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Showing posts from 2014

Shopping

The warranty on my pump expires on the 11th of January, and knowing my knack for mishaps (the x-ray incident comes to mind) I’ve been scouring the diabetes webiverse in search of a new model.

It’s a complicated process that should go like this:

- Does it work?
- Who made it?
- Do I need that feature?
- How long is the warranty?
- How much am I going to have to pay for this?
- Is my health insurance going to cover this now or am I going to have to wait an extra year with no warranty?

Instead this happens…

“Is it pretty? LOOK A COLOUR SCREEN! Hmmmm, I don’t know about that warranty length. BUT LOOK AT THE COLOURFUL GRAPHS!”

If I have a poor quality pump next year (albeit with stunning graphics and sleek design), you'll know why.

Sloth Life

To think, that this time last year I was hanging out for HSC results, imagining that I would be the most productive uni student ever because I was studying something useful.
Now I'm half way through uni exams and realise I have turned into a sloth

If I could have the time over again I would do things a little differently.

-I would make notes as I go. EVERY.TIME. Not for two weeks and then cram two days before the finals
-Attend your 8am lectures. 6 hours of catching up in one day is not a good idea.
-Drink less coffee
-Stop driving to the train station every day. You walked before you had a drivers license, your legs ACTUALLY still work
-And if you do drive, park your car well so you're not relying on "the car gods" to keep it safe all day
-Don't get addicted to yet another TV Show, MASH was bad enough during the HSC
-Don't buy every textbook- rookie mistake I made twice
-Don't write your report the days before it's due. It will take longer than you t…

Hindsight

The HSC students are sitting their final exams, and in my old age I'm getting all reflective.

So now, with my extra pearls of wisdom, I can laugh at my first worries about uni:

My main concern?

"I'm not going to make any friends at uni and will be a little hermit eating my lunch alone in the library"

Everyone tried to tell me that I would be fine. That everyone is in the same boat.
My brain does not accept these things until I've experienced them myself.
I was petrified because on my very first day of uni I had a three hour break scheduled and was in a panic as to what I was going to do with my hermit self for three hours.

Let me tell you, I'm not cool. I can be painfully socially awkward, especially meeting new people.
I made friends. I made friends before uni had officially started!

On enrolment day I met a girl on the bus. I noticed that she had a penguin classic tote bag with The Great Gatsby on it, and decided that odds were I would probably get along wi…

The Rise and Fall of Dobby the Pump

A few of you are aware that in one of my brightest moments I managed to leave my insulin pump (fondly named Dobby) on during an x-ray last week.
Pump and x-rays do not go together, and sadly Dobby is now sent off to the land of faulty pumps. I've received my new pump (newly named Severus) and everything is going smoothly again, but I can't help but feel this new pump is different, something's not quite right.

I was on multiple daily injections (MDI) for 8 months until I made the decision to get an insulin pump. The pump was supposed to bring freedom from 4 injections a day, letting me eat what I want, wake up when I want, do whatever I felt like doing without being bound to a tight schedule. Ultimately, it did, but at first Dobby and I didn't get along so well.

I remember back in January 2011 when I was first hooked up to the pump. It felt weird, and like an enormous and confusing device. I was let loose in the hospital cafeteria for lunch and was half way through a me…

Different

When I was a little kid I had some troubles with speech, I stammered for a while and had a lisp.
The stammer went away, the lisp didn't.

My doctor advised us that there was no reason to correct it, "think of Ita Buttrose" he said.
So we left it alone. My mum is pretty brilliant, so she taught me that differences in me were what made me special. I had a birthmark over my eyes and forehead that used to be pointed out and compared to chickenpox. She taught me that it wasn't a bad thing, it just made up a little part of me. My lisp was exactly the same, just a little part of me. The birthmark faded, but the lisp stayed, and I was perfectly fine with that.

