Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Why does my diabetes not stay the same?

Life with type 1 diabetes is always changing. That's probably THE most frustrating part of diabetes, well for me, for today anyway.

Three weeks ago my blood sugars after my dinner were skyrocketing up into the high teens and twenties. I haven't changed my routine in any way, the food is the same, my stress levels might be a little elevated but not too much.

This trend of high blood sugars after my meal (postprandial) continued for the week and my instructions from my endo are that if something happens for two days in a row then on the third day take action to prevent it. I usually let it continue for a couple more days though just to be sure that it's not something random happening twice (you never know do you?).

I considered all the options that were available to me. I could decrease my insulin to carb ratio for dinner, or I could increase the basal rate on my insulin pump from dinner time until bedtime. Or both but I decided that this was a bad idea. It's better to try one change at a time as too many changes at the same time can leave you guessing which one is to blame if you start having hypos.

I chose to decrease my insulin to carb ratio from 1 unit of insulin to 10 grams of carb (1:10) to 1:7grams. It worked just a little too well on the first night and I ended up with lows for the rest of the evening. So the next night I tried 1:8grams. BINGO! That's the perfect number.... for now anyway.

My next question is why did my insulin to carb ratio have to change for no apparent reason? I mean, I've been at 1:10 for a number of years. AND it was so easy to work out 1:10gms. Now I have to actually use a calculator cos I'm terrible at math.

Ah well, it's nice to solve a diabetes problem. I have so many others that I can't solve.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Type 1 Diabetic Hopes

Inspiration to live well with diabetes can come from the most unexpected sources. The inspiration from this post came from an essay entitled "Type 1 Diabetes - My Many Fears" written by Australian, Alex Williams.

His essay is very well written and even resonates some of my own fears. But as they old saying goes "a life lived in fear.... is a life half lived". So I am packing up those old fears (for today) and putting them in the attic part of my brain for when I might need them and I'm going to think about hopes.

I hope, someday, to be an octogenarian and proudly announce that I have lived 60+ years with type 1 diabetes and that apart from a few aches and pains I have no serious diabetes complications. I do have high hopes.

I hope to be fit enough to run and play with some of my future grandchildren. This is really my biggest dream. I've loved being Mom but being Granny won't have all of the angst.

I hope that in less than five years (that's 2019) the artificial pancreas/closed loop system will be available in Ireland.

I hope that that our health service has all the services in place so that the Artificial Pancreas is easy to access for all people with diabetes.

I hope that in 5 years that 80% or more of people with diabetes in Ireland will have been offered an insulin pump and/or a Continuous Glucose monitor.

I hope that some day in the near future that all people with type 1 diabetes will be able to access structured education where they are receiving their diabetes care. And that all Type 1 diabetes centres have more than 1 (but even 1 would be good) Diabetes nurse specialist, Dietitian and Phycologist.

I hope that, one day, there is a cure. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

World Diabetes Day 2014

It's HERE!!!!

World Diabetes Day falls on November 14th every year - it's a global event! But what is it? Any why make a fuss about diabetes anyway?

Well, if you have type 1 diabetes, or any type of diabetes, its a day to celebrate being alive. If any of us were diagnosed before 1922 none of us would have what we have today, our children wouldn't have been born, we wouldn't be alive!

92 years ago a couple of scientists made it possible for people with diabetes to live. Before 1922, people and children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes died within four months.

So I celebrate the day that Sir Frederick Banting was born, November 14th. And I celebrate that he met and worked with Charles Best

AND, not only are people with diabetes living today, we are thriving! So I’m not really celebrating having diabetes. I’m celebrating life and the quality of it.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Did you test Mom?

Yesterday, I wrote about my son, so today I'm writing about my daughter who is 10 and who makes me so proud everyday.

Mondays evenings are tough in my house. Especially, when the chef (i.e. hubby) is on a business trip!!!

I usually cook dinner before swimming lessons and then heat it up when we get home. Last Monday, while I was waiting for dinner to reheat, I tested my blood glucose and took my bolus.

I normally do this when I sit to the table.

I should probably explain that we also have a "good table manners" policy at the dinner table. This means nobody can start eating until everyone is at the table with food in front of them. I know we're weird in our house!

We do have one addition to the rule; everyone can start eating if everyone is at the table with food in front of them and if Mom is testing.

