All posts by Stu

About Stu

T1 diabetic for 7 years. Happily pumping with Spirit Combo for 4 years.

My advise to a newbie

So, having a chat the other day with a mate at work about diabetes. He commented that he would be devastated if he were ever diagnosed as diabetic. This set me thinking about how I felt and what support I got when I was given the news seven years ago – and what advise I would offer to someone newly diagnosed today.  I’m not sure I felt devastated – more shocked. I knew I’d not been well and in hindsight all the classic symptoms were there. I remember heading off to the chemist at 0830 for my free diabetes check. I remember the result 23.6 mmol for a fasting test, and I remember the chemist telling me I had to go to my GP immediately and that he would ring him to explain why I was coming.  The GP was ok. Took more blood tests. Asked me to go back in a week for the results. Gave me a blood meter. That was it. Didn’t explain how to use it. I didn’t know what to ask.  Two days later I was in hospital – I don’t know what my BG was, just that the meter said HIGH.  this was the turning point. The staff were brilliant. The Consultant explained everything to me and checked my understanding. They were very patient showing me how to inject insulin. They also referred me to our Diabetes Centre and a lovely DSN called Linda. So what advise would I give. Firstly, and most importantly – don’t panic. You not alone and thanks to social media and the internet there is some fantastic support available. Reach out to the online community and talk to people who understand how you feel.  check out the Diabetes UK website which will let you know what support you can expect from your GP etc. this will also help you prepare any questions you may have. Don’t blame yourself – you’ve done nothing wrong. Ask, ask and ask again. Your going to be given a lot of information that you need to understand. Understanding is, I believe, the key to managing your diabetes.  And finally, focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. It’s a huge learning curve so don’t expect everything to fall into place overnight. Keep a smile on your face and a good sense of humour. Your going to have some bad days ahead. But these will become manageable. And the good days will keep on coming. Just remember that you control your diabetes – don’t let your diabetes control you.

I Can

I have Diabetes – so what. Big deal.

I can beat this. Not medically – not yet. But mentally, daily, I beat diabetes. I control my diabetes – my diabetes does not control me.

I wake every morning with a smile on my face. Because I can.
I have my morning cup of tea with 2 sugars. Because I can.
I’m diabetic not sugar intolerant.
I go to work. Because I can.
I get frustrated, annoyed, I laugh and get bored. Because I can.
I go home.
I get mugged by my two Springer Spaniels. Because they can.
I have a shower, supper and get told what I’m watching on TV by my partner.
Because he can.

I decide what type of day I’m having. Not my diabetes.
I don’t tell anybody to test there blood if they are in a bad mood – so don’t tell me.
I hate needles. I hate endless blood testing. But I don’t hate diabetes.

Diabetes and I have an enduring, love hate relationship. It has educated me. Made me laugh and made me cry, and made me very frustrated. As I have made my DSN very frustrated. I have met many great and truly inspirational people through DOC. I have good days and bad days – but so do non- diabetics.

How do I face the challenges that Diabetes brings – head on. Toe to Toe. And with a smile on my face.

I focus on the “I can…..” Rather than “I can’t…..”

I make mistakes and learn from them. If I don’t know I ask. If they don’t know I educate. If I need support I ask. If support is needed I give. My ear is your ear.

I ignore the people who judge diabetics. Because I can.
I talk to people who don’t understand Diabetes. Because I can.
I eat what I want to eat. Because I can.

I have a comfortable life and share it with the guy of my dreams, two cats, and the Springers. I love the job I have. I love my friends.

What more could I want.

I’d rather be naked in public #dblogweek

So day three of diabetes blog week – and the topic is mental health. As a bloke I’d rather be naked in the pub on a busy Saturday night than consider my emotional well being , so this will be a tough one for me.

Do I suffer from depression? Probably. Sometimes. Anxiety – most definitely. Stress, on a daily basis. Do I talk about it – no. Never.

I understand mental health.

My partner has bipolar. I love him for it. It makes him him. I hate him for it. I hate the hurt and frustration it causes him. The fear, the unknown, the stigma. We love the highs. When he can conquer the world.

So why can’t I talk about my own mental health. Because I can’t.

How do you explain that your scared of what’s happening. That your loosing your memory. That your “tackle” has stopped working. I don’t.

I get out of bed and go downstairs. Have my 30 mins of me time. Then put the kettle on, put a smile on and go wake the household up. Dogs out, tea made, shower, work, come home, supper, shower, bed. Repeat.

My annual review never involves a conversation about my emotional well being.

They don’t ask and I don’t tell.

Change the world (#dblogweek)

So the first post of my first dblogweek  – and such an emotive subject. So many things I would change about diabetes if I had the ability. So I’ve decided to focus on some of the misconceptions about diabetes I would LOVE to change.

