Saturday, 14 November 2015

Heavy Heart (World Diabetes Day 2015).

Today, November 14th, marks Frederick Banting's birthday, which in turn marks World Diabetes Day.

Usually, for me, November 14th marks a day of celebration and thankfulness that Banting, along with Charles Best, discovered insulin, the very thing I need to live.

This year, however, World Diabetes Day feels very different, following what happened in Paris yesterday evening. This year, my heart is heavy, mourning a city, a country, that was my home, albeit for a short period of time.

Then I saw the below posted on Twitter, reminding me that's okay to acknowledge the two side by side. Hence me writing at 11pm.
Source.

On social media outlets last night, I saw how the world came together: #prayforfrance #porteouverte and the lighting up monuments in the colours of the French flag.

I see how the diabetes community comes together regularly.

It supports, it advises (non-medically speaking), it listens. 

It campaigns, it encourages, it cares.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, the DOC is there.

People, on the whole, are good. And people, on the whole, care. I see that on a daily basis, with my family, friends, colleagues, and those I interact with online.

And I've seen it over the last 24 hours following the attacks in Paris last night.

Let's keep on coming together for good.


Monday, 2 November 2015

November.

Here we go again, November. 

Diabetes Awareness Month. 

A whirlwind of campaigns and blogs all aiming to raise awareness of diabetes, whatever the type, with World Diabetes Day falling in the middle of it all (November 14th). 

This year, it seems to be kicking off with the JDRF campaign T1D Looks Like Me


Whilst my aim this November is to shine a bit of a spotlight on diabetes and raise awareness, I'm also hoping to pay some attention to some other advocacy efforts that are taking place. 

November doesn't just mark Diabetes Awareness Month. It is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, Movember...I could go on!

By writing blogs and campaigning like we do through November, we hope to reach a community wider than our own DOC bubble. I'm sure those adovcating for other health conditions throughout November hope to do the same.

So whilst advocating for myself, I'm also going to listen to others outside of my bubble.

November, let's go!




Monday, 19 October 2015

Insulin For All.

Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day are fast approaching, and I'd like to make you aware of a returning campaign in the run up to November 14th.

Last year, Liz from T1 International and Lucy from The Pendsey Trust got together and created a campaign with the resounding message being "Put the world back into World Diabetes Day" and it was a huge success.

This year, the message is going to be slightly different - "We are the world in World Diabetes Day" - but the aim is the same - insulin for all.

I've written a lot about this (see here and here) and, out of fear of repeating myself, I'm not going to go on in this post. But I will say this (and repeat myself anyway): insulin is not a luxury, it is necessary to live. Every single person in this world diagnosed with diabetes deserves a chance at living with it, no matter their age, background, country. The fact that type one diabetes is still a death sentence in some countries is shocking, especially in the year 2015.

So, how can you get involved?

It's pretty simple. Like last year, the main premise is to take a picture of yourself holding a sign that says "We are the world in World Diabetes Day" and share on social media with the hashtag #insulinforall

And if posting a selfie isn't enough for you, feel free to check this list out. 

I have no doubt there'll be more to come in the lead up to WDD :)

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Pause.

This is nice: it's a Saturday afternoon, and I'm doing absolutely nothing. I went for a run this morning, which was my first run in a while, and it felt good. I had a quick coffee with E.Hales before getting my flu jab, and now I have no plans.

My life seems to have two paces at the moment: a whirlwind of everything happening all at once and nothing. Today, everything has stopped, and I'm very grateful for that. I've needed things to slow down for a while, but my trip to California and then various work commitments upon my return has meant that that hasn't happened until now. Hence the lack of blog action here.

So, why has life had me so busy? Well, like I said, I went to California for a week to see my old housemate, Lopez. All of my diabetes-related appointments happened the week after I got back, and the end of summer leave at work has meant that it was a case of hit-the-ground-running as soon as I returned. I'm also still trying to figure out what comes next, career-wise, which is draining in itself, but I think I may actually be getting somewhere with those decisions. Health-wise, I'm slowly beginning to use more test strips during the course of my day, and, as a result, my numbers are slowly coming in at levels I want them to. I know it's a simple concept: check blood sugar, use that data to make diabetes-decisions. But living at 100mph has meant that something has had to give, and unfortunately it was diabetes that took the hit. Another reason for the lack of posts here - how can I sit here and write when I'm not walking my talk?! 

