Keeping your glucose levels in check in public – by Adam Mitchell
I’ve had Type 1 for 7 years now and still struggle. It’s not just the sugar levels – it’s the awkwardness of having to check and inject when out in public. I always feel I’m been watched and have tended to try be sly about doing it. I know it’s part of life and part of having the condition, but sometimes you can’t help wondering what other people think. Life is certainly a challenge at times, but one thing is for sure, I stay positive and get on the best I can.
I have recently started using the Freestyle Libre (flash glucose monitoring) which has made things a lot easier to check myself in public places as you can discreetly scan the sensor on your arm.
I’m running the Manchester 10k now for the second time. Last time I did the run I managed to raise £725 for Diabetes UK.
The event itself was an amazing experience and made me decide I was going to carry on fundraising for the charity. Living with diabetes can be hard at times and feels like a constant battle to keep sugar levels under control.
Doing the Manchester run will be a lot easier now with the Freestyle Libre as I will be able to monitor my sugars as I’m actually running round the course this time. There’s no messing about with finger pricking anymore which is much easier. This is definitely a massive step to making people’s lives with diabetes much easier and more manageable. It has improved things for me no end.
I have to pay for the Freestyle Libre as where I live in Huddersfield, they don’t put it on prescription yet which is a shame. It is not cheap but I pay it because it has made a massive difference to me and managing my glucose levels. When I’m next at the doctors I will be letting them know this but I guess it’s up to them what they spend their funding on. I definitely think it should be available to everybody with diabetes and think it’s unfair it’s not nationwide.
Over the years I have got more confidant with injecting and testing. Now I just get on and do it whereas before I would go and sit in restaurant toilets so people would not be sat there staring at me.
Last year at the Manchester run I didn’t really have to inject as I tend to keep my sugars high before the run. Afterwards I went and found a quiet spot in KFC and checked myself. Again I didn’t have to inject as running had brought my sugars down to about 6.5. This also proves exercise is a good way to control them.
First injection in public
My first experience of having to test my sugars and inject myself with insulin in public was about seven years ago – just two weeks after I came out of hospital after being diagnosed with diabetes. Me and a few of my friends went out for a meal for my 32nd birthday. It was my first time out and seeing so I was a little nervous anyway. I knew everyone would be asking loads of questions about my condition. Anyway after the meal I got the testing kit and insulin out and everyone just stopped and started watching me. I knew they were only curious to what I was doing. I felt really uncomfortable being watched. Once I started explaining what I was doing I calmed down and realised they were only trying to understand it as many of them had no real education of diabetes. Now when I’m with friends, no one bothers and when I’m in public places they help me if they can and keep an eye on me.
At work at first I would take myself away in to quiet corners as I felt embarrassed. I hated the fact people used to watch me. I’d sit in the canteen and I would usually wait till people had left then test and inject myself. Eventually as I came to terms and got more confident it didn’t bother me as much. Also when I’d explained to my work colleagues about things it wasn’t as bad as they understood things better.
I realise now people are just curious and probably never really met anyone with diabetes.
My aim now is to beat my personal best of 55 and a half minutes, which I achieved last time I did the run. I know the money I raise is going to a great charity which is very close to me. Also, I know it’s going towards helping people like me and research to hopefully one day finding a cure. Even if it’s not for me, it may give hope to younger generations and maybe make their lives easier to live.