Friday, 19 August 2011

Where to begin...

Welcome to the blog and whether you've come here deliberately or landed by accident when looking for fruit with medical conditions I welcome you with all my heart.

I was born in 1975 as a son of farmers from Cumbria and the brother of two elder sisters and one elder brother.  The early years are so long ago now that my memories are very vague and mostly involve picnics in the car in the rain. 

Then in 1979 my life-changing moment arrived and I didn't even really appreciate it.  Obviously my memory is tiny of that time but I do remember lying on the sofa before the local Doc, a very polite gentleman called Dr. Procter (and I still believe he has the perfect doctor's name), told my parents to get to hospital pretty sharpish as he'd just diagnosed me with Diabetes Mellitus.  Back then I'm not certain it was called Type 1 but the consequences were very similar to today. 

After my parents practised on an orange a few times they were told to inject me once a day and strictly control the amount of food I ate and balance this with any exercise.  At the time I was still 3 so didn't really appreciate how devastating this must have been for them and it's only now with small kids of my own that I can understand the torment they must have gone through.

Over the years developing technology moved my treatment from single injections and peeing into a test-tube to multiple daily injections (MDI) and testing my blood glucose levels with a fancy meter in ever shrinking sizes.

The middle years also involved trips to the dreaded consultant that normally involved multiple coloured pens and the test diary being filled retrospectively to prove my control was being managed closely.  The big block on this charade came with the introduction of the HbA1c test which measures your average blood glucose levels over time so showing a list of fake perfect numbers wasn't really helpful anymore.

The mid 90s had the highlight of meeting my wonderful wife and this gave me some more focus to really get everything under control but still over the years it's not really been as good as it could/should have been.

In my 'other' life I'm quite a technical kind of guy so I'm still amazed at how little time and effort I took to seeking out the Diabetes Online Community and the support they could offer.  I think I was convinced that D wasn't going to define me so I shouldn't spend much time looking into it apart from occasional tests and hoping my dosage adjustment was roughly correct.

The addition of a fantastic son and wonderful daughter brought some real focus and the start of a push to really get control of something that had been ‘there’ but not ‘carefully managed’ for over 30 years.

In 2006 I ran the London Marathon with the continued support of my wife after getting an automatic entry for applying so many times unsuccessfully.  Although fundraising really isn't my thing I decided to raise some money for JDRF for entirely selfish reasons - as their goal is to find a cure for T1.  In the training and before the race I met a few other Ds and this was probably the first time in over ten years I'd talked to anyone outside my family about it.  Yet still I held back and presumed everyone else had it sussed and I was the uncontrolled freak.

Which is brings us more or less up to date.  I hope to follow this intro up with some more posts on how I've got to where I've got to now and my thoughts going forward.  Stick with it because I'm not sure what's happening next – hence my current blog subtitle of ‘To pump or not to pump!’


  1. Love your first post. My son dx last yr aged 4 and glad technology has moved on from the 70's - must have been really hard for your parents. My son been approved for a pump start in October which I know is for the best but I find myself grieving that he will be attached to it for always after. I look forward to your next post.

  2. Thanks.
    I'm tempted to do a look back at some point to remember the glass syringes and metal 'gun' we had to fire it in to make the injections less painful!

    It must be so hard for you. But for your son it'll just be his life so, whilst being a huge pain, he won't remember life without it. Big fingers crossed for the pump making things easier.