Saturday, 30 March 2013

Friends With Diabetes.

Circle D.
I've had three days of catching up with the diabetics in my life and I have loved it! On Tuesday, I visited my friend, Sam, and his family, which was nice and chilled. We swapped stories and I got to catch up with his lovely fiancée and two children as well. It was bliss. Then, randomly, I realised that Circle D Queen Shelley had a Rant Room organised for Wednesday, so obviously I went to that! It was so much fun! It was actually bring a friend night, so my Yang came with me. It was very last minute, but I'm so glad I went. It was just nice being able to see people again. Finally, on Thursday, I saw Lizzie

As soon as I knew I was coming back to England for Easter break, one of my priorities was seeing Lizzie. To be honest, I've been missing the company of other diabetics for a while now, but seeing as I talk to Lizzie pretty much everyday, she was clearly going to be the one I got in touch with first! I went to Reading for the day, and we ate Nandos (favourite restaurant), drank Starbucks (favourite coffee shop) and shopped (like we were going to do anything else!) It was lovely! Although I talk to her everyday, I miss her when I'm away: talking via Whatsapp or Facebook just isn't the same as seeing her in person!

We spent the day catching up on each other's lives and talking diabetes, moaning, venting, laughing. It was exactly what I needed. What we needed, I think. Ask any other diabetic and I'm pretty certain they will tell you the same thing: when it comes to actually "talking diabetes", there's something different about talking to someone who "gets it". My friends at home and at uni are amazing when it comes to my diabetes, but talking with another diabetic is just different. It's hard to explain, but if you're reading this and have diabetes yourself, you'll know what I'm talking about. 

Something we also spoke about, albeit briefly, was SDUK, the group we started a year ago now. We need to take this group forward, and we want to. So once finals are over for Lizzie and things have calmed down a bit for her after graduation and stuff, we'll see what we can actually put into action over the summer. Watch this space!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Three Years.

Here we are again. March 29th. My Diabetes Anniversary. I still don't know how I'm meant to feel about today. On the one hand, I'm happy: I've accomplished a lot since I was diagnosed, I've met some lovely people, made some life-long friends. Diabetes has helped shape who I am today, and I'm happy with the person I am. On the other hand, diabetes has caused me so many problems that I really could have done without. It sometimes gets in the way of everyday things, and is just more often that not an added stress that I don't want to deal with. 

It's been three years now since I was diagnosed. Three years. You'd think after three years I'd be a diabetes pro. When I was diagnosed, I definitely thought I'd be a pro after three years. But believe me when I say I'm not. I've learnt that diabetes isn't something you can study, learn and practice. There isn't a skill when it comes to good diabetes management; you just have to learn to roll with whatever it throws your way. It's definitely kept me on my toes over the past year!

This past year has probably been the hardest for me with regard to my diabetes. I've got some amazing friends that have helped see me through the good and the bad for the first two years after my diagnosis. This year, however, I moved abroad, as did some of them, and others remained at UEA/at other universities in the UK, and that meant I was "on my own", and it has been a struggle. However, despite being in numerous different cities spread over different time zones, they've still pulled through when I've needed them, and for that I am eternally grateful. I don't need to list names: they'll know I'm talking about them.

I have a lot of hopes this year with regard to my diabetes. First, this is going to be the year I don't "fall off the wagon". Diabetes has had this emotional control over me from the start, and it needs to stop. I have diabetes; diabetes doesn't have me. Second, I'm going to put forward my case for an insulin pump. I'm not saying I'm going to get one, but I'm definitely going to put up a fight for one. Third, I'm going to lower my hba1c. It had gone up in December when I had my last hba1c, and I'm expecting it to be higher still when I have my first endo appointment post year abroad, but after that, I will be working hard to lower it once more.

I actually celebrated my diabetes anniversary on Wednesday (dinner with the girls and my godson and it was amazing!), so all that's left to say is happy anniversary diabetes! Let's see what mountains you make me climb this year.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"That's The Bad One, Right?!"

