Sunday, 30 May 2010

Birds Can Fly So High.

Hello everyone,

Tonight's entry comes from one of my very favourite songs. Kate Nash's "Birds" is a very typical Nash style song, it has a simple melody, soft background music and tells a very ordinary story. It's this story element of the song that I think I love so much. Unlike any major ballads that boybands croon or the heartstring tugging anthems of rockbands, it portrays a story of love in such beautifully simple terms. The characters aren't princesses and princes or suffering martyrs to love and they don't even claim to be the most in love that anyone could be. The words are't out to compare the love felt to shooting stars, fireworks or volcanoes erupting. No. The very ordinary hero of Nash's tale uses an extremely simple, mundane metaphor to show his love to the girl in the story. Birds.

"Birds can fly so high
Or they can shit on your head
They can almost fly in to your eye
And Make you feel so scared.
But when you look at them and you see that they're beautiful.
That's how I feel about you."

I've often wondered why these lyrics affect me so much, why I love them and why I'll always hope that someone one day will tell me they love me just like this. Eventually I realised that the simplicity of the metaphor is actually genius. Despite not conjouring up typically beautiful imagery it is beautiful in its own way. Managing to take something as ordinary as a bird and it's behaviour and using it to tell someone just how much you like them. Well, that to me is more beautiful than any prose inside a greetings card or any classic love ballad.

I realised that this principle applies all across my life. I really do just live for the small, everyday things that make up life. I'm really not searching for huge defining moments, just the little seemingly insignificant moments in every day that make me happy. My relationship is a perfect example of this. I appreciate every tiny aspect, the minutia of it, and the smallest gestures mean the most. It's the way a text can make me grin like an idiot. The way every hug is different. The fact that everyone has their own distinct smell, my best friends and boyfriend included. The way that we say bye a hundred times before actually leaving each other. Or just the fact that he's read this blog. Unexpected visits. Kisses that catch you by surprise. And the way gingerbread men can actually say so much. Every single small gesture and moment in our relationship makes it what it is. In my opinion its not about the big proclamations of love, fancy things or "life changing" or "defining" moments. My relationship is defined by the little things. And, to me, love means so much more than just the word itself.

I find I can apply the exact same principle to everything in my life, including my diabetes. I tend to look at diabetes in the smaller, everday context rather than in the huge, lifetime context. This is partly because that's how I approach everything in life and also because diabetes is a lot less imposing when looked at in the smaller perpective. Throwing words around like "forever," "future complications," just doesn't help me. Each day at a time. Each hypo and hyper. Each injection. Each finger prick. Each blood sugar reading. I find that taking everything one at a time and trying not to worry about the future, is keeping me positive in dealing with my condition.

My diabetes, just like my relationship, is a collection of little things. It's the extra things I carry around in my bag. It's the hand shaking that comes before a hypo. It's the little black dots on the end of my fingers. It's the trips to the chemist each week for strips. It's finding the little test strips everywhere. It's drinking little cartons of orange juice through work. It's the constant niggling back of the mind worry about my sugars. It's the regulation of my meal times. It's the Zac Efron sticker stuck to my novopen. It's each little bruise I get when I inject poorly. It's meeting new people through diabetes. It's refusing the sweet that your friend offers you or not having desert in a restaurant. It's missing Ben and Jerry's. It's all of these things and more, and more things that I will continue to discover throughout my diabetic journey.

I adore Kate Nash's Birds metaphor. I wish I could outshine it on the quest to explain love in beautifully simple terms, but I'm yet to think of one. It's the same with diabetes. I don't want to use the term "a battle," or "a relentless force," or "a neverending struggle." To me these descriptions are too powerful and too dramatic.

I'm going to continue to search until I think of some way of describing the small challenges, frustrations, routines and emotions that us diabetics experience every day. When I come up with it, I'll let you know.

Another of my favourite artists, Paolo Nutini, quite brilliantly sings. "It's the simple things that mean the most to me." Noone could put it more perfectly than that.

Thankyou for reading.

Ps. To continue on the music theme, I just thought I'd let you know that the other day I bought tickets to see Paramore in November, I'm very excited. Leeds Festival tickets this year were avoided, mainly because I just didn't feel ready to hit a music festival with my diabetes in tow. If I could've found a babysitter for it or the weekend then I'd have happily roughed it in a tent with my friends and done the festival again. The main reason I was gutted about not going to Leeds was because Paramore are playing, and I've wanted to see them live for a few years now. So you can imagine how happy I was when I managed to get tickets for their tour date in Newcastle. I'll see how the diabetes and this Paramore gig get along. And then maybe I'll have the confidence to hit a festival sometime in the next few years; diabetes and all. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Honeymoons and a Little Bit of Magic.

Hello again,

Well, about 5 minutes ago I received a phonecall from my DSN. She was bearing news which to be honest came as more of a confirmation than anything else, kind of finalising everything makes it feel properly real and final. "Laura, just to say that we've just ran the final tests and you're definitely a type 1." She asked me how I felt about it and I didn't really have an answer. I guess it was the news I was expecting so I don't feel any more sad or down about being type one just because it's been confirmed. In fact, I think I actually feel relieved. Relieved that I've finally been given a definite answer. Relieved at the blessings of the more controllable element of type one. And finally, just relieved that I can now hopefully accept it once and for all and move forward and continue to manage it the best I can.

