Thursday, 13 October 2011

Skydiving

On September 23rd, I skydived for JDRF. It was AWESOME.


My instructor was a really nice guy who put me at ease straight away. I was the only one doing a tandem jump in the flight I went in - all the others were qualified skydivers doing their own thing, including one girl in a pair of hot pants and knee high socks!!! Obviously I didn't get to see what she was doing but she was very happy when I saw her when I landed!

It took a few minutes for the plane to get to the right height - 13500ft!! The qualified people jumped first, including one guy in a squirrel suit which apparently allows you to 'fly'!

The instructor said we could exit the plane in 1 of 2 ways: head first or feet first. I opted for head first. This involved us being strapped together VERY closely (he did warn me it would be the closest I'd ever get to a man with my clothes on, and he wasn't kidding!!), shuffling along the bench in the plane and me kneeling on the floor - at which point he stood up, so I was hanging in the air off him - then he walked towards the door of the plane and literally hung me out the side of the plane face first. At that point I was thinking 'wow/what the hell am I doing?!' 13500ft high up in the air and looking at the ground...

He then jumped out the plane and we began to freefall. The first second or two we spun around, upside down/round in circles and my instinct was to shut my eyes - but I opened them again very quickly as I realised it was silly to miss the view! We stabilised and began to freefall downwards - the instructor had asked me before if I wanted to do some spinning around and I'd said yes, so at that point he started spinning us round and round in circles. It was AWESOME but I had to ask him to stop after a while as I began to feel a bit funny! The noise was incredible, SO loud, the air rushing past my ears. At 6000ft/1 mile from the ground he opened the parachute and we jolted from being on our fronts to being straight upright.

We were above the clouds and he asked if I wanted to do some spinning. He gave me the cords to help him control the parachute, and we spent a few mins spinning left and right. He glided us through the clouds and the thing I'll remember the most is seeing our silhouette on a cloud - but the best thing was, there was a rainbow on the cloud. So we glided through the rainbow and swooped around a bit more before heading to the field to land. His experience really shone through at that point as he landed us directly in front of my parents and grandparents who were waiting at the field!!

I can totally understand why people do it as a hobby, I've never seen anything like it, whizzing through the clouds and then making our way slowly down to the ground! The views were incredible (I had to laugh when he pointed out the local prison...) and I would love the opportunity to do it again...I think I know what I might be asking for for Christmas!!!

I took my pump off and left it in my handbag (with my mum). In total it was probably off for about 30 mins. The instructor reminded me to take it off by asking what it was as I was about to put my skydiving suit on! I had shot up to 14 before the jump...I had predicted I would go high but I was too scared to put a temp basal on. I took a 1u correction and was 11.9 when I got back into the car straight after.

For 2 days after the jump I had tinnitus in my right ear which was unpleasant to say the least.

Anyway...it was amaaaaazing, I would love to do it again (...and probably will, don't tell my mum..!) but the best bit is - including the money my nan has collected - I've raised over £1400 for JDRF!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

How is referring someone so difficult?!

Last month I went to see a GP at my GP surgery. He happily agreed to refer me to a local hospital for my diabetes care. I then received a letter through the post a few days later to say I had been referred to the Choose & Book system and I should book my appointment online.

I tried to do this, only to be told there were no appointments available to be booked and I should wait to be contacted by the hospital by today. If they didn't contact me, I should ring my GP back.

Me being me, I decided to cut out the middle man and called the hospital's appointment line. I explained what had happened, and the woman very snarkily told me that ACTUALLY, my GP hadn't referred me directly, so they couldn't book me an appointment over the phone.

I am SO frustrated with the GP I saw. How hard is it to write a letter to the hospital, instead of sending me via the Choose & Book system?! It's not like I want to see a consultant for fun!

The other amazingly annoying thing is that I am due to be upgraded to the Animas Vibe, which Animas have said they will do as soon as I have an appointment with a consultant (having the appointment means I can see a DSN beforehand, and the Animas rep will set me up on the Vibe). So this means I am being delayed again onto getting the Vibe!

Arghhhh!




Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sailboats.

From Our Diabetic Life.

"Diabetes is a sailboat. 

13 years ago I was told to put my child in a sailboat. Alone. 

He was to journey out to sea and I was not allowed to escort him.

You can imagine the fight I put up. I yelled and pleaded. I dropped to my knees and bargained with God. I had a fit. But alas, my flailing was fruitless...he was literally taken out of my arms and thrown into the boat. I was given no choice. He had Type 1 Diabetes and there was no going back. He could not stay on shore. He could not live without the boat...it was part of him now.

I watched the boat go out to sea and I cried for what felt like forever. The world seemed to be in constant motion, while I was stuck on pause...mourning his separation from the shore.

The viciousness of the waves were horrifying.

My child was helpless.

I was helpless.
I would have done anything to be on that boat. I willed his diabetes to enter my body so I could switch places with him. But apparently, that isn't how it works.


Unfortunately.

I was given two tools to help my son. A telescope and limited control over the weather.

I have vigilantly had my eye set to that telescope for 13 years. There have been long stretches when I wouldn't leave the scope. I wouldn't shower. I wouldn't eat. 

I have had comments throughout the years that my attention would be better placed somewhere other than the boat.

What they don't understand is that my child is on that boat. My heart. My soul. How could I ever walk away from my scope?

My one advantage is, with insulin and food, I can sometimes control the weather. I can smooth the waves and bring him close to shore. On those days it almost feels he is on land with me. On those days we dance together and laugh, and joke that the ocean has nothing on us.

But other days the storms come in out of nowhere. The black clouds close in and the numbers ebb and flow with the powerful tide. On those days, I watch my son ride those waves and I spend the day at my scope...determined to change the color of the clouds. If his boat capsized...I don't know what I would do. 

Sure...he is above water. Sure...he is surviving. But on the stormier days his sea sickness weighs so heavy on my shoulders, I'm sure I am going to run out of strength, and one day drown into despair myself.

My son has grown up on his boat, and I am in awe every day of his constant vigilance, and his nimble control of his craft. He is an able captain now. He can hoist the sail, he can watch for the storm clouds. He can batten down the hatches. He can steer that boat away from immediate danger...he FEELS the sea. His intuition is inspiring.

Three boats I have set out to sea. It does not get easier. Every boat I have released has killed me a little bit inside. My husband and I live our lives on the shore waiting for storms, hoping for sun...watching each and every wave.

It is exhausting. It is tedious.

But on the summerlike days, when the boys drift closer to our reality...they hitch their boats together. 

With their boats abreast, we can sit together and watch the sun set on the horizon and know that we can do this. We see the other boats adrift in the ocean, and their resolve and optimism lifts our spirits.

A bit ironic that the most amazing views...the most amazing perspectives...can be seen only from a boat.

