Switching to an Insulin Patch After 50 Years of Injections
Editor’s Note: Educational content related to insulin patch technology is made possible with support from CeQur Simplicity, an active partner of Beyond Type 1 at the time of publication. Editorial control rests solely on Beyond Type 1.
People with diabetes need options—the daily and hour-by-hour task of taking insulin does not come in a one-size-fits-all system. Whether you’ve lived with diabetes for five or 35 years, being open to the newer methods of taking insulin can be life-changing.
Here, a woman who’s lived with type 1 diabetes for over 50 years shares her experience trying the CeQur Simplicity insulin patch.
Diabetes in 1972: Boiling Syringes + Measuring Glucose with Urine
Gloria Constant was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1972 at 16 years old.
“I used glass syringes with needles I had to sterilize at home with boiling water,” she recalls, now 66 years old.
Constant was diagnosed when the only way to check her blood sugar was with urine glucose strips that she had to dip into her own urine samples. The color on the urine strip indicated a broad range of where her blood sugar was several hours beforehand. At the time, the overall lack of technology, modern insulin and diabetes education left Constant feeling completely unsupported and unmotivated on a daily basis.
“When I was young,” she recalls, “I never had many low blood sugars because I wasn’t taking enough insulin. I wasn’t taking care of myself.”
At age 17, Constant remembers developing an abscess on her thigh from the combination of chronically high blood sugar levels and not sterilizing her syringes thoroughly.
“The doctor told me I wouldn’t live to be 30 years old if I didn’t start taking better care of myself,” says Constant.
At 28 years old, Constant was diagnosed with retinopathy after seeing black spots in her vision which were actually bleeding blood vessels. As she began laser treatments to stop the bleeding and prevent the retinopathy from worsening, Constant became more proactive in her diabetes education and daily management.
“I started taking better care of it and understanding it more,” says Constant, who is grateful she was able to turn things around in time to protect her long-term vision.
Performance dancing + insulin patches at 66 years old
Today, Constant is a performance dancer with an Egyptian Folklore dance group, Al Massraweya. She also walks 5 and sometimes 10 miles a day.
“Insulin pumps are too bulky,” says Constant of her reluctance to try a traditional insulin pump. “I lead a very, very active lifestyle, and I have never been interested in the pump. But I went directly from using insulin pens—taking daily injections—to using the Cequr Simplicity insulin patch.”
Ultra-simple with a low profile, this insulin patch technology offers a low-tech option that makes taking insulin for your meals and corrections much easier. Covered by Medicare and many other insurance plans, Constant says her doctor recommended it and it was approved immediately.
Constant was especially pleased during her first performance wearing the patch at how easy it was to wear under the fitted costumes.
“I wondered if I’d have to remove it for the performance but the patch is so sleek you couldn’t even see it. It’s unreal!” says Constant. “I absolutely love it.”
Using an Insulin Patch After Years of Injections
“When I first learned the instructions for putting the Cequr patch on, I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m never gonna remember these steps!’” laughs Constant. “But now I could probably do it in my sleep. It’s so easy.”
Constant says she was expecting the application of the insulin patch to feel similar to inserting a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor. In comparison, however, she says putting a new patch on her abdomen is completely painless.
“I have no idea how they made this technology so painless,” says Constant. “I was reluctant to put it on my stomach. I never gave injections there, but it does not hurt. It’s really incredible.”
Being able to take her insulin so discreetly has been one of the biggest perks—and it’s helped ensure she gets insulin more consistently with her meals.
“It really does help me remember to take my insulin because I never liked taking an injection in public,” explains Constant. “When you’re traveling or you’re out in public, I’d always wait until I could go into the bathroom to take my insulin. Now I just squeeze the buttons on the patch right through my shirt. It’s so discreet.”
Constant will also be traveling to Egypt this summer. With a great passion for Ancient Egyptian history and culture, she will be involved with a tomb excavation and restoration project in Luxor, Egypt.
Knowing she’ll be able to easily take mealtime and correction insulin with her patch in place is a relief.
“Now I don’t know what I would do without it,” says Constant. “I wish I had this a long time ago.”