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Treatments

There are a number of treatments available to help you treat your diabetes, from insulin pumps to tablets and medication. Here we share stories about the different ways in which people have learnt to manage their condition, to help you understand what options you have.

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Adam

Adjusting

In a way I think I felt better now knowing what I had and how to treat it. I just wanted to get back to feeling myself again.

I took the diagnosis on the chin and moved forward as best I could, but diabetes has a big impact on your life.

I’ve got the 24-hour slow acting insulin Lantus, and I take three injections at mealtimes. I weigh my food and manage my carbs as much as possible, which my girlfriend supports me with – and we also use apps to help with this.

I was on a trial for the Freestyle Libre before my son was born and still use it now. It’s a good bit of kit. Now if I go for a night out or if I’m playing sports, life is so much easier as I don’t have to be pricking my finger; it’s just a case of scanning my phone to check my levels – it gives me peace of mind. 

Family life 

Four months after my diagnosis my son, Ronan, was born. Again, I think having the Libre really helped me manage my diabetes during this more intense time. Doing feeds, getting up in the night, and having a newborn wake up at all hours, made managing my diabetes a bit more stressful, especially as Ronan had colic so didn’t sleep very well. 

Given that we were in a pandemic, we did feel more vulnerable with a newborn and my type 1 diagnosis. Not many people could see and cuddle our baby. Perhaps we were overly cautious and did miss out, but we felt better when vaccinations were introduced.  

Ronan is now 20 months’ old, and I’ve managed to do everything with him so far. He’s a very active child, so I’ll often be chasing him around the house or at the park. We like to get out as much as possible and often go on long walks together.

As he grows up, I want to be able to do sports with him. My motivation to manage my diabetes well is so that I can do these things with my son.

I’ve always enjoyed football, cricket, and squash, so would love to eventually see if he shares the same interests. 

Read Adam's complete story
Muhammad cheering

Muhammad IsmailDiagnosed aged two-and-a-half

Closed loop systems helped me fast for Ramadan

Muhammad’s outlook began to change after changing his appointments closer to his workplace and meeting a new doctor. When he met Dr Karen Anthony, for the first time Muhammad felt that she was genuinely interested and trying to take a moment to understand.

After that, Muhammad searched for diabetes support groups, attended in-person meet ups and actively searched for diabetes information online. It was through a local meet-up that he learned more about closed looping “seeing the artificial pancreas systems that people around the world had developed really inspired me, it was the biggest innovation I’ve seen in diabetes, and it was led by ordinary people rather than the medical community.”

It’s one thing reading about these systems and how they work, but when you see people living with them, it’s just like magic.

Muhammad says that another advantage or using the closed-loop system was that it meant he felt able to safely fast for the whole month of Ramadan, which he wished to do.

Read Muhammad Ismail's complete story
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Diagnosed with type 2 after having gestational diabetes

Going on medication

When I was diagnosed, I really blamed myself. When I was pregnant I was concerned about whether my children were going to be okay. It took me a long time to realise that it wasn't actually my fault and that it was something that was out of my control. Being a nurse and having some knowledge was probably quite difficult, because I look after people that have had leg ulcers because of their diabetes or have neuropathy, and even amputations. I’d seen the worst side of diabetes. For the first 12 months, I religiously made myself eat properly. And I did manage to control the diabetes for a little while with just diet. 

But then I couldn’t anymore, which was when I started metformin and insulin. I take these twice a day, and sometimes extra as well, because it's not as well-controlled as it should be. I think I've really struggled with feeling like I've done something wrong. Lots of people have said ‘it's not your fault.’ But obviously you don't think that when you get told you've got something wrong with you – you automatically blame yourself.

I’ve been quite surprised at the lack of emotional support from my healthcare team at times. Since I’m a nurse, often the nurses think I must know it all. But looking after yourself is very different to giving advice to a patient.

I think it's quite frightening how easy it is to end up having a hypo. You’re taught about how to deal with it but not about how it's going to feel. It's nice to have that empathy for my patients now. 
 

Read 's complete story
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LibbyDiagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 3.

How we treat our daughter's diabetes

Jayne

At first, Libby cried every time we came at her with a needle to test her blood sugars or inject her insulin, her but then she just accepted it. She didn’t get the Freestyle Libre for months, so she would groan and say “oh not again” when we needed to inject her. That would make it hard.

She’s a lot more aware now that we've got the technology and that makes things a lot easier for her. Obviously now in school she knows she’s the only one that wears a pump and the only one that needs her insulin before dinner. But I don’t think she really knows the dangers of high and low blood sugar. And it’s not something I want to discuss with her until she’s old enough to understand.

“We are like Libby's pancreas now – we need to give her her insulin. You need it for everything: every carb you have in the day.” – Mike

Read Libby's complete story
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MaureenDiagnosed in 2020

Struggling to find the right treatment

My symptoms started around October 2019, just after I’d been diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). They gave me steroids to try to treat my condition, but then I started to feel really unwell. I felt dizzy, my vision was blurry and I was constantly thirsty. At one of my appointments, the doctor suggested checking my blood glucose (sugar) levels. It turned out that taking the steroids had pushed my levels up, and that’s when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

After meeting my diabetes nurse and chatting through my treatment options, I decided to try a low dose of medication to begin with. I was also told about other things to monitor, such as my diet and lifestyle, but I wasn’t given a huge amount of detail or support.

My appointment with my dietitian was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the medication I was taking didn’t end up agreeing with me at all. It left me with an upset stomach and caused fluctuations in my weight where I’d lose a bit and then put more back on.

When I first called the helpline, I was absolutely exhausted and felt so helpless. I’d come off my medication as it wasn’t working for me, but my weight continued to creep up and up. The doctors suggested I try a new treatment, but I was the heaviest I had ever been and I knew something needed to change.

Read Maureen's complete story
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