MY DIABETES KIT
Rebecca Weddell is
nearly 42 and 'turned
30' in diabetes years
in May of this year.
Weddell's career is
creative one, as a glass artist. She says,
"What I do is incredibly niche. My target
customers are jewellery makers, so I sell
my work online to people who make
jewellery to wear or sell either directly
or under contract to shops. I make my
own jewellery too and have pieces on
display in my gorgeous workshop, but to
be honest my ideal work day is to sit at
a mesmerising torch flame and turn out
unique artisan beads one after another."
Glass beadmaking used to be
Weddell's hobby, then it became her day
job. But she says, 'When I turned my
hobby into a business I effectively lost
the hobby, so I then I joined a gym! Back
then, I would think twice about going
out depending on what my blood sugar
reading was, but since going on an insulin
pump I feel so much more in control. I
have always considered that my diabetes
is in fact that biggest and most important
part of my life; it's a full-time job in itself.
I am fortunate, being self-employed, that
I can take time out for hypos or pumpcartridge changes, or take the afternoon
off or work 20 hours a day if I want to. I
find my working life and my diabetes life
much easier to deal with now I'm selfemployed."
Weddell was diagnosed in 1986 at
age 11 after her mother noticed she had
suddenly lost weight. She remembers,
"I started to look very thin and ill and I
was awfully thirsty all the time. Mum took
me to the doctors and I ended up at the
Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in
Brighton. I went on to two injections a
day. I remember mixing the two insulins
together in one syringe, which I quite
At the beginning she didn't have a
blood test meter but she says, "When I
did get a blood test meter it used to take
about three minutes to do the test and it
needed a big blob of blood. It was always
kept at home, it never came out with me.
We had a chart blu-tacked to the door
where we diligently filled in my results but
we didn't understand how to use this
primitive data. How things have changed.
A while after that I went onto multiple daily
injections (MDI), using Novopens."
In terms of her overall control, she
remembers, "I always erred on the side
of low, not high, with the guidelines i.e.
between 4 to 7mmols, and no more than
9mmols two hours after eating. Trying to
stick within such tight deadlines frequently
left me with a lot of low blood sugars.
I discovered that if I tested one hour
after eating it would be a lot higher than
9mmols, so I often I put more insulin in to
address that. It was literally an 'overdose'
as I'd have a hypo later in the afternoon.
I suppose I just didn't understand all the
advice properly. If you test two or three
hours after eating, not one hour, you'd be
more likely to be in range."
Things moved on; Weddell attended
her local area's DAFNE equivalent course
(called SADIE) about 10 years ago.
Then a year ago, in October 2015 she
started on an insulin pump, "I went on
the Accu-Chek Insight and it's amazing,"
she says. "I know people can wear
pumps on waistbands, in pockets, or
suspended from items of clothing on the
outside. Some pumps need to always be
accessible, but mine can be out of the
way all of the time (not that I'm ashamed
of it). It can be completely tucked away all
the time and not needing to be fished out
and fiddled with every time I need to do
something on it! The remote does all of
that for me, so I can completely forget that
I'm wearing it. It uses pre-filled cartridges
so whenever I run out of insulin it's a very,
very straightforward procedure involving
just a cartridge and an infusion set, no
vials or reservoirs or syringes. Plus, the
handset is quite attractive in its own right.
I love a good gadget!"
"I found pumping insulin such a change
to using separate basal and bolus insulin
pens; it's a whole new way of life. In that
respect, I am pretty certain that whichever
pump I had ended up with, I would be
equally delighted with, simply because
the pump is representative of my new
diabetes lifestyle and has finally, after