Breathe.

It had just gone 5 o’clock. The sun had almost disappeared when I last glanced out the window. The ever so trusty Weatherzone app on my iPhone told me that the temperature outside was 15.2 degrees and falling. I had just eaten a handful of Red Rock Deli Honey Soy Chicken chips and a small lamington, washed down with a milky coffee.

My body wanted nothing more than to ignite the heater and curl up in front of the television.

But my head was telling me that I needed this.

I laced up my faded grey Nike shoes with the blue tick. My blood sugar was sitting at 5.8, although I was certain that I would need this walk if I had any chance of blunting the spike from my afternoon tea. I tapped my pocket, reassured by the familiar bulk that was my iPhone. I grabbed the headphones from my desk, despite being certain my mind would be too far in overdrive to listen to anything. I grabbed the grey pencil case on the dresser, containing my meter and glucose tabs, and headed out the door.

I could feel the cold, relatively still air brushing against my face as I began to walk down the street.

My headphones remained clutched in my right hand, as I tried ever so hard to focus on my breathing.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I can’t say with any certainty that this walk took my mind away from the things that have been on my mind lately.

It’s usually during times like these that I struggle to find a place for my diabetes.

Yet I was amazed at how smoothly my diabetes management tasks had slid into the background, almost like second nature.

Mystery of the Varying Overnight Basals

Last week was an exhausting week for many reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with diabetes.

Yet surprisingly, my blood sugars have been cruising along at the best they’ve been in weeks.

I’ve been struggling with my overnight basal rates in recent weeks. There have been some uncomfortable overnight lows, and then there have been other mornings where I’ve woken up frustratingly high. Alarms have been going off 2 or 3 times each night, instead of the usual one.

Things have felt rather inconsistent of late, so I decided to slap on a new FreeStyle Libre sensor last week to try and nut things out. I think I have finally cracked the mystery of the varying overnight basal needs.

If I go to bed sitting in the 7s or 8s, my overnights look something like this.


Looking at the gradual rise from around 4am, I’d be ready to make a basal change.

But when I go to bed sitting in the 5s or 6s on the same basal rate, my nights end up looking like this.

So it seems that my insulin sensitivity is far better when I go to bed in the 5s and 6s. I cruise along much more smoothly during the night, and my blood sugars get off to a much better start when my day begins in range.

So I’m now trying to be a little more bolder with my corrections at bedtime, in the hopes that I can replicate these levels and a decent night’s sleep more often.

Diabetes has so many little intricacies. It always keeps me on my toes, and I’m still learning new things about it after seven years.

Type 1 Event: Relationships, Partying and Life

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that there’s a bit of a gap in terms of the support available when you’re a young adult living with diabetes.

Here in Perth, kids and families are really well catered for by the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, Diabetes WA and Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital. Diabetes WA run a cycle of programs for adults, but they seem to skew towards an older crowd. And I can only watch on with envy at some of the awesome things happening in the diabetes space in other parts of the world.

Earlier this year I met with a group of young adults with diabetes, and from there the Perth Diabetes Care Youth Advisory Committee came to life. Basically, we’re a group of young adults with diabetes, trying to fill the unmet needs of young adults living with diabetes in Perth.

If you’re in Perth and have type 1 diabetes, we are holding the second in a series of type 1 themed events on Thursday June 22.

The theme of this event is Relationships, Partying and Life. Nikki, a member of our committee, will be our personal speaker for the night. Dr Martin DeBock, an endocrinologist and researcher at the Telethon Institute, will also be speaking about his latest research in the areas of relationships, intimacy and diabetes.

Events like these are simply a great opportunity to hear other perspectives on living with type 1 and mix with other people who have diabetes.

All the details are below, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or get in touch through my contact page.

Hope to see you there!

Review: My Dario Smartphone Glucose Meter

I was recently given a Dario Smartphone Glucose Meter and some test strips to try from my friends at Perth Diabetes Care. I squealed with excitement at the prospect of taking that little orange device home with me, because I tend to get pretty excited about integrating my diabetes tasks with my screentime. There was no expectation that I would blog about the Dario, and all opinions expressed here are my own.

The Dario is a really nifty little device. I was surprised at Dario’s relatively low key launch into Australia, considering that many bloggers in the UK were given meters to try some time ago. If it weren’t for the odd sponsored post on Facebook or my perusing the Diabetes WA online shop, I wouldn’t have known it had hit our shores.

