At age 35, Corinne had noticed a change in herself. She was sleeping more than usual, and when she wasn’t sleeping, she was tired. She woke up inexplicably hungry in the middle of the night, raiding her kitchen cabinets for snacks while her family slept. Occasionally, her vision would blur. Corinne didn’t understand what was happening to her: Was it stress? An undiagnosed autoimmune disease or a nagging virus?
Corinne lived with her symptoms for years, until finally a frightening episode at the grocery store created a new sense of urgency for answers.
“I was shopping, and I suddenly couldn’t see,” Corinne said. “My daughter had to support me to get me home safely.”
Corinne made it home, and by that evening, her vision began to return slowly. She called her doctor to share what had happened, and he explained that it was likely an episode of diabetes-related hyperglycemia: when a person’s blood glucose level is too high, most likely because the body isn’t properly using or making insulin. Corinne’s doctor warned her that hyperglycemia can put a person into a coma; it can even be fatal.
He referred her to the hospital for specialized diagnostic testing. Although Corinne’s doctor had run general blood tests for diabetes, and the tests had come back negative, he still suspected she was suffering from the disease.
At the hospital, doctors administered a glucose tolerance test. They took a sample of blood from Corinne’s arm, asked her to drink a glass of a sugary solution, and took an additional sample of blood a few hours after she had finished drinking. Then, doctors compared the two blood samples to understand how Corinne’s body was responding to glucose in real time.
Corinne’s test illuminated significant abnormalities, and her doctors diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes.
“I was really upset. I didn’t know about the disease, and it was hard to understand,” said Corinne. “I was overweight, but I was happy.”
Corinne tried several treatments and therapies to manage her diabetes, but she had trouble maintaining control.
“Over the years, I tried medications, education, diets, but I was still finding it difficult,” she said. “I still feel like I wasn’t in the right mental space to grasp what was happening to me.”
So, her doctors recommended a new clinical trial for people struggling with type two diabetes.
“After trying hard and still not having control over my diabetes, my doctors told me about a new clinical trial,” said Corinne. “They asked me if I wanted to try it.”
Corinne was interested in learning more. A team of medtech innovators explained to her the new device: it’s a thin plastic sleeve that lines part of the small intestine to prevent food from being digested in that area. Instead, the plastic sleeve forces the body to absorb food further down in the intestine, changing the body’s reaction to the food and the way the body handles the glucose. It intends to help patients lose weight and reduce their blood sugar levels.
Even more persuasive for Corinne than the device’s capabilities was the device’s convenience. Most treatments for type 2 diabetes revolve around either increasing amounts of pharmaceutical drugs or risky invasive surgeries. This new device can be inserted via the mouth in less than an hour, and it’s temporary: doctors can remove the device at any time.
After learning about the device, Corrine agreed to participate in its clinical trial. She underwent the procedure to have the device implanted, and the results were almost immediate.
“I didn’t realize how quickly the trial would work on my body,” said Corinne. “My friends noticed the difference in my weight within just a few weeks.”
Today, 5 years later, Corrine continues to see the device’s impact.
“It has changed my life and given me the confidence to reach my goals,” she said. “I never thought I could lose this much weight, control my diabetes, and keep my weight off. I don’t have to take as much medication anymore, since I’ve lost so much weight, and I still continue to lose weight, now that I’m able to manage my diabetes better.”
Thanks to her better health, she’s living a full, active life.
“I love to keep fit with my pet dog Kiara, who jogs and walks with me – or should I say, drags me,” Corinne joked. “I also volunteer for the local community in my spare time giving advice on welfare, debt, housing and food vouchers.”
In addition to her social volunteer work, Corinne is committed to helping others better understand diabetes and the importance of good disease management practices.
“I share my story with others about the dangers of diabetes and the effect it can have on their health if they don’t control it,” said Corinne. “I work for the National Health Service (the publicly funded national healthcare system for England) seeing patients with diabetes and sharing my experience and how the device has helped me.”
Corinne’s advice for others navigating diabetes is simple: “You have to be in the right mental state. You have to be serious about it.”
Beyond that, Corinne offers, “I would advise anyone if they have the chance, to grab this device with both hands. I am so grateful to my health care team and to the team behind my device for changing my life. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have survived this long.”
Learn more about the medical technology advancements transforming diabetes treatment.