Wednesday, 31 July 2013


I was at one of the coffee shops at Universal Studios and when I asked for sweetener with my coffee, I was given options! This never, ever happens in the UK! So, being the tourist that I am at the moment, I asked for one of each. Just because :-)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Hypo Hangover.

It was 2am when I started hearing voices again. But being the stubborn person I am, I rolled over and tried to ignore them. My blood sugar was 9.8mmol/l before bed at midnight and I didn't take a correction dose. I shouldn't have been low.

"You need to check your blood sugar, kid" that internal voice tells me.

I, of course, still chose to ignore it. Logic told me that I shouldn't be hypo, so therefore I'm wasn't!

"Gibbs! Blood sugar! Check! Now!"

But I still wasn't having any of it. Logic was telling me otherwise.

"Blood. Sugar. Check."

I don't know how much time passed, but I arose from my slumber, shaking, sweaty and disorientated. 

I reached for my meter and tried to check, but shaky hands made it impossible. So I just treated with glucose tablets (ones I bought from Walmart that come in pots of 50 - it's the little things in life...)

My eyes were heavy, probably due to both sheer tiredness after spending the day at Universal Studios and the hypo itself. 

After the shakiness had lessened, I reached for my meter again to check my blood.


"Woah, I must have been low!"

I carried on treating the hypo with glucose tablets and I ate a granola bar too. I changed my pyjama top, re-checked my blood (8.2mmol/l), and once again allowed sleep to take over my body.

Damn that internal voice always being right! Very glad to not be leaving the villa today!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Cotton Candy Low.

Cotton Candy or Candy Floss to us Brits: It's a new way to treat a low and it made a nice change from the chalky glucose tabs and apple juice cartons I usually chug when in this state! Damn not anticipating my swim this morning!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sky High.

I'm a very nervous flyer. My blood sugar levels rocket to prove it too. Today...yesterday...I don't even know when my body's so out-of-whack right now, I sat on a plane for 10 hours: the time it took for the journey from London Gatwick to Stanford, Florida. And my sugar levels were sky-high throughout the journey.

I began my day at 5.30am GMT on a lovely 6.6mmol/l. 

On arrival at the airport, the nerves were setting in and before breakfast I was at 12.1mmol/l so I took some extra insulin with my pain au chocolat.

An hour into the flight I was at 13.4mmol/l. 

When they came round with lunch around midday I was at 12.6. Again, I took a correction dose with my mealtime insulin.

I actually managed to get some sleep after lunch, for about 3 hours, and I woke up on a 5.6! Yay! But then as soon as I woke up and remembered I was on a plane I shot straight back up to 14.7.

Towards the end of our flight we were given sandwiches and scones (very English!) 13.8 before. Correction with normal insulin dose, yet again!

And, like always, as soon as we touched down and I was no longer in the air, my blood sugar came down to a lovely 5.5. Hello, happy dance!

We made it! Now for the American Adventures to begin!

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Image taken from Google Images.
I've travelled so much over the last ten months or so (see Year Abroad), you'd think I'd be done for a little while! 

But you'd be wrong! I am once again all packed up ready for a whilrwind two weeks Stateside.

This trip has been in the pipe-line for a long time now. This year, my siblings and I all have "big birthdays" - my brother turned 13 back in February, my sister turned 18 in April and I turn 21 next month - so Mum and Dad decided that we would do a family holiday to Florida for two weeks. This is the first time my siblings and I will go to the US and we are so excited!

Knowing I would be in the US, I begged my Mum and Dad to let me self-fund a trip to see some friends I'd made during my first year of uni, particularly my friend Lopez, one of my flat mates from first year. And they said yes! So, we chatted and decided to do a weekend in New York City together. My first time on American soil and I get to go to Orlando, Florida and New York City?! Amazing!

