Thursday, 19 December 2013


There's been a few changes for me this year. Most important and obvious to this blog, is the change in Diabetes Management by switching to a pump. So far, it's going great and I am loving the stability I seem to be getting. But still work needed on adjusting basal rates etc. 

But that's not the only thing, I recently started a new job and I am also in the process of moving in with my wonderful other half. Slowly, quietly and most sneakily I've felt my priorities changing. I'm noticing all the proposals and new house announcements on facebook. I feel my life is heading in this wonderful brand new direction and I'm loving it!

I really love writing so I am currently thinking about where I should take this blog going forward. I've always wanted to include more food based blogs but wondering if anyone else wants to hear anything about me and my piece of the world? A Diabetic New Zealander's view on our health care system? I think it's important for me to have structure so sometime over the holidays while it's quiet I am going to come up with a plan :)

In the mean time, happy holidays to all over this festive season!

S x

Friday, 29 November 2013

When you're diabetic you don't think this way

When I saw a giant 3MMOL/L jump up on my meter my heart stopped

I looked at my pump and saw I had numerous of units on board.. My brain and heart went to thinking about how much glucose to take, where my nearest source was. How many carbs to eat to compensate for what was in my body. Where these carbs were, what I could eat. 

But then for a moment, I caught a glimpse of a thought, of a consideration, that if I wasn't diabetic, I wouldn't have to think this way. It was more than the usual "Oh, not this again" - and not because I put myself in a situation regularly, but because.. it happens. 

I had that thought. The one I know "we" have. The one I don't like to think about. 

There are others around me that don't have to think about all these things stated above. And I wish. I wish it were me.

And then I remember. A part of me loves being diabetic. The part that I'm not ready to accept yet, the part that hopes I will be ready to accept it in the future. I'm ten years in. I wish it wasn't so but it is. Thinking, wishing, wanting, waiting for a cure isn't going to help me. It's not a thought train I jump on often. But sometimes, I find myself thinking about life for others that doesn't include diabetes. And I can't help feeling jealous. I don't think it's jealosly of day to day life. It's jealously that they don't have to deal with near death situations of low blood sugars in their own lives. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month - Photo A Day: Work

Day 12 - Work

Feeding the baby cows with misc. chickens

This isn't what I do for a job. It's what my other half does. I was helping :)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month - Photo A Day: Play


I found this photo while scrolling through a bunch of old photos and thought - ZING this photo definitely captures play for me.

It was taken last summer in Central Otago and was the representation of a spectacular afternoon in the sunshine, with an old friend, drinking cider and eating cheese. Nom. 

On a side note, I'm trying to keep up with this Photo A Day thing but keep skipping some! Oops. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month - Photo A Day: Exercise


I don't crank these babies as often as I'd like, but when I do I am always thankful for it.

I really wish I was one of those people that exercised 5 - 6 times a week for at least an hour, that could run 5km easily and could do a bunch of push ups without feeling like my arms will fall off.

I'm not. But one day I hope I'll get there. I exercise at least once a week, sometimes 2,3 or 4 times. I know it should be more. I'm finding my way with exercising and congratulate myself for every time I do get out. Every single bit of exercise helps!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month - Photo A Day Relationship

Day 6: Relationship

The most important relationship in my life is my fantastic, spectacular boyfriend. This photo was taken on our recent trip to the States. It's one of my favourites even though it's just our shadows :)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Starting My Animas Vibe Insulin Pump

I was connected to my lovely blue Animas Vibe on the 14th of October 2013. It's been almost three weeks and I feel in some ways I have settled in quite nicely to it. I thought I would take the time to run through what it has been like for me and how I found the training.

As I mentioned in another post I was lucky enough to "meet" Kaitake another T1D from the North Island of New Zealand. She posted a couple of super comprehensive posts about her pump start, see part one here and part two here. Her pump training was a couple of weeks before mine so it was really reassuring to read about someone else's experience with it.

For my training, there were three diabetics, two nurse educators (who popped in and out), our pump trainer and I had brought along my other half for the morning of Day One. I felt a little bit silly being the only one having a support person but I am 100% happy he came along. It wasn't because I needed support but because I wanted him to learn about the Insulin Pump and how it works. Afterwards he said to me that he thought it was a really great idea for him to come so I was so so glad that he felt happy to be learning about it.

Our first step was the introductions and the next one was to put in an infusion site! It seemed like a pretty big jump, I thought we'd be talking about the pump for a bit before doing something practical. Three of us in the training were using the same infusion set and the other was using a manual inserter. I think I could possibly look at using a manual inserter in the future but for now I am happy with my Inset 30. The trainer stuck one on her first - which I think is a fantastic teaching method. You shouldn't be prepared to teach something that you're not prepared to do yourself. I was the last to do mine and it took me a few times before I actually squeezed the two ends and put the set in.

