Tuesday, 19 June 2007

History of my diabetes

Today I found a diabetes blog called Diabetes-Wise. It has inspired me to start this blog. For some reason I didn't think to look for any diabetes related blogs until today. Doh!! This one is very good from what I have read so far, I was almost brought to tears by one of the posts, and there are loads of links down the side to other blogs which I have yet to check out.

Anyway, my current situation is not good. I have "lost the plot" as they say. And it is all going on for far too long. A bit of history is required here methinks............
  • February 1987 - diagnosed with IDDM aged 18. Started on one insulin injection per day. A few weeks later I went up to 2 injections per day. I was taught the basics of the "exchange system" of carb counting, ie 1 medium apple, 1 egg sized potato = 1 exchange, etc, eat 4 exchanges for breakfast, 6 at lunch blah blah. And snack, snack, snack!!
  • June 1987 - retook the A-levels that I had failed the year before.
  • October 1987 - went to university in Bangor, N. Wales and 2 days later met Colin. We have been together ever since. During this first year I would go to my hospital check-ups when I was home during the holidays and was told I was one of their better controlled diabetics.
  • October 1988 - had a hypo during a lecture, and had to leave the room to sort it out. It went on for longer than any previous ones and in the end I had to ask my friend to come out of the lecture hall and go and see if she could get someone to help me. By pure luck she found a diabetic who brought me Ribena and sat with me until it went off. I never saw him again but I often think he was like a guardian angel.
  • A few weeks later I had another hypo in another lecture and again left the room. I then began to get anxious in lectures, waiting for it to happen again, and my hypo phobia began to take hold. After Christmas I started missing lectures and by Easter I was having panic attacks and not leaving the house.
  • I struggled through uni with the help of some wonderful friends who brought me lecture notes and I took my exams in sick bay, scraping a 2:2 in June 1990.
  • I can't remember exactly when but I went onto MDI and insulin pens.
  • Colin and I moved to Wrexham and I had to get a job. I started working in a cafe and then got a full time job in the Path Lab. I was deliberately keeping my blood sugars high to avoid hypos, by not taking enough insulin. I was anxious if the bgs went lower than 12.
  • 1991 we moved back to Bangor and I got in touch with the diabetes nurses. They tried some drastic action by taking away my testing kit so that I wasn't able to check my sugars all the time as I was a bit obsessed. I had to go to them to get tested, luckily I worked in the hospital. (However, I didn't give them ALL my strips and had a secret stash that I used when I got in a panic!) That lasted about a couple of weeks.
  • I saw a psychiatrist, who it turned out was diabetic, and he told me to carry a sweet in my pocket all the time. Derrrr, I carried enough sweets and lucozade to keep an army marching for weeks!!!
  • 1994 - we got married.
  • 1996 - we moved to Chester. The diabetes team did their best. I got referred to a clinical psychologist, who by coincidence had done his degree with Colin. He did cognitive behaviour therapy with me, but I was too frightened to do anything he told me to do, but I kept going back until he went to another job 2 years later.
  • Around about this time I started getting retinopathy, and had laser treatment, which is ongoing on and off depending if I am stable at each 4 monthly visit. I also got high cholesterol and went onto statins.
  • 2003 - We paid privately for me to see a psychotherapist who did EMDR. This was fairly successful and made me think about things in a different way. This also helped when I was given the go ahead for pump therapy in 2004.
  • August 2004 - I went on the pump. It was a revelation and I thought the answer to all my problems. But no, the actual psychological problem of the fear and anxiety was still there. My HbA1cs did improve from 9.9 to 8.3.
  • Meanwhile, I started to have unexplained bouts of vomiting and had a test which discovered I had gastroparesis. Sometimes my stomach just doesn't absorb the food in it, so my bgs drop dramatically. So I am now keeping my bgs high just incase the food I've just eaten doesn't absorb but the insulin is in and working. I am testing too many times, and my last HbA1c was 10.5. I'm due another one this week for my review in a couple of weeks. I know it will be even higher.
  • I am going to be 39 in August and my biological clock is TICKING!!

So the situation is, to boil it down, I am scared of hypos and keep my bgs too high to avoid them. This is causing me problems with the onset of complications, ie gastroparesis and retinopathy, and preventing me from starting a family.

I started off using a Disetronic DtronPlus but have now upgraded to a Accu-Chek Spirit which has a few more features.

I am going to visit other people's blogs and leave comments in the hope that they will possibly be curious to have a read of mine and offer any insights into what I can do. Any help greatly appreciated, thanks.


Caro said...


I'm so happy that I've inspired you to start blogging, and thank you for your compliments on my own blog. You're joining quite community of passionate and caring people who I know will have plenty of advice and support for you, quite simply because we understand, and know how difficult this diabetes thing is.

I understand your fears of hypos very well, as I have been there too. In fact, I seem to swing between extreme fear of lows and extreme fear of complications.

What advice have your current diabetes team had for you, particularly with regard to your gastroparesis diagnosis? Have you been offered any medication, or advice on using square wave boluses to better match your food absorption?

Please keep on blogging. It is a wonderful outlet and a great way to share your fears and frustrations with people who understand.


Donna said...

I, too, have the anxiety problems along with the diabetes. It's quite a comibination sometimes. I take a few anti-anxiety meds and they seem to help some.

I'm sorry to hear about your gastroparesis. That's something I've not had to deal with (yet).

I did want to let you know that I did have two very healthy children while taking multiple daily injections - there was no insulin pump then. So please don't give up on having children. It is possible for diabetics to have children - and it should be even easier today with all the medical advances that have been made in the last 23 years since my daughter was born. I'm not saying it is going to be easy, but it is possible. Just make sure your OB-Gyn & Endocrinologist work closely together through the whole process.

Don't give up & good luck with the anxiety thing, too.

Bernard said...


Is there any chance you could get a continuous glucose monitor? That might help with both the lows and the highs.