Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Happy 5th Birthday, Circle D!

Today marks Circle D's 5th birthday! (Yay for Circle D!) So today's post is honour of my friend Shelley, co-founder of Circle D, and all the work she does to keep thr group running.

Circle D is a group for diabetics and their motto is simple: you are not alone. Since the group started on April 30th, 2008, other Circle D groups have been popping up all over the country, and their Facebook page is constantly getting more and more "likes"! The group tends to meet monthly alternating between a "Rant Room" session, where we sit round and moan/chat/celebrate whatever we want and then a social which, over the last five years, has ranged from bowling to dinners to pub nights to picnics!

I've been part of Circle D more or less since diagnosis, and I don't know where I would be without it. It means a great deal to me, as I'm sure it does to many others. Along with the Diabetes Support Forum, it was my first source of support. I knew no one with type one when I was diagnosed, so hearing about Circle D and finding out that it was a whole group of other diabetics who knew what I was going through...that was pretty great! And it was based in my hometown (Kent, as I was living with Mum and Dad at the time), which was just a bonus as it actually meant that I could go and talk to people face-to-face, not just online. It's safe to say it's a pretty huge part of the diabetic-side of my life!

So, happy 5th birthday, Circle D! Here's to another five years of support! Thanks for everything! And thanks to Shelley, for reading my timid first post on the forum and then telling me about this group of hers! I can't imagine not being part of such a lovely community. I look forward to seeing you at whatever event takes place when I'm back in the UK! 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Living The D-Life.

As a person living with type one diabetes, I like to think I know a fair amount about it. I may not be able to tell you much about the science behind it, but I do know what it's like to live with day in, day out, and I do my best to keep it in line. Obviously, I have my bad days, the most recent one which can be read about here. On these bad days, I get frustrated, and I need an outlet. The easiest outlet is to eat, but I'm trying to avoid that particular outlet at the moment. Right now, I have a good relationship with food, and I want to keep it that way, but that's a post for another day. I've taken to going for walks recently. I'd love to be able to hit the gym and really let go of the pent-up anger, but I can't afford the gym here in Spain. But, more often than not, I just need to vent. Like, 'let-rip' style vent. 

Now, on such occasions, I am incredibly lucky to have a number of people/places to whom/which I could go to. First off, there are places like the Diabetes Support Forum and SDUK. However, as awesome as online support is, sometimes I really want to talk to someone I know, face to face. There are friends that also have diabetes that I have got to know personally that I can talk to, and then there are my friends from home and uni, that see me manage (well, try to manage) my diabetes on a day-to-day basis. 

However, I'm not in England, I'm on my year abroad, and that very much limits my options when those bad, relentless, frustrating days strike. But there is one particular friend I have here who will listen to me vent. I'm going to call her Smiley as she is literally the happiest person I've ever met! When I need to talk diabetes, she listens politely, tells me I'll get there and gives me the biggest squeeze of a hug; she always manages to put a smile on my face.

We were in class the other day, and a hypo struck, and straight away she was "on it" asking me if I was okay and telling me she had Coke and cereal bars in her bag if I needed it. It wasn't until after that I then thought to myself why does she have these things in her bag? I mean, it's not like she has diabetes. When I asked her, she said she packed them just in case as she'd noticed I'd been hypo-ing a lot recently. 

Then I thought more about it. At my closest friends' houses, I am guaranteed to find sweetener instead of sugar for my cups of tea. And they will almost certainly have some form of "diet" soft drink. And phrases and sentences such as "Food's here, time to shoot up" or "5s all day?! You're practically cured!" and "What are you thinking? X grams of carb?" are completely normal. More to the point, I don't even think they realise they do and say such things. They "get it" and they don't realise it at all. And I love that. It's just become a part of their lives just as much as it's become a part of my life. I mean, I'm pretty sure my housemate, Shep, still buys diet drinks even though she is also on her year abroad, and therefore has no need to!

I may have the "tools" to manage my diabetes well, but it's my family and friends that really help with my emotional health. There's more to controlling my diabetes than just blood tests, insulin and a good healthcare team. It's those that I see and speak to day in day out that play the biggest role in my diabetes management. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Bad Day.

An amusing photo for this miserable post.
I am writing today (well, it's after midnight, so technically, yesterday) off as a bad day. On both a "normal" level and a diabetes level. It was horrible. The highlight was Mexican food and margaritas with my lovely friend.