But then I chose the most inconvenient profession, I decided I wanted to be a speech pathologist. My lisp was suddenly front and centre, the polite avoidance of talking about it was gone. I've started speech therapy and am working hard on correcting it.
And I'm okay with that- I like to use myself as a guinea p…

A stigma

There's a negative stigma around the term 'mental illness', to some people, having a mental illness means you're 'crazy'.The stigma is so strong that I'm nervous about putting this out there.

I struggle with anxiety, and have done for a long time.
It's just as real as any physical condition like my diabetes.
And I'm certainly not the only one.

Everyone deals with anxiety to some extent. We all have so much going on that it's become the norm. A little stress and a little worry can be a good thing. But there's a difference between nerves before an exam and ending up physically ill from the stress of what should be stress-free daily interactions.

I don't really want to go into my own anxiety in much depth but here's a basic rundown of some of the troubles that come with high level anxiety. Obviously this varies person to person.

- You analyse quite a fair bit of what you do and what you say to people
- You play your thoughts over again …

Nanny

My beautiful grandmother (whom I called Nanny) passed away on Thursday, having suffered from dementia for most of my life. Instead of remembering her the way she was for the last 8 years, I'd like to preserve the earlier memories. She was 91, and is now at peace, but I miss her more than I can say.

It began with a sound too hard to pronounce, I wasn't able to say Nanna, so turned to Nanny instead and it stuck.

When I think of Nanny I think of her pearls, her dresses, the smell of her wardrobe, her bags with the clasps I found fascinating. The ring she gave me years ago, that she placed upside down on my finger. Her yellow- lidded container perched high on the fridge, filled with my favourite pink biscuits covered in hundreds and thousands. Her struggle with seat belts every time she sat in the car, my special job was to help her put it on. Her magazine stacks, doing find a words while she sat with a crossword. Her lotto tickets, always holding out hope that she'd strike it…

Low Sugar Brain Adventures

Low blood sugars make you do stupid things.
Stupid, dangerous, scary things.
I must have had a whole lot of luck on my side today because this could have turned nasty.

I was walking back to redfern station when my blood sugar dropped. I didn't notice it and took a wrong turn.... and so the saga begins.

I finally stopped to check it, but there was no where to sit.
Stupid low mistake #1: Crouch down and check it in a shifty looking side street.
My shifty side street was near a shop, so I suppose low error 1 wasn't too bad.

It was then I realised I was going the wrong way.
Stupid low mistake #2: Walk back and forth past the same guy on a corner, showing that you're evidently lost.

So I managed to head the right way, which brings me to this.
Stupid low mistake #3: Keep walking when low, AND walk through a shifty looking side street.

I quickly walked through and encountered two women nearby, so I asked which was it was to Redfern station. "Oh it's just up the hill!&quo…

Social media- I shake my head in despair

I'm a bit delayed, but I found out about this lovely incident this morning. A cafe decided that they would name a cronut on their menu diabetes. In short, the internet exploded.
They issued an apology, and have taken it off the menu- I have no issue.

But I have a HUGE issue with the comments section on their facebook page. Many are commenting that the people complaining
- don't have a sense of humour
- are oversensitive
- need to get over it

One comment even linked diabetics with cheap toys- poorly made, weak,  and fragile.    

*deep breath*
Im breaking out a list

1) Oversensitive? Right, ok. So if it's ok to call a dish diabetes, it's ok to call one renal failure? Stroke? What about cancer? They are equally inappropriate names.

2) "Oh get a sense of humour". I like to laugh about my diabetes, I encourage everyone to do the same! But misinformation isn't funny, it's ignorance. By putting out a dish clearly swamped in sugary treats and calling it diab…

Changing it up

I was going to write about my crazy exam blood sugars, but I've done that before. I think now I might blog a response to a frequently asked question that isn't even remotely diabetes related!

"How do you know exactly what you want to do with your life? Why do you want to be a speech pathologist?"

