Monday, 27 June 2011

España - Here comes the Diabetic!

Well, my friends, tomorrow morning at 7.55am I will be flying to Spain with my boyfriend Adam and our friends Paige and Ryan!  I AM SO EXCITED! :) 

This is going to be my first holiday away without my parents or other family members, so I've been extra careful to make sure that I have packed everything I could possibly need to make sure that my diabetes is kept under control for my week abroad.  I have packed:
  • 5 packs of glucose tabs
  • My NovoPen that I use to administer NovoRapid
  • A spare NovoPen
  • 4 NovoRapid cartridges
  • 3 Solostar Lantus disposable pens
  • Blood testing monitor
  • Finger pricker
  • 2 packs of testing strips
  • LOADS of 8mm needles and lancets
  • Medical travel insurance
  • A letter from my GP

So, I think it's safe to say that I am well organised!  Now I know I just need to keep an eye on my carb counting, but most of all I want to enjoy myself and have the time of my life whilst knowing I am safe!  I will be sure to tell you all of my D-Adventures when I get back.  Adiós señoras y señores! :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

D-Doc Syndrome and a whole packet of GlucoTabs.

Today I had went to the hospital for my routine, diabetes check up.  It was my first appointment since leaving Paediatrics so I guess I was a little apprehensive about how different things would now be but, as it turned out, there was nothing to feel worried about!  Still, that didn't stop my blood sugar levels from throwing a bit of a tantrum at the prospect of a hospital appointment.

I woke up this morning at a 8.1 mmol - beautiful!  I ate my bowl of porridge (oatmeal) and gave myself 3.5 units of NovoRapid as normal.  Usually this would result in nice, balanced bg levels for the rest of the morning...but not today.

The journey to the hospital had been relatively stress-free - a little trouble parking but nothing horrendous and I had given myself plenty of time so I wasn't stressing or getting myself in a tizzy.  I found my way to the new clinic without getting lost (yessss!) and was sat in the waiting room promptly for my appointment at 11am.

Whilst waiting, I realised that my vision was slightly blurred.  At first, I completely disregarded the idea that I could have been low - I hardly ever go hypo in the morning and I didn't go to bed until late last night, so I thought that must have been why.  Nevertheless, I decided to test my blood sugar levels.  Luckily, I went with my better judgement...

2.2!?  I hadn't been that low in such a long time.  As fast as you could say 'diabetes', I'd dived inside my bag, opened a new packet of glucose tabs and started shovelling them into my mouth - not a pretty site, I suspect.  Usually 3 glucose tabs are enough to bring me up from a hypo, but 4 later and I was still shaking like Outkast's Polaroid picture.

I had my HbA1C taken, was weighed, measured and spoke to the dietician and was beginning to feel better.  All of this took 1 hour and 20 minutes.  When I went back into the waiting room before seeing the doctor, I tested again.  This time...3.7! Still hypo!  I couldn't believe it. I ate the rest of the packet of glucose tabs.  I have never eaten a whole packet in one day in the 14 years that I've had diabetes!

Have you ever heard of 'White Coat Syndrome?'  Basically, according to good old Wiki, it's:
"A phenomenon in which patients exhibit elevated blood pressure in a clinical setting but not in other settings. It is believed that this is due to the anxiety some people experience during a clinic visit." 

Well, I've diagnosed myself with something similar.  I call it 'Diabetes Doctor Syndrome' or 'D-Doc Syndrome' for short.  I believe that this is when a diabetic's blood sugar levels will either drop or rise into a hypo or hyperglycaemic attack, caused by anxiety they experience when attending a diabetes check-up with their diabetes doctor.  Of course, I've got no scientific proof of this, but I reckon it might have some truth value!  I always go low for no apparent reason before an appointment, but that might just be me.

Anyway, everything went well on the whole.  The doctors didn't seem to have any concerns and I was praised by the dietician for my perseverance with accurate carb counting - it's very much been a 'work in progress', but I'm getting there!  I also got 2 new NovoPens, which were   definitely needed as I reckon I've probably been using my old one for the last ten years or so.

Move aside old, tacky NovoPen with flaking paintwork and no lid. new NovoPen!  Silver, slightly more classy, a nice case for it to go in and what's this?  A lid!?  Oh my word!  How beautiful.  Haha :)

Most importantly, my blood sugar levels managed to stabilise after a while and by the time I got home (2 and a bit hours after the horrific 2.2) I was 7.6...phew! And about time too! :D

(By the way, I apologise that I haven't yet been able to write a post about 'Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution' as I said I would.  As I'm currently taking my final A Level exams, the only books I've had my head stuck in over the past few weeks have been my revision guides!  However, my last exams are next week so I will finally be able to start reading it, so keep checking!  Wishing you health and happiness wherever you are)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Examination Consideration

I'm currently taking my A Level exams at 6th Form.  These are my final exams before I head off to University and I need to get certain grades in all 3 of my subjects in order to ensure that I get a place on my course (Speech and Language Therapy).  So, as you can imagine, I'm already experiencing a certain level of stress and that's before I've even begun to think about the ways in which my diabetes may possibly affect the exam process.

