Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Anniversary!

I've got a couple of blog posts about healthy living/a plant empowered diet/etc in draft mode but this one especially needed to happen today.

I've been focusing on this last assignment I have to do for my legal professionals course and it's doing my head in, so much formatting and rules to follow. Argh. But, I thought that I would take a chill pill and write this blog post. :)

It's my Diagnosis Anniversary today! Later on this afternoon/tonight I will have officially reached 9 years with this chronic condition. And I call it a condition because I don't like talking about Diabetes like it's a disease. For me using the word disease turns it into a weakness. And it's only recently that I've come to terms with the fact that this condition I have, is really, my greatest strength. Friends often think I'm scatter brained and unorganised. Some part of that is true... but I think I seem unorganised because I have this thing, this condition that I constantly have to take care of. I have to make sure I carry around my insulin, meter, sugar, snack, money (in case I need to buy sugar or snack). I have to think about everything single piece of food I put into my mouth. For breakfast this morning I had a banana and blueberry smoothie, so I had to work out how many carbs that was and how much insulin to inject, I needed to know what my blood sugar level was and how much insulin to inject if it's too high. I have to figure out when I can have lunch because I need to make sure there's a 2 hour gap between injecting insulin. And there's even more. I know that I'm not unorganised, not at all, I'm someone that is constantly balancing all those things every single day. 

I like to think Diabetes is about balance more than anything else. Image credit: Here

And so, things like where my phone and keys are become less important. Because I know where my insulin and meter are. It's exhausting. But it's my life and it second nature to me now. Being able to to juggle all this and still be standing is my greatest strength. It hasn't always been something I've seen as a strength but over time I've stopped resenting my Diabetes and starting thanking it for making me a stronger person. 

I've taken huge leaps in the last few months with how I deal with my diabetes. I'm trying to be more open about it. And making sure I'm testing more. I used to hardly test my blood sugar at all and now I'm sitting on that 6 - 8 times a day average. But changing how I look after myself hasn't meant that I was on an 8 and a half year holiday. It's been a constant companion with me. The main change is just really really focusing on what I'm eating, how many carbs and actually working it out (you know, instead of guessing!). I've found the website Calorie King (AU) to be a super help as it is an Australian version so has a lot of the same brands as NZ.

I'm not really even sure where this blog post was going, or how it turned into a ramble about my organisation skills. But all I know is, 9 years ago today, my pancreas stopped working. And I'm beginning to be okay with that. Dealing with Diabetes and learning to love it, isn't something that happened over night for me. But I'm getting there. 

For now, it's back to reality and finishing my assignment writing a notice of opposition to an interlocutory application:



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What's Really In Our Food?

There's a show on TV in New Zealand called "What's Really In Our Food?". The show is about debunking common myths and misunderstanding surrounding nutrition as well as looking at any other health benefits or risks that could stem from every day food.

I've only watched two of the episodes this season and they looked into the scientific aspects of food quite a bit. For example, in the "Curry" episode they attached temperature taker things to people and then got them to eat curry to see if the food actually increased your temperature. I find it to be really interesting mostly because I love food. I love cooking it, baking it, experimenting with it and just generally learning about nutrition in general. Since really taking a hold of my Diabetes and writing numerous diet records, trying to carb count more precisely, I've become really aware of what I'm eating. I've become a bit obsessed with blogs in general and a lot of what I follow are food blogs. And I'm constantly faced with this question: What's really in our food?

Case in point:

On the left hand side are eggs from the supermarket, on the right are eggs from my flatmate's parents farm. There is such an astounding different between supermarket bought eggs and ones that are free range. Look how yellow the free range eggs are?!