No, it isn't easy. It isn't fair. The children with their feet on land are behind us, ever present...running around with no cares.

They don't have an entire craft to navigate. If a storm comes in they can simply get in their cars and their parents can drive them home. 

They are not required to have constant courage or patience. They are not required to grow up quickly to take on captaining their own ship.

They are free to run.

Freedom. A gift my boys yearn for.

Freedom from navigating. Freedom from weather.

Diabetes is a sailboat.

Adrift in the sea.

The boats rock gently tonight. I can see my sons at the helms. Their silhouettes against the nights sky. 

Each one, every bit a hero.

We pray that one day they may set their feet on the sandy shore and rest.

That one day they may find respite from their journey.

Type 1 Diabetes is a sailboat.

And 40 new sailboats take off from the shore, every day. 

They aren't just boats underway with numbers in their wake...they are families lives, changed forever. 

They are significant.

Every single sailboat is significant.

And every captain, an inspiration."

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bad advocate.

Today I was a bad advocate. I'll put my hands up and admit it. I didn't deal with the situation in the way I could or should have but we all have our limits - and I guess mine were reached today!

I went to get my hair cut this morning. I like my hairdressers because they have a 3D, upside-down desert theme thing stuck on their ceiling. It's weird but keeps me entertained.

I really, really hate having my hair cut for one huge reason: the small talk hairdressers insist on. I know it's part of every hairdressing trip anyone ever makes, but it makes me soooo uncomfortable and awkward. Anyway - the guy asked me about my weekend and I said to him I'd been to a charity event yesterday (Flying With Diabetes). He asked me about why I went etc, and told him I have type 1 diabetes. The following is a summary of the conversation that occurred.

"Have you tried a diet?"

"No, type 1 diabetes can't be controlled using diet, I'm insulin dependent."

"Oh but you should try this one - it's called Simply Raw, people came off insulin in a week." (A quick googles tells me THIS is what he's probably talking about.)

"The people taking part would have had type 2 diabetes, which you can use diet to control."

"No, it was definitely type 1 - they came off insulin." (at this point I was ready to walk out, if only he hadn't been halfway through the hair cut...)

"People with type 2 also use insulin as a treatment, and I can promise you they would not have been type 1 - I use an insulin pump to give me insulin - people with type 1 would die without insulin."

At this point he backed down with "I am sorry".

I was really wound up by his comments - in his defence I guess he really didn't know what he was talking about, but it frustrated me so much. I got kind of shirty with him when telling him it was definitely people with type 2 and he then spent the rest of the hair cut trying to be chummy chummy with me. I could have handled that so much better, but I didn't.

Sigh. I'll keep going back, because they do great haircuts (although I wish I'd had it a bit shorter...maybe I'll go back and get them to reign in the longest layers).

Friday, 9 September 2011

Running

Argh! I did it! I got a place running the London Marathon 2012 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation!

Now...help! I'd appreciate keeping in touch with people who run regularly.

I am not so scared of the distance, more of the toll it is going to take on my diabetes. I'm also pretty excited to see what that toll is; how is my body going to react? I feel that I can cope with the stresses and pain of the running...I'm more concerned with the highs, the lows and everything in between.

I have trainers. I have shorts and tshirts to run in.

I would love to invest in an mp3 player of some sort; I want an ipod but my uber tight budget won't allow for it. The one I have at the moment is kind of okay, but is small and not great for setting up playlists and stuff. I just read the post Chris wrote about music and running, and I guess this is another curve I'll be learning; what motivates me? Do I want to hear the sound of nature London as I run? Would a playlist of music be best, or a load of podcasts?

I've got 3 people who have volunteered to run with me, so I have no excuses. I also have a park pretty nearby, and I imagine I'll be getting to know it very well very soon...

I have a short attention span and get distracted really easily, and I know I will need to keep mixing things up to keep myself going. When I get onto doing much longer runs, I think I will start investigating getting out of London to do those runs. Brighton? Norfolk? Kent?

And so it begins...

Friday, 26 August 2011

But I'm only 23.

I've just had possibly the most depressing meeting of my life: a meeting to set up my pension. It was incredibly dull, but at least now I know I will have some money around when I retire.

It made me feel a bit funny on the inside though, talking about retiring at 68 and the possibility of that age rising. Having lived with type 1 for 20 years, I've always been told my life span is roughly 15 years below the average person - although that being said, recent research says we will live just as long as any other (source). It's quite hard to get out of that way of thinking though, having been told it so many times; so when the pensions guy talked about retiring at over the age of 70, all I could think was "but I probably won't live that long."

And I know you can say that everyone has a chance of not living that long, and I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and not live long enough to see the complications of type 1 diabetes.

But it's always in the back of my mind.

(and another opportunity to plug my fundraising, yay! Please consider sponsoring me - on September 23rd I will throw myself out of a plane, also known as skydiving, to raise funds for JDRF. JustGiving takes donations from wherever you live in the world - an American friend of mine donated £20 very kindly, so don't be put off by that small factor! My donation page is at http://www.justgiving.com/siobhanskydives - all the money you donate will go straight to JDRF, as I have paid for the skydive myself.)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

7 months!

I worked out that tomorrow will be 7 months since I moved to London. 7 months! It feels like I have been forever, and I mean that overall in a good way.

London is a brilliant city. There is so much to DO! I haven't done half the stuff I would like to yet. I enjoy the fact I could never get bored, in theory. There is stuff to do every day, every evening - whatever the weather. Last weekend I went to Brick Lane and drank kiwi juice and ate amazing Ethiopian food with my aunt and uncle. I love going to markets - I can't really afford to buy something every time, but they are great to pass a few hours with. I especially love food markets with amazing vegetarian food!

I've been reverting back to being vegetarian over the past couple of months and am now officially, totally vegetarian. I need to do some food shopping and learn how to make the amazing marinades and sauces I taste in the food markets!

I've also been looking at getting a hobby of some variety - I think I am going to sign up to a block of ballet lessons. I did ballet when I was a teen and got as far as buying pointe shoes (but had to quit and never got the chance to use them). I love how hard a work out ballet is and how much fun it is. Just got to wait for payday so I can pay for it! It will also help with my overall fitness levels...which if I'm going to run that marathon next year, I really need to actually do something about!

Speaking of running the marathon, I have a couple of fundraising ventures this year. All in aid of JDRF.

The first? A skydive!


As someone who isn't so keen on heights, I figure the best way to get people to dig deep for JDRF is to throw myself out of a plane!! Type 1 has been in my life for 20 years now, and I'd really like a few years of my life without it - so please consider sponsoring me. I have paid for the jump myself, so all the money you donate goes to JDRF.

