Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Attack of the Pump...

and it hurt! Two days later I still have the bruise!

I have started to bring my pump into the shower with me rather than disconnect from it for reasons that are worthy of another post. The other morning, my shower was a challenge because the tubing was a little shorter than I was used to. I really couldn't move very much without tugging the tubing. When I was almost finished I just happened to move a little too far and pulled the pump off the shelf, my hand went to protect the cannula from pulling out and my pump swung and thwacked me, right on the ankle bone.

I'm a teeth-gritter & deep breather when it comes to pain but when the unexpected and full force of this metal box hit me, I yelled. My husband was concerned enough to ask me what happened but not concerned enough to get out of bed and check, so thankfully no panic caused there;-)

Anyway, I thought I should "warn" people about the force & impact a pump can have when swung from it's tubing. (This post is to be taken lightly and reflects how ordinary my life is when I post about taking a shower). 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Got the Vibe!

I had my Animas 2020 for 4 years. It was a bit scruffy looking; a few scratches and that. I was very excited when Animas told me I would be eligible for an upgrade to the Animas Vibe because that would mean I could get the CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) as an add on.

When the Vibe arrived it was so shiny and scratch free. I did leave it in the box for a couple of days:-) Until I heard that it was going to take 5 weeks for the Animas trainer to get over from the UK and for both myself and my Diabetes Nurse Specialist to all be available on the same day.

The Vibe is the top one.
That broke me! I decided to fire up the Vibe and see what was different. This first difference was "blinding". I put both my pumps side by side and the screen on my old pump was barely visible. That did it for me! I decided if there wasn't too much difference between the two pumps I was going to disconnect my old one and connect to the Vibe.
Here I was, thinking that I couldn't read the screen because of the sun or maybe, just maybe, my eyesight was going. I could have had the new insulin pump aaaggeeesss ago if I'd only known.

Well, I hooked myself up the there are only a couple of minor differences, other that the major one of being compatible with the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring system. One is when you use the bolus wizards that it automatically dials up the dose that it has come up with, you can still change the dose and you still have to select OK to deliver the dose. This feature does make me happy, even if I still haven't gotten used to it (after 5 weeks). 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Loss: A Double Edged Sword

Most women in the world are sensitive about their weight, even if they're slim. However, if you have type 1 diabetes and a weight problem; it's a double edge sword. A person with type 1 diabetes (pwt1d) can't just stop eating spontaneously. We have to carefully consider how we are going to reduce what we eat and how we are going to include exercise in our daily lives.

The advice I got when I was 'encouraged" to skim a few kilos off was to exercise, exercise and more exercise. In fairness, the staff at the clinic I was attending at that time were not very well educated in diabetes and I was not given access to a dietitian or any further advice.

I needed to lose my second baby weight that was still hanging around 5 years later. I started with the exercise and worked out how to adapt my insulin to my body's needs around that. For me, a 30 minute brisk walk, 5 days a week, took a couple of weeks to get the adjustment right. Initially, my body just wanted to have hypos but by the end of the second week I had mastered the insulin to eliminate them. I did this for more than a year and I felt great but I was not losing any weight.

I have since learnt that exercise burns glucose before it burns fat. So it makes sense that a person with type 1 will never get to the stage where you will burn fat by exercising. Exercise also lowers blood glucose and that, in most cases, leads to taking in more glucose to replace what your body has used up. So here you are! In a Vicious circle!

But exercise will make you body more efficient. It will help you control your blood glucose and help you tone up the flab but I don't see how it can help a person with Type 1 lose weight.

So even though I had toned my muscles and gotten fitter I did not lose weight by exercising.

Next phase of weight loss: reduce food intake. I have always kept a food diary and this was handy when I needed to examine what I was eating and where I could shave the calories (namely carbohydrate and fat).

I was already on low fat everything for many years but I did need to look at the fat in my meats and other proteins. And of course, see if I could switch my current carbohydrates for better ones and therefore reduce my carb intake overall.

The two most significant changes I made were switching to porridge for breakfast and from two slices of bread in a sandwich to one or rye crackers. And a third change was to load up on vegetables and bring in more fruit.

It worked! I started to fit comfortable into my clothes again and I felt better about myself.

Weight loss is never easy, for anyone, if it was we'd all be skinny, but for us type 1's it feels like two steps forward and one step back all the time. But for me the knowledge about how to do it and making informed choices really helped me get out of the mental roundabout.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Diabetes life lessons from my 7 year old.

I was scolding my 7 year old for not putting his toothbrush back into the holder after he used it. His reply was "Mom, you really don't expect me to remember something when you have only told me one time?" He had a valid point. I tell him to do lots of things every day and some of them I really don't need to tell him just a gentle reminder.

I remembered what he told me the next time I meet someone who asked one of those questions that forces me to take a deep breath and count to 10. Diabetes is such a complicted illness, especially type 1 diabetes, that you really can't explain it in one conversation. It took me a number of years to learn all I needed to know to manage my type 1 diabetes, not to mention the fact that my management has to keep adapting to new technology and the new research.

To expect a person who does not have diabetes to even grasp the basics in a single conversation is, in my opinion, not possible.  No matter what kind of question they ask me I need to start with the basics before I actually answer the question. I should always be patient with this person, who's support I will need in the future, for campaign for better services for people with diabetes and to spread awareness. I need to practice explaining diabetes and never get frustrated or angry with people who ask the questions or make the comments because after all they wouldn't ask or start the conversation if the didn't want to know.

I need to remember that just because I've said it before, even to the same person, that doesn't mean they've understood or they have remembered.