Despite travelling a lot over the last ten months, I've never worked with a time difference greater than an hour. So going Stateside is a bit of a learning curve what with taking my Levemir, but I feel relatively confident with what to do there. I'm a very nervous flyer, so to say I'm apprehensive about the ten-hour flight that lies in my future is a bit of an understatement! But I know once I get there it will all be worth it (or so I've been told!)

After this trip (or trips if you count from Florida to NYC), I really will be done with travelling! For now, anyway! As excited as I am for this holiday, seeing Lopez, maybe taking part in the DSMA tweetchat seeing as I'll be on American time, I'm also very happy to know that once I'm back that's it for the foreseeable future.

But, for now, let's see how my busted pancreas and I get on Stateside! 

Bring on the next two-week adventure!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Trying, Hoping, Smiling.

Image courtesy of Daisy.
This is the third time I’ve made her get up tonight,
Another trip to the bathroom, she knows she's not alright,
With no energy she struggles back to bed,
A million thoughts running through her head.

At seventeen and exams to take,
There was no time to take a break,
So she tried to ignore me for as long as she could,
She didn't know what that meant, she misunderstood.

But things quickly got worse, how ill she became,
So thin and so pale, she no longer looked the same.
Consumed by sleep and unable to function,
She typed her symptoms into Google and made an assumption.

Despite knowing what was wrong, she powered through,
Not ready to face the truth, that much she knew.
But one day she knew she couldn’t go on anymore,
It was time to see what the future had in store.

“Diabetes” they told her, but she already knew,
“There’s nothing you could have done, I promise you."
Tears in her eyes, but a smile still somewhat present,
She began processing this rather big life-event.

To the hospital she goes to be admitted,
Scared and unsure and a little defeated,
She’s given a drip of both glucose and insulin,
And she realises this is the life that she will be living.

At seventeen, she thought she had it all figured out,
A Levels and university, she had no doubts.
But then everything seemed so unsure,
And it’s not like she could just ask for a cure.

Learning and adapting was the name of the game,
From insulin doses to blood glucose aims,
She knew the next few months would be challenging,
But there were worse things in life she could be tackling.

They thought it would change her, and it did, that’s true,
She grew up real quick and learnt what to do,
On the good days and bad she keeps on going,
She keeps trying, she keeps hoping, she keeps smiling.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Yellow Smiley Dude.

Back at the end of April, Circle D celebrated its' 5th birthday, but because I was abroad, I wasn't able to make it. Yesterday I met up with Shelley to celebrate her diabetes anniversary (10 years living with diabetes) and she gave me a little card from the Circle D Birthday celebration. It put the biggest smile on my face. You can't see the writing in the picture, so here's what it says:

"Thank you so much for being part of Circle D. Thank you for all your support whether you are a newbie or whether you have been with us for the whole 5 years or somewhere in between, it really does mean a lot :)

The yellow smiley dude is to make you smile when the D gets you down. When you feel the D rage you can stretch out his arms and lets to release your stress and he will keep on smiling - bless him!!!

If you live with/are related to/are friends with a D this is a thank you for putting up with us! :)

You may name your smiley but is must start with a D hahaha :0) carry him/her everywhere as you never know when you may need to rant!

And finally thank you for helping me prove that we really are not alone! Nearly 10 years ago on my diagnosis day a nurse told me I was the only one! :0(

Here's to the next 5 years and beyond!

Big love - Shelley xxx"

It just sums it all up for me: diabetes sucks, big time, but everything that comes along with it kind of makes up for the crapiness (making up words now!) of it all. So, I say again, whatever crappy condition you're living with (if any, of course), go find others in the same boat as you. Doing exactly that is the best thing I've ever done.

To find out more about Circle D please visit

Friday, 19 July 2013


Image taken from Shoot Up or Put Up
Yesterday, my brother had a friend from school round, and this friend also has type one diabetes, diagnosed less than a year ago. I'd just arrived home after seeing a friend, and their dinner was almost done. My brother's friend came up to me and asked where he could do his injection (so considerate; I just do it and others can like it and lump it!) I told him that no one would care if he wanted to do it at the table, but if he felt more comfortable he could take himself away to another room: it was up to him (he's only 13). He decided to do it at the table. I was sat there, glancing at what he was doing.