Acknowledging this made me re-focus my efforts and my priorities. My job is important to me, as is finding the time for my family and friends and godson. But by juggling this, I let my own wellbeing slip. I stopped going to the gym, because I was just too tired to go. My weekends were so packed with coffee dates and dinners and playing with my littlest friend that I ended up going back to work on the Monday as tired as I was when I left Friday evenings.

Re-focussing has left me feeling ultimately happier, with more energy, and just generally feeling good about myself and where my life is currently at.

Acknowledging when things aren't quite right is a good thing, because you can make changes. But it's also important to acknowledge when your efforts have paid off, as an act of kindness to yourself, which is what I'm doing now. And I'm not ashamed to say it.

Point Magu - California.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Better Than Yesterday.

It was about three months ago when I got a call from my DSN asking me what thyroid tablets I'm on.

"I'm not on any thyroid tablets," I replied.

"Really? Well your thyroid function test has come back abnormal. It's nothing to panic about, but because we don't have a baseline for you, I'd like you to get another blood test in six weeks."

"Okay," I responded, not really sure what to say. I hung up the phone, closed my office door and had a little cry. At 22 years old, another health condition wasn't what I was looking for. My manager walked in during my pity party. I have no doubt he regrets that - once I've cried on someone once, I have no fear about crying on them again. Not that I knew it then, but it would happen a lot more over the coming weeks.


*      *      *      *      *

The office door ended up closed a lot more. I always used to be an open-door-kind-of-girl, but for some reason I just didn't want to deal with people. Closing the door stopped the traffic of people I often encountered (and used to love), and I could focus on other jobs.


*      *      *      *      *


Loss of interest came next. I lost my patience with people quickly, continued to hide away, if not in my office, in my manager's office or at the cafe on camp. Comfort eating became a regular thing. 


*      *      *      *      *


Then came the official diagnosis. Underactive thyroid and to start on Thyroxine.

"Have you had any symptoms at all?" my DSN asked. "Tiredness, lethargic?"

"Not that I've noticed."

"Maybe we've caught it before it becomes symptomatic then. So get started on those meds asap!"


*      *      *      *      *


It was the week between diagnosis and starting medication that I crumbled. I felt broken, disconnected, disengaged and a whole load of other things. I phoned my DSN and asked if an underactive thyroid can mess with your head. Because although I had no physical symptoms, my head was all over the place, and as far as I was concerned it had come out of no where. I completely broke down.

"I know we spoke about the physical symptoms, but can a thyroid problem mess with your headspace? Because I don't feel like me. I feel broken. And I don't know what to do...You know what, I'd actually take my diabetes diagnosis all over again over this. At least then I still felt like me. Symptoms were physical and I could explain them. But this I can't. And it's shit."


*      *      *      *      *


My best friend is a smart one. She can read me through a text message. Sometimes, it's annoying, other times I'm thankful for it. This time, I was incredibly thankful for it. We went out shopping, had some dinner, I voiced what I could explain. She didn't pry further, just let me disclose what I wanted.


*      *      *      *      *

I started taking thyroxine tablets. One 100mcg tablet a day, at 8.30am, half an hour before breakfast. It sounds really stupid, but taking them gave me hope. Hope that this was the beginning of me being me again. I knew it wouldn't be immediate, but it was a starting point. Because feeling the way I did sucked big time.


"By my birthday,"

"What?" my manager asked.

"By my birthday is when I want to start feeling like me again. My DSN said the tablets will take a couple of weeks to kick in, my birthday is in three and a half. So that's what I'm shooting for."

He smiled and left the office.


*      *      *      *      *

"How are you doing today?"

"Better than yesterday. And that's all I can ask for," I said with a genuine smile.

"I knew you'd make it. Happy birthday, my dear."


*      *      *      *      *


Not feeling like myself meant I didn't want to write here. I took the break from this blog (and social media in general) so that I could figure things out. I wasn't ready to share, and I wasn't going to bullcrap on this blog and pretend that everything was a-okay.

Today, however, I feel better than yesterday, and better than the day before that. And that really is all I can ask for. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hello, Blog!


"That there is your insulin pump, and that there is a monster taking it. But you get it back."
I write here, honest! I needed to take some time out (as you may have noticed from the digital tumbleweed here). But I feel ready to start sharing again. So, hello again, blog! 

