Saturday, 26 June 2010

Pump Progress......

Just a quick update on where I am on my insulin pump journey......

This week has been a bit hectic with getting ready for going on holiday today......trying to make sure I've left instructions for everyone at work about how to do my job while I'm away (the place just falls apart without me don't you know, ha ha ha), packing for the holiday, making sure I've got all my medication sorted and three appointments. 

Firstly the opticians where he said there's no point changing my glasses at the moment as the prescription is only a weak one and the fact that I'm currently having lots of changes in the back of my eye due to the retinopathy and because I'm having more laser soon.  Good news as I didn't relish the thought of having to buy new glasses at the moment!!!

Wednesday was seeing the dietician at Stafford Hospital for a carb counting group session.  I'd  never been to one of these before so I was a bit apprehensive but needn't have been as it was really informal and we met three really lovely people.  It made me realise that I haven't been the only "bad" diabetic in the history of diabetes!!! Some of the stories were so similar to mine, for example, ignoring the condition and trying to pretend it's not there.  All the years I was being "bad" I used to think I was the only one and that all other type 1's had perfect sugars and never ate unhealthily but now I'm starting to realise that I wasn't so alone after all.  Anyway, the outcome of the session was better than I could have expected as the dietician said she was happy to tell the pump nurse that I'm ready to go onto the pump as I have got the hang of the carb counting......FANTASTIC!!!! I couldn't hide my excitement as I really didn't expect to hear that so soon. I thought I would have had to have another couple of one to one sessions with her, at least. I also had some bloods taken to find out what my HbA1C is.....my last one in Feb/March was 11.6 so I'm hoping it will have come down a bit now.

Thursday - Back to Stafford Hospital, this time to see the pump nurse!!! I had been really looking forward to this particular appointment as it was going to be the first time I would get to hear about how the process of getting "connected" would work and how long it would take and which pumps I could choose from.  After the news from the dietician on Wednesday I was even more excited.....I could hardly wait to get in the room and say "Mina says I'm ready for my pump...."  We had a really good discussion about all things pump related and about what to expect.  I did have one rather embarrassing moment when we were discussing my meals and portion sizes.....hmmmm, it seems that I really am a greedy pig!!! I will never forget the look on Gill's (pump nurse) face when I told her what I eat for my evening meals, I think pure shock would accurately describe it!!!! So the next thing I need to work on is cutting down on portion sizes!!!! Gill then told me that for every 1% that my HbA1C comes down I can expect to gain up to 4lbs in weight if I don't cut my portions down and start to do some exercise so my new exercise regime is due to start first thing tomorrow in the hotel pool in Turkey!!!!!!!

Once she had got over the shock of the amount of food I can put away, Gill showed us the 3 pumps that the hospital offers.  They are:

1. Animas One Touch Ping
http://www.animas.com/animas-insulin-pumps/onetouch-ping
2. Accu-Chek Spirit Combo 
http://www.accu-chek.co.uk/gb/products/insulinpumps/combo.html
3. Medtronic Paradigm
http://www.medtronic-diabetes.co.uk/product-information/index.html

Obviously, they all essentially do the same thing but they all have a slightly different look and have slightly different features.  The aim was to discount one and then focus on the other 2.  I will then take 2 of them home filled with saline instead of insulin and attach them so I can get to experience how it feels to wear one and get to have a 'play' with the features on each one.  After discussing my insulin requirements (the amount I currently take per day) we decided that the Animas Ping was not for me as it holds less insulin in the reservoir so it would get used up about every 2 days which would mean changing the infusion set every 2 days.  The other 2 can hold more insulin so I would need to change the infusion set every 3 days instead of 2.  At the moment I am edging towards choosing the Medtronic pump (partially because it comes in pink and you can get some nice 'skins' for it - ha ha).  Aside from the look of it, I like the fact that it can be used in conjunction with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).  The hospital don't offer those as they are extremely expensive.  You can have one on loan for a week though.  In future though the price may come down and the hospital may supply them. 
Anyway, the outcome is that on the 29th July I will take the Medtronic and Accu-Chek Combo home to have a go with.....soooo excited (but also a little nervous if I'm honest).  After that it will be a case of Gill trying to match me up with another person about to go on a pump so that we can be 'pump buddys'.  They try to match people up who they think will learn in a similar way, i.e. people who are both ok with gadgets and technology would probably pick up how to use the pump at about the same rate.  If there is no one she feels would match well with me then it may be that Gareth is my 'pump buddy' and we do the training together, which will be a full day and then go back a few days later for a half day.

All in all things are moving much much faster than I ever expected.  I really do appreciate how lucky I am in this respect and also in terms of how easily I have been accepted for a pump.  For some people the whole process can be a real fight and can take a long long time so I am very grateful to Dr. Coates, Mina and Gill......Thank you!!!

For now, however, I am off on my hols in a few hours so I must go and finish my packing (including my new book on insulin pumping of course!!!)

:o)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Having a Holiday


















Me and Gareth are off on holiday on Saturday!!! Two weeks all inclusive in Turkey.....I cannot wait (the picture above is of the Blue Lagoon Beach at Olu Deniz which is just down the road from where we are staying).  It was only booked on Sunday which hasn't given me very long to get everything sorted, especially with working all week too.  When I say "everything" I mean all the diabetes paraphenalia that has to accompany us on our holiday.

It's not just a matter of chucking a few bikini's and a pair of flip flops in a suitcase for those of us with diabetes.....take the usual kit (consisting of insulin pens (both types), needles, glucotabs, hypogel, glucagon, blood testing meter, lancets, testing strips, cholesterol tablets) and then double it and add the rest of the concoction of tablets I'm on for various things and you've got yourself almost an entire chemist's worth of medication!!! A quick trip to the doctor's to get my repeat prescription sorted and now we can no longer move for medication in our flat!! :o)
I would usually be super organised and plan well in advance and have all my spare medication sorted in plenty of time but there was no time for that this time around!!!

You should always take two sets of medication just in case one gets lost or damaged in any way.  One set will be in my hand luggage and the other set in Gareth's hand luggage.  Insulin should always be carried in your hand luggage as it could freeze if it is in the hold of the plane.