Anyway, moving forward to the topic of today's post; Honeymoons. Apparently, according to differing sources, one medical and another simply the wise words of a friend, I am currently going through two different honeymoon phases. My DSN confirmed at my clinic appointment on Wednesday that I was still experiencing the honeymoon phase of type one; ie, my pancreas is still producing insulin but only small amounts and very erratically. It's a tricky one to actually decide how I really feel about this. I guess there's a small amount of frustration in that I kind of wish it would just hurry up and give in altogether so that I can get on with becoming my own pancreas. It feels like when you're trying to do a job and your little brother or sister is desperately trying to "help" but really their help is so useless that you'd actually do it quicker on your own. Maybe it's time for my pancreas to stop trying to "help" and let me get on with the job in hand. On the flip side though, it doesn't actually bother me. I'm taking tiny amounts of insulin, so maybe the honeymooning pancreas is still doing me some good, and then when its time for it to give up I'll change accordingly. There's no point in getting frustrated with your own body. I'd like to view it as my pancreas trying to make it's last dash attempt at trying to rectify the situation; we've all been there some time in our lives I'm sure. And besides, honeymoon is a lovely word. It almost makes diabetes sound pleasant...

My second, and not quite so scientifically proven, "honeymoon" stage is apparently occuring in my relationship at the moment. One of my wise and wonderful friends does tend to turn into a bit of an agony aunt when drunk, and relationship advice is his forte. 4 months down the line and he reckons we're still honeymooning; lots of kissing and cuddling and all of that lovely stuff that makes your friends want to vomit :P Explaining how I feel about this particular honeymoon stage is very straight forward, basically, I love it. It's fantastically brilliant to actually want to spend so much time with someone and to know that they'll be able to make you feel better about anything and turn any frown upside down.

So, there you go, my two "honeymoon's." One of them I feel indifference towards and the other couldn't make me any happier. When the diabetic honeymooning ends it'll cause some changes and interruptions to my regime but hopefully I'll be able to work it out. And when the relationship honeymoon ends, well, I have every confidence and hope that life beyond the honeymoon will still be as scrumptious as ever. Overall, I feel fairly lucky that I'm not even married and yet I'm already having two honeymoons... although neither of them actually involve me jetting off to a beautifully hot country and staying in a very fancy hotel room. Never mind eh. We can't have everything!

Before I go and carry on with what's promising to be a very boring day I'd just like to share a revelation that I had a few days ago. I figured that, in my life, magic isn't just in Disney films and doesn't always involve rabbits being pulled out of hats. Whenever I get down about the doom and gloomy bits of diabetes, I'd like to think I could remind myself of just how lucky us type ones are that there's a treatment for us to help us manage it and lead our lives. I like to think that twice a day I inject myself with a little bit of magic. My insulin pen is quite literally my lifeline and my magic wand. It's fairly special to think that a few tiny drops of a cloudy liquid keeps me alive and healthy. In fact, it's not just special.

It's magic. ;)

Thankyou for reading.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Every Little Helps.

Hello hello,

Very good clinic appointment this morning. It was really nice to see my lovely diabetic nurse and made extra pleasing by the fact that she held good news. She said she was very proud of my progress and impressed with how well I was coping and it always makes me happy when people recognise how hard I'm trying to be a "good" diabetic. Hba1c is 6.3, so theres still a little room for it to go up. I'm dropping my morning insulin to 7 units and I'm going to put the basal bolus regime on hold for a little while; why fix whats's not broken eh? Two injections a day is working so I'm satisfied that sticking with it until uni is probably the best idea. All other bloods / blood pressure was fine and I've feel like I've been showered with a bit of confidence that I'm actually managing type one very well so far.

I feel refreshingly reassured.

What a very smiley start to a day.


Ps. Goal set by my dsn; test less! I'm gong to do my bit for my fingers (poor, hard finger ends from all the pricking), my mind (stressing too much over sugar's is NOT good for it), and the environment (I go through a shockingly large amount of little plastic strips each week,) and stop testing so much! I'm determined to cut it down. So, if you see me with the pricker poised and fumbling about with my strips please ask me exactly why I'm testing and I may just rethink and not test... as tesco's say "Every little helps."

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

D Words; Diabetes Excluded.

Hello everyone,

I'm feeling in too much of a light hearted mood today to delve deep into any diabetes related musings today. I'm also listening to Noah and the Whale, excellent songs for relaxing too, and wearing my joggers and favourite cosy jumper, so I'm definitely too calmed to be gloomy or deep. Let us take see where my tranquil mood takes my writing shall we.

There's a post it note on my wall that says "D Words; blog." The post it notes on my wall catch my most random trains of thought, whether it's a song lyric that I heard, loved and jotted down, a list of dvd's that I must buy or indeed what I should blog about. It occured to me the other day that, although Diabetes is the BIG D word in my life, it's not the only one. So, let's go on a light hearted ramble through some of the other D words in my life. Enjoy.

