Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Every day is a diabetes school day

The lead up to Christmas, as always, is a hectic time. There’s so much to think about, organise, buy and prepare, and I always admire those people who do it with a smile on their face, never complaining and keeping up the Christmas spirit.  

The last two months were tough for me for a lot of different reasons. I was unwell for a few weeks which was the reason for me being away from blogging and tweeting for a while. It’s hard to find the energy when unwell and a rest can make all the difference.

Most of us know what it’s like to be ill with diabetes. It’s hard to just bounce back and recover fully or quickly. Blood sugars fluctuate, insulin doesn’t work as well as it usually does, frustrations are felt when checking blood sugars and seeing that yet again a dose of insulin hasn’t worked the way it should. Even taking extra insulin sometimes doesn’t make any difference and this just contributes to stress levels, and in turn, more messy readings!

Then there’s the worry about fluctuating blood sugars or running constantly high or low. 

“What is this doing to me that I can’t see?” “How will my next a1c improve when I can’t get at a level that I want for weeks on end?”

Then on top of that and at the back of my mind was; “Christmas is coming… food, drink, excitement, food, drink, excitement…” Surely this wouldn’t make my levels any better? So what did I do? I went to the #doc (diabetes online community) for help. On returning to twitter a few weeks ago I found that there was a 24/7 diabetes tweet chat using the hashtag #dailydtalk so I jumped in with a question; “Any advice for managing diabetes at xmas – overlapping food & insulin always makes me hypo”

Without fail I had a bunch of different responses from people sharing advice tips and stories about how they control their blood sugars to prevent hypos. I noted everything and thought of ways that I could adapt it to my day and regime.

Next I emailed my dietitian (the more info to prevent hypos the better) and asked the same question. As always I had a reply within an hour giving me tips and advice on how I could adjust to the change in eating and injecting.

Armed with lots of useful information and feeling fully recovered from the past few weeks I was ready to dive head first into Christmas day!

My first hypo was at 7am – I quickly treated it but had one of those horrible lingering headaches which I knew wouldn’t leave me for the rest of the day. No problem though, I didn’t expect to get it 100% right today or anywhere near that in fact as I’m never 100% right!

I had another hypo after lunch and another in the evening.

I wasn’t annoyed with myself for having hypos… I was still standing, smiling and laughing, I was just left feeling very tired from them. I’d taken all of the advice that was given to me on board, and even with a brilliant meter which tells me everything I need to know about my insulin and carb intake I still had three hypos.

Considering the fact that this time last year I probably would have tested my blood sugars once a month (if that), may have only had 1 injection a day (or sometimes none) out of the 5 I should have had, and had no idea what carb counting was, I think I did pretty darn well yesterday. On the day that people with diabetes want to kick back and relax we still need to stop and think about what we’re doing/eating.

It’s not a day off but a day to let ourselves off. To accept that things will go a bit haywire and to know we aren’t able to have perfect blood sugars all of the time, but that doesn’t mean we’re bad at our diabetes management.

I always say that every day’s a school day with diabetes and I think I’ll be saying that until my last day! I will never be an A* student in my condition because that’s not how it works. I will never get perfect results and I would never expect anyone else to either, because I know how hard that is. I’m not an expert and I don’t pretend to be, people who talk to me can see that and I think they respect that. I’m realistic and accepting in my diabetes, I’ve lived with it for 11 years and I know my body inside out now. I’m sure most people feel the same whether they have diabetes or help someone who does.  

We should all be proud of what we do on a daily basis. We work as a pancreas 24/7 and that takes a lot of effort, education and guts! I’m proud of myself… and I respect admire and support anyone else who is brave enough to take on diabetes.

Ninjabetic x

© Ninjabetic

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