Saturday, 27 February 2010...which is the start to the still rather good song by the Barenaked Ladies. But it's also, to the best of my knowledge, a first for me since DX.
One week. No hypos.
Trust me, I'm very happy about this. But the thing is that I don't really know how I've done it. If I could tell you that, I think the sense of satisfaction would be a lot greater. But the thing is that I don't know how I've done it. Like I say, I am really happy about it, but aiming for a whole week free of hypos has been emotionally draining in a manner that I haven't admitted to anyone before writing this down. And why has it been like that? Because the whole thing has been like a competition. I felt like I was running against a stop-clock the whole time.
Knowing that my goal was to get that whole week meant I had something to aim for. Now unless you've met me in person, you might not know this about me, but I am actually HORRIBLY competitive. It's not that I don't want other people to do well, because I don't think I'm that mean. It's just that I love the rush of winning. Particularly in teams, if I'm honest. I think it's because I know that as an individual, I'm likely to lose. But put me with others and I've got a chance of contributing something.
So the thought of my hypo free week being a contest was both a good and bad thing. It was good in the fact that it fired me up inside. I could do this, and dammit, I would do it. But the thing was that I was watching the clock count down to midnight every night, to say to myself that I had made it another day. But as I managed another day without, and got closer and closer to that last day, I started feeling a gnawing feeling inside of me. What if I failed? What if, despite telling myself I would do it, I simply couldn't? At the end of the day, I'm fighting my own body, in all its broken-ness. Would I just end up with overwhelming feelings of disappointment, failure and self loathing? Was I just perpetuating self-defeating behaviours, or was I setting myself a realistic goal? (On the topic of self-defeating behaviours, I highly recommend listening to the podcast on overcoming them on Chronic Babe)
Last night was day seven. And at 22:00 last night, the meter read 3.9mmol/l. One test, two test, three test. They all came up with 3.9. And to get three completely identical tests, without not even 0.1mmol/l variation is SO rare for me that I can't even begin to explain it. I was so close to screaming, crying, smashing up whatever was at hand. I don't know how I didn't, to tell you the truth. Give it five minutes, I said, and see what it says. If it goes back up, it's a meter error. And it did go back up. 4.8mmol/l. False alarm. But what was I doing to myself to achieve this goal? Realistic goals are a great thing, I'm a firm believer in that. But this victory has a slightly bitter taste to it. Because I've been on edge, constantly waiting for this to fall apart. And now, as soon as I find myself having a real hypo, I'm going to feel like a failure. It doesn't matter what I managed before.
So the victory tastes bitter. Possibly because a part of my mind has gone 'Well, if you managed a whole week without hypos, maybe this whole diabetes thing isn't real.'. Now don't even get me started on how freaking stupid that is. (Plus, I'll be talking about that tomorrow, probably) But it is real, and eventually this winning streak is going to end.
This clip from an episode of Scrubs in which Dr Cox and Elliot are chasing a 'perfect game' - a whole 24 hours with no-one dying really says everything for me. And really I should listen to Dr Cox. Watch it (even though this clip from the DVD doesn't have the original music on it, which was much better)
And to end back with the Barenaked Ladies, 'It's been one week since you looked at me, threw your arms in the air and said 'You're crazy!''
And I probably am a little bit. But aren't we all?
Tuesday, 23 February 2010It's taken me more than a week, but I've reached Day Seven. I said on Day One that I would come to the Sin that I am most guilty of soon enough. And here we are.
I've always been the jealous type. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. It probably comes from the fact that I'm fundamentally insecure about so many things. I'm used to being second best. Second choice.
So feeling envious is familiar territory. It's nothing new to me. I try to restrain it, but it's difficult. These days I find myself thinking how to rationalise being envious of someone because a part of them isn't broken. How do you make sense of the fact that some days you find yourself resenting people because one of their organs works properly? And there is only one real answer. You can't. Because it doesn't make any sense.I'll be honest - I never really appreciated how great an organ my pancreas was. I suppose it's like they say, you don't know what you've got til it's gone. But now there's an awful lot I would do to get it back.
