My Diabetes Story: A trial for the better

Luci, Operations Manager at CMR has documented living with Diabetes via the CMR blog over the last few years. Here she shares how recently she took part in a new device trial and how her diabetes and therefore management of it has changed.

“My management of my diabetes has changed over the years and therefore so has my diabetes”

The older I get the harder it becomes for me to control my levels. Hypos can just wipe me out and sometimes I struggle to keep my eyes open after having one. When I was younger I wasn’t greatly affected by them, other than them being a bit annoying.

“I really didn’t want a pump at this stage in my life”

Because my last clinic appointment indicated my HbA1c had crept up again, my consultant and I came to the decision to stick with MDI (multiple daily injections) and he suggested I’d benefit from having a FreeStyle Libre. Knowing it would take some time to get it on prescription he recommended the trial at the hospital.

“This trial came at the right time for me”

The two week trial involved wearing a sensor on each arm and having two readers which corresponded with each of them individually. I had to swipe at least 6 times a day on each sensor and finger prick on just one reader at the same time as swiping. The research team at the hospital stayed in touch throughout and I finished the trial with a Diabetes Research Nurse.

When you use the Libre for the first time it highlights all the problem areas, it’s quite scary. Once you become aware of these, then you start finding ways to fix them.

Going through all the data taken over those two weeks was quite distressing as I’d been unwell so my levels were all over the place. However, after discussing it all with the team I came out feeling really positive and had a plan moving forward.

Having previously taken part in trials, I definitely found I got more from this time around, although psychologically I’m in a better place to start managing my diabetes than before. It’s a bit of a battle day to day but I’ve learnt that it takes time and patience.

“I learnt such a lot on this trial about my diabetes and how I deal with it both physically and mentally”

I’ve had diabetes for 34 years and psychologically it’s very easy to prioritise everything but your diabetes when it’s been a part of you for so long. It’s east to let it just bumble along and if you feel OK and your levels aren’t “that bad” then you just carry on. However, I have now realised that I need to start prioritising it and be in control of my HbA1c. That’s the physical side, the psychological side is more of a challenge I take day by day.

“Because of the issues the trial raised, I am now very fortunate to have been put on prescription for FreeStyle Libre”

I do genuinely feel extremely lucky. FreeStyle Libre has come at the right time for me now to effectively manage my diabetes and now I can get it on prescription eases such a financial burden that so many people with diabetes face. Having the arrows indicating where my levels are heading helps control lows and highs and therefore managing the “roller-coaster” levels day to day which can otherwise be so tiring. I’m really enjoying staying in target and feeling healthier because of better management.

“My priorities have definitely changed with my new management plan”

After having a prolonged period of time of being so ill than I’d ever felt before because of my diabetes, I realised now is the time to start looking after it rather than letting it just tick along. In a previous trial I’d felt conscious about the sensors being too noticeable and concerned that the sensors would be knocked off. I now wear my sensor on the underside of my arm, which is not recommended by Abbott or my diabetes team but it’s a decision I made. This has eased my concerns; however, I do still wish it was flesh coloured and smaller.

“The work here at CMR gives me great insight to the vast array of diabetes technology available and in development”

FreeStyle Libre works for me right now, at this point in my diabetes management, but I’m always actively following the latest developments in diabetes devices. I’m a member of online forums and follow diabetes research organisations and patient groups such as Diabetes UK to stay up to date. That coupled with the vast amount of research projects that CMR delivers for an array of clients on their latest products means I always aim to stay informed and ensure I’m making the best choices when managing my diabetes.

If you’d like to read more of Luci’s experience of living with diabetes, take a look at her blog series:

My Diabetes Story Part 1: Childhood

My Diabetes Story Part 2: From DAFNE to devices

My Diabetes Story Part 3: How I manage my hypos

Diabetes in Pregnancy