Monday, 12 November 2012

In Memory of Todd Newton

This post is to commemorate Todd Newton - a fellow diabetic, an unforgettable human being and a truly wonderful friend.

Living with diabetes every day of your life becomes the norm after a while. Amongst the routine of injections and blood testing, it's easy to forget that diabetes is a potentially dangerous disease. Insulin has to be respected and understood - it saves lives, but it also has the power to take them away.

Last year Todd did a guest blog post on 'Diabetic Dais' about his diabetic story. Last night, at the age of 22, Todd passed away as a result of his type 1 diabetes. Despite having a chronic illness, he lived his life to the full. I don't recall a single day when he wasn't full of energy and his undeniable enthusiasm for life was almost contagious. So many things will always remind me of Todd: the song 'RiverSide' by DJ Sidney Samson, apple sourz shots, lollipops and red wedged heels to name but a few. Our diabetes brought us together but, in the end, it was trust, appreciation and uncontrollable laughter which created our friendship. I will miss him, I will never forget him and I will always love him.

A quote Todd uses on the 'about me' section of his Facebook profile is: "If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace, but we would be hollow. Without passion, we'd truly be dead." I can honestly say that, with the amount of passion Todd had in his heart, he will always live on.

Rest in peace, Todd 

If you wish to leave a message for Todd or his family, please feel free to do so by commenting below.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

#4: Learning From Mistakes

Unfortunately some things have a way of repeating themselves.  I was rudely awoken by Diabetes shoving 2.9 in my face, at 3am.  Luckily I had learnt from yesterdays mistake and had taken some hypo treatment up to bed with me, so it wasn't too bad.  What wasn't great, however, was realising that I was low enough that my mouth had gone completely numb so I'd managed to chomp away not only through my chocolate bar, but also through my tongue. Ouch.

Have felt pretty stressed today, for one reason or another.  I feel like I'm struggling with my energy levels quite a bit - I'm tired pretty much from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed.  The irritating thing is that I can't really figure out why I feel so lethargic.  My blood sugar levels aren't bad, I'm definitely getting 8 hours sleep and I'm eating pretty nutritious food too (if we don't include the chocolate bars for hypo treatments and my slight addiction to Diet Coke).  A visit to the doctor probably will be the way forward if it doesn't improve soon.

My second day of training at work went well!  I don't have much to report apart from the fact that I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to starting on a more full-time basis next week.

What is really cool is that my lovely friend asked me today if I knew any good, diabetes-friendly cake recipes because she wants to make one for her uncle who has type 2.  So it will be nice to ask around a little and find out the sorts of ingredients to use.  Anyone have any ideas?

Anyway I'm home, fed and ready for bed (I'm a poet and I didn't know it!)  By the way, I've decided that I'm going to turn the Diabetic Dais Diaries into a blog in itself, 1. because I thought it'd be pretty cool and 2. because then I can use Diabetic Dais for all of my more specific posts.  I'll let you know where to find it tomorrow :)

#3: Good Morning Diabetes!

I can't even believe Blogger deleted my post yesterday!  But I'm soldiering on, so here it is again :)

My morning yesterday didn't get off to a great start.  I awoke at around 5.15 am, went to the bathroom, got back into bed and tried to go back to sleep.  It couldn't have been any more than 2 minutes before I realised I was feeling a bit odd.  I tested my blood and surprise, surprise - 3.4.  I didn't have any hypo treatment in my bedside drawers (always a big mistake) which meant I ventured, reluctantly and weary eyed, downstairs to get some.  I ate a chocolate 'Rocky' bar and went back to bed.  By the way I'm aware that my choice of hypo treatments needs some serious reconsideration, but when I'm faced with a chocolate bar or dextrose tablets, I know which one I prefer.  Definitely not the 'right' decision to make in terms of the welfare of my diabetes, but I know it's something I need to work on.

A few hours later I woke up feeling thirsty, agitated and like my head was about to explode.  I pricked my fingertip and apprehensively watched my meter counting down, expecting the worst...13.4.  This came as a surprise as, considering how rubbish I felt, I thought I would be much higher.  I suppose this is a good sign because it might mean that my body's getting used to my blood sugars being within a more 'normal' range, so it recognises it more when they're slightly out.

I didn't get overly nervous about the first day of my new job, which was a good thing seeing as I didn't start until 5.45pm!  I spent my first shift 'getting to know the ropes' a little.  My boss showed me around the head office (I took extra notice of where the toilets, food and drink areas and first aid room were located!) and explained to me more about what my role will entail.  I'm working as a Fundraising Representative for a global charity, so I was also given some more detailed information about the organisation which was really interesting.  I met some of my new colleagues too and they were lovely, which is always a good thing!

When we went over the health and safety regulations and I was asked if there was anything I wanted the rest of the team to be made aware of in terms of my diabetes.  I said I'd have a think about it and get back to them but I don't think there's much anyone else needs to know, mainly because I manage my diabetes myself.  Maybe I'll just mention the 'just in case of a real emergency' stuff.  Any advice?

Anyway considering the not-so-good start to the day, I ended it on a complete high (emotional, not diabetic!)  Now, I'm just hoping that this post saves!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

#2: Overestimating A Chocolate Brownie

Today has been lovely!  First of all, I'll let you all know that my cocktail from last night didn't seem to affect my blood sugars too much at all which was a nice surprise.  I gave myself 2 units of NovoRapid to cover what I estimated to be about 20g worth of carb in the Raspberry juice and that seemed to be enough.

