Living with diabetes


My name is Melanie Stephenson, I’m 22 and have been living with type 1 diabetes for 9 years. I was first diagnosed with the disease just after my 13th birthday and went straight onto 2 injections a day. Since then diabetes treatment has progressed as have my requirements in how I needed to treat the condition. As a result of which I am now an insulin pump user (it’s pink), and have been for the last year.

Diabetes is only a small part of my day to day life, I am also an international athlete- training 6days a week. And I have just finished a degree in fashion design with my specialist area being sports performance wear. Within my forthcomin blogs I will be talking about what it is like to try and participate in sport with diabetes, how I have over-come the difficulties that I’ve faced so far and how I plan to over-come those in the future. There may even be some fashion tips thrown in for those of you who have difficuting concealing your pump (because sometimes you don’t want to be asked hundreds of questions about it when people see it)!

I’ll be happy to answer any questions along the way about anything mentioned and would be pleased to hear any thoughts or opinions about my blog too!

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Hi Rebecca :-) You sound like a girl after my own heart with your question about what to wear. I wouldn’t say that you HAVE to change the way that you dress, but initially I adapted it a little so my pump was hidden. Not that it is anything to be ashamed of but I think you need to get used to it yourself before being ready for people to start asking questions about it.

So what I did after I got my pump was went shopping to find clothes I felt comfortable in and that hid my pump as well. So for example I wore floaty or patterned tops with my jeans so they would hide the waist band/ pump. I’m not saying that you have to go out and spend a fortune on new clothes, but what I am saying is don’t be afraid if you feel a little differently initially, about the way you dress when you first get your pump :-)

The other thing I did was to get a pink pump, so if I did need to look at it at least it was pretty lol. My other tip would be that if you don’t want to change your dress sense, get creative with where to hide it. For example, I find my lower back is a great hiding place for fitted dresses.

Hope this helps! Mel.

Hi S. Wright, I think the best way to answer you about having a pump is honestly. So I’d have to say initially that their not the easiest things to get your head around at the very beginning because their so different to injections. But the initial uncertainty definitely gives way to better blood sugar control, so the swap is well worth it in my opinion :-) As your son is only 6 as well, it’s great that he’ll have the added support of you knowing about the pump too.

Now I’ve gotten used to it I most definitely wouldn’t go back onto normal injections because I like the control that having a pump gives me. I,e- eating when I want to rather than when my injection routine dictates, being able to adapt my pump so I can participate in different activities and the list goes on. I’m sure it’ll be great, but if you have any worries or questions about the pump or anything related please drop me a comment :-)

Hi Henry, it is really difficult getting to grips with how to adapt your diet when newly diagnosed. How are coping with being diagnosed? In the morning with breakfast I would probably use the same as you- Canderel powdered sweetener on cereal for example. But I prefer to use the tiny condensed sweeteners if it’s to go in a drink as I find although a sugar alternative, some of the sweeteners still contain some carbohydrate which can cause a slight rise in blood sugar so I think it’s a good tip to keep an eye on blood sugars after using them, or check the label on the reverse of the pack. Hope this helps :)


Hi Melanie,

I am 21 and I have had diabetes for 13 years. I am getting my inslin pump in January, and one of my main concerns is how do I hide it? I dont want to have to sacrafice the way I dress :(

Where do you put it?


Hi Melanie! I was glad that you mentioned the insulin pump. My 6 yr old son is getting one fitted before Christmas and we are all anxious. How do you find it? Would you ever go back to multiple daily injections?

Hi Melanie, I’be just been diagnosed with diabetes . In terms of sugar in the morning I use Canderalla sweetner from Sainsubrys instead of Tate sugar cubes. As you#ve been 9 years how so you sweeten things. Rgds A