Thursday, 28 November 2013

Giving Thanks.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - JFK.

Retiro Park, Madrid.
I know that Thanksgiving isn't an English holiday, but since I started university in 2010 and lived with an American exchange student, it's something I have acknowledged every year since then.

I love the concept of Thanksgiving; the whole taking time out to actually reflect on what we're thankful for. Let's be honest, how often do we actually take the time out to do that?! I know I don't, and I really, really should, as I have a lot to be thankful for: my family, my friends, my health (yes, I know I have diabetes, but I still have my health!), access to healthcare and prescriptions, I could continue, but I won't bore you with my list.

Instead, I ask you to do something. This evening (or morning, or afternoon, depending on where you are in the world) take some time out to think about what you're thankful for. Maybe even tell someone you're thankful for them. How you go about it is up to you. But just because Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, there's no reason why we can't, or shouldn't, "take part" too.

Whoever you are, where ever you are, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


This year, I took part in the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. It's been so much fun! With the help of a friend, I made five postcards and sent them all Stateside, and I received them in return. I've never been so excited to receive mail, and I don't care if it's sad to admit that! I didn't know anyone on my list of recipients, so I was excited to see what was written on their postcards.

The first I received was from Colleen (bottom left) who actually write the diabetes blog D-Meanderings - go check it out!

The second came with lots of WDD related info on the front (bottom right), which is a great way of raising awareness! I'm under the impression she also sent postcards to family and friends, which is awesome!

The third and fourth postcards showed up on the same day - one from Lee Ann (top right), founder of the WDD postcard exchange and she also writes a blog called The Butter Compartment. The brightly coloured one (top left, if you haven't guessed!) came from a lady and her family, and she also included a picture of them all, which I loved!

The fifth arrived just last weekend and was covered in blue circles with different motivations written in each of them (bottom middle), which I thought was a great idea!

Taking part in the exchange has helped make new connections within the DOC, and I really hope I can maintain a few, if not all, of them. Thank you so much to all in my group that sent me a postcard! I've loved receiving them and all will be displayed proudly in my room. Once again, I feel very proud to be a part of the diabetes community.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Day Of Diabetes: WDD 2013 Edition.

On WDD, to do my bit to raise awareness, I decided to tweet my #dayofdiabetes. Now, I've not done something like this before, and it really was an eye-opening experience for me. Here's what my day looked like, Twitter-style:

So, these first four "tweets" go from waking to just before lunch time. 6.3mmol on waking is really good. I go to the gym on Thursdays to do a pilates class. I tend to exercise in the mornings, less than 2 hours after breakfast, so I always get a fairly high reading beforehand. The 9.9 after is great - I've not dropped too much and don't have to worry as much about my blood sugar dropping. Because of this reading, I decided not to check my blood again until around midday, which is halfway through my English Language seminar. Good thing I did as I was at 4.1! I decided on a banana, no bolus to see me through the last hour of the class. 

7.2 before lunch: banana was a good call! I reduced bolus at lunch knowing I'd been to the gym, and was at 13.7 after. I'm still learning when it comes to post-gym hypos. It's a slow process, but I'm making progress. 7mmol when I'm in the city, which I quickly ruined with a Toffee-Nut Latte from my favourite coffee shop. 12.4 pre-dinner was to be expected due to the aforementioned coffee. Went out for dinner with my housemate. The restaurant had a leaflet outlining all nutritional information. Awesome!

With dinner, my housemate and I also had a few drinks. Beer always makes my blood sugar go up. But I love the stuff, and am not willing to cut it out. I'm just careful, and I correct blood sugars accordingly, seen with the 9.7 post dinner and beer, and the 7.8 before bed, a great number to end my day on as it tends not to require a 3am wake up!

I know I do this day-in, day-out, but to consciously log every diabetes moment of that day really highlighted just how often I have to stop and think about it. But because it's my "normal" I hadn't really stopped to think about it. It's just there, as something I have to keep an eye on, to make sure I stay healthy and happy. Life's more than diabetes, after all. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

In It Together.