Friday, 24 July 2015

365 Days After Graduation.

"It's funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different" C.S.Lewis.


I graduated July 24th 2014. One whole year ago! Seriously, where is the time going?! A lot has changed over the last 365 days, and I've learnt a lot. So here it goes:
  1. It's okay to not have an effing clue what you're meant to do after graduation. I've been a graduate for a whole year now, and I still have no idea. But I'm happy with where I'm currently at.
  2. As exciting as life after graduation can be, sometimes I find the real world really sucks. People aren't always kind, workplace politics can be a bit of a bitch, and some days it's just a real effing struggle. 
  3. Getting up early doesn't get any easier, no matter how many times you snooze your alarm. And sleeping through your alarm and going to work with wet hair is not as acceptable as it was at uni.
  4. Holidays are few and far between. Choose holiday days carefully. And savour every minute of them!
  5. Same goes for weekends. Life after uni generally means working full days, not one lecture at 10am then done for the day. Use the time to catch up with family and friends and just switch off. 
  6. Don't give your personal mobile number out to people at work unless you 100% trust them not to give it out to anyone else. I don't think this should have even made the list, because...general etiquette...but thanks to someone giving out my number, I get work calls on my personal phone. Not okay with that. 
  7. Remember reading for fun?! That's an actual thing. I forgot after four years of uni when all I did was read for assignments and classes, not because I wanted to. I love that I love reading again.
  8. My health is more important to me now than it was whilst I was at uni. I'm not too sure why, it just is. I put effort into managing my diabetes, make sure I attend my appointments, get blood work done in advance, eat well and exercise regularly. I've started to take the time out to experiment with food, make meals I wouldn't usually make, and just generally take care of myself. 
  9. Sleep is the thing. Going to bed early so you're bright eyed for work is okay. And passing up an invite to go out drinking is okay. It's also totally fine to accept such an invitation, but saying no is a-okay too. 
  10. Maintaining relationships is hard. People become busy after graduation, travelling, working, chasing careers, just generally doing their thing and being awesome. Even if it's only every couple of months, make the effort to make that phone call, send that text or email, arrange that skype date or FaceTime, go for coffee one weekend. 
  11. Putting money into my savings account every month is maybe one of my best habits as an almost grown-up.
  12. Take the time to find balance. Your balance. And work at maintaining it. Everything's so much easier with a little balance. 


Monday, 13 July 2015

The One Where I Ran 10km.

On Sunday, 12th July 2015, E.Hales and I woke up, donned our pinkest clothes (read: I stole one of her very many pink tops - I'm not a pink person) and made our way to our local Race for Life. If you don't know, Race for Life is a run in aid of Cancer Research UK. You can run, jog or walk 10km, 5km, or take part in the Pretty Muddy 5km assault course (which we're looking to do next year). It's a very pink day and it's awesome!




This was my first 10km run. I hadn't done as much training as I wanted to - a combination of work, other commitments and a bit of exercise burnout left me feeling a little unprepared, but that feeling didn't last too long. When you take part in a Race for Life event, everyone has a sign on their back that says why they're taking part.

The. Biggest. Motivator. Ever.

We heard some people share their experiences. We had a minutes silence to think of all those that are battling cancer, have lost their lives to cancer and have kicked cancer's butt. We warmed up. We ran. (Most of it, anyway. A blood sugar of 18.8mmol after 5km left me confused and not all there, taking a correction bolus and chugging a bottle of water.) We crossed the finish line. We hugged. We cried. We gratefully accepted the brioche that was being offered to us at the end (blood sugar clocked in at 12mmol by the end of the race). We happily accepted our medals. We clapped and cheered others as they ran/jogged/walked. We were united, with one aim: cure all cancers.

So I (mostly) ran. For those battling cancer. For those that have lost their lives to cancer. For those that have survived cancer. For my future. For my family's future. For the next generation's future.




Here's to kicking cancer's butt.










Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Living.

"Let me drive you home, please?"

"I'm fine," I replied, "not low anymore. Not shaky, not dizzy, not feeling weird, and my blood sugar is 7.2mmol. And I've eaten a granola bar. I'm fine."

"Yeah, but..."

