Walking with Diabetes

Prophetic sign? Seen in the diabetes clinic!

So, another complication in my planned walk is my diabetes.  In 2006, when I was 28, I was diagnosed with Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, just like my dad was when he was around the same age. (That should have given me a clue, but I didn’t even spot the signs when I was drinking more and weeing more, eating non-stop without losing weight, and generally exhausted – I was a teacher at the time so that seemed pretty normal!)

Thanks to the support I had at Addenbrookes, I’ve been on an insulin pump for the last five years.  The pump drip feeds insulin into my body all the time and is permanently attached to my side through a tiny cannula.  Here it is, my life support machine…

When it comes to walking Hadrian’s Wall, as someone who isn’t particularly active or sporty, I have tried to be sensible, planning to walk no more than about 10 miles in one day.  I’ll take plenty of snacks and make sure I reduce my background insulin.  Having said that, I still managed to have a hypo on one of my practice walks last week!

In the past week I’ve been to see my specialist nurse and hospital consultant to talk with them about my anxieties.  They are a great team and I feel well supported.  My biggest worry is not so much my blood sugar levels as my feet!  They aren’t beautiful (as you can see!) and you should pity my poor colleague who had to wash them on Maundy Thursday, but as far as the walk goes they are pretty much essential.  Without them, I’m stuffed.

What has amazed me is that you can live with a body for very nearly 40 years, and still be discovering new things about it!  I’ve discovered this week that my right foot is more flat-footed than my left which explains why I was suffering a bit more with aches on that side after my practice walks.  (It also explains why I’ve never been a great dancer, although my eldest would say that’s just being a normal embarrassing dad!)

All in all, it’s really helpful to know about these potential weaknesses at an early stage so I can try to do something about it.  Good socks and boots will make a big difference but I’ll be looking for a bit of extra support for that middle part of my right foot!


Author: walk4andy

I am a (just!) 40 year old vicar in Leicester. My brother Andy Lees died in 2013 aged 38 just three months after my father. They both suffered from Von Hippel Lindau syndrome, a genetic form of cancer. This May I am walking Hadrian's Wall to raise money for VHL UK/Ireland.

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