Infusion set  and line 

You can't see but the needle on it is quite long which made it a wee bit intimidating for me. However, it doesn't all go into your skin. I've changed my set about 7 or 8 times and it's still a wee bit scary for me. It takes a few seconds for me to calm myself down and press on the set to  pop the needle and cannula out. It actually makes a rather loud thwack noise too! Putting it in the first time was nerve wracking for me, I'm not a fan of the unknown. Once I knew what it was like and the pain of it, it became much easier. It's not that painful either, just like a quick pinch.

The next step was filling the cartridge. We watched the trainer fill a cartridge once and for the next step we all filled a cartridge with "pretendy" insulin (it actually said that on the vial) and then we all did it for real. There's a lot to filling a cartridge a

AND THEN - I was connected about midday on the 14th and I have been ever since.

Except for when I shower - I disconnect then. And for... bedroom activities. ;)

There's obviously a lot to the training. We went through Insulin Sensitivity Factors, Insulin On Board, Temporary Basals, Insulin Correction doses in the absence of ketones, Correction doses with ketones, Sick Days etc.

These are the two giant booklets that come with the pump

And even after 1.5 days of training there is still more - these are the advanced features which I am yet to learn about. I really wanted to know about them straight away but I think they refrain so you can get to know the pump without being overwhelmed. It totally makes sense but I had already read ahead and wanted to learn about the EZ Bolus features. My DNE is happy for me to learn about them when I feel ready so I have an appointment booked this week for the pump trainer where she'll go through it with me.

I must say that I was really happy with the trainer. She was friendly without being your best friend (you know how annoying that can be of strangers?) and approachable (feel free to call at any time) and realistic (Please don't call to order consumables off me after hours).

I am loving the pump but there are down sides, extra stuff to carry around, extra testing, the need to be extra careful with carb counting, the need to find it somewhere to go on your clothes. But I think these all outweigh the general ease of not doing injections 4-5 times a day. I'm seeing it make a difference on my day time numbers and seem to be stable a lot more often through the day. I'm struggling a little bit with overnight numbers but working on that.

I'm excited for what's to come on life with a pump :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month Photo A Day - Snacks

Day 2 - Snacks

A new favourite: Rice Crackers with Feta Cheese - About 16 grams of CHO

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month Photo A Day - Check

Day 2: Check

For the first time since being connected to the pump 20 days ago, I woke up and my pump was not attached to me. The tubing had come attached from the cartridge. Detective work tells me that when I changed the cartridge the night before I must not have screwed the tubing in tight enough. So when I woke up to use the bathroom - I freaked out not seeing it attached! I check my blood sugar (what feels like) all day every day but this moment was definitely a freaking time to check!

Blood Sugar at 17.7 mmol/l (319 mg/dl) and Blood Ketones at 1.1 - my body was in need of some insulin!

The ketones worked their way out of my system and my blood sugar came down into normal range - I am so glad I have these pieces of technology in my Diabetes tool kit. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Diabetes Awareness Month Photo A Day - Past

I thought I would have a go at taking part in Diabetes Month Photo A Day

For Day One - Past

The last Lantus shot I took

I've had the pump for almost three weeks and loving it so far! I am quite glad that the 5-6 a day injections are in my past.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Animas Vibe? Hello new friend!


I'm connected! Excuse the poor photos. 

I still can't believe I have this device. I feel lucky and grateful. And happy and excited to see the difference it makes on my blood sugar levels. 

This is the pump connected to my belt right underneath my.....boob. 

My current Basal Rate - these are going to need some tweaking.

I'll write a longer post at a later date. I'm feeling a bit sleep deprived at the moment and am home from work ready to nap. 

Any one have any specific questions relating to a pump start? I want to record my feelings/thoughts/reactions as I know looking back it'll be the start of something new and I want it recorded :)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The long and winding road to becoming an insulin pumper

On the 9th of August I received funding approval for insulin pump consumables from Pharmac - due to a bit of a mix up I received funding for the actual insulin pump two weeks later. I am on my way to becoming an insulin pumper. Well on my way.

This isn't a post on pumping. This is a post on my feelings of having diabetes and how it has influenced my pumping decision.

My feelings on Insulin Pumps - Through the ages. 

I was diagnosed at the age of 15 and was initially put on a twice a day insulin regime, taking Protaphane at 7am and 7pm. For the life of me, I can't remember how long that lasted for. A little while, a couple of months. I don't think it was longer than 6 months. I remember my blood sugar not getting lower than 15 mmol/l and it'd been warned if that happened I needed to go to the Emergency Department, I did that and luckily didn't have Ketoacidosis. I did still have to have those painful blood tests where they take blood out of your wrist. I think that's my diabetes nemesis. The day after that visit to the Emergency Department I was put on the more usual regime, taking novorapid before meals. I remember at that time, or not long after I switched regimes that my Diabetes Educator gave me a brochure about insulin pumps. I'd had a read and they looked pretty cool but were expensive. Had it been a more viable option financially I'm sure it would have been something my parents looked into for me. But alas, it wasn't.

