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Review, Reflect and React

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Sometimes, all you need in a busy schedule is to set some time aside just to take a step back and see where things are. With placement, uni assignments and other personal things going, it’s hard to find ANY spare time. Let alone finding time to reflect on things! But particularly with diabetes management, I think that’s all you need, even if it’s just seeing that you’re on the right track. It’s too easy to get caught up with life, put off making that <insert health professional here> appointment, and leave it on the back burner until you have some free time or when things ‘settle down’. I mean, do things even ‘settle down’?! And this concept of ‘free time’ is absolutely foreign to me.

Admittedly, it did take an extra two weeks before I mentally slapped myself for not reorganising my six-week post DAFNE catch up. I had missed my group catch-up because I didn’t want to take time off my placement. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I kept telling myself I didn’t need a review anyway and that I was doing fine. Another part of me berated myself for paying for this course and waiting so long to actually be able to do it and now I was making excuses not to take extra time out for my own health. So I finally rescheduled my appointment with the dietitian and educator facilitators. During my review, we reflected on my personal diabetes goals, positive DAFNE related things I have experienced since my session and things I would like to work on. Interestingly, I did identify a few areas I would have liked to have further help and guidance on.

Exercise is something really important to me. It gives my brain a bit of a rest and I get a chance to release my stress and energy. Getting fitter, better diabetes management and spending more time with my boyfriend are among other reasons too of course. With everything that had been going on around me with uni and home, I decided to quit the gym and let Alexei train me. Or rather, use me as a test dummy for his Personal Training course. Together with placements, my routine was displaced. So I would fit in my exercise sporadically; whenever I could. Exercise, for me, always held that unpredictability when it came to BGLs. It doesn’t help that I can’t feel hypos when I exercise; only after I stop. But with the randomness of my exercise patterns now, both in terms of the type of exercise and frequency of exercise, my sugars had become harder to predict. I was getting a lot more lows, probably because of the extra physical activity I’m doing on placements as well.

From just that little snapshot, we devised a plan to split my Lantus dose (to avoid going low before lunch if I don’t have morning tea) and to start an exercise log. Each time I try a new type of exercise, I will attempt to test before, during and after it, as per usual, but also test in half hour blocks after my exercise to try and spot any patterns. Being a science nerd, I am a bit excited at my little experiment and seeing the results of it. Of course, for this to even start happening, I’ll actually have to exercise! But that’s another issue I will deal with separately. Also, because I’m splitting my Lantus over morning and night, it was strongly recommended that I did a 3am test to see how my sugars were holding. One of the challenges for this task was to actually remember to inject my Lantus twice a day and to only give myself half my usual dose. Mind you, I also started this over the weekend so I would probably be going to bed at about 1am, after doing some work and waking up at 3am to test and waking up again at some ungodly weekend hour to get to rehearsal or do more work. The point I’m trying to make is, this is hard work!

So far though, everything has been pretty good. Again, I haven’t really had the time to sit down an reflect on things, which is why I have a follow up phone call with the educator soon. I’m starting to really see the benefits of allocating time to discuss and focus on things, as this means that I don’t have to do it myself. After all, that’s the whole point of having a good diabetes management team right?

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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