My diabetes kit Tim Street, diabetech

KITLIVING

OPPOSITE: Tim Street (centre)

with fellow 'loopers' Adrianna

Maciejczyk (left) and Andrea

Limbourg (right).

continued over

Looking back, I feel

lucky that I was

resilient and that my

parents helped me

to take control of my

own care. I never

felt I had to hide my

condition. Everyone

knew I needed to

have a Mars Bar

before playing rugby!

- Tim Street

"T

im Street was diagnosed

at the age of 13 in 1988.

He recalls that he had

been getting taller and

skinnier over a period of

about 18 months and had been going off a

lot of foods. He remembers visiting friends

to play but not been able to keep up with

them, "I also knew where all the toilets and

taps were in town."

His sister saw a show on TV where

someone had diabetes and mentioned it

to their parents, then his father talked to

his GP who gave him some urine sticks

for a quick, non-invasive test. Street

remembers this well, "I pee'd on the stick

and it changed to a deep, dark colour. I

remember is almost being black."

This meant that his blood glucose

was extremely high, virtually off the scale.

He went to school the next day as usual

but, having received further advice on that

result, his parents turned up at the gates

and took him off to hospital. "By some

miracle it was not diabetic ketoacidosis

(DKA), but I still spent five days in hospital

getting stabilised. I instantly felt better

after taking insulin."

Street remembers a nurse coming up

to him with an orange in her hand and a

syringe with a needle on it and asking him

if he wanted to practice on the fruit. "I said

''No'' and proceeded to give myself my

first injection. When I went home, I was

taking two injections daily and 'eating for

the insulin' at certain times of the day as

well as before exercise. The whole family

learnt about carb exchanges, which I do

think made things easier. Looking back, I

feel lucky that I was resilient and that my

parents helped me to take control of my

own care. I never felt I had to hide my

condition. Everyone knew I needed to

have a Mars Bar before playing rugby!"

Street's life

This regime continued for about five years

before Street moved on to multiple daily

injections (MDI) when he was 16 or 17.

He says, "In the early 1990s my HbA1c

remained stable at about 6.3% and

everyone involved in my care, including

my parents and myself, felt that 'if it isn't

broke, don't fix it'. It was about this time

when I got my first blood test meter,

which was by Accu-Chek."

While going to school Street attended

clinic in the local hospital in Boston,

Lincolnshire where he'd been originally

diagnosed. He went to university in

Warwick and attended the nearest clinic

to there, at Coventry & Warwickshire

Hospital. He says, "I suppose it helped

that I did a degree in engineering;

managing diabetes is about numbers,

and the numbers made sense to me.

Having said that, I nearly came a cropper

right at the end of university. I was out

celebrating after finishing exams and

forgot to take an injection; I ended up in

hospital with DKA. That is the one time it's

ever happened to me and I swore never,

ever again. It was not nice at all."

After university, Street started his

working career and the diabetes was

just part of it all. "By this stage my

HbA1c was around 7.5% but stable,"

he says, "I'd work fairly solidly then be

able to take a month off at a time. I'd go

somewhere overseas, one time it was

Greece, another time it was California

and northern Mexico, another time

Thailand and Australia. All through this I

was on MDI using Novopens, disposable

syringes and two insulins, a long acting

and a fast acting."

He attended Frimley Park Hospital in

Hampshire during this period and moved

on to the long-acting inssulin Lantus.

"When my work took me to London, I

started to attend St George's Hospital in

Tooting. I was having a pretty good time,

probably living much as I did as a student.

I rarely had any real problems with my

control. For a period, I had been cycling

to work but after a while I realised that

I'd have a hypo about an hour after I got

to work; I decided it wasn't worth it so

stopped the cycling."

Bump in road

Things bumbled along until Street hit a

bump in the road in 2007 when, during

a regular eye check, he was told to go

to Moorfields Eye Hospital A&E as the

opthalmologist could see damage in the

back of my eye. "That was really scary,"

he says. "At Moorfields I was told it was

'just background retinopathy'. That didn't

Index

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