* Dreams; This really is one of my favourite words. I absolutely love dreams, there's nothing better than snuggling up in bed on a night and trying to plan some gorgeous dreams. Or when a dream is so life like that you wake up wondering if it happened. Daydreams assist in making boring shifts at work or long journeys enjoyable. Dreams, as in ambitions, push people forward and give them drive. For me, the dream has always been to write a book, and hopefully it'll be fulfilled. Dreams were also the subject of the fabulous Glee episode last night.

*Dogs; I'm allergic to dogs yet I'm still very fond of them really. There's many dogs in my family. Holly, my Grandma and Grandad's dog, was the first puppy I ever held. Walking her more could be a very good way to get a bit more activity into my days. Plan.

*Damien Rice, Daniel Merriweather, Darius, Darwin Deez, David Gray, David Guetta, Diana Vickers, Dido, Dirty Dancing, Dizzee Rascal, Dolly Parton, Th Drums; These are all the D artists in my ipod. If I had to pick a favourite it would be Diana Vickers. I've seen Dizzee Rascal at Leeds Festival 2008, back then I didn't know a single one of his songs, but the atmosphere was fantastic. Dirty Dancing is one of my all time favourite films. Dolly Parton... ooh no, the shame of someone else seeing into your ipod!

*Dust; my room is full of it! Needs dusting badly... ok, can you tell I'm totally out of D words!

*Driving; I named the car I share with my Mam Tim. He's a 53 plate white toyota Yaris. He's mainly dirty and full of rubbish as I'm very lazy when it comes to car washing. Driving is fantastic, I've experienced so much more freedom since I passed my test and random road trips out always turn out to be the best. Oh, and, it took me 4 times to pass my test!! Eeek.

*Drawing; I have a GCSE in art textiles and I used to really enjoy fashion drawing, I was actually fairly good as it goes. Since I turned to the very grey world of academia in college and replaced fashion drawing with essay writing I've actually totally lost any ability to draw. Stick people are my limit.

Well, I've currently exhausted my list of D words, which I'm sure you're delighted about! But, I'm going to set myself a challenge, I'll try and add a new D word and explanation at the end of each new blog entry from now on until... well, until I've ran out of them!

Thanks for humouring me.
I apologise for my very pointless blogging today!


Ps. I've got a clinic appointment tomorrow morning. I often wonder to myself why I always make doctors appointments for so early in the morning. 9.30 may not seem early to functional people who get out of bed at a reasonable time to do things each day. But to me, a lazy teenage girl on a gap year, 9.30 is practically the middle of the night! Anyway, just to see if the magic of Disney really does work, I'm going to wish on a star tonight that my consultant will tomorrow tell me that there's been a big misunderstanding, and I'm not diabetic after all... ;) Ok, so maybe that won't happen, but hopefully it should be a good appointment, and a possible time to change to basal bolus. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Birthdays, BBQ's and Sunshine.

Hello lovelies,

Well firstly I'd like to rejoice that we've been treated to yet another absolutely glorious day of sunshine here and I have to say I'm loving it. Obviously I've done what is the typically British thing to do whenever the sun comes out and turned a little mad with it. The summer clothes have been dug out, all reasonable goals for the day have been abandoned and, in either an optimistic or a completely stupid move, outdoorsy plans for next week have actually started to be made. There's only a slight taint to the sunshine in that I'm worrying a little about how my sugars are going to react, but with a little extra monitoring and altering, I'm determined not to let it put a huge cloud in front of the beauty of the sun. I'm in the garden again, the laptop den set up again, listening to my ipod with a sizeable pile of trashy magazines. Lovely.

I thought I should also document another fairly important date in regards to my diagnosis. My first birthday. My first birthday with diabetes. I've got to say that as far as birthdays go, it wasn't the most exciting occassion, but I guess too much comparison was made to last years big 18th celebrations. My grandma and brother both made failed attempts at baking a sugar free chocolate cake... the birds in our village got a bit of a break from eating bread that week I've got to say. I did have a tiny tiny slice of cake and just avoided the contour meter for a few hours afterwards and I managed a meal out without any major highs or disasters, so all in all diabetes didn't taint my birthday in any big way. I'm not denying that had my pancreas still been fully working for my 19th birthday, then I would have probably hit town with my friends... but to be honest, that's not really the fault of my diabetes, that's still my worries about nights out stopping me. I'm determined that by my 20th birthday I'll be able to let my worries ease a little to let me go out and dance goodbye to my teens. Gosh. 20. It sounds so scary....

In other good birthday related news, I went to a bbq to celebrate my cousin's 16th. My usual 8 units of insulin and lots of grazing later and by hometime I was only a surprisingly low 5.6. It was the icing on top of a very fun night. Although, metaphorical icing of course, real icing would have been a definite no no.

This sunshine and the times it brings with it, like yesterday in the park with the boys, a football, ipod and blanket, is generally making me a bit more relaxed. I fret less about my sugars when I'm relaxed. And also, the sunshine is turning me a nice browned colour... So, all I can say is; please mr sunshine, stay out to play.

Well, it beats my usual plea; "Please Mr pancreas, start working normally again." I think I've well and truly given up on that one by now. ;)

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Blame game.