Then there's making sure there are no problems when getting all of your stuff through security without the Spanish Inquisition.  This requires a letter from your GP stating that you are a type 1 diabetic and that you have to carry insulin and needles.  I have been really lucky as I think I have only been asked to show this letter once or maybe twice when travelling abroad.  Most of the time I tell them at check-in that I am carrying insulin and needles and that I've got a letter if they need to see it and they never bother looking at it.  I did once have to hand over all of my insulin and needles to the head cabin crew on a flight to Majorca which I didn't mind as I made sure I spoke to them first and knew who they were and exactly where they were going to store my supplies during the flight.  I have never ever had any questions asked at the x-ray machines.  As I'm sure you all know, you now have to put all the stuff into clear plastic bags (like freezer bags) so the insulin pens are clear to see and I still haven't ever had anyone ask any questions about what they are or why I've got them.

The weather in Turkey is currently fantastic and the temperatures are in the low 30's (my Mom came back from Turkey on Monday and had had temperatures of up to 48 degrees!!!!!!!) so I will have to think about the fact that insulin can be absored quicker in high temperatures. This will mean testing blood sugars more often to make sure levels are not too low.....but then again, if they are a bit on the low side it's a good excuse for another ice cream by the pool  :o)

It is obviously really important to get adequate travel health insurance and diabetes is considered a pre-existing medical condition which must be declared to the insurer before you go on holiday. Many insurance companies don't charge extra for insuring people with diabetes, if they have no complications. Some insurance companies will not replace lost, stolen or damaged insulin or other supplies so it is worth checking with your insurance company as to exactly what you are covered for.

I'll need to make sure we have plenty of food and snacks such as cereal bars with us for the journey (not just because Gareth has a huge appetite....ha ha) in case of any delays and also as there is no in-flight meal and we are flying at 10 to 6 so it will be time for my dinner. 

Insulin has to be stored correctly and kept cool as extreme temperatures can reduce it's potency.  Polystyrene containers, vacuum flasks, face cloths in a sandwich container, are all useful for storing insulin when on holiday or alternatively special travel-carry systems are available to buy.  If a fridge is available in the room  it should be used or hotels may be willing to store insulin if asked. 

Another thing to consider is that when you are walking around the pool and on the beach is making sure that your feet are protected and if at all possible I would always try not to go barefoot.  This is important as if you cut or injure your feet the wound may take a long time to heal which increases the chances of getting an infection.  Obviously getting sunburnt is not good for anyone but I need to be extra careful with the skin on my legs as I have Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (NLD) (I have done a previous post on this), particularly on my left shin.  I will need to make sure I keep this covered up as much as I can and use plenty of sunscreen on it.  When on holiday in Egypt a couple of years ago I managed to get the patch on my left shin quite burnt and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight and didn't heal for months and months so I want to avoid that happening again at all costs.

So as you can see, aside from the usual dilemas of whether you have packed too many clothes and which factor suncream you should buy, there are plenty of extras to think about for diabetics going on their hols.  All in all, it's been a bit of a hectic week getting everything sorted but I'm certainly not complaining when I'm soon going to be spending two whole weeks lounging around on a sunbed......

On another positive note, I have seen my dietician today who says she is now happy to tell the pump nurse that I am ready to get started with my pump as I am competent enough at carb counting.  I really wasn't expecting to hear this yet as I thought I'd have to see the dietician a few more times to prove that I have got my head around it all so it was a brilliant surprise to hear her say that today.  I already had an appointment with the pump nurse for tomorrow anyway so I'm going to tell her what the dietician said today and hopefully this time tomorrow I will have a good idea of exactly how long it will be before I get "connected" to my new toy.....just got to think of a name for her now!!!! Ha ha ha!! :o)

Monday, 21 June 2010

It's Just a Number's Game




















If you think about it, that's exactly what diabetes is all about....numbers!!

If it's not blood sugar levels, it's units of insulin or the number of carbs in a meal....basically if it's diabetes related, it will have a number associated with it.

Here are some of the numbers I could think of that are part of managing my diabetes on a daily basis:

- 19 years and 27 days since I was diagnosed at the age of 10
- 2 or 4 injections per day for 19 years - let's say approximately 10 years at 2 per day and 9 years at 4 per day, that's 20,548 injections (approx) since diagnosis
- 4 injections in 1 day down to 1 infusion set change every 3 days - this is the dramatic difference I will experience once I am on a pump!!!!
- 8 to 10 finger pricking blood tests per day - admittedly, it has only been relatively recently that I have done this many blood tests.  I used to go for a month at a time without testing during my teenage years.  Tut tut!!!
- Blood sugar level targets: before meals: between 4 and 7 mmols/L and two hours after meals: less than 9 mmols/L.  As all of us with the big D know, it can sometimes (or most of the time for some of us) be a real struggle to achieve these levels and there are all sorts of things that can play havoc with your levels such as being ill, stress, heat, eating out, alcohol - basically life just gets in the way sometimes....- HbA1C (Glycated haemoglobin) - This is a blood test (not a simple finger prick but a big scary one at the doctors where I am now well known for being the wussiest diabetic they have ever seen "But you inject yourself every day, how can you be scared of needles?" is what they always say - Ha ha!!!) which indicates your blood glucose levels for the previous two to three months. The HbA1c measures the amount of glucose that is being carried by the red blood cells in the body.  The target for this test is 6.5% or less (my last one was 11.6% which is not good at all but is an improvement on the previous one of 12.6% - where HbA1C is concerned even a small decrease is very important and really quite significant in reducing the risk of diabetic complications)
- Cholesterol levels should be less than 4.0 mmol/l.  My cholesterol level is too high and I am currently taking tablets to help to lower it.
- Carbohydrates - I have recently started to learn to count carbs in what I eat in preparation for starting on an insulin pump.  At first I was overwhelmed by all the numbers on the backs of packets and in the books I've got but I am slowly getting used to it.  At the moment, for every 10 grams of carbs I am taking 3 units of my fast acting insulin (Apidra). So for example, if a meal has a total of 120 grams of carbs, I would inject 36 units of Apidra.
- Number of times per day I crave chocolate = at least 10
- Costs to bear in mind regarding insulin pumps: Up to £3000 for the pump itself and approx £1600 for the consumables per year.
- Amount of money I have raised in sponsors, so far, for this years Diabetes UK Walk the Extra Mile in September.......£121.00
- Perhaps the most sensitive issue of all......my weight!!! Currrently at 11 stone and 13 pounds - (I'm scaring myself with my honesty here!!!)   For my height this means that my Body Mass Index is 27 which means I am classed as 'overweight' - not good for the old ego that one!! Apparently my ideal weight is 9 stone 3 pounds - long way to go to get there!!! I had a phase on Slimming World which I did lose nine pounds on and I would like to do Slimming World again at some point but for now my focus is on getting some of my other numbers right, e.g. my blood sugars, and that is a big enough challenge for me right now without trying to lose weight at the same time.


