Hi, I’m Joe Fraser and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1999, aged 13. I found it really hard to adjust to being a diabetic. It wasn't just having to test, inject, and keep to a strict diet that was difficult. The fact of suddenly having to deal with this problem that I’d never had before, and which wasn’t going to go away, was a real shock! Getting a handle on diabetes was pretty tricky for the first year or so; I felt quite rubbish most of the time and put on quite a lot of weight. But gradually I managed to work things out, build in regular exercise, eat less, and stay on top of my blood sugar.
After a few years of learning to manage the disease, I decided to pass on the knowledge and techniques I had picked up. (It turns out it’s a bit more complicated than just stabbing yourself with a needle every few hours!) I had learned to live a ‘normal’ teenage life of parties, sport, and course work whilst staying in control, but I had to do this the hard way. I thought I should try and help people manage their diabetes so they wouldn’t have to experience the mistakes I made.
In 2005 I began writing my book, and by 2006 it had been published by Wiley. “Joe’s Rough Guide to Diabetes” was sponsored by Sanofi Aventis, had a print run of 20,000 copies and was distributed throughout the UK.
In 2008 I graduated from Oxford University, and decided to continue trying to make diabetics’ lives better. There’s now a significantly expanded 2nd edition of the book, with new and improved advice. On top of this, I designed the Small-in-one carry-case: it takes all an insulin-dependent diabetic needs for 24 hours’ treatment in the smallest space possible. So you can take all your diabetic equipment around with you easily. Both products are designed to help you live your life in a way that means you can be well-controlled, but as free and flexible as possible.
In 2011, I moved on to using an insulin pump and haven’t looked back. I still use the Small-in-one as a back-up case – it’s so handy to have all your diabetic equipment in one place and ready to go if you need it. However, having the pump has meant I have even more confidence in my control; I’m willing to push myself more than I did before. This attitude led to my running the London Marathon in 2013 in 04.44hrs. Not a fantastic time (OK for a first marathon…?) but I proved to myself I could do it, and that felt great (even if my legs didn’t…)
I must say I am not a doctor and I am not trying to tell you how to live. In some ways I’m still learning, and in the end you are the only one who can manage your diabetes. But if you are willing to accept that responsibility, I can help you take control and lead the life you deserve.
If you want to get in touch, please feel free!
Facebook: Joe’s Diabetes Ltd