to mismanagement of his diabetes. Thankfully, Chris is back on track and wants to use his story as a cautionary tale to help others understand the importance of taking care of yourself and your diabetes.

  • Could you please give us a little background to your diabetes (Type, when and how you were diagnosed and age)?  

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. I was always a sickly child, having virus after virus quite regularly. The day I was diagnosed the specialist advised my parents that had it not been caught I would have only had 48 hours to live, so I was lucky.   

I’ll always remember my day of diagnosis as it was the same day that I was due to play sports at school, sadly I couldn’t participate and had to spend the following week in the hospital. 

In 1989, the year I was diagnosed there was not much awareness of diabetes. In fact, I was the first person in my school to be diagnosed.  

I was diagnosed at the start of November but my school would not let me go back until after the Christmas holidays. They wanted to learn more about how to control/manage the condition in case I went into a hypo, which obviously happened on a few occasions.  

I remember, once I’d returned to school and suffered a hypo, one of the teachers would always drive me home once I’d recovered, even if there was nobody at home. Unfortunately, back then they did not understand the condition.  

  • What kind of complications has your diabetes caused for you?  

My complications are quite severe due to poor control over the years.  


I had my first toe amputated in 2009, due to a cut I got on the bottom of my toe while I was on holiday in the Dominican Republic. Although I treated the wound, I did continue to go in the pool and on the beach, so wasn’t protecting it properly.

By the time I arrived home, I became ill and my toe had turned black. I went to the hospital and they told me I had to have the toe amputated the next day. After the surgery, there was a complication, which ended in me having to endure further surgery. During this time, I was told that there was a possibility that I could lose my whole leg. As you can imagine this was very traumatic and frightening.

My second toe amputation came around five years later. As a result of me losing the one toe, my other toe naturally bent and moved under another toe, and therefore started rubbing away. I was in Australia to attend a friends wedding in 2015, and whilst there I noticed that it had rubbed to the bare bone. I then ended up in a hospital in Perth where I had the toe removed.

Partially Sighted 

Back when I was in the hospital for my first toe, I noticed a problem with my sight. I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy and both my retinas became detached.  

I attended Southampton General Hospital where I underwent around 15 operations.  

The first set of surgeries were to place silicon oil in my eye which pushed the retina back in place. The first surgery was on my right eye, during which they scarred the centre of my vision which is a complication of the surgery. This has now left me partially sighted in my right eye.  

The next round of surgeries was on my left eye, unfortunately, this did not go so well and during the surgery, I had a haemorrhage which caused severe pain and ultimately I lost the sight in the left eye.  

I am now registered as partially sighted. However, I am managing the condition quite well.  

My other complications include kidney damage, high blood pressure. At some point, it is most likely that I will require a kidney transplant.  

  • How do you manage these (do you need regular eye check-ups, medication etc?)  

My control of the condition has drastically improved since 2009. Prior to this time, I did not treat the condition with any respect at all and avoided most of my medical appointments and the warnings I was given. I only ever injected twice a day, but I was supposed to take four injections per day and carb count.  

This has changed, I now attend all of my appointments and take my insulin regularly, I am on a number of other treatments including eye drops and tablets for my blood pressure and cholesterol.  

I now use the Libre device which has helped reduce my blood sugars. I am not perfect but I do try a lot harder.   

  • How does your diabetes affect your daily life/lifestyle?  

Fortunately, the impact on my daily life/lifestyle is minimal. I carry my insulin around with me at all times, my Libre is connected to my phone so I can check my blood sugar at any time.  

However, the biggest main downside is that I’m no longer able to drive, due to being partially sighted, so my freedom has been somewhat taken away.   

  • What about your mental wellbeing?    

I’ve struggled with my mental health in the past. Mainly when I was going through all my issues with my toes and eyes.  

I lashed out at the people close to me, and was very angry and annoyed with myself for causing the problems. After all, they could have been prevented.  

However, I have come to terms with my condition and it’s important to get on with life.  

The only other times I let my diabetes get me down is when my blood sugars aren’t at the correct level. I take large sums of insulin, especially in the mornings and don’t eat breakfast but still, I don’t seem to be able to get my blood down as quick as I want to. This can get me down.  

  • Is there anything you need to be particularly careful about/any specific challenges that you face?  

I need to be particularly careful at night time, as I struggle in the dark due to being partially sighted.  

I also have to ensure that my kidneys maintain their current levels, and check my feet for cuts as I’ve lost some feeling. 

The most important thing is to have good control of my diabetes, something that I’m committed to.  

  • What advice would you give to someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes?  

Listen to the diabetes team and take the condition seriously, but don’t let it affect your life. 

As long as you manage your diabetes well and give it respect, you can do anything that anyone without diabetes can do.  

Reach out to Diabetes Guernsey and get involved. It’s great to speak to people with the same condition as you realise that everyone is going through the same issues and nobody is perfect. We all like our treats!! 

  • Are there any misconceptions about diabetes that you would like to dispel? 

 Yes, lots but the main two are: 

1) That you can’t eat or drink what you want. We often hear the phrase, ‘you can’t eat/drink that, you’re a diabetic.’ 

2) Many people believe they know more about diabetes and how to manage it than you. 

If you need support with your diabetes or would like to connect with others that know what you’re going through we’re here to help. Keep an eye on our social media channels and our website for information about coffee mornings, help and advice.