A few more diabetes related numbers:
- 1,400,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, that's about 1 in every 100 people.


- Diabetes takes up 9% of the NHS budget - that's a huge £5.2 billion per year.
- In the year 2000 there were 171,000,000 people worldwide with diabetes, this figure is predicted to rise to 366,000,000 in 2030, that is more than double.
- In the UK 1 person is diagnosed with diabetes every 3 minutes and 3 people die from its complications every 1 hour


Number of times I have wished I wasn't diabetic and that I could stop thinking about numbers = too many to count!!!!  :o)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Diabetes Week


This week (13th to 19th June) is Diabetes Week 2010 which is an annual awareness and fundraising week.  This year Diabetes UK is using Diabetes Week as a way of trying to dispel the myths that surround diabetes and also to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Some of the myths that they are trying to dispel are: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes
If you have diabetes you can't drive
People with diabetes can't play sport

In support of the healthy lifestyle aspect of Diabetes Week Diabetes UK have launched a keepy uppy competition to find the most unusual location you can do a series of keepy uppies.

Many people around the country are doing fantastic things, taking part in challenges and holding events to celebrate Diabetes Week.  I am doing a Diabetes UK sponsored walk in September called "Walk the Extra Mile" and I have raised over £100 so far....plenty of time left for people to sponsor us.  Please visit the following link if you would like to sponsor me...Thank you:
http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/becswalktheextramilefordiabetesuk

There are lots of other "Walk the Extra Mile" events going on during Diabetes Week and also throughout the rest of the year all around the country.

I have put up some posters at work to advertise Diabetes Week and have also had some information put onto works intranet which tells people a few of the basics about Diabetes Week, what type 1 diabetes is and also about my sponsored walk.  Through doing this I have already found out that a colleague has recently started using an insulin pump.  She emailed me and has offered to talk to me and answer any questions I may have on pumps......this, along with me finding so may new friends in the diabetic community recently, just goes to show that us diabetics, and parents of children with diabetes, are a bloomin' friendly bunch!!!!  :o)

Some of the other events and challenges that I know of are:

Lee and Claudia's Don't Suffer In Silence Challenge
Lee and Claudia are both type 1 diabetics and their challenge is to go from Sandbanks to Southbourne, near Bournemouth (Claudia on her bike and Lee in his wheelchair) on Saturday 19th June.  They both want to raise awareness and m oney by completing their challenge.  If you want to sponsor them and help them get to their target of £1000 (they are almost there now) then visit the link below
http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/leenevitt-dontsufferinsilence

Roxie Walks 10km
Both Roxie and her son have type 1 diabetes and she hopes to raise awareness by walking 10km from Sandbanks to Southbourne.  Visit the link to find out more and donate:
http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/roxanareynolds-roxanawalks10km?ref=nf

There are loads of events going on around the country including walking, swimming and zip-sliding challenges. 
Portrait Exhibition
Diabetes UK is working with professional and ex-Times staff photographer James Clarke to produce a photography exhibition which portrays people with diabetes, of all ages, in their own environment. The project is made up of twenty portraits and each is accompanied by a brief biography of the subject which describes their experience of living with diabetes.  The exhibtion is on from 11th June until 20th June at the VAAD Gallery in Mayfair, London.
Coast to Coast Walk
Diabetes UK Chief Executive Douglas Smallwood is raising awareness of their Get Serious campaign, and aiming to raise £5,250 by doing the 192-mile Coast to Coast walk with his son, Jimmy - the money raised will be used to send 15 nurses on an insulin pump training course to support children with diabetes in the UK.

As you can see, a lot of wonderful people care a huge amount about raising awareness of diabetes, its complications and what it is like to live with it on a daily basis.  That is one of the things I have loved finding out from the diabetic online community that I have recently become a part of.....that people are SO VERY passionate about doing whatever they can, big or small, to increase general understanding and awareness.  

Of course the money raised is also fantastic and essential in enabling leading charities to carry on vital research but if I can help just one person to better understand what diabetes is and the seriousness of the condition then I will feel I have done my bit for Diabetes Week 2010!!!!!
Again, if you would like to sponsor me please visit my challenge page:

http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/becswalktheextramilefordiabetesuk

THANK YOU!!!!!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

It's all about units......of the alcohol and the insulin kind

Saturday night was set aside for a good catch up with my oldest and bestest friend, Kathryn, round at her house.  This usually includes some yummy food and copious amounts of wine....this Saturday was no exception.  The only difference this time was that I was actually paying attention to what I was eating, the carbs involved and the affect that alcohol can have on blood sugar levels.


In the past, mainly in my teenage years, I would have a few drinks and not feel any effects diabetes-wise as my sugars usually ran so high anyway that any alcohol I drank did not lower my sugar levels enough to make me hypoglycemic. 


I don't want you to get the wrong impression of me at this point so let me make it clear that I don't drink alcohol very often at all, in fact the last time I had a few drinks before this Saturday was in March and the time before that was January.


What effect can alcohol have on you if you are diabetic?
Alcohol can significantly increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). It can block your livers ability to release glucose.  It also blocks hormones that raise blood glucose and increases the glucose-lowering effect of insulin.
You should avoid drinking on an empty stomach, as this will quickly increase the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.  You should never substitute alcohol for your meals as this can increase the risk of a hypo.
When drinking larger amounts of alcohol, serious hypoglycemia can occur. Some sources (including Diabetes UK) advise strict carbohydrate management, perhaps even eating chips or pizza, if a large amount of alcohol has been consumed.
The symptoms of drunkenness, i.e. slurring words, confusion, can be very similar to the symptom of a hypo. Furthermore, if you have been drinking heavily, there may be a risk of hypos for up to 16 hours (or even longer) after you have stopped drinking.  Obviously, monitoring blood glucose levels closely is an essential part of managing your diabetes in this situation.


So, back to Saturday....working out the carbs in the pizza was the first job.  4 slices at 50g carbs per slice = 200g carbs!!! This seemed an awful lot but we triple checked the maths (you would hope Kathryn got it right as she's a teacher after all) then worked out I'd need 60 units of Apidra as I'm currently using the ratio of 3 units for every 10 grams of carbs


I admit I felt a bit wary of doing so much insulin in one go as, before carb counting (which I only started at the end of April this year), I would never have injected so many units for one meal and 60 units sounded like a crazy amount, so I didn't inject for the 4 garlic dough balls or for the Doritos that I also ate.  I guessed that this would be ok as if I was drinking quite a lot of wine that would also bring my sugars down if I hadn't done enough insulin to account for the Doritos and doughballs......WRONG!!!


