my diabetes kit Lee Calladine



Diagnosed with

Type 1 diabetes on

his 33rd birthday,

Lee Calladine's life

changed totally on

that day. He not only lives with diabetes

but works in diabetes care as Educational

Event Co-ordinator for the Diabetes

Research & Wellness Foundation (DRWF)

where he sometimes takes part, such as

the sky-dive on the front over. The DRWF

is a charity committed to raising funds for

research into a cure for Type 1 diabetes

but also for the purpose of education of

patients who have either Type 1 or Type

2 diabetes.

"It's different for everyone,"says

Calladine, "but I had a fast onset. Felt fine

then suddenly I had a sore throat and was

very thirsty. I was at my cousins and he

said, 'you're drinking like a fish, what's

wrong with you?' Two weeks later I was

in a worse state. I'd lost three stone, was

still thirsty and going to the loo all the

time. I was convinced I just had a virus

but a friend who is a nurse told me to get

to the doctors. He did a blood test and

said, 'that's clearly diabetes' and sent me

straight to the local hospital, the Queen

Alexandra in Portsmouth where I met the

diabetes team for the first time."

Calladine was given and meter and

some information, but looking back at it

he says, "This was 14 years ago. People

get a lot more information now than I did

then. I felt rather scared and more than a

little vulnerable. I was given a blood test


meter and did a lot of testing to start with.

But I wasn't told things like to shake the

insulin pen of long-acting insulin so that it

was properly mixed. Initially I was scared

to eat anything. It was hard."

Today, things are different. "Now I

get asked to help people who are newly

diagnosed and I can help them." Calladine

works full time at DRWF and has now

been there for ten years. He says, "I'd

just left my job in the hotel trade and went

to the local job centre, and Sarah Bone,

Chief Executive at DRWF, had just posted

the job 20 minutes earlier. I already had

a background in events management in

the hotel trade and prior to that I'd been

a chef. So it's all worked out quite nicely.

I love what I do and I've never looked


Focus on the future

The charity sends out a newsletter,

arranges events and education days. He

explains, "We focus on raising funding for

medical research and a cure will come,

but in the meantime we have to look after

ourselves. Our strapline is, Staying Well

Until a Cure is Found, which says it all."

As for his diabetes kit, Calladine is still

on multiple daily injections (MDI) although

he's done a pump course at his local

hospital. "It was called Jigsaw and was

like an intensive DAFNE course. Our

meters were blue-toothed up on screen

and we shared and discussed our results

with the other people on the course. It

took place over a few days and included a

year of follow-up consultations. But I was

doing OK on MDI and felt there was no

need to go on the pump at that time. But

there's been progress on pumps since

then so I might reconsider."

And as for that new-fangled CGM

(continuous glucose monitoring), he's

tried that too. "I've had a few trials which

have been useful for greater insights as

to my control. I've not tried the FreeStyle

Libre yet, but I am going to and I can't

wait. It sounds like a brilliant back up for

when you're not in your normal routine

so it seems like a good idea to me, and

not that expensive, relatively speaking as

you'd use far fewer blood test strips and


Daily back up

On a daily basis Calladine relies on two

things - his Desang Classic kitbag and

his Accu-Chek Expert blood test meter. "I

keep all my kit in my kitbag. I've had the

Expert meter about three years. It's been

great, especially for helping me figure

out corrective doses. My kitbag goes

everywhere with me, to work, out-andabout,

holidays, diabetes clinic and GP

appointments. I've recently had a spell in

hospital and had a few operations so I

used my meter and kitbag a lot."

The kitbag has become something

that the people around him understand

is part of his diabetes control. "All the

doctors and nurses knew what it was by

continued over


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