I got up this morning and, admittedly, missed breakfast because I was in a bit of a rush to get ready.  It was ok though - I tested my blood sugar and I was 6.7, so just injected my Levemir as normal to (hopefully) keep it balanced!  Ant and I went to meet my dad and my step-mum Jane in Oxford city centre, who had come to visit for the day.

We spent some time walking around 'The Ashmolean' which is a museum of Art and Archaeology.  I didn't learn an awful lot by looking at the actual museum, because my favourite bit was going to the gift shop at the end, but it was so nice to spend time with my loved ones.

For lunch I had a delicious Sunday Roast, with pork, new potatoes, cabbage, carrots and pork crackling which was really tasty but a bit embarrassing to eat in a quiet restaurant, as every bite I took made it sound as though my teeth were cracking.

Now, for anyone who thinks a diabetic can't eat dessert, I'm about to set the record straight...I chose chocolate raspberry brownie, covered in white chocolate sauce (now that's a dessert and a half!)  This doesn't make me a 'bad diabetic' by any stretch of the imagination 1. because I can cover the carbohydrate in it by taking my insulin and 2. I don't do it often either!  Anyway, it was lovely!

After lunch I wandered off to the bathroom to take my insulin.  I've discovered that this is a diabetic topic for discussion in itself, as in the past I've had other people with diabetes ask me 'why go to the bathroom to take your insulin!?'  My answer for this is that I, personally, would rather not inject when other people are eating because it would put some people off their food and, also, I'd rather have a bit of privacy to inject into my thigh too!  Each to their own.

I took 5 units of NovoRapid for the brownie, which was a complete guess because I didn't have any way of working out how much carb was in it exactly.  Three hours later, when I was home and my hands were trembling and I was 3.3, I began to realise I'd probably over estimated the chocolate brownie.  A problem arose when I realised that, although I was hypo, I just wasn't hungry at all.  I was still stuffed from lunch so the last thing I wanted to do was eat.  A glass of milk was the answer!  In hindsight the raspberry juice, had we not used it all for our cocktails last night, would have worked just as well.

A light dinner; baked salmon (very salty because I had a habit of overestimating more than just the brownie today) and spinach, rocket and mozzarella salad.  No carbohydrate, no insulin - wonderful!

Tomorrow I start my first day of training for my new job...eek!  In these sorts of situations, you can usually guarantee that Diabetes will be affected by nerves/excitement so we'll see what my good old Glucometer has in store for me...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

#1: Introduction to 'The Diabetic Dais Diaries'

Today I am beginning 'The Diabetic Dais Diaries'!  What this means is I am going to be writing here, every day letting you know the ins and outs of the time I spend with my good old friend, Diabetes.

In this 'diary' I plan to confess my blood sugars, carbs I've eaten and how much insulin I've taken, as well as how much exercise I've done, how I feel in terms of mood and physical wellness and lots of other non-diabetes related stuff too.

If I'm being completely honest, I'm a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy bit nervous about the prospect of this!  It's obviously quite personal and I rarely share what my blood sugars are with anyone.  I usually like to keep most of my diabetes management, on a daily basis, to myself, so this is a pretty big step!

I appreciate that many diabetics across the world will being thinking (or shouting at their computer screen) 'WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THIS!? ARE YOU CRAZY!?"  The answer to the first question is I'm hoping that other people with diabetes, and those without it, will find it interesting and will be able to relate to some of the stuff I talk about.  The answer to the second question is 'yes, quite possibly.'

I plan to start small with this...I'm going to begin with writing 2 weeks worth of diary posts, but I'm hoping to stretch it out for the whole month and possibly even longer - we'll see how it goes!  To be honest, I've never been particularly wonderful at writing a diary, or keeping a log-book of my blood sugars so combining the two together could be a recipe for disaster, but I'm determined it won't be!

Please leave comments, let me know what you think, get involved and if you fancy giving it a go too then tell me about it!  Scary stuff, but we'll give it a shot (no diabetes-pun intended, honest!)...

It's Saturday so everything's happened a little later than it would on a week day, mainly because in Daisy language 'Saturday' translates to 'lie in'.  This means waking up later, getting the day started later, eating later and therefore injecting my insulin later.

My day consisted of pet fish hunting (as in looking for a new pet fish to buy, not literally hunting down peoples' poor pet fish!)  My boyfriend's and my first ever pet fish Dawn died on Wednesday morning which was very sad.  Our other fish Leonard has been looking very lonely the past few days and, so he doesn't die of a broken heart, we decided we should go and find him a new friend to swim with.

I grabbed 30g worth of porridge before leaving the house, covered in probably a little too much artificial sweetener, and headed to catch the bus with Anthony.  It took us a while to actually navigate ourselves towards the right bus stop for where we wanted to go (we moved to a new city a month ago, so we're still getting our bearings!) but we finally did it.

We spent (believe it or not) 2 and a half hours in the pet shop searching for the 'right' fish, strolling past the same fish tanks over and over again.  I must admit that this was mainly my doing, but I didn't want to get the 'wrong' one, did I!?  We finally found a little, cute baby Lionhead goldfish and bought her.  We have named her Lola.