Hello again,

Have you ever actually wondered what the point of blame is? The blame game is one played out in so many situations; some of where this is a definite candidate for blame to be laid on, others where the lines are a little more blurry and blame become a little more subjective and finally the situations where no blame can be lain yet there's still those trying desperately to place it.

For me the blame game has only really came into play on a few tiny occasions since my diagnosis. I can't ever recall having a defining moment where I sat down to consider who or what was to blame for my condition, but honestly I don't think it ever happens like that. The subject of blame concerning my diabetes instead has crept in at the times when I've been most vulnerable and searching for an answer, a culprit, a scapegoat to allow me to be rid of the responsibilities that diabetes has brought me.

My first attempt at laying blame came on the day of my diagnosis. Sitting in the hospital and allowing it all to sink I, I remember thinking "This is all my fault." Of course I knew by then that type one diabetes wasn't attributed to self damage and bad lifestyle choices but I still found a way to blame myself. I mainly blamed myself for having such morbid thoughts during my time at Oxford, stupidly convinced myself that that was the reason I'd been diagnosed. Punishment I guess.

I quickly realised that blaming myself wasn't helping anyone. Since then I've only had fleeting moments of searching for something to blame. Searching is the key word there as I've never really had much luck. I could blame the stress of Oxford for triggering it, I could blame bad luck, I could even just go directly to the source and blame my pancreas and my immune system for attacking it. But all of these sources of blame have had very low longevity in my mind. Partly because I don't really believe any of them are completely valid places to lay blame. And mainly because I don't think that deep down I really need something to blame.

I've come to realise now that through this process so far blame has been used as a defence mechanism for my mind. It was an attempt at a way to escape the responsibility of diabetes by trying to pass it over to something, or someone else. It's been a way to channel the anger that goes hand in hand with the days when I just really feel hatred towards my condition. And most of all it's been a way to try and understand the big question that always comes with any bad thing that happens to anyone; Why Me?

I guess the real question we should all ask is "Why not me?"

The healthiest way to deal with the blame game in diabetes in my opinion is to take it out of the equation. Trying to find something to blame for why diabetes chose you is a long, slippery slope that inevitably leads to a dead end.

In endeavour to keep positivity thriving in regards to my diabetes I'm officially cutting blame out of the picture.

On the other hand... I don't see the problem in trying to find the culprit who left my R-Pattz carboard cutout right in front of my door to scare me.... now, for that, my little brother is definitely to blame! ;)

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Where it all began.

Hello everyone,

I think I'm ready to go right back to the start today. Sometimes it's hard delving back into memories of the hard times in life but, as this was a day that did alter the course of my life and will continue to effect me everyday, I feel that this one particular hard time in my life needs to be logged. For the sake of properness if not for anything else. Although hopefully I'll discover unknown benefits of documenting this particular day.

Firstly I'll give you some context of my situation right now. It is a glorious day; hopefully you are too experiencing the many benefits of good weather from where you're reading this. The sun is beautiful and I've set up a little camp in the garden. It's just like the camps I used to make with my cousins when we were little (little in age I mean, I'm still only 5'2 so technically still little in height..) There's a blanket on the lawn and a little den made out of two garden chairs with a blanket over the top.. im very inventive I know ;) My laptop is in it's own little shaded area and the rest of me is sticking out warming in the sun, my alarmingly white legs rejoicing at actually seeing the sun for once. I'm extremely relaxed and content at this moment in time, which is why I think I'm definitely ready to spill about the big D day. So here it is; the lead up, diagnosis and beyond;

Well, without a doubt it had been the 9 hardest weeks of my life and I knew in my head that tomorrow should be the day that it all ended, for a little while at least. Yet in my heart I didn't feel happy, I hadn't gained that sense of relief that I thought my last day of term at Jesus College would bring. Instead I was lying in that small single bed in the tiny room I had desperately tried to make my own, trying to force myself into being happy that I was leaving. But my body just didn't have the energy for happiness, come to think of it, I hadn't really had the energy to do anything at all for the last couple of weeks that had gone by. I'd returned on the Monday afternoon for my last week at Oxford and since then had only attended 1 lecture and spent the rest of the time asleep or taking the exhausting 5 minute walk to sainsburys to buy juice, and lots of it. I'd been constantly thirsty, drinking one litre juice cartons as if they were just a sip of water and still not feeling satisfied. I'd been constantly running to the toilet too. Those middle of the night toilet trips were wearing me out; walking down three flights of cold stone stairs several times each night just to pee was not fun. Although constantly thirsty, I was never really hungry. Anything I did eat I just threw up. I got upset over everything and spent large portions of those last few weeks crying down the phone to whichever exhausted family member I chose to torture that day. A hard maths question, running out of juice, a text from a friend; everything reduced me to floods of tears. I couldn't even read properly, I remember not being able to read a train timetable on my final trip back down to uni and having to get someone to read it out to me. I looked a mess, bloodshot eyes and ghostly white, just generally feeling like my body had given up on me.

