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Times have changed…

Times have changed…

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1972. In those days there was 1 injection per day by mixing 2 insulins into 1 syringe at 7 am every morning and then following a strict diet. This regime carried on for the first 12 years of my diabetic life. It was tough back then because effectively you never knew what your blood sugar levels were. The only clue was a feeling of being hypo, because back then I never really knew that a feeling of hyper existed as I took my insulin every day.

The daily routine was up every day, 7 days a week at 7 am. First, a urine test and then insulin injection and breakfast all by 7:30 am. Depending on my activity I could almost guarantee a hypo before lunchtime, but in those days all dosing decisions were made by the doctor.

In the mid-1980s came a change to 2 injections per day and a tiny bit more freedom in terms of eating. It was not much but every little bit counted in my eyes. There was still no blood testing for me …that would come later in 1991.

Fast forward to a move from the USA to the UK in 1988 and a new doctor and a different concept in my diabetes care. I was assigned a DSN (diabetes specialist nurse) and she was brilliant. I still remember her with great fondness. I distinctly remember being asked back in 1990 if I would like to speak with the leading diabetic research specialist at my hospital. I agreed to do this. He was proposing to put me on a trial for a new drug to aid management. As I was only 32 at the time I refused. 4 years later my Endocrinologist put me on a statin to help protect my kidneys and I realized that had been the drug he was trialing. This was the start of the prevention of potential complications and to this day I am grateful for the research and that I am still here. But that is not the end of the story…….

Moving forward to 1997 and I was introduced to insulin pens and MDI (multiple daily injections). It was fantastic, frightening and a step into the unknown, especially as no education came along with the switch. I pretty much taught myself carb counting in the late 1990s and heading into 2001 I was on my way to a huge fall. January 2001 and my first day back at work started like any other. I awoke on a 5.4 (98), ate breakfast, injected my bolus, and headed off to work. I arrived and clocked on at 8:17 am and that is the last thing I remember until I awoke in an ambulance on my way to A&E at around 10:30 am. My immediately called me in for an appointment as I was being discharged and advised me to stay off work and not drive my car for 8 weeks , lower all my insulin doses to run my blood sugars higher to regain my hypo awareness. I still to this day privately thank him for his intervention.

Over the years the type 1 diabetes has brought some unpleasant complications. Diabetic retinopathy for which I had laser in 2002 and 2012.   I also developed maculopathy and had eye injections in 2013 and 2014. My eyes have been stable since then.  Some of the most common complications among the type 1 diabetic community have also paid me a visit as well. Frozen shoulder and duypetrans contracture and carpal tunnel syndrome to name 3.  I also picked up a second autoimmune when I was diagnosed with hypothyroid in 2014

I think for me the last 9 years have been wonderful in terms of finding the online type 1 community. It has been a blessing as I finally have felt as though I am not on my own and there are people that “get it”.  Also, the last 6 years has seen me getting technology to partner in managing my type 1. In 2014 I started self-funding the freestyle libre and I did so for 4 years until getting it on prescription in 2018. In September 2015 I finally took the plunge and went on an insulin pump. I chose an Omnipod because it was tubeless. This has been the very best control for me since being type 1. It also gives me so much more freedom when I eat and has also eliminated the dawn phenomenon for me. The last thing to enter my life has been the Miaomiao Bluetooth transmitter which connects to my phone and my smartwatch so I get instant blood sugars continuously. I run this on an android phone, and I use the fantastic xdrip app  which allows me to set high and low sugar alarms which helps in preventing hypos and hypers.

I guess I would like to finish by saying that the doctors told me in 1972 that I would not live as long as I have and even though I have had some setbacks in my life due to the type 1, I honestly feel so grateful for the wonderful life I have had, and I look forward to continuing to stay connected to not only the online community but also real-life meetups with the many diabuddies I have met.

Thanks so much for reading……..

Bio: Born In Canada and moved to the Uk in 1988. Type 1 diabetic diagnosed on August 11, 1972.  On an omnipod insulin pump since September 2015.