On the bus home, I tested my blood sugars because I felt really high.  I was wrong - 3.9!  This has happened a couple of times recently, where I've felt high and my blood sugars are actually quite low.  It's worried me a little because I don't like it when my body's giving me the wrong signals.  However it's just reinforced to me how important it is that I check my blood sugars instead of doing something drastic like just injecting a couple of units of insulin.

Anyway we stopped at Tesco and bought some doughnuts, so I ate one to raise my blood sugars until we could get home for lunch.  I'm aware there are better hypo treatments, but I was 3.9...that's not hypo.  They did the trick nevertheless!

I haven't done a great deal since getting home.  Ant and I introduced Lola to her new home and to Leonard.  They seem to like each other.

Diabetes has been pretty well behaved on the whole which is always nice!  However Ant and I are about to make some lovely alcoholic cocktails which contain puréed raspberries, raspberry fruit juice and gin, so we'll see how well good old D is behaving after that little concoction!  I'll be sure to let you know tomorrow.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Do you inject your own insulin?

Whilst clearing out my room at my mum's home, I came across this...

At first I thought it was pretty funny and my mum and I had a laugh at it, especially considering it was hidden amongst more commonly found certificates, such as dancing awards and so forth.  I couldn't actually believe they gave out certificates for being a 'fully qualified self injector of insulin' just seemed funny.

However when I saw the date I had been "awarded" with the certificate, I began to realise that it was something to be proud of.  6th August 1998 - I was 5 years old and had been a diagnosed type 1 diabetic for just over a year and a half.  Whilst most children my age were learning to tie their own shoe laces, I was successfully giving myself life-saving injections on a daily basis - pretty impressive!

So if you've ever been given one of these certificates, or even if you haven't but you had to learn how to self-inject your insulin, don't play it down!  You save your own life every day.  As the certificate says...I offer you a "Hearty Congratulations. Very well done"!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Functioning Pancreas Envy

Last night I asked my boyfriend Anthony if I could test his blood sugars immediately after he'd eaten a good 60g or so of sultanas.  A little while ago I wrote a post about how I was having ridiculously high peaks after eating muesli for breakfast, because of the dried fruit in it, and so I gave it up.  I wondered if a non-diabetic person's bg would peak too.  Reluctantly, as no one particularly wants to have their finger needlessly stabbed with a needle, Ant let me test his blood.

Five minutes after he'd finished eating, his blood sugars were 15.8mmol.  Considering the normal range for a non-diabetic is usually between 4 and 8, that's pretty high!  After I'd forced an admission out of Anthony that the finger prick really doesn't hurt at all, we decided we'd test again an hour or so later.  We did and...8.1 - now that's what you call a functioning pancreas!

Although I was obviously over the moon that he clearly wasn't a diabetic (I must admit, the 15.8 scared me a little!) I was a teeny weeny, itsy bitsy, bit jealous that my body doesn't work that way.  Somedays I'd like someone to just give my pancreas a jump start or something, you know, a bit like a car battery.  In the 15 years I've had diabetes I can't say I've ever been envious of a functioning pancreas, although I suppose it's not exactly a common, diagnosable disorder.  Even after meals out with friends when I've had to wander off to the bathroom to inject and others haven't, it'd never really bothered me.  As Audrey Niffenegger wrote, 'everything seems simple until you think about it.'

I asked Ant if he'd felt any different when he was high and he said no.  We reckon it's probably because his bg probably didn't stay up there long enough for his body and mind to register it properly.  I suppose bodies are kind of amazing, whether they're working 100% properly or not.  It's amazing that Ant's body manages to keep a constant blood sugar balance, always releasing insulin from the pancreas and glucose from the liver.  It's also sort of amazing how much control I have to try and maintain, simply because one part of my body doesn't work properly.

Alright, so I can't go and eat an entire pizza or sandwich or tub of ice cream without injecting insulin - darn, I can't even eat fruit without doing it! - but my body still does a lot of amazing things.  Hey, I can touch my toes without bending my knees!  Amazing, right?!  :)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Time For Diabetes To 'Take A Break'

Page 27, 'Take A Break' Magazine, Journalist: Lucy Jolin

If you follow Diabetic Dais on Facebook or Twitter, you'll already be sick of hearing me going on and onnnnn about being featured in 'Take A Break' magazine this week.  However, I'm so pleased that I'm going to write a post on here about it too.  One day I will stop talking about it, but not today ;)

Basically I just want to say thank you to the DOC and to everyone who reads either of my blogs, who comments, who follows me on Twitter, who's liked Diabetic Dais on Facebook or has generally just taken an interest.  Without your unwavering support, I very much doubt that my blog would have been noticed by a journalist so thanks, you lovely people!

If you're here because you've read the article in 'Take A Break', thank you for checking it out!  You can find out a little bit more about my 'diabetic story' by clicking here.  Basically I blog about my diabetes because I hope that by giving a true account of living with type 1, I can prevent people from making generalisations and increase awareness.  I also write about it because it helps me focus more on my blood sugar control and I love meeting new people who live with diabetes too, so please feel free to chat to me!