For a start, I missed my 9am class, which I was determined to make this week. However, yet again, sleep won and I missed it. Not off to a good start, and this is before I've even got out of bed. I had a tutorial at 1pm with a friend in my class for  our literature module, which was okay. We just went over the final exam and some queries that had cropped up. Fine, no problems. Finally, I had a grammar exam in French class.

Now, my friend and I asked the teacher beforehand what the test would involve, and he said grammar. Not only that, but he also gave us a list of the grammar that we would need to revise. Brilliant. We thought we were very much prepared for the exam. Wrong. What the French teacher failed to mention was that we also needed to revise vocab and prepare to do a written comprehension exercise and a listening exercise. 

I know I don't need to pass for uni back home, but that doesn't mean I want to fail either. And whilst all this is going on, my bloods have been swinging from 3.2mmol/l to 18.5mmol/l. I've just had enough of today and am very much looking forward to going to sleep and forgetting about it, and then getting up and trying again tomorrow. Or today. Whatever! Either way, I'm writing it off. I just needed to get this off my chest before I hit the hay. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. Today. I don't even know!!

"Tomorrow will be a new day; the sun will rise and what seemed to have defeated you the day before becomes something you've conquered and survived."  - the wonderful words of a friend of mine. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

I Am Not My Number...

Smiles and sunglasses - Segovia.
I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that 100% dreads getting my hba1c done. In the past, I have found that healthcare professionals only seem to look at the hba1c result, and not your day to day blood sugar readings. When I was diagnosed, my care was based where my Mum and Dad are, obviously, and everything was about numbers. If you're not seeing good numbers, you're doing something wrong. So, my whole life revolved around numbers, and only the good ones. If I was out of range, that wasn't good enough. Looking back, it was horrible, and the way I stressed about these numbers was unhealthy. 

I understand that having a good hba1c is important. For those of you that don't know, the hba1c blood test (more formally known as glycated hemoglobin) measures the average plasma glucose concentration over a period of time, usually about three months. It is important to have this as close to normal as possible to prevent diabetic-related complications in the future. I've found hba1c targets vary from clinic to clinic, and also depend upon your situation (diabetic mums-to-be are aiming for much tighter control, for example.) When my care was in Kent, it was all about the numbers, so as close to 7% (53 in the new measurements, which I'm still not on board with!) However, when I transferred my care to Norwich, everything was different. It wasn't all about numbers. I was seen as an individual, which was new. I was offered advice on how to get rid of those highs and lows I was seeing, and a low hba1c wasn't always seen as a good thing, particularly if the low figure also came with crashing hypos on a frequent basis.

But after being obsessed with numbers for a substantial amount of time, it's hard to snap out of that mindset. Over Christmas last year, I booked an appointment with my DSN for a post-first semester abroad hba1c check and I was so worried about what my number would be. My nurse didn't understand why I was so worried about it! I can't even remember what it was now, but it had definitely gone up since my pre-year abroad test I had done in August. My DSN just looked at me and said "Don't worry about it. You're on year abroad. Enjoy it. Have fun. The real work starts when you return and I can be on your back all the time!" and that was all that was said on the matter. Polar-opposite mindset to that of my DSN and consultant when my care was in Kent. 

My next hba1c check is in July, when I've got my annual review (so eyes, feet, blood, the works.) Yes, I will say here and now that I am nervous about it (and, yes, I know I have months before that appointment) but I'm so used to being defined by my number. Even after almost 2 years under Norwich care, I'm still not used to their attitudes towards it all. However, as nervous as I am about it, I know that I will not be "judged" for it, and I will be given help and advice, and I will work towards a "good" hba1c.  

I am not my number. And you're not your number either. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Ice Bar, Madrid.
Last night I went out with some friends for one of their 21st birthdays. It was a really lovely night: weather was warm, good company, good food, alcohol. What's not to enjoy?! We ended up going to the Ice Bar in Madrid which was an experience! We all queued up waiting for our massive coats to go in. It was fairly expensive, but we got a free shot and drink whilst there, plus the coat, so it wasn't too bad when you look at it like that. 

What with all the excitement of going to the Ice Bar, I forgot one very important thing: I have diabetes. 

Question: What happens to insulin when you walk it into what is essentially a massive freezer?

