My name is Helen, I am 62 and live in the Swansea area. I have type 2 diabetes and stage 3 chronic kidney disease.
Whilst I was attending the renal clinic one day, I met a nurse from the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. She was looking for people to take part in a research study. After reading through some information about the study and going along to the CRU to have a chat, I decided to sign up.
The study involved injecting a medicine once a week for 2 years. Actually, I may not have been taking the active medicine, I may have had the a dummy medicine ("placebo"). I'll find out when the study completely finishes. Initially I visited the CRU quite regularly so the research team could make sure I was OK. I was a little sick in the beginning and I did think "is this worth it" but I stuck with the study and I'm so glad I did.
The team at the CRU were fantastic. They phoned me up in between visits to check I was OK and I was able to contact them whenever I wanted to. I never felt as if I was a bother. The visits became less frequent and changed to six-weekly (with telephone visits) and then six-monthly. I've now finished taking the "medicine" but have to go back for one final visit in four weeks time. When the results of the study are released next year, I'll be told whether I had the new medicine or placebo.
To me, it doesn't really matter which I was taking, since taking part in the study has been so beneficial. I've lost 4½ stone in weight, my HbA1c has fallen to a level where I wouldn't be classed as diabetic anymore and my kidney tests have remained stable. Before I took part in the study I had put on quite a lot of weight and really didn't like to go out. In fact, I think that I had become depressed. Now, I've had a complete lifestyle change! I follow a healthy eating plan with my husband, who also has type 2 diabetes, I go swimming and I have a social life again. The study hasn't done all this but it has motivated me to make those changes.
I would be really happy to take part in another study if there is another that was the right one for me. It's a great thing to do!
Helen took part in an study that recruited in several sites across the UK and in thirty other countries throughout the world . The study is looking to evaluate the heart and blood vessel effects and other long term outcomes of a new therapy for people with type 2 diabetes. The study is now coming to an end and the results will be reported in June 2016. Swansea and Florida were the lead institutions for the study, which was funded by industry.