Insulin pumps have always been something I was aware of but wasn't something I gave much thought too. I was on Protaphane from 2003 - 2010. I was offered the switch to Lantus on 2005 but it wasn't funded back then. I'm sure my parents would have paid for it if I had asked but the big reason I was happy to stay on Protaphane was that Lantus was not available for pens in 2005 (not in NZ anyway), so I would have had to have used syringes. I was and in some ways still am, a needle phobic person. Syringes? No thank you. In hindsight, the protaphane's peaks and lulls and my own less than stellar timing of taking injections, resulted in some pretty scary lows in 2006/7/8. However. I was young and wasn't in good contact with the Diabetes Department at the Hospital. I visited the GP occasionally for insulin prescription repeats and also went to diabetes check ups with the nurse there. Somewhere between diagnosis, high school and going to Uni,  my feeling of needing to hide my diabetes began. I was growing up! I liked the feeling of independence I had! Over the years, this turned into a dislike of my diabetes. Having Diabetes made me feel like I was reliant on someone or something. I hated the idea of people needing to watch out for me, of being less than other people because I had this chronic medical condition. During this time, I barely kept up with advances in technology. In fact, one day I went to the Pharmacy and they'd told me my prescription for test strips was for the wrong type of meter. It turns out the meters had changed and I didn't even know. The girl I know today would have not let the technology pass her by! Back then though, I didn't follow the technology updates, or the DOC or anything diabetes related really. I let my prescriptions to Diabetes New Zealand and to Accu Chek expire which meant I didn't get their newsletters.

This isn't to say that my experience with Diabetes over those years was all bad. I met someone in 2006 who was in some ways a bit of a role model for me. She wasn't afraid of testing or injecting in public. Or of asking a bar tender for a free coke as her blood sugar was low.

My outlook on life with Diabetes slowly began changing, it did include a couple of very scary moments including being woken up my paramedics in my bedroom and in ICU for ketoacidosis. I've always thought about writing about them on my blog but haven't yet. Maybe soon. But where was I? Insulin pumps!

When I discovered the DOC, my reality changed entirely. I was suddenly not alone. And one thing I noticed was that everyone had a pump! There were very few blogs where the writers were on MDI - It was one of the reasons I started my blog, hardly anyone was writing about MDI so I wanted to.

I've written before about my diabetes control and how much a jigsaw and roller coaster it is. Over those appointments my DNE kept mentioning maybe a pump was an option. I was hesitant. I don't know why./con At the appointment where my DNE told me she was putting in a pump application she asked me, why I wasn't keen on the idea. I said it wasn't that I wasn't keen but that I didn't like change. I knew if I was given the opportunity of having a funded pump, I wouldn't turn it down. There was a couple of weeks before I heard back about the pump funding application and in that time I did a lot of research. I read, read and read even more about pumps. And that's when I knew that this was something I really wanted to do. A few special mentions - the videos from Diabetic Danica and Sweetful Stuff are fantastic! And I was lucky enough to find a fellow diabetic based in the North island who is a couple of steps ahead of me with the pump - but its been great to have someone to share questions, concerns and fears with. She's started pump training and has written about her experiences on her blog here.

But the roller coaster of feelings in my head didn't stop then. Over the past 6 weeks I've felt like I'm stuck in this giant whirl of feelings going on around me. I was so hesistant to tell any one about the pump especially while waiting for confirmation of funding. But even when I got confirmation I was scared to tell people, scared that something might go wrong. It didn't, but my special authority number was delayed meaning I didn't get my pump prescription for a while. That was frustrating but not the end of the world. I guess in my mind, telling people meant that it became real. I've been going through periods of excitement and then also utter terror. Having a physical manifestation of diabetes isn't and idea I am particular fond of.

And here I am, 25 years old, about to hit my 10 year anniversary of diagnosis and three weeks out from pump training. Nervous? Yes. Excited? Yes. No idea what to expect? Yes and No.

The whirlwind of feelings is on going and is the main reason this blog post has taken me so long to write but I am trying to roll with it! I know there's more to come. My pump start date is the 14th of October and I am told I can expect to be pumping by 11am. The countdown is on!


Monday, 9 September 2013

A Nail Polish Post In Which My Meter Features .


The majority of my posts relate to my day to day life and living with Diabetes. So I thought I'd post something that was a bit of fun. Nail Polish Baby! I'm wearing OPI Nail Polish "Do You Lilac It?" and "Grape...Set...Match" for the feature nail colour. 
I'm a big fan of the feature nail trend that's been going.Something a bit different and a bit fun.

Much like this post. 

I think a lot of the reason for this post is that I have a huge change coming up diabetes wise and I am still taking time to reflect on it in all it's glory. I have been approved funding by Pharmac for an insulin pump for 9 months. After 10 years of injections this upcoming change is unbelievably exciting but also terrifying. We shall see. I'm almost ready to write a blog post about it so there'll be one in the not so distant future :)

Friday, 30 August 2013

Hit with the Sickness

It's come to my attention that I need a new sick day plan.

To be more precise, I need is an actual sick day plan. I haven't really had one before. My plan is the past has been "Don't get sick" and that has worked. I think I've had antibiotics once in ten years. For the most past, infections, the flu and colds usually pass me by.