Another question: What happens to blood testing kits when you try to use them below a certain temperature?

Yep. That happened. This definitely makes it's way up to the top of my list of diabetes-related fails, without a doubt! I didn't even think about it until it got to 9.30pm (the time I take my Levemir) and then it hit me that I'd been carrying it in my handbag in this massive freezer! Luckily, it wasn't too bad, but even so, I have now binned both cartridges just to be on the safe side.

It's a times like this that I question how I'm even still living! Like the time I was hypo, and was downing what I though was apple juice, but actually turned out to be sugar free apple squash (which explained why the hypo wasn't getting any better), which is now number 2 on my list after tonight! 

It's a good thing natural selection doesn't seem to apply here...yet, anyway!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Dear Diabetes...

El Acueducto, Segovia.
Just over three years ago now, you came and turned my world upside-down. 

At the time of diagnosis, I knew very little about you - whatever I learnt in GCSE Science just about covered my knowledge on you. Back then, I probably wouldn't have been able to even tell you where my pancreas is located. And you know what? I still can't - it's somewhere between my head and my toes.

But what I have gone and done is learnt how to live with you.

Yes, you make my fingertips rough and sometimes sore; that just means I get to invest in lovely-smelling hand creams.

Yes, you can cause scars, scabs and pin-prick marks on my thighs, stomach and arms; I never liked wearing shorts anyway, and I was never that comfortable with my midriff exposed either.

Yes, you can keep me up at 1am (my laptop is English time, but living in Spain puts me an hour ahead), like you are now, drinking tea and eating chocolate digestives, even when I'm not hungry, to get out of a hypo; chocolate digestives aren't a food I tend to turn down at the best of times!

Yes, you can make leaving the house a mission, what with all the extra kit I need on me - blood testing kit, insulin, needles, hypo treatments; that means I get to spend money on pretty make-up bags to put all that stuff in and I've never had an issue with carrying a big bag.

Yes, you can cause me to have mini-meltdowns with your constant highs and lows and general reminders that you're there; you've helped shape who I am today, so I get that you might want some recognition for that.

But what I won't let you do (or at least try not let you do) is change my attitude towards you; since you became a part of my life, so much good has happened and new friendships have been formed, and they've all been worth every blood test, injection, hypo and hyper (well...maybe not every, but a significant proportion of them are worth it anyway!) 

So thank you.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Livin' La Vida Hypo.

It's been a week now; a week of constant hypos. The first few days were okay: it was the perfect excuse to indulge in ice cream whilst sitting out in the sun, have the occasional glass of sangría instead of playing it safe with wine. A week, however, and I'm frustrated. There is only so much reducing of my Novorapid that I can do. Because at this rate, the next step is not taking any, and I really don't want to be going back down that route! I think I'd actually prefer to eat a little more with my meals. The thought of not taking any insulin and getting back into that habit scares me seeing as I've just managed to sort the diabetes-side of my life out!

Luckily for me, I don't really suffer with my hypos: I get a bit shaky, but, generally, I can still function. It's the night hypos that really get me - they're a whole different ball game. But nonetheless they are draining; they make me feel so, so tired, and no amount of sleep seems to help, and right now, I cannot afford to feel like this. I have classes, exams, coursework deadlines and then finals coming up, and I'm still trying to fit in some travelling as well! I've just got back from Segovia, which was absolutely beautiful, but having to deal with hypos constantly did take away from my day a bit!

Busy, busy, busy. But with less than two months left now, I need to make the most of my time here. Think it's time to start adjusting my basal insulin and see if that improves things. If I'm having these problems in April, God help me when real summer hits!  

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pulling Together.

Beautiful Alcalá de Henares.
The Diabetes Online Community (more commonly known as DOC) really is amazing. I guess, technically, I've been a part of the DOC since diagnosis, although until recently, I guess you could say, I was dormant. Since "coming out of hibernation" I've realised just how much I missed it. It truly is one of the greatest resources out there, whether you have diabetes or another health issue. You can find blogs, forums, websites, support groups, everything!