I'll be jumping on 23rd September, at Sibson airfield (near Peterborough, England).

http://www.justgiving.com/siobhanskydives

Thanks!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Memory like a SIEVE.

Seriously.

I just can't seem to hold any information at all at the moment. It's like people tell me things and they go straight in one ear and out the other. My attention span is at the very worst it has been in a long long time. I am doing everything I can to get around all of this; writing lists of things to do, making notes of conversations I have, so on so forth.

And I'm still struggling. It's really bothering me - it means I am nowhere near as efficient as I could be! I want to be productive and on top of things, yet I am finding it pretty hard. 

I can't tell you the amount of times this week I have sent follow-up emails trying to sort things out/arrange things/checking details of discussions - because I have forgotten what I have discussed in meetings etc. The main reason I can't tell you is because I honestly can't remember! 

If anyone has any suggestions on how to make this easier, please tell me - no matter how big or small! Is there anything I can be doing to help myself? Should I invest in anything? Help! This has been getting progressively worse over the past couple of weeks.

Thankfully I have not forgotten anything type 1 wise - I always bolus, test etc. I suppose a little part of me is worried that one day I might!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

An open letter to HCPs who do not 'get it'

Before I start the letter, I'd just like to point out that this is aimed at those health care professionals that do not seem to have an inkling of what it is like to live with type 1. I know there are some amazing doctors and nurses out there who are just fantastic...this is not for them. I've been thinking about this topic a lot as I am looking to move to a new team here in London, and this is what I imagine I would say to them if they turn out to be non-getters.

Dear Dr/Nurse Who Does Not 'Get It',

I've been living with type 1 for just over 20 years now. Having been diagnosed at the age of just 2, that's the whole of my life as far as I am concerned - I don't know what it is like to live without it. I'd really like you to remember that sometimes; I know no life without this thing. I have no living memories where type 1 has not been part of them - I can't imagine life without insulin vials, test strips and annual bloods. I can't imagine doing any kind of exercise and not having to plan it out and feel like I'm doing an experiment on myself. I definitely can't imagine looking at a plate of food and not worrying about what it is going to make me feel like in an hour or two. I have no idea of the concept of a 100% carefree, worryfree childhood (I was told from a young age I would die of a complication of type 1).

The thing is, when I walk into your room, I sort of need you to forget about everything else, just for a few minutes. I'll discuss my numbers with you and any problem areas I need a hand in ironing out. I'll tell you how much living with this thing drags me down some days. All I'm asking is that for a couple of minutes you attempt to put yourself in my shoes, instead of thinking that throwing numbers or statistics at me will help.

After 20 years of this game, I'm pretty down with it. My numbers are pretty predictable (which does not mean stable); my body (and when I say body please read: my body AND my diabetes) behaves in a way that I have come to know almost intuitively. That isn't to say there aren't some surprises along the way - but I'm pretty in tune with my body. So when I present an issue to you and you give me a textbook response, please don't be shocked if I ask for alternatives. I've probably tried those text book suggestions; I don't get to see you very often, so I have to have other resources. (here's looking at you, DOC).

I need you to trust me, too. I need you to know that I know my body best. I need you to give me the credit I'm due for doing this diabetes thing every day. I'm pretty open at trying new things and listening to suggestions; I'll always listen to what you say. Please don't be afraid if I challenge you on something; I need you to hear my thoughts on what you are saying.

I remember the first time I felt empowered in an appointment. Shortly before the appointment, age around 10 or so, I had asked my mum why I couldn't have a pancreas transplant (which in my head, was the answer to this whole type 1 problem). Knowing my appointment was coming up, she told me to ask my consultant, which I did. He was fantastic and explained to me at a level my 10 year old self could understand; that the thing with type 1 is that even if I had new insulin producing cells, those would be attacked too. Plus the amount of drugs I would have to take to keep my body generally rejecting them would be too much. Looking back, what strikes me about that conversation is the way he did not patronise me; he did not talk to me as if I'd asked a stupid question. I'd really like to continue feeling empowered and for you to be willing to share your knowledge with me.

I also need you to appreciate, not necessarily understand, the total fear that can come with living with a chronic, life long, can-kill-you-when-it-wants kind of condition. I am totally terrified of what will happen in the next few years in regards to my long term health; will I see complications? Are my kidneys going to be okay? Will I eventually end up with eye damage? The things I hear, mainly from the DOC, say that actually I have a pretty good chance of not developing complications. But on the other hand I could develop all of them. It's why I'm pretty anxious about my control.

I'd also love it if you could have a little appreciation of the word 'burnout'. This does not mean I am noncompliant and I don't care about my type 1; actually it's usually caused by caring TOO much and feeling very much drowned in living with it. It's the time when I really need some support and some help.

I've been playing this type 1 game for 20 years. It's basically a damage control game; I need to minimise the impact of my dodgy pancreas on the rest of my body. I can't do that alone and whilst I know that unless you live with type 1 you won't be able to fully understand it, I just ask for a little appreciation. Talk to me! I'll tell you what it's like (it's hard). I'll give you my honest and frank opinions on living with a condition like this (doable but so much more bearable when you have support and understanding. Also, scary).

With hope,

Siobhan

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wedding stuff!

My mum's partner finally proposed - after 12 years! - on Valentine's Day this year. They are getting married on July 15 2012 - 363 days away!

Yesterday was one of the first weekends when my mum, sister and I have all been in the same city and free at the same time...so of course we took the opportunity to go dress shopping! I tried on a bridesmaids dress in the first shop, the one on the left:


We all liked it (although at 5'3 I'll need about a foot of material hacking off the bottom of it!) so it's on the 'maybe' pile. Mum think she is going to have teal as her colour.

Mum tried on this in Monsoon and it looked absolutely gorgeous:


My sister tried on this and we think this might be the choice for us as bridesmaids. It's from Coast.

I would need to work out what to do for the length as it would be far too long on me, and I think both my sister and I would want straps adding on to it.

I went out with mum and her work colleagues last night to a gorgeous bar where we had lovely food - The Vaults. It was really posh inside, our table was in a little vault-y/alcove thing, and there were loads of booths which had tables and comfy seats in. I'd definitely go back there even though it was on the pricey side. I drank a lot of wine - probably a bottle in total, but I had it over the course of 6 hours so I wasn't drunk at all! It didn't really affect my levels to be honest, I woke up on 8.4. I dipped to 5.1 before lunch thanks to bolusing for 40g of food but only eating 30g (which makes me panic - are my basals out? do I need to look at my insulin:carb ratio? is my correction factor right? I've tweaked it from 1u:8g to 1u:7g as a start).

My mum has baked a banana cake so I can't forsee decent levels sticking around for long!

