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


"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.