Thursday, 19 May 2016

DBlog Week - Words

Our topic today is Language and Diabetes.  There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

One thing that came into my head when reading the prompt for day 3 was "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say nothing at all" (Yes I'm quoting Thumper bunny). Words are incredibly important, especially when a lot of us communicate via the world wide web and things can be misinterpreted so easily.

I must admit until this year I didn't realise that some people had preferences on how they are know 'Person With Diabetes' 'Diabetic'. Me personally I don't really mind, however I fully respect those with opinions different to myself and tend to use PWD in my blogs and tweets. Whether my feelings will change over time I don't know, I'm growing with this condition so in a years time they may be the polar opposite.

Speak to others how you wish to be spoken to. With respect, even if their opinion is different to your own.

Ready to read more perspectives on Language and Diabetes?  Click here for a list of posts.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

DBlog Week - My Other Half

Our topic today is The Other Half of Diabetes. We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)

Given that today's prompt is talking about the other half of Diabetes, I asked my actual other half John to write this. He deals with this just as much as I do after all :)

When I first started dating Emma, her diabetes was obviously a big topic in conversation. But I soon found out how high and low sugars affect her both physically and emotionally, and how it affected me. The worst part was feeling so useless when I didn't know what to do. I didn't even know the difference between a hypo and a hyper.....

I made it my main priority to learn as much as I can so I could help, but there was nothing but improvisation when dealing with the emotional side of it. When Emma broke down one evening after a bad day with her blood sugars, I had nothing! She was sitting on the kitchen floor, crying her eyes out and I could just make out the words "I don't want this anymore...." I sat next to her and hoped I could find the right words. The sadness I felt, not just because she was upset, but the fact she was right, this is a life long condition and I can't do anything to fix it or sort it.

I told her how much I love her, I wasn't going to leave her and that I will love her diabetes too, if that's what it takes. I'm on the emotional diabetes roller coaster for good!

Now with her pump, which I know nearly as much as her about, it's very much a team effort. When her bloods are good, I celebrate with her with a little "yippie" or "hooray". And when not so good, we try work it out together whats gone wrong and what we can do to avoid it in the future. There's no magic technique to how to cope with the emotional side, but if you are in it together, you share the emotions good and bad. That makes it a little easier to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it.....or sometimes what not to say! Patience always helps too, things are sometimes said when things aren't going so well in any relationship. Just let it go, straighten it out when both your heads are clear later. A fuzzy head from hypos, hypers or just tiredness never make you think clearly! 

You can find more The Other Half of Diabetes posts over here.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s List here.

Monday, 16 May 2016

DBlog Week - Message Monday

Today is the first day of the seventh #DBlogWeek lovingly looked after by Karen every year to bring us nutty PWD together across the continents to share our emotions and experiences living with this condition.

"Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?"

I started my blog primarily because at the time there didn't seem to be that many UK bloggers that I knew of. I thought that if one person found my blog and it helped even in a teeny tiny way or put someone straight on a stupid diabetes myth, then I'd be pretty chuffed :)

Diabetes is such a big part of your life that for me personally I get worried I'm talking about it too much. When people ask how you are it's not normally a simple yes or no, so I just answer yes. It was lovely to have a blank page to write about my Diabetes, how I was feeling and how it was affecting me and the people around me. Granted I don't update it as much as I'd like to, at the moment I'm in the last stages of planning my wedding and am a few months into a very new and demanding job role. But my blog is always here for me when I need it, like a comfy pair of slippers.

I find writing therapeutic and when someone tweets or comments saying "Me too!" it just make you feel... normal? Less lonely? 

If you don't blog but you're considering then I'd recommend it. You don't have to publish them or share them with the online community, sometimes it's just good to let it all out. It's surprising sometimes how much you have to write! 

You can find more Message Monday posts listed here.