Type 1 vs. Type 1.5
I was on my way to visit a friend today (one of the many diabetics in my life), and I bumped into an old acquaintance on the bus. We got talking, small talk, you know: what have we been up to, that kind of thing. During our conversation, a hypo decided to strike, so out came my blood testing kit and my carton of apple juice. I didn't think twice about what I was doing or who was around me; I just knew that the hypo needed to be treated. Obviously, questions were then raised, which is fine. I get that people are curious. I explained that I had type 1 diabetes and the response I received was "that's the bad one, right?!" 

Is there a bad type of diabetes?! As far as I'm concerned, all types of diabetes are: type 1, type 2, type 1.5, gestational, neo-natal, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what type you have, it's still bad. At the end of the day, all diabetics are striving to do the same thing: keep their blood glucose levels in check.

If by "the bad one" you mean that I have to take insulin injections, then, yes, I have "the bad one." I have to take insulin injections multiple times a day in order to keep my sugar levels in check. It's called MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) and it means that I have type 1. All type 1's have to take insulin, whether through injections or pumping, in order to control their sugar levels. It's a lot of hassle, yes, but it doesn't mean we have the bad type of diabetes. 

Whatever type of diabetes you have, the aim is the same, and the potential consequences of not keeping glucose levels in check are the same too. Just because my Granddad takes metformin tablets and I have to do injections doesn't make his diabetes any less of a problem. Just because my housemate is a type 1.5 (we think) and doesn't take any medication at the moment and I have to do injections doesn't make her diabetes any less serious.  

In short, diabetes is serious no matter what type you have!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Can And Will.

The beautiful Toledo.
I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching lately. Dangerous, I know, but once you start, it's pretty hard to stop; I opened that box that I had tightly sealed for a good three years, and once it was open, there was no closing it! It started when some family came to visit me in Alcalá and that million dollar question was asked: what am I gonna do when I finish university? What comes next for me? These questions have been causing me to freak out for the better part of the last two weeks!

Like I wrote a few weeks ago, I have no idea where I want my life to go after university, and I am still clueless, that much hasn't changed. But one thing that has changed since then is my attitude. I wrote in my post "The Future" that I wanted, and needed, to start "dreaming big" again and stop being afraid. My future is something I can control, to an extent, so I need to stop "floating" and get some direction whilst I still can. There are so many opportunities out there, I just need to go find them.

I still don't know what my "big dream" is, but what I do know that I can and I will accomplish "it", whatever "it" may be. One thing I am sure of, however, is that whatever happens, as long as I have my family and my friends, I will be absolutely fine. With their support, I can achieve anything and get to where I want to be. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

"Dark And Twisty" No More!

Ellen and I at Vodka Revs.
My friend Ellen and I have always been known as the "glass half empty" girls in our group of friends back home; the ones that provide the reality check and think very logically. It's why we get on: we think the same. Ellen's the friend that I refer to as my "person" (Grey's Anatomy reference, as is the title of this post (may as well reference everything at once!)): she's the one I'd call upon if I'd murdered someone and needed help disposing of the body. She is the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey (or the Meredith Grey to my Christina Yang...I'm not really sure!)

Well, neither of us are sure why, but recently we have found ourselves having a more "glass half full" outlook on things, and I don't think we ever thought we'd say this, but we're liking the change! I'm definitely liking the change! I mean, I was by no means negative all the time, but I was never this positive and just generally happy either.

I've been trying to work out what's changed for the both of us. Because this transition seems to have happened to the both of us at the same time. When I read Ruben's The Happiness Project, the other nugget of information I took from her writings (the "happiness box" being the first which you can read about here) was that we're happier when those around us are happy. Have we had that affect on each other? I've noticed a definite change in my mood and outlook since getting back on track with my diabetes. I'd never really taken the time to see just how much poor control affected my mood, but I can 100% say that, for me personally, there is a correlation between good sugar levels and what my mood is like. As well, living abroad has definitely made me more independent and confident: I can see that change in me. I've also lost weight, feel like I am generally healthier (insulin omitting situation aside) and a hell of a lot more grateful for my family, friends and other various support networks. Are all of these things contributing to my level of happiness?

