Linda was diagnosed five years ago at the age of nineteen. She is on two types of insulin Lantus and Novorapid. Lantus is the long-acting or background insulin that she injects once a day. Novorapid is a short acting one that she injects after meals. Before Lantus she used to use Levemir, but it was changed because she developed an intolerance to the preservative in it. Diet and exercise are an important part of her lifestyle. She feels she has learnt a great deal about her condition and how to manage it.
Linda was diagnosed five years ago at the age of nineteen. Before diagnosis, she felt tired and needed to go to the toilet very frequently. Her father, who is a GP advised her to go and see a doctor to have her symptoms checked. She tested positive for diabetes type 1.
Linda, together with her parents attended her first hospital appointment at the diabetes clinic. Linda felt shocked by her diagnosis and by the fact that she would have to deal with something else in her life. The diabetes nurse she saw was diabetic herself and she helped Linda understand that diabetes can be managed. She was given her insulin regimen and lots of information and advice. Her father asked lots of questions and stressed the point that it was important for her to take good care of herself.
A week after her diagnosis, Linda went back to university. She was determined to carry on with her life alongside managing her diabetes. Linda was studying Sport Science and had a keen interest in nutrition and exercise. She thinks her studies helped her understand how to manage her condition. But she admits that controlling diabetes is a constant challenge because what you eat and do and how you feel physically and emotionally interferes with its management. She describes her experience as a learning curve.
Linda was put on long acting insulin; Levemir and short acting insulin; Novorapid. But she developed – what a diabetes specialist thought to be intolerant to the preservative added to Levemir. The areas where she was injecting swelled and became red and it was affecting the absorption of insulin. Her symptoms were irregular so it took time to identify the problem. Currently, she is on Lantus that is long acting insulin, but with a different preservative in it.
Diet and exercise are an important part of Linda’s life. She feels she has become quite attuned to what different combinations of food do to her and how it makes her feels and what influence it has on her blood sugar levels. Linda exercises frequently: she goes to her local gym three, four times a week and runs about three times a week. She finds that doing cardio, weight training and stretching have a good impact on her hormones and that it really helps to keep her blood sugars stable. Her mantra is I am a healthy person and I have diabetes.
Around six months ago Linda moved to another city for work and she has experienced difficulties when trying to access diabetes care. Due to shortages, she thinks that staff seem to prioritise on a case by case basis. She is not critical of the diabetes team and understands that there may be more people in need of their specialist care than her. Besides, she has learnt a great deal about her condition and how to manage it.
Social media has provided Linda with an important source of support and information. She regularly uses social media platforms like Twitter. She finds it easier to connect with other young people living with type 1 diabetes and sharing experiences when things go wrong or to share a joke and a laugh. Through Twitter, she has got in touch with people who later had become friends.