Gráinne Flynn (Ireland)

Author: Gráinne Flynn

Gráinne Flynn is from Ireland and lives with type 1 diabetes.

“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1993 in my 20s. My diabetes management has evolved over 30 years as I became more aware of education and technology. I have accessed both of those not because it was available but because of luck. This is where I was referred to formal diabetes education for the first time. This diabetes education was a rock-solid foundation on which to build my lifelong learning tower of diabetes management. I learned how to adjust my insulin to match my body’s needs to cover food. I also learned about the many other factors that affect my glucose levels that need to be considered; how active or inactive I am, lack of sleep, stress, adrenaline, and whatever else goes on inside our highly complex bodies to result in glucose levels that are not too high or too low. I’ve continued to learn how to better manage my diabetes through self-education using online resources and getting to know so many people with diabetes. This is both a blessing and a curse because I see the effects of not having access through the friends I’ve lost. A chap I went to school with was diagnosed a couple of years after me and was on dialysis and the transplant list when he died in 2018. Another friend has lost three of her toes, and her consultant is discussing amputating the rest. In our local support group, I can see the line of privilege very clearly between those who have access and those who don’t. There is unequal access to education and technology nationally in Ireland. I see this from the several emails I receive every week from people trying to access technology. But there are thousands more who don’t have that inclination, who can’t travel to a clinic further away, who can’t pay for private care. It’s time to remove “luck” from diabetes care.”

“I have accessed diabetes education and technology not because they were available, but through luck and determination. It's time for our policymakers to take luck out of diabetes care.”