Monday, 11 July 2011

2.2

I walked to work this morning. The last time I walked to work, I ended up hitting 15.7 (funny how some numbers stick in your head). Wary of this, I chose not to take any action before I left the house - I had my breakfast and headed out, bag stuffed full of hypo supplies (seriously, I couldn't zip it up).

What I didn't clock was the huge difference between last week's walk in and this one. I had breakfast this time. Last time I had planned to walk and then reward myself with breakfast when I got to the office.

Which meant I had approx 8 yummy units of insulin running around my system, plus 2 crumpets in my stomach.

Which, if you need telling by now, is a recipe for disaster.

I had walked for about a mile when I started to feel a bit funny. It was boiling hot, so I thought I was just a bit hot. I also had a ridiculous motto in my head: after last night's shenanigans, I was thinking 'I will not give in to diabetes, I will not be defeated by this'. Only it got to the point when I was almost crying whilst walking and I realised that I needed to give in and test. The second I stopped to grab my kit out my bag I knew I was low. I couldn't coordinate myself - I was all hands and couldn't move things out the way. I ended up kneeling on the pavement, pouring out the contents of my handbag trying to get hold of my testing kit.

So, 2.2. At this point, I freak out. I still have 3 miles to walk AND I WAS NOT GIVING IN TO DIABETES. I had the carton of juice in my bag and worked out an action plan. I knew I was really close to some shops, so I decided my best call of action was to grab a bottle of lucozade-y goodness. (Blackcurrant flavour, for reference). After sitting on the pavement in tears - it was one of *those* lows - I waited until I was feeling okay and set off.

I made the last 3 miles just fine and in good time. I was 11.3 when I got into the office which I'll take over 2.2.

Tomorrow's tactic: massively underbolus for breakfast. And stick 2 fingers up to d.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Nights like this.

It's 00:11. It's night like this I hate.

I went out for a brilliant walk today. I met up with fellow D John, and we walked over to Hampstead Heath (very famous park in London, fyi). When we got over there, we planned to meet another D, Claire, for lunch. Whilst waiting for her, we found a very posh cake shop and sat outside to enjoy cake. John leant over and whispered, "it's Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter!" - and it WAS! I have never been a celebrity spotter but I was totally in awe of watching very famous people walking up the street, kids in tow. Pretty cool moment for a saddo like me!

Anyway - the walk ended up being about 6 miles, give or take. We dodged hypos with sports drinks and fruit. We both hovered in the 4 - 8 range which I thought was pretty ace. We met up with Claire and set off to find a pub...we ended up at a nice albeit expensive pub (seriously, £7 for a feta and watermelon salad), before wandering back through the park. John and I hypo'd at the bottom of the hill, both of us hitting 3.3. Claire was in the 5s.

We sat down for a while before heading up to another part of the hill. By coincidence, the family I live with were there too so we managed to jump in the car and get a lift back! I was pretty relieved as I didn't fancy another 6 mile walk back!

My levels have been great all evening. Really great - in the 5s and 6s. I had burger and chips and cake for tea (uh oh!) which I bolused appropriately for, or so I thought! I had 12u, 80/20.

I was 5.7 at 21:45, and 16.9 at 23:45 :(

I figure this is just the spike from the burger and chips.

But I feel sick. Like, really nauseous. I am wide awake and yet shattered. I want to get up and walk to work tomorrow but I am worried about being really tired (thankfully I worked a load of extra hours last week so I am doing shorter days at the moment). I am also incredibly resentful towards D right now - I just want to go back to sleep. I don't want to wake up in a couple of hours to check I have come down. I just want to sleep through the night. I don't want to have to be diabetic tonight - not tonight. It's Monday tomorrow - duh! - and I could really do with starting my week positively and in good shape. Only I'll be tired from the lack of sleep tonight. Maybe a 4 mile walk will wake me up?!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Walking. And not diabetes failing.

At the moment I'm really motivated to get fit. Don't get me wrong - I'm no Iron Woman. I'm not going to start running marathons next week (no, that's next April in the London Marathon...eeeek).

I decided the easiest way would be to start walking to and from work. It's exactly 4 miles, door to door. It is taking me 1hr 15 mins at the moment, but I'm pedantic and want to get that down to an hour.

I walk just like this...except in central London in trainers
Walking is one thing I find really messes with my levels. It's the fact it's a steady form of exercise...it's as though the glucose just goes trickling straight out of my blood.

Yesterday I had a sports drink (25g carb for the bottle) 30 mins in to the walk. I was 11.2 before I set off but had a little bit of IOB so was quite comfortable with that. At the 30 min mark I was 8.something, which is why I stopped off to get the drink. Another half an hour and I was down to 3.9. Did I mention I'd put a -40% basal on when I began walking? I downed the rest of the sports drink (I'd had about half of it) and had a Hypofit sachet (bleugh). I really slowly walked the last mile home, I was 6.6 when I got back.

I woke up on 8.3, which is...okay. I really need to look at my overnight basals as I keep waking up in the 8 - 13 range - a few weeks ago I was in the 5 - 7 range!

I set off on that 8.3, with a 1 hour -50% basal. I was worried about hypoing again (fear of hypos...something that I am not great at admitting but feel it is important to do so) so I started to drink my sports drink straight away. I made a strategic stop off at a supermarket where I picked up a banana, a carton of AJ and a cereal bar. About 30 mins in I munched on the banana with a 2u bolus, happy I was warding off any potential hypos.

In fact I warded them so far off, I hit 15.7. Bleugh! I let the pump correct that (3.15u) and when I got to the office I was 8.2. I decided to eat the cereal bar (with full bolus) and at last check I was 10.3. I'm hoping I'll come down a little.

So...I need to decide my tactic for tonight's walk! Do I reduce my basal much further beforehand and hope that that stops the hypos? Do I go carb heavy half way through the walk? Choices, choices! I plan to do this most days (although I do imagine I'll end up getting the bus home a couple of times a week when I'm shattered!) so I have lots of practice coming up.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Diabetes Week...fail

I'm really disappointed that I didn't make it through the diabetes blogging week. Unfortunately, as it does - life got very busy and I found myself without time each day to make a post. I am hoping at some point to catch up, but again, life is busy and I don't know that I will be able to (that, and I don't want to say I will and then feel like I've failed if I don't manage to).

May was a busy month at work, but most importantly, I went on holiday! I spent 9 days in Split, a coastal town in Croatia. It was beautiful and hot and somewhere I'd definitely recommend - but maybe not for people with children as there didn't seem to be a great deal for children to do.

I went with a good friend of mine who is also type 1, Naomi - which made the holiday so much easier! It was great knowing that she understood and felt the same about things - worrying about where to keep test kits when we went to the beach, not getting sand in them, taking glucagon on our rafting trip, etc.