However, not so much with this recent flu/cold/sinus infection. I've felt terrible and my levels have been going sky high and haywire. When my ketones threw out 0.8 I was panicking a little bit.

Cue: Panic
Physically I was feeling fine (except the head cold and blocked nose). After some food, fluids and insulin the ketones had come down to 0.1 so I took extra Lantus and went to sleep. I made the decision to not go to the Emergency Department for the 0.8 worth of ketones. To me, it made sense to keep hydrated and wait it out a bit. The next morning I woke up at 0.4 indicating that something was still going on in my body. After breakfast they'd come down to 0.1. Since it was working hours I thought I'd call my GP for advice. I've never really had the best of faith in my GPs - see my blog post here. But since that post I'd decided I would try and use my GPs to my advantage. Incorporate them in my medical support team if you will.

The GPs advice was to go to the Emergency Department. I thought this was pretty stupid given they had no idea of my level of ketones or the fact that I was sitting at 0.1 which was in fact within the normal range of ketones. Green even.

It clearly says that reading under 0.6 mmol/L are in normal range....

So, I trusted my gut instinct and didn't seek further medical attention. Reasons why I didn't?
  • I was still in normal range - In the green if you will
  • I wasn't vomiting
  • My levels were high but not super high (10-13mmol/L - am currently running my levels higher to claim back some hypo unawareness)
  • The insulin was working (As evidenced that morning with breakfast and the night before when I was at 0.8)
  • I wasn't feeling like I was in the onset of DKA, I've been there once and the symptoms aren't something I'm likely to forget
Reasons why I would have gone?
  • I had high ketones the night before (0.8) and they showed up the morning after (0.4). That was what was worrying to me. 
So I didn't go and was lucky enough to see this number of ketones later in the day:


It was a scary 24 hours. I've heard a lot of people going into DKA with pump failures and infections/viruses etc. I was terrified that I was coming down with some hideous bug and this was the start of it. 

A couple of days later I emailed my CDE if we could talk sick days at our next appointment and told her about my recent time of it. Her response:

"I think you have managed recent illness superbly well and plan to go to ED if remained ketotic entirely appropriate"

In my own heart I knew that I had acted appropriately, I just felt better when I was reassured that by someone who is a specialist in that area. 

I've never really felt much sympathy to people that have colds and coughs. One of the reasons is that I hardly ever get sick so don't really have empathy to their situation. I think the other is that I manage with this chronic medical condition every day and is that when I get sick, where others might be able to wait it out with chicken soup and ice cream, I'll have to go to the Emergency Department to get better. I'd prefer the chicken soup thanks. Hold the ice cream though, not too much of a fan. 

How does everyone else manage their sick days? Would love to hear about other experiences :)

S xx

Monday, 19 August 2013

GPs versus Diabetes Specialists

I've never really treated my GPs as my primary care physician. I've always felt that since a lot of them don't have a clue about diabetes I shouldn't waste my time with them. After all, every aspect of my life is connected to my Diabetes. Things that are easily treated by a GP become complicated with Diabetes. An eye infection for one patient can  mean much more to a diabetic.

When I began having trouble with numbness in my left hand, I naturally thought of Diabetic Neuropathy and mentioned to to my Diabetes Nurse Educator. Her recommendation was that I should to talk to my GP about it and if necessary get a referral to see an endocrinologist. I'm not sure why but her comment really made me stop and think. I work in a job where I refer people to their GP if they are having issues with other health providers, so I should have confidence in my own GP.

I need to find a GP I like and stick with them. My current Medical Centre makes appointments with the next doctor that's available so I've ended up seeing about 5 or 6 different ones. My latest appointment went fine and I was happy when the Doctor mentioned his friend uses an insulin pump. I thought well, hey here is someone who I know has some form of experience of Diabetes in a real life sense. I made up my mind to ask for this doctor next time.

The numb fingers are most probably not Diabetic Neuropathy which I was happy to hear. The GP I saw reckoned it was a mild form of carpal tunnel syndrome. He sent me off with a few blood tests that included words like a full blood count, thyroid and liver functions. I was happy to do it, mostly because as someone with an autoimmune condition I know I'm likely to get another one. I don't think I've ever had my thyroid checked before? Not sure. In any event, I haven't heard back from the GP which means that nothing has showed up on the bloods. My GP has said that if I am still feeling symptoms to go back and get it checked out again but that he thinks it'll go away. It hasn't but it isn't painful so is something I can wait to mention until my next GP appointment.

I like to think that over time I'll build up trust and confidence in a GP. At least now I am trying to go into appointments with an open mind not some mantra I've carried around with me for years.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sometimes... you just need a cookie

Or in my case, three.

Three.... four, no five Mallow Puffs all in a row.

My oh my it was delicious.

I've been trying to tighten up on my eating and drinking habits lately. I do have a focus on healthy eating, trying to make sure I get enough of the good stuff in my diet. I've been making conscious choices to say no to that beer with dinner or picking a healthier take away option. My nurse educator said when she looked at one of my diet records that there was a little bit too much unhealthy stuff. Fried chicken is okay every now and again as a treat but I think at one point I had it three times in one week.

