Monday 4 August 2014

Diabetes Type 1: My story & Insulin Pump experience

So I've been wanting to write this post for a long time now. As you may know, I run a campaign/platform on this blog is for bullying, self-esteem, anxiety and other issues of a similar nature and the feedback I've had has been amazing and I really appreciate everyone's kind words.

I thought I'd add an extra item onto my campaign/platform and that is to also provide support to anyone with the medical condition that is diabetes. This will also be a part of it's own series on my blog, so I'll regularly be posting advice, recipes, tips and general little posts all about diabetes! I've had diabetes for nearly 10 years and I never really knew many people with it whilst I grew up. I was diagnosed at the age of 11 so I was old enough to just about understand it but too young in a way to know the impact it would have on my life. This is not a sob story or a post looking for sympathy in any way, shape or form, it's purely to provide support for people, like myself growing up with diabetes and help them with any problems they may have or even if they just want to talk about it!

Like I said, I was diagnosed at the age of 11 and I remember I had a really bad knee so my mum took me to the doctors. I'd recently lost a lot of weight, was drinking 24/7 and had serious dark circles under my eyes. We didn't really think anything of it and put it down to stress as I had started comprehensive school only a few months prior and I hated it so much I didn't want to go. Luckily enough, after the doctor checked out my knee, my mum told her of my symptoms and she replied "Oh, we better get you checked out with the nurse, you could have diabetes". We were so unsure of what diabetes actually meant, we kind of thought I'd be in and out of the doctors surgery in no time at all. Unfortunately, when I was checked by the nurse, she told me to pack a bag and head down to hospital straight away to be admitted. I felt totally confused and disorientated. So we headed down to the hospital and that's where I stayed for more or less a week. After being seen by every doctor, nurse and medical staff under the sun, I was finally discharged and sent home. I really didn't have much of a clue what to do except I knew I had to give myself numerous injections everyday. I had great support from my mum and dad and the rest of my family, my friends were great about it too.

One thing I remember hating about having this condition was having to do injections in public, eat in class and also do glucose tests in class. I felt uncomfortable whenever I had to eat biscuits during lessons and the teacher would ask me to put them away because they didn't know, but luckily someone in my class would always say "she's diabetic, she has to eat!" but I was still embarrassed and hated the attention it brought!

I never really felt like having diabetes stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. I still went out with friends, I still went on holiday, I still got good grades, I still got a part-time job, I still passed my driving test, I still went on school trips which I'll get onto later.

Even though you might feel like having diabetes is hindering your life and lifestyle, try and turn it into a positive. You're probably eating healthier than you ever were before, it could be a whole lot worse and you get to eat sugary goods when you're glucose levels are low. See, win-win right?

As I got a bit older, I had to increase the amount of injections I was giving myself. My glucose levels were constantly high 20s and this started to have an impact on my life. It made me feel ill constantly and I knew I had to find another solution. That's where my insulin pump comes in. One of the diabetic nurses informed me of a pump that was coming out soon and they were doing trials with small groups of people to see how we got on with them. I had to learn all about how the pump worked (which was draining) and I had to learn how to carbohydrate count. You might have heard of this before, you might have not. I'm still trying to get to grips with it myself! If you'd like me to do a post on carbohydrate counting, please let me know and I'll get that done for you! :)

In October 2008 I finally properly transitioned from injections to an insulin pump. It started off a bit rocky, having trouble inserting the pump and getting it to deliver the right amount of insulin but I soon got the hang of it. Below I'll go into more detail about how the pump works! The pump has given me so much more freedom than I could ever imagine having. Instead of injecting 4+ times a day, I'm now injecting once every 2-3 days. Crazy right? This pump allows me to go out and eat without having to pull out my injection pen, it allows me to eat more of what I want to eat, it allows me to have the odd treat every now and again, it allows me to feel more normal rather than being reminded of diabetes each time I went to do something, as I'd usually have to take my diabetes into account for whatever I was about to do. I even went  to L.A and San Francisco with my sixth form which is something I never imagined I'd be able to do because of my constant injections and lack of flexibility but the pump gave me that flexibility so I was able to go. I'm not saying if you're on injections that you can't go away on your own without your parents, but I felt more comfortable knowing they were with me if I was on injections, but with my pump I felt confident enough to take complete care of myself... mind you, it didn't stop my parents from worrying!

So I'll introduce you to my insulin pump now and show you how it works and the equipment that goes with it! Sorry if it's a bit confusing, I'll try to make it brief but if you have any questions about it, I'll leave my contact links at the bottom so you can email or tweet me with your questions! :)

My Insulin Pump!

This is called an Infusion Set. The blue part of it is the part that is inserted into my stomach (not the top part of the blue, the underneath!) and that has a needle on it when you take the blue cap off.

young diabetic

This is called a Reservoir and this is inserted into the vile of insulin which you'll see below, in order for the insulin to enter the little bottle which says Medtronic on it with the measurements.


This is the vile of insulin I use.

diabetes type 1

This is called the Quick-Serter and this is used as the "trigger" to insert the Infusion Set (see image 1).


This is the Infusion Set inserted into the Quick-Serter.


...And here is my pump! So small, it's easily hid and tucked away in my pocket or clipped onto my jeans!

insulin pump

I hope this is helpful! As previously mentioned, this is the beginning of a brand new series on my blog and part of my campaign/platform!

If you'd like to take part in this blog series, please let me know! I'm always looking for bloggers to take part in my campaign/platform so if you're diabetic and you'd like to help out, I'll leave my links below! If you're not diabetic but you'd still like to help out, my campaign/platform also includes issues such as bullying, self-esteem, anxiety and issues along those lines! Here's a direct link to a post that explains everything so if you think that's for you, get in touch!

If you'd just like to talk or would like any advice, please do not hesitate to contact me on any of the links I leave below as that's what I'm here for!

Get in touch: 

Twitter: @ChloesConcept



  1. That is so interesting, I never knew such pumps existed - that's a big improvement. I grew up with my mam being diabetic and she injections twice daily. We always have to eat at the same time daily and work around injections so having that longer freedom between injections must be so freeing!

    1. It's such a flexible option! It almost makes diabetes easier to cope with on a daily basis - I'm not constantly thinking about it which is fantastic! Maybe your mum might be interested in finding out if the pump may suit her? Hope it works out for her xx

  2. So great to see a lifestyle blog also discussing diabetes - i am trying to find that balance between the two, so am absolutely LOVING reading yours! xx

    1. Thank you, Sophie! I'm really passionate about increasing awareness about it so people find comfort in connecting with others who have diabetes also. Thank you for your lovely comment! I'd love to have you involved in my #TakeBackWhatsYours campaign! If you'd like to know more - please give me an email! xx