My name is Christopher Reed and I am a Type 1 Diabetic and have been since 1995. Life as a diabetic is interesting at the best of times due to constantly having to regulate it on a 24-hour bases. On June 2nd last year the day had finally arrived for me to receive a insulin pump from the NHS, for which I had been in talks with and jumping through hoops at my local diabetes center in my home town of Portsmouth. For a Type 1 the constant regulating of the condition requires numerous injections a day and the pump is a tool to help reduce this.
So I had a “Pump Introduction” on the Monday morning at 9am and met a few other Type 1’s who were also having their pump fitted for the first time. It was very exciting for us all and we all had big plans for the future. After running through the basics of the pump and setting up my first infusion set, we were on our way home and for me this was such a huge day. We planned to return the next day for our second day introduction where we would look at the pump in more detail and learn about some of its more advanced features.
After the first session I returned home to show off the pump to my family and wife, who were also over the moon with it as they knew how much it meant to me. After lunch and a little rest, I returned to work. At the time I was a professional photographer and had just signed a contract with a local estate agents, photographing their properties. I had a property booked in the diary for 2pm the same day so I headed off, with my new pump attached.
This is where my story gets a little blurry and unfortunately I only know what I have been told by the people around me. My next memory is waking up in A&E with my family around and the time being 8pm the same evening. Unfortunately after I photographed the property, I returned to my car and suffered a hypo (low blood sugar). The car I had at the time was parked on a public road, in a residential area. I had fallen unconscious and slumped over my steering wheel. Luckily a local resident had spotted me, but unfortunately they thought I might be only resting. After 3 hours of still being in the same position, the neighbor had noticed I was still there and called a ambulance.
I spent the next 3 days in hospital having numerous tests to try and determine what it was that caused the hypo. But unfortunately they couldn’t determine whether the put had anything to do with it directly. One thing that was very noticeable from the offset was my memory. It was clear I didn’t recognize my own family neither or have any memory for the past 30 years of my life. Over the next few days my memory would slowly return to me in dribs and drabs but unfortunately my long-term memory was in pieces.
For me, I luckily had a amazing support network around me and my wife sat by my side every day for which I am forever grateful. Unfortunately it became clear that the damage done to my family was really going to affect my life and work and my wife had to take the steps of quitting her job to look after me on a full time bases. My memory still to this day isn’t what it was, but very day a little bit returns to me. For me I wouldn’t be the man or diabetic I am today, without the support network that I have in my wife, mum, dad, stepparents and friends. I really owe them my life and this is what brings me onto what I am doing today.
I have recently designed and released a Diabetes Social Network named JABA. It was clear to me in the events that happened that when you suffer from a condition such as diabetes, you do not suffer alone. It not only affects the person who has it but it affects everyone around you. Ok I take the injections and control my blood sugar, but its my family that sit next to me in times of need and the fluctuation in my blood sugar. For those of you that directly know a diabetic, may know that we can be grumpy sods when our blood sugar is high and when it is low, we need your help. No we aren’t drunk, we just need a little sugar to bring us back.
There are so many stigmas’ about diabetes and this is all down to lack of educational from the offset. We can live a life like any other person around us and we are normal! If I want to eat a Mars bar, I just have to know how much sugar is in that Mars bar to inject and basically delete it from my body. Your pancreas does something similar, the only difference is yours is built in house. I believe in making my life all about “Me & My Diabetes” rather then “Me vs. My Diabetes”, its all about creating “Team Diabetes” with you, your partner, parents, friends and colleagues.
I believe we owe it to the media for the stigma’s that are in place and its time we educated people, not only about diabetes but everything this world throws at us. JABA is merely a platform for everyone connected to Diabetes. Everyone is welcome and has a place on this site. I designed it so that it is merely focused on the subject of diabetes and how it affects you, them, and us. Lets create this together and I promise it will always be free, its just a place we can chat and become strong as individuals so that we can all create the perfect Team Diabetes at home.
Thanks for reading and please click on this link below to come and join JABA