As for Ellen: she joined the gym after I returned to Toulouse and goes various times a week. She feels more energised, eats better, has generally more productive days, has recently become a Godmother again to a gorgeous baby girl whose cuteness definitely does rival that of our Godson's (can't believe I just admitted that!!)  I think these are clear contributors to her happiness. 

And if we put these together: is the fact she's happier than I've seen her in a long time making me happy and vice-versa?! Either way, it needs to continue! It has been more than a while since we were both in a "happy place" at the same time! It's always been one of us is good, the other's not. Here's hoping this lasts a while!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Health vs. Image.

January 2013.
The day before yesterday, I read a blog post from Kayla's Life Notes called "The Body" and I thought it was a really interesting read. In keeping with this topic, yesterday in French class we had a debate, the subject of which was "the body and our changing attitudes". One point that kept on coming up was that the body equals image. It's interesting, because when I think back to before diagnosis, I very much would have said the same thing. Today, a lot of people have issues with the way they look: people are constantly on diets, make up is a necessity for most females, we spend money getting our hair styled, manicures, pedicures, facials, joining the gym, the list is endless. If we're honest with ourselves, we all probably have at least one part of ourselves we would like to change. I know I do!

In spite of this, however, when discussing the body, image isn't the first thing I think of anymore. The first thing that comes to mind for me is health. Now, I know this is because of diabetes, no other reason. Having type 1 means I am very aware of my body and when something isn't quite "right". As far as I'm concerned, there's no way you can have diabetes and not be in tune with your body. When it comes to foods, I know more or less how many carbohydrates I'm eating so I can then adjust my insulin, I know what it feels like to have high blood sugar, I know what it feels like to have low blood sugar (as experienced today, also in French class, rather suddenly!) Because of some of the long-term complications of diabetes, I get my eyes and feet checked regularly too. I've learnt that my body isn't "invincible" and that I have to take care of it.

For people with diabetes, I think the line between health and image is a fine one. It is well known that one of the symptoms of diabetes is rapid weight loss: by reducing your insulin dose or not taking any at all, people with diabetes are able to control their weight. It's neither a healthy nor a safe way of loosing weight, but something that many people do. We're too concerned with the way we look, something we can control here in the present, to consider the long-term consequences to our bodies, and not just with diabulimia (the omitting or manipulating of insulin doses to lose weight), but with other eating disorders as well and things we do in order to "look better".

I am in no way 100% happy with the way I look; like most, I have my insecurities, and I have found myself omitting insulin too. I am by no means a "model diabetic", writing to tell you you should be happy with your body and do everything the "proper way", as that would make me a huge hypocrite. But yesterday's debate really made me think about the lengths people go to in order to have the perfect body and image. What they don't think about however, is the damage they are causing their body in the long-term. We constantly compare ourselves to those around us, or those we see pictured in magazines (I'm also guilty of this), but we forget that we are all different and individual.

So, my message to you today is this: if you want to change the way you look, fine, go ahead, you can do it. Just remember to look after your body in the process: you only get one, so take care of it, and I'm sure it will take care of you.   

Monday, 18 March 2013

Here Comes The Sun.

Finally, some sun!
Alcalá/Madrid in general has finally seen some sun today! The weather has been beautiful and I took full advantage of this as, not only was the weather good, but it was also "puente" or a bank holiday here, so after teaching this morning I ventured into Madrid for the rest of the day. 

I spent most of my day outside taking in the sun. First thing I did was grab a Starbucks. I was getting withdrawal symptoms it had been so long since I last had one. I then walked from there through El Parque De Buen Retiro (picture) to Puerta De Alcalá, up Calle De Alcalá and then along Gran Vía all the way along to Plaza De Espana where I bought another Starbucks (withdrawals, I tell you!) and sat myself down with my kindle for a couple of hours. It was bliss.

However, as lovely as all this walking around soaking up the sun was, it also meant that I spent a lot of the afternoon bringing my sugar levels back up. day of sun and a little bit of heat, and it's already having an affect on my sugar levels. And we're not even near the kind of temperatures that I have been told to expect after Easter break. Brilliant. Think it's time to start stockpiling on fruit juice cartons and sweets! I have a feeling I'll need quite a lot whilst I work out new insulin to carb ratios as the weather gets warmer. On a brighter note (no pun intended), hopefully means I'll return to England in June with an awesome tan. If not, definitely a waste of 5 months!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Major Fail.