When I was diagnosed, whilst researching diabetes (because back then I knew nothing), I came across the Diabetes Support Forum. I used it initially, asked questions, spoke to a few people, but I was still very much finding my feet with it all: it was very much my go-to for when I needed help, but I knew nothing to be able to offer advice back. It then became my refuge when my friend was showing all the text book symptoms of diabetes and I didn't know what to do. I was too close to the situation, and just couldn't think clearly, and it was the people on that forum that really helped to get me through and think properly

I then went on a downward spiral really. I became very disconnected from...well...everything. Diabetes was no longer my priority. I'd hit that point where I started asking things like "Why me? What did I do wrong? Did I bring this on myself?" Long story short, it was not a fun ride. During this time, I'd been talking a lot to a girl who was the same age as me on the forum, and she was none other than the lovely Lizzie, with whom I am now very good friends with. Our "bond", if you will, was the fact that we were both at university trying to work through the same problems: diabetes and drinking, diabetes and exams, telling lecturers etc etc. As great as the forum was (and still is), there was something about talking to another student, in the same situation as me, that helped. As a result, we set up a Facebook group, SDUK, where there are now lots of students that we can talk to and get advice from

Then there are the blogs! I have become an avid blog reader, and apparently writer. Never had myself pegged as someone that would write, but there you have it. It is therapeutic, and I understand why people do it. And reading other blogs helps just as much: they're generally light reads and most of the time I can realte to what has been written. You can get advice (which you talk to your healthcare team about first - full disclaimer here!), connect with others, laugh at their stories, make friends.

All in all, I honestly don't know where I would be without the DOC. Yes, I still have a great support network of people that aren't part of that community, but having that community there is something I will never take for granted. It reminds me that I'm not alone. I got a message today on the forum from a user that ended with the following:

"It really means a lot to know people care and support me"

That's what the DOC does for me. Without knowing who I am, where I come from, there is always somewhere out there willing to help me out, whether it be listen to me moan or offer advice. We pull together to help one another

So, if you find you don't have that kind of support network, I can almost guarantee you that there are others out there feeling the same way. Therefore, my advice to you is this: if it's not there, go create it. It's worth it. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Horror Stories.

One terrifying photo!
How many times have we heard someone say something along the lines of "My [insert relative here] had diabetes too! He/She [insert horrific diabetes-related complication story]!"

It's not nice. I'm fully aware of the complications of not keeping my blood sugar levels in check without your horror story, thank you very much! Being reminded like that is not helpful; if I thought like that all the time, I wouldn't bother getting up out of bed in the morning. I would just admit defeat and accept my future as a blind, limb-less, kidney failure patient (see, well aware of the complications!)

What actually helps is making light of the subject. Diabetes is serious, I'm not disputing that, but living with it day in day out means you have to make light of it, otherwise it will completely eat away at you! At the end of the day, I still need to live my life as a 20-year-old student living abroad. I've learnt that my life doesn't go on hold, and it was my housemates that taught me that. They were also the ones that taught me how to make light of my situation: they started referring to my injections as "shoot ups" (something I now say all the time), and when I told them about the risk of DKA they heard "DK" and then proceeded to refer to DKA as Donkey Kong! If I have high bloods and ketones, I am "Donkey-Kong-ing" according to my housemates. But if that's how they remember it, then so be it! 

So, ignore the horror stories people tell you. Be well aware of the complications, yes, but don't dwell on them. And if you're not sure how to laugh at your diabetes yet, then find the Type 1 Diabetes Memes Facebook Page. Pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Coco The Monkey.

Coco the Monkey.
Coco the Monkey is a fairly recent addition to the family of Disney characters, and if you look closely at her left wrist, you'll see a bracelet. You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see. Can you see it? Can you see it? That's right. Meet Coco the Monkey, Disney's resident type one diabetic! 

I vaguely remember being told about this character by my friend's two little sisters a year or so ago now, but today I was reminded of this and figured a blog post was necessary, despite how old this news may be. 

Coco appears in the book Coco and Goofy's Goofy Day in which it is Goofy's birthday. Coco basically proves to Goofy that she can do everything he can even though she has diabetes. She also appears in the book Coco Goes Back to School, describing Coco's first day back at school after her diabetes diagnosis. So simple, yet so effective, thanks to Disney and Lilly Diabetes coming together to create these stories.

Who'd have thought it? A diabetic Disney character! I love it!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hola Hypos!

