Don’t make me cry – by Helen May


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I guess I was like most people hearing for the first time that they have diabetes: the diagnosis was an emotional time and although I am usually pretty controlled, I found myself crying. However, it never lasted long: as the tears washed down my face, I would catch a taste of them and my fascination would start. My tears were not salty, they were sweet. I thought it was amazing and may have invited a friend or two to taste. The absurdity was so funny; I started to laugh which was, probably, one of the ways I was able to cope with the diagnosis.

I thought my surreal connection between diabetes and tears had past until I read an article about a new blood glucose testing method under research: using tears instead of blood to measure blood glucose.

At the beginning, my fingers were soft and for a few months I had bruised fingers. As my fingers got used to the pin-pricks and I started “prick-rotation”, the bruises died down.

“Prick-rotation?” I hear you ask. I use my left hand one day and my right hand the next. Each day, I take four readings: before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and before going to bed: so I use each of my four fingers on each hand. This prick rotation balances out the impact. Simple!

Despite the reduced bruising, the inconvenience of blood testing continues. For example, no matter how much I try to clean up, I’m always spotting another smear of blood on the door post or my latest book.

That said, I’m not convinced about tear testing; contact lens wearers tell me I’d get used to sticking something in my eye. But what about continuous glucose testing? Are these sadistic researchers going to make me cry all the time? Or maybe it will only work during hayfever season!

This is only one example of the research I read about. There is plenty of research trying to understand the cause of diabetes and how to stop diabetes happening. However, being selfish, it is too late for me – I already have diabetes. I also read about research into finding a cure for diabetes which I would love to see but I feel this is a long time away. So, I am incredibly pleased, to read how researchers are looking at ways to ease today’s lifestyle challenges for those of us with diabetes.

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