Chris Aldred

Chris Aldred

Long distance cyclist, diabetes blogger & Animas Hero

​When were you diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?

I had the standard symptoms and Diabetes ran in the family. To be honest on my Grandfather’s side it positively sprinted!

So at 6’ 2” tall and dropping weight fast (10st 7lb at Diagnosis), drinking gallons and so tired the 10 min walk from the car park to work now took 20 min, I knew exactly what I had. Obviously I did what any 25 year old (immortal) bloke did. I ignored it and carried on. Well, until I almost fell asleep at the wheel whilst driving home one day. Then I decided I could have hurt someone else. So booked an appointment at the surgery. From there it was straight into hospital the next day, onto Mixtard® and fixed carb loads for meal with 2 snacks a day. 5 days later I was released into the world of Type 1 Diabetes with my target ranges. How difficult could it be?

I wasn’t the sort to seek GP or HCP advice, or think I needed it, so just got on with it myself the best I could.

This was all back in 1994. A long time ago. Things have changed a lot since then.

Why did you choose an Animas insulin pump?

I’m on a pump now. Have been for 5 years. It’s helped me take my A1c from about 12% to 6.8%

More than that it made me take notice of my Diabetes and be proactive in my management of it (well…most of the time).

Chris enjoying some street music.
Chris enjoys street music.

I started on Mixtard® twice a day. Then moved to MDI. If honest, I really didn’t understand anywhere near as much about diabetes management when on MDI as I do now I’m on the pump, and I’m sure that if I went back to MDI, my management would be different. Not that I currently would consider coming off the pump. Any one wants to take it off me better come well prepared…

For me the most useful feature of The Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump & CGM System is the CGM integration. I travel a lot and the information helps me to keep safe, and keep going.

How did your Animas insulin pump change your life?

I’m not sure that the pump itself has changed my life, but the education I needed in order to move over to the pump did. I finally understood the basics of diabetes management. That helped me make informed decisions about my insulin doses and carb ratios. For the first time I could see the effect of any changes that I made and know (within reason) why I was getting the results I was getting. This gave me motivation to focus on my management and continue to bring my Blood Glucose levels into the ranges that I wanted them to be.

What sport do you practice, and how has the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump had an impact on exercise for you?

My 40th birthday was looming and I had the sudden realisation that I really must do some sort of exercise. Not because I was afraid of getting to middle age. I was quite looking forward to that. I considered myself to be well ahead of plan in my training to be a “Grumpy Old Man” and was fully embracing it. No, it hit me that I would have been Type 1 for 15 years, and that it had gone so quickly. My control was ok most of the time. I’d developed a bit of retinopathy in one eye and slight neuropathy in my feet. I was a bit over weight, and more than a bit unfit. All of which was not a real issue, but in another 10 years I’d been Type 1 for 25 years and all of the “bits” of issues could escalate. So I decided to give cycling a go and signed up for a 50 mile event that year. Since then I have completed a 100 mile ride and several 50 & 60’s.

What are your main day-to-day challenges with living with Type diabetes and how do you cope with them?

Day to day not much I don’t think. My diagnosis didn’t really bother me, and after 21 years it’s just part of my day and my life.

I’m probably healthier than if I’d not got diabetes. Well. Let’s be realistic, less unhealthy

What would you say to someone who has heard your story, also lives with Type 1 diabetes and now wants a challenge of their own?

It doesn’t matter how big or small the challenge is, decide on it and tell everyone you are going to do it. Accept that some day’s things will not go to plan with your diabetes management, but don’t let it stop you. You are not getting it wrong, you are just learning what works best for you.

What advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes?

Talk to other people with Type1. There is a whole online community out there that will support you through it all. It’s not easy, but you can live life just as you would have if you’d never gotten Type1. There is just more “stuff” to do now.