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!!!

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:§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:
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: )
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)

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