Diabetes Week : 10 years and counting – by The Grumpy Pumper

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 25. To be honest it was no surprise to me. A family history and the tell-tale symptoms were there. So at diagnosis. I was put on to 2 injections of mixed insulin a day. Told about carb counting and off I went into the world. I knew it all (or so I thought) and that was it. I was ok with that, and saw absolutely no use or reason for what I saw as the waste of money that was going into Diabetes research. I saw no point in looking for the cure that was always 10-20 years away.

Of course, in my “know it all” naivety I had missed the one glaring obvious point. Without the research that had gone years before my diagnosis into insulin use, I would not be in the fortunate position of being able to keep myself alive with two injections a day! I know that sounds a bit of a drastic way to look at things but it works for me. When asked what is the best bit of equipment I have to manage my Diabetes, my answer is always Insulin. Without it, I would no longer be here.

So I have now been living with, and beating my diabetes for almost 19 years. Things have changed. Well except for a cure. That has still not been found (but please don’t worry. I was told the other day that’s its only 10-20 years way). I moved to MDI and then onto a pump. CGM is now available, meters are faster and more accurate and there are more types of insulin available to suit different people’s needs and choice how they want to manage their Diabetes. All of which comes from research. I realise that it is worth the money. That research is not about looking for one thing (the elusive cure) but it is about finding out what works and what doesn’t, or at times what works better than something else. And every time that improvement is found, it’s a step forward and fuels the next step.

For me a great example of worthwhile research at the moment is the Artificial Pancreas. The old me would have thought “what is the point? It won’t get funded for everyone and if you don’t want to be on a pump then it won’t benefit you”. No longer being the old me, my opinion is now this. To enable the Artificial Pancreas to help manage a person’s Diabetes in the way it is intended the following things are needed:

• Faster acting Insulin
• Faster delivery method for Insulin
• More accurate monitoring of Blood Glucose level
• Real time monitoring of Blood Glucose levels (no CGM lag)

Improvements of any one of these has the capacity to help all people with Diabetes regardless of how they choose to manage their “D”. So for me research is worth it, it’s essential and it must continue.

The Grumpy Pumper

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This was really interesting for someone without diabetes to read the perspective about diabetes research from someone who lives with it.