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The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System: Getting Started on My New Health Plan

By Health, Technology, Thinking9 Comments

Hello all,

I’m a type 1 diabetic who has always struggled to have good control of my blood sugars.

I’ve been using a traditional glucose meter (a TEE2). Every diabetic will have a glucose meter. The meter tells the tester what their blood sugar is at the time that the reading is taken.


My traditional glucose meter the TEE2 by Spirit Healthcare Ltd.

Nothing had really changed in the management or treatment of my diabetes for the last decade. That was until just over a week ago. It started when I saw this photo in the media:


I saw this photo of Theresa May (the current Prime Minister) who is Type 1 diabetic. I wondered what it was on her arm. (I’ve added on the circle and arrow on to the photo.)

I posted the photo on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what it was. I quickly learned that it was a sensor for the FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System.


The FreeStyle Libre Sensor (left) and Reader (right).

The FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System is a revolutionary and life changing way to monitor blood sugars for diabetics.

A sensor that has a needle that goes into the interstitial fluid is placed on the back of an arm. The sensor on the skin is about the size of a two pound coin. The sensor takes a reading every minute and stores readings at 15 minute intervals. The sensor can store 8 hours of data. A sensor lasts 14 days.

A Reader downloads data from the sensor, including the most current blood sugar reading by placing the reader near the sensor (using Fear Field Communication (NFC)). You don’t even need a Reader if you have a phone with NFC. You can download an App available for both Android and Apple smartphones that allows you to use your phone as a reader. I haven’t got a phone with NFC, so would need a reader.


So I did some research. I read the entire FreeStyle Libre website including watching tutorial videos and FAQs. Then I read some posts on the Diabetes UK Forums. I watched every video about the FreeStyle Libre on YouTube.

I discovered that in November of last year (2017) the FreeStyle Libre became available on the NHS. However from reading the forums it seemed that availability depended on local criteria.

I decided I needed to trial the FreeStyle Libre as part of a new health plan to improve my health and prevent illness where possible.


I managed to buy two sensors at my local Boots Pharmacy. A sensor cost more than £50 each. This was because I thought I’d probably have to self-fund due to the cost to the NHS.


But I couldn’t buy a Reader anywhere. I rang my local Diabetes Specialists Centre. Their criteria for starting me on the FreeStlye Libre is: 1. is type one diabetic and 2. testing blood sugar 6-10 times a day. I met the criteria so they sorted me out with a Reader.

The Diabetic Specialist Nurse at my local Diabetes Centre was amazing. She sorted me a Reader. I saw the Diabetic Consultant in January and have been awaiting an appointment with a Dietitian. She said she’d chase this.

The Diabetic Specialist Nurse and I also arranged an appointment together in a few weeks time. This is so I can give her an update on my use of the FreeStyle Libre and so that she could write to my GP about putting the sensors on prescription. She informed me that if there was no improvement in my blood sugar control after 6 months, that my GP may choose to stop prescribing the sensors.

Excited I put on the sensor:


The sensor should be placed on the back of the arm. Start by cleaning with a pre-injection swab (provided with the sensor).


The sensor is assembled by pulling off the lid of the white tub, then matching up the gray lines and pressing down. Really easy and simple.


Place to your skin and press down. It’s painless and makes a clicking sound.


There it is. Sensor on.


I’ve chosen to put a 10cmx10cm dressing on my sensor to better protect it.


All set up. Quick, easy and simple. I’ll let you know how I go on.


I’ve been wearing the sensor and using the reader for a few days now. So here’s the pros and cons I’ve discovered so far:

