Sunday, 19 April 2015

I Wish People Knew That Diabetes...

Hat tip to Kelly Kunik of Diabetesaliciousness for this one! Here we go!

I wish people knew that diabetes is hard. People with diabetes may make it look easy, but it's not. And there is no time off - it's something I manage and make decisions about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

I wish people knew that diabetes brings me a lot of guilt.

I wish people knew that (sometimes) diabetes makes me cry, whether it be over a stubborn high blood sugar, a low that just won't come up, frustration over a kinked cannula or just grieving for the life I had pre-diabetes, when I was 17 years old.

I wish people knew (and sometimes I need reminding) that diabetes is not a character flaw. I spent a long time thinking it was and hiding behind it and I feel I missed out on a lot because of that. It is not a character flaw. Just a small part of a greater whole.

I wish people knew that diabetes doesn't have a certain look about it. People don't "look diabetic", there's not a certain physical description you need to fit to have diabetes. It's a disease that doesn't discriminate.

I wish people knew that diabetes isn't cured by eating less sugar and exercising more. Okay, I find watching what I eat and exercising helps make it a little bit easier to manage my diabetes, but it by no means jump-starts my pancreas into producing insulin again.

I wish people knew that diabetes isn't cured by my insulin pump either. Just because I no longer do injections on a day to day basis doesn't mean I'm cured. My insulin pump is just the device I choose to use to manage this thing, and it's what works best for me at this point in time. (Also: my insulin pump doesn't mean I have the "bad" kind of diabetes.)

I wish people knew that diabetes is an unpredictable fucker: you can do everything exactly the same, two days in a row, and see completely different results. And it's a bit of a mind-fuck for a while as you try to work out why.

I wish people knew that diabetes-related paraphernalia is a luxury, and one I don't take for granted. I'm incredibly fortunate to live in a country where we have an NHS, meaning free health care. I don't have to pay for my insulin, my insulin pump, my glucose meter, the test strips that go with it, lancets...nothing! Yet there are still people in this world that struggle with gaining access to insulin. And that makes me angry.

I wish people knew that diabetes has caused me to see food as a number before I see the food itself. So when I go to delve into that lovely lemon poppy seed muffin from the coffee shop at work, know that I know exactly how many carbs are in that and how to bolus for it.

I wish people knew that diabetes, for all the things I hate about it, has brought be some of the best friendships. People that I can't imagine not knowing. And that screws with my head as well. Because SO MANY wonderful people have entered my life as a result of this diagnosis. I want to keep the people, but kick the diagnosis. But it doesn't work like that. I know that I can't have one without the other. And I, I know, that I will always choose the people over a life without diabetes. Like I said, some of the best friendships, both online and off.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


So me and Doodle are having a picnic and we're eating raspberries. Doodle got the juice on his fingers so licked them, then said "I'm copying Auntie Vicki." I said "what do you mean?" and he said "Auntie Vicki has juice on her fingers every day and she licks it off like this" Haha!

Sometimes, diabetes is eww. Other days, it's raspberries. 

[And thanks, best friend, for texting me this little story. It definitely brought a smile to my face :) ]

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

What's The Story, Morning Glory?

Six weeks ago, I joined a gym. It was fairly cheap (yay for corporate membership!) and near to my place of work, so very convenient.

There are a number of reasons why I exercise. For a start, it makes me feel good. That, to me, is reason enough to do it. I think better, and more clearly, I feel more energised, I like the sense of accomplishment I feel after a work out and, of course, there is that added bonus of nicer blood sugars (on the whole) when exercise is incorporated into my routine.

When I signed up, I made the decision that mornings was going to be when I go. I know me, and I knew that the chances of me going to gym after a day at work were slim to nothing. Going first thing in the morning, however, was much more likely to see results.

When family and friends caught wind of this, they laughed, and justifiably so. Anyone that knows me will know that mornings aren't my thing (well, at least they never used to be!) I barely function with a cup of coffee when I wake up! But I was (am) determined, and I have made morning work outs do-able.

