Studying with a Broken Pancreas

One of my biggest concerns about going back to uni this year was that my diabetes management would suffer. In some ways it feels like it has, and in some ways it feels like it hasn’t.

One of the things that made my decision to go back to uni a lot easier was the fact that I could study online. Thanks to something called the internet, I don’t have to commute to uni. After a long day at work I can literally put on my pyjamas and catch up on pre-recorded classes from the comfort of my lounge room if that’s what I feel like doing. I’m also lucky that I work consistent hours, which allows my study time to be somewhat more routine (in addition to being able to pay the bills…)

My self care has definitely taken a massive hit since late February. I haven’t been going to bed at the same time every night, and I’m sure if I were using Sleep Cycle my sleep trace would be poor. Preparing breakfast and lunches ahead of time for busy work days are a thing of the past. I’ve just spent the majority of my weekend revising for mid semester exams, and intensive moments like these leave me feeling like there’s little else to my existence. (If you haven’t already noticed, I don’t take kindly to the idea of slowing down and completing things in a steady fashion…)

One thing that hasn’t suffered, however, is my blood sugar levels. Ironically, they’re actually looking better than when I wasn’t at uni. Four years of connecting with other people with diabetes and constantly learning more about my own blood sugar levels has paid off massively at a time where I need to be thinking about my diabetes the least.

I’m taking this degree far more seriously than my first one. I’m blaming that on old age. I have newfound discipline that I never knew I had in me when it comes to my studies.

So I guess in the coming weeks I’m hoping to leverage some of that textbook-induced discipline and apply it towards my self care efforts now that I’m settled in. Because I know that I function far better when I’m looking after myself and listening to what my body needs.

Finishing my degree still feels like a long time and a lot of hard work away, and I have no idea what the end will look like for me. But I’m really glad I stopped thinking about all of the what-ifs and buts and took this giant leap of faith.

Hot Cross Buns (and Insulin)

For the better part of the last two weeks, my morning tea each day has been hot cross buns. I am absolutely addicted to the Cadbury Choc Chip hot cross buns from Woolworths, and have already made my way through the packet I stashed in my freezer. I’ve since moved onto a second pack of regular fruit buns, which I have enjoyed lightly toasted and slathered in butter.

Let’s be honest, hot cross buns aren’t exactly the most blood sugar friendly food to conquer. They have a pretty rapid effect on my blood sugar levels. I’ll need to give my rapid acting insulin dose at least 20 minutes before tucking in if I want to avoid a massive spike in my blood sugar levels. If my starting blood sugar level isn’t in range, than I know that I don’t stand a chance against the carbs. Even with that prebolus, I can probably expect my blood sugar to peak at 9 or 10mmol.

With Easter fast approaching, I’ve already seen a fair bit of commentary on social media about what people with diabetes should and shouldn’t be eating this weekend.

I feel the need to write this because I am not ashamed of what I am choosing to eat. I refuse to believe that I am a ‘reckless,’ ‘careless’ or ‘non compliant’ person who will live to see the consequences because I am not following a ‘diabetic friendly’ diet.

My game plan for the next couple of days includes coffee, chocolate, hot cross buns and a few nice family dinners. I am more than comfortable covering my carbs with insulin, and pre bolusing where needed. That’s all that really matters to me.

To be completely honest, I really couldn’t care less what a diabetes organisation, or anyone else for that matter, thinks that I should be eating over Easter.

You do you.

Have a happy and safe Easter long weekend.

Hypo Hangover.

It was twenty minutes past ten. I knew that I would be stopping for morning tea within the next ten or twenty minutes. A scan of my Libre registered 4.6 and steady, and I gave a pre bolus for the hot cross bun that I was about to eat.

By the time I was seated at the table and buttering my toasted hot cross bun, my insulin pump registered that twenty minutes had passed since my bolus.

As I sat there in my seat, a weakness swept through me. An uncomfortable sweat broke out across the entirety of my upper body. The thought of getting up to wash my plate felt far too difficult, leaving me paralysed in my seat.

I eventually willed myself back up, made my way down the hall and sank into the chair behind my desk. A scan of my Libre registered 2.3 and slipping downwards. I didn’t have the energy to grab the meter that was in arms reach of me to double check. I was tempted to correct with a glucose tab, but I knew that the hot cross bun wouldn’t take long to bring my blood sugar back up.

As I slowly devoured about three quarters of the refreshing cold water in my drink bottle, the weakness began to subside and I began to reassess how I ended up here.

The 4.6 was bordering hypo territory, meaning that I didn’t have as much room for a pre bolus as I normally would. It was also a Libre scan, and a finger prick could have been as much as half or 1mmol lower. Add to that, I hadn’t eaten breakfast earlier because I wasn’t particularly hungry, which could have heightened my insulin sensitivity.

Most of the time, hypos don’t really stop me from what I’m doing. It’s usually nothing more than the odd glucose tab to ward off a downward trend arrow, sometimes more.

But paralysing moments like these? They remind me of just how much weight rests on the decisions that I have to make each and every day.