But, I of course just attributed this to how I was feeling and the fact that I was in Oxford and hating every second. I figured I was thirsty because I was dehydrated and that I was weeing more because I was drinking more. I thought my eyesight was bad and my eyes were bloodshot because I spent 90% of the time in tears or supressing them. I thought I was tired and sick because my emotions had finally worn my body out and my constant despair had taken it's toll on my physical health. I justified everything, convinced myself that that's all it was and that a few days at home would see me right. So, after having what felt like my 100th wee of the day, I settled down into bed on my final night at Oxford, cried myself to sleep and hoped that everything would be better once I was back where I could be happy again.

My third morning home I was awoken abruptly, and far too early for my liking. I was still convinced that a few more days was all I needed to get back on my feet again, but my parents, who are both nurses, were concerned. It was 8.30 am and my parents told me to get up and get ready for a doctors appointment at 9am. Alarm bells started ringing then; why did I have to go right away, couldn't I just go in a few days? Admittedly, I wasn't actually feeling better physically. On the surface I was feeling happier emotionally now that I was home but the improvement in my physical symptoms hadn't arrived like I'd hoped. My Mam had borrowed the glucose meter from her work and tested my sugars a few times over the weekend, they'd been high, not that I knew what that meant at the time. I'm sure in her head, on that crappy Monday morning, she must've known then that I had diabetes, but she took me to the doctors calmly. We sat in the surgery for a while and my name flashed up on the display, still unhappy at being at the doctors for what I felt was nothing serious, I walked down the corridor and knocked, waited, entered.

"You need to go into hospital Laura." The doctor had been informed of my symptoms and of my latest blood glucose scores and had obviously reached his diagnosis immediately. The word hospital caught me off guard like a rabbit caught by the headlights of a car. Right up until the word hospital I was still denying that there was anything actually wrong with me, and suddenly the H word made it seem all too real, too real to deny. I burst into tears at those words. I was confused and angry but mainly scared. I was taken to the nurses office in the surgery, they tested my sugars and asked me to give a urine sample. Miraculously I actually couldn't wee!

At the hospital I was sent to the emergency assessment unit. The word emergency immediately frightened me but actually arriving there did make me feel a little more relaxed. It wasn't anything like the crazy, scary a&e that I watched on TV every week on casualty, it was calming and quiet and the staff were really helpful and friendly. I was first seen by a consultant working in the EAU and by this point I'd finally stopped crying. He explained to me that he thought I was diabetic, type 1 and he explained to me a little about what it was. To be honest, thinking back I do remember what he said, but when he told me I don’t think I was taking it in at all. I guess I just wasn't realising that this was the most important information I'd ever be given in my life really.

The overall memory of the hospital is a little fuzzy, like I can’t even place myself there, I kind of remember it like it's a story that happened to someone else. I remember a nurse giving me my first ever insulin injection (the first of like a million I guess...) and I remember being shocked when she asked me if I wanted to do it myself. I remember having blood taken with a tiny needle because I was scared of needles, and he had to wiggle about for ages to get enough blood out. I remember that I had corn beef hash for dinner, and peaches and custard and a little carton of orange juice; the last meal I'd ever eat without thinking about its sugar or carbohydrate contents. Then I remember being sent up to meet Maggie, one of my diabetic specialist nurses, for the first time and she was very lovely and at the point of seeing her I felt a lot calmer and almost accepting of it, almost. She showed me the finger pricker and my contour meter and my insulin pen and how to use them and it all seemed very daunting, but at the same time it hadn’t really hit me. I remember seeing a dietician and it dawning on me all of the changes I would have to make to my diet and all of the stuff I would have to give up eating. I remember trying to remember the last time I’d eaten chocolate, sweets and Ben and Jerrys; I don’t think I quite had my priorities sorted at that point! I remember the 4 hour wait we had for my insulin prescription, watching emmerdale and eastenders in the discharge lounge, and the really lovely nurse that apologised loads for our wait. In the end the script never turned up and they gave me the option of staying overnight or coming back at 9am to pick it up. I'd been so happy when they said that I didn't have any ketones and so didn't have to stay overnight, so I of course chose to go home. I remember going home that night, and being really scared about going to sleep, with everything going through my head over and over, I couldn't stop all of the words from repeating over and over. I remember my Mam went straight out and bought lucozade from the coop and told me to put the it by my bed and I didn't really understand why, or what it would feel like to be hypo. I remember texting my best friend to tell her and my Dad telling Antony (my now boyfriend) on the phone and I was more upset that I'd missed them both coming over to see me than being diagnosed; I don't think the diagnosis had sunk in at all. I remember my brother asking me how long it was for and replying, "Well, forever really," and being shocked at the word forever myself. I remember going into the hospital the next day and eating rice crispies and watching Jeremy Kyle in the discharge lounge while waiting for my insulin script. And then they gave me all of my medication and kit. And that was it. I was diabetic. I had the start of the information that I needed and a bag full of strange kit, and a cloudy liquid that would keep me alive and I walked out the automatic doors of the hospital, not quite realising that my life had just changed forever.

After that there was lots of talking to different people, family, friends, saying the same things over and over again and finding comfort in each person's support. My parents and my grandparents and my friends and everyone really were absolute lifesavers in the first few weeks, and still continue to be now. I deal with new stuff to do with it every day and so far I'm pleased with my progress. I got my confidence back to drive with it, I got a job and am immensely pleased with myself for that, I'm going back to uni, I'm getting used to my diet, I've been out in town once with it, I go out with my friends. Basically I'm trying not to let diabetes change me and what I can do and I'm taking small steps to get my life back to normality, well, whatever normality is.

