My Journey with Type 1 Diabetes so far…

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes back in 1974 when I was 30 years old. Back then we had reusable glass syringes and tested our urine for glucose.

Throughout my diabetes career, I had regular hypos (episodes of low blood glucose), typically around three times a week. After about twenty years, on two occasions a week apart, I was rushed off to A&E by the ambulance with serious hypos at night. It turned out that part of the cause for my low glucose was that I had been injecting too often in the same spot. The problem has not re-occurred because I now use my thighs before breakfast, my bum at bedtime and my stomach in the daytime, and rotate my injection sites.

I had received almost no diabetes information or education until I did the DAFNE course in 2004. It changed my life.

I am now in charge of my diabetes instead of it being in charge of me! I moved to a basal/bolus insulin regimen (this involves injecting long-acting or background insulin with fast-acting insulin at mealtimes), I learnt to count carbs and I can eat what I choose and inject accordingly, bearing in mind that my insulin/carbs ratio can vary throughout the day.

Now I wear a Freestyle Libre flash glucose monitor, so I am able to know what my blood glucose is 24 hours a day and I can also see whether my blood glucose is rising or falling and how fast.

I now have minor retinopathy in my right eye, (diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the small blood vessels and which can be caused by living with diabetes for many years)

I also have maculopathy in my left eye which is linked to retinopathy and I am beginning to lose sensation in one of my feet which is also a complication of diabetes in the small blood vessels which can result from living with diabetes for many years.

Not so bad after living with type 1 diabetes for 45 years.

I am still learning about diabetes all the time and will never stop doing so.

Tony Willis, Clinical Director for Diabetes

Healthcare Professional Feedback

Dear Peter,

Thank you for sharing your experience of living with type 1 diabetes for such a long period of time. You mentioned a few different challenges and complications of living with your diabetes: hypoglycaemia, managing your injection sites, retinopathy and foot problems (neuropathy). We've put together a number of resources to help other people with their journey with type 1:

Other people may also find the eLearning courses helpful too.

Best wishes,


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