Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Saying Goodbye To 2013.

I love New Year's! To take a quote from the film New Year's Eve:

"[it's] a time for us to reflect upon our triumphs and our missteps - our promises made and broken. The time we opened ourselves up to great adventure - or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt. Because that's what New Year's is all about: getting another chance. A chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. To stop worrying about 'what if' and start embracing what would be."

This year has been a busy one. 

I bid Toulouse "au revoir" back in January and moved to Alcalá. Things got difficult, but it led to me starting this blog, and for some reason or another you're reading it! I also got more involved in the diabetes community, which has done wonders for my emotional wellbeing. I "celebrated" my three year diabetes anniversary. I travelled. I made mistakes and celebrated successes, both diabetically-speaking and in my personal life. Circle D celebrated its 5th birthday. I took part in Diabetes Blog Week, Diabetes Week, No D Day and Diabetes Awareness Month, which comprised of World Diabetes Day and the WDD Postcard Exchange. I went to events (HPD's Greater Minds Inspire and the DUK Big Event), taking my online friends offline.

My godson turned 2 back in February. I finally got my butt Stateside and met up with one of my favourites, Lopez. I celebrated turning 21. I survived my first semester back at uni after year abroad and learnt that sleep's over-rated. One of my friends got engaged. 

I'm so excited to see what 2014 brings!

Friday, 27 December 2013

"How Is Diabetes...?"

Hey! (I don't think I've ever started a blog post with "Hey!" but after three days offline, it feels like the right thing to do!) I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and weren't too affected by the storms! Mine was great: my family, good food, gifts, games and a bit too much to drink! 

Christmas is generally a time to see family and friends, which is lovely. Apart from my immediate family, I don't see the rest of my family unless it's an occasion, like Christmas or a birthday. Because of this, as you would expect, there are a lot of questions: "How are you?...How's uni going?...Got a boyfriend yet?...What are your plans for after uni?...How's diabetes?..."

How's diabetes?

I get that what they're trying to ask is "how are you getting on with diabetes?" but, still, I'm never really sure how to answer, which I know is a result of different perspectives. Let me explain.

I've been living with diabetes for almost four years now. I'm no longer new to this game of balancing blood sugars. But my family only witness these snapshots of diabetes when I'm home. I forget that living with diabetes is my normal, but it's not theirs. When I do a blood sugar test it's "Oh yeah...how is all that going?" It's a forgotten entity to them until they witness those "diabetes moments" - the blood sugar testing, the shooting up insulin - the rest of the time, it's forgotten. When it is remembered, it's still new to them. And it can get frustrating at times, especially when they try to tell me what's what, but it's still new to them. 

I need to remember that, even after the tenth time of being asked!    

Monday, 23 December 2013

I Hate Coming Up With Titles!

I really, really do!

Anyway, here's a Christmas quiz I borrowed from Elizabeth, who stole it from Allison (who blogs at With Faith and Grace and then talks diabetes at The Blood Sugar Whisperer)

Without further ado...

1. What is your must-watch holiday movie?

I can't choose: Home Alone (the first one is the best), The Holiday, Love Actually, Serendipity, The Family Stone, Miracle on 34th Street, Jack Frost, New Years Eve, A Christmas Carol (all and any versions), The Polar Express...I could go on and on!
 2. What is your must-do holiday activity?

Wrapping Christmas presents whilst watching a Christmas movie (see question one) and drinking Baileys. 

3. What's your favourite holiday dish?

Mince pies! We can only ever buy them around the holidays and they're so good and worth every bit of insulin I have to shoot for them!

4. What's your favourite holiday drink?

Starbucks toffee nut latte is my absolute favourite! Very bolus-worthy!

5. Christmas cookies: store bought, from scratch, neither?

From scratch!

6. Which Christmas song do you have on repeat?

O Holy Night, the Il Divo version. Gives me goosebumps. And I love Ave Maria. Again, goosebumps.

7. When do you put your Christmas tree up?

Mum and Dad put it up when my sister and I returned home after our semester at uni. However, when I get my own place (i.e. not a student house), that tree will be up December 1st, no questions asked!

8. Do you have a favourite ornament?

No. But, when I actually become a grown-up (because, let's be honest, being a student doesn't make you a grown up!) I don't doubt that I will be that person that has a favourite ornament! It'll probably be something Disney related!

9. Where is Santa Claus coming to visit this year?

My parent's house.

10. What is on your holiday wish list?

11. Open presents: Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning, definitely! I have so many memories of that as a kid!

12. Can you sing the entire "Twelve Days of Christmas" without missing a single item?

I'm gonna say yes, but I can't guarantee said items will be in the right order!   