Last Monday, when we all sat at the table and we all started eating and my daughter asked; Did you test Mom? Here was me thinking that they really don't see any of my diabetes stuff any more, especially since the time my daughter said "that's new!" referring to a new glucose meter I had gotten one year earlier.

You never know with children do you? I just hope she doesn't ever become a member of the diabetes police!

My young lady

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Diabetes is your career Mom, isn't it?

I have two children aged 10 and 3/4 and 8 years, whom I am so proud of and absolute adore.

My 10 year old has figured out a lot of things about the world works already, but my 8 year old is still working things out. He figures things out vocally and has a very different way of thinking than I do. Actually, I think he has a different way of thinking than most of the world:-)

I love watching his face as he processes information and draws a conclusion. But, sometimes he in a completely different direction.

He was thinking about "Careers". Why? I haven't got a clue. He announced that his Dad does not have a career (despite the fact that he works from home and has spends his whole day in his office) but I that do and that my career is diabetes. Huh!?!

He obviously didn't really know what the word meant. I think he thought that an illness was a career! So we explained what the word really meant. And it made sense to him. Dad works in computers and  Mom is a stay-at-home parent. So all good there.

My Superhero!
I continued the conversation in my own head of how it was possible for him to think that my career was diabetes. Did someone tell him career was something that you do and all he sees me "do" are things to do with diabetes (because housework is done by fairies).

Was it because whenever I leave the house in the evenings that it's to go to my monthly diabetes support group meetings? And that is something I do.

Is it because both my husband and myself volunteer with the national diabetes charity, Diabetes Ireland and so talk a lot about it at the dinner table a lot? If so, we really need to scale that back.

As they say "out of the mouths of babes" and I will never know what's going on in my precious child's head but I hope it continues to make me think deep and entertain.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Life for a Child with Diabetes

People with diabetes in Ireland don't have it all when it comes to our diabetes. We don't have huge access to insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors or structured type 1 diabetes education. Some of our type 1 clinics don't even have diabetes dietitians or diabetes nurse specialists. But, we do have unlimited access to access to insulin!

Do you remember the day you or your child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Imagine if the doctor then told you that a vial of insulin cost so much money that you could not afford to buy it. Imagine you lived in a country like India, Haiti, or Ecuador, where no-one else could afford to organise a benefit night to raise money for insulin. What would you do?

"Without insulin, a child with type 1 diabetes will die within a week. In the developing world, many die without being diagnosed; for those who are, their family faces a sickening dilemma: pay for the insulin their child needs to survive or leave him to die." 

This is the situation for a lot of parents of children with type 1 diabetes in these developing countries. How is it possible that almost 100 years after insulin was discovered there are still children in the world dying from type 1 diabetes, not from complications but because they don't have insulin.

These children don't get the chance to worry about the danger of night-time hypos, or the risk of developing complications.

I’m very grateful to my government for paying for all of my diabetes medication and supplies. I know that if I did have to pay for all of it that I would find it extremely difficult financially. But if the government asked me to contribute to the cost in someway I would be able to do that. 

But, the government haven’t asked me and until they do I'm going to donate a little bit every year to the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child programme because I'm so lucky to be born where I was born.

Life for a Child is currently helping 14,000 children in 46 countries to have a reliable and steady supply of insulin, while working with the existing healthcare services to strengthen them.

Friday, 7 November 2014

People w/Diabetes are Amazing; People with Type 2

World Diabetes Day 2014 is Friday the 14th of November. This is the third and final instalment of "People with Diabetes are Amazing!" series. The first instalment featured Parents of children with diabetes, the second People with Type 1

Meeting other people with diabetes is my inspiration for living well myself with diabetes. They rock! They are so resilient. So, as we approach World Diabetes Day I thought I would celebrate how awesome people with diabetes really are. Next up is...

People with Type 2

There is supposedly safety in numbers and people with type 2 do make up the numbers but I don't think that make people with type 2 feel any safer.

The world's media tries to tell people with type 2 that they brought diabetes on themselves. Yet, they come out ready to take control of their diabetes.

The old breed of person with Type 2 diabetes would have accepted limb amputation, blindness and kidney failure as their fate. The old breed would never have known about diabetes education. They would have known type 2 diabetes as the "Silent Killer".