Anyway, that's about it for today.  Blood sugars have been running a little high today - I haven't had one reading below 10 which is a bit annoying but hey ho.  Oh yeah...and I've wasted 3 testing strips by not putting enough blood on them so they error'ed.  I think it's time to admit that I need to 'up' the dial on my finger pricker so I can actually draw some might help I suppose.

Hope the start to your week has been a good one!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Guest Blog Post: The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Medications

Being entirely honest, I don't know a great deal about type 2 diabetes.  My grandma has it and I know the most common causes of it - I've heard of a few medications too.  However, before being sent Barb Stephen's article, I really didn't realise just how important it was to ensure that type 2 diabetics receive the right medication to suit them!  I guess it's just like type 1's being on the right insulin.  Thank you to for asking me to feature this blog post, it's really interesting!

The Risks of Type 2 Diabetes Medication

As you work with your doctor to determine your appropriate blood-sugar level, and diet and exercise requirements, you will want to make sure you choose the right medication with full knowledge of the risks of each one.

Type 2 diabetes patients can choose from a variety of drugs to help maintain blood sugar. Properly managing blood sugar can help to keep you from experiencing painful diabetes complications like heart attack, kidney damage, blindness and amputations.

Unfortunately, with most diabetes drugs you can expect some weight gain and also stomach pain, nausea, gas and diarrhea.  Over time, the frequency and severity of these side effects often decreases. 

If you have a pre-existing condition, there are some diabetes drugs that you should avoid altogether. Be aware of which symptoms to watch for.

Biguanides can cause lactic acidosis, which is associated with a low pH level and can be life-threatening.

Be aware of side effects like feeling weak, tired, dizzy or very cold; difficulty breathing; unusual muscle or stomach pain; or a change in the speed and steadiness of your heartbeat.

If you drink excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, you may not want to take a biguanide.

Thiazolidinediones can cause heart failure, eye problems, weak bones and bladder cancer. Bladder cancer symptoms may include blood in the urine, an increased need to urinate and pain during urination.

Actos is part of the thiazolidinedione family of drugs. Patients who take Actos for more than a year face a 40 percent increased risk of developing bladder cancer. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by patients who suffered complications from taking Actos. In most cases an Actos lawsuit was filed after receiving the prognosis of bladder cancer.

Sulfonylureas may increase the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease. 

If you have kidney or liver disease, sulfonylureas may be the best type 2 diabetes medication. If you are allergic to sulfa drugs, do not take sulfonylureas.

Meglitinides should be taken right before meals to avoid the possibility of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

DPP-4 Inhibitors occasionally increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the body cannot break down sugar but instead breaks down fat.  It can lead to severe illness or death.

Be aware of side effects like deep, rapid breathing, dry skin and mouth, flushed face, nausea and vomiting, and stomach pain. 

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors should not be used if you have bowel disease or other intestinal conditions.

As with any medication, speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. 

Once you have worked with your doctor to determine the right medication for you, take time to ask your doctor any questions you have, read articles on your medication to inform yourself about risks such as Actos side effects and other warnings that come with your medications.
Always follow the instructions concerning the best time to take your medications, as blood-sugar levels change throughout the day based on food intake and energy expended. 
Remember, the right medication should improve, not impair, your health.

Author bio: Barb Stephens is a writer for She uses her knowledge of medications to help consumers learn about potential risks involved with certain medications and to help promote overall drug safety. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

D-Blog Week: A Magical Farewell

One of the posts I enjoyed writing the most for last year's D-Blog Week was a story called 'Weeping Daisy and The D-Thanks Fairy'.  The point I was trying to make in the story was that although diabetes can be royal pain in the backside sometimes, I can still be thankful for a lot of things because of it...D-Blog Week being one of them!

I've got a busy few days ahead reading through everyone's posts, but I'm looking forward to it :)  I am thankful to diabetes for uniting me with many wonderful people.  No - being diabetic isn't fun and we all wish there was a cure, but in the words of Pamela Curtis, THE DOC MAKE THIS LOOK AWESOME!

Here is my drawing of the D-Thanks Fairy, sprinkling her magic insulin droplets on D-Blog Week 2012  :)

D-Blog Week: The Diabetic Look

One month after diagnosis.  Not looking too well.

Almost 16 years post diagnosis.  Do I look diabetic?

14 years post diagnosis.  What about now? (and yes, I can eat ice cream)

 And now?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

D-Blog Week: Diabetes Q&A


I don't blame people for asking me seemingly silly questions about diabetes.  They're usually just a product of misunderstanding, although I've recently started to hold the media accountable for many people's confusion about what it really is.  In their ignorance, a distinction between the different types of diabetes is rarely made and so people are often left to make broad generalisations.  Seeing as the news and other forms of media seem to be incapable of fulfilling their purpose (truthfully informing), many diabetics are left to take the situation into their own hands.

In this post I aim to set the record straight about diabetes by answering questions I've been regularly asked about diabetes.

Q:  Have you got the good type or the bad type?
A:  As far as I'm concerned, a 'good type' of diabetes doesn't exist.  Types 1 and 2 are chronic illnesses.  Both are life-changing and require constant care.  If by what you mean 'the good type' is 'is it curable?', I have the bad type because mine isn't.  If what you mean by 'the bad type' is 'did your lifestyle cause your diabetes?' (also a serious generalisation by the way!) I have the good type because I didn't do it to myself.  Both types of diabetes are diseases.  Is a disease ever a good thing?  No.

