When Mike Davies was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 56, everyone assumed it was type 2 diabetes. Mike had developed the classic symptoms: An unquenchable thirst, a constant need to visit the men’s room and a feeling his eyesight was deteriorating.
After months of being on an insulin regime for type 2 diabetes, there was little improvement of his condition. He lost 4 stone within about four months, he felt unwell and drained of energy. Only after additional testing did doctors realise that Mike actually had type 1 diabetes and needed a completely different treatment.
A memorable diagnosis date
While a late onset of type 1 diabetes may be less common, Mike remembers that he was correctly diagnosed around the same time as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Like May, who initially attributed the symptoms to her frenetic schedule during the London 2012 Olympic Games, while she was Home Secretary, Mike mistook his fatigue and malaise as signs of stress following a big life change involving a move from Southeast England to Wales. “But when things started to settle down by Christmas and I still felt sick, I knew that things weren’t quite right,” Mike said.
Like Mike, who is now 61, May was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes until additional testing revealed that she had, in fact, type 1 diabetes. While the peak age for diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is between 9 to 14, one in five people are over the age of 40 when they develop the condition.
“One of the reasons I think we’re recognising it more in older adults is because now we’re testing for it,” Mike said from his home in Wales.
Diligently managing his diabetes
Things got better when he was put on multiple daily injections. Determined not to let his new diagnosis dampen the next chapter of his life — early retirement — Mike was fastidious about managing his diabetes.
For two years, Mike was diligent about his injections and counting carbs, which didn’t go unnoticed by his family physician. It was also his physician who told Mike about an innovative insulin pump called the Cellnovo Diabetes Management System.
A pump that appealed to his high-tech side
“When I saw the Cellnovo System, I saw immediately that this was the pump Version 2.0 and that I wanted a piece of it,” said Mike, a retired IT consultant who makes a hobby of keeping up with the latest technology and gadgets on the market. While he recognised that the insulin pump was not a gadget, the high-tech aspect appealed to him.
“The technology behind the Cellnovo System is advanced, but it’s so simple and easy to use that you don’t need an IT background to figure it out.”
Since making the switch last year, Mike says things have changed for the better.
Getting back to a more normal lifestyle
“In life, you don’t always want to be seen as different. But diabetes does make you feel different. With the Cellnovo System, my life has become normal again.”
Going out with friends has become easier, and so has dining out. He didn’t like having to administer injections in public, so Mike had often declined invitations, preferring instead to stay at home in his comfort zone.
Using the Cellnovo System has helped bring a sense of normality back to his life, Mike said, thanks to its small, discreet design: the micro-pump is the size of a teabag, while the touchscreen handset controller passes easily for a mobile phone.
Life has changed for the better
Mike compares the last two Christmases as proof that life has changed for the better. While on MDI, he dreaded the annual luncheon, knowing it would be a meal heavy on carbs and that he’d have to inject in public. But last Christmas, the only inquiry he fielded was why he had two mobile phones at the table. “I can’t tell you just how important that is for me. I don’t want to feel different.”
Mike also utilises a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in combination with his Cellnovo System to fine-tune his diabetes management. “I was like a blindfolded man who was taking his blindfold off four times a day, and putting it back on again. With the Cellnovo System, combined with my CGM, I can now see clearly,” he said.”
“I love that it’s helped me take back control of my life.”