Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A friend with 'D' is a friend indeed.

Todd Newton is a friend of mine who I appreciate greatly.  We met when I started high school in September 2004, where he had been attending for 2 years already, at the nurse's office.  Todd has type one diabetes.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to take the back-seat and dedicate today's post to Todd.  I wanted to allow him to tell his 'Diabetic Story' and convey his own feelings about diabetes.  Our journeys along Diabetic Road have been very different from one another and so, for a bit of controversy, here is Todd's D-Story...

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 3rd February 1993, at the age of 2.  I know that my mum found it difficult to deal with, as she had already brought up my sister who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for ten years.  Although I realise how hard it must have been and it wasn't easy, I also admire my mum and sister for the help they have provided with my diabetes.

As a child, I suppose diabetes was easy to accept.  I knew that I was able to have a biscuit at 10am and 2pm, which encouraged me to learn how to tell the time!  Going without sweets and chocolate wasn't all that difficult either, as I knew I wasn't allowed them and had never really had them anyway.

However, struggles really began when I started secondary school.  Having extra time for exams because of my diabetes seemed like a good thing, but it made you stand out in an environment where I wanted to fit in as a teenage boy.  Also, with high school came parties and drinking.  Again, the pressure to fit in with my peer group often left little room for 'proper' care of my diabetes.

I have some amazing friends who try their best to understand my diabetes, but I find it hard to trust them with it fully.  I have advised them that, in an emergency, they should call for an ambulance as quickly as possible, but I also realise that when my blood sugars are low I seem drunk.  This can cause a lot of confusion and makes my lows harder for others to identify, especially on nights out.

At the age of 16, a dangerous combination of hatred of my diabetes and other factors in my personal life became too much for me to handle.  I took an overdose of insulin, with the intention of committing suicide.  I was in a coma for 10 hours.  Thankfully, I didn't die that day and I have sworn never again to do anything like that.  I guess I got to a point where I forgot the important things in life.

My advice to others with diabetes is never to let it stop you from doing things you want to do.  Look after it: eat the right things and take your insulin, but don't let it hold you back.  That is something I regret and something I try not to allow nowadays.

13th November 2012: My wonderful friend Todd Newton, who wrote this post and was so delighted to do so, is no longer with us. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and I am sending my thoughts to his family at this time. Click here to read my post to commemorate his life. RIP Todd 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Riding The D-Coaster.

Blood sugar levels over the past few days have been, being entirely honest, HORRIFIC!  I've been up and down, up and down, up and down more times than you've had hot dinners (slight exaggeration perhaps, but it's still been pretty darn bad!)

The most unbelievably annoying thing about the whole situation is that there really doesn't seem to be any reason to explain why my levels won't just balance themselves out!  It's at times like these that I imagine my blood sugar levels to be like a young, rebellious child; throwing tantrums and refusing to sit still for more than a minute or two.

However, all of these unpredictable highs and lows have really brought something to my attention...THE COLOUR OF MY BLOOD!  I know, sounds ridiculous right?  I can hear you all now:  'Daisy, did you not realise before this week that your blood was red, dear?  Oh you poor thing!'  But no, that was not what I was referring to, clever cloggs!  Instead, what I have really taken notice of over the past few days is the shade of red that my blood is depending on whether my levels are hi or low.

Although this is something that has been brought to my attention before, I did think it would make a good blog post.  I was wondering if anyone else had discovered this also with their own blood?  Even more interesting would be if anyone could actually give me a scientific reason as to why this happens?!  Really, I'm intrigued to know! 
This was my blood when I was hi (16.2 - oh my worddddd!)  I wanted to get a photo of my blood when low, but I'm afraid that I was far too busy scrambling around for glucose tabs and other sugary substances to shove into my mouth at quite a pace to concern myself with the whereabouts of my camera.  Perhaps another time.

Still...I think that blood looks bright red, don't you?  When I'm low it's a deep, dark red.  I really hope my eyes haven't been playing tricks on me, or even worse that I've just become completely delusional.  Please, ease my mind!

