Posts

Showing posts from 2015

7 things you wanted to know but never asked: WDD 2015

It's World Diabetes Day (and my 100th Blog Post!) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to ask my friends to send in what they want to know about Type 1 with the aim of spreading awareness about the condition. I got some excellent questions! Comment below if you have a question. Doesn't matter how weird or "stupid" it is!
Q1: Can you bling out your pump? Like a vajazzle? Note: If you don't know what a "vajazzle" is, I'll direct you here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=vajazzle)

I thought I'd been asked everything under the sun. But never have I been asked if I can get a pump equivalent of a vajazzle. You can get cool cases and things! Can we make a show called “pimp my pump”? What do we call a pump equivalent of a vajazzle? Pumpazzle?

Q2: Where do you attach your pump to when you don't have pockets or pants? Do you attach your pump to your undies? If so, does it influence the type you wear?
What’s my secret? I wear shorts…

Half a speechie, but still not close to being an adult

Semester is over, exams are coming, and it dawned on me that in terms of content I’m half way through my degree. That’s really terrifying, but also exciting. During the semester I’ve been running weekly therapy with a client and ended the semester by running 2 sessions by myself.
Which is a great confidence boost, but it still feels like I'm playing dress-up whenever I'm in "clinic clothes"(business attire).

A while ago I wrote a post about turning 18, and all these adult responsibilities.
I had an absolute onslaught of paperwork to muddle through because of the diabetes. But it made me feel pretty independent, which I liked because I get all the control. I love nothing more than knowing exactly what’s happening and being in charge of it.

But now as I’m half way through my degree and turning 20 in a few months, I have come to a realisation.

I am not even close to being an adult. Yes, I have a million cards, and my car, and my HECS debt that makes me nauseous every time I…

Mental Health Week

Mental health/illness is hard to talk about. When you experience physical pain you go to the doctor. But what about emotional pain? With that you’re meant to suck it up and get on with it.
Mental illness is often compared to invisible illnesses, such as diabetes (of all types). You can’t see diabetes, just as you can’t see depression or anxiety. Sometimes because it can’t be seen, it’s easy to minimise/misunderstand the effects of it. If someone breaks their leg, you can see them struggling to get around. But if someone is having a crazy day of blood sugars you probably can’t see how they’re feeling. 
I find t1d pretty easy to talk about and explain to others. I really don’t mind running over the same explanations. That is, unless someone keeps saying idiotic/hurtful things AFTER I’ve outlined what it is and confirmed they understand. I think that’s because even though t1d is an invisible illness, once someone has seen a low blood sugar, or even just watched you check your level, they t…

Diabetes Mini-Burnout

Bit of a blog vacation happened there, sorry!
I’ve been having a bit of a diabetes mini-burnout and that’s related to everything diabetes, including blogging.
It’s all just seemed too hard lately, as though it’s only just dawning on me that it’s been 5 and a bit years of daily management.

I’m calling this a mini-burnout because it wasn’t horrific, or really long term. I’ve just had some difficulty keeping up my diabetes management lately. However it wasn’t obvious, and it took me a long time to work out that this was burnout.

I always thought that diabetes burnout was when you said enough’s enough and downed tools. I thought it meant you stopped checking, bolusing (taking insulin for food) and thinking about your diabetes. I was checking as often as usual (aka testing way too much) and I was bolusing for all my meals. I was even taking insulin corrections to bring down my high blood sugars. So naturally, I didn’t think it was happening to me.

However, I hadn’t contacted my speciali…

Speech Pathology (an entirely non D post)

Here’s a typical conversation when someone asks me about my course:

“What are you studying?”

“Speech Pathology”

“… pathology? Like, blood?”

“Let’s just go with speech therapy”


Speech pathology is a lot more than most people think. It’s so much more than stutters and lisps, though they’re definitely a part of it if that’s what you want to do! I like speech path because it’s such a versatile profession. You can work with a variety of age groups, and with a variety of disorders/delays.

Before anyone asks, I have no idea what I want to do and change my mind every time I learn something cool. Swallowing, strokes and aphasia (geriatrics) was my original interest but we’ll see, I have lots to choose from and a lot more to learn.

Here’s some things speechies do that you probably didn’t consider (little disclaimer: I’m still learning lots and lots of things and am not a source of medical advice. Some things I know about a little more because of personal experiences separate from study. Theref…

National Diabetes Awareness Week

Image
It’s National Diabetes Awareness Week here in Australia.

I had absolutely no idea.
That’s a worry when even the diabetics don’t know…
Hope someone sends CrossFit a memo.

