It’s funny how things happen. I often refer to it, (like most) as the planets aligning. It was a full moon last night. Perhaps that had something to do with the way today turned out. And perhaps not. Either way I’m back on the blogging scene!
We experienced a power outage this morning. Sitting in the dark, unpowered and cold office was less than inspiring. I was particularly annoyed because I was trying to track down a link to an article I received via email last week. Apparently I was referenced! At first I thought it might be a loose reference to the Oz Diabetes Online Community (#OzDOC) that I run. Our weekly chats achieve notable reach and have made a significant impact over the last year or so. However it ended up being a direct reference to a blog I wrote here at 1type1 ! I was absolutely beside myself with excitement and very pleased to read such a proactive piece about psychological wellbeing in the care of diabetes. I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Halliday at the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes for it. You can access the article here but consider yourself warned; you may need to pay.
I have been contemplating getting back into blogging for some months but an element of motivation was missing. Given recent time constraints I made operating #OzDOC my priority and otherwise minimised my online presence. I stopped writing because I was uncomfortable with the idea that my published words may be misinterpreted. These words are of a personal nature relating to my health. Fear of being misunderstood overwhelmed me and led me to move further and further from the blogosphere. I also starting witnessing forms of plagiarism, little white lies and embellishments. I have no time for these offences and I knew I had to leave the blogging scene to take a step back and breathe out.
Resolution is a beautiful thing and I have come to realise that I have no way of controlling how people interpret my musings or how people decided to express themselves online. I will continue to write from the heart. I will be truthful and genuine. My aim will be to continue contributing to the body of knowledge that can help inform the direction of diabetes healthcare. My voice will represent my experience of living with type 1 diabetes as a women, a wife, a mother, a part time worker, a volunteer and so much more. I will move forward with compassion and mindfulness.
So I have breathed out (for quite some time now) and Jen’s article has reignited the fire in my belly to blog again. It seems that doing this can make a difference. Have an impact. Influence thinking. Instigate positive change.
It may or may not be a coincidence what so ever that the theme for our #OzDOC chat tonight is motivation.
The planets are well aligned in my universe.
I have finally put a pathology request form in my handbag that was written out by my Endocrinologist for April, 2014. The anticipation is killing me and I am so glad! Finally, I want to know what my HbA1c is, and how a few other “levels” are tracking.
Around November last year my health took an unexpected turn. All of a sudden diabetes had to take a backseat and it was very unfamiliar territory. Unfortunately the health changes I was experiencing affected my diabetes control so much so that I simply disengaged. The exhaustion I was feeling due to not really knowing what was wrong with me was winning over.
Every time my blood glucose level jumped to a destination that wasn’t on the itinerary, I didn’t even throw my hands in the air anymore. I just rolled my eyes, plugged a correction into my pump, or a hypo treatment into my mouth and carried on. I simply didn’t care because I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. Why hope? It would inevitably lead to disappointment. In more recent times I have also been quite overwhelmed with a new batch of specialists, diagnostics, treatment options and potential outcomes. I have learnt so much about the healthcare system that reaches beyond the bounds of diabetes care. All of this has echoed well into 2014.
But for some reason, I have reached a point where I feel like knowing how my diabetes is tracking again! My other health issues aren’t resolved. A particular set of symptoms are a little more under control, but that’s about it for now. The cause is yet to be discovered as more symptoms line up at the door. I have surmised that this renewed desire to find out my diabetes-related levels is because I have made some progress which I didn’t actually think I had to make…
I have suspended judgement on myself.
By choice I have been doing it really tough behind a cheery exterior. I haven’t wanted these health issues interfere with my beautiful life; I have so much to be grateful for. So I have finally decided to congratulate myself for prioritising my health needs. I have chosen to stop feeling guilty about letting my diabetes control slip. To me guilt is also a choice and I know I have been doing the very best that I can given my current circumstances.
So no matter what my blood work reveals, it will simply be information. And I won’t let anyone else do anything with that information except read it and file it.
I am showing other people how to treat me by putting the gavel down.
