aul Longley lives in
Northwich in Cheshire
and was a keen cyclist
until his diagnosis
of Type 1 diabetes.
This initially made him step back from
competitive racing, then he found his
way back into the saddle thanks to his
use of diabetes sensor technology.
At time of diagnosis in June 2015,
Longley was 20 years old. He looks back
and says, "About a year before I was
diagnosed with diabetes, I suffered an
extreme bout of anxiety. It started with a
panic attack at work but in the following
days and weeks I spiralled down, and
ended up not wanting to leave the house.
I had some counselling and started to
recover. I was able to get out more, learnt
to drive, and passed my test. At this time
I also started a new job - things were
looking up. But at the same time, things
still weren't quite right. I was really thirsty
and hungry, even though I was pretty
skinny. My eyesight was a bit funny too.
I knew I had to go to the doctors and
arranged an appointment, but felt so ill on
the day I nearly didn't go."
Although there is no history of diabetes
in the family, Longley was used to using
the internet for research and looked up
his symptoms. He says, "I did wonder if
perhaps I had Type I diabetes. When I got
to the appointment I mentioned it, but the
local surgery said it was unlikely, but as
there were ketones in my urine they sent
me to the local infirmary to get a blood
test done, which I did. Although I was still
feeling bad, I went home after the blood
test and tried to eat some light dinner, but
I was physically sick. I now know I had
developed diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA),
but at the time I'd gone to bed early then
the hospital rang at about 9 o'clock. My
mother got me up to talk to the doctor,
who said, 'We think it's a 90% chance that
you have Type I diabetes, so we need to
get you in here tonight to stabilise you.' So
my mother drove me to A&E at Leighton
Hospital, about half an hour away."
No one sensible likes to go to hospital as
a patient, and Longley was no different.
"When I got there they put me on a drip,"
he remembers, "And I felt better almost
immediately. I think it was a mix of insulin
and something to help with rehydration.
In all, I was only in overnight and half the
next day. I saw a dietician, who was really
happy with my diet, then I was given a
FreeStyle Optium Neo blood test meter
and had to do my first injection under
supervision. It was all a bit daunting, but
I just wanted to go home so I got on with
it." Having been given basic 'training',
Longley headed home and, as he says,
"I used all my kit and just got on with it. I
may be pretty new to having diabetes, but
while I was only diagnosed three years
ago, I can still look back and say that
the experience of the diagnosis itself was
quite positive. It gave me a new focus
in terms of being able to control it with
blood tests, insulin and food, and I felt I
had closure on the anxiety issue. Diabetes
It was so easy to check
my control when I was
cycling and not have to
stop riding in order to
do a fiddly blood test.
- Paul Longley
MY DIABETES KIT