Taking in the sites of Madrid.
The weather in Alcalá/Madrid at the moment has suddenly become amazing! (Hello tan for when I return to the UK!) Yesterday, I took a break from working and went into Madrid just because. When I first arrived in Madrid, I completely fell in love with it, so now, if I'm ever at a loose end, off I go into the capital. I actually went to meet a friend from UEA who I hadn't seen since before the Easter break. We just wandered around without a plan, really. The weather was nice so we just thought we'd take in the sites and soak up the sun at the same time. I got a couple of Starbucks coffees whilst I was there (I told you Starbucks was my favourite), but basically we did nothing with our day other than walking around. It was nice! 

However, this sudden change in weather means I need to be on-guard. As this means hypos are going to start happening and ratios are going to need changing. Just when I thought I got it all figured out! Yesterday, I had three hypos, which I'm pretty certain were due to the sudden increase in temperature. In England, I don't have this problem, as it never actually gets that hot. Here, though, it's going to take a lot of effort and tweaking of doses to stop the hypos from happening. 

I posted in the SDUK facebook group today asking people where I should start: is it the basal that needs changing, or is it my meal time ratios. Unfortunately, I received the answer I didn't want, and that was that, chances are, I'm going to need to adjust both! (N.B. Not a healthcare professional, and neither are (most) of the members of the group!) Things are never simple with diabetes! The forecast for the next week doesn't drop below 20 degrees (yay!) so I'm thinking every couple of days is a good interval to then change any doses if necessary? I'm going to start with reducing meal time ratios, and if I find I am still having hypos, I will then look at reducing my basal too. 

Let's see how this works!

Friday, 12 April 2013

"There's A Tide In The Affairs Of Men..."

London with the housemates.
"There's a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads onto fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea we are now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our venutres." 

The words of Brutus in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. 


For me, it basically means life is short, opportunities are rare, and therefore we must take what we can, when we can. Whether it be the opportunity to take part in something great, overcome something, learn something or just the opportunity to see the good, laugh a little, take in the enchantment of this thing we call life. Seize the day. Easier said than done, I know, but nonetheless something I've been trying to do since the start of my "get-back-on-track-plan". 

As a diabetic, I am well aware of the fact that life is short. On a daily basis, I have to give myself injections in order to stay alive; I have to deal with hypers and make sure I don't reach DKA, I have to deal with hypos and make sure that I bring my sugar levels back up to a safe level. These kinds of situations are now what I call "normal". Wake up, check blood, give breakfast dose of insulin, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast: it's just part of my daily routine. 

Since sorting out my blood sugar levels, I have noticed a huge improvement in my mood, something I have written about before. I am generally happier, I wake up feeling refreshed, I'm more productive; it's taken a lot of time and effort to get there, but I'm seeing the results and reaping the benefits which is making it all worth while. It's not been an easy journey, but one that, right now, I am succeeding in, and I'm determined for this to continue. 

I've spent far too long "hating" my diabetes. I often chose to ignore it rather than deal with it and generally it was just something that I didn't face up to. It will never be something I overcome; it's not something that will go away, but I have learnt how to manage it, and properly this time. I can see the good that has come of it and the opportunities I have had because of it.

So I'm going to carry on seizing these opportunities, when I can, and seeing what else I can gain from having type 1, whether it be new friendships, new knowledge or new experiences. If I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life, may as well take advantage of the chances that arise as a result of it. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

It's The Little Things In Life...

Sunny days in Alcalá!
It's often said that it's the little things in life that make us happy, and I think this is true. I think it's fair to say everyone has a list of things that make them happy. I do. However, over the last three years, that list of the "little things" that make me happy is so much longer now because of my diabetes. 

So there are the normal things:
  • Sunny days
  • Snow days
  • Duvet days with my housemates
  • Getting a coffee with extra foam
  • Seeing an old couple holding hands (I'm a sucker for it!)
  • When my godson says "Please, Vicki"
  • When I get a text/email out of the blue from friends
  • Cups of tea
  • Back-to-back marathon of a favourite tv show 
  • A good book
Then there are the diabetes-related things:
  • Buying a new make-up bag for my diabetes stuff
  • Waking up on a 5.5mmol/l (Best feeling ever!)
  • Going to a restaurant, completely guessing my carbs and bolusing correctly
  • Eating cake and bolusing correctly
  • Having a whole day with good sugar levels
  • Changing my lancet after god-knows how long
  • Getting an updated version of Carbs and Cals (the book I use when it comes to carb counting).
Funny how something I don't want to have has managed to bring some level of happiness to my life, even if it is just waking up on a 5.5mmol/l once a month!

