Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Reflections - a busy year

*DISCLAIMER - Please note in this article I am purely referring to Type One Diabetes and my personal views in relation to the Animas Vibe as well as my own personal experiences of NovoRapid and Fiasp. Remember Your Doses May Vary and all information found in this blog post is my opinion and is what works for me ONLY. It is not intended as medical advice. Please consult the relevant health care professionals before you make a change to your treatment plan in any way*

Well it's been a while hasn't it....

This year has certainly been one of ups and downs...and I'm not even talking my diabetes. There has undoubtedly been a lot going on with job changes, buying a house, family illness, house renovations to name but a few. Oh, and then of course there's the diabetes to throw into the mix.

Well after the HUGE transformation that the insulin pump made to my life back in July 2016, I would love to say that it's been smooth sailing ever since. In reality though - that just isn't diabetes now is it?

Despite my control being vastly improved from the 49 hypos a month.... (that’s right...49 a month!!) that I was having prior to starting Insulin Pump Therapy (IPT), I had still been having a few night hypos and some before meals. As a result, I trialled the Dexcom G4 sensor in the hope that the CGM link-up to my Animas Vibe pump would help with the night time hypos. Unfortunately, despite a number of attempts to use the Dexcom, for some reason I cannot get on it with. After seeing some amazing results from other people using it, I was sadly disappointed to have many false alarms and very inaccurate readings on every sensor, despite trying different sites. 

As a consequence, I intermittently used the Abbott Freestyle Libre to gain an insight into the patterns of my diabetes during those 2-week periods.
Although, as many will point out, it doesn't have the full features of CGM's such as the alarm functions or insulin suspension option, the accuracy that I get from using the Libre made it a much more reliable method of gaining continual, uninterrupted data.

I didn’t just look at the CGM/ Flash Glucose Monitoring options in isolation though. I also looked at the effects of how my recently developed (past 2 years) insulin-sensitivity affected my control. One major issue I kept facing was the difficulty of pre-bolusing at the correct time before a meal. This was particularly problematic when eating out at a restaurant or when eating at other people's houses. I would find that I would often hypo before the meal arrived, meaning a lot of explanation as to why I was eating just before we were about to eat. Step up FIASP!!!

Fiasp (a form of faster acting insulin) despite eliminating the vast majority of pre-meal hypos in a short space of time, it did take a couple of weeks to adjust to. One of the major adjustments I had to make was lowering the amount of insulin I needed for meals. It seemed, that with the differing profile of Fiasp and also not needing to pre-bolus before eating food meant that I didn't need quite as much insulin as I previously did. Conversely, I had to increase my basal rate slightly to keep my levels within the desired range. These adjustments were aided by the use of the Libre in the first few weeks of transitioning to Fiasp. Again, I am aware that a number of people have had difficulty adjusting/ using to Fiasp, however I have personally found it really beneficial.

And this was only half way through 2017...

Although some of hypos previously mentioned were still happening and my diabetes levels were erratic at times, progress was being made bit by bit. Pre-meal hypos had now been addressed!

Despite all the above, there was still another big step forward towards better diabetes management to come thanks to some hard work of a group within the NHS.

On 1st November 2017, the Abbott Freestyle Libre sensors became available on the NHS to those who meet the criteria. Despite some inevitable teething issues, as is often the case with new drugs and change, almost 2 months in there are a number of people around the UK who are benefiting from this prescription introduction. I am very grateful to be one of these people who has been massively helped by 6 weeks’ worth of data, patterns and invaluable information that I’ve seen already. What a way to end the year!

Therefore, although progress can be slow at times and it can often feel like things don't progress much from the research stage in some areas of diabetes, I would say that 2017 has been a year of fruition. This year has given us more choice in terms of the diabetes technology available on the NHS, a new insulin coming to market, trials of new CGM'S such as the Roche Eversense taking place as well as lots of pipeline developments (the DVLA changes for example) that I'm sure we will see in 2018.
Despite there also being some potentially negative changes with Animas pumps no longer being offered to new patients, I personally view 2017 as a year of advancement, with the progress still continuing into the year ahead. Additionally, and definitely on a personal level, 2017 has also provided me with the amazing opportunities to be part of formal/national diabetes events/ meetings, social meet-ups across the country and getting to know more local people with diabetes. All of these events, combined with new technology and differing approaches has certainly enriched my knowledge when looking at my diabetes management choices and decisions.

So, let me wrap up this post by saying that despite being optimistic, I am also not blinkered to the challenges that the NHS, people with diabetes and Health Care Professionals will face in the coming years as new technologies and approaches are introduced. I am yet to master the art of perfect diabetes blood glucose/ sugar levels as you can see from my Ayres Rock impression that happened before Christmas due to illness and festive eating (ooops!). However, I was able to see this thanks to the progressions of 2017 and to monitor my corrections and adjustments in addition to regular finger-prick tests.

Yet despite the challenges that diabetes throws our way...I am excited to see where we will be in a year’s time when we reflect on all that's happened in the world of diabetes in 2018! Bring it on...

Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and I have met in 2017. I wish you all a wonderful and safe New Years Eve and I look forward to sharing my 2018 adventures with you very soon.

Until next time, keep injecting πŸ’‰ or pumping πŸ“Ÿ insulin!

Ros x


  1. A great read Ros - thanks! Lovely to read such a positive outlook for the coming year too, we seem to spend our lives eagerly expecting things that will help us mange our T1D more easily. Am really sad that the Vibe - and it's long awaited successor - will not now be available as I love it's connectivity with Dex and can't see any other option on the horizon.
    Re your Dex experience, I've been a 24/7 Dex user for well over 4 yrs now and in the last 6 months or so, have also experienced so many inaccurate readings and much shorter sensor life, sometimes causing dreadful inconvenience and aggro. Am really fed up with it but I've impaired hypo awareness so I simply can't safe use the Libre (I tried briefly but had too many hypos). So my hope for 2018 is a pump that works with Dexcom that doesn't need a phone or receiver (I hate carrying additional kit around!)
    Happy New Year and hope to see you again soon ;-)

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Lis - I’m very much looking forward to seeing what is in store for 2018!
      Sorry to hear about your recent Dexcom experience. Yes a substitute for the Vibe and Dex would I’m sure be very popular. I await to see what is revealed...

      I hope you had a lovely New Years Eve and I hope to see you again this coming year! 😊