Continuous Glucose Monitoring *CGM*

So I’ve mentioned in post pasts something called a CGM, which, as the title suggests, is a Continuous Glucose Monitor. Whilst I’ve never been too keen on the idea of an Insulin pump, a CGM has also been something I would have loved in my life, but they weren’t widely available on the NHS and weren’t available to buy privately. Until recently.

Freestyle are a company that provide diabetic equipment, including regular finger prick glucose kits, and now the Freestyle Libre. The idea behind it is pretty simple. You insert the sensor just under the skin, kinda like a regular injection, except when you take away the pod, the sensor stays under the skin. It’s recommended that you insert it at the top of your arm, slightly round the back of it. (I’ve taken step by step pics that I’m going to attempt to upload shortly, fingers crossed)

Now, I know it sounds pretty painful and to be honest, the first couple of times I tried it, I made Keith do it for me cause I was too scared to, but I was really pleasantly surprised at how little you feel, there’s a slight ache in your arm for the first hour or two, but you even get use to that eventually. I can do it myself now with no bother, although it can be useful having a second pair of eyes just to make sure you’ve got it all lined up right.

Once the sensor is in, you turn your monitor on, and literally scan over the top of the sensor, and it will ask if you want to start a new sensor, to which you click “Ok” or “Yes” (I can’t remember now I’m sat here typing, admittedly I should have took pictures of that too). It is an hour until the sensor is ready to use, and even then, it is suggested that it’s a full 24 hours before the readings become more accurate as the sensor settles in. Now it’s also stressed that if you think you are having an episode of high / low blood sugar, then you should still do a finger prick check, as the sensor can run up to 15 minutes behind, and I’ve found this to be an issue with a couple of bigger hypo’s I’ve had.

What I love so much about the sensor, apart from the obvious lack of finger pricking, is the sensor can give you an indication of which way your blood sugar is heading. There’s a straight arrow for bloods holding steady, an arrow at a slight incline to show it’s heading slightly higher, or an arrow pointing straight up to indicate a rapidly rising blood sugar. The arrows also point at a slight decline or straight down to demonstrate dropping blood sugar. It’s a really nifty little tool, and my life is so much easier with it. Another plus, is that as all you have to do is scan the sensor, others are able to do it for me easily. For example, a little while ago I was really unwell and struggling to stay awake. Keith, bless him, couldn’t settle for worrying, and ended up staying up most of the night, scanning me at regular intervals and watching over me so I could sleep. I felt so guilty when I woke up and realised what he had done for me, but I also felt relieved that I’d been able to get a full nights sleep without having to set alarms to get up and test my bloods.

There is also a 24 hour graph that shows how your bloods have been continuously, rather than just getting a brief snapshot when you scan. You can set a target range and this shows on your graph, so you can see how much of the time you’re in a good range. On top of this, there is a page that shows what percent of the time you are above / below your target. It is a huge encouragement, being able to see it all in front of you so clearly.

One pretty big downside, and to be honest, one of the only ones I can think of, is the cost. I was lucky enough to have had the starter pack bought for me as a present, but each sensor is about £60 and lasts 2 weeks, so I’m currently spending out £120 a month on sensors, but honestly, it’s worth it. I’m more on top of my bloods, it’s giving Keith some peace of mind that he can check on me without waking me and my  fingers aren’t rock hard and bruised.

As I said, I’m going to try upload some step by step pictures, but I’ve never done that on here before so let’s see how it goes, ha. I’ve been asked to write a post about high and low blood sugars in more detail, so I’ll be working on that over the next few days and will hopefully be back on soon with more insights into the life of a pin cushion!

Thanks for reading, as always x


This is what you get in a sensor pack. The sensor, the inserter, and some alcohol swabs to clean your arm before injecting.


You click the blue plastic into the grey, and once it clicks, the sensor is ready to be inserted


The sensor all up close and personal. It looks all sharp and ominous, but it’s just a fibre, that is actually very flexible and not at all sore.


Once it’s all ready and you’ve wiped down your arm, line the sensor up and push down firmly. (Please excuse my nails, I’m not usually this much of a ming and this stupid website won’t let me crop out my shame)


Sensor all in place and ready to use!

Low Day (Literally)

So it’s currently half 12 at night and I’m wide awake in bed, despite having to be up at 6am for work. 

Why? Because, and not for the first time in my life, I’m genuinely scared to go to sleep tonight. All day I’ve suffered low blood sugar after low blood sugar, despite over treating, dropping my insulin and basically refusing to do anything other than bare minimum. On more than one occasion today my blood sugar was too low for my monitor to read, which means it was below 2.2mmol (When I should be sitting at about 5).

