Festive Pump Break.

I never imagined that I’d be spending the festive season detached from my insulin pump, but that’s just how badly I needed this break.

I was fatigued from insulin pumping, both physically and mentally.

I was tired of having that pump attached to me, rolling out of my pocket in bed, slipping down from where I tuck it inside my waistband, or giving those vibrating demands for my attention.

I was also tired of simply pumping insulin. I had tired of pre-bolusing, I was tired of looking basal rates, I was tired of correcting highs and then suspending my way out of subsequent lows. I had simply tired of putting in the effort, and it showed on my time in range.

This break was exactly what I needed.

It was nice not to have a visible reminder of my diabetes on me all the time. Lantus was a really nice set and forget when it came to basal rates, and it kept me relatively steady in the background. It was nice to simply lounge about, or leave the house with a noticeably emptier pocket.

Shorts weather also made it uber convenient to stick needles into my thighs, even under the dinner table while eating out. Although admittedly, I did feel just as reminded of my diabetes every time I was out and had to physically make a point of stopping to give a shot.

In those first few days I often found myself reaching for my pump when my blood sugar was trending low, and this was a good way for me to snap out of suspending my way out of lows, among some other bad habits that had been creeping in.

However, I also found it a lot easier to go high without my pump. Partly because I didn’t have the convenience of being able to efficiently correct when I was on the run. But also partly just…because. I suspect that perhaps I was missing that extra action from the rapid acting basal on my pump.

Once I went high, it took a lot more effort to bring myself back down. It was moments like these, where I was still cruising along at 12 after several correction shots patiently waiting for my blood sugar to budge, that I really missed my pump.

My last pump break was two and a half years ago. During each of those pump breaks I had taken prior, I seriously questioned whether insulin pumping was the best fit for me. I’ve only been pumping for four and a half years, mind you.

This time round, it didn’t take very long at all until I was itching for my pump back. After the first two weeks, I had to convince myself to keep going, knowing that two weeks was not enough of a break.

It kind of reinforced the realisation I’d come to last year, where I had finally reached a point where I was firmly an insulin pumper. Where I has comfy – dare I say liked – the kit that I was using, and that this was the method of insulin delivery that worked best for me.

I’ve been back on my pump for a few days now, feeling a little less fatigued, a little more refreshed and a little more appreciative of the tool I am using to administer insulin.

Ready for another year of diabetes.


My blog turns six today.

I’d always been fascinated by blogs. I loved the way they offered a space for writers to share their own daily thoughts, and also the way they offered a space that readers might look forward to visiting every day.

When I first started writing here, I had no real idea what this blog would look like.

There was nothing out there (that I was aware of at the time) that wasn’t medical or professionally geared around diabetes. Especially in Australia. Diabetes just sounded like something that I should write about.

I just wasn’t convinced that anyone would be interested in reading about it.

Joining in Diabetes Blog Week was probably the thing that encouraged me to just write. Not to mention connecting me to so many d-peeps all over the world. I realised it didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to be me.

It’s hard to believe I’ve managed to fill so many of these pages, let alone fill so many of these pages about diabetes.

Honestly, thanks for coming along on this journey with me and for helping to make the great big world around me that little bit smaller.

Finding the Good in 2020.

It’s been a year. I really should acknowledge my privilege as I write this post in my backyard in Western Australia, where life has been largely back to normal since June. I couldn’t wrap a year that I’ll never forget without looking back on some of the better things that came from it, both diabetes and otherwise.

Webinars and virtual conferences. In a year where I found it difficult to write and participate in the diabetes community, it was events like these and seeing familiar faces on screen that really reminded me of why I love being a part of the DOC.

I really enjoyed Ypsomed’s fortnightly webinar series T1 Connects earlier in the year, bringing together PWD and healthcare professionals sharing different perspectives on insulin pumping and broader diabetes management. These fortnightly Tuesday chats were definitely reminiscent of old OzDOC vibes.

It was also extremely humbling to connect with global advocates during these challenging times through Ascensia’s Diabetes Social Media Summits for some meaningful conversations. I also got a (very brief) taste of the famous Friends for Life conference hosted by US charity Children With Diabetes, even though it was at an extremely unsociable time here in Australia. Diabetes Australia also hosted heaps of Facebook lives to keep us all connected this year, and if I worked in front of a computer I’m sure I would have tuned into more of them.

World Diabetes Day was another highlight for me this year. I spent an unusually wet November morning on the side of the road offering passers by a diabetes risk assessment with my fellow Young Adult Diabetes Committee members. It was such an important thing to be involved in, given just how many people can go undiagnosed because their onset of symptoms may be much slower. I also realise that type 1s aren’t the only PWD in the world, and I absolutely want to participate in spaces which are inclusive of all PWD.

I also came to realise that I would happily continue to pay for my CGM if the government would only expand the subsidy to include the elderly. I had a really humbling conversation with an elderly gentleman who was a fellow t:slim user, with words of wisdom thrown in about diabetes and how far things have come from his wife.

The ABC’s daily Coronavirus live blog, as well as the Coronacast podcast are to blame for my newfound status as a Covid news junkie. I apologise if that has spilled into my blog this year. I can’t say how much I’ve appreciated having these sources of news to keep me informed throughout the year, without the bias of social media ‘experts.’