Last night, I'd set an alarm to check my blood sugar at around 3am. I was at 18.9mmol before bed and had trace ketones, so I wanted to check my blood sugar again to make sure I was coming down, as well as check again for ketones.

The alarm went off. I reached my arm out from the warmth of my duvet cover and grabbed my diabetes bag. Eyes still shut, I unzipped it and found my meter, test strips and finger pricker (what's the technical term for that?!) Test strip inserted, I pricked my finger and waited the 5 seconds for a result to be displayed.


I was no longer sky-high.

I had a couple of jelly babies to top-up and then psyched myself up to actually get up from my bed to test for ketones. For me, ketone tests come in the form of the little strips you have to pee on. 

Classy, huh?! 

Ketones: negative. Seeing as I was in the bathroom, I also gave my teeth a quick clean after the jelly babies. 

I rushed back to bed, desperate to be warm again, and looked at my phone. I had two messages. 

One was from Lopez, who lives in the US. It's pretty normal for me to wake up in the morning to messages from her. 

The other was from Lizzie.

Now, Lizzie and I text pretty much everyday. And although diabetes makes up part of the conversation, our friendship has extended beyond that - it's more than diabetes.

23.54 (19/11/13) - "18.9 and trace ketones :( corrected and alarm set for 3am to sugar and ketone test again! Too tired for this shit! Stupid garlic bread with dinner. I just need to avoid bread. I know it's my food nemesis!"

03.16 (20/11/13) - "How you doing ha? Just woke to a 17.1. Correction and pants much!"

03.38 (20/11/13) - "4.7 and ketone free. Just had a couple of jelly babies. I'm cold now I've got out of bed though! We're such a pair!"

As sucky as living with diabetes is, moments like this make me smile. Don't get me wrong, I'm not smiling at the fact Lizzie had a 17.1 or the fact that I had to wake up to check my blood sugars were stable and that I was ketone free. But it's the comfort, so to speak, of knowing that, even when things are really shit, there's always someone there, someone that "gets it". That's pretty darn awesome, and something I will never take for granted.    

Monday, 18 November 2013

Raising Awareness: The Diabetes Awareness Badge.

On Friday, in light of World Diabetes Day, fellow Brownie leader and pancreatically-challenged friend, Alice, and I arranged a Diabetes Awareness Night for the Brownies. I'm very happy to report it was a success, and we will be carrying out part two this coming Friday.

To begin, we asked the Brownies if they knew anyone with diabetes, and then what they already knew about diabetes. For those of you that don't know, here is where I should probably tell you Brownies are aged 7 - 10. I was surprised by what they did know. One girl told the group that there were two types of diabetes (I know there's also type 1.5, but for a 9 year old, that's good going) and another knew about sugar testing. Following this, we explained that "Little Owl" (myself) and "Snowy Owl" (Alice) has diabetes.

To explain what diabetes actually is, we had the girls demonstrate what happened in the body: one group acting as the mouth, one a muscle, one the pancreas and the last group was split into two, sugar (glucose) and insulin. The "sugar" walked through the mouth down to the pancreas, where they were paired with "insulin". Because they were paired with insulin, the muscle let them through. We then repeated this, but the "sugar" wasn't paired with the "insulin", so couldn't get through to the muscle. I don't know if this is well-explained in writing, but it seemed to work. The girls understood the difference anyway, and that's what counts!

Finally, we made a game which made the girls think about all the decisions Alice and I have to make as a result of living with type one diabetes. They were given scenarios all of which required a blood sugar check. They had to take a number from the top of the pile and then had a prompt sheet telling them what the numbers meant and how to react to them. They really enjoyed it, and in doing this, they got to see insulin pens, glucose meter, pumps, hypo treatments. With this game, I think it was the other adults that we work with that were more shocked; they see us checking blood sugars and injecting/pumping insulin, but to see how it's a factor in everything was quite eye-opening for them. 