  1. Diabetics lead an unhealthy life. How many times have I heard that. The belief that to much sugar led to my diabetes frustrates me. A buggered pancreas led to my diabetes, nothing else.  What worries me is sometimes I pick up on this with people that should know better. The locum GP, the HCA taking my blood, the Nurse on the hospital ward. They don’t see the changes I’ve made, that my partner has made. They don’t see the thought that goes into food choices. They don’t see the carb counting. So if you have made this assumption before , next time you feel the thought starting to generate, maybe think this instead. There’s somebody who is trying. Trying to balance their diet and lifestyle. Trying to overcome the frustration of not getting it right all the time. Someone who appreciates a treat every so often. Someone who appreciates they need to continue to try for the rest of thier life, and who sometimes, just sometimes wishes they didn’t need to try every day.
  2. Every bad mood equates to low blood sugars. Diabetics have feelings. The same feelings as everybody else. So why if I share my bad mood or frustration do I get the almost immediate response of “have you checked your blood”. No. Have you? Surprisingly, diabetics are allowed to loose thier temper, become frustrated, fed up, disappointed. That’s life sometimes. Occasionally friends, partners, colleagues, pets will incur our wrath. This, more often than not can be attributed to thier actions and not me having a hypo.
  3. We know best – no you don’t lol. I’m not usually one to bother with labels. However, on a recent stay in hospital a very pleasant young nurse was booking me in when the question of diabetes came up.  Having noted that I took insulin and metformin she announced, almost as though she was diagnosing the condition, that I was Type 2.  My reply to this was to point out that I was Type 1 – as confirmed by my consultant. But more importantly I believed that diabetes was diabetes irrelevant of type. Her response was that she should know as she had study for years at university. Mine was that I lived with it. Every day, 24 hours. That no amount of diet change would reverse my diabetes, and that I trusted my Consultant and DSN. When I went to the gym for the first time I was asked if I had a note from my GP giving the all clear for me to join. This was a revalation. People joining a gym need their GPs permission. Ahhh – people with diabetes that want to join YOUR gym need a letter from thier GP. Why?. I’m not contagious, I manage my condition well, I’m not a risk to anybody else. More importantly I don’t need any special treatment.  I’m the expert, I know how I feel.  Yes I want advice, yes I want your input. But please don’t tell me or speak to me as if I’m a child. Engage with me, involve me. Learn from me as I will do from you. Recognise that I have some expertise, that I have advise to share.

And there they are. My top 3 pet hates. I could go on about how I hate all of the testing etc but I don’t any more. It’s part of my life. And how do we change the above. We talk. We learn from each other and foster a synergy that will benefit all PWDs. We have a wealth of experience. We are our best advocates. So don’t tell me you know best, don’t roll your eyes when I ask questions. Don’t make assumptions about my life style. Talk to me, talk to us. Engage us in shaping our future. Together we can beat this.

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Did we speak yesterday?

I’m sure we did. But I can’t remember. I don’t remember a lot of things now.  I remember lots of things from years ago. Just not what we said yesterday, or the day before.

It sort of worries me. But then it doesn’t.

It’s strange how accepting I can be if it is some form of neuropathy, but how scared I get when I wonder if it’s something else.

I’m not sure when I noticed it. I just know it’s there.

So if we spoke yesterday and I don’t remember ignore my puzzled look. Let’s take the opportunity to talk again today.

Seeking Approval

Great blog – can relate to so much

Two Steps From Hell

This is my long and winding road about trying for my first pump.
I had first thought about trying to get a NHS funded pump nearly 3 years ago. Back then I had not yet discovered the Diabetic Online Community (DOC), hell I didn’t even have a Facebook account let alone Twitter.
I was on my own, trying to find a guiding light. Google was my only friend, the INPUT website  looked like where I needed to go, I grabbed their  Step by Step Guide and decided to email for help.
Melissa was great, she advised almost straight away that I should  consider a change to a pump friendly clinic. But I didn’t know any better, my hospital was the best! So I kept the faith and stayed put.

INPUT’s advice for pump approval states:

• You adhere to multiple daily injections (MDI, 4 or more injections/day)
• You…

View original post 1,522 more words

A great night out followed by the consequences

Hello Bank holiday and long weekend. So after several weeks planning I had a great night out last night with the guys from work and my other half. This was notable for a couple of reasons. Great company – I’m fortunate to really enjoy the job I do and the people I work with. Great characters who always and to the entertainment of a good night. Great beers – I love traditional beer and found a couple of new ones last night, “Hair of the dog” being an aptly named favourite. However, along with the anticipated hangover this morning I also had the usual high bloods. No matter how careful I am when I’m out, testing my blood every 2 hours and then again before bed, I always wake up with high bloods and then have a day long battle to regain control.

It’s during this battle that I doubt my ability to manage my diabetes. I test, take a bolus and my bloods go up. Scratch my head, re- test. Re- bolus and they have dropped by 1 pr 2 mmol. Does beer have a magical quality that raises my blood sugar? Should beer become my regular hypo treatment – and if so can I have a prescription for some Murphy’s please lol.  But seriously where do I go so wrong. My normal daily BG average is around 5.6 mmol, but post night out my daily average for today has been around 14 mmol. I’ve finally managed to get it down to 6.4 mmol.

Would live to know how a night out affects you guys as well as any tips for avoiding post drink hypers lol.

A time for military planning

Holiday coming up in two weeks. Sunshine, good food, vino, good company – and a logistical nightmare.

To the uninitiated pumping on your holidays takes a lot of planning, checking and double checking. It begins with the inquisition by my GP’s receptionist about why I need 10 vials of insulin plus  some pre-filled cartridges for my back up pens.  Purchasing the Dextrose sweets, calculating how many infusion sets are needed, finding my spare BG meter, checking batteries, ordering extra test strips, collecting the back up pump, letter from GP to explain what medication I am carrying. And then checking it all again. And again.

The airport is surprisingly hassle free. Unlike my Doctor’s receptionist.

The there will be the annual first day hypos – don’t know why but that will be  the initial reaction to the heat.  This will be followed by the daily battle of the sun beds which is not restricted to diabetics lol

And during this build up I have my annual review and afew other blood tests due to short term memory issues.

Sometimes i wish I could have a few weeks holiday from the old diabetes.