Michelle Denyer Diabetes Specialist Nurse
Three weeks with Flo and I could stop taking insulin
Brenda Greaves is a retired Nurse with a good number of years’ experience working in the National Health Service (NHS). So it will be no surprise to find that rather than take a leisurely approach to her retirement, Brenda instead takes an active role within the communities of Bonsall and Matlock, Derbyshire as a Public Governor for Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) and following a 3 year membership of her surgery’s patient participation group (PPG) she was recently elected as chairperson.
These are activities that she enjoys a great deal and keeps her involved in the various changes and development in health care, something clearly very close to her heart. Brenda is also something of a world traveller; she regularly brings her experiences from faraway lands back home (to the Kitchen) to share with her family and friends particularly with her grandsons aged 19 and 9. When Brenda has a moment to herself she reads and exercises her craft skills by creating patchwork master pieces amongst other things.
Ten years ago Brenda was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a condition that affects the way your body metabolises sugar (glucose), the body’s important source of fuel something that Brenda needs plenty of. Brenda is reliant on good health to enable her to continue her many activities and interests, Brenda didn’t shy away from understanding the condition and managing it to enable her to continue a very active life.
In recent years one of Brenda’s hips has been getting in the way of her lifestyle and lead to a decision to have it replaced in August 2014. Brenda begins;
“As my hip continued to deteriorate the pain it caused me increased. As the pain increased my mobility declined. I needed to have my blood glucose under control in order to go ahead with surgery. At this point my GP advised starting Insulin which brought my blood glucose under control.
Before that I had tried a number of tablets and injectable medication that were not as effective as the insulin. However, not before long, my body began building a resistance to the amount of insulin I was taking, so to counter the resistance and maintain a balance I had to take more insulin.
Insulin therapy is renowned for its associations with weight gain and it was so disappointed to find that I was no exception and before I had realised I had gained 2 stone in weight in around a year.”
Many patients find it more difficult to manage their diabetes when their health becomes more complex. Brenda took action by contacting her surgery’s diabetes nurse, Louise Giblin, for advice and was subsequently invited to a joint diabetes clinic that Louise holds with Lead Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse Michelle Denyer.
At the sessions the patient benefits from a local appointment and access to specialist diabetes services and advice. During the session Brenda and Michelle discussed the use of Flo and Brenda was added to the service straight away. Brenda continues;
“I think it’s fantastic. It took a matter of minutes to set me up on the system so that I can receive a daily reminder to test my blood glucose levels and have the ability to text my readings back into the system. Depending on the readings I send, ‘Flo’ will either praise me or offer me some advice if my levels are outside of my normal range.”
With the hip replacement surgery behind her and beginning to rebuild former physical activity levels, Brenda continues to make excellent progress.
“Flo has helped to tighten the control I have on my diabetes and check my blood levels more regularly. As a result I’m more careful with my life style choices in the absence of exercise while I continuing to recover, and I am thrilled that I have been able to stop injecting insulin.
The first time I tried to take insulin it took 20 minutes to pluck up the courage to do it. I’m really glad I don’t have to do that anymore. It took me 2-3 weeks of regular monitoring using Flo before I was told that I could stop taking insulin because I had control over my blood glucose levels. ”
Brenda would inject herself twice a day, but now only has to take one tablet which she says is no hassle at all and fits in with her life style.
“I’m truly reassured with the whole experience; Michelle rings me up to tell me that I’m doing really well, which is very encouraging and motivating. As a result of returning to oral medication and following a Live Life Better program I have lost a stone in weight which I am incredibly pleased about and I feel great.”
Our thanks go to Brenda and NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU for sharing this case study.
For further information contact Claire.Hilton@ardengemcsu.nhs.uk