Back in Year 12 when everyone felt swamped in the pressure of choosing a degree, I was one of the relatively few that didn't experience a crisis. Sure, I had about a week of reconsidering, maybe going into teaching, or psychology, or sociology etc. But once again I was drawn back to speech. I found out about speech in a Job Guide book, well to be more accurate my mum found it. I was focused on psychology at the time, so glazed over the speech entry, but it turned out to be everything I wanted and more.

My main goal is to help people. I wanted something medical without being a doctor, teaching without being a teacher and psychological without being a psychologist. Plus, I…

Low and Alone

Diabetes can be really scary sometimes, and it's pretty terrifying to think that one day I'm going to have to live on my own with it.

The other night I was babysitting my little cousins, which went really smoothly! They were wonderful and all tucked in asleep. So I was left alone, about 20-30mins from home and my blood sugar decided to have a field day.

I went low suddenly, I'd been high all day so it feels worse when it drops dramatically. It was 3.6, so I went and had some juice, I'd only thought to bring two. I checked again shortly after, and it was 3.3. My juices have around 30grams of carbs in them, you only need 15 to treat a low. Basically, I'd had double treatment, and my level had dropped instead of risen. This kept happening through the night, I couldn't get my levels up for any sustained period of time. I tried everything, milk, banana bread, jelly beans, anything except my last juice which was for an overnight low if I had one.
I fiddled with some …

D Blog Week- Day 7

I'm actually pretty sad that blog week is over- here is the final topic: My Favourite Things
"As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things from the week. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment left on your blog that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!"

I love d blog week because it brings bloggers together. It's so wonderful to see comments from others on my posts, knowing that they bring something to someone's day. It's nice to read new blogs too.

First, I've begun following Karen at bittersweet diabetes- she's absolutely lovely, taking the time to comment on others posts and write her own, plus organise this year after year. Thank you for making me feel included!

I love having more readers, it makes blogging feel a lot more interactive. 

Thank you to everyone who has read and com…

D Blog Week- Day 6

Image
Saturday Snapshots
"Back for another year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like!  With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures.  Post as many or as few as you’d like.  Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves."
Diabetes rule of thumb- you wake up in the night, you check your level! 4am checks on a Saturday morning (8.5mmol/L= 153mg/dl for my non Aussie readers)



Drove myself to my piano lesson now that I have my Ps (P plates= I can drive without supervision now). This means packing a diabetes emergency pack and keeping it in the car in case I forget something.



The pump supplies stashed in my wardrobe- a little haphazard following yesterday's set change. I contemplated cleaning it today...... that is yet to happen.




Phonetic transcriptions- because I'm a student speechie with a test on Tuesda…

D Blog Week-Day 5

Diabetes life hacks

" Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen"

Firstly- I didn't know about the medtronic pump baclight trick... COOL!
anyhoo
Cool things I have discovered:

- If you place a drop of softdrink just so on your blood meter, you can tell if it is diet/sugar free by the reading
- If you have bubbles in your insulin tubing, fill the cannula (TAKE THE SET OFF I REPEAT TAKE THE SET OFF) to prime them out- uneeded pump rewindings be gone!
 - For medtronic pumps, if you have a clip turn the pump to lie flat on your skin (LOCK THE PUMP!!) It makes it much easier to feel if the pump is alarming at night. This also helps in reducing the bump in clothes
- In formal dresses or even long dresses in gener…

D Blog Week- Day 4

"Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we've done that and we can help others do it too? (Thanks to Meri of Our Diabetic Life for suggesting this topic.)"  

Diabetes bad days are hard, there's no denying that. But if I were to dwell on how terrible it was I'd be curled up in a corner for eternity, and that's no fun!

So with awful days of high sugars I use: "what goes up must come down"
The bad times will be over in a short while, so isn't it best to just do what you can and let it happen? I'm lucky enough to have some amazing technology to help me out with diabetes dramas- so why not use it to my full advantage?

Emotionally, as a problem solving …

D Blog Week- Day 3

"What brings me down:
May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)"

Sometimes, diabetes brings me down. Not often.
But sometimes.

Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right because you're stuck on a high blood sugar marathon. Sometimes it feels like you're constantly doing battle with your own body. Sometimes it feels like no one understands my diabetic life.  Sometimes I feel sorry for myself after a particularly painful set change and  sometimes it feels like I'll never win against my diabetes- because I physically can't.             

How do I handle that?
- I treat high sugars thinking "what goes up must come down"
- I'm not doing battle with my body, it simply …

D Blog Week- Day 2

I'm no poet, so I'll take the wildcard today!

"This continues to be one of the most popular DBlogWeek topics, so let’s have another crack at it! Tell us what your fantasy diabetes device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, or anything else you can think of. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?"

Well of the sky is the limit I say: ALL OF THEM IN ONE THING.

My diabetes dream machine...     
It would be a pump, that can check your blood sugar without a finger poke. You would be able to scan food items so that it automatically knows the required carbs.
My dream machine would adjust its insulin rate automatocally based on your requirements- no adjustments required. 
Set changes would be a thing of the past, this pump would stick on and communicate with an implanted receptor on the pancreas. It's like bluetooth in your body.
But that's the boring stuff.

The dream machine will be a…

D Blog Week: Day 1

This is my second year of participating in Diabetes Blog Week- so I'll be posting every day this week on the chosen topic. Today is "Change The World"

"Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)"

My diabetes issue, for once isn't the media (I know, I'm shocked too!).
What I'm passionate about is fairly simple; equality.
I want to be assured that I can do whatever I want; be a speech pathologist, have kids, gain world domination.

All of the usual stuff.

I want to never h…

4th Diaversary and 1st Blog-aversary

4 years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes... And wow that went fast!
In type 1 terms, I'm still a newbie really, most of my diabetic friends have had it for over 10 years.
People think it's a bit weird that I remember the day I was diagnosed, and no, I don't get presents and cake (but hey if anyone wants to buy me food I'll take it ;) ). I don't think of it as the day my old life was snatched away, but as the day it was saved (quite literally!). It reminds me that I've managed my diabetes so well that I'm alive- something that wasn't possible all that long ago. I did some maths (yes, I'm shocked too!)

Loosely speaking:
- I've been type 1 for 1461 days
- I've done around 11700 fingerprick tests
- 1004 insulin injections with pens
- 400 set changes
- and had more low blood sugars than I care to remember

I also began this blog around a year ago (give or take a few days) amd it's unbelievable how it somehow managed to take off and get…

Honesty

It dawned on me that sometimes I glaze over aspects of diabetes,  making it seem like no big deal. Probably because pity irritates me. So here's the honest answers to some common questions

Does it hurt when you prick your finger?

Yes. Usually barely and only for a second, but yes it does. Sometimes it hurts for a while. Sometimes it doesn't stop bleeding and you leave a blood trail on the keys during your piano lesson.

Does it hurt when you change your pump set/ inject it into your stomach?

9 times out of 10 yes. Again, it's only for a short while but when it hits a muscle you know it! Like the fingerpricks, it can vary. Sometimes you can't even feel it, other times you're left crying because it hurts so terribly. Worst case scenario you have to take it out and inject another one.... fun

You're luck you're used to needles- you must find vaccinations easy!

I was needle phobic when I was a kid, and I can't say I find vaccinations much fun. But to an exten…

The latest questions

Making new friends means new perspectives on my diabetes and its supplies. Heres a few good ones I've heard lately:

In response to the sound of my fingerpricker "Woah, man I thought that was a really angry bug!"
After watching me check my level "So, where does all the blood go?"
"Thought that was a remote.... THEY SHOULD MAKE IT A REMOTE TOO!" (Which nerd Bec somehow made into a harry potter reference)
After asking about my diabetes necklace " Ohhh, I thought it was a fashion statement"

Bonus about going to a uni full of health science nerds? They're all very curious, ask decent questions and don't make stupid assumptions (they're also Potterheads)

Of low sugars and public transport

They're up, they're down, they're round and round. Just when you think you're stable- diabetes chucks a temper tantrum, just to remind you it's there.
And thanks to this I'm slowly becoming "the weird train lady" also known as the "not at all presentable juicebox carrying uni student"
Unfortunately for me I regularly catch the train in peak hours- not a pleasant experience. There's never any seats and trains that turn up at my station tend to be of the old, rattling, air-conditioning that never works variety.
Team that with diabetes and you'll see where the reputation is coming from.