Next week, we're going to follow this up with healthy eating, mainly looking at the sugar content of different foods and are also going to do a sugar vs. sweetener taste test.
At the end, all the girls will receive the Diabetes Awareness Badge. It's definitely one of my favourites on my blanket! 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Six For Saturday?! - WDD 2013.

Yesterday was crazy busy, so I figured I'd blog today whilst on the train to visit my sister. November 14th marked World Diabetes Day, and there was so much going on I don't even know where to start! Here's a brief rundown of what was going on!

Image from @txtingmypancreas.
1. #WDDChat13 - There was a 24 hour (yes, 24 hour) tweet chat that took place, with each hour being hosted by a different member of the online community. It was pretty amazing, and I wish I had the time to take part in an hour or two, but with uni and errands to run, I couldn't. What I saw of the chat though was awesome!

2. #DayofDiabetes - Lots and lots of people, myself included, tweeted a "day of diabetes". In short, every time I did something where diabetes needed to be taken into account, I tweeted it. It was weird to have to consciously log every moment, but it was interesting to do, and I will write my thoughts on the day next week. 

3. "Diabetes won't stop me!" - A "You Can Do This Project" and "Jerry the Bear" collaboration. Loads of videos popped up, all of which can be found on the YCDT Project website by clicking here.

4. "Type Onesie" - Organised by JDRF UK, all you had to do was get sponsored to wear a oneside. Simple, and lots of fun. If you click here, you can see a whole host of pictures!

5. Blue buildings - various landmarks across the world were lit up blue in honour of WDD. I'm very proud to say that both City Hall and Norwich Castle were lit up blue.

6. And this where I'm gonna cram everything else into point number 6...#WDD trended on Twitter (image above), it was the first birthday of Team Novo Nordisk, an all-diabetes sports team (click here to see a video of their journey so far), #whoisbanting, a Diabetes UK awareness-raising idea and lots and lots of blogs - Daisy, Kev, Laura, Louise, Anna, Sam and we've not even touched upon diabetes bloggers outside of the UK!    

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Happy Birthday, Banting! (World Diabetes Day 2013).

Frederick Banting
Doctor. Nobel Prize winner. Painter. Knighthood recipient. Military Cross recipient of World War I. The man that discovered insulin.

Not too long ago, being diagnosed with diabetes was a death sentence, and people were told that they could buy some more time by starving themselves. Oh, how things have changed! And it's all thanks to the big man above: Banting! He, and Charles Best, started using insulin to treat people with diabetes in 1922, and it's thanks to them that diabetes is no longer a death sentence. It's important people remember than insulin isn't a cure, but it is definitely far better than the death sentence given to people diagnosed before!

So, this World Diabetes Day, I raise my glass (well right now, my coffee, but tonight my glass) to you, Mr Banting. Happy birthday, and thank you.

Happy World Diabetes Day, everyone!   

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Guest Post: That One Time She Was In DKA.

Shep & I - November 2013.
Today, I'm going to try something different. This post is written by my housemate, Shep. She's a Law and American Law student at the same university as me and we've lived together since our first year (despite year abroad, of course). Her connection to diabetes is me. This is her take on the night I ended up in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It was almost two years ago now (December 2011), and I honestly don't remember all that much about what happened. But the little I do remember is enough for me to know that DKA is something I never want to experience again! Ever! I'd never really asked for the blanks to be filled in; what I remembered was bad enough! So, I give you "That One Time She Was In DKA: Shep's Perspective."

*      *      *      *      *      *

Dear Donkey Kong [Editor's Note: Donkey Kong needs explaining! In short, when "briefing" my housemates about all things diabetes, I obviously covered DKA. Shep hears DK and associated that with Donkey Kong. For me, I don't care how they remember DKA is bad, as long as they do!]

