31-year old Grace Meffen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 6 years old, although she told Diabetes.co.uk that she’d been struggling with health problems before being diagnosed.
“I’d suffered around a year before with kidney infections and my Grandad who was an ambulance driver told me I should be admitted to hospital. My mum was petrified of needles, so my dad took on the role of injections, but I started doing them myself not long after.”
Grace’s eyesight began to deteriorate in 2011 as a result of retinopathy and it was also around this time that she found out she was pregnant. Although tragically, she discovered that the foetus wasn’t developing normally so she decided to have an abortion.
“I went for a scan on my kidneys and that was when I found out I was pregnant. However, I had to have an abortion at 19 weeks as I discovered the foetus wasn’t developing properly. I’ve since however gone on to have another son since who’s happy and healthy.”
Grace was registered severely sight impaired (SSI) in 2014. Having been told the application for a guide dog could take up to two years, she got the ball rolling and started the proceedings straight away.
“Two years later in 2016 I got a phone call to go on a residential course, and that’s when I got John.”
John helps Grace to navigate curb steps and use public transport, as she regularly commutes to nearby Grimsby for her volunteer work supporting young adults.
When asked how she manages the everyday challenges that come with managing type 1, Grace spoke about how it can be difficult at times, but that the Freestyle Libre has made it much easier for her. She recently completed a degree in Counselling Studies and praises companies such as Abbott, who make the Freestyle Libre, for beginning to recognise the impact that type 1 diabetes can have not only on physical health, but mental health.
“I just want to say that having diabetes can’t stop you from doing anything, you can meet the same expectations as someone living without diabetes. I completed my degree in Counselling Studies and now I volunteer once a week with young adults. I found that diabetes can have a big impact on mental health as well as physical health. I’m happy that companies such as Abbott have started to recognise this.”