Today, I went to the beautiful town that is Toledo, about an hour outside of Madrid. Like with Salamanca, I just fell in love with the place! It was just so typically Spanish! I loved it! I went with three other friends, and we then met with more people we knew once in Toledo. Apart from the crappy weather (seriously, I thought opting to come to Spain from January to June was going to mean good weather, not the rain and cloud I've had so far!) it was a really good day!

That said, today, I had one of the biggest diabetes-fails ever...I think! We went to a restaurant for lunch. I ordered the homemade burger and chips with salad (nice and Spanish). My blood sugar before lunch was 17.8mmol/l: I bought a coffee and it definitely had some kind of sugary/syrup-y type stuff in it that shot me right up! Usually, when eating out at a restaurant, I bolus after eating not before, so I can then look at the potion sizes and guess the carbs. However, with the 17.8mmol/l reading, I went ahead and just bolused with that I would bolus if I were to cook burger and chips myself. 

Major fail. 100% over-estimated how many carbs I would be eating, and so began the game of keep my blood-sugar up in order to match the insulin I'd already taken. I hypoed three times this afternoon/evening! It's not been fun, and I have consumed so much food/so many full-sugar drinks it's actually a little bit ridiculous!

Note to self: when eating out, always bolus after eating! Or at least wait to look at the portion sizes anyway!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dear Mickey...

The latest to add to my collection!
Yesterday, I received a postcard from my best friend who is studying in Alicante at the moment. This past year, I have absolutely loved receiving postcards! It's how I've kept up-to-date with how many of my friends are doing, and how I've kept in touch with them (although, this semester I have to admit I've been awful! I really need to buy stamps and get sending!) I have quite the collection now, with postcards from Alabama, Clermont-Ferrand, Granada, Paris, San Francisco, and my latest one from Alicante. The timing of this latest one was pretty darn perfect. 

On Monday, I wrote about the ridiculous list of things I had to work through before returning to the UK for Easter Break and how in that panic, my first thought was to check my blood sugar. I've spent so long trying to get back on track, the last thing I wanted was to get so stressed out with everything that I completely lose it again! I have spent enough of my semester here in Spain getting this sorted, and it's almost habit again! I really don't want to go back to the beginning yet again! 

Now, my best friend knows that I went through a particularly shitty time when I first got here; she came to visit me knowing it was what I needed, even if I didn't want to admit it; she always seems to know that something's wrong before I've even spoken to her. It's like a sixth sense! There is no way she could have known about Monday, as I didn't mention anything to her, and I'm pretty certain she doesn't know I'm writing again. I haven't told her I am, anyway. I don't know why, I just haven't. It's not that I don't want her to know, just that it hasn't come up.

Anyway, the postcard arrived yesterday. First of all, she addressed it "Dear Mickey" (thanks, Nem!), and this confused my flatmate a lot! She knocked on my bedroom door saying that she thought I had a postcard, but it was addressed to "Mickey" and not "Vicki". She then needed me to clarify what my name actually was, as she was worried my name was actually "Mickey" (again, thanks, Nem!). Mickey is an "inside joke", if you will, that started a long time ago and I haven't been able to shake the name since. At the end of the postcard, this was written:

P.S: I didn't want to write anything about the "D-word" but use this postcard to keep you on the straight. Love you, chica! x

Coincidence? Maybe. Superpowers? Likely. After years of knowing me, she now knows all of my little "tells"? Definitely. Even if I do hate how much she can read me sometimes! Either way, timing couldn't have been better!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Study Hard, Party Harder.