Pros Cons
  • The sensor isn’t noticed by others being on the back of my arm (covered even by short sleeves).
  • I don’t feel the sensor in my arm at all. No discomfort or pain.
  • The reader is pocked sized.
  • It’s quick and easy. A quick swipe and you have your current blood sugar along with a line graph showing your blood sugar throughout the day (and night) from readings the sensor has taken.
  • It’s more discrete swiping the reader near your arm, rather than getting out your glucose meter and pricking your finger.
  • I can check my blood sugar as often as I want, without worrying about running out of testing strips.
  • The reader has a whole host of useful features including: reading alarm reminders, logbook, daily graph, average glucose, daily patterns, time in target glucose range (which you set when you setup the reader), sensor usage, add notes to go with readings (including units of rapid-acting insulin, units of long-acting insulin, food – carbs, medicine and exercise).
  • It tells you how many days you have before you need to change the senor on the home screen.
  • The daily graph along with arrows showing whether your blood sugar is increasing (and how quickly), stable or decreasing (and how quickly) are enabling me to make better bolus insulin adjustments. The food notes will enable me to better match the number of rapid insulin units I need to administer based on the number carbs I’ve eaten.
  • The reader is helping me to identify trends in my blood sugars and helping me prevent my blood sugar from rising too high.
  • FreeStyle have software for both Windows on Mac that uses the data to create reports that you can share with Health Professionals.
  • If you have a phone with NFC you can use an App on your phone rather than using the reader. The Apps appear to have all the same features as the Reader.
  • The reader comes with with a USB wire (for connecting to computers) and has a plug to charge it from mains. According to the manufacturer, a full charge lasts about a week with average use.
  • The sensor takes the reading from interstitial fluid rather than blood. This means that the reading is 10-15 mins behind. This is not an issue if your blood sugar is stable, but could be an issue if it’s dropping.
  • The reader feels a little flimsy and doesn’t come with any cover or pouch to protect it from damage and general wear and tear.
  • The DVLA don’t currently allow readings from this monitor to count as a before driving test. Therefore a traditional glucose meter and finger pricking is still required prior to driving.
  • The sensors are expensive, costing over £50 each. This is a Con whether you are paying for them privately or whether the NHS is being charged for them (as we pay for the NHS through our taxes).

I was going to do this blog posts as a vlog (video blog). But I couldn’t get my head around the video editing software, so opted for the written method instead. That’s why the photos of me look like image captures from a video, because they are.

The FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System is just one part of my new health plan. I also want to become SmokeFree for good and lose weight through a better diet and regular exercise.

Write soon,


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SHAME on the Media Elite – Theresa May’s Speech on becoming Prime Minister

By PoliticalNo Comments

This is my reaction to this speech made by Theresa May on becoming the Prime Minister today:

Well I hate to say it, but Theresa May gave a good speech today. There were some interesting changes to the cabinet and more to no doubt be announced.

However I do want to say SHAME TO THE BRITISH PRESS. Not one of them reported the protests going on outside Downing Street during May’s speech. Complete TV, radio, print and online silence. This is how democracy dies, when those in power whether that be politicians or the media elite ignore and/or silence the views of the people.

The only video I could find about the protests today was this one, ironically from the US:

Click here to display content from

I’m sharing it because I think it should be shared. I think it SHOULD have been reported on by the media. Everyone has a right to have their voice heard. If the media elite wont hear them, I will do my best to share their voices on social media/on this blog.

Remember that nobody voted for Theresa May to be Prime Minister. If this had happened in a country in the east of the world, our media would be sensationalising it, perhaps even calling her a Dictator. Although May is saying things that sound good, we really have no idea what she intends to do.

It’s a sad day. Write soon,


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Book Review: The Establishment – And How They Get Away with It by Owen Jones

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Political, Reviews2 Comments
the-establishment-book-cover-own-jones In The Establishment, Owen Jones starts by defining Britain’s Establishment today. Then Jones looks back at political history to how the modern day Establishment of Britain came to be, focusing on each facet, in chapters titled: The Outriders, The Westminster Cartel, Mediaocracy, The Boys in Blue, Scrounging off the State, Tycoons and Tax-Dodgers, Masters of the Universe and The Illusion of Sovereignty.

In ‘The Outriders’ Jones explains how a few wealthy elite changed societies view (the ‘Overton Window’) from one of socialism to capitalism, the free market and privatisation. Jones demonstrates how people with alternative views to The Establishment are silenced, discredited or have their lives destroyed for speaking out.

[Continued below…]

In ‘The Westminster Cartel’ Jones exposes the revolving door of MPs going back and forth between Politics, Business, the Media and Think Tanks. In ‘Mediaocracy’ Jones reveals the media’s role in propaganda both for governments and against, with the media’s agenda being those of their wealthy owners – whom have close-links with MPs from all political parties.

In ‘The Boys in Blue’ Jones describes the role the Police played in creating today’s Establishment and gives examples of Police corruption and cover ups. He explains how the Establishment eventually turned on the Police. Jones gives real examples of the inequality of Police treatment between different groups, which includes the difference in treatment between those with power and those without.

Jones writes about the real people ‘Scrounging off the State’: the wealthy elite. He writes that public assets, such as the railways, are being and have been sold off for profit. That the wealthy elite get the profits, as well as tax-payer subsidies (as well as benefits for employees on low wages, healthcare for their employees, employees educated by the state, etc.) but that the tax-payer shoulders all the risk. If something goes wrong – like it did with the Banks, big business relies on the State to step in and bail them out.

