The pump has given me greater freedom
Since the pump works by giving me only short-acting insulin, I avoid any of the peaks commonly caused by the long-acting insulin injections. The glucose sensor is a separate device placed onto the skin with a transmitter which measures the amount of glucose in the tissue just below my skin and sends the readings directly to the pump where I can get a graph of blood sugars for the last 24 hours. No more finger tip tests.
The pump has made a huge difference to my life. Nowadays, the only reason people can tell I’m a diabetic is when my pump beeps. It has given me greater control over my diabetes as I can finely tune my insulin doses to suit my needs.
It has given me greater freedom in life, especially when I go out with friends, as I can wait until everyone else wants to eat and can discretely take insulin and monitor my sugars without the awkwardness of having to explain what the injections are for.
The pumps are expensive, but you can apply to the Health Service Executive to pay for the pump. I had the full cost of my pump covered (about €4,000) and they also cover the cost of my cannulas, reservoirs and sensors under the long-term illness scheme.
I have just been offered a place to study pharmacy at Trinity College Dublin. It was my first choice and I’m thrilled to have got it. Having my insulin pump will make a big difference to me in college life as I won’t have to worry about working around timetables with meals and injections.
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DIABETES IN IRELAND: THE FACTS
Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition caused by a lack or insufficiency of the hormone insulin.
In diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in a person’s blood to get into their muscle and other cells to produce energy. This sugar then builds up in the bloodstream which is why diabetes is characterised by high blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in childhood or early adult life and always requires treatment with insulin injections or pump infusions.
It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but may require anti-diabetic medicine and/or insulin injections.
Diabetes Ireland estimates that during 2011, the number of people with diabetes in Ireland (type 1 and 2 combined) reached 191,000 – those with type 1 diabetes account for about 14-16,000 of the total diabetes population.
Irish paediatricians and endocrinologists estimate that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 children, adolescents and young adults (aged 0 to 19 years) living with diabetes in Ireland, virtually 100 per cent of whom have type 1 diabetes.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes include fast onset of extremely high blood sugar levels which cause weight loss, hunger, fatigue, thirst and frequent urination.