What is Diabetes Blog Week?  Click here for an explanation and to sign up.  You can also check out the Participant’s Lishere.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes Day

This hashtag is reaching far and wide across Twitterverse today (woop!). Although I still think of myself as a Diabetes newbie (despite 7yrs since DX this August) I've got quite a list so here goes!

  • Diabetes is not a joke, meme's of food with diabetes on it IS NOT FUNNY!
  • This is 24/7/365 there isn't a break from it ever
  • Me having a pump isn't because I'm a 'bad diabetic', there are reasons why I have it
  • My pump doesn't cure me of diabetes, there isn't a cure. Cinnamon, sleeping naked, and green goop isn't going to cure me
  • I have to carry round a lot of stuff with me, replacement pump supplies and supplies if my pump fails. The days of leaving the house with purse and keys are sooooo done with Mary Poppins bag
  • There are more than two types of diabetes, the media needs to recognise this
  • People with Type 2 get majorly bad press! And a lot of them shouldn't, it's not all diet related
  • Some people don't have access to test strips or even insulin!
  • Can make your emotions go haywire
  • Can make you a stronger person
  • Has introduced me to people from all walks of life who support each other every day, regardless of what they're going through themselves
  • Means every meal is a calculation, a biscuit to you is carb counting for me...
  • Means you have to get on with it, you saying "OMG I couldn't do it, too scared of needles" doesn't really help. You would do it, it's your life you're trying to take care of
  • Doesn't mean I have to stop eating things like bread, pasta, chocolate. I just need to eat in moderation.... or try to :D
For more posts on IWTPNTD please visit  or  - keep spreading this hashtag as far as you can!!

Monday, 4 April 2016

To Pump or Not to Pump?

I've been wanting to write about my pump story for a while now, as I feel the more blogs/real experiences there are about pumps, the more people will research and find out about their benefits. Pumps aren't for everyone, however you should know that they exist and be able to see how people get on with them and what's involved.

Me personally, I was very anti-pump for a number of years. Out of fear more than anything else. The thought of something being attached to me 24/7 and the implications made me anxious, along with post of bent cannula's *shudder* on people's FB/Twitter feeds. Well let's just say it was a HELL NO in my mind. 

That may sound ignorant or silly to some, however I felt it was just too much for me to handle and at that time I think it was the right decision. Getting a pump is massive thing, a privilege. If I'd have wasted the opportunity because I wasn't in the right place mentally, I'd have kicked myself! 

Nevertheless I was still interested in reading about them, I read blogs/tweets/chats about how people were getting on in their journeys. Whether it was getting their first pump, scared about upgrading or just general day-to-day stuff, I was always fascinated in how they coped and felt about them.

At the time my pro/con list was something like this:

More controlled BG's
Less complications in the future

Something attached to me 24/7
Painful if caught!!
Impact on future relationships
If things go wrong bloods wise, it happens quickly

I'm happy to say that after meeting John, I felt confident enough to start asking my consultant and Diabetes team about the pump. To my surprise they said that I may be able to get funding! I was carb counting as I should and taking care of myself but my HbA1c wasn't quite reflecting it and was stubborn. After a dietitian appointment in Oct '14 my Diabetes team said they would put me forward as a candidate and let me know. I'd gone from being scared to excited, I was ready to take the next step in my diabetes care. By the New Year I was told I would be getting a pump, I was shocked at how quickly it'd happened and so happy. 

On May 19th I was introduced to my now beloved Pumpy. Don't get me wrong, it's been a rocky road and the first few months are a bitch unless you're incredibly lucky! Quicksets weren't for me and kept kinking so I swapped to Sure-T steel cannula's (the ones that I was so scared of years before! Ironic yeah!). There were days in the beginning where I cried and cried because of failed sets, I threatened to smash my pump into a million pieces because I hated it. Sobbed hysterically at John to get the cannula out of me and get all of it off me. Even called my DSN at home the weekend after getting my pump because I couldn't get my BG's down (only once I'm pleased to say and she now calls me her BFF!)