I'm not sure why my hair is so poofy
We ate out lots, and for the most part we dealt with the d pretty well. We met each other in the kitchen a few times at 3am due to hypos, and drank our way through litres and litres of Coke Zero. We had highs and lows and daily naps! We both agreed that we made great holiday buddies, so hopefully we'll do it again sometime (although not in the near future - Naomi's just been accepted to study Midwifery at King's College London, woo!)

The following photo is cool for many reasons: the backdrop is amazing, the water was so clear and we had fish swimming around our feet, but mostly the caption Naomi put with it on facebook - 'we may be on holiday, but diabetes still comes with us'.

testing on the beach

We did some awesome stuff - swimming in the waterfalls at Krka National Park, rafting down the river Cetina (I can attest that Skittles still treat a hypo, even after being washed with river water and having all the colour stripped from them), visiting the most photographed beach in Croatia, and for the most part we just chilled! 

We drank many many cocktails (which caused a few of those 3am hypos), got lovely tans and came back tired but feeling really relaxed. 

I'm hoping to get transferred to a team in London soon and start seeing a consultant again. I've heard good things from a friend about a CGM friendly consultant, so I may explore that - with the news of the Animas Vibe finally getting its CE marking, I'll be upgraded to it - it has the Dexcom integrated into it. So I'm looking to be able to get access to Dexcom sensors (in my little dream world I'll get funding, in reality I'd just like to have access to one a few times a year to check up on how things are doing - but I can keep dreaming).

Monday, 9 May 2011

Diabetes Blog Week #1

DBlogWeek2011Banner

I love this time of year! Another great D-blogging week. Here's my contribution for today!

Admiring our differences
Today let’s talk about how great it is to learn from the perspectives of those unlike us!

The blogs I really love reading, that are written by people without d, are the blogs written by parents of kids with t1. I am involved with the Children With Diabetes UK group, and have got to know so many of the parents very well. They teach me so much - and I love learning from them! They have such a big job to do - keeping their kids alive and safe, and they all do it so well. Sure, they make mistakes along the way - but who doesn't! I know I make mistakes with my own care, and I'm the one that can feel the highs and lows. 

I love hearing what it's like from what I consider 'the other side'. They make decisions and choices that will impact on their child's health in the short term and in the long term. They push for the best for their kids, and still maintain a sense of 'normality' (whatever that is) for their families. Their strength and confidence is something I admire greatly. I know at times I have drawn on that strength and confidence in situations I've been in.

I obviously hope that I will never be a d-parent, but I know that should I end up in that situation, I will have a fantastic group of supportive people around me.

I have recently started to help look after a couple of kids (not a regular thing at the moment) who have type 1, and I didn't realise how terrifying it is to have that responsibility. Even though I used the bolus wizard on their pumps, I was absolutely petrified at the thought of putting insulin into their bodies - what if I got it wrong?! It's not quite the same as the full time care given by their parents, but my god it was scary.

So: a big shout out to blogging parents. You guys are fascinating to read, please keep it up!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Gigging - again!

I am going to keep this as d free as possible, so I'll get my rant out now: I am NEVER having chinese food from Camden Market EVER AGAIN. I bolused like a bitch for that food, and still hit 21.6. Stupid stupid food! Oh well - I just corrected and tested and as expected, I fell right back down into safe numbers after a few hours.

My dad and I went to see Tim Booth again, this time in London. We VIP'd it again, meaning we got to see the soundcheck.

We arrived a little early, and had to wait over an hour after the published start time to go in for the soundcheck. The soundcheck was fab, as always, it was great to see the band.

After the soundcheck dad and I headed to the market to grab food. As we were walking through, I said to my dad "look at that guy in front, he has a VIP pass on too" then I looked at who he was walking with - it was Tim!!! My dad and I try to be pretty respectful of the band when they are not on stage, so we watched him hop into a taxi with his luggage.

When we got back to the venue after the food, I met up with a friend I met at the Birmingham gig, and we hung around the back entrance of the venue - where all of the band bar Tim were hanging out! It turned out that the keyboardist (Dan), who also plays the sax, was panicking (well, all of them were) as his sax had fallen off the stage and broken! We spent a little while chatting, and he was a genuinely lovely guy - very normal and down to earth.
Me and Dan

chatting!
Thankfully, they found a replacement sax literally minutes before they were due on stage. I also chatted to Neil  who plays bass:

Me and Neil
Gig was AWESOME. Seriously fab. We stuck around for ages afterwards to see if we could get our VIP passes signed, and they all very kindly obliged :) I also chatted to Dan again which was fab:



All in all - fantastic gig. I can't wait to see them again. I'm hoping to make it to Hop Farm Festival, but it all depends on £ and logistics!

(all photos credited to Lou Purplefairy :))

Monday, 25 April 2011

Tim Booth gig, April 24th 2011

Anyone who knows me knows I am a massive, massive fan of the band James and their lead singer Tim Booth (I've written about them before, here).

Last night Tim Booth came to Birmingham, England, and my dad & I had VIP tickets (which entitled us to watch the soundcheck, and to get into the gig first). There were about 25 or so people with VIP tickets.

The soundcheck was awesome; they played 4 songs and chatted in between. Despite the coordinator insisting we all got out the venue ASAP, we politely asked the band members to sign our passes and for a photo with Tim. There was a Canadian couple who had flown in especially for his tour, so Tim spent a few minutes talking to them before having his photo taken with my dad and I:


Dad, Tim and I
Having been a fan for such a long time, it was such a pleasure to meet him.

I'm still on cloud 9, so the highlights were - in no particular order:

- seeing the violinis/guitarist Saul, who also plays with James outside the venue (he dodged fans, but it was cool to see him)
- getting a setlist, and Tim's lyric prompt sheet!
- buying 2 signed special edition copies of his latest album, Love Life
- meeting a really cool couple who ended up being really protective of me when I had a hypo and taking a real interest in my pump (I didn't want to talk about diabetes really last night, but sometimes you can't hide it)
- standing at the very front right in front of Tim's microphone, singing and dancing along to all the songs
- singing into the microphone with another lady (who had an amazing voice and was really in the moment, it was really cool)
- after said singing, I said 'thankyou' to Tim when the music had died down - he looked at me and winked!! Then he held my gaze (see: great big grin) for a few seconds
- seeing a woman getting all the band to sign her back, then announcing she was having their signatures tattooed on this week!!
- Tim has changed his FB profile photo to one with me in it!

that's me on the left...well, half my face!

And the very very best bit?! I get to do this all again next Tuesday in London!!!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

20 years - from a mum's perspective

I am so, so honoured that my mum took the time to write this. Please, please share this everywhere you can - I think she gets the message across so clearly about why we need a cure so badly (I know I'm biased as she's my mum, but I think it's great).

