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Diabetic & Me

Nia W.

Nia W.

Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.

Hey everyone! My name is Nia W.. I’m 28 years old and currently living in England. I have type 1 diabetes for a total of 5 years.

I was diagnosed when I was 23 years old. I did not grew up as a child with diabetes.

Emotionally was the hardest part. I live in a society where healthcare is free at the point of access and people with diabetes do not have to pay for prescriptions.

“Emotionally was the hardest part.”

Your treatment

How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?

Currently I am using the the Medtronic 640G pump and Freestyle Libre sensor as my treatment. I am using Humalog insulin. Before I used Humulin I and Lantus.

Being able to use the pump and Freestyle Libre sensor have improved things a lot, on both a psychological level and in terms of ease of management.

I think I manage to treat my diabetes fairly well though but there is room for improvement. I get support from my husband and friends. I am treated by a hospital team consisting of a consultant, specialist nurses, and dietitians.

Nia W.

Insulin Pump

Nia W.

Glucose meter + CGM

Nia W.

CGM

Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?

Yes, I can recognize them. When I have a low blood sugar I have sweatiness, confusion, slow reactions, anxiety, nausea and a fast heart rate. Wen I have a high blood sugar I get thirsty, irritated and nauseous.

I test around 9 times per day with the Freestyle Libre sensor, closer to 4-6 if I have to finger prick.

I carry small bags of Skittles and Haribo in my handbag to treat my low blood sugar. In the car I have a strip of glucose tablets whenever I need it.

I have never fainted before.

Nia W.

Haribo Starmix to treat low blood sugar + bottle of Humalog insulin

Food and diet

How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?

My food intake varies, but generally:

  • 8.20am: egg and rice OR cereal bar and fruit
  • 1pm: leftovers from the night before, e.g pasta, roasted vegetables and Cous-Cous, chilli, curry
  • 7.30pm: a variety of foods

I vary my insulin dose based on the number of grams of carbohydrate that I am eating and I sometimes skip meals.

I drink about one liter of water per day and sometimes I eat snacks in between my meals.

I feel restricted being on a diet because it puts even more focus on food than I have to maintain as standard.

I find it annoying when people ask me about eating certain food because nobody should comment on anyone else’s food.

Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?

No, and not specifically though I mainly eat vegetarian food at home. This has no effect compared to when I eat meat.

Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?

No. I use the Carbs and Cals app to help me estimate carbohydrate content of restaurant meals.

“I feel restricted being on a diet.”

Exercise and work

Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?

I exercise on the bike and rowing machine once or twice a week. I walk a lot at weekends.

I work in social care in a community setting. It means it can be difficult to treats highs or lows, or test as I lone work in people’s houses.

Final

Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?

I try to maintain awareness, test often, etc, …

The hardest part is the general toll it takes. You have to think about everything in a different way to someone without diabetes, whether that is food, exercise, keeping hypo treatments on your person, collecting supplies from the pharmacy and more. It is tiring at times.

The best part is free prescriptions and being a cyborg!

I can get really frustrated when things aren’t on track, and some worry about the future.

What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?

That it can be challenging and tiring, and not to comment on the condition because they do not understand it and how it affects each individual.

It gets easier, you learn quickly, lean on your diabetes professionals for support and ask lots of questions if anything is unclear or feels worrying.

Do your best to look after yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for support, and utilise your medical professionals’ expertise.

Want to publish your own story?

Hey! I’m Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me .

We interview people with diabetes share the stories behind their lives. By sharing these stories, we want to help others to understand life with diabetes.

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Comments

  • Love the Freestyle Libre skins! Where do you find them?

    December 1, 2019
    • Nia

      I get them from diabeticsupply.co.uk/collections/device-covers – usually buy a few at a time so I have lots of choice!

      December 1, 2019

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