Saturday, 18 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 5 - Diabetes Art

Hello. Day 5 and this where I prove I'm not creative....

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

Once there was boy who needed lots of wees,
They called the doctor who said he had diabetes. 
Many years later after thousands of stabs and injections,
He got a pump to help him achieve BG perfection. 
There'll be more stress to come but hopefully no tears,
Because the cure's coming in ten years*. 

*Always 10 years. 

That is all. Thank you and apologies for my damage to the arts. 


Friday, 17 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 5 - Disease Switch

So we've got to day 5 already. And I'm still writing. Not sure if that will surprise you as much as it does me! So what did the random subject machine throw out for today? ......

"Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)"

This stumped me initially. Firstly because I'm sat here scratching my head thinking; can I name any other chronic diseases of a comparative seriousness to diabetes? And secondly because (don't say this too loudly) me and diabetes sort of get on.  

I'll come to the second bit after addressing the first.

I like to think I'm fairly knowledgeable about my Type 1 but I know even after so long I'm still on an upwards learning curve. With any other condition I know nothing, nada, nowt. For me to sit here and choose something else to live with would be incredibly insulting to people with that condition. I'd feel it would be a bit like the old people we all know, who know of someone with type 1 who either died horrendously or managed to cure themselves - yes I'm looking at you Halle Berry! For an example of fury inducing misinformation just read the first comment on my piece from yesterday. To trigger a twitstorm of wrath from people around the world with a different condition is not an action I'm keen on taking. I prefer to sit here hoping I don't upset too many people with my almost coherent words.

So how do me and the D get on? This is a strange thing. I'd love for there to be no need for me to inject, test and stress out daily, but life is life and sometimes these things happen. On the flip of the topic above I don't know the problems that having something else would throw up. I think having diabetes from such a young age is a factor. It's part of me and is my 'norm'. 

And I get 'kit'! More gadgets than any man can ask for; testing kits, insulin pump, occasionally a CGM which gives me super-sexy graphs (is that OTT?) and links to the best online community in the word. Yep, absolutely. Without the need to stab and press buttons daily I wouldn't have you now reading this and my world would be a much poorer place because of that. 

In my game of life-pontoon I'm choosing to stick rather than twist. Boring but safe.

Thanks for reading again and all comments are welcome, even if they're stoooooopid :)

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week - Day 4 - Accomplishments Big and Small

Welcome back to day 4 of Diabetes Blog Week. It’s going OK so far and I’m loving to chance exploring other blogs I’d not seen before and hopefully I’ve got a few new readers here too. Regular visitors are welcomed back warmly too. Really short one today though I’m afraid but if you’re working your way through the many available this week you may appreciate that!

"We don’t always realise it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)"

Today’s topic is a hard one. My family is not traditionally known for it’s trumpet blowing and whilst a few things have been achieved over the years there comes a natural reticence to celebrate this with others. Saying all that however one of my biggest is recalled here when almost exactly a year ago I managed to drag my body through 40 miles of Lakeland fells.

So what have I achieved in relation to my diabetes? The topic I’ve chosen comes with no medals and the rewards won’t be felt for years to come but it’s significantly huge even though the action was almost invisible. 

My achievement is that ……..

Just over two years ago I switched on, engaged and got involved with the my diabetes.

That’s it. Not hugely noticeable to others but massive for me. Recently I went through this in more detail so I’ll keep this (relatively ) brief.  

By initially just reading then tentatively discussing diabetes with other people in similar situations for the first time in two decades the improvement in my diabetes control has been a natural consequence. I've 'met' people who know how frustrating this darn condition can be and also offer suggestions for improvements and changes that might help. Sometimes it's just a link to further reading but everything helps. It really does. And it's the thing that really gave my D a bit of a refresh by encouraging my to get Adam and share my journey with me while feeling similarly clueless.

