Saturday, 29 June 2013

All Things Diabetes.

I'm currently back in Norwich where I'm basically having an "All Things Diabetes" week. It's also an "All Things Brownies" week too, now I think about it! They are definitely the two things that have dominated my last two days and will continue to dominate my life for the next week:

Yesterday (Friday) - Arrived in Norwich. Staying with a friend who's also type one. Surprised the Brownies by going back. Made leader in charge cry (something to cross off the bucket list!)
Today (Saturday) - Birthday lunch with friends who happen to have type one diabetes. It was a bit like diabetics reunited. Got caught up on some diabetes-related projects. 
Tomorrow (Sunday) - Brownie stuff: clearing out store cupboard and church hall followed by church parade and picnic.

Monday - Coffee with a friend from year abroad. Neither diabetes nor Brownie related!

Tuesday - Catch up with Brownie leaders.

Wednesday - Diabetes clinic. Just thinking about it feels me with dread!

Thursday - Out with same friends as I was today (Saturday).

Friday - Brownies.

Saturday - Greater Minds Inspire event: I'm very excited about this event. It's open for 10 to 21 year olds. You can find out more by clicking here, and you will also find details on how to register for the event (which is completely free!)

Busy, busy week! But I'm looking forward to it. Apart from clinic. I'd like to skip that part! Pretty certain we all would if we could, actually!

Friday, 28 June 2013


My Person and My Chica.
I'm not really in touch with anyone from sixth form anymore, and those I am in touch with are, quite literally, my best ones: Nem, Jones and E.Hales.

So Jones and E.Hales.

My extended family, where E.Hales is Supermum to Doodle and Jones and I have "Auntie" titles. We call each other out when we think a person's in the wrong. We tell each other when lines have been crossed. We drink ridiculous amounts of tea. And coffee for that matter. We (well, Jones and I) enjoy playing with Doodle's toys more than Doodle actually does. We can find a Friends quote for every situation (some may say we have an unhealthy addiction to that show...we disagree!)

But, most importantly, we pull through for each other no matter what. We don't always agree on things, but we never stop caring. We've been through a hell of a lot over the years, and we've always been there for each other.

Old friends. New friends. Boyfriends. Heartbreak. Family problems. Diabetes. Pregnancy. University. Moving. Year abroad. And a hell of a lot more. 

It's been a long couple of days, and I am drained. As excited as I am about going back to Norwich, the timing sucks. I'm needed here with them. Not only am I needed, but I want to be here with them. 

It's days like today when I remember just how lucky I am to have them in my life. We've been through too much together to walk away from each other now.

"Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gonna love it."

And we will. Every minute of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. Together.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


All packed up - Toulouse, 2012.
I usually hate packing. I hate unpacking too for that matter. If I could close my eyes, click my fingers and just move everything from one place to another without needing a suitcase, I would. I hate the logistics of fitting everything into one case, and I'm rubbish at deciding what's essential and what isn't. As far as I'm concerned, everything's essential! 

However, over the last ten months or so, I have learnt the art of being an efficient packer in order to fit all the crap I want to take with me in one case! When packing to leave Alcalá, I even managed to get my case below the allocated 23kg, which caused me to do a happy dance at 6am at the check-in desk! And when I travelled, I only ever took my little cabin-sized case, in which I would fit my clothes, shoes, toiletries, make up and all things diabetes, and diabetes alone takes up so much space!!

So, having only just recently unpacked all of my things, packing for a week in Norwich didn't phase me like it would have in the past. In fact, I think I actually enjoyed it! In one holdall-type bag I managed to get my clothes, sleepwear, underwear, toiletries, make up, spare pair of shoes, extra insulin, needles, test strips, some hypo treatments to keep me going for a few days, my Brownie uniform (finally going back to Brownies!!), and a couple of cardigans and my laptop and chargers for said laptop, mobile phone, kindle and ipod. And then the only extra thing I had to carry was my handbag with my purse, the aforementioned mobile, kindle and ipod, my diabetes bag and the standard hypo treatments I carry in my handbag.