Here's how I get out the door and to the gym by the time it opens! (I know...I still question who I am some days!)
  1. I start work at 8am, so I get to the gym around 6.30am, which is when it opens. This is so I can get a good 45-50 minutes in before I have to hit the shower and make myself office-presentable. My alarm goes off at 5.20am (which I snooze) and then 5.30am, which is when I force myself out of the cocoon that is my duvet cover. I head straight downstairs and put the kettle on and make a small coffee.
  2. Whilst the kettle is on, I get my breakfast and lunch from the fridge. I always prepare both the night before, as it means less to do in the morning, which in turn means more time in bed. I even get my coffee mug out and place it next to the kettle! At the moment, I'm alternating between these pancake muffins and these egg frittatas (hat tip to Jen for the latter) for breakfast, and lunch varies from salads to sandwiches to ryvita crackers and toppings. 
  3. Change into gym clothes, wearing work trousers over the top (less to carry in gym bag). Tie hair back, place medic alert wrist band on wrist and grab gym bag which, again, is always packed the night before (because, sleep). Add breakfast and lunch boxes to gym bag, grab handbag, phone, ipod and train ticket. 
  4. Leave the house and head to the train station. This is my gym warm up. My time actually in the gym is limited, so when I get there, I want to be going for it, not worrying about warm ups. So I power walk to the train station, ride the train, and then power walk from the station to the gym. Dump stuff in locker on arrival at the gym, check blood sugars, decide whether to remove pump and GO! 
And I'm sat happily at my desk by 8am drinking coffee, eating breakfast ready to face the day. Most of the time, anyway! 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Continuing Conversations: The Pill.

A while back, I wrote about the Pill. Like the title says, this post is continuing that conversation, so, once again, could be seen as borderline TMI. Also, to get formalities out of the way: nothing has changed, I'm not a doctor. This is my experience, my personal targets, etc, etc.

*      *      *      *      *

When I last wrote about the Pill, I was waiting for the start of my next period to then begin my course of the Pill. Well, said period showed up late (no surprise there, as you'll know from the first post), so I didn't actually start taking it until mid-February.

Initially, I didn't notice too big a change with regard to blood sugars. Then, after a couple of weeks, I was certain that my bedtime and waking readings are affected by it. I went through 5 weeks of bedtime corrections and waking blood sugars that made me feel like I hadn't slept a wink (my average blood sugar on waking being about 10mmol, compared to the 5-6mmol I'm used to). I put some time aside to basal test and make adjustments, but nothing seemed to make a dent in those waking blood sugars. 

Within the last week, however, something seems to have fallen into place. I gave up on trying to tweak basals, as far too much emphasis was on diabetes and I needed a break. Ironically, after a couple of days, my waking blood sugars came down, as did my bedtime readings. And my post-dinner readings. Evenings in general have improved, as has my mood with this turn in events. 

My daytime blood sugars haven't changed much at all, which is good, and has made it that much easier to pin-point where the blood sugar battles lie. I have also started re-working exercise into my routine which I feel has helped significantly - those stubborn morning highs aren't quite as stubborn with a workout, and my blood sugars throughout the day are just generally nicer. 

As for my actual period (because the whole point of me going on the pill was to regulate things), things still aren't regular, but I wasn't expecting them to be either. Things involving hormones are never simple, and I know I need to be patient (she says after venting her frustrations in this blog post here!) What I am happy about however, is that things are lighter and much less ball-curling and pain killer needing. 

It's a work in progress, one that I hope is paying off.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Just Another Day.

Sunday, March 29th, marked five years of living with type one diabetes for me. .

In the past, it's something I've always marked. A night out, dinner with my favourites, a park run.

This year, however, it was just another day, one I spent running around one of my favourite cities, catching up with some of my favourite people.

It wasn't until I received a text message from E.Hales that I even remembered. (She remembered, and thought to send me a text! Definitely a keeper!) And I'm grateful for that. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for marking the day if you want to. But this year, I liked that diabetes wasn't centre-stage. Instead, it peppered the background of my day like it usually does. 

