Turn of the Year

I snapped this photo as I was walking on the evening of New Year’s Day.

It was a quiet evening. The carpark a little further ahead at my local IGA was desolate. A cool and rather grey change had just swept through after a warm day.

It just summed up the general vibe of January perfectly.

After the craziness of December and the festive season, things have finally wound down. The world is back to normal once again, seemingly somewhat quieter. For me, this turn of the year seems to trigger a great deal of reflection on the year gone by, as well as ideas for the year ahead.

I’ve been mulling over the fact that I’ve been a part of the diabetes community for four years now. My life, my outlook on diabetes and my level of knowledge has changed for the better thanks to the sense of community I’ve found online since I began writing this blog.

I’ve been mulling over how much better I feel, physically, over the course of this past year. A combination of eating more substantially to meet my energy expenditure, and improving the quality of my sleep have left me feeling the best I have in a long time.

I’ve been mulling over how I need to shift gears and give more focus to my blood sugars this year. I feel that BG management has become a little too stagnant, and that I’m spending more time than I’d like coasting toward the upper end of my target range.

I’ve been mulling over how lightning fast some of the developments in diabetes technology are moving of late. I fully expect that we’ll see more exciting diabetes tech hit Aussie shores this year. More competition and more choice for people with diabetes is always a good thing, but at the same time I wonder how many will actually have access to these new tools.

I’ve been mulling over how relatively affordable insulin and other medications are here in Australia. No matter how much I whinge about missing out on government funding, or how many concerns circle my mind over money, it really pales in comparison to people in other parts of the world.

I’ve also been mulling over trying to focus more on the now. Not letting those little nagging doubts or what-ifs take over. Reminding myself that while self improvement is not necessarily a bad thing, I also need to acknowledge all of the little things I’m doing today and the achievements I already have behind me. (Thanks for this timely reminder, Rachel…)

So while I’m at it, Happy New Year.

I hope that 2019 is everything that you want it to be.

The Silly Season.

It’s nearly Christmas.

I guess everywhere I look at the moment, I feel like I’m seeing a lot of ‘rules’ that I need to be following as we head into the silly season. Undoubtedly followed by the barrage of New Year, New You stuff.

To be honest, I don’t really have much of a strategy heading into the next couple of days.

It’s Christmas, and to be honest, I want to celebrate Christmas like every other person around me. That will undoubtedly involve food that contains carbs, and drinks that contain alcohol. There will likely be chocolate. And shortbread. And bailey’s. And plenty of other good stuff.

As much as I would love for diabetes to shut up shop over Christmas and New Year, I will have to keep on keeping on. I will be monitoring my blood sugar with a little more ease thanks to the FreeStyle Libre sensor I’m wearing, and giving insulin doses my best guess with the help of my trusty insulin pump. I don’t expect it to turn out perfect, but then again diabetes never is.

The one thing that I will be avoiding when approaching the Christmas dinner table is the food coma that comes after it. Over the years I’ve learned that I don’t need to try everything from the smorgasbord, and would much rather just choose some of my favourites that I might not have so often. Waking up to high blood sugars, insulin resistance, extreme thirst and sweat in the middle of the night is definitely not pretty. This post sums up the experience quite nicely…

I guess one of the more challenging things at this time of the year is being asked questions around how I will manage my diabetes as I sit down to the Christmas dinner I’ve so been looking forward to. Super helpful, right? A few days ago, I was so happy to have a conversation with someone who wasn’t asking me if I had to be careful or if I had to check my blood sugar levels over dinner. Instead, I got to talk about my involvement in the diabetes community.

As I talked about some of the amazing things that have been happening around me this year, I couldn’t help but be reminded of just how much of a highlight continually connecting with people in the diabetes community really is.

To my diabetes family near and far, thanks for sticking around this year.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Diabetes Themed Christmas Gifts?

What do you want for Christmas? is one of the most difficult questions in the world for me to answer. Perhaps it’s because I’m extremely indecisive. Or because I’m simply lucky enough to have a lot of the stuff that I want already.

This week, I feel particularly proud of myself for having completed all of my Christmas shopping on December 4. I get to go home in the afternoons contemplating nothing further than a walk, and perhaps a trip to the beach on Friday.

Strolling through the shops at this time of year reminds me of how I honestly couldn’t think of any Christmas gift worse than a mug and cocoa set, a spice rack, jam jars, candles, toiletry sets, or character shaped tins of cheap biscuits.

So when it comes to the subject of a diabetes themed holiday gift, I actually don’t think it’s such a bad idea. There are so many awesome diabetes accessories online that I spend more time than I’d care to admit looking at – adhesives, stickers, bags, tees, jewellery, phone covers, mugs and so much more.

I totally get that a diabetes themed holiday gift won’t be for everyone. Not everyone wants to wear their diabetes loud and proud, or be reminded of their condition on Christmas morning. There are definitely diabetes themed gifts that would equally insult me (please don’t ever put a box of anything sugar free or ‘diabetic friendly’ inside my Christmas stocking. Unless you’re joking. But even I wouldn’t test me on that one). But equally, I’m sure there are people out there who would appreciate those gifts. So ultimately, knowing the person who you are buying for is key.

Diabetes is an extremely expensive condition to live with. I am forced to spend my hard earned money on supplies that I’d rather spend elsewhere. So for the most part, I can’t really justify spending money on cool accessories when looking at the bigger picture.

However it does make my task of answering that dreaded Christmas question much, much easier. Last year, I asked for a Myabetic bag. This year, I’ve requested FreeStyle Libre sensors. I’m planning to trade in my Christmas cash for some more Libre sensors. I also wouldn’t be offended by the likes of a diabetes book, t-shirt or other cool accessory.

Managing my diabetes is one of the most monotonous tasks in life. Every day I stare at the same devices, perform the same tasks and take the same actions with the aim of keeping my blood sugar levels in check. I don’t get a break over Christmas and New Year, nor at five o’clock or on the weekend.

I personally couldn’t think of a better Christmas gift than one that might help me to feel a little more enthusiastic, less burdened or reenergised in the daily grind.

If that doesn’t float your boat, I don’t think you could go wrong with a donation to one of these charities supporting people with diabetes in Australia and beyond.