Textbook Diabetes

I’ve been thinking a lot about a promise that I made to my diabetes educator during my last visit. I promised that I would stop being so slack and start logging my insulin doses with my Freestyle Insulinx meter. “You need to be logging your insulin doses, otherwise it’s no better than any other meter” keeps ringing in my head.

The thing is, I’ve been spending considerably more time around my diabetes healthcare professionals since I began to ponder an insulin pump a few months ago. My team, and what they’ve asked of me, has been at the forefront of my mind in my day to day decision making a lot more often than usual. 

In contrast, I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past year engaging in the Diabetes Online Community. With people just like me, who are living and dealing with diabetes on a day to day basis. I’ve found my voice, and become a lot more confident and empowered to make diabetes decisions on my own terms.

So when I’m around healthcare professionals who don’t necessarily have that element of actually living with diabetes, it really hits home in front of me. And I am suddenly reminded of something I haven’t engaged myself with in a very long time. Textbook diabetes.

My diabetes healthcare professionals are fantastic, and I know that they only have my best interests at heart. But I can only wonder whether they realise just how hard it is to do all of those little things on top of diabetes itself. I can only wonder whether they realise just how hard it is not to have any more than two hypos per week. To log every blood sugar level, and every insulin dose. To follow what’s written in a diabetes textbook, when you know that the textbook isn’t going to produce the results.

While I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, I know how to look after my diabetes better than anyone else. I live with, and manage it around the clock. It’s like a pet. I know how much to feed it. I know what upsets it. I know what makes it sick. I know what it likes, and what it dislikes. It might go against everything ever written in a diabetes textbook, but I know it works for me.

I promised that I would e-mail my educator the meter reports so that she could begin to work out insulin ratios for the pump, and help me to fine tune things. And I want to. I really want to. But the reality is that I haven’t. While everything has been going well lately, there’s still been a lot of fine tuning around my insulin requirements. That meter data doesn’t mirror textbook diabetes at the moment. And right now, I’m not comfortable trying to justify my intuition over textbook. Better luck next week, eh? 

The Power of Words In The DOC

It’s the smallest things that mean the most to me.

Like the surprise e-mails that arrive in my inbox from time to time. I need only tap the title card and I’ll almost certainly be guaranteed warm words. The greeting, so friendly and so personal, it could be from someone I saw only yesterday. The narrative, so open and inviting, as though the person writing it could be someone who knows me in real life. The kindness, so real and so genuine, that I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it.

This week, I was absolutely touched by a relatively new friend in the diabetes online community. I had the widest grin on my face when I read that they were so inspired by my “non-championed, non elite” account of life with diabetes.

Was I touched to receive a compliment? You bet. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

However, it was the power of those words themselves that were even more touching.

I am not a celebrity. I am not an athlete. I am not one of the cool kids. I am not the biggest Facebooker, Tweeter or Photographer. I am not a genius. I am not rich. I am certainly not the kind of person who can sugar coat everything and tell you what you want to hear. And I certainly don’t have diabetes all figured out, either…

However, I can write. I love to write. It takes time. It’s creative. It’s thoughtful. It’s very meaningful. I find it extremely empowering, and even a little therapeutic at times. I channel a lot of my creative energy into my writing week in, week out. Writing is my passion. It’s something I would happily do for the rest of my life.

I think it’s simply amazing how something as ordinary as words can be so powerful. It’s amazing how these words can form a connection. A bond to someone on the other side of the world, who I don’t even know. It’s amazing how words can usher in this sense of community. A space for support and security, that I rely on each and every day. It’s amazing how something as consuming as diabetes can be overpowered by reading simple words that I can relate to. Words that urge me to respond with “I get it.”

I am simply an ordinary person, who also happens to have diabetes. It was one of the very reasons I began to blog just over a year ago. It was one of the reasons I was so touched by that compliment.

Words are powerful. Words are the reason I write. Words are the reason I will continue to exist in this diabetes community each and every day.

Until we find a cure, know that your words mean as much to me as mine hopefully mean to you.

Happy Friday!

The Physical Toll of Blood Sugar Swings

My alarm clock went off at 5.45am yesterday morning, and it was honestly the best I’ve felt in months.

It took me 2 minutes to get up out of bed, instead of the usual 10. My eyelids weren’t so heavy, and I didn’t have to fight the urge to close them shut again. I wasn’t groaning, and I didn’t feel so exhausted for a change. I was standing in the kitchen, sipping my morning coffee, before the clock on the oven had flipped well past 6.00. Add to that, a perfect blood sugar level of 7.8.

Going about my day, I just feel really good at the moment. I feel good on the inside. I’m not breathing heavily, my mind is at ease, and I’m much more relaxed. I’m not so angry at silly things. I feel kind of, well, free.

I’m in a really happy place with my diabetes at the moment. After months of really struggling, and after months of every effort feeling like an effort, diabetes is suddenly running really smoothly again. Looking back from the other side of a rough couple of months, I am finally realising how much of a physical effect crazy blood sugar swings were having on my body.

Right now, diabetes management seems to be “working.” Every action seems to spawn a flow on effect, that echoes positively throughout my day.

Take Monday, for instance.

My blood sugar hovered in the 4s. For the whole afternoon.

Come dinnertime, I was debating over whether to give 11 units of Lantus, or drop it down to 10. Now that I’m no longer eating so much junk, a smaller dose is enough to keep me stable through the night. My intuition told me that 10 units would do the trick, and it did!

We’ve had a nice spell of mild weather this week. It was not 28 degrees at bed time for a change, and I was actually tempted to have an early night. I enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep without the air-conditioner and a scratchy throat in the morning, which has been sorely missed these last few months.

In addition to that, diabetes efforts through the night are significantly reduced. I find that I no longer need to predict lows or chase highs at night time. Rather, my levels are a lot more stable, and I have a lot more confidence in where they are sitting through the night. I was 8.7 before bed on Monday, which was fine as there was still a little active insulin on board. When I woke up to check at 1am, I was 7.5. I thought about the frittata I’d had for dinner, and decided on a half unit of insulin to cover any delayed effect from the egg. It worked a treat!

Of course, none of this is happening by magic.

I am doing all of the hard work here. But I am paying attention to those finer details. Like carb counting, pre-bolussing, snacking healthier, and thinking more carefully. It’s those finer details that produce this flow on effect, where everything is “in sync.” And when everything is in sync, it allows me a little more ease overall in managing my diabetes.

Right now, I am motivated. I am motivated by the way I am feeling. This diabetes high tastes so good, and I want to do everything in my power to make it last for as long as possible.