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)
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