So I stopped that carry on! I think I've only had fried chicken once in the past month. Tonight would probably be the only time I've eaten that many mallow puffs in one go. It was right before dinner and I included them in my carb count. Two hours late and I'm testing at 6.7 mmol/l. Is this how I should be eating all the time? No.

Is it okay on occasion? Yes, If I ensure I carb count and inject appropriately for them.

Am I going to eat 5 Mallow puffs tomorrow? No and not just because I ran out.

But, in all seriousness, I'm a big believer in taking things as they come, one step at a time. For me, those mallow puffs were like a step sideways. Which is okay every now and again.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Reflections on the last few months

In some ways I feel like I've got a bit of the old "Diabetes Burn Out" going on. In other ways I know I don't. I'm still taking ten times better care of myself than I was 4 years ago. I'm testing 4-8 times a day, correcting, carb counting, injecting. I'm doing everything I need to.

For me, this feeling of Burnout, of hitting a wall, of smacking my head against said wall stems from trying as hard as possible with my Diabetes management and not getting better results. Cate says I need to stop beating myself up about it. But it's so damn hard. I've really struggled with my feelings. I've struggling to let myself be okay with numbers between 6 and 12 mmol/l (108 and 216 mg/dl). But that's what my body needs right now in order to get back my awareness of low blood sugars,

After the week long trial of the CGM, I was supposed to take diet records for the following week and send them to Cate. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'd literally recorded every thing I ate for the previous 20 days and to write everything down again was not something I could face. So I didn't. It felt really great. I was still testing and taking the right amount of insulin. Just the fact of not having to sit down and type it all up into a record sheet made me feel so free and liberated! I think it was my mini "Take that" to Diabetes. The holiday from diet records was one thing I could do that would allow me some of my sanity back without compromising my health.

Looking back on the last 1.5 months since I did the CGM trial I could see in myself a change of mindset with my Diabetes management. I no longer feel hope when I leave appointments with my Diabetes Educator. I've talked about this before, that I used to feel hopeful and inspired that we were together on this Diabetic Jigsaw Puzzle. I used to feel that we were chipping away at it and that things were getting better. I'm sensing she's feeling a bit confused at what to do with me. She took one look at my most recent records from last week and said "Well, we're not winning here are we?" I think she also said exactly what I needed to hear. That I needed to stop beating myself up about it, stop blaming myself for my levels because I am doing everything I should be doing. There's a small part of me, hidden in a back corner of my mind that says I still need to work harder but I think it's okay to have that there. You always need to push yourself.

Our latest development in terms of my management is to take my novorapid at least 15 minutes before eating, not correcting until 3 hours after breakfast novorapid and exercising 40-60 minutes a day. The first two are to target some after breakfast/before lunch blood sugars I've been having. The last is a given and something I've been told for years but I was basically told what I'm currently doing isn't enough. It has inspired me to start a sticker chart and put a sticker on the days where I do more than 40 minutes of exercise. So far for August I have 3 stickers in 4 days so I reckon that's a good go of it.

I think I've wallowed in my own self pity for long enough, I need to change my mindset. Exercising more is bound to help but I need to get that hope and drive back. I think wanting it is a start.

Fingers crossed anyhow.


Friday, 2 August 2013

My Experience With A CGM


I wrote this blog post in June, but then life got in the way and I never quite finished it and got it published. Because of a range of things I'm finding that I really want to start writing again but in order to do that it's better to go back to where I left off... So here we go.

As someone who has a chronic medical condition, I am extremely lucky to be living in a country where health care is subsidised. Each one of my prescriptions costs me $5 for a three month supply, so all in all I probably spend $15-20 every three months. This includes Novorapid, Lantus, Needles, Test Strips etc. I don't have an insurance company breathing down my neck telling me how many times I can test a day. Because of all this, I don't have health insurance. For someone without a lot of expendable income, access to things like Continuous Glucose Monitors and Pumps are hard to come by. Pumps are funded in certain situations but for the most part the majority of New Zealanders are on MDI (This is my own anecdotal view!). I was quite excited to find out that the Health Board in my District actually owns a CGM that they lend out to patients for week long trials. There was a fairly long waiting list but as I was going to be out of the country for 6 weeks it wasn't too much of an issue. The wait time felt like nothing as I was holidaying for it! 

The CGM I used was the Ipro2 - It's unlike most CGMs I read about online in that it doesn't have a real time monitor to go with it. It records data on the sensor which you can then plug in to a computer and have a look at the data. 

I was quite excited about the experience as I'm working toward a better a1c and overall control. I know that when I wake up in the morning and my number is in range I feel better. It's part of a big over haul that I've been working on for the last 12 months.

The results were interesting and in some ways completely expected. In other ways they were completely unexpected. 

The days where I hit 20 were something I completely expected. And I wanted to use this CGM trial to really knuckle down how my insulin works, because sometimes I just feel like it doesn't. Take the light blue line which spikes around lunch time. Why is this? I know there is insulin in there! I thought doing this CGM trial would allow me to get some insight on how my body responds to insulin.