I hope you are well and that the D-Coaster is at a stand-still for you this week. x 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

How to avoid embarassment

Even though I've had diabetes for the majority of my lifetime, it has only been in the last 2 years that I have begun to feel comfortable with talking to others about my diabetes and probably only in the last few months that I have really started to accept it as part of me.  Before I would allow myself to go hi and allow all of those nasty little ketones to cause destruction in my body JUST so that I wouldn't have to eat differently or admit that I am diabetic in front of others.

I am now very different.  This change came about 2 years ago, at the age of 16, when I started my first and on-going relationship with my boyfriend, Adam.  We'd been together for a few weeks, and I had only mentioned in brief that I was a diabetic, when I began to feel very low whilst hanging out at his place.  At this time I was not at all the prepared or responsible diabetic that I should have been and so didn't have any glucose tabs with me.

I remember sitting there, trying to pluck up the courage to tell him how I was feeling and what I needed, allowing myself to go lower and lower until I got that horrid, uncontrollable shaking in my hands (I don't know if anyone else gets this when they go low, but it's usually one of the first signs that my body gives me!) My thoughts went back and forth: Will he still like me if I tell him? Will it freak him out? until I realised that I needed to stop being so silly...this was a life/death situation!!

So this is how it went: 

Me:  Erm...Adam...Don't panic or anything, because it's okay, but my diabetes is making me feel quite low, which means I need some sugar quite quickly.  Have you got any sugary drinks?

Adam:  Sure!

...As you can see, not a problem.  At all.

So, here are a few of my tips for avoiding the ULTIMATE embarrassment of going into a diabetic-induced coma, or just becoming really ill in front of people to avoid maybe a minute of blushing:
  •  On a first date, or when you start becoming friends with someone, tell them you're diabetic!  Let them know what it means and just don't make a big deal about it.  Stay cool and calm.  I can assure you that they won't think any less of you because you're diabetic - if they like you then they will respect you and take you as you are, diabetes or no diabetes!  If, in the unexpected and unlikely situation that they do make a fuss of things and judge you unfairly, it's probably a pretty good indicator that they're not the kind of person that is worth bothering with in the first place!
  • Always have a back-up plan!  Wherever you go, make sure that you have everything you need in case of an emergency.  This includes: blood testing monitor and finger pricker, glucose tabs and injection pen.  I have had to learn from experience that these little gems are vital to avoiding embarrassment (see my Diabetes Bloopers post).  If you don't have them, when the D starts to throw temper tantrums in its unpredictable state, you are going to have to go through the whole ordeal of explaining the ins and outs of your diabetic situation to a stranger.  Being prepared is always a good thing. 
My bag, on a recent night out clubbing.  Okay, so it's a bit of a tight squeeze, but hey ho!
  •  Never be afraid to question.  Let's face it, some people are down-right ignorant.  I can't even count on my fingers and toes the amount of times that I have had to take back drinks to the counter at McDonald's, or ask waiters at restaurants if they definitely gave me the Diet Coke that I asked for rather than the most-definitely normal Coca-Cola that I can identify quite easily (there is a distinctive difference in taste, regardless of what anyone tries to tell me!)  Over the years, I've come to realise that the only way to avoid this mix-up of understanding is to mention as you order.  Now, when I order a drink I always say "Can you make sure that definitely is diet please, just because I'm diabetic?"  Trust me, the moment you utter the word 'diabetic' is the moment they will make sure that your drink is sugar free.  No one wants to be sued do they?  
  •   Do it if you need to!  I admit it, if I can get away with not doing my blood test in front of people, or not revealing my injection pen to the world then I will.  If there's a toilet about then that's where I'll toddle off to, rather than exposing the fact that I'M A DIABETIC to the entire shopping mall, or class of fellow students.  However, there are times when it's urgent!  Once, I was at a bus stop waiting for my bus into town when I began to feel so hi that I felt physically sick.  Yes, there were other people sat at the bus stop also, but that didn't stop me from whipping my injection pen out of my bag and giving myself a few units in my stomach (as discretely as possible, of course!)  Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures and it's not worth putting off testing your blood glucose levels, or not giving yourself your insulin just because you're in front of others.