I have lived with a diabetic for basically 3 years now. I try my best to understand as much as I can and if there is something I can do to share the burden I will do it, or at least try. I try to live it, but I can’t and never will be able to (even though I sometimes feel that I do… We were 4000 miles away for a year and I still bought diet lemonade, sugar free jelly, and had skittles in my bag for emergencies.) [Editor's Note: Real friend right there!]

But you, Donkey Kong, are the closest thing I have ever been to living it. To feeling it. I hate sympathy pains…

You effed up a lot of things and still to this day confuse and bewilder me. I don’t know why but you just one day decided you would rear your ugly head and it’s a night I will never forget. The same cannot be said for my friend. You took all the memories she had of that night, stole an evening’s worth of hours. 

This isn’t something I quite realised the gravity of until now. You paid a visit on the 13th of December 2011 and it wasn’t until this September (2013) that I even realised how little Vicki knew of that night. 

It was our housemate’s birthday and naturally we wanted to celebrate. J.Ban wanted to go to Vodka Revs, and we happily accompanied him. There was a large group of us all drinking and having fun. All was going well, J.Ban was having a good time, we were enjoying the drinks but then you showed up and messed everything up. 

I gotta hand it to you, though, you are one sneaky lil' bugger DK. You crept up with out anyone noticing. Vicki felt hyper. Then there were ketones. NovoRapid wasn’t so rapid and levels just kept effing going up. 

The night went on and levels just wouldn’t fall. By this point I wasn’t sure what was going on. Still didn’t expect you DK but I knew something was up. I had faith in Vicki but there are only so many fingers to prick and sites to shoot up in and I was certain we had hit the point of no return before we left Vodka Revs. But the real certainty happened on the way home and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I said that you stole memories of that night from Vicki and I think this is where it began. Stupid effing Monkey! I found out only recently that this is where the gaps started for her and this is where I fill in.

We got to the bridge, just me and Vicki as we were further ahead and others were somewhat drunk. We had all been drinking but in the cold I was sobering up a little bit. Vicki wasn’t. Obviously she wasn’t drunk and yet I have no other way to explain this. She swayed, she slurred, her eyes were slow and she didn’t seem cold. All of these things are out of character… Vicki doesn’t let herself get that drunk and I knew that it wasn’t that. I have seen her put away her fair share (more than that night) and be fine and dandy. This was something else. We waited for the others to catch up at the bottom of the bridge and Vicki was talking away to herself. It was odd man! DK you turned the world the wrong way round. When the others caught up I spoke to Fernandez and told her something was fucked up. She took one look at Vicki and was thinking what I was thinking.  

That is when it dawned on us that you had arrived. Donkey Kong had taken over……

Fernandez was on drunk watch and I was on DK watch and we walked home. We had decided that we would see what levels were when we got in. It was around a 15min walk from the bridge and that should make a dent…
It didn’t. 

We got in and Vicki went to the bathroom. The boys were drunk and FIFA was the most important thing. Which is probably a good thing as they would have freaked out at this point if they knew. Mind you I wasn’t as calm as I may have seemed. I had no idea how to handle Donkey Kong. I always joked about you but you were more terrifying than I thought.  

Now where was I, oh yes just got in… levels checked. Stupid pancreas – they had risen even more. So it was time for NHS direct. I called and Fernandez ran interference. I told them we’d been drinking but this wasn’t right. They told me to check some things.
1.       Cheeks are they hot? Yes 
2.       Is she conscious? Yes
3.       Is she coherent? Ermm…

They were keeping me on the line and I heard a whisper-shout of Shep. I went in and the bathroom door was locked. And we could hear retching. I tried to get in and couldn’t. Fernandez eventually got in but Vicki was barely conscious and had been sick. 

Time to call 999. This is why I hate you Donkey Kong. You made me have to call 999. Which was effing scary. I didn’t know what to say. Well I didn’t think I knew. But turns out I did.  