Woke up the next morning feeling rubbish but surprisingly not due to a hangover but because of the horrendously high blood sugar level of 23.1.  Not sure exactly what had gone so wrong here.......maybe I should have injected for the Doritos and doughballs after all??!!!


My sugars came back down to a reasonable level by lunchtime and we did have a great night catching up, giggling and singing - much to the neighbours dismay I'm sure - to old Take That songs, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.....until the next time, when I will try, once again, to get it right!!!







Friday, 11 June 2010

The Diabetes Eleven














England's Winning World Cup Team back in 1966

What with the World Cup starting today and the England team playing their first match tomorrow, I thought I'd think about the team that's involved in managing diabetes.

My current winning team consists of the following:

1.  First of all there's me / you / the person with diabetes (the team captain) - For me, becoming the "star player" in this game of diabetes has meant accepting that this isn't going to go away, no matter how much I try to ignore it.  As the person with diabetes you have to try to have an understanding of your condition in order that you can control it and stay healthy in the long term.  As with being the star player in a football team, being a diabetic involves great responsibility.  Ok, so we never asked to get diabetes but for now, or at least until there's a cure, we are stuck with it and the only way to deal with it is to work with what we have got and that means working with the other 'team members' to try and get the results we want.

2.  GP
3.  Diabetes Spcialist Nurse at GP's
4.  Diabetic Consulatant at the Hospital
5.  Diabetes Specialist Nurse / Pump Nurse at Hospital
6.  Dietician
7.  Consultant at the Eye Infirmary
8.  Podiatrist
9.  Chemist
10. Family and Friends
11. Diabetic Online Community (DOC)
and a number of organisations who sit on the subs bench such as:
12.  Diabetes UK
13.  JDRF

Being the team captain means that you are in charge of your diabetes and the other members of your team.  Certain members of the team can help you in terms of treatments, analysing blood sugar results etc. but ultimately you need to be the one in control as you, and only you, knows how your body feels on a day to day basis.

People can sometimes get frustrated with the "doctor knows best" way of thinking, especially when they don't seem to be listening to what you are telling them.  The internet enables people to research their condition in a lot more detail than in the past and the DOC is a fantastic additional source of information, advice and support.  The patient is now able to attend their various appointments armed with a wealth of knowledge.  I think it's important to try and get a good 'working' relationship with your 'team members' as each one of them can contribute, in their own way, to the successful management of your diabetes. 

I have recently changed hospital and am feeling really positive about the future management of my diabetes.  I think all teams need a change of players now and then and hopefully now that I'm in the right place mentally for controlling my diabetes we will get the good results I need!!

(I do realise though that this "happy"relationship does not always happen and for some people appointments and dealing with medical professionals can be a constant battle.)

So, in conclusion, here's to the success of your own 'Diabetes Eleven' and also to the success of our England team in the World Cup!!!!!! :o)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dates for your diary.....

One simple but essential tool for managing diabetes is.....a diary!!!

Admittedly, as some of you will already know, I (stupidly) chose to ignore my diabetes for many years which included not going to hospital appointments but now I'm making up for it and I've got appointments coming out of my ears....

April 28th 2010 - First appointment at my new hospital (Stafford General) with my new dietician - When discussing the pump with my DSN (Diabetes Specialist Nurse) at my GP's I was told a couple of things about my usual hospital (New Cross, Wolverhampton) and the way that several patients she had referred for pumps had been treated so she suggested that I try Stafford Hospital instead as people seem to have more success there......that was all the persuading I needed to ask her to refer me to Dr. Coates at Stafford!!! The first lesson in carbohydrate counting with Mina, the dietician, went really well. I must admit I came away slightly daunted by this brand new way of doing things and more than a little bit nervous about getting it wrong.  In order to get an insulin pump you need to be competent at carb counting so that you can give yourself the correct doses via the pump.  I'm now keeping two diaries, one for appointments and as of 28th April, a food diary too!!!

May 13th 2010 - First meeting with Dr. Coates at Stafford Hospital.  I certainly wasn't expecting a "yes" or "no" answer from him today about whether I could have a pump or not but that is exactly what we got....a big fat "YES".....fantastic!!!!!!! We discussed various things about insulin pumps and the motivation and commitment needed as there is a lot of hard work involved at the start.  I also met Gill who will be my 'pump nurse'.  I really couldn't get over the fact that I got an answer so quickly, especially after some of the stories I have heard/read about the real fight that people have had on their hands to get funding for one.  I realise just how lucky I am to be accepted for a pump and am extremely grateful to Dr. Coates and his team for giving me the opportunity to try a pump and get on top of my diabetes.

June 10th 2010 - The scariest appointment by far....the eye infirmary.   As you probably already know, I have diabetic retinopathy and have had a lot of laser surgery for it in the past.  At my last check up in January the consultant said everything was fine and that I didn't need any more laser treatment....today however, was a different story.  I had kind of guessed that something was going on with my eyes again and that I would need more laser but of course, secretly hoped that they would say everything was fine.  The consultant said the 'streak / shape' I had in my vision on Sunday night was another bleed in the back of my eye and that new blood vessels have started to form in both eyes and starting to leak and therefore I need to have more laser treatment in both eyes.  I thought if I needed any it would be in the right eye but hadn't expected to have to have some in both.  I will have the right eye done first in about 6 weeks time.  Going to try my best not to worry about it too much......for now anyway!!!

June 17th 2010 - This one is an insulin pump forum meeting I have been invited to by the hospital.  I think it will be really interesting as I will be meeting people who are already on pumps....can't wait until I'm one of them!!!! :o)

June 19th 2010 - Lee and Claudia's Challenge.....although we can't be there in person I will be supporting them 'in spirit' and wearing blue in support of what they are doing!!! Wish we could be there to meet Lee, Angela, Claudia, Sarah, Roxana and all of the other wonderful, inspirational friends I have made recently in the DOC (Diabetic Online Community).  Wishing you all the luck in the world guys!!!

June 22nd 2010 - Opticians.  This is just a general sight test so nothing to worry about, unless I need new glasses, in which case finding the money will be a worry!!!  :o)

June 23rd 2010 - Second appointment with dietician, Mrs. Crisp (that still makes me chuckle - great name for someone working with food).  This one is going to be a group session which will be good.  Would also like another one on one appointment with her though as I haven't been told about correction doses yet and still have quite a few questions and I don't want to take up the entire group session with my questions!!