Out came the finger pricker. He took the lid off, inserted a new lancet, put the lid back on, loaded a test strip into the meter and pricked his finger. Then, he took the lancet out and put it in a section of the meter case where he kept sharps and used test strips.

I chuckled.

"What?!" he asked me.

"You put in a new lancet and then took it out after you used it."

"Yeah...that's what you're supposed to do!"

"I know," I shrugged and walked away, but not before I heard my brother say "She hasn't changed the needle for her finger pricker in months. She just says she's saving the NHS money! That and it takes too much time to change it all the time."

It's true! I save sooooooo much time by not changing the lancet in my finger pricker and I am indeed saving the NHS money! And my sharps boxes last so much longer too! It's a win-win-win situation for me!

Disclaimer: You should change the lancet for your finger pricker after every use. I don't, but that doesn't mean I am condoning that you do the same thing! Just so you know!   

Thursday, 18 July 2013


One of my Mum's best friends is the manager of a charity shop near to where I live. For as long as I can remember, she's been my "Auntie" B. Except when she pisses me off, in which case she's just B. We've always been really close, but even closer since her son was diagnosed with type one diabetes a year or so ago. I can't remember how old he was at the time, but he's in his twenties, so he's an adult diagnosed with type one. I went to go see her today, but forgot that she had jury service, and ended up in conversation with one of the ladies that works at the shop. I can never remember her name, but I know she's from Scotland, so in the conversation below, I'm gonna refer to her as the Scottish Lady (or S.L for short!)

*     *     *     *     *

Me: Hiya! Is my Auntie B in today?

S.L: Not today, love, she's got jury service.

Me: Oh, I forgot about that. Not to worry!

S.L: So how are you keeping, love?

Me: I'm good thanks, you?

S.L: I didn't know you had The Diabetes too. Like B's little boy. ("The Diabetes" capitalised as that's how I saw it in my head after she said it!)

Me: Auntie B's boy isn't exactly little anymore! He's got a fiancee and two kids! And yeah, I have diabetes.

S.L: But look at you! You look

[Now, S.L is a little old lady, bless her, so I bite my tongue and continue the conversation]

Me: Thank you.

S.L: Can I ask you something personal......?

[Dreading where this is going]

S.L: ......Do you do injections in your bottom?!

Me: [laughing] No, no I don't do injections in my bum!

S.L: Ok...I was just wondering.

[Why she was pondering this I don't know and I was too afraid to even ask!!]

S.L: Why can't B's boy be like you?

Me: Well, people handle things differently, and it takes time to adapt to things. That, and he has a lot more to handle. I have just me to think about. B's boy has a fiancee and two little'uns at home.

S.L: I guess. I just don't understand why he can't sort 'imself out. 

Me: He will. Just give him some more time. His life's quite erratic so there are more factors to consider with his diabetes management. And he can quite clearly remember a time when he didn't have to worry about all the crap that comes with diabetes. 

S.L: I guess. Well, at least he's got you. You're living proof that you can control things. And that's good for him.

[Her last comment took me by surprise and I didn't quite know what to say]

S.L: Right, love, I need to serve this customer. Take care!

Me: Ok. Have a good day! Bye!

*     *     *     *     * 

Whilst walking the rest of the way home, I thought about what she'd said. "You're living proof that you can control things." Loads of people tell me that I'm doing well. It's almost like a reflex comment when talking about diabetes: "Well, you look well" or "You've got things under control". But this is the first time in a long time where someone has said that to me and I really do have things under control. I'm not omitting my insulin, I'm checking my blood, I'm counting carbs. 

And that felt good.

Really good. 

