I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the summer of 1991, when I was 17.5 years old. I can’t remember exactly when but I moved onto Insulin Pen Therapy at some point which was much better than using syringes and vials. I could grab a pen and take it with me without having to think about the additional nausea of carrying all the paraphernalia round with me. Just dial up the dose, screw on a needle and inject. Easy. I also can’t remember exactly when I stopped doing proper testing but I know I did. I seemed to slip into an easy rhythm of doing the same injections at the same time each day without really thinking what I was doing or eating, and not really testing my blood glucose at all. Looking back now I see this as a “dark time” in my diabetes control, when I was going through the motions without actually properly monitoring how I was doing.
When I would visit the consultant I would just make up some numbers for my blood sugar and put them in an excel spreadsheet. I don’t remember what my HbA1c was like during this period but I do remember not being worried about my visits to the consultant or being “told off” during them. I just sailed through without any problems it seems. I didn’t have any serious hypos, or hypers nor did I develop any other complications. My vision remains fine and I still have feeling in my feet, but I did have these checked each year by the hospital.
The one thing that does surprise me is the amount of exercise that I was doing at the time did not cause me any serious hypos. I would cycle 10 ~ 16 miles a couple of times a week, sometimes when it was really hot and sunny, and I had no problems. I used to take water and a Granaola bar which I often didn’t eat but never my blood meter or Lucozade. I find this scary to think about now, especially as I am far more aware of how my body reacts to exercise and what my blood sugars will do. I am amazed that something serious didn’t happen to me in the quiet lanes of north Cardiff to be honest.
When I moved to Bristol and transferred to a new hospital I had a chat with my new Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN) who asked me why I wasn’t testing and I explained that I had just got out of the habit really. We talked through the benefits of checking my blood sugar, she gave me a shiny new meter and being a sucker for technology I agreed to start checking my blood sugar. I have now tested since August 2008 and moved onto carbohydrate counting and a pump but I have benefitted enormously from the testing I have done since that discussion.
While sometimes it can be a chore to test my blood it is an essential part of my daily life and not doing it would be very difficult for me to do. I have good days, bad days, hypos and hypers, but checking my blood sugar allows to me figure out where I need to make corrections and more importantly it allows me to eat what I want. Which is awesome.
Remember kids, not checking you blood is not big or clever!