To make matters worse, I had an assessment in work today for a potential new role, and I was low throughout the whole thing, so God only knows how much I’ve screwed it up. I’m trying to be optimistic, but on days like today, it’s really hard. (I’ve already considered any nerves / stresses about the assessment playing a part, but it doesn’t seem likely to me). 

As per usual with this delightful disease, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason for it. I’ve done all that I possibly can, I’ve tried to factor in any possible reason this could be happening and I’m coming up blank. To make things worse, my hypo awareness has gone out the window. I’m not realising I’m low, it’s only that I’m being so tight on my bloods that I’m catching them all. No shaking, no blurry vision, no slurring, nothing. Those symptoms are all I’ve got to rely on to wake me up if I go low in the night. Without those, I could sleep through and slip into a coma, or worse, not wake up at all. It may sound like I’m being a drama queen, and trust me, I really can be, but this is a very real and possible situation for me tonight. 

Of course I know I’ll probably be fine. I’ll wake up in the morning to do it all again and just chalk today off as a bad day. But it’s hard, and it’s draining and it can really wear you down. 

I apologise for the moany post, but it’s just my way of trying to put across the realities of this disease, I started this blog first and foremost to raise awareness and sometimes it’s hard to put a positive spin on a rough day. 

Type One Diabetes From The Sidelines

Today’s post is written by my better half, to give an idea on life as the partner of a Type One. Having been good friends for a couple of years, we decided to give it a go together in February after a change in circumstances for us both, and neither of us have looked back since. 

I’ve spent nearly my entire life completely ignorant of Diabetes. My mother suffered from Type 2, but I never really made the effort to find out more. I was one of those that diabetics hate. I associate it with poor diets, obesity or plain old hereditary bad luck. And then I met her.

When we first started becoming friendly, she mentioned being a diabetic. I’ll be honest, I never really thought too deeply about it. At that time, I had no idea how close we would become and just how much I would learn. As time went on, we grew closer. I started to learn from her tone when something had happened and how it had affected her. I decided to read up and I was startled to discover just how serious it could be. 

We’ve been together six months now. In that time I’ve learnt so much. I know the difference between high and low blood sugar. I can spot the signs of a hypo sometimes even before she can. Mood
changes, especially suddenly becoming almost aggressive with no warning. I’ve not done anything wrong (that I know of!), and it’s totally out of her hands. She might go cool and clammy yet break out in a sweat. Slurring words or struggling to put sentences together. Struggling with balance or complaining of headaches that have come on quickly. These aren’t a definitive list by any means, but they could all be pointers to an oncoming hypo. I know the basics of treatment and try to assist in any small way I can. I still don’t know nearly enough.

There are so many things you can’t, and won’t ever see as an outsider. The mental scars borne out by an invisible illness that can confuse, frustrate and torment even the most experienced diabetic. The times when all logic says their blood sugar should be stable but they just can’t get up above hypo level. This can be the hardest time as the partner of a diabetic. You want to do whatever you can to help them but they can’t even tell you where to begin because they don’t know themselves. The anguish is writ large on their face and all you want to do is make it better for them, to take away the pain for even just a day to give them a break. Knowing you can’t even do that, it hurts.

You might be like me, a partner/spouse. You might be a parent, you might even be the son or daughter of a T1D. You’ll know the immense feelings of pride at how they cope day after day with injections, finger pricks, carb calculations, stress management, exercise regimes, dietary planning, logistics involved in just leaving the house. You might look at it like I do and think “I couldn’t do that.” So what can we do from the outside looking in? I’ve found just being there, doing the small things helps massively. What seems insignificant to you, getting a bottle of Lucozade to treat a hypo, holding a hand while during the fifth insulin injection of the day, just being there and listening to them as they cry and get out all frustrations, these things mean the absolute world to them because it reminds them that they aren’t alone. 

Every day that goes by, I learn something new. The more I learn, the more I want to help. The more I want to help, the more I learn. It’s a positive cycle. I’ll never have to fight the battles that she does every day. But by understanding more of what she goes through, it puts me in a better position to help. While I wish for her sake I hadn’t had to learn anything, I’m so glad I have because it’s helped me get to know the strongest person I’ve ever met.

Back at it again…

How much can change in 6 months!

Last time I wrote about my little world, I was sat in a freezing cold flat, on my own, hating life. Nothing seemed to be going right and I couldn’t catch a break. Fast forward 6 months and I’m sat in a cosy flat that I share with a dashing Scotsman, whilst a crazy little kitten sits next to me batting at my fingers on the keyboard.

Turns out, things are much easier to deal with when you let someone help you out, who knew? I’ve managed to cram quite a lot into those few months, and the way I was feeling back then feels a million miles away. I quit my job that I was hating and ended up in a job I love and took a chance on my best friend, who has ended up being everything I ever wanted from life, and so much more.

