Norah Casey: 'The worst legacy of long Covid is that I've been left with type-1 diabetes'

RTÉ personality and publishing veteran revealed her diagnosis in an Instagram post
Norah Casey: 'The worst legacy of long Covid is that I've been left with type-1 diabetes'

Norah Casey says her battle with Covid-19 has left its mark - including the onset of Type-1 diabetes

The legacy of Covid-19 has been seen - and felt - in the recovery and lasting effects of 'long Covid', a term for the virus' long-term effects, and an area that medical experts are still coming to terms with.

For publishing magnate, media personality and one-time nurse Norah Casey, the complications are very real, and over the weekend on Instagram, she went into succinct but stark detail about her experience, from her heart and lungs, to her taste buds.

"From the outset, the medical team felt that some of my acute symptoms would not linger beyond 3 to 6 months. And for the most part they were right. 

"Since then lots of my heart problems have settled, my lungs are improving, my heart still gallops on occasion and some days I am very tired. 

"My taste buds have gone askew (particular when it comes to red wine - go figure!) I get some brain fog - especially if I have to talk too much (gritted teeth emoji)."

There are also the realities of getting back to things after a recovery process, physically and mentally - for Casey, getting back on the horse hasn't been without its challenges.

"I also have developed a bit of anxiety… it’s not that I’m super confident usually, far from it, but things I used to do without too much stress like public speaking or doing radio & TV have been triggering a few jitters and it doesn’t help that I shake a bit and my mouth goes dry."

Norah Casey at a recent wine-tasting event. Pic: Kieran Harnett
Norah Casey at a recent wine-tasting event. Pic: Kieran Harnett

But illustrating the extent of long Covid's effects - and amid conversations about the medical legacy of the pandemic - Casey made a disclosure of a type-1 diabetes diagnosis, explaining how it happened and how it is affecting her.

"By far the worst legacy of Covid is that I have been left with Type 1 diabetes - which is permanent and insulin-dependent. 

"Rare in later life to develop Type 1 but I have high levels of autoimmune antibodies that have eaten (technical term!) my insulin cells in my pancreas. So there is no reversal."

Diabetes is a life-altering diagnosis and Casey discussed her diagnosis and initial experience with the condition.

"My blood sugars have been all over the place - sometimes very high and I put on loud music and dance like a mad thing in the kitchen to get them down. 

"In the last few weeks it started to go low… I’ve had a few worrying hypo attacks - most especially on a plane recently where I was sure I would pass out. A wonderful woman who was a member of the cabin crew saw immediately I was in distress - she has a daughter with type 1 diabetes and she knew what to do. I am hugely grateful to her. 

"So now I need to get out of my own head about these sudden changes to my life, and accept it and learn to live with it. As I am all too well aware, there are far worse things - it really isn’t even in the ha’penny place compared to other’s misfortune. 

"And I am only telling my story because so many people have shared with me their own post-covid symptoms - it really is in the early days. There are lots of studies coming out about a myriad of symptoms and I guess it will take some time to find out more. In the meantime swapping stories and sharing experiences seems to me to be quite a good thing."

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