Saturday, 29 March 2014

Four Years.

Dear Diabetes, 

I hate you. 

And hate is a strong word. 

But I think it's applicable to you. 

I'm never going to wake up in the morning and think "Yay! Time to check my blood sugar!" or look forward to shooting insulin.
But if there's one thing I've learnt this year, it's that I don't have to like you. 

Not ever. 

I do, however, have to know how to live with you in spite of the hatred I have for you. 

I think it's one of the biggest hurdles a person with diabetes has to overcome, and this year, I think I've done it. 

Because I can say I hate you, yet I'm still happy and healthy with you around. 

Bet that's a real kick in the beta cells.

"There's only us, there's only this, forget regret, or life is yours to miss"

Like hell am I missing out.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hba1c Blues.

I tell myself time and time again not to get worked up about my hba1c. But when I feel like I've really tried with my diabetes management, to then have a result higher than the previous, well, it's disheartening to say the least.

Don't get me wrong, it's by no means a "bad" (for lack of a better word) number. I'm just gutted that it's not an improvement, as I feel like I've made a real effort to keep my diabetes on track. 

Image taken from Google Images.
For me, getting myhba1c checked regularly is important. I have one as part of my annual review, although I tend to get a few more done throughout the year via my DSN.
As much as I hate going to get the blood drawn and sometimes worry about what the result is going to be, it's a number that really helps to keep me on track with my diabetes management. It tells me where I'm currently at on the "diabetes map" and helps me make decisions to get to where I want to be. 
Right now, I'm not where I want to be. But I wouldn't know that if I hadn't had my 'A1c done. 
I spent yesterday wallowing over the result. 
Today, I'm taking action. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Remembering My First Diabetes Anniversary.

This Saturday (March 29th) marks my 4th diabetes anniversary. This is me and my flatmates on my first diabetes anniversary.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Pump Information Evening.

Walk to the hospital.
Last Thursday, I attended a pump information evening at my diabetes clinic. Having been accepted for an insulin pump, I was keen to go and listen to what they had to say about insulin pumps and what comes next. 

I feel like I've lived at my diabetes clinic for the last few months: pump assessment clinic, dietitian, a follow up with my DSN, my annual review and then finally the pump information evening. Well, appointments aren't going to get any less frequent with the insulin pump, especially during the first year or so. It's a good thing the hospital has a nice, new coffee shop that I can frequent, and the walk there is really nice too! 

There was a girl there that already had an insulin pump who was able to answer any questions we had about the practicalities of having one, which was very useful, and a DSN talked through the advantages and disadvantages of it. 

We were shown various types of insulin pump. I was surprised by the Omnipod. It was a lot smaller than I expected, but, for me personally, not something I would want. If you don't have the personal diabetes manager (or PDM), or the PDM fails, you have no way of bolusing with it, where as with the Accu Chek, Medtronic and Animas pumps you can. I like to be as prepared as I can be for various diabetes-related situations, and not being able to bolus without the PDM isn't something I'd feel comfortable with.

My diabetes clinic tends to start patients on the Accu Chek insulin pump, which I'm happy with. I already use the Accu Chek Aviva Expert blood glucose meter, so that's one piece of equipment I already feel comfortable with, and I like the fact that I can bolus remotely with the meter (as well as press buttons on the pump should the meter fail).

So, now we wait. I know I can't start on the pump until after my final exams (at the request of both myself and my consultant), but fingers crossed for early June!     

Friday, 21 March 2014

Five For Friday: HCPs Write Blogs Too!

Following on from a post I wrote last week about HCPs communicating with patients online, this Friday, I've decided I want to tell you a bit about some blogs written by health care professionals. I love reading blogs by HCPs: they offer a completely different perspective on things. Here are the ones I read. If you have any other favourites, please let me know!

1. Sugar and spice...wish all things were nice - Partha Kar.
NHS consultant in diabetes.

2. NHS Norwich CCG - Jonathon Fagge.
Chief Executive Officer for the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

3. AnnieCoops - Annie Cooper.
Nurse and fellow person with diabetes.

4. We Nurses Blog.
A blog brought to you by the #wenurses online community.

5. Diabetic Doc - Shara Bialo.
A paediatric endocrinologist in the States who also has type one diabetes. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Safesport ID.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a company called Safesport ID who were offering me a free medic alert band. Before I continue, let's get the formalities out of the way: yes, I was offered the medic alert free of charge, however, I am under no obligation to publish any review here on my blog. I am because I like the product and want to tell you about it.

As "naughty" as it is of me, I've never owned a medic alert bracelet. Feel free to give me a telling off. I deserve it. I always have a medic alert card in my purse/handbag. But an actual bracelet? Nope. This is going to sound really stupid, but if I'm going to where an item of jewellery 24/7, I want to like it, and a lot of the medic alert I've looked at I've not really liked enough to commit to wearing it everyday. 

So, I sent off for my (first) free medic alert. First, I should say that the time between me ordering the product and it arriving at my house was incredibly fast given the company isn't based in the UK.