So, there you go. The 7th December 2009 altered everything completely and it's the day diabetes officially entered my life and became more than just an 8 letter word. So. I'm diabetic. I have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes will always be a huge part of my life but I'm determined that, although "diabetic" may be one of the words that can be used to describe be, diabetes won't define me, what I do and who I am.

Thanks for reading. :)


Sunday, 16 May 2010

The other day I even found one in the bath....

Hello again,

This entry comes to you in the half an hour break between Eastenders and Glee; lazy Monday nights are pretty much dictated by the contents of the TV listings and what's recorded in the sky planner I must admit. Today has been a hugely lazy day, I was definitely paying for not getting to bed till after 4am and having to get up at 9.30 (very, very grumpily,) for my 8 units of Novomix and bowl of bran flakes (we'd also ran out of sweetener, so they were very unappetising bran flakes at that.) But it was all definitely worth the lethargy today, overall a very lovely night. Anyway, I digress, back to the subject of the day; blood glucose testing.

Anyone that knows me well will know I have some obsessive tendencies. I have been known to walk in and out of a room five times to check that I've turned my straighteners off, walk around the house before bed turning off all the plugs and, of course, I'll always check my diabetic kit bag at least twice before going out. I only obsess because I worry. I'm a huge worrier. And whilst it may seem unnecessary, these little things will always help to ease my worries and do more good than harm.

So, it was only a matter of time I guess before I developed some sort of a ritual / obsession with my diabetes. In some ways I'd definitely say that rituals in a diabetics life can be a good thing. At the moment I can only see benefit in taking my injections and eating my meals at pretty much the same time everyday, eating the same bowl of bran flakes before bed and always checking that I have everything I need with me. Simple, healthy rituals that keep me structured and focused on good blood glucose control.

However, my latest obsession has become counter-productive in some ways. I'm definitely too focused on blood glucose testing. At the moment it's always at least 10 a day. Sometimes I'll do three at a time just to make sure that it's right. I'll always do it when I wake up any time in the night, I'm becoming too afraid of night time hypos. I get more paranoid at work and when I'm out, so again, more testing. I feel like I've taken massive steps forward since diagnosis, but now I'm sure this new phase of worrying has taken me even further back than I was to begin with.

I don't want to be the diabetic that's too terrified of lows and too worried about my sugars to go out and take the opportunities that are presented to me in life.

I don't want my blood sugars to become a barrier to anything I want to do.

And I'd like my contour meter and the digits it shows to be my friend, aid and guide rather than the thing that controls my every move and thought.

So, positive steps to take I guess, because I'd like to make those leaps forward again. I'm going to start trusting my body more. I'm going to start trusting the meter more and not retest unless I have a good reason to be unsure about the result. And I'm going to try and regain a little bit of control over my life that my blood sugars have taken from me.

It's all about finding the thin lines in life. I'm a definite believer in that saying, its better to be safe and sorry. But I also recognise that there's a fine line between being safe and being so obsessively safe that it's going to eventually start to eat a way at you and make you put your life on hold. I'm determined to find that balance.

For some newly diagnosed diabetics I'm sure the will power comes into play to actually make them test their sugars and follow the regime. I'm going to need the will power to be a little less stringent and neurotic when it comes to blood sugar testing.

Wish me luck because I'm sure this is going to be bring benefits to my life as a type one diabetic. The main one of course being gaining a little bit more control over my life and learning to trust my instincts. And the small day to day benefits....

Like not finding those little white strips absolutely everywhere you look!
The other day I even found one in the bath.... ;)

So, there you go. I'll let you know how it all goes.

Thanks for reading :)


Ps. I've had some absolutely gorgeous emails and messages from some very special friends in response to this blog over the last few days. They've made me realise how important it is to keep in touch with friends that may slip past your radar from time to time. My friendship post highlighted the importance of the friends currently active in my life right now; the ones that are there through the everyday thick of it. But, the support I've gained from friends outside of this is amazing. Another of my goals in the very near future is to forge back the connections lost with these lovely people and show them just how much I've realised how important every friendship is, whether you see them every day of your life, or just exchange an email once in a while, every friendship is important. I'd just like to thank them and to make a promise to try my very best to be way better at keeping in touch.

Ah. On that very heavy note, time for Glee. It's an absolute must.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Hello, I'd like to book a holiday please...

Hello again,

Well, I'm pretty sure I've way exceeded some sort of blogging word count etiquette for a week in just yesterdays post... but, unluckily for anyone reading out there, I'm not out of words just yet. So, here it goes, official blog post number two. Get blankets, pillows, some snacks and plenty of coffee at hand... it's going to be another long one.

So, I would like to book a holiday. Unfortunately, I don't think it's the type of holiday that I can pick out of a brochure and go to the travel agents and book. I can just imagine the looks on the faces of the confused travel agents employees if I were to casually stroll in and say...

"Hello, I'd like to book a holiday away from diabetes please..."

