Life with type 1 diabetes

21 January 2020
I can still remember the day the doctor told me, “you’ve got type 1 diabetes and it’ll be with you for the rest of your life”.

pelican strollWhen I turned 18 I expected the months that followed to be filled with the stress of exams, what was I going to do after high school, and of course, most importantly for any 18 year old, enjoying reaching the legal drinking age. I never imagined they would actually be spent adjusting to being diagnosed with a lifelong condition.

I can still remember the day the doctor told me. I knew I was being told something life changing, I was just not expecting how life changing. “You’ve got type 1 diabetes and it’ll be with you for the rest of your life”. The doctor had just done a glucose test to see how much sugar was in my bloodstream and it showed a reading of 27mmol (a non-diabetic’s would typically range between 4mmol and 8mmol).

My newly acquired driving licence was put to the test with weekly trips to the diabetic clinic for training classes on adjusting to the condition. I was surprised how many people my age were there. After a couple of months of training I was thrown into the deep end to manage the condition myself, if I’m being honest there were times when it was quite lonely.

Eight years on, I have to hold my hands up. I’ve became a bit complacent with my condition. It’s not something I’m proud to admit, but new jobs, travelling, house moves and all the other twists and turns that life throws at you has meant things like regular glucose checks and visits to my diabetes nurse have become less of a priority.

The other week I was hit with the reality that my ignorance had a consequence. During my half yearly diabetes M.O.T, my doctor told me the results from my HBA1C test (an annual test to identify your average glucose levels) had increased.

In the past I probably would have turned a blind eye to an increased HBA1C but having recently experienced some of life’s most expensive delights – I purchased my first house, I got engaged and I started a new job - I’ve become more aware of the importance of ensuring my health and finances are in order. In other words adult responsibility has hit me in the face.

I never thought I’d be 25 and spending my evenings with a cup of herbal tea looking for a financial adviser, but here I am. I joined Royal London in April so my knowledge of protection is growing fast but it still seems like protection products change nearly as much as our wedding plans. And the terminology used by providers differs so much that for your average Jo it can be pretty confusing.

For someone like me with a lifelong condition, there’s an added benefit of speaking with a financial adviser. And that’s not just because of their expertise of the market, but also because through them, I’ll get access to specialised products that sometimes aren’t available without advice, like our Diabetes Life Cover.

If you want to find out more about diabetes and how to have better protection conversations with clients who have it, why not take a look at our CPD module – “Getting cover for clients with diabetes - the facts and the opportunity”.

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About the author

Gregor Sked

Protection Development and Technical Manager

Gregor’s exposure to financial services began back in 2011. Most of his early career was spent at Standard Life where he was a presenter in the workplace pension engagement team. He joined Royal London in 2018 to spend more time on protection in the Intermediary market. Gregor is involved in developing adviser facing content, presenting, writing articles and commenting for the press. Gregor is also studying towards a Diploma in Financial Planning through the CII. Even though he spends most weeks travelling the length and breadth of the UK for business, in his spare time he loves travelling the world and planning future adventures. He also loves cooking, running and when he’s not travelling can be found on the golf course patching up all the divots he’s made.

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The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.