I woke up this morning to the gentle sound of my sleep cycle alarm. It was a lot darker than usual, because I was waking up a lot earlier than usual today.

My first thought was that I hadn’t stirred during the night. Nor had my CGM gathered my attention for the last eight hours.

I reached for my iPhone and swiped left.

‘Oh, shit!’ I exclaimed at the widget on my home screen as a wave of furiosity instantly hit me.

I’d spent the past three hours riding around the 11 mark. Possibly higher, because I forgot to check my blood sugar for reference which I like to do when I’m high.

I wondered how on earth I was only finding about this now, and unlocked my iPhone with a press of my thumbprint. When I opened up the Dex app, I found the culprit in a high alarm that had been completely turned off.

I have no idea whatsoever how that happened. I distinctly remember opening the app and lowering my high alert from 8mmol to 7mmol last night, like I do every other night before bed.

As I flipped my phone sideways and traced that high back through the night, I was even more furious to find that it had risen from pretty much the minute I rested my head on the pillow at around 10pm.

But it also made complete sense, given I’d consumed a fair few carbs to absorb the dinner I’d over bolused for. I also can’t bring myself to treat hypos with glucose tabs anymore, so there may or may not have been a few raids of the cupboard involved. But I’m making sure I buy some juice today, for a change.

As I bolused super early for my breakfast, got out of bed and jumped into the shower, how that high alert escaped me is still a complete and utter mystery.

Starting Small.

I love to drink coffee. But it was never palatable without a good 2 teaspoons of sugar mixed inside. So, I reduced it to one and a half. Then, when I got used to the taste, I reduced it to one. Then half a teaspoon. If you were to put sugar in my coffee today, I’d tell you that I can only taste sugar.

I was feeling exhausted. Far too often. Eventually, I stumbled across an article and realised that I wasn’t eating nearly enough in order to fuel my daily activities. So, I started setting my alarm to wake me half an hour earlier each morning to give me time to scramble two eggs and toast two pieces of bread. I started using my Sunday afternoons to better prepare ahead for weekday lunches. Today, I don’t feel half as exhausted (or deprived) as I once did.

I never used to count carbohydrates. I would just swag my insulin dose, and end up with either crazy highs or intense lows. When I began using an insulin pump, I set an intention with my family that I would weigh my food at dinner time to better count my carbs. That added effort before dinner time has definitely made my insulin dosing more effective.

Managing diabetes does my head in. Like, every single little thing I can think of affects my blood sugar. What I ate, how active I was today, how well I slept last night, where my BG has been sitting overnight, and even what month of the year it is! So, I began making notes. Both on paper, and mentally. Paying closer attention to what was happening with my blood sugars, and learning what I would need to do for next time. Today, I feel far more confident in being able to make those adjustments to keep my blood sugars where I want them to be.

For some time, I’ve been waking up feeling like I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. It’s been a real struggle to get up and going throughout the morning. So, at the turn of the new year, I decided to prioritise sleep. I would ‘switch off’ an hour before bed, so that I don’t go to sleep while my mind is still buzzing. Quite honestly, it’s been one of the best changes that I’ve made for myself (more on that one, soon).

Today, I feel pretty happy about where I am at with my diabetes. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always manage to do everything I’ve outlined here religiously each day. There are still things I’m working on improving, too.

However when I think about where I am today, it wasn’t the quick overnight fix I was desperately seeking when I started using an insulin pump four years ago that got me here.

It was the sum of small, gradual changes that I’ve made over the past four years that suited my own needs. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it’s some of my highlights.

Some of those changes have been directly related to the day to day management of my diabetes. Some of those changes have been more around my routine and habits, which I guess better support me in showing up to manage my diabetes each day. There were equally things that I was happy with, or didn’t want to change (carbs and coffee, to name two).

I don’t believe for a second that there’s only one way to manage diabetes. But I know that I spent years thinking about, and feeling overwhelmed by all of the changes and improvements that I wanted to make.

So I guess the point of this post is that if you are thinking about making changes at the start of a new year, start small. Pick one tiny thing that you could do each day that might further your goal. Above all, be patient.

I promise you’ll reap the rewards.

‘That’s Not Really Good For Diabetes’

“What’d you bring in?” My friend asked.

“Sticky date pudding,” he replied.

“Oh, yum!”

“It’s one of the best recipes,” he replied enthusiastically. “It’s mostly sugar. Nothing healthy in there.”

“That’s not really good for diabetes!” She remarked, turning towards me and laughing.

“That’s not funny,” I replied.

I’d so been looking forward to this morning tea. I was in the kitchen at 9.00 the night before, making the shortbread that I’d been wanting to make for weeks but hadn’t got the chance to.

Yet that one, ill timed and misinformed comment put a damper on something that I had so been looking forward to. I’m not embarrassed by my diabetes, but it embarrassed me. It reminded me of just how ‘different’ I was.

I was angry at the stigma that had just been perpetuated throughout the room from the attention drawn in from that comment. I’m not saying that as a person with type 1 diabetes, I’m saying that as a person with diabetes.

I know that my reply didn’t suffice. It didn’t make me feel better. It didn’t do anything in the way of correcting the stigma, but it’s the best I could come up with on the spot.

I spent the next hour or so reflecting on how I’d have better responded to that comment if I had my time back. Resisting the urge to approach this person and tell her not to make jokes about diabetes, because she was my friend (and she also puts up with a lot of my grumbling throughout the day…)

As I stood in the kitchen later, eating a banana and feeling rotten after the umpteenth hypo this week (which is a totally different story), I felt well and truly deflated.

Diabetes is not a joke.