It's just past 5.30pm and a frizzy haired, barely functioning and bag laden like a pack mule, uni student crams herself into a train. There's nothing to hold on to and the train is completely packed, no one is able to get in this carriage.
You get the picture- I'm a mess and I'm being trodden on by people bigger than me. But what happens …

What's the difference?

Types of diabetes

Meeting new people has pin pointed everyone's number 1 question about type 1 diabetes: "what's the difference between type 1 and 2?"
I'm not an expert, but I'll endeavour to cover some of the many (yes more than two!) types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

I'm going to be a narcissist and talk about my type first :)
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease- meaning that the immune system has malfunctioned in a certain way to prompt an attack on itself. Your pancreas has two main functions: 1 involves digestion, the other involves the secretion of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows for sugar in the blood stream to be balanced and used effectively in the body. Sugar is always present in our blood, however more is introduced when we eat carbohydrates. The role of insulin is to balance this sugar level. In type 1 diabetes the immune system has attacked the beta cells of the pancreas (the cells that produce insulin). This means that the pr…

It's all in a name

I've just finished my second week of uni, and it's going reasonably well.
But there's something about this change that I hadn't anticipated, no one knows me.

Seems obvious right? New place= new people with no idea who you are

I think I've said "Hi, I'm Bec" about 20 times this past fortnight and I started wondering, why do I say Bec and not Rebecca? I think it happened like this:
a) Rebecca was originally the name I introduced myself with when I was a little kid, and she was very shy and reserved
b) Rebecca means I'm in trouble
c) Rebecca was used by teachers who I don't know particularly well or like very much
d) I had spent the past 3 years or so being called Bec by my entire year group

Who knew there was so much in a name?

So I had made the decision to go with a more casual variation of my name from the beginning, but next on the list was "what do I do when people ask questions about my diabetes? Am i supposed to tell them? Will they a…

The High Blood Sugar Saga

Sometimes you can do everything right, and diabetes just throws you a curve ball. Why?
Because that's what it does.
I carb count everything, do the right amount of fingerprick checks, insulin doses- you name it I do it. I'm on top of this diabetes thing, and it was fairly smooth sailing.

But that's not how diabetes plays.

For the past week my levels have been rising way above the 4-7 target. I was struggling to get a level under 13 let alone 7. I've been up in the 20s for no good reason, taking double the amount of insulin I usually do, but nothing worked. There's not a nice way to say it, high blood sugar makes you feel like crap- beyond crap, crappiest crap to ever exist kind of crap. You're thirsty and nauseous and tired and grumpy and not even bothered to move because that would involve effort.

They stayed up despite correction after correction,18+ and not budging on Monday night. In a last ditch attempt to avoid a hospital stay I got up again and again dur…

Connections

I had a different post planned for today, but after receiving a comment on one of my other posts I felt this was a better topic. I hope this helps a few diabetics out there as well as informs everyone else about what it can be like when you're the token diabetic kid.
When I was diagnosed with t1d, I went to a school that had no other diabetics.  None. Now that's changed over the years and the current group have a fairly strong support network, but I didn't.  Many things were a battle, like getting exam provisions and understanding from teachers.  But all that aside, I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness.  
Those closest to you alleviate it to some extent, but they can't know exactly what it's like, because they have a fully functioning pancreas! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they have a pancreas that does as it's told, but it gets a bit lonely.
You look around at school, in the shops, anywhere and see people eating without a thought of how many carb…

Being an adult is overrated