Always looking to support the t1d community

Times have changed…

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1972. In those days there was 1 injection per day by mixing 2 insulins into 1 syringe at 7 am every morning and then following a strict diet. This regime carried on for the first 12 years of my diabetic life. It was tough back then because effectively you never knew what your blood sugar levels were. The only clue was a feeling of being hypo, because back then I never really knew that a feeling of hyper existed as I took my insulin every day.

The daily routine was up every day, 7 days a week at 7 am. First, a urine test and then insulin injection and breakfast all by 7:30 am. Depending on my activity I could almost guarantee a hypo before lunchtime, but in those days all dosing decisions were made by the doctor.

In the mid-1980s came a change to 2 injections per day and a tiny bit more freedom in terms of eating. It was not much but every little bit counted in my eyes. There was still no blood testing for me …that would come later in 1991.

Fast forward to a move from the USA to the UK in 1988 and a new doctor and a different concept in my diabetes care. I was assigned a DSN (diabetes specialist nurse) and she was brilliant. I still remember her with great fondness. I distinctly remember being asked back in 1990 if I would like to speak with the leading diabetic research specialist at my hospital. I agreed to do this. He was proposing to put me on a trial for a new drug to aid management. As I was only 32 at the time I refused. 4 years later my Endocrinologist put me on a statin to help protect my kidneys and I realized that had been the drug he was trialing. This was the start of the prevention of potential complications and to this day I am grateful for the research and that I am still here. But that is not the end of the story…….

Moving forward to 1997 and I was introduced to insulin pens and MDI (multiple daily injections). It was fantastic, frightening and a step into the unknown, especially as no education came along with the switch. I pretty much taught myself carb counting in the late 1990s and heading into 2001 I was on my way to a huge fall. January 2001 and my first day back at work started like any other. I awoke on a 5.4 (98), ate breakfast, injected my bolus, and headed off to work. I arrived and clocked on at 8:17 am and that is the last thing I remember until I awoke in an ambulance on my way to A&E at around 10:30 am. My immediately called me in for an appointment as I was being discharged and advised me to stay off work and not drive my car for 8 weeks , lower all my insulin doses to run my blood sugars higher to regain my hypo awareness. I still to this day privately thank him for his intervention.

Over the years the type 1 diabetes has brought some unpleasant complications. Diabetic retinopathy for which I had laser in 2002 and 2012.   I also developed maculopathy and had eye injections in 2013 and 2014. My eyes have been stable since then.  Some of the most common complications among the type 1 diabetic community have also paid me a visit as well. Frozen shoulder and duypetrans contracture and carpal tunnel syndrome to name 3.  I also picked up a second autoimmune when I was diagnosed with hypothyroid in 2014

I think for me the last 9 years have been wonderful in terms of finding the online type 1 community. It has been a blessing as I finally have felt as though I am not on my own and there are people that “get it”.  Also, the last 6 years has seen me getting technology to partner in managing my type 1. In 2014 I started self-funding the freestyle libre and I did so for 4 years until getting it on prescription in 2018. In September 2015 I finally took the plunge and went on an insulin pump. I chose an Omnipod because it was tubeless. This has been the very best control for me since being type 1. It also gives me so much more freedom when I eat and has also eliminated the dawn phenomenon for me. The last thing to enter my life has been the Miaomiao Bluetooth transmitter which connects to my phone and my smartwatch so I get instant blood sugars continuously. I run this on an android phone, and I use the fantastic xdrip app  which allows me to set high and low sugar alarms which helps in preventing hypos and hypers.

I guess I would like to finish by saying that the doctors told me in 1972 that I would not live as long as I have and even though I have had some setbacks in my life due to the type 1, I honestly feel so grateful for the wonderful life I have had, and I look forward to continuing to stay connected to not only the online community but also real-life meetups with the many diabuddies I have met.

Thanks so much for reading……..

Paul Pritchard
Born In Canada and moved to the Uk in 1988. Type 1 diabetic diagnosed on August 11, 1972.  On an omnipod insulin pump since September 2015.

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