The biggest beneficiary of this has been my family who I’m lucky enough to share my life with. Mrs Tangerine has said that I’m a much nicer and more confident person and the whole improvement in my health has played a big part in this. So it’s a thank you to everyone who’s engaged (Did I just use that word again? It’s a bit business like when what I really mean is ‘discussed’) with me and shown me that my random stress isn’t just me.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out plenty of the other blogs written today that can be found by clicking the banner at the top of the page.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 3 – Memories

So Diabetes Blog Week continues. 

"Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... you or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)"

Memorable day? Remembering a single day from too many years is a challenge. So I'm going to pick two.

Firstly I'll go back to a day in my much younger years when my parents took me on a very long car journey to Woburn Abbey / Safari Park. The special event was the British Diabetic Association (aka BDA but now called Diabetes UK) Teddy Bears Picnic. I've no idea if this was an annual event but we only went once so in my mind it was one-off. There were a few highlights of the day including my parents being significantly concerned that the baboons in the animal park would go onto the roof of our car. The car survived and thankfully we did too :)

Also on the day was the chance to meet Gary Mabbutt. Gary might not transcend international boundaries but he was a hero to me. At the time there weren't many famous people with diabetes that I was aware of and here was a man who was playing football (soccer) at the highest level regularly whilst managing his BGs and not letting it hold him back. He even managed to score two goals in the 1991 FA Cup Final (sorry Gary!). #hero As a side note I know Gary has recently undergone surgery so I hope you're recovering OK if by any chance you read this.

Final event of the day (in my memory anyway) was the Teddy Bear Competition with prizes including one for the biggest bear. I'm not sure if my parents new but the teddy we'd chosen to take was George, my sister's rather large but incredibly cuddly teddy. Guaranteed winner I thought and standing in the showring with the other children and their poor attempts at 'large' I was confident of my winning position. But, NO, I was robbed!!! Another, smaller girl managed to persuade the judges with a cunning smile that she should win and she was duly presented with the prize. To say this under-10 was a little disappointed is putting it mildly. However moral victory was won a month later when Balance magazine arrived from the BDA with a picture of a smiling me on the front holding the, obviously largest, stuffed toy. A good day all round not spoiled by the unjust decision of the judges.

Day number two comes back to the original question. What's my most memorable day when remembering my diabetes? Well, it's yesterday. And tomorrow it will be today. We're doing this every day and each one throws up a different challenge with too many flipping variables to contend with to make it easy. Yesterday was fairly 'normal' with a waking BG of 6.4 mmol/l (115 mg/dl). Breakfast of cereal and a dual wave bolus gave me an OK pre-lunch of 3.6 (65). Lunch of a filled wrap, crisps and biscuits gave me an unexpected dip late afternoon that was treated with the always at hand Fruit Pastilles. Pre-evening meal I'd gone up to 10.6 (191) probably as a result of over-treating the low earlier. Final test of the day was 4.1 (74) which I was happy with as I still had few carbs on board and I'm not scared by that figure at that time of day. So that was yesterday and today is more of the same but different.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I recommend others from the week by other people with diabetes from around the world which can be found by clicking the banner at the top of the page.

That's two days done. Only four to go :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 2 – We, the undersigned

OK, I'm late to the party and for the perceptive ones amongst you the title above is a little bit abandoned as Day 1 didn't exist! Sloppy, I know but better late than never. If you're looking for the reason I've dived in pop over here to read Daisy explain why it's a huge challenge to judge 16 years of managing a condition in a 20 minute appointment.

So participating in Diabetes Blog Week in scarily new to me. I've read many fantastic posts over recent years but the thought of being able to do six consecutive posts (yes only six because I'm a day late!) strikes fear into me. If you're new to my page I hope you enjoy the read and please pop back as I occasionally do update it. Sometimes!

So today's subject is........ "We the Undersigned...." A challenge to write a petition to someone to make a change.

Mine will be 'We the undersigned demand that our healthcare professionals do not judge our control as success or failure.'