"Yeah but what?!" I interrupted. "This is my normal. Lows are something I'm used to, highs are something I'm used to. If I stopped every time...sought help every time...I'd never do anything alone. You've said I need to trust you, you need to trust me too. I live with diabetes every single day, and have done for the last five and a bit years. I know what I'm doing."

"Fine. Text me when you get home, just so I know you haven't flaked on the train and ended up and the end of the train line!"

"I'm not gonna flake out. And if I do, that's what my medic alert's for - hedge my bets!" I was hoping to lighten the mood, but instead my manager just glared at me. "Okay, seriously, I've done some stupid shit, like frozen my insulin, but I'm not stupid enough to try to make it home if my blood sugar's crummy."

"You've frozen your insulin?!"

"Story for another time, boss. See you tomorrow. I'll text you when I'm home."

I know there are times when I'm fiercely independent and far too stubborn, but this was one I wasn't going to back down on.

For the record, I made it home. Which you've probably gathered seeing as I'm blogging about it.

Monday, 15 June 2015

What I Learnt By Taking A Pump Break.

In bullet point fashion, of course:

  • Injections are hard work! Can't just press some buttons on my meter and away I go. No, I actually have to stop and take the time out to make sure I get insulin into my system.
  • I'm much more mindful of what I eat when injecting - is that snack really worth the extra shot I'm going to have to take to cover it?
  • That being said, on Friday I had pizza for dinner. Pizza on my pump? No problem! Multiwave bolus, and I manage to dodge the inevitable peak. Or at least stop it from peaking to high. Pizza on injections? Hello blood sugar of 15.4mmol when I woke up Saturday morning. (And I did two shots trying to stop the peak that way.)
  • My cannula is a source of comfort. Over the last few days, I've found myself reaching for cannula sites, to find there is no cannula. And I've panicked, and then remembered that I've decided to be device-free. Feeling my cannula in place seems to provide a sense of comfort for me. Weird, I know, but we all have strange tendencies, right?!
  • The dawn phenomenon struggle was real and frustrating. 
  • I forgot how much I enjoyed using the phrase "shoot up". You just don't say it when using a pump.
  • Although I was itching to get my pump back on, I was not looking forward to sharing my bed with it. That was the one thing I loved about my pump break - not rolling over and having my pump dig in or having to fish it out of the duvet cover in the mornings. 
  • I'm a micro-corrector. A micro-doser too, for that matter. On my pump, I could, and would, micro-correct a blood sugar of 10. And I could micro-dose insulin to cover my morning coffee. But to do that on injections is near enough impossible. I can dose and correct in increments of 0.5. That, and is 10 a high enough blood sugar level to want to correct it with another injection?!
  • Temp basal is one of the best things ever. I can't remember the last time I actually used a temp basal, but suddenly, when I don't have the option to use it, all I want to do is use it. 
  • In short, I have a new-found appreciation for my pump, and welcomed its' attachment back on my body with open arms this morning! I've also proved to myself that I can revert back to injections with no real difficulties. My pump isn't permanent, and now I have the confidence to go back to injections, on a whim. Constantly wearing a medical device had taken its' toll on my mind, and taking a break from it has given me the time to get myself in the right place to start wearing it again. This morning, I felt ready to suit up once more. So I did.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A Break Up, Of Sorts.

Friday, June 5th, marked one year with my insulin pump. (Where has that year gone?! Seriously?!) Now, I love my insulin pump: it's smart enough that it almost mimics what my pancreas should do, it offers me more flexibility; there are a lot of pros to wearing it and using it to manage my diabetes. There's no way, at this point, that I'd ever give it back. 

That being said...I do want to temporarily break up. Only for a few days, a week at most. Because as much as I love using my pump to manage my diabetes, wearing it, owning it, feeling comfortable with it, using it to it's fullest potential, is something I'm just not doing so well with at the moment. 

I'm sick of sharing my bed with it, for one. I roll over and lay on it, it gets caught in the duvet cover and sometimes goes sky diving off my bed, tugging at where-ever my cannula is that morning. 

And trying to figure out how to work it in with an outfit is beginning to annoy me. 

And I'm not making use of the different types of bolus I can use. 

I think I'm just done with being constantly connected to it. 