I’ve written previously about the baggage it feels like I’m carrying when it comes to dating. It can be very daunting and almost off-putting to a lot of guys, and understandably so. However, having built a solid friendship for a couple of years previously, my better half already knew about all the ins and outs of what I deal with, and has more than taken it all on the chin since we began dating. From learning to recognise what my bloods are doing, just by how I’m acting, or how I look, to getting out of bed at 3 in the morning to fetch me a Lucozade and hold my hand whilst I get myself sorted, diabetes is just that little bit more bearable with him around.

A new development in the world of Diabetes has also played a massive part in making my life easier lately too. CGM’s (Continuous Glucose Meters) became available to buy! For those who don’t remember, or haven’t read my old post on Pumps &  CGM’s (and if not, why not?) I’ve written in the past about wanting one in my life, and since then, they became available for just about anyone. My Auntie is also a Type 1 Diabetic so when her and my Uncle bought one, they also treated me to one too. I was so excited and so, so grateful and I can honestly say that they are one of the best things I’ve ever known as a Diabetic. I’m going to do a follow-up post all about it with some more information cause there’s so much to say, so keep your eyes peeled!

I’ll leave it there for now, but I’ll be posting the CGM blog in the next couple of days, so if you haven’t already, please subscribe and share etc, as always. Thanks guys!

Positivity & Selfishness

So! It’s been a few months since I last wrote anything, and yes, before anyone asks, I am still diabetic.. (Yeah, someone has actually asked me that before)

It’s not all bad though, it just means I’ve still got a topic to write about! I made the mistake of stopping because of a few little comments that I let get into my head. The more I thought about it though, the more I realised how silly I was being. It’s like anything in life, if you care about what others think, it’ll weigh you down until that’s all you can think of, and you’d never want to do anything ever again. Hell, if I focused on every negative thought I’ve ever had about myself, I would definitely never leave the house again.  So with a few gentle prods, I’m back, sat here trying to think of how to fill some space.

Writing is massively theraputic for me, and so worth it when you get people messaging or commenting on how much they relate to what I’m saying or how much it helps them. Sometimes the most important thing in the world is just not feeling alone. Having someone say “Oh, I thought I was the only one!” can feel like such a weight off, a bit of solace in what can be a very scary, lonely, little world sometimes. Sure, I’m the first to point out that every single case of Diabetes is different, but the premise is the same with all of us. A vital organ stopped working and it turned our lives upside down. (Sounds dramatic that doesn’t it?)

I’ve had a weird few months. A problem I have, (and I’m aware how cliche this sounds so stick with me), but I’m way too nice for my own good sometimes. I care too much about people, sometimes people I don’t even know. (Old people eating on their own in restuarants is a perfect example of this – it kills me). While some people may think that this is a good or sweet quality to possess, I can promise that sometimes it can feel like a nightmare. It’s such a struggle to handle my blood sugars when I’m going through any kind of emotional turmoil, and it turns out it’s just as bad when it’s someone else’s. It’s made me realise that sometimes you have to just shut down and put yourself first. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit selfish at times. Sometimes it feels good to ignore your phone and just have some time to yourself. I have that much going on in my own life, that when you start to allow other people’s life affect you, it can drive you to tipping point. Obviously it’s natural to care about others, but you need to find a balance where it doesn’t eat at you 24/7.

It’s so important to surround yourself with people who are positive, and good to you. Of course not everyone is positive all the time, and anyone who says they are, are probably liars. But people who direct their negativity towards you directly have no place in your life, and for your own sake, don’t put up with it. As daunting as it feels, it might be the most freeing thing ever to cut it off at the source. I’ve said before and I’ll say again, my family are my absolute rock, and even more so over the past year. Never underestimate the importance of having people in your life who know with one look that you aren’t okay when you swear that you are.

Not everyone is going to like me or what I write or how I write and I’m okay with that. You can’t go through life pleasing everyone and I wouldn’t even want to begin to try. .

One thing after another..

So in one of my last posts I explained about all the drama I was having with my eyes! Last week I visited a haematologist  who confirmed that all my blood work was totally normal, and I was basically completely healthy, (dead pancreas aside! haha). My GP also seconded this decision so that was a major relief. A few days later I went back to the eye clinic where I was first told about the hemorrhaging and everything. After some more scans and tests, a doctor confirmed that all the bleeding had cleared and the blood clot had also disappeared. I’ve been discharged, but have to go back in 6 months just to make sure. Huge relief!