In most situations, it's fine.  I make sure my bg levels are well controlled the day before the exam, I wake up in the morning, test levels, inject insulin, have a sensible breakfast, test levels again, go to 6th Form, test levels again, do the exam.  However, today's exam (Philosophy and Ethics) was made up of two papers to be completed back-to-back over a time period of FOUR HOURS including the extra time I'm awarded for my diabetes.

Four hours?  I knew that would be too long to go without at least testing my blood sugar levels.  The D was already playing up - this morning I'd woken up at 3.2, not a good start.  The last thing I needed was for my levels to be bouncing about whilst I was trying to 'critically assess the claim that people should not be held responsible for their actions'.

Thankfully, the examiners were lovely and extremely considerate.  They made sure that I could test my blood sugar levels whenever I needed to and were very understanding about me stopping for a couple of minutes mid-way through writing to scoff a couple of glucose tabs.  They can be very strict about the use of any electronic appliances during the examination process, and although of course they would have to let me use my testing monitor, I appreciate that they could have decided to have made things awkward if they had wanted to.  I was more than pleased that they didn't ask any questions - they just let me get on with it!

Hooray for the examiners!  Now, please give me a good grade ;)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Panic for the Pancreas.

I know, Diabetes can be a scary thing for everyone - the person who has it and those involved in their life.  However one thing that really gets on my nerves is how as soon as someone knows that you're a diabetic, EVERYTHING IS BLOWN WAY OUT OF PROPORTION!

For instance, I can't even count with all my fingers and all my toes the amount of times when I've uttered the sentence "I'm hungry" and all of a sudden it's as though people go into emergency mode and it's all: "ARE YOU LOW!?  OH GOSH, WE NEED TO GET YOU SOMETHING TO EAT!  I KNEW YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD THAT EXTRA SLICE OF TOAST AT BREAKFAST!  CHECK YOUR BLOOD SUGARS QUICKLY!  OH NO, OH NO, OH NO!"...   


The same thing happens when I say I've got a headache ("ARE YOU HIGH!?  YOU GET HEADACHES WHEN YOU'RE HIGH DON'T YOU!?  ARE YOU THIRSTY TOO!?  MAYBE YOU NEED A COUPLE OF UNITS OF INSULIN!")  People say things like that as though it couldn't just be that I'm a bit dehydrated and that's the reason why I've got a headache and I'm a tad thirsty.

Sometimes it really bugs me.  I understand that people are only looking out for me, but it's as if they go into a complete state of urgency.  Okay, yes, I do become ravenous when I'm low and I do get headaches when I'm high, but I'm pretty darn good at spotting my symptoms of unruly blood sugars and there are often other tell-tale signs than just hunger or just a headache.  It's like people define you by your diabetes, as though they're saying:

"YOU'RE A DIABETIC so you can't just be hungry - you MUST be low"
"YOU HAVE DIABETES so your headache IS caused by high blood sugar levels"   

Yeah, I do have diabetes...but I am still a human being!  My body isn't simply made up of loads and loads of 'Diabetes orientated' hormones, sensory and motor neurones etc. as well as one, magnificent 'Diabetes Spinal Cord'.  The only thing that's different in my body is that my pancreas decided that it wants a permanent hibernation period, whereas the pancreas of a non-diabetic is far less lazy.  THAT.IS.ALL.

So, in future, I wish people would save the panic - some grub or some paracetamol and a glass of water would be much more appreciated :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Woo hoo!

Finally, after 2 and a half weeks of waiting and constant checking of my Amazon account, my 2nd hand copy of 'Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution' has arrived!  It cost me £4.37 in hard back, which I thought to be an absolute bargain!  In fact, I actually also love the fact that it's 2nd hand.  Books always seem to have a bit more character when the pages are a little off-white in colour and the cover looks as though it's seen better days.  I always interpret these as signs that it was a good book.

I've heard great things about 'Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution' - I have been told that it has changed the lives of diabetics for the better.  I'm hoping that it has the same effect on me.  I thought that, from now on and until I finish the book, I will write one post each week (along with any other blogging I might do) about something I've learned from reading it and the changes I start to spot in my diabetes management from putting the Dr.'s advice into practice.  If you haven't already read it then perhaps you could discover some interesting things too, or if you have you can recap and let me know about what 'Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution' did for you!

Anyway, that's all for now folks.  I'm off to be a book-worm :)