June 24th 2010 - First appointment with Gill, my insulin pump nurse.  I'm really quite looking forward to this one as it will be my first opportunity to really find out exactly how a pump works and probably actually get to handle one.  She did tell me that initially she will be telling me all of the negative points about insulin pumps to see if I think I can cope with them and if I still think a pump is for me.  I have done quite a bit of research and think I am definetly ready for the negatives because as far as I can see they are far outweighed by the positives!!! I already have a list of questions to ask which I'm sure I will be adding to before the 24th!!!

June 29th 2010 - First meeting of the group MyD, set up by Siobhan....can't wait to meet up with Siobhan and other diabetics as I've never really met any fellow suffers of the big D before.  Will be really interesting to talk to people about their experiences.

Other things coming up this year include my sponsored walk for Diabetes UK on 12th September and possibly arranging to meet up with the people mentioned above in Birmingham some time this summer.

Also, thinking of all the other people out there who have had diabetes related appointments today (Lee and Angela/Claudia) - despite the bad news, frustrations, wanting to bang our heads against the wall etc. etc. we are all able to support each other, offer advice and kind words which keep us going.....until the next appointment that is!!!  :o)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Eyes and Lows


Scary couple of days what with eye problems and hypos.....

Sunday night went to bed and suddenly noticed a weird shape/streak across the corner of my vision in my right eye.  This might not have been quite so worrying if I hadn't got proliferative retinopathy.  Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, which as you may have guessed from what I've already said, affects the eyes, in particular the retina.  There are initially no symptoms but if it is left untreated it can lead to partial and eventually total sight loss.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness in adults under 65. It is estimated that 25% of people with type 1 diabetes will have some degree of diabetic retinopathy five years after their symptoms first develop.  (www.nhs.uk)

Retinopathy is caused when the blood vessels in the retina become blocked or leaky, or grow haphazardly, which can damage the retina and prevent it from working properly. (http://www.diabetes.org.uk/).  There is some really good information on the Diabetes UK website about retinopathy.... http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Retinopathy---is-your-vision-at-risk/

What is Proliferative Retinopathy? In this condition very small blood vessels grow from the surface of the retina.  The retina is the film at the back of your eye and the tiny blood vessels are capillaries. These growing blood vessels are very delicate and bleed easily. Without laser treatment, the bleeding causes scar tissue that starts to shrink and pull the retina off, and the eye becomes blind. Laser treatment prevents blindness, but often some vision is lost. If you have had diabetes for years your retinae may develop this condition. As the retina is damaged by diabetes, the diseased retina releases special growth chemicals. These chemicals make tiny blood vessels grow: these are called 'new blood vessels'.  http://medweb.bham.ac.uk/easdec/proliferative.html

I was first diagnosed with retinopathy roughly three years ago and since then have had extensive laser surgery on both eyes.  At my last check up in January of this year they said that I didn't need any more laser as there hadn't been any further changes to the backs of my eyes and they had already done the maximum amount of laser "hits" that they usually do (about 3000 per eye).  My next appointment for a check up is this Thursday. 

I have had one of these "shapes" appear in my vision only once before, two days into our holiday in Goa in November 2008, which as you can imagine, was great fun!!! I made a frantic call to my local eye infirmary in the UK who advised that I get it checked immediately!!! I can't even begin to describe how terrifying it was to have to try and navigate the Indian medical system.  Anyway, that's a different story....

This time I was a bit less paniced as I'm only 10 minutes from the eye infirmary, not a ten hour flight away!!! It wasn't as pronounced as the last one in Goa so I decided to see how it was in the morning.  I have been getting a few blurry vision 'episodes' where everything seems a bit out of focus and also a few spots in my vision, (see the picture that goes with this post for a better idea of what I mean), which come and go and I have put that down to the dramatic change in my blood sugar results.  When I saw my consultant (the wonderful Dr. Coates who said I could have the pump) he said he didn't want my hbA1c to decrease too quickly once I get the pump as it could affect my retinopathy so I'm guessing that as I've got better levels than I've ever had before it is having some affect on my eyes. 

Monday morning and the shape/streak had faded a bit so I 'ummed and aahed' for ages about whether to bother going to the eye infirmary A & E or not. I decided to go and get it checked but by the time I had got myself showered and ready it had more or less faded all together and I decided to leave it until my check up on Thursday, unless it comes back.

I think that this time they will say I need to have some more laser done, obviously I'm just guessing but what with the recent blurriness and the 'streak' I got on Sunday night it looks as though there may be some changes going on in the back of my eyes (particularly the right one).  But we'll have to wait and see......

Another scary thing today, I tested my sugars mid afternoon and it was 4.1 but it felt much lower so I grabbed a glass of milk.  Less than ten minutes later and I felt awful, sweating, weak, confused, blurry vision etc. etc. so I tested again and it had gone down to 2.8.  By this stage I could hardly hold my own head up so Gareth had to get me some chocolate and more milk.  It was really lucky he was here with me as I don't know what I would have done otherwise.  I couldn't get enough of the funsize Milky Way Magic Stars and no sooner had Gareth opened a packet for me I was demanding the next one (there's the stroppiness that accompanies a hypo - poor Gareth).  As soon as I started to feel a bit more human, I got the usual shivers and felt freeeeeeezing cold (it was then I issued my demand for a duvet!!!) and wanted to do nothing but sleep.  This was a particularly bad hypo for me as I don't think I can remember a time when I have dropped so quickly and I can't remember being as low as 2.8 for a long time.  I can usually feel it coming on in plenty of time to get myself some glucose tablets or chocolate, but not today!!!

Anyway, I'm feeling ok again now (although my sugars have gone up to 12.3 and then 16.6)......but don't tell Gareth I'm feeling better because at the moment I've managed to get out of walking the dogs!!! Hypos are good for something after all......He he he!!!  ;o)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Every Little Helps!!!


Since attempting to finally sort out my diabetes and finding out I am going to be getting an insulin pump, I have also decided to try and raise as much awareness as I can about the condition in terms of what it is like to live with it on a day to day basis, the long term complications that can occur, the fight that some people have on their hands to get an insulin pump and I also hope to try and dispel some of the myths surrounding type 1 diabetes.  This blog is part of how I hope to raise that awareness.  In the last week or two I have also been doing other things to help get me started on my new "crusade" - every little helps!!