I told them she was type one. I thought it was DKA (managed not to say Donkey Kong [Editor's Note: Well done! 'Donkey Kong' is definitely not a recognised term amongt medical professionals!]). I retold what she had drunk. Eaten. When she had shot up [Editor's Note: Taken insulin]. I knew all the levels and ketone readings. I told them about NovoRapid, Levemir, everything she was on. I don’t know how but I just did it because I had to.  

Thankfully they told me I/we had done the right thing and they would be out with us asap. And they were prompt. At this point I was on the bathroom floor (still on the phone) and feeling like Vicki looked. See, sympathy pains are no fun thank you very much. They kept me on the phone in case anything changed. At some point between them sending the ambulance out and it arriving I gave Fernandez the phone and went to tell my boyfriend at the time that I was going to take a ride in an ambulance. He and my other housemates went outside to find the ambulance and flag it down.  

The paramedics came in and helped Vicki up. We helped her out and got into the back of the van with blue lights going (thankfully no siren). And we drove off… being waved off by the boys in the road giving us all the love we needed.  

We got to the end of the  road and the paramedic asked where her insulin pens were. 


My response was – well it wasn’t working anyway. Jokes are the only way to get through shit like this [Editor's note: Agreed!] So we did a loop. I called Fernandez and she brought the pens from the fridge out to us. Which was good cause Vicki couldn’t even remember the stuff she was prescribed. I told the paramedics everything I could. Which turned out to be more than they needed. They didn’t seem to care when her D-Day was or that her hypo treatment is usually skittles. But I thought they might have needed to know.. and better too much. 

Vicki was laid down on the bed while me and the woman were in the back. Did you know that in the back of an ambulance you ride sideways if you’re a passenger? I didn’t. And I didn’t like it. The paramedic lady offered Vicki a cardboard sick bucket thing. She declined. But I wanted it.. I felt bloomin’ travel sick.  

So we arrived at the hospital and it was confirmed that you were there Donkey Kong. I had known for a while but now medical professionals had told me. Then there is a little bit of a blur in my knowledge. They took Vicki to a bay and I was sat on the chairs outside... I blanked. Because I actually had 5mins to sit and take it in rather than acting. But at least it wasn’t for long cause the doctor came out quickly and said I could go in. Vicki was in a similar situation .. she seemed to realise the ramifications of where she was.  

Though I’m not sure she was entirely back to earth… I say not sure… I was sure. Because this was when there was some more vomiting. But I think it was also stress related. 

The doctor only gave her one cardboard pan. Not enough. I got another of the table but it was still going… so I had to get another one. 

This was no easy feat. They were on the top of the effing cupboard. It was taller than me by about a foot. So I had to jump. I got about 6 of the buggers fall on me. Took them over to her but the tears were still coming… so what did I do? Wore a sick pan as a hat. Did a lil' dance. Cracked a few jokes.
[Of all the things to remember of this night, I wish I could remember this!] I got a faint smile from Vicki. And a laugh chuckle from behind me as the freaking doctor had come back in (apparently they wanted to do half hour checks to see if she was going down).

Whatever they had given here she was doing better and level were down. It was nearly 5am at this point and Vicki was falling asleep. By this point I was on my second wind but the doctor took me outside after talking to the both of us and checking everything. He told me to go home and sleep. I tried to argue but I was mentally exhausted from your stupid antics, Donkey Kong …  

I called a taxi from the reception. Went outside and lit 4 cigarettes in a row and called Mama Shep. Yes at 5 am. I broke. My best friend was lying in a hospital bed with tubes in her and I had seen her at her worst (she had higher levels than her diagnosis so I think that label may be accurate.) I hadn’t had a chance to think and while I was waiting for the taxi the whole night replayed at super-speed through my head over and over. It seems stupid that I wasn’t blaming Donkey Kong but kinda myself. I was thinking did I order a drink that set it off? Did I not check if it was diet coke? Could I have done something? [Editor's note: No, no, and no! You and Fernandez were a superheroes that night!]
It doesn’t make sense maybe but it was 5am and I was a broken toy. So I called my Mummy. At 5am. Not the best daughter huh? [Editor's Note: Sorry Mama Shep!] She comforted me until I got in the taxi and promised to call me the next day (which she did and by that point I was fine..) I got home. Went for a short walk before getting into bed with the boyf and slept.

