Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Normal! What does your version of "normal" look like?

"You can lead a perfectly normal life with diabetes!" said the nurse in 1993.

I don't know why I've been remembering this part of my diagnosis story. Better out than it.

I think my reply was a form on a blank stare. My life was going to include syringes, gadgets known as glucometers and vials of insulin. I was not going to be able to leave the house without any of this plus I had to keep healthy food on my person at all times in case I got delayed any where and a pure glucose supply in case my blood sugars dropped suddenly.

I wanted to know if she thought this was normal because this certainly wasn't my version of it!

I think what she meant was that while diabetes would be in my mind all the time and have to be planned for and considered, it would never stop me from achieving all the things I wanted to achieve and then some.

I kinda get it now, but at the time I thought she was a "fruitcake"!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

From tiny triumph to mental bouncy ball!!!

A little while ago I had one of those days where my blood sugar readings were reasonably well behaved. I don't ask for much, only single digits in m/mol (less than 180 mg) and all of the 9 readings I took that day fell into the single digit category.

Unfortunately, the trend did not continue, despite all of my best efforts. Now I feel like one of those balls inside the national lottery drum, being bounced around with no end in sight.

I'm bouncing from 7.0 to 3.6, from 8.9 to 15.0 (mmols) in less than one hour. My basal rate of insulin seems fine one day and then has a nervous breakdown for three. I'm exhausted from all the testing and scrutinizing. I try to only make one change in my insulin at a time because I feel if I make too many changes at one time it's hard to follow up.

I'm frustrated, defeated and just exhausted from being that ball. But I still get up every morning ready to do battle (people with diabetes are amazingly strong - aren't we?).

So, what am I going to do next? Well, I'm going to try and stay sane for the next two weeks until I meet with my Endo and then, hopefully, she see's a pattern in my numbers that just cannot see.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Support Groups for People with Diabetes in Ireland

Thankfully, since the take off of social media Diabetes Support Groups are becoming easier to find and peer to peer support for people with diabetes is growing.

Here is a list of what is available nationally in alphabetical order:

There may be other groups that I don't have details for and I apologize if you are not on the list. If you would like to be included on this list please leave your details in a comment below.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

My history with dietitians

I was diagnosed in 1993 when I was a 20 year old student. I had lost all of my body fat by the time I was diagnosed; even my cheeks had disappeared.

Shortly after, I had my first experience with a dietitian. It was a long time ago so I don't remember much except that she put me on a 2,000 calorie diet and within a couple of months I had the opposite problem with my weight.

I knew absolutely nothing about my diabetes, or what insulin was, never mind how it worked. When hypos came on, my brain went into survival mode and just ate every thing in sight - none of this fast acting sugar lark. I really don't know how I avoided being hospitalized for either a hypo or DKA!

My second visit to a dietitan was some years later. I think my diabetes team suggested it because of my weight and I went along with it. This lady gave me advice such as to remove the breaded coating on Donegal Catch (the most popular and pleasant way to eat fish) and to remove the skin from chicken. I thought it was a bit unrealistic to remove the breading from my fish. If I was going to take that kind of advise on board I don't think I would be having fish very often. So, I completely ignored everything she told me and didn't see her ever again.

As you can imagine, I was not enthusiastic about dietitians.

Moving on to my third encounter with a dieitian and enter a new phrase "Carb Counting". This one has a name, Karen. Lovely Karen. This was 2002 and I was trying to start my family. I think Carb Counting had been around for a while in the US (where I was at the time) but I don't think anyone had every heard of it in good old Ireland. It was eye-opening and Karen was not giving me any lists of foods that I should not eat. She was working with what I ate, it didn't matter what it was. She had me fill out a food diary!!! What a new concept! I have never looked back.

Carb counting has come a little ways since then and I tend to use a weighing scales to measure my food instead of the US standard cups and I've moved on to developing insulin to carb ratios.

And thankfully, dietitians in Ireland have come along way too. They seem advise you to lay off the fats and refined sugars but they don't tell you "never". They're starting to focus on portion sizes of what you eat instead of elimination. They're communicating more with their patients. It's a new era and long may it last.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The tiny triumphs!

Today, the 8th of May, I'm doing a 30-second dance party, in my head, because all of the 9 blood glucose tests I did today were single digits!!!

I have to remember to make a day like today stand out because the other days will seem less depressing.