Different sized wrist bands.
Now, the name of the company is Safesport ID, so as you can probably guess, the medic alert bracelets are designed with sport and exercise in mind. It's a silicone wristband (which comes in a variety of sizes and colours) and then your information is engraved onto a stainless steel clip that you put onto the band. The company sends you all the different sized wristbands and then you clip the engraved medic alert onto the appropriate sized one. 

The silicone band makes it very light-weight, which I love, as I remove all my jewellery when I exercise as I don't want it to get damaged, but the silicone band isn't something I need to worry about damaging. That, and I hardly notice it when I work out. (Sidenote: I remove all jewellery apart from that one time when I forgot my padlock, and like hell was I leaving anything valuable in there, like the bracelet I'm wearing in the picture above!)

I chose the blue coloured wristband (no surprises there!) You can have up to four lines of text engraved onto it. I only have three: my name, an emergency contact number and "Type 1 Diabetic". The text is all in capitals and very clear to read, which is what you need in an emergency. I've worn it every time I've gone to the gym for the last two weeks, and is now something that is just kept in my gym bag for when I do work out.

To find out more about Safesport ID, feel free to visit their website here

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Burnt Out!

Re-visiting somewhere I used to live.
And not the diabetes kind! Right now, I've got university burnout. Not what you need when you still have deadlines. 

I have just over two weeks left until I finish this final semester. Then, all I have between then and graduation are two exams. June 2nd, I'll have finished my degree. That's scarily soon, but when you have university burnout, it also seems so far away! It's also having an affect on my diabetes: I'm so stressed and tired right now and I can see my blood sugars creeping up. I'm looking forward to reeling that control back in when I'm done.

I'm heading back to Kent this weekend for my Dad's 50th, and I'm really hoping it gives me the break I'm looking for to then hit the ground running when I arrive back in Norwich on Monday. I have lots planned for when I'm back, including a day with my godson, dinner with E.Hales and my sister and then family time on the Sunday for my Dad's birthday. I'm also really hoping Mumma cooks a roast dinner too! 

No uni work. No dissertation stuff. No applications for life after graduation. Just a weekend to chill before I get going again. 

Two more weeks (ish) until the end of the semester and then I can really set aside time to fill back up, in all aspects of my life. It can't come round quick enough.   

Tuesday, 18 March 2014



Stumbled upon it;

Clicked on it;

Laughed at it;

Now it's bookmarked as one of my favourites.

Go check it out! 

Friday, 14 March 2014


Image taken from Google Images.
For me, low blood sugars come in a variety of forms. 

There are the ones where (somehow) I'm still functioning.

There are the ones where I can't concentrate.

There are the ones where my ability to form words is inhibited. 

There are the ones where I'm shaky and unstable, causing me to stop whatever I'm doing and sit down.

There are the ones that result me in crying. 

And there are the ones that sometimes (just sometimes) leave me gasping for breath. 

Like last night at 1.30am when a low blood sugar checked in at 1.8mmol.

That one definitely left me gasping for breath.  

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Mix It Up.

Image taken from Google Images.
This week's Our Diabetes chat was incredibly busy, and I struggled to keep up and answer all the questions, but there were some great things being said! The chat was hosted by the We Nurses community and the topic was "working in partnership in online spaces". Here are my thoughts on what was discussed. 

Can we talk in this space?

I think we can. I hope we can! I personally like connecting with healthcare professionals (HCPs): I like to read about the problems they face in treating patients and how the NHS as a whole works. I like understanding why services are the way they are and why treatments are available in some areas of the country and not others.

What about HCP/patient confidentiality?

I understand that HCPs must have to be a lot more careful with what they say, where as patients can pretty much say what they like. But if patients are willing to openly share online, why shouldn't HCPs listen to what they're saying and learn from it?!

What is the future of social media and patient/nurse interaction?

I would love it if patients and nurses/HCPs in general could use social media to learn from each other. I think it's important to recognise that patients use social media for support: sharing experiences, connecting with people who understand, collaborating on ideas. Personally, I don't want social media becoming the place where I get healthcare advice: for that, I go to my endocrinologist, my DSN, my GP, but for emotional support I turn to the diabetes online community.

Should HCPs recommend groups like #ourd?

I think there's more to it than just recommending such communities. I think it's also important to promote "safe" online discussions, but, in short, YES! The way I see it, if HCPs are happy to reccommend offline support networks, why not online ones? At the end of the day, if people don't want to use them, they won't, but what's the harm in recommending them? For me, finding the diabetes online community has been integral to my emotional wellbeing, and when I meet people with diabetes, I tell them about it and what I've gained from it. 

I truly believe that HCPs and patients can learn from each other, and I think online communities provide a great space for us to do that. So let's keep the connections going and educating one another!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Happy Monday!

Mind, a mental health charity, has dubbed today "Happy Monday".

So, although now nearing the end of today, Happy Monday! 

Monday: the start of a new week. Every Sunday, I rip the top page off my to-do list pad (thank you, godson!) and I have a clean sheet in front of me ready to fill up with all the things I need to do. I can start again. 