Well, obviously in an ultimate fantasy world there would be a magic travel agents that could book me a holiday away from type one, I mean, I'd even settle for a mini break, a long weekend, even just a day away. And, whilst we're on the subject of fantasy worlds.. there'd obviously be a cosmetic surgeon who could make me look like Cheryl Cole, a Doctor who could extract my shyness and replace it with a big vat of confidence and a dating agency who could have Zac Efron, Nick Jonas and Robert Pattinson all begging for my number...

Anyway, before I get a bit too carried away with that particular fantasy and induce a hypo with the excitement, I'll get back to the point of this particular entry.

Basically a break away from this disease would be a dream come true. But diabetes never takes a holiday. It's always occupying a portion of my mind. It makes me think about what I'm eating, what I can't eat, how I'm feeling; hypo? hyper?, it makes me think about what I'm doing, whether I've got enough supplies in my bag, basically everything I do affects my sugars and I always have to consider them to keep myself well. I completely recognise that the blessing with diabetes is that it's controllable. The downside of that I guess is that it's you that has to put the effort in to control it. And the diabetes just isn't sympathetic to the fact that it's your birthday, or that you'd like a holiday, or that you're just having a particularly crappy day. Most of the time I keep on top of it, but sometimes, typical lazy teenager that I am, I can't even be bothered to make my bed or do anything other than watch my Glee box set on the couch, never mind be bothered to monitor what my blood sugars are doing.

To continue the fantasy holiday theme, and also to echo the game the boys were playing last night, you know "if you could sleep with 5 celebrities..." Well, these are the 5 things I would love most about a holiday from my lovely type one.

1) I'd be able to eat chocolate buttons and mini eggs and maltesers and ben and jerrys as much as I wanted and I'd just be able to eat when I was hungry and not just eat for the sake of keeping my sugars up.

2) I'd be able to go out with my friends and drink and dance and drink and dance some more without having to worry a single bit about my sugars, hypos or hypers.

3) I'd be able to give several parts of my body a break... my fingers a break from the constant pricking, my tummy a break from injections, and mainly my mind a rest from all the worrying I do about it.

4) I'd be able to go to sleep without any worries about nighttime hypos and I'd have a big break from the dreaded bran flakes before bed.

5) I'd be able to stop being such a massive mood killer... being in the middle of erm, something, with erm, someone and then stopping to check for a hypo... not sexy. ;)

And, the list could go on.

But, I may as well accept that there's no magical holiday fairy who'll take it from me for a few days. It's part of me now. I'm diabetic. I have diabetes. I have type one. Whatever way I put it, it all means the same thing...

My diabetes and I; Best Friends Forever.


Ps. In other news. My best friend decided to get me a lifesize cardboard cutout of R-Pattz for my 19th. Cardboard boyfriends have their good and bad points I've got to say. I mean, he'd be no good in a crisis, he's a bit hard, cold and 2D to be good at cuddles and I'm forever jealous that he doesn't have a blood sugar to monitor. On the other hand, he doesn't argue with me, so I'm always right, he doesn't smell at all and he's definitely a lot more hygienic than most non cardboard boyfriends...

Well, yesterday I left you with a very meaningful exercise for the day, and I do hope that telling your friends just how much they mean to you went well by the way. Today It's very simple.

Cardboard boyfriends?
Or real, living, breathing, smelling boyfriends?
I'll leave you with that.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Winter, spring, summer or fall....

All you've got to do is call.
And I'll be there yes I will.
You've got a friend.

I thought I'd devote my first real post to something very special and extremely important in my life; my friends. I'd just like to emphasise just how amazing my friends have been through all this so far. I mean, friends are important in anyone's life but sometimes its very easy to take them for granted and not realise how much they actually do. During the very good times I realised just how great that group of people around me are to have fun with, and how they can turn good times into incredible times. During the normal, everyday times I just go about with my routines, comfortable in the fact that my friends are there. But it's only when hard times hit that I truly realised the full extent of their contribution in my life. I also discovered who my true friends were and which of them were only fair weather friends. It all sounds so cliched I know, but I truly mean every word.

Just over a week ago I had one of my first major down days since diagnosis. It's the theory that I was given a normal coke instead of a diet one in a pub on that particular dinnertime, plus a hypo and correction, and a slightly bigger lunch than normal and needless to say I spent the rest of the day high. Since diagnosis I have had really good control (my doctor suggested my last hba1c indicated that my control was too tight) and I've been really chuffed with myself. So, despite this blip not being very very high (peaked at 16.6) and it only being a one off, I went majorly downhill moodwise. I was angry at myself for letting it get that high, I was angry at the diabetes for not playing nicely, I was angry at the waitress who'd given me the normal coke. But anger only lasts for a short while with me. I burned myself out quickly and the anger all dissipated into sadness.

When I get down about diabetes, or about anything really, its really not good for me to be by myself. I dwell on things a lot, I cry too much, and I'm a RUBBISH at consoling myself, so I just wallow and over-think and catastrophise things. So, with a car full of my friends and my boyfriend I did the final test before we went out to discover my sugars were rising. It pushed me over the edge, and the pretence that I'm very good at keeping up. I can usually swear by the statement "I don't cry in front of people." because I just don't... the second they get out of the door then yes, but I'm good at holding it together in front of people; usually. I cried until my face was covered in mascara (waterproof... yeah right!) and I said I couldn't come out, basically I just wanted to get home to my mam and watch my sugars. So I said I'd drop them all home and I prepared myself for a night alone sugar watching..