The new breed of Type 2 person is defiant, resilient, willing to learn new things, has a thirst for the knowledge to manage their diabetes. They want to overcome!

I have met so many people with type 2 and they inspire me as much as my own crowd because they tell me all the time that they are not going to be that old breed of person with type 2. They shall overcome!

Of Notable Mention;

There are many more types of diabetes and people who live with any type are equally amazing. I chose the types because I know a little more about those than I do about LADA or MODY or any of the others.

To ALL people with diabetes and here's to breaking down the barriers!!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Where to find Diabetes Support in Ireland

We have professional support from our clinics, consultants and diabetes nurse specialists. We also have professional support from Diabetes Ireland, our national diabetes association, who also have a facebook page.

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.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

People w/Diabetes are Amazing; People with Type 1

World Diabetes Day 2014 is Friday the 14th of November. This is the second of three installments of "People with Diabetes are Amazing!" series. The first installment was about Parents of children with diabetes.

Meeting other people with diabetes is my inspiration for living well myself with diabetes. They rock! They are so resilient. So, as we approach World Diabetes Day I thought I would celebrate how awesome people with diabetes really are.

I think all people with diabetes are amazing! Life threw us the challenge of living with diabetes at us and it made us feel that no challenge was too much. I have divided my homage into 3 groups of amazingness and next up...

People with Type 1

I actually fall into this group myself but I won't be talking about me. I want to talk about all the amazing people I've met in my support group and all the people with type 1 that I admire out there in the big, big world.

The people with type 1 that I have met over the years are so inspiring, so resilient, so defiant. I've met people who have lived 50 years with type 1, lost their sight because they happened to live with diabetes before so much was discovered about it. People who used to boil glass syringes to sterilize them before they could use them. These people still get up every day and say "no diabetes; you don't win today".

I also love to read about people with diabetes breaking through the barriers that others perceive to be around us; 

Douglas Cairns, pilot, diabetes advocate
Kris Freeman, Olympic Skier
- HG Wells, The famed science-fiction author who also helped set up Diabetes UK.
Kerri Sparling, blogger, author, diabetes advocate.

I read about and am always inspired by people like;

Stephen Clancy, professional cyclist,
Catherine Brady, 4th time world champion kickboxer from Dundalk
- Kenneth Sweeney, former senior county footballer; Sligo
Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014 who brought the worlds attention to type 1 diabetes.
- Ella Locke, who at 10 years old hiked the 154kms of the Scottish Highland with her dad to raise money for diabetes. 

and many, many, many, more......................

Monday, 3 November 2014

People w/Diabetes are Amazing; Parents of Children with Diabetes

World Diabetes Day 2014 is Friday the 14th of November. I didn't plan this very well but from the 1st of November until the 14th I'm hoping to have a daily diabetes awareness post on my facebook page (fingers crossed). This is the first of three installments of "People with Diabetes are Amazing!" series.

Meeting other people with diabetes is my inspiration for living well myself with diabetes. They rock! They are so resilient. So, as we approach World Diabetes Day I thought I would celebrate how awesome people with diabetes really are.

I think all people with diabetes are amazing! Life threw us the challenge of living with diabetes at us and it made us feel that no challenge was too much. I have divided my homage into 3 groups of amazingness starting with...

Type Awesome - The Parents!

I wanted to start with the people who take care of the little people with diabetes, the people who guide and mentor young people with diabetes, the people who are generally referred at Type Awesome on social media; the Parents of children with diabetes.

How difficult is it to try to figure out what is going on in someone else's body, in particular, a body so tiny he/she doesn't know how to speak yet? Parents of children with type 1 diabetes do this all day every day!

Did you know that most parents of children with type 1 diabetes seldom get a full night's sleep? I survived a couple of months of interrupted sleep with my newborns. I can't imagine doing it indefinitely. Surviving years of that takes something deep down.

Photo from
A parents worst nightmare is when something happens to their child that threatens their childhood and these parents have to find a way to get past their grief and heartbreak that their child's carefree childhood has been lost, so that they can protect what's left. It isn't easy and it's not something most parents can do alone.

And that's not even half the story; check out blogs from D-Mum, Moira McCarthy or the D-parent bloggers, such as Olly Double on Diabetes UK.