See? Efficient!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Old School.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I filled out a log book, until about 20 minutes ago! Having been graced with a blood sugar of 17.9mmol/l and feeling like crap, I decided to start copying my glucose readings into the aforementioned log book whilst waiting for my blood sugar to come down (which it hasn't and I'm now annoyed!)

Why, I hear you ask?!

Because on July 3rd I have my post-year abroad endo/dsn/health MOT appointment, but this time round I'm not seeing the endo I usually see. 

When it comes to sugar logs, my endo has only ever requested two weeks' worth down on paper prior to my appointment, and I've loved that system. I can work with that system. I don't want to be writing down every single number and insulin dose and correction dose. You get what I'm saying. Two weeks' worth is fair. In order for her to do her job, she needs something to work with. And I want to stay healthy, so I want to give her something to work with, without having to log obsessively. It's a win-win situation!

My DSN is happy to just take my meter and look through it herself, jotting things down on her little pad of paper, bless her. I just leave her to it. She always looks like she's in her element and having fun!

But, like I've said, I'm seeing someone new. And I don't know what they'll be expecting of me when I go in to see them. So, I'm being prepared. My meter saves all my sugar readings anyway, so should new endo (I don't even know whether this person is male or female!) wish to just browse through my meter, they can. If not, I managed to find a spare log book, and I've copied all blood readings and insulin doses into it. I've also done more than two weeks' worth. I've copied over everything since I got back from Spain, so it will be about a months' worth by the time my appointment actually comes round. 

I hate seeing new endos! 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pet Hates.

Image taken from Google Images.
Yesterday evening, I went out for dinner to celebrate my Granddad's birthday and, as lovely as it was, there were a couple of "incidents" that really got under my skin.

First off, we arrived at 6.15pm, and I checked my blood sugar - 4.5mmol/l - and then went a bought a small lemonade as I knew we wouldn't be ordering for a while and I didn't want to risk having a hypo. I'm standing at the bar, and my Mum asks what I'm getting and I tell her. Then, she starts talking really loudly about how I might hypo and I need sugar.

NO!!! I'm not okay with that. No big deal was needed in that situation. I wasn't hypo. I might not have even had a hypo. I was just being cautious as it was a big family dinner and I didn't want to be dealing with a low blood sugar whilst there if I could avoid it. The fuss my Mum made was not necessary at all. So I snapped at her telling her to stop! And this occurred 10 minutes after arriving!

Pet hate number 1: Making a big deal out of nothing. Check.

Pet hate number 2 happened after we'd ordered our meals. My Uncle asked me what I'd ordered, and so I told him "the pie and mash with seasonal vegetables." The response I got?!

"Vicki! You can't eat that! I can't believe you ordered that! You should know better!"

I looked at him confused. And then it clicked. Diabetes Police

"What do you mean I can't eat that?! I've got my insulin. As long as I adjust my insulin to cover the carbs, I'm good!"

But that response wasn't good enough, and he (pancreatically-fine) still thought it was necessary to lecture me (pancreatically-challenged) about my food choices and how it was really bad of me to choose that meal. 

Pet hate number 2: Being lectured about what I can and can't eat. Check.

Then, when dinner was served, I got my Carbs and Cals out so that I could work out carb content (I'm not confident enough yet to do it just by looking) and then he "scolded" me for carrying such a book! 

"You shouldn't be worrying about carbs and calories!" 

I did just tell him that have to adjust my insulin according to the amount of carbs I consume. I was so close to snapping, but then I remember it was a family meal and there were 20 or so other people there.

So, naturally, I did what any other person with diabetes would do.

I ordered a pudding as well!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Child's Play.

My godson, Doodle, is at that age where he's fascinated by everything, particularly technology. Mobile phones, ipods, the DVD player, the games console. My Blackberry is something he loves to get his hands on (but can't figure out how to use it as E.Hales has an Iphone, and my Blackberry has buttons - Auntie Vicki 1, Doodle 0!) He knows how to turn the DVD player on, change disks and then play a different movie (and this happens in the two minutes when E.Hales and I are in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil!) It's crazy!