 Of course I know that diabetes can seem embarrassing sometimes, but acknowledging it and occasionally allowing yourself to experience a blush or two could prevent one massiveeee 'OMG - CRINGE!' moment.

Peace and love, guys'n'gals x 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

'Weeping Daisy and the D-Thanks Fairy'

There have been many times in the last 14 years that I have wondered what my life would have been like had I not been diagnosed with diabetes.  Sometimes this thought can be pretty depressing, as I sit fantasising about no needles, not having to eat if I don't feel like it, not having to do mathematical equations each time I consume a sandwich etc.

However, I enjoyed the positive tone of yesterday's post so much that I thought I'd focus my D-Story on why I should accept and perhaps even appreciate my diabetes.  Yes, that's right!  You read me correctly.  I said: 'appreciate my diabetes'.  Shock horror!

Anyway, it's a bit of fun, but enjoy nevertheless!

Weeping Daisy and the D-Thanks Fairy ©

 Once upon a time, in a land much like yours, lived a girl named Daisy.  Daisy loved her life!  She had a supportive family, a wonderful boyfriend, fantastic friends and good grades.  If you were ever to see Daisy in the street, she would usually have a big grin spread across her face!

However, there was one thing that sometimes stopped Daisy from smiling.  She thought it was a curse.  A demon dwelling inside of her.  A monster, hiding under the blanket of her skin.  Doctors called it...diabetes.

Most of the time Daisy would try her hardest to not let the monster affect her.  She would test her blood sugar levels, do her insulin injections and eat the right foods to ensure that D-Monster would not raise his ugly head.  Still, no matter how hard Daisy tried, D-Monster was powerful and controlling and would always find ways to throw her off-balance.  When this happened, Daisy would cry and cry.  She so desperately wished that someone could make the monster disappear.

Then, one day, something very magical happened...

Daisy had been having a bad day.  She was sick and D-Monster was enjoying himself very much indeed.  Whilst Daisy's immune-system was on shut-down, D-Monster could play all-sorts of evil, nasty games inside her body.  Daisy checked her blood sugar levels.

"17.3!" Daisy cried "It's not fair!  I try and try, but D-Monster just will not leave me be!"

She began to weep and, as she did, a lonely tear fell onto her testing strip.

"Oh, how I wish I had never had diabetes!" Daisy wailed.

Suddenly there was a beam of blinding light and glitter-dust rose up out of Daisy's testing monitor.  Out of nowhere appeared a fairy!  The fairy was tiny and was wearing a beautiful dress made out of gold test-strips, and a tiara made from diamond-encrusted glucose tabs.

"Hello, Daisy!" said the fairy "I am the D-Thanks Fairy!"

Daisy was so overwhelmed with shock and surprise that she could barely even speak!

"W-w-what? I don't understand! Where did you come from?"

"I came from your blood testing monitor, silly!  I heard you say 'I wish I had never had diabetes!'  Is this true?"

"Yes it is!" Proclaimed Daisy.  "Diabetes is horrible and I'd have been much better off without it!"

"Well Daisy, don't be so sure!" Said D-Thanks Fairy.  "I am here to show you what you would have been like, had you never been diagnosed with diabetes.  If you still want to be without your diabetes once I have shown you, I promise that I will cure you."

Excitement rushed through Daisy's body.  'She will cure me of D-Monster?'  Daisy thought 'I can't believe my luck!'

All of a sudden, almost as sudden as D-Thanks Fairy had appeared, Daisy saw visions flash before her eyes.

She saw a girl, with blond hair and green eyes.  She watched the girl through many days of her life, through pre-school, primary school, secondary school and on towards her adult life.  The girl seemed careless, irresponsible and immature, even post-adolescence.  She witnessed the girl eating endless amounts of sugary foods, drinking too much alcohol and making herself ill.  It became very clear to Daisy that the girl was not taking care of herself.  It shocked her immensely to see how a person may neglect themselves like that.

Within a moment of the last image disappearing from Daisy's view, she was back with D-Thanks Fairy.  Daisy began to weep for the second time, out of horror and disgust at what she had seen.

"It was horrible!" shrieked Daisy "Who was that girl?"

