Thursday, 18 February 2016

A day in my life with diabetes - a good day!

Saturday 10th January
The alam went off at 8:28am, I feel well rested but still want another snooze. My husbands alarm went off at 8:30am and I was afraid that I would actually fall back to sleep so I rolled out of bed. I use the term rolled because that is actually what I do.

Into the shower. Out of the showe, dry off, get dressed.

I went downstairs, said good morning to my already fed and dressed daughter on the laptop. I filled the kettle to make tea. Tea is made and I pop two slices of Brennan's wholemeal slice pan into the toaster.

While waiting for the toast I did my first blood glucose test of the day. 7.3mmol/l, what a nice way to start the day. I give myself 3 units of insulin to cover the toast and 3 mugs of tea with skimmed milk.

After breakfast, it's time to drop the family of to Coder Dojo and for me to get the weeks grocery shopping done.

What seemed like a short time later I felt my insulin pump vibrate to remind me that it's been 2 hours since I took my breakfast bolus and that its time to check my blood sugars again. I felt fine and so I waited until I got to the car to do this. 4.4 mmol/l, a bit on the low side because there is still active insulin in my body so I ate half a Nature Valley granola bar to keep my levels up until lunch.

Then it was time to collect the family from Coder Dojo and go home. After all the groceries have
been put away and both children have been fed, it was time for my own lunch. I decided to have a two egg omelette with smoked salmon and cheese, one slice of Brennan's wholemeal slice pan again and two perfectly ripe kiwis. I worked out that this all amounts to 35grams of carbohydrate. While my omelette was cooking I tested my blood glucose and it was 5.2 mmols/l (I'm having such a good day). It feels so nice to have good numbers, warm fuzzies. I took 2.65 units of insulin to cover my lunch.

I enjoyed my lunch! Now I have cleaned up the kitchen a little after lunch, swept the floor of all the crumbs, transferred some laundry, put some other laundry away and emptied the dishwasher. I sat down to sort through some household budgeting. I shouldn't have done that-no, not for the obvious reason. I suddenly realised I'm so tired and it's not surprising because it was the end of the week where the children went back to school after the two week Christmas holidays but my body forgot how to fall asleep before 11:30pm.

I decided that all major household tasks were done for the day and I was going to have about three cups of coffee, read the newspaper and some internet articles. My insulin pump had perfect timing; it vibrated to remind me to test again before I made it to the comfy chair. My blood glucose test revealed 6.0 mmols/l. You should have seen my happy face!

Roll on the coffee and two small McVities chocolate biscuits. I know I should have them but they're left over from Christmas, someone needs to eat them and I'm too tired to resist. So I've estimated that they work out to be 15 grams and I bolus 1.15 units of insulin. I wonder to myself if the biscuits are more like 20 grams but I decide that the next blood glucose test will reveal it.

Dinner at 7pm and my blood glucose is 7.8 mmols/l, it's sooooo nice to the things right for a change. Enjoyed my dinner of ///////// and of course dessert after cleaning up.

The two hour post meal check revealed a 5.8 mmols - this is a normal reading for someone without diabetes but for me it's a bit too low for an after meal and with active insulin still in my body I give it a snack to work on. What can I have for a snack? Ohh I haven't had a packet of crisps in months, double ohhh Salt and vinegar. Sold! So 14 grams of carbs and a lot of fat later my blood glucose dream comes back to reality with a 11.2 mmols result.

I tempted the good vibes too often today.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

What good is an insulin pump?

I met two people recently that I've known for a while, but I didn't know they have connections to type 1 diabetes. One person is a PwD and one is married to a PwD.

As always, the fact that I have an insulin pump comes up in conversation. And, as always, they ask "how I find the pump?" (that's an Irish person's equivalent of "Tell me exactly how you benefit from having it").

They don't really know what an insulin pump is or how it works. This doesn't surprise me because unless you are very interested in getting one you really don't do the research into it and in most of our diabetes clinics it's not really explained. (No need to promote what long waiting lists and lack of resources prevent you from providing).

Both people made the exact same comment of "but you still have to do the finger prick tests"! I wasn't expecting this comment so my response was insufficient. I had said something to the effect of "Well, yeah but I don't have to be messing around with two different types of insulin."

COMPLETELY, forgetting one of the best advantages of an insulin pump!

And I'm so kicking myself that I didn't think of this at the time but the point is you don't have to stab yourself with a needle 5-6 times per day, you only have to stab yourself once every three days. How could I forget that?

Next time I'll be ready! I hope.

One of the biggest questions that someone with type 1 diabetes may ask is, “what are the major differences between going on an insulin pump vs staying on injections???” well this is a very good question to ask. There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages between the two methods so let’s take a look at some of the more apparent ones to see which method is best for you.
  • Insulin injections require a lot less training than pump therapy. Using a pump requires professional training and scrutinizing blood glucose management as opposed to insulin injections
  • Insulin pumps mimic the function of the pancreas a lot better than insulin shots do making insulin distribution a lot more precise than insulin shots which helps reduce the peaks in blood glucose
  • There is also a higher chance of developing DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) while using a pump than when using injections (this can be caused when the tube is not correctly inserted under the skin and the user doesn’t notice)
  • Insulin injections require multiple shots a week where insulin pumps only require one every three days or so (frequent injections can cause some resistance to insulin absorption).
  • Insulin shots are more affordable than insulin pumps
  • Insulin pumps require the use of only one type of insulin whereas insulin injections use at least two different types (a fast acting and a long acting insulin).
So whether you are looking for a more flexible method or if you just like to stick with your sliding scale at every meal, knowing the differences in the end will help you make the right decision regarding how you manage your diabetes.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

I have moved to Blood Sugar Trampoline!

I've been playing around with a new name and a new look for my blog. And new focus. For more than a couple of months now.

Today I'm making the leap. I hope you'll come bounce with me and keep me company on the Blood Sugar Trampoline?

I will focus a bit more on my personal experiences living with type 1 diabetes and come out of the closet a bit more. I also think that you will find the diabetes information I've gathered over the years easier to find over at

Here it goes!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Spare a Rose, Save a Child with diabetes

Imagine living in a country where you could not afford to buy insulin for your child with type 1 diabetes? 

I'm so lucky that I was born and live in Ireland. I can go to a chemist at any time and walk out with a month's supply of insulin, test strips and whatever else I need to live. Without paying a cent!

If I was born elsewhere that would not be the case. I would not be able to afford my insulin and I would not be here today.

Yesterday, I donated money that I had set aside to Spare A Rose and give a child with diabetes a chance at life for a year.

Spare a Rose, Save a Child is the brainchild of the Diabetes Online Community in North America. The idea being to take the typical “dozen roses,” so popular on Valentine’s Day, and just buy 11, save just one rose and donate to spare the life of a child. 

The Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign is directed at raising awareness and funds for the Life for a Child program, which is an International Diabetes Federation program aiming to take “contributions from donors go to established diabetes centres enabling them to provide the ongoing clinical care and diabetes education these children need to stay alive.” 

The idea was to take the typical “dozen roses,” so popular on Valentine’s Day, and save just one rose to spare the life of a child. “Spare a Rose, Save a Child” is simple: buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and share the value of that flower with a child with diabetes in the developing world. Your loved one at home still gets flowers and you both show some love to someone across the world who needs it. From Kerri Sparling, Sixuntilme