Watching people eating without worrying about how many grams of carb is in what they're putting in their mouth. Having pasta in the middle of the day, or eating garlic bread with it? Carb on carb? A total no-no. And then from time to time finding yourself jealous of other diabetics who have proper carb-to-insulin ratios, rather than the botched attempt of trying to guess things that you have. Of people on pumps who can bolus easily, even though it makes no sense to be envious of them because you don't even WANT a pump.
The days that you're sick and tired of your fingers hurting, and injecting. Of thinking about every mouthful of food, and what it might do to you. Of not just being able to put off lunch for a half hour, because it might send you hypo. And if it turns out to be a bad one, it could ruin your afternoon.
It's a bit like a fungus that grows inside of you. It doesn't feel good, and it doesn't actually help a thing. But it's hard to get rid of. It's like a monster, a shadow that just doesn't want to leave.
Random person eating a packet of my favourite crisps? I'm jealous of you, because I want those crisps. And I want your pancreas. There are moments when I almost hate you. And that makes me sad, because I don't hate. I can dislike, and I do. Strongly. But you, random person with the working pancreas? I could never say to you what I feel. Because you'd think I was crazy. But the thing is, I'm not. At least in my eyes.
I'm not crazy. I'm just missing something I used to have that made me able to do all the things you still do.
Saturday, 20 February 2010I'm double posting today, but I'm really wanting to carry on with this series. I did plan to get this finished within seven days. Yesterday I planned to address the sin I'm writing about now.
But I was too tired.
The irony is not lost, believe me. But I have been tired. I'm trying to get a lot of things done right now. But the problem I have though, is that the more I have to do, quite frequently the more tired I get, and the less I actually achieve.
I find this the to be particularly true with things such as writing my blood sugar scores into my log book. I never want to do it, and I forget about it. Then I become less inclined to do it because I feel more and more guilty about the fact I haven't done it in the first place.
I just realised tonight that I need to order some more needles. I now can't do this til Monday. Monday is the 22nd. I remembered that I need to book a prescription review appointment, because I need to do a review before the 24th. Now I won't get one in time, I'm sure, so I'm rather debating bulk ordering strips and needles. It's not like they're things I won't use. I get a bit frustrated with booking things through my GP, rather than through the hospital. They tend to get a bit confused.
So much to do. So little time. Struggling for energy. Which is why I've booked Monday off work....
Friday, 19 February 2010Aha! Now see, I'm proving my own point about why DiDkA is saying such important things.I went out for a drink after finishing work today with a couple of colleagues. I sat down minding the table, whilst they went to get in a round. Not drinking, I asked for a diet cola.
When they came back with it, I took one sip and alarm bells started ringing.
This isn't diet.
So being the responsible DiDkA advocate, I went back to the bar, and told the girl behind the bar that I was concerned that this was regular.No, it's diet.
I was completely stunned at this woman's attitude.'Look,' I tell her, 'I'm a diabetic, and I'm quite cautious about this. I don't think this is diet. Could I possibly get a replacement?'
'No, I poured it, it's diet.' She pours a small amount off the pump, and gives it me to sip.
'Is this diet?'
'It's definitely diet'
'Well, I'm afraid that tastes completely different to me. Could I please get a replacement?'
Lather, rinse, repeat for a while, before she FINALLY gives me a new glass.
I've had a similar thing happen in the past, but it was the unbelievably aggressive attitude that the woman showed me - like I was totally inconveniencing her, or that I was stupid. I wasn't having that. I was polite enough to her, I hadn't bought the drink myself, so there was no way she remembered me buying the drink.
It does happen, and if I hadn't been so stubborn, today it could have happened to me.
Let's get fighting, ladies and gents.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010I am a day late, but I have just consumed four pancakes. And they were good (elongate the 'o' a whole lot, and you'll get there).
But I could have eaten four again.
Food and I have a bit of a weird relationship these days. Sure, I'm healthier, and I'm thinner than I've been in a long time. And I know there's nothing that I can't have. But I do know that there are plenty of things that I shouldn't. But I want things.
I came to love yoghurt-coated crystallised ginger a few months ago. Then I discovered it was pretty much 90% sugar. A second bowl of cereal. Fruit juice. Oh my word, fruit juice. Smoothies.I can't carb count properly yet, because I need something along the lines of a quarter-unit pen to be able to do it. Which makes so many things frustrating.