Another thing he's recently become fascinated with is my blood testing kit. Except, out of all the bits of technology I carry in my handbag, it's the one thing that really can't be used as a "toy". Except, what do you tell a two-year-old other than "no". I felt there needed to be some sort of explanation as to why I wanted him to take my Blackberry over the glucose meter.

- "Doodle's?"

- "No, Doodle, this one's Auntie Vicki's; I need it to stay healthy."

- "No, Doodle's."

- "Sorry, Doodle. Here, play with my phone."

- "No!" 

- "Doodle, you can't have this one. It's special. Auntie Vicki has diabetes. Can you say 'diabetes'?"

- "Diabebes!"

- "Close enough! Auntie Vicki uses it to check her blood. Do you want to help? [Doodle nods] Ok, take a srtip from the pot...just one! Good boy! [I put strip into meter and it turns on - Doodle's amazed. I get finger-pricker and place it on my little finger] Now, I need you to press this button here and you'll here a clicking sound when it's done. [Doodle presses button. I check my blood. Number appears.] What number's that, Doodle?"

- "Six!"

- "And what does the other number say?"

- "Nine!"

- "And what colour is the rectangle next to the number?"

- "Green!"

- "And what does 'green' mean?"

- "GO!"

Close enough. Then he found something else to play with. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Locked Out!

Image taken from Google Images.
Last night, E.Hales and I had a girls' night in. With me being back and forth all the time because of uni, it's not often we get to sit down and have a proper catch up, so we took advantage of this. Doodle went to bed, we ordered in Indian food and out came the bottle of white that had been chilling in her fridge since I arrived (I brought the important things - alcohol and insulin!) We watched crappy tv, gossipped, caught up properly for the first time in, what, about 10 months?! I mean, we'd seen each other in between, but this was a proper, proper catch up. There's a difference!

What with eating Indian food, drinking wine and eating chocolate, it's safe to say there was some mad sugar-watching going on on my part...until, for some reason, when I went to switch my glucose meter on, the screen lit up with the picture of a padlock! I don't know how, or why, but I'd been locked out of my glucose meter! And, of course, I didn't have a clue how to unlock it! 

I tried turning it off and on again, I took the batteries out hoping that would fix it. Nothing. So, next, I'm browsing the internet on my Blackberry trying to find the solution and had no luck. Phoned home and asked Mum to see if she could find the instruction manual to the meter and tell me how to unlock it...again, no luck! I'm getting frustrated at this point - my glucose meter (particularly this Accu-Chek meter with all the fancy functions) is up there with my Blackberry and Ipod in the sense that I couldn't be without them, and the thought of having to ring up Accu-Chek for a new one and then wait for it to!

Ready to throw the meter at the wall at this point, E.Hales takes it from me, presses some buttons and she's unlocked it. Panic (on my part) over.

E.Hales, 1. Vicki, 0. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Diabetes Week 2013: Research, Research, Research!

Image from the DUK website.
Today marks the end of Diabetes Week 2013, and I've spent a long time thinking about what I want to write in this post. There are numerous blog posts that were published this week in honour of Diabetes Week, many of which can be found on the Diabetes UK Blog Site. Now, I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not very science-minded when it comes to diabetes. I can talk about living with it, but not a lot else. So, this week, I took the time to properly read up on what research is being done in the field of diabetes, and read many of the blog posts that were published in honour of Diabetes Week.

I knew that research was essential in the field of diabetes - of course it is! The discovery of insulin (thank you Banting and Best!), the advances made in blood glucose testing (which went from boiling urine, adding a mix of chemicals and then comparing it to a colour chart to urine strips to, finally, what we use today) and the way in which we now take our insulin (multiple daily injections (MDI) and insulin pumps). We now also have access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).

But the following blog post really put things into perspective. Written by someone who has lived with type one diabetes for, pretty much, their entire life, it emphasised just how important research is for those of us living with diabetes. Being only three years into life with diabetes, I didn't think I'd seen that much in terms of research. However, after doing some digging myself, I've realised just how wrong I am. 