"Why, it was you Daisy" said D-Thanks Fairy, calmly.

"No it wasn't!  She was reckless and destructive, even towards her own body!  I could never be like that!"

"You're right.  You could never be like that now."

Daisy looked puzzled and confused.

"Daisy" D-Thanks Fairy whispered "you are the way you are because of diabetes.  You are responsible because you have had to have been.  You are mature because you had to grow up quicker to take care of your own blood tests and injections.  You are careful because you know of the high risk of complications if you are not."

Daisy felt her heart begin to lighten, as if D-Thanks Fairy had lifted the weight of the world from it.  From listening to the fairy's words, she began to feel an emotion that she had never felt before.  She felt thankful for her diabetes.  Thankful that she was the person she was and not the girl that D-Thanks Fairy had shown to her.

"Thank you!" roared Daisy "Thank you for making me thankful!"

D-Thanks Fairy smiled a knowing smile and disappeared back into Daisy's blood-testing monitor, leaving sprinkles of glitter behind her.

Daisy sat down, trying to take in what had just happened, reflecting on the magic that D-Thanks Fairy had brought to her.  She looked down at her blood testing monitor and there it was.  On the screen was a message that read:

'Your diabetes is part of you.  You are not it.  Love, DTF  x'

As she read this, Daisy wept one final time.  This time, Daisy's tear was one of relief, thanks and above all, acceptance.

...and they all lived happily ever after. The end :)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Bye, Bye D-Blog Week 2011.

Here is the final post of D-Blog Week 2011, and first of all I'd like to say how much I have loved taking part.  Of course, I have got Karen to thank for putting the time and effort into setting it all up :)  You have provided me with much-needed opportunities to be creative, vent my frustrations towards my diabetes, have a positive outlook on my health and also unite and identify with people living with diabetes as I do.  THANK YOU!

So, what have I learned from D-Blog week?  The answer to this question is loads, although here I will state a few of the major things that have stood out to me.

1.  Many will laugh at this, but as I am relatively new to blogging, when I have been reading through posts over the past month or so I have always wondered 'what does 'DOC' stand for?'  I have thought 'Diabetic...Outpatient...Clinic?!', but no.  However, this week I learned that it means 'Diabetic Online Community'.  In my opinion, this has a far better ring to it and is far more contextually logical than my first assumption!  The Diabetic Online Community - oh how I love you.

2.  I have learned, on a more serious note, that regardless of our differences (whether we administer our insulin through the pump or injection pens, whether we have diabetes ourselves or if a loved one is diabetic, whether we are type 1 or 2) we all can all stand together on the basis of one, fundamental fact.  We are all affected by diabetes.

3.  Something I have learned from D-Blog week that I really wasn't expecting to is how accepting and supportive non-diabetics can be.  Over this last week, as well as those of you who are part of the DOC who have been wonderfully supportive, I have received many messages and comments from people who don't have diabetes and don't know much about it either.  Thank you for your kind words and overall recognition :)

4.  Finally, D-Blog week has taught me of how truly wonderful some human beings are.  From reading the posts of other bloggers from the DOC, especially on Friday (The most awesome thing you've done DESPITE diabetes), I have realised that we are a mixture between soldiers and magicians (Soldicians).  We are capable of anything we put our minds to, regardless of this 'disease' that we have, and we will battle diabetes when it tries to throw us off track.

Goodbye D-Blog Week 2011!  It's been fun!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

My Diabetic Life in Images

What a nice change!  Although I have loved writing about all sorts of diabetes-related things this D-Blog week, I think it's nice to use some imagery too so I'm particularly pleased by the choice of today's post :)  It was meant to be 'Saturday Snapshots', but I have also drawn a couple of pictures to stimulate my own creativity.  I'm all worded-out, here it is my diabetic life in images...

My drawing of my mum, me and my dad on the day I was diagnosed.
Dr. Johnson was my first diabetic doctor and he used to squeeze my fingers so hard to get the blood out of them that I would nearly cry.

Me on my fourth birthday, about a month after I was diagnosed as being Type 1 Diabetic

How it felt when I was diagnosed.  The Diabetes Police.

