By Erin Dolan, Diabetes Health Coach living in Ireland
Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional about your diabetes management. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.
Throughout my diabetes journey, I’ve been trying to find ways to boost my self-confidence. I’ve realised that having confidence in yourself as a person living with diabetes comes in many forms. When it comes to diabetes management, technology is a vital piece of the jigsaw to finding self-trust and assurance to totally embrace the condition. Plus, it makes life a whole lot easier.
At my diagnosis, I didn’t get an opportunity to discuss or even consider my technology options. It was only needle injections and finger pricks. As I continued to grow as a person with Type 1 diabetes, I discovered different forms of technology that helped me thrive in life. After 30 years of pricking fingers to test my blood glucose (about 76,650+ times), I got a chance to trial the FreeStyle Libre system and NOT feel the needle pierce the skin of my fingertips*†. This Flash glucose monitoring technology has given me more freedom, peace of mind and better overall diabetes control.
Freedom and flexibility
As a person living with Type 1, I often feel restricted from everything, or at least that’s how the media can portray diabetes. When using the FreeStyle Libre system, it actually liberates that restraint feeling and allows more freedom with life. When I’m active, whether going for a sea dip, a walk to clear the head or dancing with my kids, I can quickly check my glucose with an easy scan of my phoneΔ. When I know my glucose reading is in targetφ, it puts a pep in my step, and I continue with my activity.
I love flexibility with my diabetes, and I love my food. So, I’m always experimenting in the kitchen and never eat the same meal. This is where technology like the FreeStyle Libre system allows me to check in with my glucose - before, during and after meals. I can also analyse my glucose data during meal times. As a result, I get greater confidence to eat out and diversify my food choices. Plus, the hands-free capability is so so good, especially if my hands are dirty from cooking or have remnants of food on them†. Have you ever had a false glucose reading because of honey on your fingers? Guilty!
Peace of mind
When I have peace of mind with my diabetes, my self-confidence shines. Accessing technology like the FreeStyle Libre system offers me the ability to reduce the anxiety of the glucose rollercoaster. I’ll admit that I like tight control over my glucose numbers, and having constant access to checking my target range allows me to feel calm₸, ‡. I can relax in social settings and be present with friends and family – even when my mother-in-law brings out the platter of treats for tea.
We all know that stress can affect glucose levels, and it definitely makes mine go crazy. And with two small kids, I’m always on the go and a regular routine is often rare. Being able to quickly check my glucose in a flash allows me to keep calm and carry on.
Better diabetes management
I told myself at age 15 that I would live my best diabetic life and not let it hold me back. Access to technology has allowed me to better control my diabetes management while setting off on adventures like cycling across Central America and backpacking around the world. The FreeStyle Libre system enables me to analyse and better understand my glucose patterns~. Having this knowledge allows me to feel more empowered as a person living with diabetes and a patient. Glucose trends give transparency and confidence to really optimise how I self-manage the disease. This information also supports making smart insulin regime adjustments. In the end, all of these tweaks will prevent diabetes complications.
I used to hide my diabetes from people and was self-conscious of revealing any diabetic attachments. Now, wearing diabetes technology has become fashionable.
Access to technology isn’t just about no more finger pricks†. It’s about gaining confidence to embrace and progress your diabetes. Trying different technologies has given me hope, resilience and a much healthier outlook on my diabetes journey ahead.
Erin Dolan lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Erin is a Diabetes Health Coach and is passionate about supporting others living with the condition. You can follow Erin @crazyaboutdiabetes on Instagram or visit her website.
* Erin Dolan was supplied with two FreeStyle Libre sensors free of charge to form her own opinion of the product.
† Finger pricks are required if glucose readings do not match symptoms or expectations.
Δ Use of FreeStyle LibreLink requires registration with LibreView. Automatic upload requires a wireless internet connection or mobile data connection.
Φ For a complete glycaemic picture, scan once every 8 hours.
₸ Sensor is water resistant in up to 1 metre (3 feet) of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. Do not immerse longer than 30 minutes. Not to be used above 10,000 feet.
‡ 60-minute warm-up required when applying the sensor.
~ Daily Patterns needs at least 5 days of glucose data.