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My Diagnosis and Living with Diabetes By Caroline Glaves – Homecare Nurse, HealthNet Homecare

World Diabetes Day Occurs on 14th November every year around the world, this date is the birthday of the man who co-discovered insulin, Frederick Banting. He discovered insulin in 1922, alongside Charles Best.

My diabetes journey involves Type 1. I have hereditary Type 1 diabetes; my father was type a 1 diabetic. I developed diabetes until later in life and can now manage my condition. I am sharing my story to raise awareness of some of the symptoms and looking back why it was important to take my sudden worsening health seriously.

Being a nurse, I expected to see the warning signs but I didn’t. I had felt tired, but I worked a lot of nights at the time. I was feeling thirsty, but I put this down to eating salty bacon. I was weeing more than usual; I put this down to being thirsty from the bacon. It was noticed by my colleagues, questioning if I had a urine infection. Then the blurred vision occurred, and I thought I should mention this as it was affecting my everyday life. I hadn’t noticed the other signs that you can have, such as losing weight, fruity-smelling breath, I’d not had any cuts and grazes that were not healing.

All this happened over two weeks. My urine was tested for a urine infection, but it showed up glucose and ketones. This meant that they needed to do a finger prick to test my blood for sugar, and it was off the scale. I was admitted to hospital and treated for Ketoacidosis; this was a serious problem. My body had run out of insulin. It began breaking down my fat for fuel and harmful waste products called ketones then built up in my body. If this hadn’t been identified and treated quickly, I was told it would have been life threatening.

From that day on I needed to learn how inject myself with insulin. As a nurse I found injecting others was one thing, but giving myself injections surprisingly was not easy. It took time and patience from the diabetic specialist nurse to encourage me to do it. Therefore, I can sympathise with the Patients I see, who are being taught how to do their own injections.

I now have an insulin pump with a glucose sensor linked to it, and I can lead a relatively normal life. Occasionally it lets me know if my sugar is going high it will give me more insulin, or if I’m going low because I’ve been more active or not eaten enough, it lets me know I need some sugar. This is all thanks to Frederick Banting and Charles Best, the researchers into diabetes, the drug and tech companies for developing treatments and devices.

Thanks for reading my journey.

For more information on diabetes please read the following summary, watch the video and find links below for more information. Always speak to your GP if you think you or someone you know may be affected.

There are 2 main types of diabetes:
People who have type 1 diabetes can’t make enough insulin. We need insulin to be able to use the sugar, in foods we eat, as fuel for all our body cells. The sugar builds up in the body if we don’t have enough insulin. This makes us increasingly unwell. Type 2 is when the insulin you make either can’t work effectively, or you can’t produce enough.


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Caroline Glaves

Homecare Nurse