My Uncle David and I around the time I was diagnosed.
My Uncle David is also a Type 1 Diabetic.

A family holiday in Ireland.  This photo is of my mum (the lady with the camera), my cousin Chloe (the girl in the red shorts) and my Uncle Mark.
My Uncle Mark is also a Type 1 Diabetic.
I am at the corner of the photograph, stabilising my blood sugar levels with some carby crisps.

This is only part of my diabetic trail.  An old needle, needle wrapper and old insulin cartridge.
These were in the drinks holder of my boyfriend's car.  I am ashamed!

I always feel that when I say 'I'm diabetic', they assume that I'm either obese or old.
No, I'm Type 1 and even Type 2's aren't always overweight or OAP'S.

This is me now, aged 18, at my friend's house, testing my blood sugar levels at 2 am.

I am a type 1 diabetic :)

Friday, 13 May 2011

After Blogger deleted Thursday's post...

Ah!  Finally, Blogger is back with us once more after many frustrating hours.  I was becoming concerned that Blogger was out to destroy D-Blog week (as it destroyed yesterday's post), but he/she clearly saw the error of their ways.  I breathe a sigh of relief...  YIPPEEEEE!  Anyway, back to blogging :)

Even though the topic of post for today is to write about your biggest achievement DESPITE having diabetes, I decided that I don't really feel like I've achieved all that much in my 18 years of life really.  I am proud of my exam results and how I always manage to get my work done, despite any difficulties with managing my blood sugar levels.  Apart from that, not much else springs to mind.  If anything, I probably class most of my major moments of courage, determination etc. as those that have actually arisen because of my diabetes.

So, seeing as most of my posts on D-Blog week have been relatively (or really) long, I thought that I'd leave you today with a nice little quote that never fails to inspire me to keep on top of my diabetes.  It reminds me that I am in control of my own well-being, not diabetes (although sometimes Big D does like to have a say in the way things are run around here.)

"Every human being is the author of his own health or disease"

Remember those words, whether you are diabetic or not, and take care of yourselves!  I hope that your day has been beautiful :) x

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Diabetes Bloopers - Oh, I have many!

Yay!  I have been looking forward to writing this post since I first read the topic briefs for D-Blog week.  Sometimes I think it's easier to look back at your diabetic life and focus immediately on the negative, scary times (the day you were diagnosed, the day you realise that bad control has seriously affected your eyes, kidneys, healing processes etc.)  HOWEVER, today is not one of those days!  Instead, it's a time for me to reflect on my days (dais) as a diabetic and have a good old chuckle.

Stuck and Stale
Most of my 'diabetes bloopers' have arisen as a result of simply being unprepared and most when I've been low (hypoglycemic).  On this particular occasion, my mum and I had been on a day-trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon (the home of William Shakespeare, for those of you reading from places other than the UK!)
It had been a lovely day; the sun had been shining from the moment I woke, we had been to see a play at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, had a bit of lunch, done some shopping and the plus point was that there had been very little traffic on the motorway the whole way there!  Unfortunately, this did not happen to be the case on the journey home again.
I had eaten lunch at about 1pm and the time was getting on 6pm and we were still stuck in traffic.  All of a sudden, I began to feel low.  Reallyyy low (it was inevitable really, wasn't it?)
"Mum..." I said "have we got anything sugary in the car?"
"No, we haven't" she began to panic "why? Are you low?"  My heart probably skipped a couple of beats in that moment, out of pure and utter fear.  However, I didn't want to freak my mum out.
"Nooo, I'm fine! I'll be able to hang on 'til we get home!"  In my head I was thinking 'traffic please move!'  I have a very close relationship with my momma (in fact, she's my best friend) and she can read me like a book.
"No, you're low!  Look, you're pale and shaking!  Search the car and see if there's anything for you to eat!  Where are your glucose tablets?!"
Anyway, after several minutes of frantically searching the glove-box and under the seats for boiled sweets and chocolate bars, I finally found some food wrapped up in a plastic bag on the back seat.  Bread.  A whole loaf of it.  A whole loaf of stale, white bread.
It was the only food in the car and we were stuck on the motorway, moving nowhere fast.  Quickly (out of desperation), and probably with a look of complete and utter disgust on my face, I unwrapped the stale bread and began to eat it.  At the time it seemed like the most awful experience ever, but now I look back and laugh at the day that my diabetes forced me to eat stale bread.  Trust me, since that day it has been a rare occasion that I am not carrying glucose tabs.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!