Friday, 12 July 2013


Image taken from Google Images.
Why blog? It's a question a lot of people ask, particularly my friends. To those of you reading this that live with diabetes, chances are you've stumbled across this as a result of social media, so you know how vast the diabetes online community (DOC) is and how awesome it is when it comes to making you feel less alone in managing your condition

I blog to put my story out there. I blog about my life with diabetes, and how I manage it alongside being a university student, living abroad, being a Brownie leader, being an Auntie, just generally living my life. I know that if I post about a bad day, someone will read what it and tell me they've been there too. If I post about a triumph, someone will recognise why it's a big deal. If I share a story, it may give someone hope. It's an outlet where I can moan about the difficult times and celebrate those victories. Diabetes therapy, if you will.

It's not about page views, the number of followers or readers, the amount of recognition you receive as a result of blogging. It's about sharing, and hopefully helping just one other person. I read a lot of blogs. I love that so many people are willing to put their story out there on the internet for people like me to read. I find solace in them: they're a constant reminder that I am not alone and there are others out there living with a pancreas-gone-rogue. 

If I'm willing to read about other people's lives with diabetes, surely the least I can do is put my story out there?! So that's exactly what I did. And if there is just one person reading this and finding comfort from it then it's worth its' weight in gold.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Greater Minds Inspire 2013.

Hedgie Pricks Diabetes is a charity organisation founded by Zoe Scott. It's main focus is "the two D's" - diabetes and depression - and aims to raise more awareness about the "psychological, emotional and social sides of living with this condition, especially depression, diabetes burnout and anxiety problems.

On Saturday (July 6th) I had the privilege of attending the first Hedgie Pricks Diabetes event: Greater Minds Inspire. And it was just that: inspiring!

My day started early, what with travelling from Norwich down to Colchester where the event was taking place (and then I went from Colchester back to Kent). I got the train at the spectacularly early time of 8am, arriving in Colchester at 9am where I met the lovely Lizzie and together we figured out where the University of Essex campus was ready for the start of the event at 10am.

Upon arrival, I headed straight for the free coffee being offered needing a caffeine fix before the start. We then headed into the lecture theatre where Zoe opened the event. Throughout the day, we heard talks from various people within the diabetes community that have done some incredibly inspirational things with their lives, and a lot of the things said really did resonate for me, and I'm sure many others that attended.

  • "Diabetes need not limit the scope of people's dreams and ambitions." --> Douglas Cairns gave a talk on flying with diabetes (as in being a pilot, not being a passenger on a flight!) and how laws are actually changing now and people with diabetes are being allowed to sit in the drivers' seat of an aeroplane.
  • "Thrive with diabetes" --> Team Novo Nordisk explain how we need to do more than just live with diabetes. We need to thrive with diabetes. 
  • "What's stopping you?" --> Pete Shaw spoke about his interest in kite surfing and how he deals with his diabetes. He posed the question "what's stopping you?" as diabetes shouldn't be something that holds us back from doing what we want to do and achieve in life. 
  • "It's easy to let diabetes become the biggest part of your life" --> Another quote from Pete Shaw's talk, something I can very much relate to, particularly when I was first diagnosed. Diabetes was all I thought about, and it was horrible. But I soon realised that actually it's a small part of a bigger whole.   

My favourite talk was given by Gavin Griffiths who did what is being called the 30/30 challenge: running 30 miles a day for 30 days (crazy if you ask me, but a huge, huge achievement nonetheless!) I was aware of this challenge as it was all over social media sites, but hearing first-hand of his experience was brilliant! 

I very much enjoyed the event, and I hope there are more like it in the future, as I would definitely attend another. Well done, Zoe, for such a successful first event!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Two Type Ones.

Image taken from Google Images.
I've just arrived back in Kent after spending the last week in Norwich staying with a friend up there. For the first time ever, I lived with another type one diabetic. Now, this may seem like a silly thing to get excited about, but hear me out.

Living with someone else who has to deal with type one diabetes meant that all those things that I do that seem "odd" were no longer "odd".