I had a Malteaster Bunny today. I love these things, I really do. And though I was not low, I was heading that way, so I felt it was a sensible move. But then I felt bad. I don't hold with the whole 'a moment on the lips' rubbish. I think it's patronising. However, it's a moment of 'good', which leads to guilt afterwards. And it's guilt which I feel guilty about afterwards.
Yet I would still happily have four more pancakes and that other Malteaster Bunny that's hidden in my bag because it's almost bang on 15g of carb and makes a perfect post-glucotab treat.
Some days you just can't win.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010I'm breathing deeply in for the count of eight. Hold and release to the count of eight.
I am a temple of calm. I am a leaf on the wind.Oh who am I kidding? No-one, that's who. Now, I'll be straight up with you - I get frustrated a lot. I get mad. I get wound up. But it's a rare few people who have ever seen me be full-on, red capital letters ANGRY. And it's a cliché I know, but you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I'm not fun.
But what the rage does sometimes give you, if you channel it right, is passion. It does for me. I don't like injustice. I don't like seeing people beaten down or treated badly. So seeing injustice on both a personal scale, such as with my friends, or on a larger scale, really makes me wish there was more I could do.
I have a bit of a not-so-well-hidden love for Wonder Woman. I don't know why really, since I've never read the comics, or particularly watched the old TV show. But trust me there are days that I wish I was Wonder Woman. I could help right the injustices that make me so mad.
I'd get Sam over at Talking Blood Glucose her pump. I'd sort out all the Type 2's I'm friends with with their test strip problems. I'd get CGMs for the people that need them. Then I'd go global and put the world to rights. Because I just can't take seeing people hurting.
So now I think it's only fair to talk quickly about something that made me so mad that I just had to do something about it.
I've become fairly heavily involved with a project called DiDkA, which stands for Diet Drink Awareness. You'll probably hear a lot about it on here from now on. It started out because some of us over at Diabetes Support got very, very angry about stories of people being served full sugar drinks when we've asked for diet, and seeing our blood sugars soar. So we've decided to try and recruit people to our cause. So I'm asking you, dear reader to get behind us. Join us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter, and bookmark our website. It's all going live hopefully by the start of March, where we're approaching Diabetes UK, starting an information-gathering campaign and hoping to convert anywhere that sells soft drinks, by signing them up to the DiDkA pledge. Right now, we need your numbers. We're also going to need your stories. We need people to stand up and say 'This is what happened to me! This is dangerous, please listen!' Will you stand up with us?
I'm standing up. I'm getting political. Because I'm angry.
Monday, 15 February 2010Pride's a funny thing. No, honestly. It's something that it's important to have in moderation, but, being one of the Seven Deadly Sins, is something you've got to be very careful with. And with me in particular, it's something that I have a bit of a strange relationship with.
I don't have buckets of self confidence, if I'm honest. Now, it's possible that quite a few people would be surprised by that. I'm a performer at heart. I'll quite happily get up and sing, dance, act in front of people - it's what I'm trained to do, after all. It's what I know. But that's me performing. It's not actually me. So being that I'm not an innately confident person, you might not think I'd have a problem with pride. But of course I do. Everyone does, when you get down to it.
Quite often for me, when I think I'm too proud for a thing, it's probably more accurate to say that I'm being stubborn about a thing. I was too proud to admit that I was having health problems before my D-Day. I didn't want to appear weak, or like I couldn't handle a thing. And that is one of my major flaws. I don't like to appear vulnerable in the eyes of others. I rely very much on feeling like I'm in control, and it really gets to me when I'm not.
Which is tough nuts really, where diabetes is concerned. When I was in hospital, I did not like to find myself pee-ing in the cardboard trays and cups. It was embarrassing. I didn't (and still don't) like admitting not understanding a thing. Which is how I got into rather a confusion over whether insulin pens were single use only. I didn't like showing I was scared. Again, I still don't. But like I say, it's tough nuts. Diabetes doesn't give two hoots about my pride. It doesn't care if I don't want to pee in the cup. It doesn't care if I'm embarrassed that I'm shaking like crazy, and I just can't stop, or want people to stop staring at me.