Apparently, in Australia, there’s 120,000 Type 1 Diabetics. That sounds like a large amount, but considering the population is something like 22 or 23 million, it’s a tiny percentage. Diabetes as a whole however (including type 2 which makes up ~90% of diagnoses) is highly prevalent.

The media seems to be focusing on Type 2, which is fine because it’s way more common and sometimes you can actually do something to prevent it. But they don’t differentiate between Type 1 and 2.
They’ve released this scary video:


Uplifting right?

These complications also happen to Type 1s if blood sugars are very erratic for very long periods of time. But I think they’re just here for a scare tactic. I hope another video is released that actually teaches something.

In the meantime, have some facts:

- T1 is caused by genetics and an envi…

Cross Fit Update

Yesterday I wrote a post about Cross Fit's twitter page.
Today I want to add a second part.

Like many others, Cross Fit associated coke and diabetes.
And you know what? There is a connection.                            

Cans of coke saved my life last night.

Around 20min after writing that post I tested my level and was 2.9. I'd already been low earlier in the day and this one felt bad. I had 4 hypo tablets (16g carbs) and waited.

I became increasingly light headed and had some coke (21g carbs).

At this point I waited 15min and tested again.
2.6.

Add another can of coke, stacks of jellybeans, juice boxes, hypo tablets and lots of crying.

I treated it so much because I couldn't get it up much higher for an hour. Whenever it came up it crashed back down.

Luckily I was at home and both my parents were consoling me that if I were to pass out they'd be there. I got to the point where I was crying because I couldn't drink anymore. My poor mum was trying to reason with m…

Cross Fit

I was going to be really good and let it go when I saw Cross Fit’s post on diabetes "Make sure you pour some out for your dead homies.” alongside a bottle of coke saying “open diabetes”.

But then I saw the rest of their twitter page that is full of tweets defending themselves. This is despite major backlash from the diabetic community.


Most of these things have made me angry in the past, but when I saw that page I burst into tears. I have never seen such disgusting attitudes toward diabetes of either type in my life.

They just don’t get it, and I’m so tired of it. We as a community fight so damn hard to spread awareness. Nothing seems to work.
Everything I do feels redundant.

However, I think the only time you fail is if you don’t try. So I’m going to try again.

Point 1:

No one should be shamed for having an illness. Ever.
Type 2 diabetes is not solely caused by over-consumption of sugar. In some individuals there is a very strong genetic component that predisposes them to the c…

A Conversation

Image
I had an interesting experience the other day as I was going in for exams. I was at my local train station and felt a bit funny so I checked my blood sugar. It wasn’t great so I was just about to grab something to eat before my train came in, but an older man quickly came up to me. He was the kind of guy that looked like he had a story or two to tell. He wore a fedora with a feather on the side, and a coat that had seen better days. He was fairly tall (but then I’m a bit short so everyone looks tall to me!) and had an excited glint in his eyes.

He stood next to me and said “Excuse me, do you have diabetes?”.

I was a tad dubious about where this was going. My first thought was that he was going to regale me with a tale of his relative who had type 2, or might offer me okra water to naturally cure it for me.

I was betting on the okra water.

But putting that aside I answered with a yes and waited to see where he would take it. He smiled and told me that his sister has diabetes and was d…

Expectations

Most of my blog (especially back when it started) has centred on the stupid things people have said to me about my diabetes. I remember a time shortly after diagnosis where every single day without fail, someone would come up to me and say something ignorant, hurtful or outright rude about my diabetes.
It wasn’t because they were trying to be cruel, it was because they didn’t understand what it was.
I got very good at simultaneously informing them of what type 1 was, and exactly where they could stick their ill-informed opinions.

I heard all sorts, like
- You ate too much sugar
- Why are you eating that?
- At least it’s not cancer (Word to the wise, don’t say this to anyone, ever.)
- Ew. Blood.
- Ew. Needles.
- I’d die if I had that

And so on.

Of course at the time of writing I was still very sensitive to these things, even though I’d had type 1 for a few years when I started this blog. They frustrated me, but then they gave me an endless source of amusement.

Yes, they still make me laugh (a…

Motivation

I’m often asked how I manage chronic illness every day. A lot of people say “I would die if I had to do that every day”.
There’s a sort of implication that I’m somehow “brave” because I live with and manage my type 1.

I was talking to a friend the other day who has a big interest in psychology and chronic illness. We were chatting about motivation, and how it takes quite a bit of it to have a chronic illness 24/7, every day, forever. I thought about what my motivation was and where it came from, it’s not particularly brave.