1. Diabetes UK "Walk the Extra Mile" and Santa Dash
This is a sponsored walk that I am doing in September.  I originally set a target of £100.00 for sponsors as in previous years we haven't managed to get any more than that but this time we are already up to £98.00 which is fantastic - a huge thanks to everyone who has sponsored us so far!!!  This time I have put the walk on the Diabetes UK Challenge website so that people can sponsor us via the internet which I think has really helped as people have sponsored us who I wouldn't normally have asked.  I'll carry on collecting sponsors and promoting the walk on my blog and on Facebook and I am also going to be putting a few lines on our works intranet to give a bit of information on diabetes and also to ask people to sponsor us so hopefully we will raise a really good amount for the charity this year.  Please click on the link below if you would like to sponsor us. Thanks!!!
http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/becswalktheextramilefordiabetesuk

My other half, Gareth, will be doing a bit of fundraising of his own by doing a 5km Santa Dash organised by Diabetes UK in Sutton Coldfield on 5th December - complete with Santa suit!!!! ;o)

2. Diabetes Week
13th to 19th June is Diabetes UK's 'Diabetes Week', which is an annual fundraising and awareness raising week.  The themes this year are dispelling the myths around diabetes (such as "eating lots of sugar can cause type 1"), and also raising awareness of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.  I printed off some of their posters and also ordered some online.  I am going to take a few of the posters to the local library this week and I have put them up on every single noticeboard I could find at work - the employees of South Staffordshire Council WILL be made more aware of diabetes  :o)

3. MyD (Midlands Young Diabetics)
I have recently become online friends with Siobhan who is setting up a new diabetes support group called MyD (Midlands Young Diabetics).  The first meeting is on 29th June and I am really looking foward to meeting her and other young diabetics.  Siobhan sent me a few posters advertising the first meeting and I have taken these to my GP's and will also be going to the local library with them and leaving them at the hospital at my next appointment.

4. JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
In terms of diabetes charities I had only ever heard of Diabetes UK until recently but there is another fantastic charity out there called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  I have started to read up on what they are all about and what they do.  Through their website I have sent an e-mail to my local MP to ask her to support the Early Day Motion put down by Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay for JDRF in order to increase awareness and understanding about type 1 diabetes.  Early Day Motions provide a formal mechanism for MPs to raise issues in the House of Commons.  If  you would like to do the same please click on the following link for  more information: http://www.jdrf.org.uk/news.asp?itemid=1489&itemTitle=Adrian+Sanders+MP+puts+down+Early+Day+Motion+for+JDRF§ion=23§ionTitle=News

5. Diabetes UK Campaign Network
I have signed up online to join the Diabetes Campaign Network (DCN). 
"The Diabetes Campaigners Network (DCN) works to improve services for people with diabetes and end discrimination against them.  The DCN is made up of thousands of people who take part in Diabetes UK’s national campaigns on issues such as retinal screening, insulin pumps, access to blood testing strips and support for children with diabetes in schools.  DCN members are also empowered by Diabetes UK to run their own campaigns on specific local issues."
Taken from: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Campaigning/Diabetes_Campaigners_Network/
 
I feel that there is a real lack of understanding about what diabetes actually is and how much it really does affect people's lives on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.  Now that I am actually bothered about my condition I think it's time I did something and tried to get other people to understand what it involves and just how serious it can be, even if for now those other people are just friends and family.  Hopefully by joining the DCN I will be able to spread that awareness to a lot more people.
 
One of the current campaigns on the DCN's agenda is the Get Serious campaign which aims to underline the seriousness of diabetes by bringing together people who have a connection to the condition.  (For more information go to: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/GetSerious/About-Get-Serious/ )
 
6. Volunteering
I am looking into signing up to be a distributor for Diabetes UK and also becoming an events volunteer.  Both of these roles, in particular the events volunteer, would enable me to get out there and meet lots of new people whilst helping to raise some all important awareness.  Events volunteers help out at Diabetes UK roadshows across the country and the role includes working with Diabetes UK staff, talking to members of the public and handing out information about diabetes. The events range from stands in shopping centres and high streets to big events such as melas and county shows.
 
Also this week:
I have received an invite to the Third Insulin Pump Forum Meeting at Stafford Hospital on 17th June.  The theme is going to be food, eating out and takeaways.  I have never been to a meeting like this before so I am really looking forward to it and to meeting some more new people.  It will also be great to meet people who are already on the pump.  I'm sure I will be giving them all a thorough 'grilling' on all aspects of life with a pump!!!! :o)
 
I went to the doctors on Wednesday to get my chest/arm pains checked out and also ask about a sharps container and ketone testing strips.  It wasn't exactly a positive appointment, especially when I sat down and the doctor just stared at me and didnt do the usual "How can I help you?" so I started by saying "I've got  few things I need to ask about" and she said "Well, I've only got 10 minutes so we'll deal with the important things" - To me all of the things were important!!!!!!!!!!
Anyway, I have got to go to the hospital for an exercise test where I get wired up to a treadmill and they see how much exertion I can take before getting pains/breathless.  Not going to look my best doing this as I don't "do" exercise and I tend to break out in a sweat just thinking about running!!!!!! The GP also prescribed a GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) spray, which is used to treat angina, to use in case I get the pains again!! Hopefully the test will rule out a heart condition but I've got to wait 4 to 6 weeks for the appointment and then we'll go from there - in the meantime it's pretty scary to think that I could possibly have a heart condition at the age of 29 due to my lack of diabetic control over the years!!! 
I got my sharps container easy enough but the ketone strips were another matter....the doctor said "I will have to speak to the nurse about them because I have never heard of them" - I was pretty surprised at this to be honest and will now have to make another appointment with the nurse to get it sorted!!! Is it me or should a GP have heard of ketone strips???!! Is this another incidence of lack of knowledge of the way the condition is managed on a day to day basis??? Surely you should be able to rely on your doctor to provide you with the kit that you need to manage a condition such as diabetes??? Let me know what you think and what your experiences are of getting/using ketone strips......
 
It's still really early days but I'm hoping that by putting my hand up and volunteering I can really get into trying to ensure that people become better informed about diabetes and all that it involves!!!!  :o)

Friday, 4 June 2010

You're having a hypo?? What's that then??















