Burnout?

I haven’t written on here in 8 months!  And that pretty much sums up my diabetes attitude at the moment.  To be perfectly honest I haven’t really been testing enough or counting carbs at all.  I guess I’m sort of winging it.  I know I need to do something about it but have no motivation at all at the moment.  It’s sort of like eating healthily and exercising, except it’s to keep you alive.  You go through phases where you’re really motivated but then a few weeks or months later, you don’t see many results, you slip up, you don’t feel the motivation anymore, etc.

My aim over the next week is simply to test 4 times a day.

Short and boring post today but I’m going to get back into it!

Catchya

Christmas colds and diabetes

Pretty sure everyone I know was a bit ill at some point over their Christmas holiday, whether it was from a bug or self inflicted!  The annoying thing about diabetes is that when you have the cold, the flu or a horrific hangover, you still have to deal with the diabetes and more often than not the illness makes the diabetes worse AND the diabetes makes the illness worse.

One thing that really grinds my gears, is when people are hungover and exclaim, “I need sugar!”, as they reach for their irn bru… because all they are really complaining about is their blood sugar dropping by about 2mmols.  I understand that hangovers are yuck, and I love to complain about them as much as the next person, but bitch please, our blood sugars can fluctuate by >20mmols in one day so pipe down.

Between Christmas and New Year, I was feeling pretty yucky.  I had the horrible cold and sickness, that my family seemed to pass from one to the other, throughout the festivities, but the really bad bit came overnight when I woke up feeling like DEATH.  I felt sick, my head hurt, I needed water but to lift my head was like trying to lift a 10 tonne truck.  When I eventually managed to check my blood sugar, it was 30.2.  For those of you who don’t know, this level is dangerously high.  It should be between 4-10, ideally around 6 or 7.
Luckily I was home at my parents and so I phoned my wonderful mother and father’s mobile phones at about 2am and mam came downstairs to help me, getting me water (with a straw so I didn’t have to lift my head to drink it), a basin and holding my hair back as I was sick.  I had a little cry with her about how shit diabetes is.
There can be days like this with type 1 diabetes and I’d really like us to raise awareness of how hard it can be – it is nowhere near as simple as some people seem to believe.  But I would also like to note that I know how lucky I am – I got better the next day and, since I didn’t feel well enough to go on a night out, spent a lovely Hogmanay with my fantastic family who I am lucky to have!

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I hope everyone else had a great New Year too and are sticking to those resolutions…  My resolution happens to be diabetes related too – trying my hardest to carb count properly and keep track of my blood sugars to figure out my insulin ratios, for once and for all (Also resolved to read a book a fortnight but Mark Zuckerberg went and stole that one!).  So far, so good – I’ve been weighing my foods and keeping track of the carbs on My Fitness Pal and I think I’m managing to see some trends.  I’ll keep my blog updated on that one and I have an appointment at my brand new diabetes clinic at the end of the month so I will hopefully do a wee blog then to say how it all went.

And remember, the next time you have a hangover – you will live – complain as much as you like, but if you’re around me, try not to mention your sugar levels!

Diagnosis

Here is one of my old blog posts on diagnosis.  Update – I now know my diaversary (July 24th, 2002)

I wasn’t sure how to start blogging about diabetes but I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any…  I was about 8 when I was diagnosed, although unlike most I don’t know the date of my actual “diaversary”. I need to try to find this out at my next clinic. Maybe I could try to use it as an excuse for presents!

This is me and some friends before I got ill. I'm the nurse!

This is me and some friends before I got ill. Ironically I’m the nurse!

I had been ill for months and months. I looked scarily thin and still, to this day, I don’t like looking at photos of myself at that age. My poor mam had been tripping me back and forth to the doctors. It, shockingly, took 3 different doctors and Mam actually asking for a diabetes test before I was diagnosed. I remember in the days leading up to get the test done, she explained to me all about type 1 diabetes (not that we focused on the type 1/type 2 distinction at that time – very different story now). I think she almost knew, and was trying to soften the blow for me. She must have told me about exercise putting blood sugars down and sweet things putting them up because I can remember turning down juice my dad bought me the day before and cycling frantically in and out my road… trying to cheat the test!

I think this is when I'd started losing a lot of weight but certainly not at my worst.

I think this is when I’d started losing a lot of weight but certainly not at my worst. (on the right)

I can’t actually remember getting the test anymore but what I can remember is when the results came. I was playing at my house with my best friend at the time, Becky. We were supposed to be having a sleepover. Mam came in and said she had “a story to tell me”. I don’t know if it was the way she said it but I just knew. I had diabetes. That’s one of my most vivid childhood memories.
I ran upstairs crying, locked myself in the bathroom and refused to come out. I had to go into hospital that night. I’m not really aware of Becky leaving or me being coaxed from the bathroom!

The next thing I remember is arriving at hospital… I got about 10 injections and drips etc. (no biggie now!).  I’m from Shetland, which is a beautiful group of islands, very far North of Scotland. At the time I think there were only 14 other children there with type 1 diabetes, so the next day I was flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. I was really really upset by the idea when I found out but when I got there I had a great time!  I was on a children’s ward with playworkers and got to do arts and crafts, play games and stayed up late with the older children to watch the Big Brother final. My mam had already gone to bed then and I remember feeling like a little rebel.

This is Chubby, the teddy I got from Nanny when I was in hospital.  I made him diabetic and injected him for a while too!

This is Chubby, the teddy I got from Nanny when I was in hospital. I made him diabetic for a short while and injected him for a while too!

Of course it wasn’t all fun and games. I had to learn all about injecting myself, food, doses, hypos, hypers etc etc. I even had to skip breakfast and run round the hospital to learn what it was like to feel hypo, which is when your blood sugar is too low!  I can remember being asked the same sets of questions over and over by lots of different staff, one of which was “are you feeling a lot better now?”  The strange thing was, I had become so used to feeling that way, I didn’t realise I was ill.  I didn’t even know what it was like to feel hungry or thirsty.  I kept saying “I felt fine” which annoyed my poor mam I think because I was so drastically ill but I made it sound like she was exaggerating everything!  She told me I used to come home from school crying because I was so tired.  I never even thought of how hard it must have been for her at the time.  I suppose you don’t at that age.  My dad was in hospital too then, so she was all alone trying to comfort me and I just thought she was wrong for taking me to the doctor in the first place!  She has told me since then though that she was actually relieved when I finally got a diagnosis because she thought I was going to die.  I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like for her.

So although I was devastated at the time, all I was actually dreading was injecting myself. I now know that doesn’t even come into my top 10 hardest things about diabetes but at the time it seemed like a huge deal.

I’ll end this post with the 4 Ts… Diabetes UK focus on children in this but remember adults can be diagnosed with type 1 too.

What are the 4 Ts?

  • Toilet
    Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
  • Thirsty
    Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
  • Tired
    Feeling more tired than usual
  • Thinner
    Losing weight or looking thinner than usual

By making sure children and young people get a quick diagnosis and early treatment, we can avoid them becoming seriously ill with DKA.