So, it’s an all in one glucose meter. Lancing device at one end, test strip vials stored on the opposite end.

For some crazy reason, I thought the whole device clipped onto the bottom of my smartphone. So there I was on the first night I brought it home, trying to attach the whole damn thing to my phone! Until I realised that only the little test strip port connects via the headphone jack.

You also need to download the Dario app to your phone, and register to get started. I was able to register with my Facebook account, which is a big plus in my book – one less password to remember! Once you’ve opened the app and connected the little test strip port, you can insert a strip and receive a glucose reading on your phone screen.

The Dario app also had features like a bolus calculator, food databases, data sharing and an estimated hba1c. The data entry screen shown below gave me plenty of time after testing to input carbs and calculate an insulin dose, so long as I didn’t press the tick to exit.

I didn’t really make too much use of the app because I use my insulin pump for calculations, but I imagine that if I were on injections this would be really useful.

How accurate are the strips? Although I felt extremely wasteful doing unnecessary tests for the purposes of answering this question, the Dario quickly proved to me that it was a reliable competitor. It held up extremely well against my FreeStyle Libre, my FreeStyle Insulinx, high blood sugar levels and in target blood sugar levels. From memory, most of my comparisons were within 0.5mmol – with the exception of my One Touch Verio, which tends to read slightly higher than my other meters.

I really wanted to like this device.

Unfortunately I just found it really tiresome to have to pull out my phone, open the app, eject the test strip port from the Dario, connect it to my phone, pull out a test strip and prick my finger for a result.

After a week I still felt kind of clunky using it. I couldn’t remember how to eject the little test strip port from the Dario, or which end was for lancing and which end was for test strips.

Although I had a box of test strips to play with, I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would. While I was out and about, using my meter was simply more convenient.

While I loved the idea of an all in one glucose meter, the reality is that I have to be prepared for my diabetes every time I leave the house. I already carry skittles, insulin and spare supplies to deal with a pump failure, that carrying a meter, test strips and a lancing device isn’t exactly a big deal.

That being said, I have only used this device for a week. It is a big change from using a traditional glucose meter for the last seven years, and perhaps I just needed some more time with it.

The Dario Smartphone Glucose Meter can be purchased online at mydario.net.au, and is also available through selected Pharmacies. The test strips are subsidised through the NDSS, and are sold through the Diabetes WA Shop here in Perth.

Foggy

I stirred in the darkness. I felt sticky. I could feel the dampness building around my neck and my thighs. I could feel heat emitting from the pillow where my stuffy head had been resting. Leaving the quilt on my bed last night was probably a bad idea.

I felt shaky. I could feel my entire upper body vibrating, as I lay there under the covers. Could I be?

But I didn’t want to open my eyes. I didn’t want move a muscle. I couldn’t gauge exactly why this was, but my brain couldn’t overpower my body that morning as I lay paralysed in bed.

BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH…

No sooner than I had closed my eyes again, my alarm began to sound. It startled me. I couldn’t believe it was morning. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t registered the time on my clock radio when i stirred only moments ago.

I fumbled hurriedly for my phone, desperate to silence the blaring alarm. I felt disoriented. I felt weak. I switched on my bedside lamp, and reached for my meter.

2.6. My blood sugar was sitting at lowly 2.6.

I frantically got out of bed, pulled my retainers out of my mouth and fumbled around on my dresser for the ancient yellow-rimmed coffee cup where I could dunk them into.

I could still feel those shakes as I walked into the kitchen, like someone had frightened me. I poured milk into my coffee cup, and placed it into the microwave to heat up. Once the 45 seconds were up, I placed it under the coffee machine, watching the sweet brown liquid drip slowly into my cup.

I felt thirsty. I washed that coffee down my throat in big gulps, as a way to quench my thirst. I reached for biscuits. One of Nonna’s amaretti topped with a glace cherry, followed by a choc chunk cookie.

I wondered how long I had been low. I knew I had gone to bed sitting on a 4.9. I had eaten 3 skittles as well, which should have brought my blood sugar closer to 6. I hoped I hadn’t been sitting low for too much of the night.

As the shakes subsided, the brain fog began to set in.

As I went about my morning moving pallets and pushing trolleys, I could feel aches in my very weak arms and legs.

Those aches were a lasting reminder of that hypo.

Those aches left me feeling riddled with guilt.

Some added science from my friend Matt: Apparently your muscles are repairing overnight, and if there isn’t enough sugar for them to slurp on…ouch is incurred.