The line of low diabetics 
I suppose this isn't much of a 'blooper', however it is a perfect example of how diabetes unites and puts people in some funny situations.
When I was 11 years old, I went on a diabetic holiday (organised by the diabetes children's unit at my hospital).  It was and still is one of the best experiences of my whole life, not just my diabetic one.  We ate together, checked our blood sugar levels together, did our injections together and took part in loads of different activities over a weekend in the beautiful countryside of Derbyshire (UK).
One of these activities happened to be absailing.  For those of you who have never heard of it, it consists of being attached to a harness and climbing up a very large rock wall.  Once you have done this, you gently lower yourself to the ground using the rope you are attached to.
The walk up to the rock wall alone was steep and tiring, not to mention the energy that was put into absailing!  Of course all of us had been eating the same food that day, giving similar doses of insulin etc.  What we had not taken into consideration was the amount of exercise we would have been doing.
Once the last person had finished absailing down the wall, someone piped up and said:
"I feel low!"  Then, so did someone else.
"I feel low too!"  And then another:
"So do I, actually!"  Until, eventually, everyone was claiming they were low.  We all checked our blood sugar levels and, sure enough, our diabetic intuitions were correct.
The diabetic nurses and helpers who were with us quickly sat us down and fished inside their rucksacks for sugary substances.
So there we were: 15, or so, diabetic children, sat on the top of a hill in Derbyshire in a row, eating Digestive biscuits to raise our blood sugar levels.  Now, there's a mental image for you.

There were a couple of my very many diabetic blooper moments.  I would like to thank Karen at Bitter~Sweet for today's topic - it's been up-lifting and thoroughly enjoyable :)  Hope that I have been able to make a few of you smile too! x 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

D-Blog week, Day 2.

The topic for today is 'letter writing'.  From reading a couple of blogs already, it seems that this is a task that's brought up some real emotion and has even drew a few tears.  Diabetes is such a huge part of our lives, I suppose it was bound to.  Anyway, I hope to get to the end of this blog without as much as a whimper, but I'm not making any promises...

Dear Insulin

I know it hasn't been long since we last saw each other (only a matter of minutes actually) but I feel as though we need to talk.  It feels as though you've been playing games for quite some time now, and I think it's about time we sorted out some unresolved issues.

First of all, I always meant to ask you, why did you leave me all those years ago? I woke up one morning and you were gone, without even so much as a goodbye! Yes, I know you came back...but you're not yourself anymore. You've changed your appearance and, if you don't mind me saying, I preferred the more 'natural you'.  It's true; 'you don't know what you had until it's gone'.

Before you ask, no, this is not all about how you look.  It's about the way you are!  You're much higher-maintenance than you were before and sometimes I just don't feel like I can deal with you. 

If you ask me, I think you're an attention-seeker.  You're everywhere I turn these days!  I go in my bag to get my purse and there you are.  I go in the fridge and there you are again!  That's not to mention your friends.  Can you please tell Needles, Test-Strip and Monitor that they've annoyed me too? I know you can't help being on my repeat prescription, but I just wish you'd asked me for permission first before worming your way on to it.

Why do you have to be so cold, Insulin?  No, really, I'm being serious!  Sometimes I get so sick of catering for your needs (making sure you're in the fridge etc.)  It's always you, you, you.  I know that you need to be kept cool, but sometimes it's just not that easy.  You know that you've got me right where you want me - I couldn't live without you.  I remember the days when you were there for me readily and willingly, without me having to force you to be.

The worst thing about when you left, Insulin, is that I could have died!  Do you even care?  I lost so much weight and got so sick.  Where were you when I needed you?

We have a love/hate relationship, you and I.  I'm sorry that sometimes I've ignored you and neglected you, but I was full of resentment.  I'm coming to terms with your new identity, and I admit that there are many times when you make me feel so much better in myself.  Even though you're different now, your 'NovoRapid' persona has been my superhero in many times of emergency.

