My Diabetes Inklings

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 6 – Diabetes Art

Day 5 – Visual, literal or musical.

D is for…

D is for the dark days we have
Where blood sugars represent a roller coaster
And the sight of lollies leaves you gagging
Yet we persevere on

D is for the dumb questions we get
No, there is no good and bad diabetes
No, it’s not curable by diet and exercise
And no, it’s not contagious

D is for dominance
Something diabetes doesn’t have over me
Diabetes will never be the boss of me
I will triumph

D is for damned
For which we are most certainly not
Diabetes does not determine my life
I am not afraid to dream big!

D is for the dreams we have
For everything we want to achieve in life
Nothing will get in our way
Especially not this sneaky pancreas

D is for diabetes
This terrible but enlightening ‘disease’ we have
Full of bad times but good discoveries
Such a bittersweet diagnosis

My Diabetes Inklings

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 5 – Freaky Friday

Day 5 – If you could swap with one chronic condition, which would it be?

Swap? SWAP?! Could I just “swap” for no chronic condition? Pretty please?

I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to live with any other chronic condition apart from diabetes. I’ve grown accustomed to life with diabetes, just like Sideshow Bob grew accustomed to Bart Simpson’s face. A diagnosis with any chronic condition is a life changing event and the thought of having to adjust life again just makes me cringe. Not that we have much choice in the matter of course. I think every condition has its bad sides and good sides and it’s easy to get buried and lost when times get tough. It’s also interesting how having a ‘condition’ or ‘disease’ has that natural connotation of a tough and limited life. But it definitely doesn’t have to be that way. My boyfriend is very timely at reminding me that if we focus on the negatives, that is all we will ever see. Diabetes, like any other ‘chronic condition’ has changed my life. However, I refuse to say that it has made life more difficult or complicated. That’s not to say it hasn’t at times of course, but everyone has their own struggles and little road bumps here and there. Instead, I would like to say that diabetes has changed me for the better. And in many ways, it has.

Diabetes came as a rude shock to me, my family and friends. I remember going out for dinner with my friends and refusing coke, saying I can’t drink it anymore because I have diabetes. I was greeted by a stunned and awkward silence. I remember sitting in front of a meal and just dreading eating all the carbs because I knew it would affect my sugar levels. I remember being disappointed when I excitedly told my doctor that my levels have finally fallen below 10 but still wasn’t good enough. I was even more upset when my endo told me what my target range was. (Hint: it was far from what I was at!) I remember the dread of going onto needles and feeling like I’ve failed myself and mum because she had worked so hard to keep us active and eating right to avoid this. I remember feeling like my world was collapsing around me. Most of all, I remember feeling so alone, isolated, lost and hopeless.

I tried desperately to reach out. I didn’t know what I was looking for but bloody hell was I looking! I tried attending educational services like carb counting and asking about support groups for people my age. But I was told there was nothing for me because on paper, I had type 2 diabetes and not type 1. Everyone in the waiting rooms at my clinic were generations apart from me. Needless to say, I didn’t make many new d-buddies there. But then I found out about Diabetes Camp Victoria, and my life changed.

Going on my first camp as a volunteer was the most liberating experience I’ve ever had. I found a new family – my diabetes family. They welcomed me with open arms and took my under their wing. Suddenly, I had a group of people who understood my frustrations with diabetes. They opened my eyes to the world of type 1 diabetes and to say I learned a lot that week of camp was an understatement. They didn’t let diabetes stand in their way of life. No way! They have accepted it as being part of their lives and carried on doing what they want. To say that these guys were inspirational is also an understatement.

Since discovering camps, I’ve also discovered the diabetes online community (DOC) through blogging and joining the twitter sphere. All I can say is that some the achievements that these guys have accomplished has my mind blown! The DOC is such a supportive and warm environment. Even during times of controversy within the community, we are always there for each other. And can I just say the DOC has kicked some serious troll butts in the past! Just goes to show that you should don’t mess with diabetics! Ever! And because the DOC reaches out worldwide, there is always someone online willing to keep you company while treating that 3am hypo. The DOC never sleeps!

Another thing I would credit the DOC for is for being my inspiration and motivation to keep pursuing my research and studies. Young adults with type 2 diabetes are definitely a minority and sometimes they feel like they aren’t being heard. Having been in a similar situation, I’m determined to help them by being a voice. I’ve always liked helping and educating others and now I am very much looking forward to giving back as much as I can to a community who has helped me out by reminding me of all the good things embedded in life with diabetes. And I think it’s for that very reason that I refuse to swap my ‘chronic condition’ for any other!

My Diabetes Inklings

Diabetes Blog Week – Day 4 – Accomplishments big and small

Day 4 – Greatest accomplishment in managing your diabetes.

What seems like an everyday routine for some, may actually be something crazy for others. We often overlook and take for granted things that we do on a daily basis. I’m sure we’re all familiar with people see us testing or injecting and they say ‘I could never do that’. Well, if we were talking about choosing to live and be healthy or to die from diabetes complications, I know you will do what you need to to stay out of the second category. Having said that, what people living with diabetes deal with everyday is no simple feat!

I remember the first time I pricked my finger to test my sugars. It took me a good few big breaths before I plucked up the courage to click the button. Since then I’ve done it at least 5 times a day, everyday. Same goes to the first time I injected myself. The first month after starting on injections saw my tummy area filled with all sorts of colourful bruises because I just couldn’t get it right. That’s not saying the bruises don’t occur from time to time now. But compared to what it was when I first started, I think it’s fair to say that I have come a fair way. Basic diabetes management skills involving needles – mission accomplished.

Another achievement that I am proud of myself for is the reassembling of my diabetes healthcare team. I was initially really happy with the team that I had been referred to, especially seeing as I have not been exposed to other diabetes healthcare professionals. But even within the hospital I was at, I would never see the same endo more than twice just due to workings of a public system. I was lucky enough to have the same educator most of the time, who was great. However, there came a point where I felt that they didn’t know what to do with me anymore. And because my endo was always changing, further testing plans always got lost along the way and so did repoire. I knew I should get a second opinion, but I was too scared of finding other doctors and having to find out the processes and the way things work beyond the system I currently knew seemed like too much. It was pretty much fear of the unknown and feeling daunted by the paperwork process. There was a lot of waiting and chasing things up from various people, but it was definitely worth it at the end. I found a fantastic private endo, who I’m sticking with, who understands the position I’m in with my diagnosis and is willing to do what it takes to get the best management plan suited to me.

On top of everything, I think my biggest accomplishment to date is simply not letting diabetes get in the way of life. It’s too easy to get into the mind frame of always being and feeling sick. And it’s definitely way too easy to use diabetes as an excuse for things. (especially when it comes to exercise!) Some days of living with diabetes is definitely tougher than others, but so far nothing has stopped me from anything that I’ve set my mind to.