In the middle of gobbling down an afternoon snack with my kids,
I noticed this…
Have you ever felt like this Tiny Teddy with chocolate on the wrong side of him? It is clearly not his fault, but he has no choice but to be packaged up with a whole bunch of other Tiny Teddies who have chocolate on the right side of them.
Even after 27+ years, living with type 1 diabetes still makes me feel like that one Teddy.
It’s my daily battle. I rise to the occasion and I put up a damn good fight every single day unbeknownst to most people around me.
” Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes. Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.) ”
This one is going to be short and to the point; just the way good life hacks should be!
I have found two things that have helped diabetes fit into my life in recent times.
BABY MITTENS = FABULOUS PUMP COVERS
I needed to get my pump replaced due to a series of alarming alarms. There was a huge difference between the outer casings on my new pump and my old pump and I realised that I needed to protect it more. I wear my pump in my bra most of the time and it gets subjected to sweat, perfume, moisturiser and the occasional handful of sand care of the little people in my life. I prefer not to commercialise my diabetes too much, so I usually try to find an everyday item to fill the criteria. Baby mittens nail it for me; they fit snuggly over my pump, are available in most supermarkets in a variety of colours and go through the washing machine really well!
ROUTINE LANCET CHANGE; DEVELOPING A GOOD HABIT
After dragging diabetes along with me for over 27 years, I am becoming more aware of the visible impact it is having on my body. I pride myself on well-manicured nails and soft hands, even though I’ve been known to move half a cubic meter of river stones around our garden on any given weekend. Finger pricks are starting to callous my finger tips so I decided to start changing my lancet. (I know, I know, shock, horror, blah, blah, blah!) The problem was keeping track of when I needed to do it. So every time I finish a bottle of blood test strips, I change my lancet. There has been positive reinforcement for my efforts; my finger tips are softening up again… who would have thought that would happen. Enter rock and roll band, Blunt Lancet stage left… No wait… They don’t play hear anymore ;)
” Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day. Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day. Is there something positive you tell yourself? Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through? Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost? Maybe we’ve done that and we can help others do it too? (Thanks to Meri of Our Diabetic Life for suggesting this topic.) ”
My favourite “treat” chocolate is Haigh’s. Then comes Cadbury for mass consumption. Generally speaking, all other chocolate is consumed out of desperation because I don’t have Haigh’s or Cadbury close at hand! I can only say that Haigh’s is my favourite because I have tried so many varieties. It’s all relative.
For me, life with diabetes really isn’t that bad. Yes, I get frustrated. Yes, I hate the burden. Yes, I can’t stand the pressure of being responsible for so many aspects of my health that I actually have little control over. And then there is the guilt… But I have lived through events that making living with diabetes seem like a walk in the park.
In the space of 10 months, my husband and I miscarried three pregnancies in a row, and my Mum passed away very suddenly & unexpectedly. At the time, our daughter, Aspen was just starting out at kindergarten and if it weren’t for her excitement to attend, I’m not sure I would have gotten out of bed most mornings. There were days I just wished the sun would go down so I wouldn’t have to pretend to function in the real world. Then when the sun went down, all I wanted was for the world to be awake so I wouldn’t have to face the challenge of falling asleep and being alone with my desperation, confusion and loss. There was no escaping the relentless pain, misery and sadness that had taken up residence in every cell of my body.
Those tragic events were not related to my diabetes. If anything, diabetes was an obedient dog at my feet who followed me everywhere, went outside to wee and curled up on my lap at the end of the day. It really was one of the only constants I had in a world that had turned upside down before my very eyes. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere and I knew what to do to keep it tamed and on a leash.
When I have bad diabetes days, they really aren’t. Nothing about living with diabetes compares to that period in my life; it was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I chose to fight hard to find enjoyment, happiness and healthiness again.
My diabetes is manageable. It is reasonably obedient. And there is nothing about my diabetes that equates to loss on that scale. My life isn’t always about diabetes. When I catch myself starting to think that it is, I take a conscious moment to reframe.
For me, it really ain’t that bad.