However, all those thoughts surrounding my high numbers went completely out the window when myself and my lovely Diabetes Educator saw that I had prolonged overnight hypoglycaemia. That was something that completely blew me away. It was terrifying. We had a long talk about it and Cate (my Diabetes Educator) knocked back my Lantus and gave me the spiel about making extra sure I was testing before and after driving.

I also got my most recent A1c back and it had gone up 2 points from 72 (8.7%) to 74 (8.9).

In some ways hearing about that increase in A1c was worse than hearing about prolonged overnight lows. I really felt like I have been trying so damn hard. And then having the overnight lows? To me it was a case of 2 steps forward, 10 steps back.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Late night low ramblings

Knowing I can go downstairs and eat a delicious savoury quinoa muffin is a good thing. Knowing I'll have to be awake for the next hour or two as I watch my blood sugar come up to a reasonable level and making sure it stays there makes me sad.

I thought I'd be able to get away with not treating this as a low. I generally treat anything under 4 mmol/l as a low - so when I tested earlier on in the night at 6.5 mmol/l I was quite happy. However, as I finished watching the end of a Doctor Who episode I could feel my blood sugar dropping. After it finished I tested it and it was at 4 mmol/l - I could've got out of bed then and eaten my delicious muffin but I thought to myself, I'll test 2 more times and if the middle number is above 4 then I won't treat it like a hypo. Much to my dismay the other two numbers were 3.7 and 3.9 meaning it was time for some lollies.

To give some context to this particular night time low, my blood sugar was high before dinner. I won't say how high because I feel self conscious about sharing high numbers. One day when I feel the need to stop blaming myself for them, I might feel comfortable about sharing. Anyhow, my blood sugar was above 15mmol/l before dinner. Which resulted in a yikes from me. I took the required correction and carb dosage for dinner and was on my way. After dinner I had two chai lattes and a few bites of lemon and coconut cake). As previously mentioned my BSL was 6.5mmol/l at dinner. I think my downfall was the carb content of my evening meal. Rather, the lack of carbs was my downfall. Dinner was honey sesame chicken with stir fry vegies - delicious! However, the 45 minute walk I'd done earlier in the day apparently called for something more carby. I don't want to blame myself because I don't think it gets me anywhere, but I really should have known better. It would've been an easy fix to add some bread to my meal. Although now that I think about it, the two milk lattes I had after dinner should've been enough and maybe I'd overestimated on the carb bolus for dinner. This late night hypo could've been a lot of things and I need to keep in mind that I don't need to blame myself and second guess every thing I put in my mouth.

Ah, late night hypo ramblings. Always fun.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Travels and Levels

Anddddd I'm back! At least for this post anyway. The past few months flew by and I found myself struggling to write on this blog. I'm not sure why. I love writing, I feel it's therapeutic for me. It's a way to get the mess of jumbled thoughts in my head out in a clear coherent manner. I'm currently in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after a fabulous 5.5 week holiday of the East Coast with my other half. After a short flight to Sydney, I stayed there for a night then flew 13 hours from Sydney to LAX. From LAX I flew another 4 hours to Chicago and met my wonderful, amazing, beautiful boyfriend who I hadn't seen in 5 months. I felt so happy and extremely exhausted by the time I saw him. Not gonna lie, there were tears. The long distance was worth it.

We spent a couple of days in Chicago then flew to New York and got lost amongst the high rise buildings. One crazy night was spent drinking Guinness and way too much beer at a German Oktoberfest style bar. From New York we picked up a campervan and travelled up to Boston, then all the way to Florida.

It's been fantastic and very tiring. The thing I don't enjoy about travelling is the stress of it all, I find it really gets to me and my sugars. Before I left NZ I was waking up with blood sugars of 11-13mmol/l. I tried to correct but I didn't want to get too crazy with upping my lantus or putting in a novorapid dose that would send my plunging into hypo level obscurity. Instead, I waited it out and injected correction doses with most meals.

In a surprising wonderful fashion my levels have been better than when I left NZ. I'm not finding anywhere near as many double digits as before. I'm looking forward to my next A1c, which I'm due for in about 2 - 3 weeks. Before I left it was 72 (or 8.7 % ) so I am really hoping it's down at least half a percent. I think the reason for my lower levels has been the increased activity, even the general walking around from sightseeing. I actually even went for a couple of runs! Exciting. Though, anyone who has been through NZ Customs will know I'm not looking forward to going through with my trail shoes. I'm planning on sorting out some sort of exercise regime when I get back to NZ and following through with it.

My levels seem to be a constant struggle for me but I'm happy because they're heading in the right direction.

The thing about Diabetes is that it is always there in the back of my head. Feeling better about my levels seems to help me feel better about who I am so I can only hope this sense of self ease continues. Stay tuned.

Friday, 1 February 2013

14 Days of Healthy Eating

I've decided I'm going to do a healthy eating bonanza for 14 days starting the 4th of February. 