That's what I'm doing today. Last week was a rough week. Lots of stresses. As a result, my blood sugars weren't great. I cried. And I seldom cry! And, as much as it pains me to say it, I binged. Then felt incredibly guilty about it. And I got drunk. Again, a rarity for me. And now I'm ill.

Yeah, it wasn't a good week for me. (Didn't have a hangover after getting drunk though. That was a plus.)

But today's a Monday, and how I coped last week doesn't have to be how I cope this week. And it won't be.

I need better coping mechanisms.

I'm in my final weeks of the uni semester now, and I need to be focused. 

So, no alcohol until I go to the LCS (Language and Communication Studies, if you were wondering) graduate dinner at the end of term. Not even on my diabetes anniversary. 

Healthier diet - recently I've seriously upped the amount of cake/chocolate/sweet things I eat. That needs to go back down. I have more stable blood sugars not eating the sweet stuff (obviously) and I need that in these final few weeks.

More gym when I'm stressed. I went Saturday after my pig-out Friday night and I felt so much better after. My head felt clearer.  

Emotional well being is hard to manage at the best of times. Throw diabetes into that mix though, and I personally feel it's even harder, because my emotions have such an affect on my blood sugars. I also feel there is a lot of guilt that comes with diabetes which leaves me feeling burnt out and throwing pity parties for myself. Yet, in spite of this, emotional well being and mental health alongside diabetes is so overlooked by health care professionals. But that's a whole other blog post!

New week. Moving on. Starting over. 

Happy Monday!

[Although not a blog post that centres on mental health, it does somewhat address my emotional well being and how that has an impact on my diabetes management and vice-versa. For more information on diabetes and mental health, feel free to visit or talk to your health care professional.]

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"Be Proactive To Diabetes, Not Reactive."

Not many words from me today. Instead, I'd like to share with you a video that popped up on my Facebook news feed from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). I took a lot away from it, particularly the quote that I have used as the title of this post. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

My First Park Run.

This year, I'm determined to take part in a 10km run. I've been going to the gym three times a week to train, and I set myself the goal of running my first Park Run (which is 5km) by March 1st. 

Park Run is a weekly, free timed run. All you have to do is register and print off your bar code to get a time. Easy. 

So, Saturday, March 1st, up I got to go to my local Park Run.

I was terrified! It was the first time I'd ever ran in public, and it was my first race. I dragged a friend along with me for moral support.

I didn't realise how popular these Park Runs were - there were 400+ people at the one I attended last Saturday, from keen runners to beginners, kids, adults and dogs! At 9am, we made our way over to the start line and by 9.05am we were off! 

It was hard going, but I finished! I wanted to do it in under 45 minutes - for a first run, I thought that was a do-able time. Well, I actually did it in 40 minutes, so I was very happy, and I'm looking to go again this weekend (stupid?!)

Running outside instead of on the treadmill was great - fresh air, more to look at than when at the gym, and running with 400+ people means you've got a crap-ton of people supporting each other. But, as stupid as it sounds, I forgot to account for diabetes. When I run at the gym, there's a little shelf where you can put things, so for me, my blood test kit and glucose tabs. You don't have that when you run outside!

So, in the back pocket of my running trousers, I had my meter, finger-pricker and test strips. I don't usually take my insulin into the gym with me, but because of not taking a handbag with me, I decided that I would clip my insulin on to my trousers too, and throughout I just kept on making sure it was still there. Then, in the arm band, I kept an ID card, glucose tabs and my ipod (you can get more in those arm band things than I realised!) 

For a first run, I wanted to know I was safe, but hopefully with time I'll feel confident enough to run without packing as much "diabetes", if that makes sense?!

Halfway to the 10k!  

Monday, 3 March 2014

Month Of The Log: Completed!

It was hard going at times, being so used to relying on my meter which stores all the necessary information for me, but I did find it useful to see the numbers on paper. It was a lot easier to spot patterns, and making any relevant notes to explain certain numbers was incredibly useful.

Question is, will I continue?

Honestly, no.

I think I needed to log more to prove to myself that I could do it. But doing that every day of every month for the rest of my thanks! I found it useful, don't get me wrong, but it's not something I want to have to do day-in, day-out.

Alongside logging, this month I also did basal-testing and insulin ratio testing. I can't remember the last time I did a basal test, and that is so bad! So, I've set myself two new "rules" when it comes to my diabetes management: 

1. Throughout months June and October, I want to be keeping a paper log of blood sugars, insulin doses and other notes again. In doing this, I want to also be carrying out basal tests and checking my mealtime ratios are still okay - like I said, I can't remember the last time I did a basal test, so I need to make sure that that becomes a lot more regular in my diabetes management. 

2. Go back to the paper log book method in between the aforementioned months when things are quite right with blood sugars, even if it's just for a week. I know that it's beneficial to me to see the numbers written down on paper to see patterns. Basically, I need to stop being lazy!

I learnt a lot about my diabetes in February.