When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1994 at the age of 27, I found myself in a situation where no one around me understood the condition. No family members, friends, or relatives had diabetes, so I had to educate myself about this life-altering condition.
Being someone who was always active and passionate about sports, I initially believed that diabetes would put an end to my athletic pursuits. Just a year before my diagnosis, I had completed my first marathon race, the Johannesburg “Egoli Gold” - a 42.2 km race held in the Gauteng province.
However, my determination to continue with sports was soon tested when I experienced my first seizure due to hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels). It was a wake-up call, reminding me of the severity and potential danger of this condition. Understandably, I was terrified. I became committed to learning everything I could about diabetes to manage this condition to the best of my ability. Despite my efforts, I continued to have seizures from hypoglycaemia, especially while I was asleep during the night. It became a recurring problem that overwhelmed me for several years. In retrospect, I realized that I had developed a tendency to be a “control freak” when it came to managing my blood glucose levels. If my glucose was above 6.0 mmol/l, I would become despondent and extremely upset with myself, as is common among many people living with diabetes. Fortunately, my life took a positive turn when I discovered my ‘life saver’ in the form of the Medtronic insulin pump. It completely revolutionized my life, restoring a sense of normalcy. The insulin pump provided precise and accurate control of my blood glucose levels between meals, effectively eliminating the dreaded hypoglycaemic seizures.
Then came the challenging year of 2020, when the world was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I was not spared from its impact. I found myself unable to eat for about a week, but thanks to the insulin pump, my blood glucose levels remained stable. This allowed me to focus on recovering from COVID-19 and managing its complications without worrying about my blood glucose.
Throughout my journey, the staff at the CDE Centre in Houghton have been a constant source of knowledge and support. Vanessa Brown, my Diabetes Educator, has been exceptional in her tireless efforts to train me on the functions and benefits of the Medtronic insulin pump. The transition to using the pump was surprisingly smooth, and since then, I have been free from life-threatening seizures. I have participated in numerous cycling races without experiencing any incidents of hypoglycaemia.
The Medtronic insulin pump has been invaluable to me and my family. Its remarkable accuracy of 95% has allowed me to live my life without limitations. I even had the privilege of completing a Cycle Tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town with the Sunflower Fund, not once but twice, and without any incidents of hypoglycaemia!
Additionally, I have taken up boxing, which has become my favourite sport. Despite my advancing age, the insulin pump has empowered me to pursue my passion for boxing without holding me back.
To anyone reading this article who shares a similar outlook on life, I strongly recommend considering an insulin pump. The benefits are tremendous, offering an opportunity to regain quality of life and independence.
Embrace a life without limits!