Lesley

Age: 67
Location: Camberwell,
Southwark

I think my quality of life
is really good.

Southwark and Lambeth have loads going on. Absolutely loads and you can get a lot of it for free if you really want to do stuff. And Healthwatch has been really good. There's a farm just around the corner I can go to do gardening, there's loads, loads.

I'm quite active.

I'm going to Canterbury to see the ballet and to Wales to visit a friend.

My health is very important to me. If I don't have my health, I'm not going to do things I want to do.

I was around 44 when I was first diagnosed with asthma. On the day-to-day living, it didn't make much of a difference. But I think I knew that I had to make sure I never smoke again.

So, I have to make lifestyle changes. But basically as long as you got your meds, you're all right.

Then I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2009. I went into a bit of shock and panic because I had a vision of people back in the '50s that didn't get much medication. I didn't know about the medication first of all. So, I didn't know what can be done to help me. So assumed that I was going to end up in a wheelchair, wasted and twisted.

I was diagnosed with diabetes I think about two years ago. They suggested - well, they didn't suggest, they told me - that I was pre-diabetic.

Oh the typical days?

Let's talk about last week. I woke up on Tuesday morning and I had yogurt. I always have dry oats and I put fruit on the top and I put yogurt on top of that.

I always have breakfast in bed and I always take my medication and just take a little time for everything to settle in and then I washed and dressed and, maybe this isn't typical, but I went and got a coach to Bournemouth and I spent three days at a spa because I know I have to look after myself.

Always the mornings will be the same, same breakfast. Lunch, I had couscous and salad, and this evening I've got some cracker things and I'll have something light, I don't like a heavy meal at night. I will go, maybe visit friends or to a craft group. I like to go to the Royal Academy, so I meet a lot with friends actually, you know. It sound a bit like a lady that lunches. But that's a bit what it's like I think.

And family. Oh Dad. What about Dad? I look after Dad just one day a week.

ME & MY TREATMENT

I've definitely changed my diet.

I don't eat as much meat and I have more beans, and nuts, and things like that.

I don't eat many carbs now either.

I manage my rheumatoid arthritis through taking my medication and I exercise moderately.

I walk, and I know that even when I'm hurting, I know that I need to exercise a little bit 'cause sitting about is not good for you.

For my asthma, I just take my medication and because of the rheumatoid arthritis and the asthma, I have to really watch about getting colds and things because I'm now immuno-suppressed. So I'm much more careful about washing hands and things like that than I used to be and that helps with both of them because if I don't get colds, I don't get wheezy.

I've got a new little grandchild coming.

lt's very special.

My doctor makes sure every single month that I have my blood tests and we've got that sorted out really nice now. I have my blood test on a Friday and I ring her on the Monday.

She keeps track of what's going on in my arthritis status and how I'm doing with my drugs.

I get support from the podiatrists, but I got lost somewhere in the system because I need to have my insoles, for my shoes, made and I've just finally got those done.

The future is really bright, isn't it?