Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Type 2 Diabetes - where to get help.

When someone tells you “you have type 2 diabetes”, the reaction is usually one of shock. You may have gone to the doctor with what you thought a bothersome minor ailment, not expecting in the least to be told you have a serious chronic illness. You might be sitting in the doctor’s office and while s/he is trying to explain diabetes to you your mind is racing with the “how” and the “why”.

Those first days, weeks & months are really difficult. You are trying to accept the hand that you have been dealt, wrestle with the guilt that maybe you could have prevented your type 2 diabetes, and you are trying to bring it under control with new gadgets, medication and overhauling your eating habits.
Diabetes is not a simple illness to explain; it’s difficult for the patient (you & me) to understand and therefore, it’s not easy to be in control of it. The type 2 diabetes patient needs more than just treatment to manage their diabetes; they need support, education, motivation and understanding.
Diabetes is a lot to deal with! But you don’t have to do it alone.
Diabetes management has come a long way in the last 10 years in Ireland. There are now type 2 diabetes classes all over the country. The community dietetic services have extended to try and meet the demand of patients.
Courses available for people with type 2 diabetes living in the Midwest. If you would like information on what diabetes education courses are available in your area contact your local health office www.hse.ie or contact Diabetes Ireland on 1850 909 909 or email: info@diabetes.ie
(Diabetes Education& Self-Management for On-going & Newly Diagnosed) 
This course is provided by the HSE and is available to patients in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary.

Limerick contact; Anne Geary/Sinead Glover 061/483448
Clare contact: Mary McMahon 065/6865839
North Tipperary contact:  Annette Ridley 067 - 42378

(Community Orientated Diabetes Education)
This course is provided by the HSE and by Diabetes Ireland.

Limerick Local CODE:  061/482340
St John’s Hospital CODE: 061/462271
Diabetes Ireland CODE: Elaine Newell 071/9146001
Community Dietitians can be accessed through your GP

Monday, 14 November 2011

National Diabetes Health & Awareness Exhibit

I decided to post a little earlier this week given the day that's in it. And what a day it has been! The internet has been "hopping" and so far diabetes has been all over my local radio station and two national ones not to mention one national TV news programme.

Every year in Ireland I would watch for, even a brief mention, in any sort of media, of diabetes on World Diabetes Day but it never happened. Hip, hip, hooray, for "Let's talk Diabetes".

Anyway, my post this week is a review of the National Diabetes Health and Awareness Exhibit.

On Sunday, 13th November (the day before World Diabetes Day), Diabetes Ireland organised a National Diabetes & Health Awareness Exhibit in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork.

I walked into a large conference room filled with stands; everyone from the world of diabetes was there. There were lots of fancy glucose meters on offer, dietitians, diabetes nurses, podiatrists, etc. willing to give you their time. There was so much information on diabetes that it was easy to become overwhelmed.

There was also lots of health checks free to the public; I had my cholesterol  and blood pressure checked recently but I did have my BMI measured at the exhibition, which was just a tad over the recommended 25 but the lads were so nice about it. Thankfully, I had suspected that I was over and it wasn’t a shock to me.

Diabetes Ireland also held their Annual General Meeting, which is usually eye-opener for me as I realise just how much is going on behind the scenes to make things better for me and for all people with diabetes and their families.

Not to mention that they do it all on a teeny-tiny budget and with just a small number of dedicated staff. I jotted down a couple of things that I thought were astounding.

During the period of 1st November 2010 to the 31st October 2011;

·         The diabetes helpline received 7,000 calls, with 88% of that number calling for general information on diabetes.

·         A Schools Resources pack was produced and sent to all primary and secondary schools in Ireland to ensure that both teachers and parents know what is expected of them in relation to having a child with diabetes in school.

·         The National Teen Activity day was attended by 87 adolescents (in my opinion this number was too low).

·         There are 12 groups of parents who meet regularly around the country.

·         Thanks to Diabetes Action’s campaign the HSE committed to providing 22 podiatrists dedicated to performing annual foot screening for people with diabetes.

·         Again thanks to Diabetes Action the HSE committed to ring-fencing €4 million to the setting up of a free retinopathy screening service for people with diabetes.

