Monday, 29 May 2017

DBlogWeek - More Than Diabetes

Lets wrap up the week by sharing a little more about ourselves, beyond the chronic illness we or our loved ones live with. Share an interest, hobby, passion, something that is YOU. If you want to explore how it relates to or helps with diabetes you can. Or let it be a part of you that is completely separate from diabetes, because there is more to life than just diabetes! (This topic is a suggestion from the 2016 #DBlogWeek survey.)

A late post for the final day of DBlogWeek I'm afraid as real life (or adulting as I now call it) got in the way... So here goes, a few things that are me:

  • I married a hot farmer almost a year ago, whom I love more than anything
  • I love tea, Earl Grey if I would like to feel a little posh
  • I love dogs, and I do go high pitched and squeaky if I see a puppy
  • I can crochet thanks to my Mama, blankets only but am planning to try other patterns when I have a bit more time
  • I love trips to the seaside and the zoo
  • I am bossy and stubborn
  • I love all things Disney and want to go back to Disneyland Florida for my 30th birthday
  • Sometimes I snort when I laugh
  • I love a good boxset or Netflix binge
  • I love pyjamas
  • I find baking very relaxing, but I can't decorate a cake for shit. Looks like a toddlers done it!
  • I enjoy going to comedy gigs - I've been to see Bill Bailey, John Bishop, Lee Evans, Ross Noble, Dara O'Briairn to name a few
  • I love having games nights with friends
Thank you to Karen for hosting DblogWeek, I'm still trying to make it through the posts!!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

DBlogWeek - What Brings Me Down

We’re going to go back to a past blog week topic from 2014. 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?

This topic has been the hardest one to start so far this week. To the point I almost chose the wildcard. 

For all the sarcasm in my older posts, I've struggled with the emotional side of diabetes for a long time. Maybe even since the day I was diagnosed. In hospital at 8pm and out the following day at 5pm injecting insulin and returning to work shortly after. It was all so... jarring?

I've had burnout during my near 8 years coupled with Diabetes, but it's not lasted very long. I've come through, knuckled down on eater better and carb counting and got my insulin pump with the help of my team. 

This time it's different. I have depression.

I've ignored the signs for quite a while. Almost gone to a Dr, almost told my wonderful DSN, almost wrote a blog about it. I feel tired of everything, I've no enthusiasm, I feel lonely and like I've no direction or purpose.

Diabetes is an ever changing beast, no two days are the same and the goalposts are always changing. There are so many different variables to take into consideration for every single decision you make. And it's never ending, no break for when you have a shit day at work, or when you're ill. If you're not on your game then the numbers show it. When it gets too much for me and I breakdown, my thoughts are that of 'this is going to be with me until I die' and 'I can't do this'. I do, because, well I just do. I get through the day and start the whole shabang all over again. 

I realise I need a better way to deal with my emotions, and maybe writing this will finally give me the shove I need.

Some of these blogs have been so positive, people who live with their diabetes and accept it. None of it's perfect but it's in their life and they turn it into a good thing. I aspire to be like that, with the help of my husband and my team I'll hopefully get there. I guess I need to just take that first step.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

DBlogWeek - The Blame Game

On to today’s topic, The Blame Game. Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another. And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault. Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had. Now, the game part. Let’s turn this around. If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself? Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!

Sometimes we can be our own biggest critic, blame ourselves for things that our out of our control. That's why Emma has asked me, her husband, to write this one....

I try to encourage Emma to enjoy everyday, and sometimes it backfires and her bloods are high or low. Who's fault is it? No one's, it's sods law! But Emma doesn't always see it like that and will start to blame herself. She can be really hard on herself and say some harsh things about herself. So I try turn it around. It's not that she doesn't believe me, it just takes time to sink in when she's upset. But I think that's the same for all of us. 

So I've tried to write an example of what I would say to her....

"It's not your fault, you haven't spoilt our day. You didn't plan on having a high/low did you? We've had a lovely meal and a nice afternoon together, you've bolused for it. You even did a dual/square on your pump to try and prevent this, so how is it your fault? We could of stayed at home and done nothing, and your bloods could of done just the same thing or they could of done the opposite. How can you ever predict what they are going to do, no two days are ever the same.
Headache? Perhaps we'd better call it a day then. No, you haven't ruined everything. I promise!"

I suppose my message is that you need a lot of patience and understanding to see any good in criticism. But if the patience and understanding are with the critic, then it might sound more like friendly advice and it's easier to take on board. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

DBlogWeek - The Cost of a Chronic Illness

Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly. Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage. So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care. Do you have advice to share? For those outside the US, is cost a concern? Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care? 

It's incredibly sad, angering and frustrating that in 2017 we are reading about a company in the US hiking up prices of insulin astronomically. Something so valuable in saving lives is being almost held to ransom to some. People are choosing to sacrifice food, rent and other commodities just to buy the insulin they, or a loved one, need.

I'm very fortunate to live in the UK and have access to the NHS. My relationship with the NHS hasn't always been smooth, but without it I wouldn't be here. I think the staff within it are wonderful (for the most part) and do a fantastic job with limited funds and resources.

Because of the NHS I have an insulin pump, a blood testing kit, test strips and insulin. I know what some of these items sell for on Medtronics site and it makes me thankful every time I re-order my supplies that this is not a worry for me. At the moment I am buying my first home, if I had to buy my diabetes supplies then I'm not entirely sure I would be financially able to.

I really hope that this particular company sees the impact they are having/could potentially have and the danger they are putting people in. I hope that they have another price change and this time it's going down and not up.

You can find more Cost of a Chronic Illness posts listed here.

Monday, 15 May 2017

DBlogWeek - Diabetes and the Unexpected

Today marks the beginning of the eighth annual Diabetes Blog Week, organised by the lovely Karen at Bitter~Sweet where us bloggers (or part-timers like moi) get the chance to post about a set topic each day for five days. It's a great opportunity to 'meet' new people from across the globe and read the different interpretations of the topic.

"Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random.  What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?  Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?"

I've taken inspiration from a recent Diabetes UK campaign called #TheOne so here we go....

It's a Saturday night, I've had a lovely meal/takeaway with my hubby and have had a pretty good day with my Diabetes. I've had a drink or two with my meal and am feeling a little flirty so decide to head on upstairs to buff, polish and pamper until I'm feeling like Sasha Fierce (only a lot more self conscious and awkward....). Some nice music goes on to set the mood and hubby comes upstairs wondering what on earth I'm up to. Eyebrows go up and the penny drops! 

He is fantastic with my Diabetes and always asks if I've tested before things get too carried away, however on this occasion I say "I'm fine, don't worry about it". I romantically swig a little Lucozade to stop the frowning expression on his face, unclip my pump and we move on. 

Big mistake!

Within a few minutes my arms start tingling and my hands start shaking and all I have in my head is 'F-ck!!!!! Not now!!!'. For some bizarre reason I thought that it would pass so tried to ignore the hypo symptoms, which obviously didn't work. Hubby picks up on the fact that something was wrong, the brakes go on fairly sharpish and I relent and grab my testing kit. Surprise surprise it's a 3.3 hypo which I've now made worse.... 

For me the worst thing was that my husband apologised to me. My stupidity and stubbornness to not let Diabetes affect the most intimate part of my life had made my husband feel guilty and almost responsible for my hypo.

Needless to say, now I test beforehand every single time. Even if it means that it's a no-go. I don't want Diabetes spoiling my fun, but I understand that my choices can have an affect on my loved ones so being responsible is important.

It's not too late to signup to Diabetes Blog Week, if you want to find out more and join in or just simply want to read posts by other participants then click here

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.