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Importance Of Making Notes.

Rather detailled sugar logs!
Since February, I've been avidly logging my sugar levels and taking note of what foods I am eating, as well as insulin doses. Yes, it is time consuming, but, for now, it is necessary for me to stay on top of my diabetes. For the month of April, I added an extra column: Notes

So simple, yet so effective. Throughout February and March, I logged all of my sugar levels and insulin doses, but wasn't really able to pin-point any patterns. Why? Because I wasn't taking note of any potential reasons behind the high and low blood sugar levels. I mean, I could spot patterns that would then tell me if my ratios needed to be changed and, although helpful, not the only thing I need to be thinking about. 

I've been making notes for a week now. Yes, it means I have to put more time into sugar logging and everything, but the hope is, after another month or so, I won't need to log in as much detail as I am because I'll know what's going on when. There will be a routine; I will know the patterns.

Well...that's the hope, anyway! It's one thing to be doing this whilst on year abroad and getting back on track, but this is not something I want to be doing every day for the rest of my life!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Diabetes And Me.

Easter Break in England.
"Diabetes doesn't define me, but it helps explain me" -- The words of Kerri Sparling who blogs at sixuntilme.com, and I believe them to be very true. 

My attitude towards diabetes over the last three years has been all over the place. A love/hate relationship, if you will. One minute, I'm like "I've got this", the next I'm saying "screw you!" I think this is due to the age at which I was diagnosed (17); I didn't want to be thinking about the carb content of foods and keeping bloods in check, I wanted to be going out with my friends, being a "normal" teenager. 

For the last three months or so, my attitude has been very different. Since getting back on track after my omitting stunt after the move from Toulouse to Madrid, all in all, my attitude to diabetes has actually been very positive. I've realised that I can't keep on "choosing" when I want to control my diabetes and when I don't. Amongst the diabetic community, you often hear people say "I have diabetes, diabetes doesn't have me." The moment you stop controlling your diabetes is the moment diabetes has won: it has you. Yes, we all have our moments, and that is totally normal; diabetes is a full-time, unpaid job. Not only do we have to get up go to school/university/work, fulfil whatever commitments we may have and get on with our day-to-day lives, but we also have to take on the role of an organ in our body that doesn't work. So it's okay to have one of those days when the last thing you want to do it give yourself a shot or check your blood. It happens. We just write it off as a bad day and try again.

Diabetes is a huge part of who I am. It's not something I can just turn off or leave behind. It is with me 24/7, 365 days a year, and will be until a cure is found. The way I see it, I can do one of two things: I can ignore it, "run away" from it like I have in the past, and just hope for the best with regard to my present and future health, or I can control it (obviously better for my health) and turn it into something good. I have already written about the good that has come out of my diagnosis: the friendships, the opportunities. Now it's just a case of remaining focused and remembering the words of Kerri: "diabetes doesn't define me, but it helps explain me."

Monday, 1 April 2013

Happy April!

Tomorrow, I head back to Spain for the last leg of my year abroad. I have really mixed feelings about this. Year abroad has, without a doubt, been my biggest challenge so far. I've had my ups and downs, like most people on year abroad, but in spite of this, I can say it has been one of the best experiences and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone! It really is an experience: living in another country, meeting new people, new culture, new foods, travelling. It's amazing! But I am extremley glad that year abroad is just that...a year. As on a diabetes-level, I really don't think I can go on like this for much longer!

This year, diabetes has not been my priority, and I know it probably should have been. The last thing I needed was to end up in hospital whilst on year abroad. Somehow, I have managed to avoid hospitals, but that doesn't mean that I have been a model diabetic. In fact, I've been pretty darn awful, if I'm honest! As soon as I am back in the UK permanently, I have promised myself that I am going to seriously dedicate significant amounts of time to my diabetes care! I need to! I said on my diabetes anniversary that this is going to be the year that I lower my hba1c. There was a time when I had it down at 6.5%. Now, I'm not expecting this straight away, but the fact that I've been there before tells me that it is possible to get there, it's just going to take some time and effort, and this time round, I really am game. 

Two more months in Spain, and then, diabetes, I promise you will be a priority once again! I'm sorry for neglecting you for so long!