This goes out to every one of my Doctors, nurses, opticians, chiropodists, and dietitians. Just because my control isn't always between 4 and 8 mmol/l (72 to 144 mg/dl) and I sometimes eat without testing (I know. Rebel!!), doesn't mean I've failed. It just means I've got something to work towards in improving my control. yes, sometimes I know the answers to all the questions yet still don't follow the 'rules'. I'm not naughty; I'm normal.  The D isn't going anyway and I'll wake up tomorrow with another opportunity to have an attempt at achieving the perfect day. Life isn't perfect and sometimes stuff just happens that means I won't spend every minute focusing on balancing my body. We don't fail we just continue to manage it 24/7 with no days off or time off in lieu.

Hopefully that strikes a chord and my final comment goes to my optician. I like you, I really do. The pictures you take of my eyes are fantastic and I trust you a lot more than a man in the NHS van. However, please don't ask me "How's your diabetes been lately?" It's a crap question that is normally replied with an "It's been OK." The question really demands an answer with graphs, trends, and in depth discussion but you don't really want that. Do you?

Thanks for reading and please come back tomorrow for more ramblings.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Guest Post: Diagnosis From The Parent's Side

It is with the greatest pleasure and excitement that I have a guest writer for most of today's piece. After scouring the world for the best possible correspondent I narrowed down the search and found the best option. My mum. Any suggestion of bias is wrong, wrong, just wrong.

Last week I spoke to mum (aka Jean) about whether she'd be willing to put down a few words to describe what it was like back in the late 1970's when all our lives changed forever.

Anyway my words are the least important ones today so please read and enjoy:

David’s Story

Round about August 1978 when David was 3 we felt he was not well.  The Doctor came out and said it was probably due to him growing.

Later on in the year he started to drink a lot and wet his bed. We put this down to a temporary breakdown as we didn’t know anything about diabetes.

It was a Monday in February 1979.  Most of the family seemed to have the ‘flu. The day before, we had all been sitting by the fire trying to keep warm. The older children were off school. Around lunch time David seemed to worsen. John, his dad, rang the doctor (a different one). On giving his symptoms, the first thing he asked is is there was any diabetes in the family. He was round to our house within 10 minutes and sent us off immediately to the Children’s Ward at Lancaster with David.

They took blood tests which had to be sent to the Lab. which was the other side of town.
He was fixed on to a drip to get his liquids up.  It was taking so long for the result of the blood test to come through that the Doctor decided not to wait any longer, so he was given his first insulin.

He was in hospital for about a week where we learnt how to inject and measure the carbohydrates in his food. They even brought on a hypo by injecting and not giving food, to show us what to expect.
We went home very worried how we would cope but somehow we got though.

Starting school was a big occasion. All children had cooked meals at our village school. Off I went to meet the cook and she was wonderful even though she had never had to deal with a diabetic before.

All the mums of his friends were wonderful too if he went to play or to birthday parties.

We got lots of offers of help and advice.  Sometimes good but other times ridiculous such as the person who assured me it was just a nuisance and he would soon grow out of it!!!

Over the years we saw him grow up and not grumble to us about what he had. Our doctors and the paediatricians were great.  Even telling us we would probably know more than them as we had to live with it!

We joined a local Children’s Diabetic Group where we could swap experiences and realise we were not on our own.

Three times he went off to Children’s Diabetic Camp where he learnt how to inject himself.  It was the first time he was away from us but as the staffing was wonderful we knew he would be well looked after.

We have seen him grow through his teenage years and find a wonderful wife Laura who keeps him straight when he has a waffy turn, and two great children Joe and Martha.

Thank you mum for that and I hope you all enjoyed reading her thoughts. I'm sure it's similar to what others experienced and also different too. For me it's fascinating seeing it from the other side as I have very few memories from then. Please leave lots of comments and if you have any questions drop them in too as I'm sure their experiences can help others too.

Thanks for reading,
Dave (or David to my mum ;-))