--


19/04/1991

Twenty years ago today my life changed forever, taking me on a journey which I never dreamt I would make, did not want to make and hated every minute of it.

Siobhan had been unwell on and off, the usual viruses that 2 year olds have nothing serious yet there was a nagging doubt that something was not right. She started to have an unquestionable thirst, she was wetting herself having previously been potty trained, and was generally miserable. 

We had been to the GP at various times and nothing conclusive was found, and then we changed GP.  I made an appointment to see him. I had read my friend’s ‘Readers Digest Book of Family Medicine’ (no internet at home in those days!) and between us we agreed that diabetes was a possibility. Anyway, ready with my list of symptoms I took Siobhan and her sister round to our GP for our appointment, our first meeting which was to be life changing for my family and a learning experience for my GP. He listened patiently whilst I described Siobhan’s symptoms and then asked if she would be able to produce a urine sample which she dutifully did. After testing, he calmly said that I should go home and pack my bags ready for hospital admission as she had diabetes.

Incidentally that would be the last time she would produce a urine sample for approximately 15 years, as from that time on she flatly refused to cooperate with that request as part of her way of stamping her feet against this terrible injustice.

So I left the surgery, walked home in a haze to ring my family to let them know what had happened.  In those days there were no mobile phones, and I felt as though I was taking part in a film, this was not happening to me and it hurt me to look at my beautiful daughter knowing that something had gone dreadfully wrong. She was broken and I could not mend it for her, what kind of mother was I?Should I have breast fed her for longer? Did she have too much sugar in her diet? Why had this happened, she did not deserve it?

The following week or so is very much a blur; I had Siobhan’s sister to look after so we had a routine of Dad staying at night with Siobhan at the hospital whilst I tried to maintain a routine with her sister. We had to learn how to inject her twice a day and how to check blood sugars using her tiny toes to pinch and squeeze. 

The consultant took us into a room one afternoon to tell us officially that she had type 1 diabetes and as I listened I knew he was expecting me to cry but I couldn’t.  I thought up until then that it was a big mistake and she would get better but now it was official. All I could sayto break the awkward silence was that she had a birthday party planned in 2 weeks. I think that was my way of saying this was not convenient, and the response was that I could use cream cheese instead of icing on the cake.A nurse gave me a leaflet on the British Diabetic Association and that was that.

We were taught how to count portions of carbohydrate and the dietician worked out how many she could have at each meal then snacks in between .They kept Siobhan in for a few days whilst we got used to injecting her and they also induced a hypo so that we knew what to look out for, quite barbaric looking back but we just accepted it as the right thing to do at the time. Our family came to visit bring lots of diabetic products which we quickly learnt when we were at home were expensive, caused diarrhoea and did not particularly taste nice.

When word got around people tried to say the right thing but inevitable said the wrong thing in my eyes. I was shocked and angry and could not see anything positive in this experience.  The fact that choice had been taken away from my daughter made me sad and angry; she could not have a HGV licence, or join the fire brigade. How would she travel, get a job or enjoy life with this terrible illness?

 People said things such as:

It’s a good job you are a nurse”………not, I did not do my training to inject my daughter twice a day, it was not natural

I could not inject my child”…………….yes you could, otherwise she will die, you do not have a choice

God chose you to have a diabetic child because he knew you could cope”……………………….well I’m not coping so thanks for the complement but I want my daughter back without the diabetes

Be grateful you are not in Africa, they do not have insulin there”……………………true but at this moment in time I only care about my daughter so I have no interest in health care systems around the world.

So that was the start of the journey. Our GP saved Siobhan’s life, there were no other diabetic children in the practice and this was the first time he had made the diagnosis in his career so I’m eternally grateful that he listened to me and acted on my instincts. I still thank him with a card on special occasions such as her 21st birthday and I think it is important to remind the medical profession of the impact of their care.

Today, celebrating her 2oth year of living with diabetes I can reflect on the experience more positively. My daughter has got on with her life despite having diabetes;she has travelled around Europe and worked in America and Paris, experiencing a ‘normal ‘life which I never thought would be possible. That wicked disease has moulded her into a caring and sensitive woman who just gets on with it. She has had relationships and the usual ups and downs of life itself and rarely complains. Her sister has been an integral part of this, where I have been protective and scared; she has often reminded me that she will be fine. They have a good relationship with a lot of love and laughter, and I was lucky that there were no repercussions as I inevitably had to give more attention at times to Siobhan and her condition, but her sister keeps her in check often ribbing about her ‘dysfunctional pancreas’ .

My message to all you parents out there is simple. It will get easier, they will survive and equally important, you will survive.

Monday, 18 April 2011

20 years

Tomorrow, April 19th, marks 20 years to the day since I was diagnosed with type 1.

I've been putting off thinking about it. I'm pretty diabetes'd out right now. I don't know if I can cope with thinking about it too much - the what ifs, the whys, the if onlys.

I deal pretty well with it most of the time. I've worked out that on average, I have 2 'moments' a year - which usually end up with me in tears in my bed watching one of my favourite films in an attempt to distract myself. A bit like Joe Solo's diabetes duvet days. Inevitably, after a couple of hours, I pull myself together, I get my head back on straight, and life continues (and after all the awful news stories this week, I am glad that I have that life to continue).

I spent yesterday at the London marathon, cheering on the JDRF runners. All 150something of them, they were amazing. But the turning moment of my day was around 10am, when a lady came up to me and asked if I had a spare JDRF tshirt. I happily dug one out a box as she said, "my friend is running in memory of my daughter."

And I nearly burst into tears there. Because there should be no 'in memories' (because god forbid, that could be words that pass my mum's lips one day). There should be no family losing a member to type 1. This is why we need the cure so badly.

And this is why tomorrow, I am going to raise a toast to myself, for 20 years and still winning. The battle will never be over, but I am winning it. I'm pretty tired of the battle now though, to tell you the truth.

But the MAIN reason I came to post today was to ask that tomorrow, you read an extra special post I'm going to put up. A while ago, I asked my mum if she would write a blog post about the day I was diagnosed. At first she politely said no, that it would be too upsetting. I persisted in my usual manner, and I am so proud to be able to put up her post tomorrow. She has written it so well, and I was in floods of tears reading it. I'm also going to ask something really cheeky: please, if you read it, will you retweet/share it/link to it on whatever social media platform you use? I really want as many people to read it so they can understand why we need a cure so badly.

Thanks. I'll blog later this week. I need to get my head around all the emotions I'm feeling to do with 20 years. I know so many people that are hitting way past that mark, but this is the first 'big' number I've reached and noticed.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The D community, offline

There's nothing I like better than a good old meet up with other people who are pancreatically challenged.