I like to think I eat a pretty healthy diet and my recent cholesterol levels indicate that. But I've never been strict on myself for it. So I decided that I would try something new, a focused 14 day healthy eating plan. SHONELLE STYLE!

I forsee a balance of strictness and going with the flow. Anyone that knows me personally knows I can be a bit of dreamer/loose unit sometimes. I've posted before about my inability to committ to something so I've decided to start small and do it my own way. I also believe in keeping realistic and measurable goals. Does my 14 day eating plan mean I can't eat takeaways or drink fizzy drink? Heck no. What I am going to focus on is including more vegetables, protein, healthy fats, whole grains and low GI foods. The strict part about my 14 day healthy eating bonanza is the documentation and preparation. Anyone who has done a diet record before know they are about as much fun as standing in a never ending super market queue. I'm determined to have 14 days of diet records out of this 2 week bonanza. There's always a heap of documentation for my diet records. They include the food I've eaten, the carb counts for said food, my insulin to carb doses, my insulin correction rates doses and the exercise I've done. Oh and blood sugar levels.

The preparation side of my 14 day bonanza is a focus on preparing lunches and snacks so I don't get caught in the trap of purchasing food from near my work. I'm going to spend the rest of today and Sunday researching food recipes, shopping for food and preparing it so I can have two weeks filled with tasty snacks and lunches. So food wise, I'm going to focus on healthier options but not to a point where it's unrealistic for me. So for me, the strictness of a 14 day healthy eating bonanza is not about the food I'm eating but making sure I'm documenting it and preparing it in advance.

I'm also going to prepare an exercise plan but I'm going to start small. I do a fair amount of light exercise a week as I usually walk to and from work every day (about 50 mins a day). So I'm going to focus on getting some cardio and resistance training in.And then I'll finish my 14 day bonanza by doing a 12km walk over in Central Otago. 

What's going to keep me going?
In reality I have just one goal out of all of this. Dropping my HbA1c at the end of the month. It's currently sitting at 77 (9.2) at the moment. I am going to do this.

Other things that keep me going are:
- Knowing I have two hospital appointments at the end of the month. One with my dietician and the other with my Certified Nurse Educator. To make the most out of them I'm going to need records to show them!
- I'm going to do a 12km walk in Central Otago, originally I was going to train and run it but it soon became one of those things I had an inability to commit to.
- The prepration side of this will help me to save money, which is especially important as I'm saving money to go on a trip to the States at the end of April.
- I'm going to tell 2 of the people closest to me about this who I hope will motivate me. My amazing best friend and my amazing boyfriend.
- I'm going to blog about it. I know my blog doesn't have the biggest reader ship but I do know that the view count does rise! Knowing there are others out there reading this makes me feel good and motivates me to keep going :)
- Because I'm doing this for the right reasons, not as a quick fix weight loss plan (though that would be nice!) but as way to focus on healthy eating, exercise, emotions as attitudes. My previous post showed a glimpse of some emotional struggling, I want to use healthy eating as a way to feel good in my body and soul.

I'm pretty excited about all of this.

Please feel free to comment on advice, recipe ideas (especially lunch ones!) and anything else motivating, happy and optimistic.

Shonelle xx

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I'm really struggling today

I'm finding everything a bit hard today.

I'm finding my work place pretty stressful, I work in a Student Support Centre for University students, helping them with every issue under the sun. This ranges from academic, tenancy to employment and disciplinary issues. Yesterday I had an hour and a half conversation with a student who experienced a sexual assault last year, last night after hours I received a phone call from a student that has been raped on the weekend.

The well being of students I see in my day to day work often weighs heavily on my mind. I like to know that they've left my office happier and with a better understanding of their options. With sexual assault I know there's not a lot I can do but I try my best by being someone students feel comfortable talking too. I just feel sad and mad at the world for everything. I'm angry that because of a miscommunication one of these students was turned away from our University counselling service. I'm sad because I have students come in that have a significant expense for their course with no money to pay for it. I love the advocacy side of my job but it does often get me down at times.

Of course, I also volunteer for Youthline as a phone counsellor and am trained to deal with crisis calls so  I have been utilising those skills when talking to distressed students. I was able to talk about my work and my feelings around it at our Youthline supervision group last night so I am really grateful for that.

This feeling of sadness, madness, depression isn't me at all. I like to face the day with a smile and be optimistic. Negativity, complaints is something that really gets to me. Ordinarily I would have tried to ignore my feelings and put on a smile but as part of my personal development I think it would be good to get used to feeling sad. Because it's okay to be sad sometimes. I'm also on my 10th day working without a day off so that also doesn't help.

And of course, Diabetes doesn't take a holiday when I want/need it to. I was woken by a wicked low blood sugar at 1.30am this morning.  So starting off my day feeling sleep deprived hasn't helped my mood at all!

But it's okay. I still feel my happy grounded self, looking forward to skyping my wonderful boyfriend later on in the week. I'm just allowing myself to feel a little sad today. I think it's healthy for me :)

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Diabetic Jigsaw Puzzle

I'm supposed to be working right now. But I have all these thoughts going on about my Diabetes management. I had an appointment with my Diabetes Nurse Educator last week, I love how knowledgeable she is. 