Chupítos in Salamanca!
I'm stressing out massively at the moment: I have so much to do and have no idea where to even begin! I have to plan lessons for teaching this week, revise for a phonetics exam on Thursday, prepare for a debate in French class on Tuesday as well as prepare a presentation on the film "Les Intouchables" (which I've never seen, but have to do a presentation on anyway!) Then there's a project I have to do for my phonetics class, another project that I have to do for UEA, module enrollment for next academic year, the list just goes on! I feel like I can barely keep my head above the water! Surprisingly, in this panic, my first thought was check my blood sugar (those "little victories" I was talking about the other day: thinking about my diabetes first like I did today is definitely one of them!) BS was 6.5mmol/l, so at least I knew diabetes was playing ball today. One less thing to worry about!

I don't know where all of this has come from! To be honest, I'm still struggling to believe that I go back to the UK for Easter Break in 9 days! Doesn't feel like I've been here that long, let alone be Easter already! I just wish time would slow down a little bit. My year abroad is quickly nearing the end, and I don't want it to. And seeing how much I've got to do and how little time I have is making me panic! So instead of attempting to tackle the tasks in hand, I've found myself writing here. Don't ask why, because I don't know why I've suddenly decided now would be a good time to write! Just need to clear my head a bit before beginning the mammoth tasks I need to complete.

I was talking with a Spanish friend, venting and just stressing in general, and he reminded me of the expression "study hard, party harder" and suddenly my "mammoth tasks" didn't seem so "mammoth like". Yes, I have a lot of work to do, and  I am going to have to put in a number of hours to get everything done if I want to succeed. As well, I need to remember that even with this heavy workload, I can't let my diabetes care slip again, so need to be very aware of that too. But what's also important that I take the time out to relax and enjoy my time here as well, not get too bogged down by the work load. So I've gone and booked a trip, a treat if you will, for surviving this week: Toledo this coming Saturday. It's a good motivator!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Saline Injections Or A Saline Filled Insulin Pump.

Natural History Museum, London.
There's something about being accepted for who I am, a person with type 1 diabetes, that leaves me feeling all warm inside! My closest friends are really supportive of everything I do, and have chosen to learn odd things when it comes to my diabetes, something I really appreciate. Being diagnosed at 17 and still living at home meant that it wasn't just me that had to adjust to this "new life", but my family did too, as well as my friends. I had gone from being "healthy" and "normal" to diabetic. I had to adjust to this new lifestyle, and my family and friends had to learn the basics should anything happen to me. I only taught them the basics: if they wanted to know more, they could ask. I wasn't going to force them to know everything about my care. At the end of the day, it was "my problem", not theirs. My closest friends from school, however, weren't satisfied with just knowing the basics. They wanted to know everything, and they asked questions; they basically went through the whole learning process with me. I loved it. Things didn't seem as daunting with their support. 

I was fortunate enough to have a similar set-up at university. During my first year, I lived in halls, and I don't know how or why I got so lucky, just that I'm glad that I did. I lived in a flat with five other people, and I couldn't have asked for a better group of flat mates. My building as a whole actually was just...well...awesome! I had the time of my life! I was really worried about how to bring up my diabetes. I knew I needed to, I just didn't know how to start that conversation. Turns out I didn't have to; my Mum took that into her own hands and just turned round and said "tell them!" All eyes were suddenly on me (thanks, Mum!) Not how I wanted it to go down! Anyway, I just told them that I had type 1 diabetes and that I was recently diagnosed, so was still "learning the ropes". I told them that they didn't need to know anything in particular, just to be aware in case anything happened. I wasn't expecting what actually happened over the coming months: they asked questions, wanted to know how I tested my blood, did my injections, carb counted, pretty much everything. Again, I got that warm feeling knowing that my diabetes was just accepted. I didn't have to hide it, inject privately, things like that.

However, there's one person who has well and truly gone above and beyond the call of duty. Well, all my friends have, but this person acts so much like a diabetic, but isn't one, that I think they should give her saline injections or a saline filled insulin pump! This person goes by the name Shep and she is just bloody brilliant. She carb counts for me, tells me if my drink contains regular or diet coke/pepsi, knows how to test my blood, knows how to administer my insulin, has come with me to hospital appointments, has rode in the back of an ambulance with me and come to diabetes events with me (Circle D springs to mind)! She has had my back from the word go, and I no amount of thanks is ever going to be enough as far as I'm concerned.  Even when we're oceans apart (literally...she's in Alabama, I'm in Spain) she still manages to pull through for me. She is without a doubt one of my biggest "supporters", more like my big sister than friend, the other half of my orange, mi media naranja, and I wouldn't change her for anything!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

"He Better Be High Or I'm Gonna Be Really Mad!"