But, that's the beauty of my friends. They insisted on coming home with me. They watched me test, and test again and test again, and they all let me test their sugars for moral support. They made me wee on a ketostick just to put my mind at rest. They watched me take my insulin and eat my tea and they politely played on my nintendo 64 (very retro I know...) whilst they could have all been out together having fun. But, as brilliant as they are, they said "we're not going out anywhere without you." So we sat and waited and waited and we rejoiced when my sugars finally came down to single figures. Eventually we made it out for a bit at about 10pm, but only after they persuaded me that yes, I would be fine, and yes, they'd look out for me, of course they would.

I really hope they know how much I appreciate them. I did text them to thank them, but they seem to think that they're just doing what any friends would. I once said to my boyfriend "Remember, I'm stuck with this, but you're not." I'm often plaqued with worry that diabetes has made me very boring and a very crappy friend. I'm currently not drinking, I'm always testing my sugar, I worry about going out, sleepovers with my best friend no longer consist of ben and jerrys and maltesers, I'm funny about going out for meals, My mind's never 100% doing whatever I'm doing, its always being mindful of my sugar and hypos as well... I'm often wondering why I deserve such brilliant friends and boyfriend and I'm always a million percent thankful for them. Don't get me wrong... they make me see boys films, and they make constant innuendos and I'm sure they often forget I'm a girl at all... but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, Thankyou;

- For the hugs.
- For asking about it sometimes, I actually do enjoy being nerdy and explaining it all to someone.
- For forcing me to come on that one night out I've had since diagnosis and looking out for me all the way through.
- For staying in on that very boring night.
- For fitting plans around my injections.
- For never understimating how important it is.
- For listening to me moan and dealing with my tears.

And basically, for not running away at a thousand miles an hour. I really wouldn't blame them if they'd have backed off... I'm just so glad that they didn't. I don't know what I'd do without them.

You know who you are, and I hope you know I'd do the same for you anytime.

I know there's some diabetics who try and keep diabetes out of their friendships and relationships. It's hard showing your friends that you're vulnerable and asking for a little extra help, and its hard being different and feeling just that little bit more boring and annoying than everyone else. But my advice to anyone out there who's keeping it from their friends... tell them. Moan to them. Cry to them even. If their worth having they'll be an amazing help and if they're not, then they're just not worth it as friends.

Diabetes is hard. But it's nowhere near as hard when you have you have a helping hand. (or lots of helping hands.)

One final point to illustrate just how emotional I get. I turned the internet on on my ipod the other day for the first time since the high incident last week, only to find my boyfriend had googled "how to lower high blood sugar levels." Ohh dear, I cried buckets. I'm a sentimental fool, I know.

So, here's an excercise for today; let your friends know just how much they mean to you, take a moment out to realise all the little things they do that get taken for granted. (Warning; this may make you a) nostalgic b) sentimental c) blub like on idiot... have the tissues at hand!)

"You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
Just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me."

Also, another excercise for the day. Watch Toy Story. Amazing Film.

Thanks for reading... if you made it to the end of that VERY long entry.


Hello :)

Hello lovely people reading my blog (if any such people actually exist..) But, if you are then I'm going to say Thankyou in advance, and also sorry for being very boring and rambling a lot!

I'm completely new to this, having never written a blog before, but I was inspired to start writing by some other diabetes blogs I've been reading recently. Also I'd just like to thank the authors of those little gems because they've been very helpful to me over the past few weeks which have been well... emotional.

So... a quick introduction to me I guess. (A bullet point list might persuade me to be a bit less rambly...)

- I'm Laura, I'm 19 and live in a village near Durham.
- I'm off to Durham university in September to study applied psychology.
- I got a place at Oxford university in 2009, had a disastrous first term which ended with 3 weeks of a lot of drinking, weeing, sleeping and crying and a return home for the christmas holidays to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Needless to say, I didn't return to Oxford and, although the diabetes was a factor considered in the decision, it definitely wasn't the main reason, so I can't blame it for that.
- I'm currently on two injections of Novomix 30 twice a day (8 units each), hopefully changing to basal bolus within the next month.
- So, I've been living with type 1 for about 6 months now. Most of the time we get along just fine but recently the very harsh reality of it has been hitting me and I've become a bit of an emotional wreck, or, more accurately, just a bit of a wet blanket (I mean, I've never been dry eyed at the end of the notebook, or the titanic, but you definitely know that something's wrong when you find yourself crying at a very normal episode of Emmerdale. :S)

The blog is the product of needing some sort of outlet for all of this and also from being inspired by other diabetes blogs I have read recently. I'm sure this will please my family, friends, boyfriend and colleagues who often get to see the messy end of one of my blubbing sessions and have to bear the brunt of my rants and moans.

So, I'm definitely not promising to be good at this. I have an AS level in English and a pile of diaries under my bed, but that's the extent of my writing career. So bare with me.... I hope you enjoy reading.

Thankyou :)