Today's lesson is on hypoglycemia......are you sitting comfortably??!!
So what is hypoglycemia (a hypo)?  - It's what is known as a 'short term' complication of diabetes which is when a persons blood sugar levels (the amount of glucose in the blood) drop below 4.0 mmol/L. 
Causes of a hypo - There are a number of reasons why blood sugar levels can drop below 4.0 mmol/L, such as having taken too much insulin, missing a meal or snack, not eating enough carbohydrate, strenuous exercise or drinking too much alcohol, but then again, sometimes there is no clear reason why it happens.Signs/Symptoms of a hypo - Not everyone has the same symptoms of a hypo, they can vary from person to person but the most common symptoms that people may experience are: an intense feeling of hunger,  trembling and/or shakiness, sweating, anxiety or irritability, going pale, fast pulse or palpitations, tingling of the lips and blurred vision.  The warning signs that I tend to get are the intense hunger which I describe as wanting to eat anything and everything I can get my hands on (as long as it's full of sugar of course), shakiness, sweating and feeling very very hot, feeling very weak with "jelly legs", blurred vision, struggling to concentrate, difficulty in getting my words out and sometimes irritability.  All of these things combined can be very scary and really not nice at all as you just feel so out of control (well, I do anyway, I know everyone has slightly different symptoms and ways of describing how a hypo actually feels for them).  Ok, so it's an excuse to stuff my face with treats but I'd rather not have the hypos to be honest!!
Immediate Treatment - A hypo needs to be treated as quickly as possible as there is a danger of blood sugar levels dropping lower and this can result in unconsciousness or fitting.  According to Diabetes UK, the immediate treatment should be "10 - 20g of a short-acting carbohydrate such as: a glass of Lucozade or non-diet drink, three or more glucose tablets, five sweets, e.g. jelly babies or a glass of fruit juice although he exact quantities will vary from person to person". 
In some cases the hypo may be so severe that you cannot treat it by yourself.  If this happens someone will have to help you by putting GlucoGel (or treacle, jam or honey) on the inside of your cheeks and gently massaging the outside of your cheeks. 
If you are unconscious, Glucagon can be injected if the person you are with has been trained to use it. Otherwise the people you are with should call an ambulance immediately.  Glucagon causes blood glucose levels to rise within 10 -60 minutes after it has been injected.
Family and friends need to be made aware that if you are unable to swallow or you are unconscious, you should not be given anything by mouth (including GlucoGel, treacle, jam or honey).  If you are unconscious, you should be placed in the recovery position (on your side with your head tilted back) so that your tongue does not block your throat.
Thankfully, I have only ever had one really serious hypo.  I was about 11 at the time (about a year or so after diagnosis) and I can clearly remember what happened - it was near to Christmas and it was the day I was taking my friends presents into school, I was going downstairs carrying all the presents when all of a sudden I collapsed on the stairs dropping the presents all over the place.  The next thing I remember is drifting in and out of consciousness in the kitchen with my Mom putting GlucoGel into my mouth and my Dad standing over me with the Glucagon injection ready.......that's all I can remember about the whole thing.  Obviously it was really scary but it must have been totally terrifying for my parents having to deal with that for the very first time and I can't imagine how they must have felt (in fact I must remember to ask them about it to see what they remember about it).
Follow Up Treatment - After the initial short acting carbohydrate it is important that you then have some long acting carbs, e.g. toast, cereal, plain biscuits or milk to stabilise and maintain your blood sugar levels at a normal level and to prevent your blood sugar levels dropping again.  This does not apply to everyone - some people may find that they feel fine and back to normal after just treating the hypo with fast acting carbs (glucose tablets etc.)
Hypos and Other Stuff - Exercising can lower your blood sugar levels which is why it is important to eat some carbs before, possibly during and also after you have exercised.  Hypos could happen up to 36 hours after strenuous exercise so you might need to adjust your medication or carbohydrate intake to compensate.
You should always test your blood sugar levels before you drive. If you get any of your usual hypo warning signs you should stop the car as soon as it is safe to do so and treat your hypo in the usual way. You shouldn't start to drive again until you are sure your blood sugar levels have gone back to a normal level.
Drinking lots of alcohol makes a hypo more likely to occur. The signs of a hypo can be similar to those of being drunk. Always have something to eat if you are drinking alcohol, and tell the people you are with about your diabetes and what to do if you need help treating a hypo. 
The main things to remember about hypos -
Always have something sugary with you for use in an emergency - I carry Glucotabs and cereal bars wherever I go
Wear some medical I.D. - Oooops!!! Maybe I should look into getting a new bracelet!!
Tell your friends or family what signs you have when you go hypo and how to treat it, as you may not be able to think clearly when your blood glucose goes low - see above.
If you do become unconscious through a hypo, your body will eventually release its stores of glucose into the blood and you will recover - I don't know about others but I really wouldn't like to leave it to chance or test that theory out!!!
You will come to recognise your own hypo warning signs, but these may change over time, so be prepared to check your blood sugar level if you experience any unusual symptoms.
(http://www.diabetes.org.uk/)


I think for me personally one of the worst things about hypos is feeling SO weak and the feeling of being out of control.  Another thing that is frustrating about treating a hypo is that at the time you are so scared about your levels going even lower that you can tend to 'over treat', eat too much and then get worryingly high levels afterwards.  I also think a lot of people think that having a hypo is just feeling a bit queasy, an excuse to eat a load of sweets and that it's not actually that bad so I hope this post has helped to dispell that particular myth to some extent.


It really can be a viscious cycle and it's such an incredibly difficult balancing act that those of us with diabetes are constantly trying our best to get right.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Testing Testing 1, 2, 3............4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


OMG,I actually have marks on the ends of my fingers from the amount of testing I have been doing.......now that really is unheard of for me, never in my 19 years as a type 1 have I seen any marks from testing (The photo is a box of lancets which are the delightful little things responsible for finger pricking and causing the lovely "pepperpot" look to the end of my fingers!!!!)

