Nick and Susie Howsam, 22nd June 2017

Nick and Susie Howsam, 22nd June 2017


For our June meeting we welcomed back Nick Howsam (Podiatrist) and his wife Susie (Occupational Therapist) who gave a talk entitled 'Living with Diabetes'.

Susie started the talk confirming that diabetes is a silent condition that doesn’t show any outward signs i.e. bandages, or plaster casts. She has been with Nick for 20 years and this meant getting to know him and his type of diabetes, so she could offer help to him should the need arise. She didn’t really understand what diabetes was until she met Nick and although she is there for him she does not consider herself a carer in the true sense of the word.

As an Occupational Therapist she often works with people who have diabetes and she gives help and advice and equipment to patients under her care. With her knowledge of Nick’s condition she is able to relate better with patients she sees who have diabetes. This can vary greatly as no two people’s diabetes will follow the same pattern.

Nick then explained that he had been Type 1 since 1987. Prior to diagnosis he lost a lot of weight and had cramping in his leg muscles. He went to see his GP who referred him to hospital for assessment and treatment which showed a blood sugar reading of 40 (a non-diabetic should be about 5 to 6). He was in hospital for 3 days to be stabilised and there after trying various types of insulin, some of which had adverse side effects. Eventually a suitable insulin regime was found which allowed him to manage his condition more satisfactorily.

He soon learnt that physical activity and a healthy eating plan helped to keep his blood sugars at a satisfactory level. In 2003 he decided to run the London Marathon. He showed us photographs of himself at various stages of the marathon and what his readings were at each stage. Diabetes UK had testing stations all around the route to enable any runner with diabetes to check their sugar levels. He was able to stabilise his condition by drinking Lucozade which was also available for whoever needed it. He finished the marathon in just over 5 hours and vowed “never again”.

He added that we are all different and diabetes affects people in different ways so it is up to each individual to find the regime that suits them best.