Rosemary's Story; 30 years Pumping

I met so many people at Thriveabetes 2015 last October and I’ve been reaching out to people that I had contact information for just to see how they are doing. It’s been so nice catching up with them. One such lady is Rosemary Boylan, who agreed to allow us to share her diabetes story with you. Thank you so much Rosemary.

I met so many people in the hallway of The Glenroyal Hotel that day and the names and stories have been “mashed up”. I would encourage anyone who wants to share their story or to reconnect with people they met. to send me an email to and I promise to do my best to connect you. Grainne.

Rosemary Boylan


Insulin Pumping for 30 years.

My name is Rosemary and I live in Co. Meath. In December 2016, I shall be 40 years into my journey living with Type 1 Diabetes.

It was Autumn 1976 when I became unwell.  I had the symptoms of a cold, which developed into a flu. They persisted for some time, worsening daily. Several visits to my GP and numerous amounts of antibiotics later, no improvement was gained.  I was tired, lacked energy, extremely thirsty, drinking anything I could get my hands on. I drank favoured minerals because it had a little bite in it, not knowing the added damage I was doing. It was like pouring water into the desert.

I was nauseous and beginning to be intolerant of eating anything and keeping it down. Using the bathroom became a horrendous experience due to the buildup of acid. I had lost a considerable amount of weight.

A final visit to the GP, who was browned off looking at me by now, said to wrap me up warm and send me back to school. Horrendous. considering any one of these symptoms would now cause concern and be sooner picked up on.

My Mum was concerned but as he was the professional she took him at his word. Luck would have it that my Mum was having an annual check up at Navan Hospital and she took me along. She voiced her concerns with one of the nurse's who looked at me and sent me immediately to A and E. I was rushed to Our Lady of Lourde's Hospital, Drogheda where I was finally diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

I spent three weeks in Intensive Care and had to adjust to the shock of having to be on injections for the rest of my life. Two days before Christmas I was discharged, it is a Christmas that shall stay in my memory, especially the song 'Mull of Kintyre' by Paul McCartney, they played it on what must have been on a loop in Intensive Care I don't view Tartan in the same way (ha, ha).  The Consultant said that if I hadn't  been with my Mum that day that two more days and it would have been fatal.

I initially found it hard to adjust to my one injection a day. My Mum and my brother took it in turns to administer the injection but after a week or so I knuckled down and did it myself. Needles back then were not as micro as they are today, if you had seen them, the word 'horse' would spring to mind (ha, ha). I eventually had to go onto twice daily injections.

At 18 years, my then Consultant Professor Devlin suggested I go on an Insulin Infusion Pump as my blood sugar control left a lot to be desired. That was 1984, I was one of only a few (patients) treating their diabetes in this form.

30 years on an insulin pump and 6 pumps later, the advancements have been incredible. I don't claim to know everything about insulin pumping but I know exactly what I need to know to meet my specific needs. I have no complications, so far. It hasn't been an easy journey and some trials have been harder than others. Diabetes has not yet held me back in anything I wanted to do with the exception of a Skydive for charity.

People regard diabetes as something that is less significant than other diseases but let me tell you when you live every waking moment of every single day of your life with this disease it is a trial, it is hard, it is difficult and sometimes cruel.There is a whole physiological side to it. Our own health is in our own hands. Having support and understanding in doing this is enormous. Unfortunately I didn't have either.

I attended the first Thriveabetes held in Maynooth in 2015 and found it inspirational as many others did. I am so looking forward to 2016's.

So guy's keep your chin up and let's be the best that we can be with this damn thing!!!! 

Regards, Rosemary


Note: People with type 1 diabetes are not prohibited from participating in a Sky Dive. The circumstances where Rosemary was prevented from doing hers are unique.