·         A research study was launched on what factors influence self-care and quality of life in the 23-30 year old age group. Apparently, this age group has an extremely difficult time dealing with diabetes and a study of why has never been done before.

 Diabetes Ireland’s objectives for 2012 are:

·         To continue to maintain all the services they currently have; the helpline, the members’ magazine, raising awareness, education and health promotion, etc.

·         To ensure that the podiatry service is delivered.

·         To ensure that the retinopathy service is on track for a national roll-out by the end of 2012.

·         To ensure that the HSE make progress on delivering a better service to children and adolescents with diabetes.

·         To continue to raise awareness about type 2 diabetes and put more emphasis on prevention.

·         And to highlight how care for people with diabetes needs to be integrated.

The Budget:
Diabetes Ireland receives 34% of its funding from the HSE for providing services that should be provided by the HSE (Type 2 diabetes education). They are hugely reliant on funding that comes from the general public. Their income for 2010 was just over €1.3 million which in my opinion is peanuts!

Diabetes Ireland is the only organisation Ireland has for people with diabetes and is dedicated to making the health service serve us better. People with diabetes need this organisation as a source of support and resources as well as to keep fighting for us and Diabetes Ireland needs more of us, the people with diabetes, to support it.

It’s a two-way street and we all win.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

“The Slumps” Do you every have them?

My positivity about my diabetes is in a bit of a slump at the moment. Let me fill you in.

During the summer I went overseas for a month with my family. Normally, I let the holidays slide but this was 4 weeks so I tried my best to stay on top of my diabetes. However, it was impossible to maintain a routine and the food just kept changing from week to week. So about half way through I threw my hands up in the air and comforted myself with the knowledge that once I got home everything would go back to normal.

We came home but the children were still off from school and I decided to enjoy two more weeks of “lie-in’s” rather than set the alarm and get my daily walk in before the day started. Again I comforted myself with “when school starts things will go back to normal.

Well, its two months since the children went back to school, my old routine is re-established, daily walk included and I still feel like I’m drowning.

It seems so much more difficult to achieve the consistency I had four months ago; maybe since I’m getting older I’m feeling more tired and weary of diabetes. I wish diabetes had small periods where it was easier to manage, where very little effort was required to have all my blood glucose readings to be reasonably within target and not have any huge swings.

I pride myself on trying my best with my diabetes management but when my HbA1c goes upwards from 7.0% to 7.4% (54mmol/mol), I can’t hide my disappointment.

Thank goodness for my doctor, who is very supportive.  I had my visit with her yesterday. She always perks me up a bit, she tells me not to be so hard on myself and that we will get there with the numbers.

I know what I need to do to get back on track but I don’t seem to have the energy to break the circle.

But I will get back on track; the alternative is not an option. I have too many people in my life that I want to stick around for!  Today, I will draw up all the negativity and the weariness and expel it.

Tomorrow, positivity and the energy to crunch the numbers will prevail. :-)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Step in the right direction

Ever since I had my second child and had to spend seven days in a maternity hospital I have had a huge fear of ever being admitted to hospital again. That might sound a bit extreme but it’s the truth. I did not have any confidence that any of the staff in the hospital had the ability to care for me should I become incapacitated.

When I was invited to speak at a nurse’s diabetes training day I thought that I might charge in there seeing them as the enemy. Thankfully, my husband, who is very, very, very smart said that I should see it as a chance to let these very important people in the health service know how important it is to me that they are knowledgeable in diabetes and to commend the health service for providing the nursing profession with this opportunity.

Basically, this one day was part of an intensive diabetes training course for people working in the nursing and midwifery profession. And I was invited to give a patient’s perspective.

I talked about all the things I did on a daily basis to management my diabetes, such as the blood glucose testing, carb counting, record keeping, etc., and all the things I felt were important extras, like a good support system in the background and knowledge.

Afterwards, I had loads of really interesting questions. They seemed really interested in learning from me and in my 18 years of experience.

When I walked into the room my objective was to try and explain how diabetes was so complicated to manage and that it wasn’t just as simple as following instructions from a medical professional; I hope I achieved that.

And in return, I received hope that the next time I have a stay in hospital, (because let’s face it, there is no way that I will live out the rest of my days without ever being admitted into a hospital), that I have a bit more confidence in the staff to looke after me.