It started with a dry mouth and an incredible thirst. In the middle of the night, she was getting up to gulp glasses of water.
She lost 21 pounds. Her extreme fatigue was impossible to ignore.
Margot Forrest was 22, too young and too healthy to be dealing with so much.
Her doctor ordered a fasting glucose test. When the results came in, she was admitted to the hospital. The diagnosis: type 1 diabetes.
"It was very sudden because I thought I was really healthy," Margot says. "No one in the family has ever had diabetes, so it was quite a shock."
Twenty years later, Margot is exercising, eating right, and using FreeStyle Libre system monitor to track her glucose levels, which has helped her do — including running marathons.
Living with diabetes: Margot's life before FreeStyle Libre system
Diabetes affects every aspect of Margot's life. Thought and planning are essential.
"I used to think about my insulin and how much to take, and I always had to carry glucose and have a blood glucose monitor with me," she says.
A part-time lawyer from Scotland and a mother of three young boys, Margot used a typical blood glucose monitor for nearly 20 years. That meant having to stick her finger two to four times a day, or more, just to stay on top of her glucose levels.
In 2016, Margot wanted to lose weight, so she began attending fitness classes. However, the activity lowered her glucose level too much, a complication called hypoglycemia (or a case of "the hypos," as she call it), explains the American Diabetes Association. To stabilize her glucose, she drank soda which frustratingly caused her to gain weight. She didn't feel she had much of a better option.
How FreeStyle Libre system changed her life
With hopes of a better way, Margot took charge.
A specialist who recommended a two-week trial of the FreeStyle Libre system, which automatically reads glucose levels through a sensor — approximately the size of a U.S. quarter — that is worn on the back of the upper arm and eliminates the need for routine finger sticks1. Before FreeStyle Libre system, Margot had to check her glucose, requiring she prick her finger to get a blood sample. She had to do this multiple times, each day, a disruptive and inconvenient necessity.
The system also collects information on glucose patterns and trends, so she and her doctor have better insights on her glucose levels that help make more informed treatment decisions.
Using the monitor was life-changing for Margot.
With the FreeStyle Libre system, she no longer has to routinely finger stick to get a glucose reading and she is armed with the most current, up-to-date information so she can better manage her glucose levels, without interrupting her workout. She was able to monitor her glucose levels easily during her fitness classes to avoid episodes of hypoglycemia. At last, she was able to lose the weight she'd wanted.
Running a marathon with FreeStyle Libre system
Now that Margot was excelling at fitness classes, she thought why not challenge herself and conquer the true test of endurance: a marathon. She had run one several years earlier, but she had to walk 10 of the 26.2 miles. Margot wasn't one to settle. She wanted to run the full race and finish under five hours.
FreeStyle Libre system transformed her training. It allowed Margot to monitor her glucose levels more often and take glucose, all without interrupting her workouts.
In her second marathon attempt, she became dehydrated and had to bow out at mile 23. She's rightfully proud — but she wanted to cross the finish line.
"You can manage [diabetes] and educate yourself," Margot says. "Don't beat yourself up when you get it wrong — we all do. Just keep trying and don't be discouraged."
She didn't give up. She ran a half marathon. Later, she finished a full marathon in less than five hours. With the right tool, Margot has learned how to master running with diabetes.
The FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
INDICATIONS AND IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring system is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The system is intended for single patient use and requires a prescription.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.
WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The FreeStyle Libre system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The FreeStyle Libre system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit www.freestylelibre.com for detailed indications for use and safety information.
1A finger stick test using a glucometer is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels; or if hypoglycemia or impending hypoglycemia is reported by the system; or when symptoms do not match the system readings.