In ‘Tycoons and Tax-Dodgers’ Jones explains how the rich feel that they pay enough tax and sheds light on the complicated tax avoidance schemes used by big businesses, that are all perfectly legal – thanks to the big businesses’ Lobbyists, Accountants and PR firms. Jones exposes the toxic relationship between the Treasury and big companies. That big companies actually help to develop Tax Policy with Treasury Civil Servants and the Government.

In ‘Masters of the Universe’ Jones examines the financial sector, particularly ‘the City’ referring to London’s financial sector. Jones discusses how successive governments relaxed regulation to keep their Banker friend’s happy prior to the financial collapse in 2008. That despite the collapse and the tax-payer bailout to the tune of over a trillion pounds, there is still no real robust regulation and there’s an attitude of continue as before. That the financial sector is driven by an unregulated greed for profit, a big bonus culture and to increase the wealth of the already extremely wealthy.

In ‘The Illusion of Sovereignty’ Jones scrutinises the relationship between Britain’s Establishment, the United States of America (US) and European Union (EU). He shows that the Establishment’s mentality is international and shared with the US, by looking at the history of the ‘special relationship’. Jones looks at the history of the Britain and the EU, identifying some elements of the EU that share the British Establishment’s mentality and other elements that oppose the British Establishment’s mentality. This mix of shared and opposed views to the British Establishment, is most likely why there is a politically mixed view of the EU in the UK.

In Jones’ final chapter titled ‘Conclusion: A Democratic Revolution’ he states that the Establishment is being run for a wealthy few, rather than for the majority. He states that the majority have had enough; enough of falling living standards, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and that the time to challenge the Establishment is now. Jones states that austerity is ideological rather than required. He identifies changes to improve society, but gives little practical advice for readers who may want to get involved with political change. This chapter was also the shortest in the book, which was a slight disappointment.

Throughout The Establishment, Owen Jones references the points that he makes, shares interviews he has conducted with people who have been involved with creating and maintaining the Establishment and gives examples to illustrate his points.

The Establishment shows the shocking level of corruption and vested interests, along with laws that protect the wealthy elite – all created by The Establishment (the wealthy elite) to balance society in their favour. It will make you think. Hopefully by Jones shining a light on the murky Establishment it will lead to the people challenging The Establishment for the political change they want.

The Establishment is an excellent and informative book about how society has come to operate today for the minority and how it can be changed to operate for the majority. The Establishment is an essential read for all, especially those interested in politics or political change.

Review soon,



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Book Review: Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story by Ian McClellan

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
zombie-apocalypse-2012-political-horror-story-ian-mcclellan McClellan shows great promise with his first book: Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story. It’s a story about a zombie apocalypse in the USA, told through the perspective of an ordinary guy. The guy in question is Lance, an unemployed factory worker who feels the media and politicians are all failing to take control of the situation and work together to resolve it.

McClellan says about his book:
“My book is a funny and entertaining look at the politics of the zombie apocalypse. Hopefully, it can get people asking why politicians keep fighting each other instead of doing something for the American people, and why the media keep asking all the wrong questions…”

Lance lives with his wife whose obsessed with conspiracy theories. Needless to say, she doesn’t survive for long. Afterwards Lance gets scratched by a zombie, takes a load of antibiotics and locks himself in his basement.

After sometime Lance feels better and decides to journey to C.D.C to share his experience with them. He thinks that he maybe the key to a cure for the zombie plague. Lance and Larry (his neighbour & new best friend) set out on their journey.

The plot is well thought out and captivating but left one major plot hole: why do the zombies sniff the main character and then turn away? What’s different about him now? This is a source of frustration for the reader on finishing the book.

There were good peaks and troughs of action interlaced with the political aspect of the book. The politics didn’t appeal to me. The politicians were American and I’d never heard of most of them. Luckily, the politics was sparse and mainly focused on the frustration with bureaucracy and political correctness.

Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story is a throughly entertaining read. McClellan writing style is wonderful; the words seemed to flow off the pages making it was a joy to read.

The title of the book is too long to stand out to the average reader and will ultimately date the story. The cover design is completely unappealing and off-putting. However put the title and cover design aside, overall Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story is a great zombie story. One that is an easy read, at times very funny and is well worth reading.

Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story by Ian McClellan is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,


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