There's the Bionic Pancreas, which is, hopefully, the future for insulin pumps. Anna from Glu got to trial one a few months back and she's documented her experience here. It's pretty amazing, not gonna lie! Or how about the announcement of the BioHub by the Diabetes Research Institute? A potential biological cure (although, my not-so-science-minded-brain doesn't really understand how it's meant to work - if anyone wishes to explain it, it would be greatly appreciated!) 

I don't know when, or even if, there will ever be a cure for diabetes. I'd love for there to be something to prevent it. Something that, should I, or anyone for that matter, decide to have children, there's something out there that stops the body's immune system from declaring war on the insulin-producing beta cells (I'm practically a scientist now ;-) ) Who knows?

What I do know is that it's research that will get us to that stage, and hopefully, one day, bring us the cure that allows us to say "I had diabetes".   

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sugar Logging.

(Sugar) logging - El Escorial.
On a diabetes-level, change is always followed by crappy sugar levels, whether it be a small change, such as visiting Mum and Dad having spent time in Norwich, or something a bit more extreme, like moving back to the UK having lived in Spain for five months! However, knowing this meant that I could prepare...sort of. Knowing it's going to happen means that I'm more on the ball when it comes to spotting patterns and adjusting insulin doses. 

This past week, I have logged my sugar levels almost obsessively! It's helped that I finally got test strips for my Accu-Chek Aviva Expert glucose meter, as it has a bolus advice function and even gives me an estimated "insulin on board" figure, which is so useful when it comes to deciding whether or not correction doses are needed! 

It's been a frustrating week: I'm putting in the work and not seeing the results (and we all know how frustrating that is!) I just want a run of good sugar levels, especially with my endo appointment coming up at the start of next month (I need something to help bring down that post year abroad 'a1c!) That, and it'd be quite nice to feel like a normal human being again, as crappy sugar levels make you feel...well...crap! I've coerced Mum into buying me some healthier foods, so here's hoping next week will be better!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Back In The Game.

El Escorial.
Just over a month ago, I had a particularly bad night-time hypo which caused me to lose trust in my body when it comes to hypo awareness at night. I often woke up in the middle of the night to check my blood sugar (didn't even need an alarm I was so paranoid!)  - once you've lost trust in your body, it's kind of hard to get it back. I mean, it's been five weeks!

However, after five weeks, I think I can say I've got it back! Last night, I had a low blood sugar at 3am, and I woke up. My body woke me up. I hate low blood sugar levels, but never have I been so glad for my body to wake me up because of one! That's all that was needed for me to get the trust in my body back.

For the last ten months, I've flown solo when it comes to my diabetes. Now I'm back at Mum and Dad's, I'm still flying solo. My parents don't know all that much when it comes to my diabetes - they just let me get on with it. It's my friends and housemates at uni that know their stuff. They transitioned and adapted with me, and have been there for the good, the bad and the ugly (even whilst I've been away - the powers of the internet!) But the aforementioned hypo really scared me. I was reminded just how important it is to stay in control (well, as in control as possible) when it comes to blood sugar levels, especially when there's no one around you that really understands what it is you have to live with.

Now, however, I feel like I'm back in the game! As much as I hated the hypo last night, all I was thinking was "my body woke me up!" and couldn't help but "celebrate" that little victory. Just wish this little victory occurred whilst I was still in Spain and not back in the UK, surrounded by people that at least have a semi-understanding of things! Typical! 

Monday, 10 June 2013


Missing the Spanish life - Nem and I.
I love being home! I've been catching up with family, friends, I'm eagerly awaiting the return of two of my favourites (Nem and Shep), I have my entire wardrobe, and not just a suitcase...well, I have all of my things, actually! I'm slowly getting back in touch with the English culture, catching up on movies and updating my itunes with all the new artists and songs that I have missed. It's awesome!

What's not so great is Mum's kitchen. Every Mum's kitchen is always full to the brim with food, a lot of that food being treat-type things: biscuits, cakes, chocolate, sweets. Basically, a diabetic's worst nightmare. 