I know you'll never be the same as you were and I no longer feel as though you're a part of me.  Still, I think there are some things that you should get your head around too.  I've also changed because of this experience.  I've become stronger and more responsible.  You no longer control me, Insulin.  You have no say in how 'present' you are in my life.  Instead, I am in control of how much of you goes near me!  I will change your needles, yes, but remember that I wear the trousers in this relationship!

I hope that now all of this is out in the open, we can finally begin to be nice to each other again.  When I eat, I hope you will try your very hardest to break down the sugars and carbs so that I don't go hi.  In return, I will never ignore you again.  For all of our differences and regardless of the form that you now take, you are my best friend, for without you I wouldn't be here.

Yours gratefully,
Daisy x 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Admiring our differences: Pens, pumps and perseverance

And off we go!  Day 1 of Diabetic Blogging week - exciting stuff, huh? :)  Here goes...

I'm new to blogging and have only really had chance to read a few posts on a few blogs, so when I first read the topic to write about for today I was a bit unsure of where to start.  However after I'd spent a little bit of time contemplating some different ideas, I decided that although I admire an extremely wide range of diabetics, there are a couple of particular groups that really take the biscuit (low-sugar ones, of course!)...

First of all, on my list of the most respect-worthy, are those of you that use a pump to manage your diabetes.  I am still using an insulin NovoPen and even though I have spoken to my doctors about switching to the pump, I have not yet had the guts nor determination to do so.  It is for this reason that it is you who I admire greatly.  From what I have read and what my diabetic nurse has told me, it seems that insulin-pumping takes a real dose of diabetic dedication!  I must admit, I have always steered away from the idea out of a fear of what I may look like, how to use a pump properly, carbohydrate counting sufficiently etc.  However, thanks to all of you pumping-bloggers out there (such as Alissa at Juvenile Diabetesover the last few weeks I have begun to feel much more content and positive about the prospect of a pump.  I have realised that if it allows me to have better control over my bg levels, then it really isn't so bad and that maybe it is an opportunity that I should consider taking.  Thank you!

Secondly, and I'm sure many other diabetics would agree with me, I wouldn't be even half as well controlled or optimistic about my diabetes without the help of my loved ones.  Whether they're my parents, boyfriend, friends or teachers, they all contribute in one way or another to keeping my head above water and my blood sugar levels above the point of hypoglycemic attack.   Sometimes I think that so much focus is put on the patient of diabetes that those people who support and care for them are overlooked.  I suppose I was guilty of this, until someone said to me that "a person has to be the equivalent of a superhero to live with a diabetic".  And it's true...when I go low I become like a zombie; despondent and lifeless, and when I'm hi I'm snappy and moody.  That's not even taking into consideration the worry that I know diabetes can cause and the life-style changes that people have to make to accommodate the needs of a diabetic.  Indeed diabetes changes the life of the person with it, but it also affects everyone else close to them.  So thank you loved ones, for testing our blood sugars when we're too low to do it ourselves, for replacing the sugar in your cupboard with sweetener and for the overall support that you give to us.

Lastly, on the topic description for today's blog at Bitter Sweet Diabetes was the question: 'Do T1s who’ve lived well with diabetes since childhood give you hope?'  From this I realised that, for me, it is the opposite case entirely.  I have had Type 1 diabetes since I was 3 years old and so I have had it almost for as long as I can remember.  Because of this it means that I don't really recall having to adjust to a new, diabetic lifestyle whereby I had to start sticking needles in myself and change my diet.  Some of the people that I really admire are those that were diagnosed with diabetes (T1 or 2) later on, where they were fully aware of the difference to their routines and day-to-day lives.  Honestly and truly, I think you guys are amazing to have worked so hard and accepted your diabetes as you have.  You have my up-most respect and you should all get a medal.

The truth is that I admire you all. Diabetes can be difficult and I think that anyone who lives with it, lives with someone who has it, accepts it and tries their hardest with it deserves a massive pat on the back. So here I am, on day one of the Diabetic blogging week, and I applaud you x