I went to see Whistle Down the Wind in Sheffield the weekend before last. Now much to my joy, I discovered it was starring Jonathan Ansell (ex-lead singer of G4, and all round classical delight for those of you not in the know), who I've been a fan of since I was at the start of my second year of university. I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I discovered he was doing a meet and greet after the performance. So determined was I to get to the front of the queue that I accidentally walked straight past him in the corridor at great speed. I'd already had one hypo before the performance, when I decided to check my sugars before the curtain went up. But I was stood waiting patiently with my programme in hand, when I felt myself shaking. Before I could do anything about it, it was my turn. And I can't remember exactly what I said to him, but I know it was complete garbage. I knew I was plummeting down the numbers too quickly. I wanted to get a picture with him, but I said to everyone (including myself) that I wasn't going to be 'that person'. But in my heart of hearts, I knew I wasn't feeling right, but just wanted to blame it on not wanting to be 'lame'.
I stepped to the side, with my autographed programme. I ate down the glucotabs. I ate down the mini Mars bar. I struggled to hold my water bottle with my shaky hands. I didn't get my picture, and felt pathetic. Not just for wanting my picture taken with him. But for the fact I was leaning on the confectionery case unable to hold the water bottle steady. No, I wasn't having this. It didn't happen to me.
But it did. And it does. And it will.Regardless of whether I want it to or not, there will still be times that my pride has to take a sidestep. There will be times where I have to say 'No, I need to stop'. There will be times when the second or third hypo of the day has drained me, and I can't face walking any further. There will come times where I'll have to say 'I'm scared', or 'I don't understand'.
But that doesn't mean that I have to like it. I just need to learn to accept it with some more humility than right now.
And I'm trying
Sunday, 14 February 2010In case you weren't aware, looking anywhere on the internet today would alert you to the fact that it's Valentine's Day. 'Really?' I hear you say. Well, apparently so. So what could be more appropriate for me to turn my attention to in day two of my Seven Deadly Sins week than Lust?
So if you're my Mum (unlikely!), or someone who just doesn't want to go there, I'll suggest that you have a look at Oddly Specific for the amount of time it would normally take you to read my posts, and I'll welcome you back tomorrow. Everyone else, I suggest you look at that after you've finished reading the post, because it cracks me up.
To be honest though, this isn't going to be so much about lust as it is about relationships. At work on Friday, someone from a local bar rang the door, and looked me up and down when I answered. She then went 'here, these are for you and the singletons that work here', and handed me some leaflets. For speed dating. Oh and two for £6.00 Strawberry Woo-Woos. Charming.
But I have been single for a rather long time now. I've never really been in a relationship. And at (so close to it's rather pointless to refer to myself as being anything else) 25, it's not something I'm proud of. It does quite often make me wonder if it's something about me that makes me fundamentally un-datable. But that's another story. I'm not after sympathy or anything along those lines. What I am after is a chance to be honest with those of you reading this.
I wonder about what my future relationships are going to be like. How to explain diabetes to someone who I'm interested in. This huge part of my life that is so integral to me is going to be a huge part of their life too. What are they going to think of it? Are they going to be interested, or just want me to get on with it by myself? I know in my heart of hearts, that if they're anyone I'm going to want to spend my life with, they're going to want to support me through it. But how many of those guys are out there? I know people who have found them, and I'm so thrilled for them. I just hope that you've left some out there for the rest of us!
Then of course you've got sex. Now, I'm not ashamed to say that I've never had it. I don't personally believe in sex before marriage, and since I've just admitted that I'm a chronic single, well, you can do the maths! So I've never experienced sex without diabetes, but I'm of an age where, well, I could have if I'd wanted to, unlike many of my D-friends, who were diagnosed as children.
As far as I know, sex, more often than not, equals hypos. At the moment, I get the shakes something horrible when I'm hypo. I talk rubbish. That's not sexy. And when you don't feel sexy at the best of times, knowing that ending up shaking and talking absolute garbage isn't particularly appealing. Hold on darling, I just need to drink this juice. Hmmm....
But more than that, can they love me with diabetes as much as they'd love me without it? Now, there's a thinker.
Happy February 14th to you all xx
Saturday, 13 February 2010So I've thought up a bit of a series that I'm hoping to complete over the next week. Each day I'm going to tackle one of the seven deadly sins.
So today we're looking at greed.