Image taken from Google Images.
Donkey Kong this is your fault and I will never forget all the stupid details of that night. Never. You make me so mad and I hate everything about you cause you hurt someone I love! 

So, please, stay away and don’t ever come back. [Editor's Note: I second this request!] You are mean to plumbers and diabetics and I think this should stop.

Yours Sincerely,


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange 2013.

This year, I signed up to take part in the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. The concept? Make a postcard. Follow the prompts and write a message on the back. Send to your given addresses, which are allocated to you by the lovely volunteers organising this project.

Thanks to a friend allowing our "Tuesday Tea" catch up to double-up as an arts and craft session, I am happy to report that my attempts at art are making their way Stateside, and I can't wait to see what postcards I (hopefully) receive in return!

Watch this space!

Click here to check out the galleries from previous years.

Monday, 11 November 2013


Image taken from Google Images.
Recently, I've found that I've needed to set an alarm to check my blood sugar around 3am. Now, I don't really know what the norm is with regard to middle of the night checks, but my personal rule is if I have to snack before bed or take a correction dose, the alarm is set for 3am to make sure my blood sugars are holding steady. Please remember, I am not a medical professional, and this most definitely isn't medical advice!

I don't know why, but my bedtime blood sugars are so varied at the moment. Maybe it's stress? Maybe it's having a proper exercise routine? Maybe it's the foods I'm eating? As you can tell, I really can't pin-point an exact cause to the varied readings.

The point?! I need them to stop!

Don't get me wrong, broken sleep is a lot better than waking up in the middle of the night hypo, or in the morning with a high blood sugar, but still, the broken sleep is taking it's toll!

I'm just over halfway through my semester now, and I need to be on the ball. There are a lot of deadlines and speaking exams coming up and lack of sleep isn't going to help me get these things done. Done well, anyway. I also really want to stay on top of going to the gym. I can't say I enjoy going just yet, but I am noticing the benefits of it, so really want to keep up with that. It's also been a good stress reliever! 

It's at times like this where I really miss living in student accommodation! The Student Union should definitely consider nap rooms in the future! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Life With Diabetes: What Diabetic Bloggers Want You To Know.

This is version one of what they've created, and they're hoping to create more as Diabetes Awareness Month continues. Here's my contribution:

I know I don't "look" sick, but I have to live with type one diabetes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for the rest of my life. Or until they find a cure.

Diabetes doesn't go away. Unfortunately, my pancreas took an early retirement, and it's not planning on coming out of that retirement...ever! It's something I have to factor in to many decisions every day. And just when I think I've nailed that decision making process, another curveball is thrown my way. I learnt a long time ago that the words "perfection" and "diabetes" are never gonna go together. It's a frustrating condition to live with. And, as sad as it is to admit this, it's my biggest insecurity, because it's the one thing about my being that I cannot change.

We deserve a cure. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Work It Out.

Back at the start of October, I decided that I was going to start getting into a proper exercise routine. I'm very happy to say that I have actually managed to keep at this. I've changed what class I do, as I wanted to be exercising at the same time each time I go in order to spot blood sugar patterns. So, instead of the 'Power of 3' class I started out doing, I now do pilates and then just go to the gym. At present, I only go twice a week, but that's more due to timetable issues. Hopefully, next semester things will be a bit different. But what I'm doing now is a start! I can't say I'm enjoying going yet, but I am liking the benefits of going. Here's a list (I do love a good bullet point list):