When I'm not at my Mum and Dad's, I'm in control of what I eat and what I buy at the supermarket. I weigh out all my food and I know exactly what I'm putting into my meals. As for shopping, I don't buy the treats: if they're not in the food cupboard, I'm not going to be tempted! Instead, if I'm meeting friends for coffee or we're going out for dinner, I will allow myself the treat of a cake with my coffee or a pudding after dinner. I have a bit of a sweet-tooth when it comes to biscuits and stuff, so it's better for me to just not buy it, and that's easy when I'm not living at Mum and Dad's as there's only me to think about. 

At Mum and Dad's however, there are four others in the house and then me. So they can't, and won't, stop buying the crap just because I ask them to. That's not how this works. Instead, I'm hoping that my willpower is strong enough to keep on turning down the treats. It's not been easy so far; it's like the cupboards are replenishing themselves. The treats stocked up in them seem to be never-ending!

It's safe to say my willpower will be tested over the coming months!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Welcome Home!

Best welcome home ever?!
Since returning to the UK, things have been busy to say the least. I was greeted at the airport by my sister, which was lovely! If you'd asked me three years ago if there would ever be a point when my sister and I actually get on, I would have said "no". I was wrong. The catalyst for us suddenly getting on?! Me moving out for university! She helped me with my cases and then her, my Dad and I went and got breakfast at Frankie and Benny's before heading back.

Once back at home, I dumped my case and pretty much headed straight back out again as I needed to pick up my prescription. I'd manage to plan it that I was running out of needles and test strips when I came home, so needed to stock up! Then, because my sister had work and my Dad was going out (and I wasn't gonna sit around doing nothing on my first day back!) Jones and I arranged to go see the lovely E.Hales and my gorgeous godson, Doodle. And I was greeted with the best "Welcome Home!" E.Hales and Doodle had been very busy and made me a "Welcome Back" card and multi-coloured cookies which tasted amazing, by the way! I couldn't have asked for more! We spent the afternoon catching up, playing games with Doodle. I didn't realise how much I missed being called "Auntie Vicki"! 

At present, my sugar levels are all over the place! But that was to be expected. Change and my diabetes are not a match made in heaven! But I'm working on it, adjusting as well as I can, and I know it's going to take some time for things to settle down. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying being back and catching up with everyone here in Kent. This is the start of, what I hope is going to be, a very good summer!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Year Abroad: Debrief Part 2 - Alcalá De Henares, Spain.

TA and I in Madrid.
Year abroad is officially over. As I write this, I am sat at Madrid Barajas Airport, having closed the door on my time as an Erasmus student, and it seemed appropriate to write this one up now. So, without further ado, here's part 2 of my year abroad debrief (you can read part one here!)

After sitting my exams in January 2013 in Toulouse, I once again packed up my things ready to move to Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain with the lovely TA. We were both moving to Madrid, but different areas - her Aranjuez and me Alcalá. Moving countries was the most stressful thing I have ever done! I remember ringing Mum up and just crying. I never ring my Mum up and just cry! Upon arrival, I was homeless. I'd arranged flat viewings for my first full day there, knowing full-well I could not afford to pay out for a hotel for more than a few days at the most! Luckily, I found a flat I liked on that first day and put money down for the room so I could move in after I'd got my three days at the hotel (like I was gonna leave the hotel early - it was frigging awesome!) Just like in Toulouse, the routine here in Madrid was the same: I made friends, travelled, got drunk, ate far too many tapas. The only difference was, here, I actually went to uni! And a lot of diabetes-related issues surfaced.

Nem and I, Starbucks in hand!
When I first got here, my diabetes control was...well...pretty much non-existent. What with trying to finalise paperwork in Toulouse, and then move and get set up in Alcalá...just, before I knew it, I was well and truly heading back down that insulin-omitting path. So I turned to writing again, and that's why my time in Toulouse is just missing from this blog. Nem came to see me when all this was happening, and I'm so grateful she did! She got me grounded again and reminded me that I'd done it once and I could do it again. It's been a long journey, and one that I'm still on, but I feel like I'm in control again, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it stays that way when I return to the UK in just a few hours now. 