Since Monday I have tested my blood sugars 23 times......Monday I did 6, yesterday I did 10 and today I have done 7.......so far.  This is more than I used to do in an entire month (or sometimes 6 months!!!).  In the last month or so since I made the decision to sort myself out I have tested on average 6 to 8 times per day, sometimes more  - so why this sudden turnaround?? The promise of a pump can do funny things to a girl.
It's been a looooooong time coming but being told I can have an insulin pump has really made me pull my socks up and focus on what I need to do, i.e. learn to carb count and learn to see patterns in my sugar levels so I can get the insulin ratios correct. I'm still pretty new to all this and have only had one appointment / carb counting 'lesson' with my dietician (the aptly named Mrs. Crisp) so far. I have been told that once she is happy that I am an 'expert' carb counter I will be able to actually get the pump and have the training on how to use it with my pump nurse, so I am determined to get the hang of it all as quickly as physically possible.
In the past I have either not bothered testing or if I have, I have just tested, written the result down in my monitoring diary and then forgotten about it, now however, I am actually trying to see patterns in the results that I'm getting - not that there's often a clear pattern at the moment as things are still quite up and down but the basics are there. I'm thinking this may be something to do with the fact that my levels have been running so high for so long that it will take a while for things to settle down (I hope its as simple as that anyway).
Another major wake up call for me has been the diagnosis of proliferative retinopathy.  ("Retinopathy affects the blood vessels supplying the retina – the seeing part of the eye. Blood vessels in the retina of the eye can become blocked, leaky or grow haphazardly. This damage gets in the way of the light passing through to the retina and if left untreated can damage vision" - http://www.diabetes.org.uk/ - more about this in a future post).  Hearing the news that my eyesight is failing was the kick up the arse I so badly needed to finally make me do something about my diabetes instead of pretending it doesn't exist - obviously this includes actually testing my blood sugar levels and reacting to whatever the result may be rather than just testing for the sake of it (or not testing at all).
Ok, so back to testing itself......it's not exactly a fun pastime and it can make your fingers really quite sore at times, as I'm only just finding out, but it is such an important part of treating diabetes. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite writing that to be honest as I've not exactly been what you would call a "good diabetic" over the years.  It's almost as if my eyes and ears have been closed for years and now all of a sudden I'm seeing the bigger picture and realising that this thing isn't going to go away no matter how much I try to ignore it. It is a serious condition and it needs a serious amount of commitment from those of us who have it. I know it may all sound a bit like it's too little to late in my case but I really do want to try and reverse some of the damage I have no doubt done to my body over the years and also keep any further complications as far off in the distant future as I possibly can.

P.S. All good results today apart from a couple of highs this morning (although these are actually not that high for me) of 13.8 and 11.3, then it all came good with 6.4, 7.3, 4.4, 4.3 then went a bit too low around dinner time with 3.3 which I put down to the hot weather.  Had a couple of mini cadbury's creme eggs ("YUM") and my dinner so we'll see later on what that's done to my levels.
Ooooh, and I have finally got me a sharps container for the first time ever - bit of a sad thing to get excited about but all these things are little steps towards getting things under control and sorted out!!!!  :o)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Little Miss Sunshine.........for today anyway ;o)

















I really do want to try and get some positives into my blog and not just concenrate on the negative things about the Big D!!  It really is SO easy for me to bang on and on about all of the bad things about living with diabetes on a day to day basis and about the awful long term complications that accompany it but I'm conscious that I've already focussed on those things quite a lot in my first few days of blogging.  So here goes, I'm going to try and think of a few good things that are going on at the moment........

Some of the good things in my life......

  • I have fabulous friends and family who I can always rely on for support - Special mention to my Mom who has been there from the start and put up with me no matter what - even when I chose to totally ignore my condition!!! Love you!!! And another special mention to Kathryn - my biggest supporter and oldest and bestest friend!!!
  • My other half, Gareth - Always there for me through good times and bad - he's there for me when I'm down and moaning because I'm so frustrated at not being able to get it right, he's there to celebrate with me when I do get it right, he's there to fetch the Glucotabs when I'm low and, possibly most importantly, he's always there to give me a hug when I need it
  • The DOC (Diabetic Online Community), which I am still very new to - Despite only recently bothering to open my eyes and look into what's out there on t'internet to do with diabetes, I have already found some fab people, groups, blogs and forums online who know exactly what living with diabetes is like.  It really is amazing just how friendly, supportive and willing to help and offer advice people are.  I guess because I have always ignored my diabetes I have never even thought about getting in touch with fellow diabetics and as I have said before, I really do wish I had done it sooner -  Having diabetes is not quite as lonely as I thought it was!!!
  • Fundraising - I have signed up for Walk the Extra Mile for Diabetes UK at the Lickey Hills Country Park in Birmingham on 12th September.  This will be the third year in a row that we have done it - we managed to go wildly off the route both times even though we have done it at a different place each time so I'm hoping it will be third time lucky this year and we won't get lost.  We don't raise massive amounts of money but it all helps and to use a cliche "it's the taking part that counts".  I also like the fact that it raises awareness about diabetes, which can only ever be a good thing.  It's also a good way for me to get a bit of exercise (me and exercise do not get on and there's not really many things that I would get off me bum for - apart from raising some money for a good cause of course).  A work colleague has also very kindly decided to raise some money for Diabetes UK this summer when he takes part in a golf tournament, which I'm really pleased about (Thanks Andy, you're a star) .  Oh, I guess I should use this opportunity for another shameless bit of begging for sponsors so go on, you know you want to.........click on the link and you can sponsor us online - it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, honest!!!! http://www.diabeteschallenge.org.uk/challenge/becswalktheextramilefordiabetesuk
  • Good blood sugar days - Although my levels are still quite erratic I am now getting entire days of good results, like today for example (8.5, 8.6, 6.3, 5.1, 4.5, 3.3 (bit of a blip there) and 6.1).  These sort of days make me feel positive and motivated to keep going with it all - I must be doing something right after all!!!
  • General improvement - As I said above my sugar levels are still quite up and down but generally my results are MUCH better and I need to focus on this when I'm having a down moment / hour / day!!!
  • In control......at last - I'm not referring specifically to my blood sugar levels here (as you can see in my two previous points above - my results are still up and down a lot) - what I mean when I say I'm in control is that FINALLY, after 19 long years of ignoring diabetes and pretending it wasn't part of my life, I am now embracing it and, for the first time ever, I am determined not to let it beat me.....don't get me wrong I've still got a long way to go but I'm taking small steps every day towards taking control of it so that it doesn't control me.  I'm re-educating myself and re-learning all the basics, I'm doing plenty of research on the internet, reading as much as I can, I'm joining forums, Facebook groups, "talking" to people online, I've joined a support group (MyD - Thanks Siobhan) which I'm going to the first meeting of on 29th June and I'm blogging, which is proving to be extremely theraputic and helpful - and that's just for starters!!!
  • Oh, and did I mention........I'm getting a pump!!!??!!  :o)
Be warned, I'm sure there will be plenty more negative posts to come in the future but I will always have this one to look back at to give me a kick up the bum and make me realise that I'm slowly getting to where I want to be in terms of my diabetes!!!

:o)

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