I’ve found that there are two main sources of motivation for me to manage my diabetes. The first is the better of the two, and the one that I try to keep up.
I don’t want to let it win.
Can you tell I’m a little bit competitive… quite literally with myself.

The other motivation isn’t noble, or brave, or good. It’s just fear, pretty simple huh.
I just don’t particularly feel like dying at the moment, so if I have to manage my diabetes to avoid that then I’ll do…

The Uni Life

Uni is nothing like it's made to seem on TV.

Late nights aren't parties, they're the rush to finish an assignment before the due time.
Socialising isn't chatting about the great times you've had, it's a support group for assignment/placement/test woes.
Stumbling around isn't from one too many drinks, it's from hypos (low blood sugars).

The uni life makes me a tired, whinging, hermit... with hypos.

I still love uni, despite all of the assignments and the tests and the responsibilities and the exam flurries. But I could do without the hypos before assignments are due.
To be fair, the latest one was possibly my fault.

There we were, working on our assignment like good students (ok, it was the day before the due date) and all was going along nicely.
We'd been there for 6 hours and it was finally time for me to leave.
But no, diabetes didn't want to cooperate.
Instead I got hit with a shocking hypo that left everyone just a little bit worried. I thin…

DBlog Week Day 7: Continuing Connections

Image
UPDATE: To spare continual spam on my personal Facebook I've made a blog page. Feel free to give it a like instead of dealing with my dodgy "follow" options that never work https://www.facebook.com/adiabeticsrollercoaster

Day Seven is here which is really sad. I've loved participating this year in blog week (as I have in other years) and once again want to thank the lovely Karen at bitersweetdiabetes.com for her efforts. I made more time this year to interact more with the community and it has been such a wonderful experience, so thank you!

Now, on to the post: "The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it's held every year.  So let's help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week.  Share a link to a new blog you've found or a new friend you've made.  Or pick a random blog off of the Participant's List, check…

DBlog Week Day 6: Favourites and Motivations

Day 6 of Diabetes Blog Week... does it have to be over so soon?

"If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written?  Is it diabetes related or just life related?  If you are a new blogger and don't have a favorite yet, tell us what motivated you to start sharing your story by writing a blog?"

I can't pick individual things I've said, or individual posts so here's some posts on topics I like. Some of these are back when I first stated blogging and are fascinating to read again now. I'm a bit of a varied blogger, it seems I've used every writing style and tone possible.

Let's start with a more recent post. An open letter of course! I've written a few of these over time. However, Jamie Oliver is now stuck as my blog image which is beyond annoying: Dear Jamie Oliver

While we're on the annoyed train of thought, I quite liked a post I did last month. It was a really terrible week fo…

DBlog Week Day 5: Foods on Friday

Day 5 has arrived. What an excellent rhyme (bear with me I'm brain-dead from uni assignments). "Taking a cue from Adam Brown's recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day!  Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever.  Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way."

As well as being a messy critter, I'm also a really unhealthy and lazy eater. It's the one part of diabetes management that I don't really manage.
Bad, I know. Luckily for me I still live at home and my mum cooks dinner so I do get a very healthy dinner. I've seen dietitians and am aiming to change my ways in the coming weeks. Maybe I'll turn 20 and magically become a responsible- proper food eating- adult.

I just don't get particularly hungry, and reach for convenient (usually packaged) food with minimal prep time. Today's "meals" are an example of me at my worst. I'm cooking my own dinner tonight so t…

D Blog Week Day 4: Diabetes Personified Wildcard

Image
Day 4 and I'm picking a WildCard: If you could personify your diabetes or that of your loved one, what would it be like?  What would it look like, what would it say, what kind of personality would it have?  Use your imagination and feel free to use images, drawings, words, music, etc. to describe it.

My diabetes is Moaning Myrtle.


Yes, the ghost of a Hogwarts student who died in the girls bathroom after looking into the eyes of a Basilisk.
I think my beta cells went out the same way because the personality resemblance is striking.



Myrtle can be nice enough and let you brew a polyjuice potion in relative peace= stable blood sugars with minimal effort.




She can be entirely inappropriate and end up in the prefect bath with you= low blood sugars at the most inopportune times.



She can be dramatic and flood the bathroom = a roller coaster of blood sugars.




And she can be angry, demanding to know who threw a book at her= a fury of never ending high or low blood sugars for weeks on end.


DBlog Week Day 3: Clean it Out

Image
Day Three already and the topic is Clean it Out: "Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out. What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?”

No thought provoking writing today, just a bit of a confession. No one knows about this except my parents.