Bringing up diabetes here was a lot easier. I'm not sure why, it just was. Meeting people was easier too. Probably because I actually went to class here! That, and I definitely feel that the Spanish are a lot more open than the French. Uni here has been amazing! The buildings look like something you'd see in Harry Potter, for a start!

I've travelled a lot since being here too: Salamanca, Toledo, Segovia, all of which have been incredible! I did a weekend in Salamanca, staying with friends from UEA, and then Toledo and Segovia were day trips. I haven't really ventured far from Madrid, just because living so near to the capital meant that I wanted to be able to take advantage of that, and I have. That, and I also needed to consider my Starbucks fund - it'd been a whole 7 months since I'd lived in a city with a Starbucks! 

I stupidly walked my insulin into the Ice Bar in Madrid for a friend's birthday and then wondered why it froze! Good night though, not gonna lie. Food here has been amazing! I love tapas, and after months upon months of trying to figure out how to bolus properly for them, I've gone and finally done it. Maybe that should be my big diabetes achievement. Year abroad seems like nothing when you've been trying to master tapas for as long as I have! I've got drunk, mainly with K. We have the same appreciation for vodka! For the first time on year abroad I met someone else with diabetes (not gonna lie, that's probably one of the highlights) and I've just been lucky enough to make some really good friends here. I thought leaving Toulouse was hard, but leaving here has been harder!      
French class in the sun!

My semester in Spain has probably been the more difficult one of the two, yet it's the one I think I've enjoyed slightly more. Toulouse was like the test-run, and Spain was the real-deal. I loved my time in Toulouse, but I didn't take advantage of the language opportunities presented to me, and that's the whole point of year abroad. This semester, however, I have, and it's really helped to make this whole experience for me. Yes, diabetes had its moments this semester, but in the words of K, I owned this semester: I sought out opportunities, I practised my language skills, I travelled, I got myself back on track. I proved to myself that I can do this. Now, I've just got to work on getting good control back, as I'm pretty sure my hba1c ain't gonna be pretty! But that'll be in part 3, when I actually have some numbers to give you! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

"The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men..."

El Escorial.

"...often go awry."

Yesterday, in an attempt to squeeze in as much tourist stuff as I can before leaving Spain, some friends and I went to a place called El Escorial, wanting to go to the monasteries and then get the bus to Valley of the Fallen where you can find Franco's tomb. I know some may be thinking "why would you want to go there?!" but it's such a huge part of Spain's history that I really wanted to go and see it all.

However, as it turns out, Mondays in the area of El Escorial means that absolutely everything is shut, apart from your cafés and tapas bars. Brilliant. This is why you should check opening hours before you take a trip! You'd think after living abroad and travelling for the last 10 months or so, that would be standard procedure. Well, it's not. 

Not wanting to waste the time we spent travelling, we headed to a tapas bar to grab some food and coffee, and tried to figure out what else we could do. We'd seen a park on one of the maps near the tourist office, and decided to go there. The weather was gorgeous, so we figured we'd relax, enjoy the sun, take in the views, things like that. On the way to the park, we came across a marked trail, so we diverted to follow that to see where it would take us.

Turns out that that trail was in fact a hike. And I was not prepared for a hike! After an hour of walking and not seeing an end to the incline we were walking, I was worried. I didn't feel hypo, but at the same time, I hadn't accounted for a hike. I hadn't reduced my insulin with lunch and I was very aware of the fact that I only had a carton of juice and a cereal bar on me should I need it. My question was, how do I make this work without going hypo?!

I tested my blood sugar after an hour and a half: 4.9mmol/l. At this point, I decided to eat the cereal bar, in the hope that it would stop the hypo from occurring, or at least put it at bay until we were well on our way down to the bottom again. Not being prepared made me nervous. I know I can't plan every single day right down to the last minute, but something like this, and I definitely would have carried more hypo treatments and snack food, just in case. 

All in all, we were walking for 3 hours. The views were breathtaking, and it definitely made the trip worthwhile despite everything being closed. When we got to the bottom, I checked my blood sugar again. 5.9mmol/l, and on returning back to the flat (having eaten a packet of crisps to help keep my sugar levels up until I got back) 6.1mmol/l. 