So, a temporary break up it is. As of yesterday morning, I welcomed back my trusty Novopen, and took a shot of Levemir to be my background insulin for the day, and packed some syringes to draw insulin up from my Novorapid vial. It did feel strange not having my insulin pump attached, but for the first time since I got it, I felt free. No device attached. I also felt like everyone would notice (a silly thought, given I hide my insulin pump!)


I felt like I'd got lazy with my insulin pump, a little too complacent. I was hoping that coming off it would remind me (again) just how smart my insulin pump is, and how much flexibility it offers me.

In the ever so eloquent words of Dave, "giving myself a kick up the arse".

And I'm happy to say it's working. 


Monday, 1 June 2015

"Conceal, Don't Feel, Don't Let Them Know."

Maybe it's just me, but I feel the need to hide my bad diabetes days from those around me. Maybe it's pride? Not wanting to admit weakness? Not wanting to be seen as weak? Or just different from those around me? All of the aforementioned? More than likely.

Here on this blog, I will write about my bad days. And my good days, for that matter. I feel comfortable doing that here. You're more than likely reading this because you "get" diabetes. Whether you live with it, you're the carer for someone who lives with it, or someone you love has it, you have a level of understanding. 

Those I work with know I have type one diabetes. They know I wear an insulin pump. And they know where to find my medical notes and emergency contact details (a document I drew up myself, and keep in a sealed envelope in my desk drawer). They know about low blood sugars and high blood sugars. 

For the last few months, as you may have gathered from previous blog posts, "high" would be a very good description of where my blood sugar's been at. For me, highs aren't as noticeable as lows. It was easy to plod along and pretend I had my shit together. Telling my manager that I needed to go back to see my consultant four weeks after my last appointment was hard ("You're really good at pretending you've got your shit together!" he said. "Thank you," I replied with smile. "Wasn't meant to be a compliment." Of course, I knew that). I felt like I was admitting defeat, that I couldn't deal with my diabetes on my own. And I know that if it were someone else in my situation, I would tell them to stop being stupid, it's not weakness, etc, etc. But walking my talk has never been something I'm good at. 

Over the past three weeks, I've put a lot of effort into basal testing, checking my insulin to carb ratios, correction factors, the lot. My blood sugars are starting to come down, which has been an interesting adjustment - running high for as long as I have done means I feel hypo at 6mmol. This has also meant that when I have actually been hypo, I've been hit with every hypo symptom: shaking, sweating, no coordination, lack of speech, double vision (manager with two heads, anyone?!) and, my least favourite of all, crying. 

(Painted you a lovely picture there, haven't I?!)

It's these "low moments" when I do everything in my power to hide what's going on.

Source.

Get through the meeting, then treat the hypo. 

Finish responding to my emails, then treat the hypo.

Finish my conversation, then treat the hypo.

Finish [enter other random tasks here], then treat the hypo.

It was after a conference call that my manager (getting ever so more observant) approached me.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes," I nodded, not trusting myself to string a full sentence together.

"Do you want to try that again?"

"I'm fine," I replied, proud of my two word sentence and use of a contraction in my hypo state.

"You ought to trademark that response. It's you're go-to," and he handed me a bottle of lucozade.

With shakey hands, I picked the bottle up. The lid had already been unscrewed, and I counted six gulps and waited for my blood sugar to come back up, my manager now sat the opposite side of my desk. 

As my blood sugar came up and my mind began focussing on other things, and not my low, I looked at my manager. 

"Thank you," I whispered.

"You need to start trusting us, Vicki. We're not going to look at you any differently if you need to leave to sort your diabetes. I'm not going to sit here are pretend I know what you go through on a day-to-day basis, because I don't. What I do know, however, is that you're not putting yourself first some of the time. Start doing that, okay? And know my door's always open if you need or want to talk. Is your blood sugar back up now?"

"I think so. I'll just check. You no longer have two heads, so progress!"

"You're forming full sentences too. Progress again."

I laughed. "I'm sorry. Put me first. Got it."

As much as I enjoy my job (most of the time, anyway), and want to prove myself and further my career, not putting my health first isn't going to help me achieve anything. No negelecting of me, by me. It's one of many balancing acts I'm working on.  

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dealing With Diabetes (Written By PWDs).