Alcalá de Henares.
So, I don't usually post twice in one day, but I feel the following is worthy of a second blog post today!

I'd had a miserable afternoon! I had a French exam and it was awful! I mean, it couldn't have gone worse! So I left the exam feeling really down. French is my favourite class here, and it's the one that I want to do well in, so I was just really disappointed with how it went. I was walking back to the flat, and on my way home I pass a few parks. I was walking past park number two when I heard a woman say to her friend (in English too, I might add) "my son better be high or I'm gonna be really mad!*" I cracked up! Like tears streaming down my face, stomach ached lauged at this comment! The woman looked at me laughing, and before I could apologise she turned round and said "So either you have diabetes, or someone very close to you does!" 

And that was it. We got talking, and actually went for coffee. She told me about her son's diagnosis, and then he showed me how he can now check his own sugar levels. It was really refreshing. Since leaving England back in September, I haven't met anyone with diabetes, and I've missed having people to talk with about that side of my life, whether it be that I need to moan and vent or celebrate the wins that happen every now and then. It was the first time in a long time that I had a conversation with someone about diabetes where I didn't need to explain everything. I loved it! Definitely brightened up my mood!

*I should explain, this mother didn't want her son to have high blood sugars: he was misbehaving, and he plays up more when his blood sugars are high, meaning she can somewhat forgive his behaviour. This is what she meant by her comment, not that she literally wanted her son to have high blood sugars!

The Little Victories.

Parque De Buen Retiro, Madrid.
I've recently got my diabetes care back on track: I finally did a basal test, I got myself back on injections and started sugar testing and record keeping once more. I'm currently working on honing in on my carb counting skills, but in general, I'm back on track with my diabetes care. I've learnt that I can't just put it on the backburner like I did. 

A month ago, I was very, very lost. It was like I'd forgotten everything about my diabetes care. I just didn't know how to get myself back on track. I think it was worse than the first time I omitted insulin: at least when it happened the first time, I was in England, I had my healthcare team there to help me when I needed them, I had my best friend, my amazing housemates, other friends with diabetes that had been through a similar thing, basically this incredible network of people to help me work through my issues. This time, however, I was alone. Well, not alone, but didn't have any support in person, because I'm currently on my year abroad. That made things more difficult, as you can imagine. 

But a visit from my best friend (who is also on her year abroad) gave me that kick up the arse that I needed to sort things out. The first thing I did was re-educate myself diabetes-wise. I'm talking like really going back to basics. I read Think Like A Pancreas and it really helped with getting back on track. Since reading this book, I've been on a real "learning-kick". I've always been one of those people that needs to know "what they're up against" when it comes to...well...anything. Knowledge is power. I was looking on the Amazon Kindle Store the other day, for more diabetes-related reading, and came across a book called The Smart Woman's Guide To Diabetes. A gender-specific book about diabetes. Clearly, I had to download and read this!

It wasn't as good as Think Like A Pancreas, in my opinion, but nonetheless a good read. I loved that it contained lots of anecdotes from females with diabetes and how they faced certain challenges, but it wasn't as informative as other literature on diabetes that I have read. But, like I said, I've been on a real "learning-kick" so still took some things from it.

All in all, things have been really good over the last month or so. Now, I know a month isn't a long time when you have a long-standing health condition like type 1 diabetes, but it's all about the little victories leading up to the bigger picture. This month has definitely been a little victory, and it is one that I am going to acknowledge and be proud of. 

(N.B - the aforementioned opinions on the two books are just that: my opinions.)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Future.

Where will I be in 5 years?
The future isn't something I like to think about. I like my life as it is, and I don't want things to change anytime soon. Today, my Nan, Aunt and Uncle arrived in Alcalá, and they're here visiting me for a few days. I met them after teaching and took them for lunch and coffee whilst we waited for the Spanish siesta to finish in order to go and do all the tourist things round Alcalá. Whilst I was happily sat there drinking my decaf coffee and eating a muffin, I was asked the million dollar question that has been playing on my mind recently: what are my plans when I finish uni?