Last Saturday was the 3 year birthday of Circle D, a support group for people living with diabetes in Kent, England. The day was a typical d meet up: in a pub, lots of light drinking, food, and chatting for hours and hours and hours. Lots of people also came from the Diabetes Support forums. All photos are courtesy of Shelley who organised the day!

The arts & crafts corner went down well!

Our two 'naked chefs' - John made ginger & orange chocolate cake
and Lucian made New York cheesecake
Shelley was chief of D police

Cheers Circle D!
In the tube station on our way home; approx 11.30pm
It was great to see so many people - lots of old and new faces. A big wave to Andrew & little Frank, who celebrated his 4 and 3/4 birthday with us ;)

Today I got to see more lovely d people, this time in the form of 3 mums from the Children With Diabetes UK emailing list. We spent the day in Brighton, eating lots and chatting loads. What more could I want?!

(well, to tell the truth I could have done with nutritional information instead of guessing it - I have been high ever since!)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Officially pumping Animas 2020

Last week, I travelled back to my hospital (thank goodness for flexitime at work!) to pick up my new pump. Things have moved fast over the past few weeks, with funding being confirmed, my pump being ordered the next day, and me collecting it about a week later.

I'm still adjusting to wear it. I've worn a Medtronic for the last 6 months and I could operate that with my eyes shut. Having a new pump, as easy as it is to use, is making me much more aware of what I'm doing with it! I have to think about each time I push a button, as I'm not totally familiar with it just yet.

I didn't get much training from my health care team on how to use the pump, so a lot of things I'm discovering slowly. It took me a week to work out how to get the clip off (confession: I had to be shown). I only discovered the bolus button 2 days ago! Perhaps if I'd read the instruction manual thoroughly I would have found these things earlier, but I've always been more of a button pusher than a page turner when it comes to new gadgets!



Monday, 28 March 2011

Sun sun sun & thankgod for the DOC

One of the positives of having type 1 has been discovering the type 1 community, both online and offline.

Offline, I have made some amazing friends. Friends who have leapt into my life and spun it around, making me very happy! I've become really close with a few of them in particular, and one of the girls and I decided that we should go on holiday this year.

So, at the end of May, my good friend N and I will be heading off to the beautiful coast of Croatia, where we will spend 9 days exploring the local area, spending time on the beach, drinking LOTS of cocktails - all whilst doing this with type 1 :) I'm a tad apprehensive as it's my first holiday since pumping but I know everything will be fine!

The place we are going to stay at is like a little apartment - with our own kitchen and living room. I can't wait! It's supposed to be really warm then and I cannot wait to get a bit of Vitamin D. I burn quickly, so there won't be any sunbathing or anything for us, but a day by the sea is a definite! It also looks like we can take a boat out to some of the islands just off the coast, and maybe even head over the border into Bosnia.

Online, the DOC is a literal lifesaver. I got an email on the insulin pumping emailing list asking if anyone in London could meet a fellow type 1 from America in London on business. Her business trip had been extended by a week without warning and she was running low on insulin. I immediately arranged to drop by some insulin and pump supplies, and we're meeting up on Wednesday for breakfast! DOC goes international :)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

4th April!

On Friday, I received confirmation that I have secured NHS funding for an insulin pump and the associated supplies for that.

I ummed and ahhed over which pump to go with for a long time. Up until October last year, at the Friends for Life conference, I had only ever 'met' Medtronic pumps. There, I got the chance to see the other pumps on the market, and was really taken by the Animas 2020.

I have been using a Medtronic 512 for the past 6 months; I borrow it from my hospital. I like the Medtronic pump. It is so easy to use, and has my favourite button ever: the bolus button! It also has the feature of using the 'up' arrow button to easy bolus.

However, when it boiled down to it, I realised that I had been won over by the Animas. I have been in touch with them over the last few weeks, asking questions about the 2020 and the upgrade system they are offering (if you have a 2020 with a warranty starting AFTER 01/03/11, you are eligible to upgrade, for free, to the new Animas pump when it is on the market). They have been extremely helpful and prompt in responding to all my queries.

I got an email from them this morning, confirming my hospital has ordered a pump and supplies. On Monday April 4th, I will be hooked up to a black Animas 2020, and I just can't wait!

Friday, 18 March 2011

One thing

The one thing you can guarantee that we people living with type 1 have in common with each other?

We hate it. Sure, we'll tell you that it's fine, everything is good, no need for concern. But we hate it. There's nothing more all of us would like than to return it to its sender.

Despite that, we're positive. If we sat there hating all day, we'd never get anywhere. We'd never move on. I think it shows great strength in all of us that we have something that could so easily consume us, yet we find all the positives. We find the stuff that makes life good alongside this stupid condition.

But I really, really hate it.

Itchy cannulas!

I can't work out why, but the past few days, I have woken up and some part of my body has been itching like mad. 2 days ago it was my stomach; the itchiness woke me up! I've also had itchy arms, legs, etc. I would love to say it's something obvious like a new washing powder, but I haven't changed that recently.

The one thing driving me mad though is Silhouettes. I currently use a lovely purple Medtronic 512 with Sils. Sils are designed to go in at an angle of 20 - 45 degrees, rather than the standard 90 - which means they are great for people lacking fat! (I'm not one of those people but I do get along well with Sils).

But wow - the sticky stuff holding it onto my skin?! It's driving me INSANE. I can feel it all the time - not the cannula, just the sticky bit. I keep shifting myself around in a vain attempt to get rid of the itching but nothing is working!

I've also found that Tegaderm - clear, clingfilm like stuff useful for sticking things to your body (I use it sometimes if I'm not sure how well a set is sticking to me) - is beginning to make me itch.

How do I get around this? The semi-obvious answer to the Sil problem is to whack Tegaderm under it - but I can't! Anyone got any suggestions?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

HypoStop!

When I was young, the first hypo symptom I always got was wobbly legs.

"Mum, I have wobbly legs."

My parents quickly realised this was my way of expressing I was hypo, and would go running for the hypo treatment of choice in those days:


HypoStop! Oh god, I can remember it now. That thick, disgusting gel that taste of pure chemicals. It was absolutely vile (but of course - it did the trick). It's now been rebranded as GlucoGel, and this is the bottle I remember it being in:


I remember the way the top of it used to bash off my gums as my mum spread it around my mouth...it's making me shudder just thinking about it!

How have your hypo treatments changed over the years?

[disclaimer: I haven't been asked or paid to write about GlugoGel by anyone - it was a flashback moment!]

Monday, 14 March 2011

One of those moments

The thing that people with type 1 are really good at doing is just getting on with it. Is pretending that everything's fine, even when you're 25.5 and feel like you're about to implode. Or you're 2.9 and look fine, but feel like death. We're pretty good at hiding those things. If we stopped every time we went high or low, we'd never move anywhere!