Q:  You're never allowed to eat sweets, are you?
A:  I'm not allergic to sugar, I'm diabetic.  I can eat sweets or a cake or chocolate if I want to, I just have to inject insulin to cover it!  No, I shouldn't consume the entire contents of the confectionery aisle at the supermarket all in one sitting, but neither should a non-diabetic.  Everything's alright in moderation.

Q:  How are you a diabetic when you're not fat?
A:  Sometimes type 2 diabetes can develop because of an unhealthy lifestyle and sometimes obesity, but not always.  Not only that, but I'm a type 1 anyway!  Type 1 diabetes is not caused by the lifestyle a person lived prior to diagnosis.
[A similar assumption people make is that type 1 diabetes is caused by eating too many sweets when a person is younger.  Myth buster says: FALSE!]

Q:  Type 1 diabetes is the one you're born with, isn't it?
A:  Annoyingly, the cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet certain.  There are a few schools of thought surrounding what causes diabetes (genetic?  triggered by something environmental?)  but no one is yet 100% sure of what forces our pancreas to take a permanent vacation.  I was diagnosed at 3, my uncle at 14 and my second cousin at 26 years old.  As you can see, we're not born with it.

Q:  Your diabetes will make you blind, won't it?
A:  If I don't take care of it and have awful management, yes.  There's a very strong risk of complications if you refuse to control your blood sugars to the best of your ability (or if your HbA1c is above 7%)  However because I try my hardest most of the time to prioritise my health, hopefully I won't get any diabetes related complications and hopefully I won't go blind!

Sorry for how blunt this post is, but I don't usually write really informative posts and I thought there were a few things people should know.  So next time you see a diabetic injecting their insulin and then eating a muffin, please don't assume it's going to kill them.  They're not doing anything wrong :)

D-Blog Week: The Amazing D-Straw


I know I rant about this quite a lot, there's nothing more annoying for me than being served a full sugar soda in a restaurant when I've obviously ordered diet.  In my opinion, not only is it bad service but it's also dangerous because I'm a diabetic!  Of course I understand that we're all human and people make mistakes, but it's happened to me so many times.

Because this post is about designing my dream diabetes device, I have designed The Amazing D-Straw!  Basically when you put it in your soda, if it is diet it will turn to blue.  If it's not it will turn to red and then you can demand a refund or a swap!  Just be polite when you ask for a swap, the last thing you want is a fed-up barman spitting in your soda to teach you a lesson.  Ewww.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

D-Blog Week: My Currant Dilemma

Diabetes Blog Week

I thought I'd combine the prompt for today with getting a bit creative and using a wild card.  I've always loved drawing.  When I was younger I'd sit for hours and hours, doodling and bugging my parents with the dreaded 'what should I draaaaaw?!' question.  I took art A Level but didn't enjoy it as much as I'd have liked to because I felt that the rigid guidelines, as to what we could and couldn't produce, stifled creativity.  That's probably why now, 2 years later, I've reverted back to my childhood artistic style of cartoons.  Regression and plenty of block Crayola Crayon colour - a combination probably worthy of therapy.  I enjoy it nevertheless!

Anyway...diabetes.  I recently began to notice that my blood sugar levels were peaking ridiculously high post breakfast.  I've known for a reasonable amount of time now that sultanas, raisins, currants and most dried fruits are notorious for raising bg's because they're high in GI (glycemic index).  Still, what do I choose to eat in the morning?  Muesli.  Not only that, but I make no attempt to pick the currants out or limit how many fall into my bowl.  Instead I usually welcome them in because they're the bits that don't taste like cardboard.

Yum, yum, yum.  I finish my muesli and give my insulin.  As little as half an hour later I want to curl up into a ball and cry because my blood sugar levels are almost in the 20's and I feel dreadful.

There are a few things I know that I need to improve in terms of my diabetes management; trying to get good, controlled blood sugars means plenty of tweaking and adjusting.  Still, I suppose one of the main things I'd like to focus more on is eating a lower GI diet than I currently (currantly, haha) do.  I know what I need to do, I know the GI of most foods, I have the books and resources to do it, I just need to do it!

Here's my drawing.  Basically I like melon, but it's high in GI.  I like cheese and it's not!  I like beer, but it's high in GI.  I like wine and it's not!  What I'm trying to remind myself is that although there are foods I might miss if I'm on a low GI diet, there are always plenty of alternatives that I like equally as much and that won't cause as much harm to my diabetes. 

Tomorrow I'll change my breakfast, or have cardboard.

D-Blog Week: Taking The Weight Off My Shoulders


I used to put myself down quite a lot when it came to talking about my diabetes care.  Come to think of it, sometimes I still do.  When I went to check-ups I'd rarely have a positive thing to say about how I'd been coping and, before receiving the results, I'd always predict my HbA1c as being a good 2% higher than it actually was.  My doctor and diabetes nurse were constantly telling me that, although there was a little room for improvement, I really wasn't doing as badly as I thought I was.

However in the last year or so, and especially since completing the DAFNE course, I've realised that I do a pretty good job at looking after my diabetes.  My control isn't perfect and some days I'd love nothing more than to throw my insulin pens and glucometer into the bin or out of the window or into the ocean, but I manage to refrain.