I’m a REALLY messy person.

It makes no sense when I like order, but no, I’m incredibly messy.
The state of my room reflects the state of my head- scattered.
I am told to clean my room on almost a daily basis, a tradition that has continued since primary school.
My poor mum is the exact opposite and it irritates her to no end.
It's shameful really.

I know, if you’ve been to my place you’re thinking “But Bec, your room is immaculate every time I've visited”
No dear friend, it’s all a lie.
There’s a reason I keep the war…

DBlog Week Day 2: Keep it to yourself

Day 2! Today Karen writes: "Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won't tell them.)”

I know I don’t have to, but time to break the comfort zone a tiny bit.
Not all the way.
Just a little.

I try and talk about this, but when I do it comes out wrong. It’s probably very evident in my writing anyway. I think I’ve said it before, and I referenced it in yesterdays DBlog.
I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Lots of people have anxiety, it’s a really common thing. But there’s anxiety in a relatively healthy amount, and anxiety that’s incredibly h…

DBlog Week Day 1: I Can

Diabetes Blog Week returns, run as always by the wonderful Karen at bittersweet diabetes.com
The first topic of the week is "I can" where she writes "In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I can...”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could?  Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?”

I think the one accomplishment I am the most proud of is finishing the HSC (final exams in New South Wales high schools) and getting into my desired university course.
My HSC was a really big deal for me. In hindsight, too big.
I was obsessed.

I had a little number in my head that I had to achieve. I wanted a 90. I was going to get my 90. Nothing would stop me getting my 90. I had decided w…

5 years

Tomorrow is my 5th diaversary (I was diagnosed with t1d five years ago tomorrow). I’m stuck in bed sick- how fitting.

Some things that have dawned on me:

- My diabetes is in kindergarten
- My diabetes is older than one of my cousins
- I’m half way to the “there will be a cure in 10 years” benchmark (they say that every 10 years)
- I’ve had this for 5 years and I STILL do really stupid things, like putting in 34 grams of carbs into my pump instead of 13.4 as my blood sugar. Guess who had to eat precisely 34 grams of carbohydrate at 11pm…
- I’m 7 months off being out of teenager-dom, so I’ve basically had this for the majority of my teenage life

Even though 5 years isn’t a long time to some, for me it’s been a really big and important chunk of my life.

Just take a minute to think of what you were like at 14.
Now think about how different that person is to who you were/are at 19.

Not the most fabulous age to get a chronic illness. It was the time of dodgy headbands, no straighteners, horrific sk…

Rant alert: Type 2 Blame

I am a part of multiple diabetes groups, and I’ve touched on this issue before.
There is a huge amount of blame on type 2s from all sorts of places, the media, the general public, even some health professionals.

But the worst I have seen has come from the type 1 community, and that disgusts me.

Let me break down the point of view* that is thrown about all the time:
“I’m a type 1 diabetic and no one really knows the difference between type 1 and 2. I get really annoyed about this because type 2 is a disease people bring on themselves. They can cure theirs as well, but I can’t. I got type 1 for no reason and I can never cure it. I can’t take tablets for it but they can. They get all the research, funding and media coverage so everyone knows about their condition, but what about mine? That’s not fair!
Why would someone bring diabetes onto themselves? It’s not that hard to eat well. They shouldn’t complain, it’s their fault anyway.”

This is NOT my point of view might I add, but I can see …

Bec:100 - Betes:0

I had a few days in the past weeks where I've had shocking blood sugars (mostly very low) and wondered "why is it that no matter how hard I try this stupid illness never lets me win."
That's not a great way of thinking and can sort of pull you into a bit of burnout.

But today, I won.

Today, my HbA1c which is the three month average blood sugar was 6.3%.
Anything below 7% is fabulous and I haven't been down under 7 in a long while.

I still have a long way to go with my diet and weight (before anyone freaks out I mean GAINING not losing!) but I'm well on the way.

It took a new endocrinologist, almost weekly emails (poor endo...), stricter management, better eating, starting an exercise routine and a new insulin pump to get this down- but it was so worth it.

Basically, the lower your A1c, the better (well to an extent, too low and you're having a hypo hell week all month, but I digress). An a1c like this is fantastic because it hugely reduces my risk of diabe…

CGM woes

As I spent a few weeks struggling with my diabetes and low blood sugars, I have been thinking about CGMs a lot.

A CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is a device you wear that shows your blood sugar 24hrs a day. It is amazing because it can show you if you're going low and stop the pump to try and avoid it.
They last for around 6 days and connect to the pump, providing an effective management system and peace of mind overnight. It would mean I could sleep without worrying if I'm going to go low and not wake up. It would mean I could check my level a lot less.
It would stop bad hypos from happening.

Why don't I have it?
1 CGM is $75 (not including the transmitter you need to buy with it)
1 CGM lasts 6 days max.
Rounding it up that's ~$375 a month.

I don't have that kind of money. Because CGMs aren't covered by health insurance, people like me can't have them.

They're just not an option. Not when I have uni expenses, diabetes pump supplies, insulin, diabetes…

Diabetes Bitch Week

aka, the week Bec went back to uni and her diabetes threw a hissy fit.
I’ve had a week of having at least one hypo a day.
AT LEAST ONE.


That’s just way too many and now I can’t feel them very much.

This week I have:
- stumbled around like an idiot
- almost driven a car low
- cried in a lecture because my brain wasn’t getting sugar and thought it was ok for my eyes to leak (talk about embarrassing)
- sat confused in a lecture wondering why I was crying
- frantically emailed my specialist way too much
- sworn at my blood sugar meter (…. quite often)
- had way too much fruit juice
- had a cold that won’t go away and I think it’s because I’m drained from the hypos
- stumbled around half asleep
- spent yesterday pissed off because I’d woken up perfectly happy and then couldn’t do a damn thing all day because I was exhausted from hypo that happened as I walked into uni

And genuinely concerned everyone around me.

Sometimes your insulin needs just randomly change. For months I was way too h…

More low adventures

Time for another hypo rant!

This morning my diabetes clearly didn’t want me to be waking up early for a 6 hour orientation at uni.
So it decided to give me a level of 3.6 (under 4 is a hypo/low blood sugar)

That’s fine, no dramas.
Then it dropped to 3.3- yay.

So that was dealt with and off I went for a long orientation.
Then the hypo from the depths of the underworld came along- yes it deserves that title.


I was heading back to my car having just got off the train. Minding my own business I was trying to make a call (I was definitely already low but couldn’t feel it) and they didn’t pick up.

*note: probably a good thing, I wouldn’t have made much sense and might have insulted someone*

So as I was glaring at my phone for having the audacity to disconnect due to a busy line, a man approached me. He asked if I was alright, probably mildly concerned about the half lucid girl glaring at a mobile whilst dragging herself up a street.
I think I was nice enough but said I was completely fine thanks.
My l…

Tonks arrives (Medtronic Minimed 640G)

Image
Meet Tonks! My new pump :)





So Severus has been replaced with a fancy new version of the pump.
Sadly, his non colour screen, poor menu set-up and non-waterproof capabilities have made me change over.

Plus he ran out of warranty last month.





And a fancy new blood sugar meter to go with her! This one sends my blood sugars straight to the pump.






Here's hoping I don't put this one through an X-ray machine too...



An important video

Today I saw an amazing mini documentary put up by the New York Times. It’s 12 minutes long but well worth that time. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/opinion/midnight-three-six.html?_r=0

It follows a mother and daughter living with the daughter’s type 1 diabetes and gives a real view into the life of a t1 and their family. I should stress that- this is just ONE case, your diabetes may vary- I know mine does.
It got me thinking about my own life, and my parents.

The video seems to show the mother as still very much in control of her daughter’s diabetes, which is understandable as she was diagnosed at a young age and demonstrates some severe symptoms.
I do everything in this clip myself, except the middle of the night checks where my dad comes in and wakes me up.

But that doesn’t mean that my parents don’t have the same amount of concern. They had to let me be mostly independent from the time I was diagnosed for a few reasons.
- I was a young teenager when I was diagnosed and w…

4 years of pumping

Image
Today would be my first pump’s (Dobby's) fourth birthday.
But I put him through an x-ray machine.
So Severus carries on the tradition.



Pumps come with a 4 year warranty, so if you’d like to throw me in a pool or destroy Severus in some other way, then you should have done it yesterday.

Today you’ll foot the 8 grand bill for a new one :)

A lot of health insurance companies don’t fund new pumps until 5 years have passed. I don’t yet know what my health insurance does but I could be walking around with a pump for another year that isn’t covered.
….yay.

If I stay away from x-ray machines I should be fine though.


Pump therapy is a great fit for me, and I threw together some stats with the help of calculators and google.

- I was on MDI (4 daily injections) for a total of 251 days
- Which means I had 1004 injections
- I have been on the pump for 1461 days
- Which means I’ve had around 487 set changes (needles to put in a new cannula)
- So had I have remained on MDI I would have had 6848…