Friday, 20 December 2013

Five For Friday: All I Want For Christmas...

...is yooooooouuuuuuuuu!

Just kidding. Unless you're Michael Bublé. Or DiNozzo from NCIS. Or Booth from Bones.

I digress.

Five things on my Christmas list this year:

1. Ideally, this Christmas, I would love The Cure. Think I've left it a bit too late to ask for that though.  10 years, right?!

2. Failing the cure, if Saint Nick could put a good word in at the diabetes clinic and secure me some insulin pump funding when I go for pump assessment clinic in January. Consider it a belated Christmas gift for this year and a crazy early one for Christmas 2014, plus graduation and my birthday all rolled into one!

3. Friends tv box set: it is still my absolute favourite tv show. I can find a quote from that show for every situation. It's brilliant.
4. Socks! You can never have too many pairs of socks, and I swear a pair goes missing every time they go through the wash!
5. I mentioned the cure, right?!   

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Other than seeing my family, my absolute favourite part of coming back to Mum and Dad's for the holidays is seeing E.Hales and Doodle. We text pretty much everyday, and we skype when we can, but nothing compares to a catch-up over coffee (or tea in my case) with her and the sound of Doodle's voice saying "Auntie Vicki", often followed by a run-and-hug. 

Today, we did spinning.

First note to self: don't engage in any activity with the kid that I don't want to be doing for the rest of the afternoon!

I picked Doodle up once and spun him round.

"Again, Auntie Vicki! Please!"

So I did. You try and say "no" to his smile. And "Auntie Vicki" - I can't say "no" when he "Auntie-s" me!


And hello blood sugar of 2.8mmol when I got back to Mum and Dad's!

Second note to self: reduce insulin when spinning is the kid's game of choice!

Monday, 16 December 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

I'm officially done with the first semester of my final year! Can't believe I only have one semester left and then I graduate...let's not think about that! I'm also back at Mum and Dad's for the Christmas period, which is awesome! We have a Christmas tree, Christmas lights...not that it didn't look like Christmas in my uni-house, but here is where it's at! 

With the stresses of end of semester deadlines, and the Christmas season just being a generally crap time for my blood sugars, my diabetes management has been a little relaxed, to say the least! I'm hoping that now I've submitted my final essay, I'll be able to get back on track with my diabetes, despite the temptations that surround the holiday season. Although, I type this having spent the afternoon with E.Hales, Doodle and my brother icing gingerbread men. 'Tis the season for high blood sugars and all that...

But in all seriousness, I need to make more of an effort to log sugar levels and the foods I'm eating to see how foods are affecting my blood glucose levels. I have a check-up in January at the diabetes clinic, as well as an appointment with a dietitian, meaning it'll be 'a1c time, and I want to be able to say I really tried to stay on top of things, which right now I can't do. 

So, tomorrow, it's back to basics: bloog glucose logging, insulin doses, food consumed, exercise done all logged in an app on my phone. By writing it here, I'm making myself accountable, and I will follow through. 

I hope everyone's enjoying the Christmas season!  


Friday, 13 December 2013

100 Campaign.


"No one should die from lack of insulin.
Global campaign aiming to achieve 100% access to insulin by the 100th anniversary of its first use."

What are you waiting for?!
Go and 'like' the Facebook page!
Follow on Twitter!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Carrot Cake.

Last Friday at Brownies, we put on a Christmas Carol Concert to all the parents. One of my friends who I volunteer with had her fiancé make a carrot cake for us to sell, and it's amazing! 

So, having finished serving teas and coffees, I went to get some cake for us leaders to share before the second half of our Carol Concert started. 

There was one bit of carrot cake left. Never have I moved so fast for cake.

One square, four leaders, we didn't care! We were just happy we'd managed to get a mouthful each. 

Today, I met said friend for "Tuesday Tea" and she bought me a slice of carrot cake! A whole slice of carrot cake!

I ate it at lunch, along with a spinach and ricotta slice as it's been a while since I had breakfast.

Pre-meal: 11.7 (not a great start!)
10 units of novorapid for pastry and cake, plus correction.
3 hours post-meal: 10.5 (looking good!)
On leaving campus to go home: 6.5.


Now I've celebrated and documented this victory, I'm now actually going to leave campus and go home!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Roulette, Anyone?!

