Self care with friends who inspire me: Part 3 – Being independently supported to live well with type 1 diabetes

I met Stevie at work about 10 years ago. The first time, I properly got to know her, I remember I got a lift from her to an event at work and there was no awkward small talk, I immediately felt comfortable with her and we chatted away. Some time later, not long after I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I remember talking to her and just opening up about my struggles to accept my diagnosis. She was so empathetic and seemed to know just the right thing to say. We ended up working together again and we would sometimes chat about her diabetes and my Parkinson’s and that was when I began to realise that even though we had completely different conditions, we had a lot in common.

Stevie’s story…

Stevie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, 27 years ago, when she was only 11 years old. Of her initial diagnosis, she said:

“We didn’t know what diabetes was, other than people could have a special diabetic ice cream.”

She went on to tell me that in the months and years following her diagnosis, her healthcare team were absolutely brilliant and gave her confidence by teaching her how to learn from herself and how to manage her own condition.

This self care week, she shares her insights into diabetes and self care …

“It’s not a life-limiting condition but you definitely have to think about it no matter what you want to do. What I have really struggled with over the past year is really coming to terms with the vulnerabilities I have as a type 1 diabetic.”

“Self care means me being able to treat, manage and understand myself with a condition. Like many conditions, I may be a type 1 diabetic but I am not necessarily going to be the same type 1 diabetic as someone else. We will have similarities and shared experiences but my body will react differently to insulin or to stress or exercise or excitement to someone else who is diabetic. We are all individuals.”

“We are all individuals.”

“Five years ago, I got an insulin pump. I was at a place where I was exhausted of strategies or knowing what to do next. It wasn’t a cure, but it was something else I needed as part of my armour to live well with diabetes. It made me more stable and it improved my quality of life as it gave me a new confidence to live well.”

Stevie’s insulin pump

“Having the pump made me take ownership of my diabetes. Physically I had changed but mentally I hadn’t.”

“When you are diabetic, you get low blood sugar levels and high blood sugar levels which when out of range can make you feel really unwell. The insulin pump gives me more ways to control the levels.  Before getting the pump, feeling unwell was normal. It helped me to realise what feeling well was. It makes my dosing adjustment smoother.”

“I used to inject a stable dose of a long acting insulin and a different dose of a quick acting insulin when I ate carbohydrates, which I discovered doesn’t suit my body. Now that I have the pump, actively being able to adjust my insulin doses for my body as well as eating is great, but it is A LOT of hard work, more so than on injections.”

“I know I have a team of experts to call on.”

“I like to think of myself as independently supported to live well with type 1 diabetes.”

Stevie receives much support from those around her as well…

“We can only self care well if there is kindness around us.”

And I have to say, I totally agree with this.

Thanks so much Stevie for sharing your inspirational words of wisdom.

For more information about Diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website at:


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