The thing I'm the most proud of, with regards to my diabetes management, is my carbohydrate counting.  I used to put a massive, 9834592745925483 foot barrier up against it, thinking that it was the most impractical task ever and making out that I was hard done by because I'd been asked to do it.  In actual fact, like most things I make a big deal out of, it's pretty easy.

Nowadays the thought of eating a meal, without at least having an idea of how many grams of carbohydrates are in it, bothers me far more than getting my kitchen scales out or flicking through my Carbs&Cals book.  Guessing how much insulin to give for my Sunday Roast or bowl of pasta or Chinese takeaway only leaves me either dying of thirst because I haven't injected enough, or scoffing a much unwanted second meal a couple of hours later because I've overdosed!

All in all, I'm happy to have finally befriended my kitchen scales.  They take the weight of worry off my shoulders! ;)

Monday, 14 May 2012

D-Blog Week: READ ME

Last year I participated in my first Diabetes Blog Week.  I'd only created Diabetic Dais a week or so beforehand and, at the time, I was pretty nervous about taking part.  As it turned out I loved everything about it!  I enjoyed writing my posts, being able to be as creative as I liked and finding my own writing style.  Still, the thing that made last years D-Blog Week so special for me was being able to connect with other diabetics by reading their fantastic blogs.

I was so pleased when I read the prompt for today's post and saw that we were to share some of our favourite D-Blogs.  Although I love putting time and effort into my own blog, for me, the thing that helps me the most with managing my own diabetes is being a part of such a supportive and diverse online community.

Olly Double writes for Diabetes UK's blog site and is a father of two teenage type 1 (there's some alliteration for you!) diabetic sons.  I love his writing style.  He never fails to find the right balance between the seriousness of diabetes and having fun.  If you can read one of his posts without laughing, or at least smiling, I'd be surprised!

I came across Pamela Curtis' blog during last month's #HAWMC.  No, she doesn't write about diabetes, but her consistently optimistic approach to her rare chronic illness is incredible and inspirational to say the least.  Reading 'Make This Look Awesome' really makes me want to take a leaf out of her book (or take a post out of her blog?!) in my way of looking at diabetes. Super star!

Vicki Gibbs is a friend of mine; a friend who I was introduced to via the Diabetic Online Community.  I always thoroughly enjoy reading her 'notebook' and I love her no-fuss, honest approach to taking care of diabetes.  Along with being one of the founders of Student Diabetics UK, she puts a lot of time into educating people about diabetes and is so passionate about doing so.  Vicki is such a great girl and her blog is equally as wonderful as she is.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Day 30: Challenge Met!

So guys'n'gals, it's Day 30 and the final post of HAWMC.  I know I didn't post every day, but I still worked hard to make sure I produced all of the posts by April 30th, so I'm going to say that I pretty much met the challenge. 

The last prompt was to produce a word cloud on Wordle, buttt I couldn't get Java to work on my laptop so I drew one.  It's quite literally a diabetes word cloud...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Day 29: Diet Coke For The Diabetic

Yippee!  I've finally caught up with my HAWMC posts and I'm on track for the final stretch.  Today's prompt is to write a 6 sentence story.  I've never been particularly good at keeping things short and concise - I tend to ramble or go off on a tangent.  Think I may find this challenging...

I took a sip through a straw.  The liquid came into contact with my tastebuds.  Sweet, sickly, full of sugar - I spluttered.  It wasn't the first time it had happened.  I took the drink back up to the counter, manoeuvring my way through the queues of hungry customers.  I addressed the woman who had served me - "I am a Type 1 Diabetic and I asked for Diet Coke!"

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Day 28: Happy 1st Birthday, Diabetic Dais!

Although it's now the early hours of the morning on Sunday 29th April, Day 28 was my blogging birthday!  Diabetic Dais is 1 year old!  In regard to marking the milestone, the prompt for this post couldn't be more perfect.

The first time I...wrote a post on Diabetic Dais, I didn't know where to begin.  It was the afternoon and I'd been trying to figure out layouts and pages and colour schemes for most of the day.  I finally sat down on my bed to write and my mind went blank.  Title?  I was unimaginative to say the least: 'The First Post' was my best idea.  Then I played around with the appearance and size of my font for a while.  I uploaded some irrelevant images to see how it all worked, only to delete them immediately.  Anything to distract myself from actually writing.  

What could I write about?  I could have moaned continuously about my rollercoaster blood sugars, or whined about what an evil, incurable disease diabetes is.  No.  If I'd have done that, I probably wouldn't have ever written another post again.  I'd have depressed myself so much that I would have never returned (and neither would anyone else!)  In years to come I would think about that blog I almost got into writing and Google 'Diabetic Dais', only to find that it's on page 9086743687367953868387568.

I spent a considerable amount of time either gazing out of my window or wandering aimlessly around the Diabetes UK website searching for inspiration.  Eventually I realised that if I didn't want to depress myself or others by writing myself into complete oblivion, the only alternative was to make myself feel better.  The positive things about having diabetes!  They do exist, right?  They must do.

I started typing.  I must admit, I was kind of nervous.  Being a blogging novice meant that I didn't really know what tone was appropriate.  At this point, I didn't even have any readers so I was clueless as to who I was even addressing!  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.  Before long I was barely even thinking about what I was writing.