I think without a doubt my management of my Diabetes has gotten better but it still has a long way to go. I haven't quite reached my goal of getting my HBa1c under 8 the most recent blood test I got puts it at 9.1. While that may not be impressive to some, for me it shows a 0.5% drop since my last blood test a couple of months ago. I'm all about celebrating the baby steps you take. I also know that my control hasn't been a "good" as it could have been. The last three months have included Xmas, New Years Eve and a 3 week holiday. I know that being back at work and getting myself into a regular routine will affect on my next blood test. I also know, I am going to try so very hard to tighten up that control. 

Which takes me back to my appointment at the Hospital last week and my Diabetic jigsaw puzzle. I've been  in and out of Hospital appointments for the last 6 months and it's resulted in a whole heap of changes. Changes to my Lantus, my Insulin to Carb ration, my correction ratio etc. Last week, it took us about 40 minutes to come up with a new plan of attack. I know one day I'll be able to do this on my own but I find there are so many different variables I could change that I need help with making changes to my own routine. I'm okay with that, working through issues as a team is how I like to roll with my everyday life so it makes sense to include it in my Diabetes management. Our new plan is looking at my insulin absorption rates, while I have no lumps on my stomach I do tend to stick to my left side below my belly button so I've been asked to inject anyway above the belly button.  It took a lot of looking at my numbers and  discussing if I should decrease my Lantus dose, increase my insulin to carb ration or split my Lantus to come to that conclusion. So many different options, different pieces to put in place to see if they work.

We also briefly talked about my cholesterol levels too. My dietitian mentioned that they were "elevated" in our last appointment. She mentioned it in an off hand sort of way so I wasn't sure how serious it was. In any event, asking about my levels this time round my Diabetes Nurse Educator said that my bad cholesterol had gone down and my good cholesterol had gone up. She asked a range of questions about this:

"Have you been exercising more in the last 3 or 4 months?"

"Have you been eating more leafy greens?"

"More wholegrains?"

It felt so good to be able to say yes to all those. And it made me really really really happy that the effort I've been making to exercise more and to eat healthier was actually being reflected in test results. It showed me that it's just about putting in the effort, trying different things to see what works and focusing on all aspects of my life to see results.

As I was walking out of the appointment, I couldn't help but feel that my life was one big  Diabetic Jigsaw Puzzle.

And I like puzzles.

Google can find the craziest images, this is a puzzle of a Proglitazone Drug Molecule. Image credit here

Thursday, 3 January 2013

2013 and all that jazz

It's been a busy few months. I'm nursing a bit of a hangover today. It's making it rather difficult to focus and type this blog post.  

I've been thinking a lot about what 2013 means for me. My friends have coined it the year of "giving more." I think you can interpret that any way you choose. I haven't quite got my interpretation down yet. I feel like I give a lot through my volunteering, so maybe for me it means giving more to myself? I'm going to be focusing on alone time and looking after myself. My wonderful boyfriend has recently moved to the States and is working on a ski field, so I'm not going to see him until April. I miss him an incredible amount. But I feel happy in knowing that even though he is so far away, it hasn't affected my feelings for him at all. If anything I love him more! It does mean that I will be alone a lot more than I'm used to. I think learning how to be alone and enjoy it is a good thing. I'm usually someone who loves company, having people around and is always on the go. So I think that stepping back and just relaxing a bit will be good for me.

I don't often do the whole New Years resolutions thing. But this year I've got a couple. They range from easy, tangible/measurable goals to longer term ones. In no particular order:

- Buy a pair of jeans or nice pants.
I don't really own any pants. The ones I own are either PJ's, comfy round the house pants or my boyfriends track pants. 

- Drop my A1c to below 8

- Drop my A1c to below 7
These two are combined obviously. I haven't had the best control but I'd really like 2013 to be the year that I actually get some traction in my A1c's. The last one I had was about 9. I know I've changed how I manage my diabetes a lot of the past year so I have my fingers crossed I'll start seeing a downward trend in the A1c numbers. I'm turning 25 soon, I need to look the heck after myself!

- Exercise on a regular basis.
Along with the looking after myself theme, I'm going to make a concerted effort to exercise on a regular basis. I'm thinking about signing up to a cross fit programme. Exercising really does wonders to my BSL numbers. 

- Eat less meat
I've spoke about this before but I'm going to focus on Vegetarian inspired meals. Deliciousness!

- Go dairy free for 2 weeks
I have pretty bad skin/ezcema sometimes so I'm going to try and go dairy free for a while to see if that will have a difference. I was going to start it the other day but then I went out and had a coffee. The idea of drinking soy coffee completely slipped my mind.

There might be some more but these are it for now. I'm spending the last few days of my holiday in Central Otago with my ultimate best friend. She's been out of the country for almost 2 years and has just got back to NZ, I truly love her with all my heart! My friends are the backbone to me, couldn't do it without them!

Cider and Cheese. Amazing.