  • Checking my blood sugar. To those close to me, they don't think twice about it, but to others there's still that "what's she doing...oh yeah!".
  • The mess in the kitchen after a middle-of-the-night hypo - it's just evidence that there was one, but no moaning about how the kitchen's a state. 
  • The trail of test strips that seem to follow me wherever I go were just there - there was no moaning about the mess they made. 
  • Counting carbs was almost a competitive sport - who can guess correctly/the closest to the actual carb value.
  • Vocab such as "shoot up", "bloods" and "rage bolus" were the norm and there was no questioning of what such terms meant. 

All in all, I had a great week in Norwich. I'd really missed the city, so it was so nice to go back before September! I'm looking forward to returning on a more long-term basis come September. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Year Abroad: Debrief Part 3 - What The Numbers Say.

Finally, I bring you the third and final part of my year abroad diabetes debrief. Part one is about my time in Toulouse, part two my time in Alcalá de Henares and this final instalment: the post-year abroad clinic appointment.

My hba1c back in December (after France) was 70 (8.6% in old numbers), which was expected. I'd had problems adjusting whilst in France and things were more up than down.

I'd had a lot of hypos whilst in Spain, and a fair few since being back whilst trying to re-adjust things so I had a feeling my post-year abroad hba1c was going to be lower. And it was. 60 or 7.6%. But is that a result of what I've been doing or the low blood sugars I've had? So I've requested another hba1c in October. At that point, I'll have moved back up to Norwich permanently and have started classes. I'm hoping that I'll be able to really see what's what.

Whilst at clinic today, I had everything done. Retinal photos - and it doesn't look like there are any issues - foot checks - again, no issues - and got to see a consultant. The consultant I saw was a new endo. Well, new to me, anyway. She seemed nice enough, but I've asked to be put under my previous consultant's service for my next appointment. As scary as she can be, I like her as my doctor. And when you've got to see someone on a regular basis, you have to get on with them as your health care professional. 
I also saw my DSN. I love my DSN. Throughout year abroad she's been my go-to when I've had problems. She responds to emails quickly, made sure I could see her when I was back in the UK, and even saw me today even though she technically wasn't meant to be seeing patients today. She's just bloody brilliant! We debriefed the last year, where I've had issues, what we can do to fine-tune control for final year and everything else. We also talked about an insulin pump, but we'll see how far that actually goes!
All in all, it was a good appointment. My hba1c has come down, and I want to keep it coming down, if possible! least steady! Maybe steady is what I should aim for entering into final year! Either way, I'm happy with the outcome. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Take A Moment.

Over the weekend, I was talking to Lopez about year abroad/her being at law school and how quickly the last 12 months have passed. Yeah, there have been some times when the days seemed to drag, but on the whole this year has flown by! And then Lopez said something that really made me stop and think:

"Sometimes I need to take a moment to stop and realise how far I've come."

And this is true for all of us.

Sometimes, we're so busy that we don't take the time to just stop and reflect. 

But we need to find the time to do that. I need to take the time to do that. 

Six months ago I was in a crappy place: I wasn't taking my insulin, I was rarely checking my blood sugar. I just didn't want to be doing it anymore. I gave being a non-diabetic a go. It's safe to say things didn't really work out in my favour. I felt awful for it, and I put a lot of effort into getting back on track. It wasn't easy (but then what is when it comes to diabetes?!) but I sorted things out. 

It's not until I take that moment to pause and think about things that I realise just how different things are: I'm back on injections and I sugar test more than enough times a day. My levels aren't perfect (and they never will be) but I know that I'm trying my best. I eat healthily and carb count as best I can. I started writing, and what started out as a place for me to vent and clear my head has accumulated actual readers, something that still surprises me, as that wasn't what I set out to do. However, I am glad of what has come of it.

So take a moment to stop. You may be surprised when you think about just how far you've come. I know I am.