Seeing the comparison of these eggs side by side really gave me food for thought (Pun!).  In the past I haven't been one who is insistent on only buying organic, free range food and etcetera but this has been mainly due to financial reasons. But, just seeing that very real difference between those eggs has made me really change (or want to change) my supermarket buying habits. Living in a flat situation makes it a bit difficult but I'm doing what I can now to buy organic and free range food. One of my potential plans for next year is to live by myself for 4 - 6 months and the thought of being able to have my own pantry is very liberating and exciting. I could totally fill it with delicious, healthy and organic food! Wholegrain flour instead of white! "Lite" sauces and condiments instead of the sugar laden ones we currently get. Trim milk all the time instead of blue. I'm getting a bit side tracked here. For now, I'm working on eating healthier, greener, and just trying to make better choices. So far it's working out - I'm meeting with a dietician soon and will ask her about my diet, see if I need to add in any more protein/iron etc and to see if I'm carb counting correctly. Healthy Living for the win! 

S xx

Sunday, 21 October 2012

19km later...

One of my most annoying habits is a tendency to not finish something or to put it off for the rest of time. I can pinpoint numerous examples, the jewelry making supplies I bought off Etsy, the C25k programme I was going to start, the blog posts I have drafted but not written and published.. And these examples are from the past couple of months!

However, that being said. I am really happy to report I have finished my first long distance, endurance walk/race. It does bear some element of previous mentioned annoying habit - I had some intentions of entering it to run it - but I kept that conditional on how much training I did. As I should have anticipated, this "idea" of me running this 19km didn't come to pass. A friend I work with was going to run it and she encouraged me to enter anyway and walk it. Her justification was that it was a nice walking track and it was a fundraising events. So, I entered it and committed myself to walk the event. The event itself was held over a long weekend and was called the Twizel Hard Labour Weekend. It consisted of three events, a mountain bike on the Saturday, a run/walk on the Sunday and a road bike on the Monday. My committing to the Sunday event was made easier by the Boyfriend, who had committed himself to all three events. So there I was at the start line, ever so terrified of what I had undertaken, when said Boyfriend said to me "You don't have to do this you know." I knew in my heart, I could back out. But by him saying that I got the push I needed, I didn't want to back out, I wanted to do this and finish! And so, with that determination I took off, knowing I'd see him a bit later when he overtook me on his run.

The Map: Here's the Google Maps link for more info
The scenery itself on the course was beautiful, but there was a couple of things I'd underestimated, one being that everyone else seemed to take it way more seriously than I did! I ended up at the back of the pack, I'd thought there'd be more people taking it slow! And second, was that the giant hill in the middle of it was an absolute killer. I should have had some idea, given it was called the "Pyramid Run." All in all, even though I walked about the pace of a sloth up and over that hill, I enjoyed myself. 

Diabetes wise I'd started off the morning high at 13.2 mmol/l but I didn't correct that as I wanted the buffer in there. I'd decreased my lantus dose the night before, had breakfast as per usual. Had a glucose gel at the first drinks station, 7km right at the saddle of the pyramid. Had a museli bar at 11am and 12.30pm, checked my BSL at 12.40 and it was at 5.6mmol/l. I finished just before 1pm (having started at 8.3am) so it was probably the longest I'd ever exercised. I ate a whole bunch of carby meals following this, thinking I would drop down quite low as a result of delayed exercise blood sugar lowering but it turned out that wasn't the case. I was actually in my teens for the rest of the day. I've heard of having delayed lows of 1-2 days of lowering so I've been keeping my eyes on that.

Overall, crossing that finish line felt fantastic! It was such a adrenalin rush of happiness. I actually got really choked up with tears as I rounded the corner, something about seeing my wonderful boyfriend hobble over to me (after running said 19km!) so he could hold my hand as I crossed the finish line combined with just the physical effect of it all. I had a sly cry as he came over to greet me, but quickly wiped it away so I could cross that line. 

It felt fantastic. Something I will definitely do again. Every time I've gotten out of the car today, or stood up from sitting for a while, I feel my body creak and groan but know it is just the sign of a happy accomplishment. I'm proud of myself and proud of doing something I said I'd do a long time ago. Take that annoying habit of putting things off!

