Marcia Hines grew up knowing her mother was a diabetic. Even so, the singer and television personality was still shocked when she was diagnosed with the disease herself, while she was in her 30s.
“I’d started losing unnatural amounts of weight,” Marcia Hines told Starts at 60, “and I didn’t feel 100 per cent.” A friend knew something was wrong and suggested she go get a check-up. Her glucose levels were found to be through the roof.
“I wasn’t expecting to get it, I was still exercising and still eating well, but genetics you can’t fight,” she says. That’s the thing with diabetes that not everyone realises, she said. Type 1 is genetic, while Type 2 is more often a result of lifestyle.
She admits getting news like that can be difficult, as you work out how you can deal with it. It can put you in two minds: you can go into spiral depression or you can handle it.
Something amazing happened to Hines after being diagnosed, that helped her get through with a positive outlook. She was put in hospital for a few days and was sharing a room with a girl who’d just had a liver transplant. “She said to me, ‘You know, we could really be sick, couldn’t we Marcia’, and I thought this is my angel come to me. It was one of those incredible moments in life. I don’t believe you meet anyone by accident anyway.”
Now at the age of 64, Hines has had a long and successful career. She moved to Australia when only 16, after landing an ‘incredible job’ with Harry M Miller, who remained her legal guardian until she turned 21. “When you are 16-years-old you are bulletproof. I’ve had great opportunities I’ve done my best with.”
She went on to record numerous albums, and was a judge of Australian Idol for years, and has just finished over two and a half years of performing in the musical Velvet. She’s touring with her own band later in the year, and she’s already got dreams of what she’s like to do next… go on holiday.
But she says the way she keeps going is by looking after herself. “We have to look after ourselves. The older you get you really have to keep a check on your health. That is your job.”
A vegetarian for over 35 years, Hines also eats a lot of fish. Even while she’s travelling she still finds it easy to maintain her healthy lifestyle. She orders from Woolworths online and gets things delivered to wherever she’s staying. Cooking is something she also enjoys. She doesn’t smoke or drink, and tries to get in daily walks. “If I go to a restaurant I try and have a healthy choice. I will have a piece of chocolate cake if I want it. Life is to be enjoyed.”
Her career also keeps her active.“On stage I’m dancing, moving around a lot.” She says dancing is the best exercise in the universe. “Sometimes when I’m home I’ll put on a really cool disco song, clean the house and dance. Why not?”
Hines is now using her public profile to promote awareness of the issues around diabetes, and that for some it can be preventable. “Who’s going to take care of you but you?” She’s teamed up with Priceline Pharmacy to promote their free checks this month, and also works with Diabetes Australia when she can. An estimated two million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and are already showing early signs of the condition.
Hines is able to control her own Type 1 diabetes through the use of an Insulin pump, and said modern technology has helped so much compared to what people needed to do in her mother’s era. “Oh boy was it scary back then. Oh my goodness what they had to endure.”
However, there are many who can stop the need for any of it, if they simply get tested and look for early warning signs. “Type 2 is basically totally preventable, it’s a lifestyle change.” That’s where Priceline can help, with the single prick test, Marcia says. Type 1 can’t be prevented but there are lifestyle factors that can still help.
Priceline Pharmacy is offering free diabetes checks during October in the hope of reducing diabetes related complications through early detection. The checks will be conducted by trained diabetes advisors and will be available in all Priceline Pharmacy stores to discuss management of type 1 and 2 diabetes and asses the risk of developing type 2, empowering people to take control of their condition.
It’s a simple 15 minute chat and may include a blood glucose test. Or for those with either Type 1 or 2 diabetes the diabetes advisor can chat about a management plan.
Hines doesn’t regret that her genes meant she’s had half a lifetime of dealing with the disease. “It this is the worst that can happen to me in my life, I’m good.”