What caused it though? Well the doctor thinks it could be a combination of two things. The first being what I talked about the other day. “Traumatic Glucose Control”. The shock of suddenly and finally looking after myself caused my body to freak out a bit basically! The second contributing factor is believed to be the contraceptive pill. I’ve only been on it two years and yet it seems to have had a major impact on my health! I was taken off it a few months ago as a precaution but they’ve now confirmed I have to stay off it as it’s not worth the risk. I was so shocked, especially after having only been on it for a relatively short time. Something so little could have effectively lost me my sight! The good thing though, is that I finally have answers and can stop worrying!

As the title suggests though, something else happened in the mean time! In my last blog about insulin pumps, I mentioned suffering a few bad hypos that have caused injuries to myself. Most low blood sugars I’ve experienced are first thing in the morning which can be quite a struggle to sort out. I’m normally up at 6am so I can be on the bus for 7.30. On Wednesday, I woke up at 7.45, sweating, shaking with my mouth tasting of blood. Not thinking anything of it and just thinking I was going to be late, I rang my parents to see if I’d be able to get a lift to work but was really struggling to string a sentence together. My blood was reading at 2.1mmol. I went to kitchen to get some lucozade and when I got back in the bedroom, my blood was reading at 3.0mmol.

Something I don’t think I’ve mentioned with low blood sugar is that sometimes when you have a bad enough hypo, your body, well the liver, kicks in and releases stores of glucose in a last-ditch attempt to save itself. So seeing my sugar was raising itself made me realise that things had been worse than I’d originally realised. I got myself ready and only managed to be 5 minutes late thanks to my dad taking me into work! As the day wore on, my whole body ached, every muscle felt tight and sore and it was hurting just to move around. When I thought about it, I realised I’d only felt this sore once before, and it was when I’d suffered a fit whilst having a bad hypo.

Now obviously I live on my own, so there is no way of saying for sure what happened to me, but having spoken to other diabetics, a doctor and trusting my own gut instinct, it would seem I suffered a hypoglycemic seizure before I woke up. It would all make sense, as my liver must have kicked in and released enough glucose for me to come round and realise I was having a hypo. Luckily, I’m fine other than being a bit sore and having a slightly swollen tongue, which I must have bitten whilst I was out of it. Unfortunately I now have to give my driving license up for another year as stated in DVLA guidelines. I’m gutted but to be honest I couldn’t afford to drive and have my flat at the same time, so I’m trying to not let it get me down too much. It’s pretty scary, especially having so little memory of what happened. I’m determined to not let it stop me getting on with my life though.

It’s just another reminder of how serious this condition is, and how dangerous it can be!

To pump or not to pump?

A debate that I see often, is whether it is better to have an insulin pump, or to stick to injections. Obviously, there is no right answer as every diabetic is different and has a different regime to suit their needs but it’s something I’ve always been torn over.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently on 4 injections a day, varying depending on how my blood sugars are behaving. There are days when I only need 2, there are days I could need 10. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand how an insulin pump works, I’m just going off various conversations I’ve had with other diabetics. I know that a pump is a small, pager looking device that you clip to your clothes. A tube links the pump up to an infusion set that sits just under your skin. It works alongside a CGM which is a continuous glucose monitor.

A CGM is a sensor that you can wear on your arm (or anywhere else possible I think) and it constantly monitors your blood sugar. It works with a small machine like a glucose monitor. It also has the ability to alarm if your glucose begins to drop. For this reason, I’ve been looking into the possibility of getting myself one.

Living on my own, I’ve had a few scares. My glucose has dropped so quickly I haven’t felt it and I’ve managed to give myself many burns and bruises. The other day I didn’t feel anything wrong until I was already sitting at 1.2mmol. However, from what I have seen and heard so far, the device is not currently available on the NHS. Up front, I’m looking at over £1000 and around £60 a month for the sensors. It’s totally out of any price range I could afford. I’m yet to speak to anyone in the UK with just a CGM on it’s own so if you’re reading this and you have one in the UK, or you have any more information I’d love to find out some more about the process!

Back to my point though, the CGM works alongside the insulin pump to continually deliver insulin in small amounts throughout the day, in keeping with your blood sugar. The infusion set needs changing every week or so (Although I think this varies) It’s an amazing device but takes a lot of hard work and upkeep. A CGM doesn’t take away the need for finger prick testing, it takes regular calibrating. It sounds like a breath of fresh air right? I’ve been so tempted so many times, but the idea of being hooked up to a machine, day in, day out is so off putting. That and hearing so many stories about sites being ripped out when it catches on a handle, or the tubing clogs, the list goes on. I’m really not trying to scare anyone, I’m just explaining what’s putting me off. I’m the most clumsy person ever and it just feels as if it would be a disaster waiting to happen!

Having said that, it’s a Sunday afternoon and all I want to do is relax on the couch and stuff my face, so I’m having to really keep an eye on my bloods today and keep on top of my insulin so today I can totally get the benefit of a pump!