Image taken from Google Images.
  • Blood sugars - going to the gym has definitely led to more stable blood sugars. Excellent!
  • More energy - I've never understood this one: how going to the gym/doing exercise in general leads to increased energy, but it really does!
  • Sense of routine - getting up to go to the gym means I have a real sense of routine, something that I've learnt in the past is essential when it comes to my diabetes management. 
  • I feel good - I'm grumpy as hell when my alarm goes off in the morning, especially on gym days where I get up a whole 20 minutes earlier (trust me, that 20 minutes makes a difference), I do feel good when I leave the gym.
  • Sociable - I'm so incredibly busy with uni work for final year, but going to the gym means I get to see a couple of friends as we tend to go together. With that comes accountability - I'm far more inclined to go if I know people are expecting me to be there!
I still have some problems with post-gym hypos, but I knew it was going to take me a while to figure those out - it's nothing I wasn't expecting. Here's hoping I can keep it up as the wave of deadlines hit!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Busy Bee!

Such a busy weekend! On Thursday, I left uni to pay my family and friends a visit back home. Home. Such a loaded word. I refer to my uni town as home, my hometown as home, and I'm pretty sure when I was on year abroad, I also referred to both Toulouse and Alcalá as home! Don't really know where home is these days. But that's a whole other blog post!

Thursday was Halloween, so I went trick or treating with my chica, E.Hales, and my godson, Doodle. It was so much fun! Although, my godson hasn't quite grasped the concept of scary, so went round dressed as Woody from Toy Story. And of course I made sure I got a share of his sweet-stash! Halloween's definitely not just for kids!

On Friday, I spent a lot of the day with my Mum, which was lovely, and then I went for coffee and cake with another friend. Three hours later, we thought about leaving the coffee shop and heading home. Was great to see her: girl time, gossip, coffee, cake...what's not to love?!

Saturday was jam-packed! I went for lunch with E.Hales and Jones for Jones' birthday. We went to La Tasca which was amazinggggg! I felt like I was in Spain again eating Tapas! I loved it! Although, the art of calculating the perfect bolus for tapas seems to have been lost since my return to England, as my glucose levels were not what you would call good after. Food was soooo good though. And after sweets on Halloween, and cake on the Friday, it was safe to see the weekend was going to be a write-off when it came to glucose levels!

Saturday night, E.Hales, Doodle, my kid-brother and I went to a Firework Display which was awesome! I really missed going out for Bonfire Night when I was abroad! Doodle loved it - didn't jump once, got up and danced to the music, and attempted singing many of the songs! He melted the hearts of many, myself included!

Finally, on Sunday, I had a roast dinner, courtesy of my Mum and it was incredible! Roast dinner is without a doubt my favourite meal! And between all of this, I still managed to write an essay and do other bits of uni work. I don't know how, but I did!

This "mini-break" at home has been good for me. Not so great diabetes-wise, but I needed the change of scenery. Final year is hard-going, and coming back and seeing my family and friends has provided the light relief I needed. But now, it's back to good diabetes practises and hitting the books once more. I've got a degree to get! Not long until Christmas break now! 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Five For Friday: Test Strip Advocacy.

Not too long ago, I found out the number of test strips I could order had been restricted. I text my diabetic wing-woman, Lizzie, in a panic and took to the DOC for advice on this. The response I got was incredible! I put forward my case for needing more test strips to my GP and, fortunately, I got the outcome I wanted. Test strip restrictions is something a lot of people are facing when they shouldn't be. So this week, five tips I received from the DOC regarding test strip advocacy!

1. As much as it sucks to book an appointment to see a GP when you're not actually ill, arrange to see one to discuss the cut, and explain why you need more than the stipulated amount. Sometimes, GPs offer telephone consultations. That's what I did.

2. People with type one diabetes shouldn't be hit with test strip restrictions! There's even a letter from the Department of Health, that should have circulated all GP practises, that you can shove under their noses!

3. Diabetes UK have put together an advocacy pack for people struggling with test strip cuts. It has information for both type one and type two diabetics, and has a wealth of information you can throw at your GP service!

4. Get in touch with your local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), and they can overrule whatever your GP has said. They have the power!

5. Make some noise about it! Write to your local MP, your GP service, get on social media and kick up a fuss. This is our health we're talking about!