That was it.  Finished.  I read it, checking for spelling and grammar mistakes.  I previewed it.  I read it again.  Okay.  I hovered my mouse over the 'Publish' button for a few seconds.  Click. 'Your post has been published'.  I went away hoping that someone, somewhere would read it.

People did read it.  In fact more people than I could have ever imagined have read The First Post and others.  In the last year I have written 60 posts, have started my Diabetes UK blog, have met some inspiring and beautiful people and have become a part of an online community that I absolutely adore.  I want to thank you all for reading, for commenting, for following, for subscribing, for tweeting, for sharing and for supporting me.  You're awesome!

Day 27: Trials and Triumphs of T1

5 challenges:

1)  Doing my injections - I think this is one of the main challenges for most diabetics.  For me it's not because they hurt or I'm scared of needles, but because sometimes I just don't want to. Sometimes I feel I'm too busy, or I'm not in the right environment, or I just want to be non-diabetic for a day or two.

2)  Going to endo appointments -  I don't struggle as much with attending these anymore, but they used to feel like the bane of my life.  It didn't even matter that I only had to go every 3months in the paediatric clinic, just the thought of the whole ordeal would fill me with dread. Because I wasn't taking care of my diabetes properly, I hated finding out what my HbA1c was, having my insulin doses adjusted and being asked if I'd been recording my blood sugars, when I only ever felt that I was disappointing my diabetes team and myself when I hadn't.  The last thing I wanted to do was talk about my diabetes, when I was simply wishing it would disappear.

3)  Glucotabs and Lucozade - Because I've had diabetes since being really young, I've never acquired a sweet tooth.  I find anything that's really sugary to be absolutely repulsive.  However, two of the best quick-acting hypo treatments are Glucotabs and Lucozade.  Chocolate bars and cookies are appealing, but they won't raise your bg's quickly because of the fat in them and the way they are digested.  Glucotabs are the easiest to carry around with you and Lucozade is usually the easiest to get hold of in an emergency.   Convenient?  Yes.  Tasty?  No.  Sometimes I have to force myself to drink Lucozade or shove Glucotabs down my neck, even if I'm really low.

4)  Going for my retinopathy screening - Everytime I go, I work myself into such a frenzy.  Not only do I absolutely despise eye-drops, but I worry so much about what the results are going to be.  As soon as the screening is complete and they have the photos, I always hastily ask if they look ok, my voice quivering.  Sometimes I wonder if I should even go, but then I have to remind myself that ignorance isn't bliss.

5)  Doing the right thing -  I've often wrote about how diabetes doesn't give you a choice.  You have to do injections, test your blood etc.  However, I've realised that the thing that actually makes diabetes hard sometimes is that we do have a choice.  If I don't want to test my blood sugar, or give my insulin or treat my hypos I don't have to.  Although I know there will be horrendous long-term complications, sometimes it just feels easier not to at the time. So, for me, making the choice to do the right thing for my diabetes can be the biggest challenge of all.

5 victories:

1)  Doing the DAFNE program - Those on my diabetes team know that trying to just get me on it was like trying to make a sheep 'moo' for a long time.  I didn't want to know because 1. I was dubious that anything could be so amazing that it would massively improve my management and 2. I generally wasn't interested in anything that involved diabetes.  However after months of persuasion and going on and on about it, I did DAFNE.  They weren't lying, it was amazing.  I met some wonderful people and learned so much.  My HbA1c has improved significantly since doing DAFNE and I would recommend it to every diabetic.

2)  Talking to others about my diabetes - I used to be useless.  I'd get embarrassed and shy away from any situation which meant I'd have to reveal that I have diabetes.  That often meant that I'd end up in some sticky situations.  I'm not like that anymore.  I've come to realise that my diabetes is part of me and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

3)  Testing my blood - Estimating how much insulin I needed to give myself by seeing how high/low I felt at the time was never a good technique.  I did this most days for a couple of years and I regard myself as being lucky for not being riddled with diabetes complications as a punishment for my stupidity.  

4)  Carb counting - Hit and miss, hit and miss.  I was like that for years. I never really took notice as to why carb counting was so important and so, in my ignorance, rarely bothered to do it.  Nowadays, there isn't one packet of crisps or chocolate bar with unread nutritional information.  There isn't one rice dish or bowl of pasta that goes unweighed.  There isn't one place that I don't take my Carbs&Cals book.  My boyfriend and I even cook our potatoes/spaghetti/whatever in separate pans, just so we know I'm going to bolus correctly.  Some may say it's excessive, but I know I'm doing the right thing.

5)  Blogging - I see 'Diabetic Dais' and my Diabetes UK blog as victories because of how much writing them improves my diabetes control.  The more I write about diabetes, the more I focus on it and the better my blood sugars are!  Not only that, but I've met some beautiful diabetics through writing my blogs, who I wouldn't necessarily have had the pleasure of talking to if I didn't rant and ramble on like I do!

Day 26: Dais says...

DAISY SAYS:  "Diabetes loves me, it loves me not..."

