decided otherwise and carried on. He
inspired me immensely.
"I was a child actor for a while
and once I was in a restaurant with a
chaperone who told me, when I tried
to do an injection 'you can't do that
here'. But my dad said to me, 'never be
ashamed of your diabetes.' Then came
along disposable insulin pens and they've
become, a bit like my phone, something
that I'm always trying to find! It's a pretty
awful feeling if I lose it. The great thing
about disposable pens is that you if you
lose one, you just grab another."
Due to his career path, Gourkan has
done a fair bit of travelling and has found
that in some countries diabetes is seen
as, 'an illness; you are sick, disabled, and
should stay indoors.' I once had a bad
hypo in Turkey during a match and it lost
me my job. It was a rookie mistake, but
there was no time to feel sorry for myself.
The football club saw me as a liability and
didn't want me any more. But having Type
I does not mean you can't have a vision of
what you want to do with your life. After
that I came home and decided to get into
the music business. I was very busy. It
was hard to do blood tests and get food
at regular times, or to judge doses. I had
lots of hypos and some were quite scary;
I'd drop to the floor and was apparently
was losing my hypo symptoms.
The great news was that by then fivesecond testing had turned
up and was
a joy! So, over time there have been
slow but sure improvements, including
testing not hurting much at all these days.
Diabetes technology has continued to
"I've found that stress causes
mayhem for my diabetes control but I've
found that technology is really important
as it helps you cope, taking away some of
the anxiety about living with the condition.
It took me five years to get an insulin
pump, I kept pushing but was told 'no,
not just yet'. I continue to get a lot of help
from my dad. I was offered the chance to
go on a DAFNE course (Dose Adjustment
for Normal Eating). But I didn't want to do
it, I thought, 'I don't want to talk to other
diabetics'. Of course, the opposite was
true, as it turned out. When I finally went
on the course it was great and I loved the
people I met."
At this time, Gourkan was still having
what he referred to as 'demonic hypo
episodes.' He was attending the East
Surrey Hospital who put him on an AccuChek Insight insulin pump. "I was so
pleased," he says, "I loved it if people
asked me about it so I could tell them
and raise awareness of what it was like
to live with diabetes. At the end of the
day you have to do what's best for you.
Not everyone needs or wants the same
thing. It is the same with comparing your
HbA1c, what's the point? You are running
your own race and need to look after you.
Health is your wealth."
Gourkan admits that he hates to see high
blood sugar results when testing or using
CGM. He now attends Warwick Hospital
where he asked for CGM and was given
a Dexcom G6 just two weeks before
attending the Input Fusion conference.
He still has difficulty with his control,
but he says that, "Thanks to the efforts
of - among others - Dr Partha Kar, who
helped spearhead getting the FreeStyle
Libre sensor technology onto tariff on
the NHS. He, and others, are working
to get more technology to more people
with diabetes. We will all just have to keep
taking small steps in the right direction."
www.officialjonsel.com "You are running your
own race and need to
look after you. Health
is your wealth.
- Jonsel Gourkan