Which is why I think sometimes it's hard to convey to people, especially people who have never met someone with type 1 before, just how rubbish it can be. This evening, for me, has been a perfect example.

I started getting the sweats on the tube. I didn't think much of it (why do I never think too much of it!!) and just assumed that it was...hot, or something? Anyway. Tube and bus ride later, I'm walking through my front door thinking "something is not right, but I shouldn't be hypo!" Answer? 2.9. An hour before I had been 7.7!

Awesome.

Not.

I was still boiling hot and sweaty, so the obvious answer? Take your clothes off! Which is how I found myself sat in my underwear, clutching my apple lucozade, in the middle of my bedroom floor.

It reminded me that hypos make us weak and vulnerable. That even though they are generally short, they are terrifying. That they strip us of our very basic function: the fuel we need to think and move and be!

I've been asked to give a speech at the North East Diabetes Symposium in May, focusing on the transition from paediatric to adult care. I think this is something that really needs to be addressed: yes, we may be adults, we may be grown up with jobs and cars and houses and children of our own, but hypos do not 'grow up'. They do not make us less vulnerable. We don't have a parent to come and sort us out; we have to deal with it ourselves. Thankfully, lots of us have partners, husbands, wives, friends, etc that we can rely on in an emergency - but when you find yourself hypo on the tube, there's noone but yourself to rely on.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

"It would be okay."

Last weekend, I decided at the last minute to get a train back to where I grew up, and spend a night back at my mum's house. I got a train (well, there were engineering works, so I ended up on a train to a small town, a coach from there to another small town, and another train to my home city!) there, so my mum met me in town.

We had lunch at Nando's, which provided a good chance to catch up and share all our news. We had plenty to tell each other! My mum and I get along so, so well now - since I've moved out of home, our relationship has totally transformed, and I can't begin to explain how brilliant I think she is. Maybe it's having responsibilities of my own (ie paying rent, bills, working full time) and appreciating how hard she has worked for me and my sister all those years. Whatever the reason, we are like two peas in a pod (throw my sister in the pot, and we're 3 peas in a pod) and I just love it.

Anyway - the best news, which I found out the day it happened, is that my mum is engaged! She has been with her partner for over 10 years, and we'd all given up any hope he would propose. I'm so excited for her! My sister and I will be bridesmaids, which is ridiculously exciting!

"Siobhan, what ARE you doing, and why
does it involve poking me in the face?!"
Amongst all the chatter we had that day, we spoke a little about my sister and type 1 diabetes. How we obviously hope she never ever develops it, how she has agreed to be part of a research study (looking at siblings and genes etc), the fact she never complained as a child when I had to take up the attention of my parents because of diabetes. I was diagnosed when she was 3 months old, so she has literally never known a world in which I'm not diabetic (just the same as I don't remember being non-diabetic).

My sister recently told my mum that if she were to ever be diagnosed with type 1, "it would be okay - I would just get on and deal with it, like Siobhan does". That actually made me catch my breath; I feel so amazed that I have been able to give her that positive way of thinking.

God forbid it ever happened...but I know she would be okay.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

New job = basal testing! And jelly, lots of jelly.

I started my new job 2 days ago, which for me means only one thing: basal testing. Lots of it. I'm giving myself this week to see if I can spot any general patterns, and then next week I'll commence the dreaded testing.

Basal testing is a way to ensure I have my basal (background) insulin set to the right amount. I do this by fasting (not eating) for 4 hours, and making sure I have no 'active' insulin on board (insulin is generally active for about 4 hours). This means I should, in theory, have nothing going around my system except the background insulin. And by monitoring my blood glucose levels closely (I will do hourly - some choose to do more/less frequently) I should see if that insulin is running my levels too high, low - or in a perfect world they would keep me stable.

I will only test for a few hours at a time - probably 4, at max. It means I will be starving as by the end I will have been without food for 8 hours, whilst doing my normal daily routine! If some of those hours fall during the night - for example, if I wanted to test my basal from 8am - 12pm, I would just skip breakfast.

But this Siobhan gets grumpy without food!! I have heard that sugar free jelly (which I have been making lots of recently) is fine to use during basal testing - can anyone confirm/deny this? I love jelly and would be happy to eat some to put off the hunger!!

I've just googled 'wobbly jelly' to try and find a picture to attach to this post - who knew people make jelly in the shape of landmarks?!

Daily Mail article


Friday, 28 January 2011

London

I've arrived! It's taken me 2 days to get the internet working but I'm glad to be back online.

Last night, on my second day here, I attended a meet up of North London Young Diabetics. There were 7 of us in total, and we did what all d meet ups seem to be about - eating and drinking! We met at 6pm and left about 9, all of us going our various ways on the tube and bus. It was a lovely evening and no doubt there will be another meet soon.

London, for me, is a big, scary city. I've never lived anywhere this big before! It's also quite exciting, but for the most part all I am at the moment is very nervous about it all.

On Tuesday, I travelled to Southampton to take part in a day's training with JDRF and INPUT. I have quite a lot to say about it, but not much energy right now, so I'll get a proper update on that out soon!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Taxi drivers and visits to A&E

Last night I had a phone call from a friend.

"I've been low all afternoon, and I'm throwing up. Should I go to A&E?"

YES YES YES was my answer to that. "I'll meet you there."

I threw all my crap in my bag and rang out the door. I grabbed some cartons of OJ on the way 'just in case'.

I discovered the bus had left a few minutes before and it would be over 30 minutes wait; I decided to run the first part of the journey (I would have had to catch 2 buses to the hospital). Before doing that I tested:

3.3. "S**t!" Down went the first OJ carton, and a phone call to a taxi rank. The taxi arrived shortly and the taxi driver asked me why I was going to A&E.

"My friend is a type 1 diabetic, he has a low blood sugar level but is throwing up so he can't get his blood sugar levels up - A&E is the safest place for him to be."

verynicetaximan: "Don't they treat you kids with tablets these days, you don't have injections do you?"

Cue a lengthy, slightly hypo discussion about the difference between type 1 and type 2, the medications we can use, and my pump! I even showed him my cannula and the pump itself. I'll give him his due - he took what seemed to be a genuine interest and seemed to keep up with the conversation.

To cut a long story short, after an injection of Metoclopromide - dude was fine. Levels stayed in the 9s and 10s and it's all over now from what I hear.

Motto? Even if things are probably going to turn out okay, when you have type 1 in the frame, there's a big chance they might not. Quote of the day came from the ridiculously stuck up doctor in A&E:

"We see millions of people like you everyday - you have norovirus."
me: "No, you don't see millions of him. He has type 1 diabetes."

edited to clarify: her point was that he was no one special and should go home - my point was that with type 1, he was NOT like everyone else and needed to be taken seriously!