Day 25: The Strangest Hypo Ever

Daisy awoke normally.  She stirred and opened her eyes a little expecting the morning light to be flooding into her bedroom, only to find that it wasn't.  It was still dark outside, but she could make out the shapes of the familiar objects that surrounded her.  Books, cushions, a teddy bear.  The dim glow of the landing light made things just about visible.

She must have had at least a couple of hours before needing to get up for school, so she rolled over on to her side to drift back off to sleep...or at least she would have done had she have been able to.  The left hand side of Daisy's body wouldn't move.  Not even a little bit.  Not at all.

Panic started to set in almost immediately.  Her arm and hand were limp, fingers splayed out and her leg, motionless.  Help.  If she were to shout loud enough, she would surely be able to wake her mother in the room next door.  Opening her mouth she got ready to scream.  She produced no sound, not even a murmur.  Not even a whisper.  Silence. 

What should she do?  Dreadful thoughts polluted her mind.  Was she paralysed?  Would she ever be able to walk again?  She was only 11years old!  She'd worked herself into such a state that the possibility of her thinking straight, and coming to a logical decision, was unlikely.  Calm down, Daisy.

It was noticeable to her that the pace of her thumping heart had slowed.  It no longer felt like it was eager to make a rapid escape from the contours of her chest.  Daisy began to dedicate her focus to each, individual limb; pleading with her muscles, begging them for movement.  They remained still.  Not even a twitch.  Not even a twinge.  Lifeless.

She had to do something.  She had to get out of bed somehow.  Daisy rolled on to her stomach.  Using every bit of energy in the right hand side of her body, she twisted around until both legs were dangling over the side of her bunkbed.  Yes, her bunkbed.  Not only was she unable to move, but she was also 6ft off the ground.  For some reason, thoughts of Julio Iglesias being determined to beat his diagnosis of life-long paralysis popped into her head.  If that was what God had planned for her too, she was going to change his mind.

Daisy put her right foot on the ladder of the bunkbed and clung on to the higher metal bars with her working hand.  Fearful, she attempted to 'bunny-hop' towards the ground.  Only using one hand and one leg, this wasn't the best idea.  Her foot slipped out from underneath her.  She lost the grip she had and began to grasp at thin air.  She fell.

Her body and the hard, wooden floor collided with a tremendous bang.  For the first time since she had awoken, Daisy's vocal chords released sound.  Sound in the form of a wail, a scream, a cry for help.

The door to the bedroom swung open and her mum entered, panicked and flustered.  She picked Daisy up off of the floor, held her and asked her what had happened.  Daisy still couldn't speak.  She was struggling to even breathe.  She gasped and tried to inhale, but her lungs felt as though they had no capacity, even for oxygen.  

When her mother realised she wasn't going to get a response, she took action by addressing her first concern.  She tested Daisy's blood - 2.4, just as she'd expected.  Lucozade, digestive biscuits, some TLC.  Before she knew it, Daisy was back to normal.  She told her mum of her frightening and strange experience.  She clenched the fist of her left hand and then opened it.  She wiggled her toes on her left foot.  Relief.

Daisy got back into bed.  Her mum tucked her up and kissed her forehead before returning to her own room.  Daisy closed her eyes, just as the sun began to rise outside.  She thought of how that was the worst hypo she had ever had.  She hoped she would never experience a hypo like that again.  Daisy fell asleep.  Her Diabetes Devil rubbed it's hands together in delight, rejoicing in it's mischief and the trouble it had caused.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Day 24: T1 Terminator!

Decided to get a bit creative and designed my own diabetes superhero/mascot
© T1 Terminator - Diabetic Dais

Day 23: Support For Diabetic Students

A little while ago I was interviewed for an article on the Guardian website about whether or not universities are doing enough to support students with long-term illnesses.  Of course every university is different and each will have it's own provisions in place, or so we hope.  Nevertheless the general consensus revealed that students living with autism, epilepsy, mental health disorders, diabetes etc. don't always have access to the help and resources they need to be happy and successful whilst studying.  

When I started uni in September of last year I attended freshers fairs expecting to come across a Diabetic Students Society of some sort, but no such luck.  Yes, Disability Services and Disability Counselling are all well and good and definitely are needed, but what if I don't want to be counselled?  What if I just want to speak to people in a similar position to me, people with diabetes?  It's for this reason that I was excited and intrigued when I was contacted about an online support network for diabetic students.

Vicki Gibbs and Lizzie Holt are second year university students who had been disappointed with the lack of support offered to them and others with diabetes.  Both girls felt they had benefited immensely from being able to interact and identify with one another on the Diabetes Support Forum (UK), and felt there should be a place where diabetic students could do the same.  So, in true DOC style, they made it happen!

Student Diabetics UK (SDUK) or 'Rant Room' is a Facebook group where students can talk about, laugh about, share concerns about and unite through diabetes.  From managing diabetes and drinking alcohol, to dealing with diabetes and exam stress, to concerns about bg levels, to where we keep our diabetes supplies - you name it, SDUK discuss it!  It's not even 2 months old, but the support group is growing as quickly and successfully as the friendships that are being made within it.

Not only is it helping me to focus on managing my diabetes as a student, but I'm learning new things all the time and I'm meeting some truly amazing people along the way.  I think it would be fair to say that we'll be seeing great things from SDUK in the future.  So if you're a college/sixth form/university student, check it out!  Trust me, you'll love it as much as I do.