In general, I don't like to think of myself as a particularly greedy person. I suppose nobody likes to think of themselves as being susceptible to vices. And of all of them, I don't think greed is my major downfall. That one comes later, ladies and gents.Yet, at the same time, I can see myself getting more and more keen to own the latest diabetes related gadgets. Words cannot describe how thrilled I was at the arrival of my super-sexy new PURPLE Asencia Contour meter came. It had a new finger pricker! It had an adjustable alarm! It had 7, 14 and 30 day averages! I could set my own high and low targets. I was in love. It did mean I had to give up my old pink meter wallet, but since that was fairly blood stained by now, I wasn't too heartbroken. After all, this thing was purple! Thank you Bayer Diabetes.
So speaking of Bayer, and their wonderful meters. I can see my own greed flash in front of my eyes, when I so utterly and desperately want their USB full colour meter. Oh yes, I do.
It's gorgeous. It plugs into your USB drive. And much as I love my sexy as anything purple meter, I do really fancy one of these. Supposedly 'Coming in 2010' like a great film, I bet it doesn't come out 'til December, or something silly like that.
But it's not just spiffy technology that I'm after at the moment. I got an email in my inbox from a certain medical supply website, saying that there were new items in stock.
So I went and had a look, and saw these bad boys. Now I can hear you saying '.....er, Becky, that's a piece of plastic.'. And yes, I know it is. But it holds four Glucotabs! It fits to your keys, or the corner of your bag. I'm forever rummaging around the bottom of my bag to find my Glucotabs. And then I end up with the OTHER tube that I use to keep my sharps in when I'm out and about. So, yes, I would really like that piece of plastic.
In a much more practical mindset, I'm also rather hankering after this medical ID bracelet, since the one I currently have is a much more delicate affair. My average day can involve dance practices, or lugging huge boxes, or steel decking around, and I'm always rather afraid that it's going to snap. Call me a bit paranoid, but after the last one I had snapped into a million pieces whilst I was simply walking across the floor, I'm after something a bit more hard-wearing for certain activities.
But the thing I then have to ask myself of course, is do I actually NEED any of this? And the answer is no, of course I don't. All I have to do is think about organisations like Dream Trust, and then my desire for a flashy new toy, or a more convenient holder for my Glucotabs suddenly becomes a bit more insignificant.
But I'm not meaning to preach here. I still want these things, but I just need to think about it in a different perspective sometimes, I suppose.
Thursday, 4 February 2010Well I promised you a guest post. And here it is. This is from the wonderful Sam, whose blog has a new home at TalkingBloodGlucose.com . I highly suggest going and checking out her posts - they're always very entertaining!
Well, I'll let her take it away. And I'm always looking for people to submit guest posts. Let me know if you fancy it!
There’s nothing worse than finding something sharp in your shoe/slipper/sock. Usually it culminates with a lot of jumping around yelling the odds, but then you take shoe/slipper/sock off and find the culprit.
One tiny used blood testing strip.
This is something I always find amazing. Why is it, even though used test strips always end up in the bin they somehow end up in the most random of places. I found one in the bed this morning, on my other half’s side of the bed. More often that not I find them in my shoes, or in the tiny space between the carpet and the kitchen door, or in the bathroom. I just don’t understand it.
You know, I can understand them being at the bottom of my handbag. Let’s face it, I’m lazy when I go out and always throw blood strips in my handbag. But when I’m at work and I find them on the floor and under the tables, that’s when I really start scratching my head.
Are they made of some magnetic substance that attracts it to the most random of places? I can’t even remember the amount of times I’ve put my hand down on the sofa and found a strip stuck to it. And it’s worse when they end up in the bottom of your shoe and poke you.
The way to stop this is simple. Pick up used blood strip, carry to bin, deposit in bin. Then why does it never work? Do they fall out of the bin as you carry the bin bag out of the door, or do they grow legs?
Maybe the blood strips are conspiring against us…
It’s all one big conspiracy theory…
Wednesday, 3 February 2010Tomorrow I will be enlightening any of you reading who don't know about it, about the Diet Drink Awareness Campaign which is running on Facebook.
However, for now I would like to present to you two different vlogs, chronicling some real stupidity on my part. I haven't actually watched these, but I imagine they're 'enlightening'.Vlog one: Bamboo Pudding
Now following that one up with this one.
And so the evening continues....