A little while back, I received an email from a guy named Joe. He works for a company called Voucher Codes Pro, and was writing an article about dealing with diabetes to be published on their site. I was asked to contribute something, which I did (disclosures and all that). And I'm sharing it here with you because I think it's a great piece that Joe has put together.
"I'm Joe, I'm 26, and a type 1 diabetic, and part of the content team here at Voucher Codes Pro. Not the smoothest opening line to your possible future wife, is it? I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 18 when I was about to venture into the world of booze, university and relationships. Thanks to a pancreas that was more interested in taking a permanent holiday than producing the insulin my body so badly needed, I knew I had a battle on my hands."
To read the rest of his article, please click here.

And, thank you, Joe, for asking me to contribute! 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 7 - Continuing Connections.


And I've caught up...finally! Diabetes Blog Week (plus a week and a day), it's been fun! The biggest of thank yous to Karen of Bitter-Sweet Diabetes for organising this once again, and bringing the community together.


*      *      *      *      *      *

The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it's held every year.  So let's help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week.  Share a link to a new blog you've found or a new friend you've made.  Or pick a random blog off of the Participant's List, check it out and share it with us.  Let's take some time today to make new friends.


Like last year, I'm kind of gonna cop out of this one. I'm crap when it comes to picking just one blog, so here are a list of links!


Happy reading!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 6 - Favourites And Motivations.


Still playing catch up...


*      *      *      *      *      *

If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favourite sentence or blog post you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related? If you are a new blogger, and don't have a favourite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog.

It was weird going back through old blog posts, and interesting to read just how much things have changed since I first started this blog: where I'm at in my personal life, where my health is at, how my writing has changed and what I use this blog for. 

My motivations for blogging are often changing. 

More often than not, it's to clear my head (diabetes therapy!)

Sometimes it's to share information.

Or tell a story. Celebrate an achievement. Vent after a bad day. 

And sometimes it's because I just want to. Sounds a little silly, right? Wanting to blog about life with diabetes and share with the Internet? I enjoy writing. And I'm proud of this little corner of the Internet. This is my platform to connect with others. I've made friends as a result of this blog. And, emotionally, I'm much better off for having it.

To read more posts for day six of Diabetes Blog Week, click here.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 5 - Foods On...Monday?!


(Ok...so I fell a bit behind when it came to Diabetes Blog Week. But I'm determined to finish, so today I give you day 5...a few days late!)


*      *      *      *      *      *

Taking a cue from Adam Brown's recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day. Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever. Make it an ideal day or come-as-you-are day - no judgements either way.

I was a little bit unsure about this post. I've written before about the mind-fuck that I experience when it comes to food, guilt and diabetes. I also said that I wanted to stop fearing food diaries. Okay, this isn't a food diary per se, but it's all about sharing those food-related choices. So I'm doing it. 

Breakfast consisted of these little beauties: egg frittatas, recipe courtesy of Jen. Blood sugar friendly egg bites with tomatoes and spinach in them. I mix up the veggies I put in them, but tomato and spinach is my favourite. Kale is pretty good too, actually. Three of these will do me until lunch time. 

Lunch consisted of a cheese and pickle sandwich, made with Warburton's Sandwich Thins (because bread is my food nemesis) and a cereal bar. And a coffee. Always coffee (with sugar-free caramel syrup).

And for dinner, I had a chicken kiev with sweet potato fries and salad. Sweet potato is one of my favourite things to cook with. Mash it, roast it, fry it, bake it, love it! And I had mango for pudding (because I'm absolutely obsessed with the stuff at the moment!)

To read more posts for day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week, click here.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 4 - Changes.


Today, let's talk about changes in one of two ways. Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way. This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings - anything at all you feel could use changing. OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes. Were they expected or did they surprise you?

The biggest thing I want to see changed? 

Access. 

Access to insulin.

Access to glucose meters.

Access to test strips.

Access to education to learn how to live a life with diabetes.

I've written about it before. Many times. And I've spoken with those working on changing this. Insulin isn't a luxury, it's necessary to live.  

To read more posts for day four of Diabetes Blog Week, click here.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 3 - Clean It Out.


Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out. What's in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out? This can be an actual physical belonging, or something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to. Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?

Guilt. That's what I want, need, and am trying, to get rid of. Diabetes-related guilt.

It comes in many forms. A high blood sugar when I thought I'd carb-counted my meal precisely. A low blood sugar when I'm looking after my godson. Feeling down when I have a lot of good in my life, yet I can't can't snap out of that funk. Or after comments other people are making regarding my health/food/diabetes-related choices.