I haven't got a clue! But the time has come, it seems, to start seriously thinking about coming up with some kind of plan as to where I want my life to go after uni. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't do future planning. I can just about think about the next two months, if that! I'm quite relaxed and just take things as they come. However, graduating from university is a big deal, and, as much as I hate to admit it, I need a life plan. Well, a plan for at least the first few years after uni, anyway! It's just for someone like me, who doesn't really plan for anything, it's quite a scary thing to contemplate!

It's strange: three years ago, I had life plans. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I was going to realise my goals. I had job plans, knew I wanted to get married, have kids, the works: I used my head, followed my heart, and nothing could get in my way. Then diabetes came along, and something changed. I don't know what it was exactly, but something did. I stopped following my heart, started over thinking everything, and just stopped thinking big. I learnt that things aren't always going to go your way. I mean, it's not that I was naive and thought life was going to be easy, but at 17 I wasn't exactly expecting the diagnosis of a chronic illness like diabetes either!

Over the last three years, I have accomplished a lot, things I didn't think were possible back when I was diagnosed. I passed my A Levels for a start, and got into UEA, where I have had the most amazing time, and have made some life-long friends. I started SDUK with Lizzie, and although still small, a huge achievement that has helped a lot of people. I've moved abroad and lived in two different countries. Okay, none of these have been easy to achieve, but they are achievements nonetheless, and it's because of these success stories that I find myself wanting to "dream big" again. Start following my heart a bit more (whilst still using my head, of course!) Create a version of the future I wanted when I was 17, because at 20, things are a little different now! Nonetheless, it is definitely time to start trying to think big again, and stop being afraid.  

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Me Encanta Salamanca!

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca.
There are no words to describe just how much I loved my time in Salamanca! It was amazing! I am definitely planning on going back, and I'll hopefully take a friend with me from Alcalá: there was a "chupitería" (shot bar) that she would very much appreciate!

I needed this weekend; going somewhere different with familiar face (I stayed with two friends from UEA). It really was good to get away and explore somewhere new. I love Alcalá, but with all the diabetes issues I've been sorting out, I just needed to get away, knowing I would feel a lot more "refreshed" upon my return.

Well, "refreshed" may not be the right word to describe how I'm feeling: I'm actually rather tired. I got sucked in by the 1 euro shots at the "chupitería" last night, and I've spent a lot of my day sleeping on the coach back to Madrid! However, I feel a lot happier having got out of Alcalá for a bit, so mission accomplished! I'm also on my way to becoming a tapas-bolusing master! I had tortilla last night with my sangría (yes, I braved sangría for the first time since being here too). Tapa plus sangría plus a bit of luck when guessing the bolus plus walking back to the flat resulted in a 5.5mmol/l when I finally got into bed! Quick snack and the sleep, and I woke up on a 5.5mmol/l as well!!! I'm on my way back! 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Staying On Track.

Always good to see a 5.5mmol/l!
I've come to the conclusion that getting back on track isn't actually that difficult, it's staying on track that is. When it came to getting back on track, I was really motivated. I drew up sugar charts on excel for me to start logging again, I read books on living with type 1 to learn more about it, I was in contact with my DSN in order to play about with my ratios, all in all, I was on the right path.

Now, I've found I've hit that point where it's not quite habit again, but the "fun" of "starting over" has also worn off. Saying that, I did wake up to a 5.5mmol/l today, so that has put me in a good, motivated mood for today at least. I just need to push through this in-between stage. It's almost habit again, and that's the point I need to get to: where I check my sugar levels without even realising, and taking insulin is just second-nature. 

I've been searching for something to keep me motivated long-term, something to aim for that will require me to continue putting my diabetes first. I think I've found it. Just ironing out some kinks, sorting out some formalities. But even though it's not set-in-stone yet, I'm excited about the potential of it, and it will be exactly what I need to keep me going. All will be revealed soon. Watch this space!