Despite all of those things, I wouldn't go back to MDI and on the two occasions I did, it felt very odd!! My HbA1c since having the pump is the best it's been since diagnosis, and I feel a lot more in tune with my Diabetes. It'll never be perfect, but I feel a step closer to where I want to be.

My Pro/Con list looks a little more like this nowadays:

More controlled BG's 
Better HbA1c 
Less hypo's
Less complications in the future
More flexibility with eating
Increase/decrease my insulin with more freedom and precision

If things go wrong bloods wise, it happens quickly

It does impact other areas of your life, like now I struggle to wear a onesie and need to customize mine! And with me sitting mine in my bra I do have a tendency to go delving when it beeps at me, forgetting that I'm in public or at work *blushes* so have to apologise after I've finished rummaging! 

As for the rumpy pumpy (see what I did there!) side of things which probably won't get mentioned by your diabetes team, it feels odd when you first get a pump but you soon get used to it and forget it's there! Long tubing kinda helps with that or if you test before things get... a bit tooty fruity you may be able to disconnect the pump for an hour making it a lot less medical =D Your partner will be supportive and want you to feel as comfortable as possible. As long as they know whereabouts your site is so there aren't any accidents then you should be fine!

If you feel you could benefit or a loved one could then do a little research, ask your team and hopefully you'll be lucky like I was. It's a very big decision to make and you need a great deal of support from your loved ones. John was brilliant, he knows everything I do and that was important to me that whoever I lived with could help in an emergency and be able to talk about it with confidence. Not just look blank and shrug.

I'm nearly at my 1-year Pump-a-versary and looking forward to many more :)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sneaky Sunday Blog

Cripes has it really been 10 months since my last blog entry?!

I've wanted to post for a while, but it never seemed the right time. The topic never seemed important enough life got in the way as always! But here it is. My sneaky return to blogging and it feels kinda good... comfy slippers good :)

Getting a new job last September, with more travel and a whole lotta new stuff to learn meant my evenings consisted of getting home, eating and falling asleep to NCIS (no offence to Mark Harmon, would love him to be my personal bodyguard!). I'm getting back to reading Twitter and posting updates on the TPD Facebook page, however coming back to Blogger seemed harder because I'd neglected it for so long...

Anyhow, how are you all DOC? 

Me? I'm doing okay I think.. I'm 10 months in with Pumpy (not the most original name I know...) and 90% of the time I'm loving it! He feels like he's been a part of me for so much longer, pens now look very foreign to me. Using them to correct if I have a site failure or stubborn high seems like an alien concept. My fingers faff about trying to get the needles out and jabbing hurts like hell! Which sounds stupid considering I insert a steel needle into myself every 24 hours =P

My HbA1c taken earlier this month is exactly the same as the one in November (soz I forgot the number... but I know it's now below 8 in old money!) which I'm pleased with. It's come down from over 8 a couple of years ago so I know I'm heading in the right direction. My DSN at the clinic is happy with me as is my consultant. Apparently I'm now heading to the adult clinic at the hospital! (Considering I'm 27 this year I was quite shocked...). 

There have been a few D-meets of late which I've unfortunately been unable to attend (one down to family birthday, the other wedding stuff!) and watched on Twitter with envy as everyone caught up and had a blast. First was PWDC2016 in Nottingham, I was fortunate enough to attend last year (too shy to contribute). It looked like a brilliant two day meet, and I will do my best to attend next year with John. Counting carbs, testing BG's in a group of diabetics was an immense feeling. The only downside was the following day I was flat and back in real life where T1's are a rarity, and people don't 'get it'.

The second was #TAD2016, held in London and in it's first year. With several T1 guest speakers, it looked like another great even to attend and meet even more PWD. Again I watched the even unfold on Twitter and it looked incredibly fun and informative. I'm hoping due to it's popularity there will be one next year. I've said to John that next year I want to try and attend as many events as I can, and be brave and speak to people! (I'm a chicken)

If you're ever at a Diabetic event and you see @bazinga8913 then it's meeee! :)