My number - gonna keep this baby around for daily inspiration :)

P.S I've just seen this blog link which talks about 3 Type 1's running their first half marathon - also very inspirational :) Canadian D-gal: 3 T1D's run a half marathon for the first time

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Why I Love My Blogroll

I recently added a blogroll to my blog. I unashamedly love it!

As I've mentioned before I've only recently discovered the DOC but I fall in love with it more and more each day. I love hearing about other diabetics experiences and that reassuring feeling that others are going through what I'm going through.

However the DOC isn't the only reason I love my blogroll.. I love it because it is my own crazy, wacky mix of things I like. Broadly speaking, there's food, fashion and the DOC. I'm not fussy about who is on my blog roll, the more the merrier! I just enjoy having a big mix of diabetes and non diabetes related stuff. All the blogs on my blogroll are ones that I personally read, there's also some that I'm yet to add.

I'm not sure how others read/subscribe to blogs, but I do mine via Google Reader, it's this handy wee part of Google/Gmail where all your blog entries are listed in one place. I've created quite the routine where I have my breakfast/coffee at work at my desk and read what's new on my blogroll. I find it to be a nice, calming start to the day.

What's on your blogroll?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Remembering To Look After Yourself... And all the things I used to do

I have to admit, one of my go to pieces of advice is something along the lines of: "Look after yourself, do what makes you happy." I think I forget to do that myself every now and then. I had two volunteer shifts for Youthline on the weekend and it reinforced the fact that I like helping others.

Volunteering is amazing! I encourage everyone to do it :)


Whenever I'm too busy, stressed out, tired I always want to forget about my diabetes. I try and hide it from it! It used to be my go to move. I'm really making an effort to stop that. And I feel better for it. It's genuinely me following my own advice, looking after my body, my health, truly makes me happy.

I'm also pretty happy that the average amount that I am testing a day is about 6 or 7 times. I used to test about once, twice, never times a day. I'm happier testing more. It's taken me a long time to realise that. I'm truly glad that I can see the change in how I look after myself and I'm much better for it. Even my boyfriend has said that "You're much better at looking after that (Diabetes) than you used to be."

Diabetes is a constant battle and I'm still fighting to get my blood sugars and A1c down. I'm more aware of the actual effect of my blood sugars now and realise that I feel like absolute rubbish when I'm high. Today was the first day this week I woke with a blood sugar level below 10 and it felt good. I was able to get up without a struggle. I'm an eternal optimist and know that I'll feel like I'm at a point where I'm finally winning the constant battle of balance. For now, I'm about ready to say good bye to my bad habits and all the things I used to do.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Shakes? Apprehension? Hunger?

I'm currently passing the time until I can check my blood sugar again. I'm trying hard to obey the 15: 15 rule: Eat 15 grabs of sugar, wait 15 mins and then test. Except the juice box I have only has 13.1grams - how unhelpful! I have two flavours of juice - Orange and Mango which is 13grams and Blackcurrant which is 17grams. So I chose the Orange and Mango tonight because my level was 3.7, if it was under 3 I would've got the Blackcurrant. Anyone in New Zealand know of any juice boxes that are exactly 15?

I often get frustrated at these lows, the ones that are low enough to feel but not to be significant. Right now I have this weird feeling of apprehension and just generally not able to concentrate. It's quite bizarre because I've found a couple of times I find myself getting really scared, must be some sort of physical tension that being hypo does. I've often notice this fear or apprehension before the other symptoms.

Anyhow - Juice did the trick. I've bounced back up to 5.2 and writing this short post has given me something to do while waiting 15 mins!

Now I get to enjoy this delicious treat slash complex carb.

It's a peanut butter sandwich rolled up - Nom nom nom

I know a lot of people add something to peanut butter but I like it on its own. And I roll it up.

What crazy feelings have you guys had when you've gone low?

S xx