Just another day this year.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Things I Like.

In an attempt to regroup, a list of the diabetes things I like. Because as crappy as this thing is, it's not all rain clouds and lightening bolts:
  • I like the friendships that have formed as a result of my diabetes! 
  • I like running my pump reservoirs down to zero units. Because the insulin in it is liquid gold. 
  • I like it even more when I hit zero on a cartridge change day.
  • I like the sound of my pump delivering my bolus insulin - it's one of comfort.
  • I like when my meter reads 5.5mmol. 
  • I like when my pump supplies delivery arrives and I can organise my cupboard
  • I like emptying the pencil case I keep my day-to-day diabetes supplies in of all the used test strips. The more there are, the happier I am - it makes me feel like I've been really tuned in.
  • I like the smell and taste of the blueberry glucotabs.
  • I like having a better understanding of my body.
  • I like that I pay more attention to my health in general.
  • I like that my family and friends took the time to learn about diabetes as I learnt too.
  • I like that my littlest friend asks where my pump site is before we start playing.
  • I like blogging.
  • I like the Diabetes Online Community, and am so proud of the things accomplished within the community, such as Spare a Rose.
  • And I like (love, actually) when I'm busy with life and other things, and diabetes is no longer on my radar. And then when I do remember, I am so very grateful that diabetes is just a small part of a much bigger whole

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ball: Dropped.

mySugr has been my chosen form of blood sugar logging for a long time now. Yet it was only the other day that I text Lizzie (excitedly) about the fact that you could also access your blood sugar logs through the mySugr website, where much more detailed reports can be found compared to the app.

I then properly looked at my report.

The ball has most definitely been dropped. Or, to quote a friend, "a momentary shift in priorities". Why? I'm not too sure. I don't really know why I didn't pick up on things sooner. Maybe I just didn't want to. There's a guilt that comes with blood sugar readings, a reflex reaction for me, and maybe I just desensitised myself from what they were showing me. Because there is no doubt that they were telling me I'd dropped the ball. Take a look (and for context, my target on the app is set at between 4mmol and 10mmol):

There's more above the green (and off the scale) that I personally like.

For me, the hardest thing when it comes to times like this (because it has happened before, and it will happen again) is pin-pointing where things aren't working.

I've recently started taking The Pill, which is more than likely having an effect on my blood sugars. My before bed readings have been significantly out of range recently.

My waking blood sugar has been higher than I'm used to too, and I'm feeling crummy for it. This could also be because of The Pill, I'm not too sure.

My weight could also be an issue. I know I've gained a little. I'm not worried about it, but I know that I'm very insulin sensitive: a little weight gain, I see my insulin requirements increase and vice-versa. Factor  in that I have  a desk job, and until the last couple of weeks hadn't really exercised, it isn't much of  a surprise.

The pre-bolus is no more in my diabetes management. This, for me, is a pretty big thing.

I've joined the gym. It's helping, not only with reigning in my blood sugar management, but also with dusting away those mental cobwebs that seem to have made a reappearance of late. I've been spending a lot of time second-guessing my decision to move back to where I currently live. I miss my old town, and I was kinda hoping (maybe naively) that I would have had a sign by now telling me I'd made the right call. I'm still waiting. And I don't doubt that this frame of mind isn't helping either. I've also missed gym-ing it for me, not just the above reasons.

One thing that is for certain is that I need to make some changes, otherwise, before I know it, these tendencies I have picked up will become habit, and that will make things a hundred times harder to snap out of.

"Do you regret finding more detailed sugar logs online now?" a friend asked me over coffee at the weekend.

"No," I answered slowly, "because if I hadn't have picked up on all this now, when would I? At my clinic appointment? When I start to feel too crap to function well? Downloading data helps me see the big picture. And at the moment, I don't like what I see."

"Time for changes?"

I nodded. "Time for changes."

Time for changes.