Receiving a Dexcom G6 in the mail to trial was another highlight of my year. It was hard to imagine anything being able to top G5, but this one definitely did. You can check out my review here. Thanks again to AMSL Diabetes for working with me.

I never imagined that I’d be spending the festive season and ending the year without my pump, but I absolutely needed this. I couldn’t be happier to be sticking needles through my shirts and into my thighs in-between festive eating and drinking.

I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated leaders as much as I have in 2020. In particular West Australian Premier Mark McGowan and our health teams have done an absolutely stellar job in keeping my state free of community transmission since April. I had a lot of uncertainty around restrictions easing earlier this year, however I feel we are in good hands with leaders who will act swiftly and decisively to keep us all safe going forward into 2021.

But I think the one thing I will take away from 2020 is the renewed affinity for home, the people around me and the simpler things in life. As 2020 comes to a close and the media harps on about state border closures, there is absolutely no place I’d rather be than home.

I think we all deserve a pat on the back just for making it to today.

Happy New Year. Here’s hoping that 2021 is only onwards and upwards from here.

Lessening the Load.

It’s been a scorcher of a week in Perth. I’ve switched my milky coffees for iced, and it feels like the last ‘normal’ day of the year before we lose all sense of what day it is and what we’re supposed to be doing.

Unlike all of the emails I’ve been receiving prompting me of prolonged Christmas closures and the inability to get anything done for two weeks, diabetes won’t be taking any time off for Christmas. In fact, it will be open for business on Christmas Day, right through until New Years and beyond. Jealous.

Which is why, I think taking some time out and lessening the load at this point of the year is more important than ever.

I’m so looking forward to a break, made even better by the fact that Christmas falls nicely next to a weekend this year. Four whole days off, with another three to follow in a week. For me, that’s definitely going to look like sleeping in, having my feet up, spending time with family and of course lots of food and drink.

My pump break is definitely going to be one of those ways that I’ll be lessening the load on diabetes this festive season. It feels so freeing to not be reliant on maintaining a constant attachment to my pump for infusion of insulin, and I imagine it will be some time until I am ready to return. I’m literally picturing myself running through beach sand, a million miles away from my pump knowing that the long acting inside of me has my back.

I’m also cutting myself some slack for numbers which I might not usually tolerate. Like yesterday, when I was riding a little high after breakfast at work. It was a busy morning, my long acting wasn’t quite right and I didn’t have the convenience of being able to pull out my pump and swiftly correct. But in all honesty, I didn’t care less. I felt great. I rode it out, and got to it when I could.

My final feeling is that Christmas Day with diabetes doesn’t really need to be any different than another day with diabetes. Everyone around you likes to make you feel like it’s daunting and that it must be some mammoth task. But I know what works for me, and I know what doesn’t work for me. I’ll be doing exactly the same thing on Christmas Day that I’ve been doing during the other 364 days of the year to manage.

Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading my extremely sporadic posts over these past few months. Special thoughts to those in New South Wales, particularly in Greater Sydney and the Northern Beaches. A massive thank you to everyone who has played their part over the course of this year in keeping us all safe here in Australia. We’ve got this.

Ebbs and Flows

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I thought that I would arrive at the day where I everything would be under control. I specifically remember explaining to a friend that while I was pricking my finger quite a bit, eventually the day would come where I wouldn’t have to do it so often.

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that diabetes ebbs and it flows. There are periods where things are just moving along in a nice rhythm, and then there are times where things just…aren’t. There are times where things are working for me, and times where they just…don’t.

I think I’ve definitely felt in a bit of a rut in recent weeks. Several weeks. I haven’t felt that nice rhythm as I’ve been going about the daily grind, day in and day out. I’ve felt more effort, with less return. My foot has definitely eased from the pedal for quite some time, and I don’t feel particularly compelled to hit accelerate once again.

I’ve been itching for change over the past few weeks. Perhaps not the best time for it, on the verge of Christmas, but diabetes wants what it wants. The only real thing that’s been stopping me has been the 02-2020 expiration date on the box of insulin stashed in my fridge.

Over the weekend, I finally bit the bullet and went down to my local Chemist, with a script for some long acting insulin in hand. A few hours later, I’d happily stashed my pump away in a drawer and I finally felt some freedom. Like the weight of my past several weeks in diabetes had been lifted from my shoulders.

Diabetes ebbs and it flows. I’ve been attached to my pump continuously for the past two and a half years. The longest period of time since I began pumping insulin four and a half years ago. I had finally reached a point earlier this year where I knew that I was firmly an insulin pumper. That this is what works for me. I was finally at the point of saying that I couldn’t imagine being without my pump.

However, diabetes ebbs and it flows. Today, I find myself looking forward to a break for searching for suitable infusion sites on my tummy. A break from fumbling for my pump which has flown out of the pockets of my pyjama pants in bed. And a break from having to accommodate said pump alongside my keys and wallet and phone while out and about on Summer days.

Most of all, I look forward to not being so ‘reminded’ of my diabetes for a while with a noticeably emptier left hand pocket.