Far left - Naomi: 4.5, 3.0, 4.5
Top left - Sam:13.4, 12.6
Top right - Me: 15.3, 17.0
Bottom - Katie: 20.8, 24.9, 23.3 

I'd never really given much though to blood glucose meter accuracy. At the age of 17, in the middle of my final year at sixth form, about to sit A-Levels with the hope of going to university that September, I was told that I had type one diabetes. On hearing that my pancreas had failed me, I never even thought about my meter potentially failing me too! I was discharged from hospital with insulin and my trusty One Touch Glucose meter. The thought of the meter giving me incorrect results wasn't a thought at the time. The doctors gave it to me, explained how important blood glucose monitoring was and that was that.

It wasn't until December 2012 that I started questioning meter accuracy. For the first time since diagnosis, I was offered a new meter, and it wasn't a One Touch. I never thought I'd be that person that gets attached to a blood glucose meter, but as it turns out, I was...I still am! I was given an Accu-Chek Aviva Expert as it has a bolus advice function. I love the bolus advice function on it, but when I first started using it, I was also checking my glucose levels on my old One Touch to see how the results compared. Now, I just use the Accu-Chek, but there was a trust issue at the start. I'd only ever had One Touch meters, so changing meter and manufacturer was a pretty big deal for me!
The readings that my meter flashes back at me after the five second countdown are what I base numerous decisions on, day-in, day-out. It dictates whether I treat for a hypo or a hyper; whether I bolus before eating or wait until I've eaten a little as I'm on the verge of a low blood sugar; whether I'm safe to work out; whether I'm safe to work with children. I have to be able to trust the results my meter is giving me.

If these numbers are wrong, it means I'm making decisions regarding my diabetes management on false truths. This is not okay. It could mean that I am taking a correction dose of insulin that isn't actually enough to bring my blood sugar back into range. Or it could be the opposite, and that I'm taking too much as my blood sugar is actually lower than the reading being presented to me on my meter. Either way, the point remains the same: we need to be able to trust the readings our meters are giving us to make good, healthy decisions, and not just for ourselves, but for our mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, partners, children, those that depend on us. 

Accuracy is important, and it's time to make sure the right people know that. How?! It's easy: you can sign the petition started by Spirit by clicking here. It only takes two minutes. If you blog, maybe write about why meter accuracy is important to you. Diabetes is difficult enough to live with, without use having to second-guess the technology we use.

Disclosure: I was asked by Spirit Healthcare to write a blog post regarding blood glucose meter accuracy in order to spread the word about their campaign, so I have - it's something I definitely feel needs to be addressed! Also, thank you to the lovely members of the SDUK Facebook group for the images of their blood glucose checks. I have more images that I will put in another post. If you would like to send me an image similar to those above, please use the email me button top right of this page.     

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Friends With D Are Friends Indeed!

After the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange, I received a couple of extra bits of post from two lovely people, also lacking fully-functioning pancreases.

Lizzie and Daisy, you girls are brilliant! Thank you so much for my mail and for making me smile in spite of all the deadlines I have right now! 
I look forward to seeing you both soon!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It's Christmassssssss!

If I thought it were socially acceptable to title a post "It's Christmassssssss!" back in November, I would have! Christmas is by far my favourite time of year: the lights, the carols, Christmas songs on the ipod, the Christmas coffees at my favourite coffee shop (which I've been drinking since November...), Father Christmas, wrapping presents (usually whilst watching various Christmas movies and drinking Bailey's hot chocolate with my housemate!) I just love everything about it!

Yeah, I still have a presentation next week and I still have four essays to write equalling approximately 10,000 words between now and December 16th, but the Christmas spirit is definitely getting rid of some of that stress!

My diabetes management has a tendency to go to pot around December: advent calendar chocolate, the Christmas meals (I had one on Sunday with fellow Brownie leaders, I have one this Sunday with my housemates, one with my friends back in my hometown and then there's the one on actual Christmas Day!), the family get-togethers, alcohol, not to mention the sweets that come with the holidays! It makes diabetes management a little bit more complicated, and, for me, increased willpower is essential! 

My advice for over the festive period?
  1. Test, test, test. Knowing where you're at will help you calculate insulin doses. If you're anything like me, it will also give you peace of mind!
  2. Keep a log of what you're eating, glucose levels and insulin doses - I know it can be a tedious task, but I find it really helps with portion control and spotting which foods affect my glucose levels the most.
  3. Keep moving! Despite the uni work and other commitments, and the cold weather making me not want to get out of bed, I'm really, really trying to keep up with going to the gym. And when I don't go to the gym, walking. Walking into town, walking home from campus, walking, walking, walking!
  4. Ask yourself "do I actually want this?" - everyone indulges at Christmas; you could almost say it's become a "norm". But do you actually want that extra mince pie, or are you eating because everyone else is?
What are your tips and tricks for over the Christmas season?