“How Do You Manage Sweets With Your Diabetes?”

My red, plastic plate was piled high. I’d grabbed a scoop of hot apple crumble topped with Connoisseur ice-cream, a Cherry Ripe chocolate cupcake and a slice of liquor sponge cake from the desert table at our family get together over the weekend.


Get togethers in our family are all about the food. I spent most of Thursday telling Mum that she’d prepared way too much for our get together that evening, and the remainder of the weekend saying I told you so. Nonetheless, you still want to try and have a little bit of all the deliciousness.

“How do you manage the sweets with your diabetes?” my Uncle asked me as I sat down at the table with my plate.

After all these years with type 1, you sort of begin to expect these kinds of questions. I mean, even I get a little conscious when I sit down with a piled plate, wondering what others must think.

I went on to explain that I would look at the plate and estimate that I had at least 100g of carbs there.

I went on to say that I would enter 100g into my insulin pump, and that the pump would deliver an insulin dose for me.

I went on to explain that I can technically eat anything, so long as I cover it with insulin.

I went on to explain that I should still be mindful of how many carbs I eat, but that it was Easter and I didn’t care so much today.

I went on to explain that if it wasn’t Easter and I did care a bit more, a back up bolus of at least 15 minutes would also be helpful.

I didn’t explain the months of hard work that went into perfecting my basal rate, so that my mealtime insulin does its job and doesn’t get stuck in quicksand.

I didn’t explain how I weigh all of the food I prepare at home, multiply that weight by carb factors, and then divide it by my own unique insulin to carb ratio.

I didn’t explain how some foods are digested very slowly, while others are digested very rapidly, and insulin needs to be backed up or delayed accordingly.

I didn’t explain that a larger, higher fat or restaurant meal, requires a temporary basal rate for several hours to combat the insulin resistance.

I didn’t explain the importance of checking my blood sugar levels post meal, to ensure that my insulin is doing its job.

I didn’t explain that sometimes I get it wrong, and I end up eating my way out of lows.

I didn’t explain that sometimes I also get it wrong, and I end up shovelling down insulin and bucket loads of water at 3am to bring down the highs.

I didn’t explain the huge investment I’ve had to put into learning, observing and applying, so that I don’t make these errors so often and see more numbers in range.

I know that my uncle wasn’t trying to be rude or judgemental. And it was nice of him to ask. I liked that it opened up the dialogue, and that I could deflate the stigma around sweets and diabetes.

It’s just a shame that despite how simply I’d put it, nobody in that room will remember a word of what I said.

It’s a shame that despite how many times I check my blood sugar or pull out my pump during the day, nobody seems to notice the diabetes.

It’s a shame that I’m only ever asked these questions when I’m seen with a plate piled high with desert.

Cheers to Two Years!

*blows shortbread crumbs off the keyboard*

Happy New Year!

I can’t help but feel like saying “WE MADE IT!”

We made it to the finish line of 2016, with a New Year and the promise of a fresh start ahead of us.

I hope you had a wonderful festive season, and hopefully some time out to recharge the batteries. With the reality of heading back to work tomorrow starting to sink in, the festive season is well and truly over for another year.

This little corner of the internet also happened to mark its second birthday last week. It’s been two years since I began blogging here at Type 1 Writes, and since I first entered into the fray that is the Diabetes Online Community.

As often as I am thanked for my blog and it’s helpfulness, I’ve needed this space just as much as you. This space started out as the pet project of a university graduate, and I never really knew what would become of it.

I struggled with managing a very demanding and isolating condition that is type 1 diabetes. I wasn’t satisfied with the state of my management, but I lacked the knowledge and motivation to do all of the things that added up half decent blood sugar levels.

The past two years have brought a wave of peer support, knowledge, learning, inspiration, empowerment and “me toos.” Although diabetes is an impossible condition to manage at the best of times, I feel I have a far better idea of how to tame it than I once did.

I really owe it to all of you.

The supportive comments that have come from my blog posts. The conversations that happen on Twitter. The support from people on my own Facebook page who I didn’t think would care less about diabetes. The e-mails that arrive from the contact page on my blog. Your articles and blog posts that provide me with insights and inspiration to apply to my own diabetes management. To those of you who are kind enough to check in when my blog is quiet. To my family at home who I couldn’t have done this, and diabetes, without.

2 years, 313 posts, 1,110 comments, 5,000 odd tweets, 100 or so OzDOC chats, and thousands of coffees later, I can’t thank you enough for the past two years.

Having diabetes absolutely sucks, but you guys make it suck just a little bit less.

Scruffy and I wish you nothing but the best for 2017. Make it a good one, friends.

(P.S. Scruffy, I’m still waiting for that guest post you were going to write for me months ago…)

Cheers to two years!

 – Frank