Vicki, 1. Diabetes, 0.  

Monday, 3 June 2013


Baked goods.
Yesterday, I went to a health food convention-type-thing (I'm not really sure what to call it!) in Madrid called SalAIA or Salón de productos y servicios para Alergias e Intolerancias Alimentarias - in English, Products and Services for People with Food Allergies and Intolerances. Now, I knew this wouldn't necessarily cover diabetes, but it was free to go and went with a friend who is coeliac, so I got to hang out with her.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I actually really enjoyed it. For a start, there were free food samples, and who doesn't love free food samples?! We casually walked round, talking to people at their stalls (N.B. talking dietary requirements in Spanish is incredibly difficult!), finding out what products they had to offer. Of course, being more about food allergies, I was asked several times what it was I was allergic/intolerant to, and diabetes is neither of those. I responded saying I had type one diabetes, and not an actual allergy and it was so refreshing to hear the following response:

"Everything in moderation then, just make sure you cover those treats with insulin."

My face must have been a picture! I'm so used to the whole "that means you can't eat sugar" kind of response that I didn't quite know what to do with the response I actually got! I'm not gonna complain though, as those responses are rare! There was the odd stall with sugar-free products, but, I translate and quote, "now, we encourage everything in moderation: there's no need to cut sugar out completely, and artificial sweeteners aren't always good." At this particular event, their diabetes-related comments brought a smile to my face: I was in an environment where people "got it" and I loved it! Go SalAIA!

Spain are so on the ball when it comes to coeliacs disease! There are entire shops dedicated to gluten free products, restaurants have specific gluten-free menus, and you can even get gluten free burgers in McDonalds! The amount of products available to people living with coeliacs disease is so incredibly vast, unlike back home where options are very limited. It's no wonder my friend's planning on filling her suitcase up with gluten free goodies when she returns to the UK!    

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Happy June!

I am well and truly on countdown mode now, with it being less than a week until I return to the UK! I swear it was only yesterday I was writing about how I only had two weeks left! Now I literally have days! 

May was a good month! I finished classes, I finished exams, the weather's been lovely (most of the time), I saw my best friend, Nem, I also caught up with the girls on my course from was incredibly busy, but I loved every minute of it! Diabetes-wise, I had a swinging month: horrible highs to crashing lows, some due to my errors, others due to who-knows what. I've carried on logging...sort of...I input all sugar readings to get my average before posting this. Can't wait to get test strips for my Accu-Check where it tells you all your averages and stuff! My average for May was 8.1mmol/l, which, although up from last month, I'm happy with.

This coming Thursday (June 6th), I will be flying back to the UK, and my time as an Erasmus student will be over. I will miss this - living and studying abroad, new people, new cultures - but I am so excited about getting back to the UK for many reasons:
  1. Sunday roast! I haven't had a Sunday roast in sooooo long!
  2. Being back with my family (also something I'm not looking forward to - see below).
  3. Being back in the same town as my friends from home.
  4. Hanging with my godson, Doodle.
  5. Being in the same time zone as my friends from uni - we've been all over the place this year: USA, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Spain, England...
  6. Brownies - a year "off" of being Little Owl is long enough!
  7. Having access to my diabetes clinic - I never thought I'd say this, but I've missed it and the help and support it provides! 
And what I'm not looking forward to?
  1. Being back with my family - three months living under Mum and Dad's roof is a blessing and a curse. No rent, no bills, free food, home-cooked food. But after living away from home for three years now, it's hard to adjust.
  2. The diabetes changes it will inevitably bring. I'll need to "settle back in" again, adjust ratios, basal insulin etc etc. It's not gonna be fun! 
  3. The crappy weather!
The good definitely outweighs the bad! But managing diabetes after moving back does make me nervous. Diabetes and change never mix well with me! But I have five days before I have to really worry about that! And I plan on making the most of those five days I have left here in Spain! 

On that note, happy June and hasta luego!