One of the things you're taught in school is kindness. Be kind to others, treat them how we wish to be treated ourselves.

And that's true, don't get me wrong.

But what about being kind to ourselves? Going easy on ourselves, and remembering that we're only human and there's only so much we can do?

I try my best to keep my blood sugar levels in line, and my head in a good place to make that happen. Sometimes, the two aren't in sync, and when they aren't, that's when I feel the most guilty: I'm lucky enough to have access to test strips and insulin, I wear an insulin pump, I don't have to pay for my health care. I have no reason to feel the way I sometimes do, I just do. And because I feel that those feelings are unjustified, I don't spend time addressing the situation. Instead, I tell myself to get on with it.

I don't ease up on myself mentally. I don't give myself the time to work through where I'm at emotionally. I don't vocalise where my head's at, worried that comments from others will make me feel even more guilty.

Since my appointment last week, I've really tried to ease up on myself emotionally, take things one day at a time and not expect everything to fall back into place overnight. It's so much easier said than done, and still early days, but I feel so much better for it.

I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. And I don't have it all figured out. But I'm here, pursuing a career post-graduation, travelling, hanging out with family and friends, rambling away on this blog, excited about what comes next. All, apparently, a whole lot more fun when you're not giving yourself a hard time. 
Source
To read more posts for day three of Diabetes Blog Week, click here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 2 - Keep It To Yourself.


Many of us share lots of aspects of our lives online for the world to see. What are some aspects of diabetes you choose to keep private from the internet? Or from your family and friends? Why is it important to keep it to yourself? (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone. There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects. Simply let us know what kinds of stories we'll never hear from you.)

I share a lot on this blog. And there are things I'd wish I'd done differently when I started this blog. I basically wasn't expecting to still be writing this blog today, so didn't really think twice about what went on here in the early days. There's not a lot I can do about that now, though. We all know how the Internet works: once something's out there, it's very hard to take it back. What I can do, however, is make sure that I'm comfortable with what I'm disclosing on here. 

Like most other diabetes bloggers, I want this blog to be seen as a reliable account of living life with type one diabetes. Therefore, I need to share, and I need to share honestly.

So I do: stories of low and high blood sugars, going to university, moving abroad, moving home and finding a job, exercising, hanging out with friends. Sometimes I even share stories I don't remember.

What I don't share are the names of my friends and family. Because although their stories are closely linked with mine, they are their stories to share. I've chosen to share aspects of my diabetes life online, but they haven't chosen to put their lives on the Internet. And any pictures I use are always used with their permission. Particularly when it comes to my littlest friend

I've stopped sharing my blood results. There's a lot of context that goes alongside an hba1c result. What's not a great result for one person might be a really improved result for someone else. The context matters, and, although I knew this, when I first started blogging it wasn't really something I really thought about. Now, however, I have, and I'm choosing to keep those results private. 

I don't share all the crappy times as I'm going through them. I often write them out on this blog, to help organise my thoughts, but I never actually press publish. If I do, it will be when I'm in a better place mentally, and it will be to reflect on, not focus on. The difference is subtle, but I think it's there. 

I don't doubt that what I share and don't share will change as my life changes. For now, what I choose disclose is what I'm most comfortable with as a twenty-something still trying to figure out what comes next. 

To read more post for day two of Diabetes Blog Week, click here.


Monday, 11 May 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 1 - I Can.


In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I Can..." that participants found wonderfully empowering. So let's kick things off this year looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes. What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could? Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

I truly believe that the things we experience and the people we meet help shape and influence what we do in the future and who we become. Kind of like those Orange mobile adverts that graced our televisions a few years back.

I was 17 years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and since then I have moved away from home. I went to uni, made some life-long friends, lived with some of them whilst there, went on a year abroad and graduated

I've since moved back to my hometown. I've landed a job I enjoy. 

I've had the opportunity to connect with, and meet, so many lovely people within the DOC. 

I started this blog and found a love of writing (even if it is still a little clumsy and all over the place). 

Whether it's because of diabetes or in spite of diabetes, I don't know, but the people I've met and the things that I've done have taught me that I can live the life I want to live with diabetes.

Can't ask for more than that!

To read more blog posts for day one of Diabetes Blog Week, you can find link list here