Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and Mediocrity of Management

Merry Christmas to everyone!

This Christmas Day is the quietest one I've had. Instead of going home for our crazy overwhelming family bonanza I choose to stay in the South Island with my lovely partner. It's just the two of us and we have a friend coming over for dinner. 

I made a delicious fancy smancy brunch, we had bubbles and then opened presents. Very quiet. I miss my family but am also very much enjoying feeling relaxed today. 

I'm feeling grumpy at Diabetes today. I had one of those overly emotional lows last night, which happened while I had about 8 units of Insulin on board (grr miscalcuation on carbs). It resulted in staying up for hours and I think I balanced between not eating too much for my blood sugar to go sky rocketing and enough to keep me alive. There were moments of sobbing and screeching to my partner saying "I'm so sick of this". I really am. 

But then I wake up in the morning and today is a new day. Even better, it's christmas day and I got a new cook book (Edmonds Cookery Book, I'm a real kiwi housewife now!). 

I really need to get my management on track, it's taken a huge leap in the right direction since being on a pump but has plateaued since that. Instead of being well controlled I'm more moderately controlled, or "could be better". It doesn't feel like burn out because I'm still going through the motions easily enough. It's more like this never ending feeling of mediocrity of management. There's finger pricks and correction boluses but not basal testing and no real tracking of numbers to see where I'm going wrong. I lack motivation to engage with any of that. I also keep getting the slight comments around needing to exercise more and lose weight. After the first week of one such appointment I exercised for 5 days out of 7 for at least 30 minutes. And then I lacked motivation and didn't exercise again. 

It's the same old thing over and over again. Motivation to do something for a week and not following through. I'm not sure how to combat this melancholy but I'm trying out a few different things. As always, tomorrow is a new day with a new beginning. 

Stay safe every one and I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays :)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

11 Years and no complications


This morning I woke up with 7.2mmo/l and corrected this. I was happy with this number in general but because my target is 6 I chose to correct this. My correction dose was 0.65 units.

This is another reason to love an insulin pump. The minuscule amounts you can bolus means, in theory, a better control than on Multiple Daily Injections. On injections I wouldn't correct until I went over 10mmol/l.

I think it's important to stop and be thankful for the little things sometimes. Even if by little, I mean a 0.65 unit bolus. 

Also. Got the 11 years, no complications from my endo recently. Very refreshing to hear that. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

If I bury my head in the sand, maybe no one else will notice

I've been hiding from blogging.

It's been awhile since I felt like writing. I could say that it's due to my current workload which is pretty heavy but really I think it's because my blood sugar levels have been creeping higher and higher. It's not something I want to admit. So, if I wrote about it that would mean actually admitting it. I'm at a point where I can admit it now. 

Blood sugar levels aren't something to hide from though. I think I thought if I tested and corrected I wasn't hiding from them. In reality I was, I was ignoring the above average fasting levels and many other types of levels. 

My downfall? Stress. Stress, stress, stress. It was sending me through the roof. Things have calmed down a bit at work now so I am feeling more comfortable about trying to get back in control. I have an A1c test in 3 weeks and my yearly appointment with my endo. I'm looking forward to it, if only to see how "bad" my A1c has been (side note, there are no bad numbers, only bad decisions made with numbers).

My mantra, as it always has been is one step at a time.  

Thursday, 7 August 2014

How I went from an A1C of 81 (9.6%) to 62 (7.8%)

From this...

I wish I could tell you guys a magic cure for this. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, this drop in A1C took just under two years. Part of it I can attribute to switching to an insulin pump but on it's own an insulin pump isn't a magic cure. I would like to highlight that before this happened I made a 10point drop on my own. The pump is great but you do have to be prepared to put the work in. 

Pre Pump
I've talked about this before here but I found my diabetes managed to be like one big giant jigsaw puzzle, you try one piece and if it doesn't work you try another. That is what I was doing to start with. The first step came from wanting to have an active role in my health care. I had gone through the last 5-6 years, floating through as a passive participant in my health. I had terrible habits but not so terrible that it was unmanageable. My blood sugar levels were dangerous in the long run because they were contributing to a high A1c but in the moment I was able to live. The only point in which I needed medical intervention was when I ran out of insulin one weekend and I thought I would be okay till my doctors appointment on Monday. I wasn't and this showed my lack of knowledge about how intrinsically important insulin is. I went into DKA at the end of 2010 and came out of it being prescribed lantus which evened out my blood sugar levels. In any event, I was still running higher BSLs than I should have been and  I was consistently tired, grumpy and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I put this down to stress and a heavy work load. I also continued to blame myself for these high levels.

And then halfway through 2011 I got sick. I rarely get sick and this one just completely wore me down. It was a combination of being run down, having the flu and a chest infection. I started paying a bit more attention to my levels and found that they weren't making sense even when my sickness go better. I emailed the Diabetes Nurse Educator and the hospital and organised an appointment to see her. From there we started working on the jigsaw puzzle. We adjusted my nightly lantus dose, my insulin to carb ratio, my correction factor, my insulin sites (I was asked to stay away from the left side of my stomach), and it felt like everything else under the sun. I even wore a CGM for a week (loaned to me by my local hospital) I was trying so many different things and trying to keep a brave face of it. Blogging helped but it did get me down to not see a better result than a 71 (8.6%).  Eventually the idea of a pump was brought and I was slightly hesitant at first. And then I had to go through an approval process with Pharmac which was terrifying. I did all this research on pumps and it made me really really want one!

Post Pump and becoming an active participant in my health care!
I've talked a little bit about my experience with my Animas Vibe here but one of the positives of a pump was my acceptance of my freaking enormous dawn phenomena. I now know that I need 3 times as much insulin during the hours of 2am and 6am compared to what I use during the day. When I discovered that it lessened off some of the intense blame I had been carrying for the past few years. With a dawn phenomena like that I was never going to be able to manage on injections. And that brings us to August 2014 where my latest A1c is 62. I know that I have a way to go before I am in a safer range but after 8 years of sitting in the 8 and 9 % range. I think that a 7.8% (or 62) is a pretty good sign. There was something amazing at looking at it and realising it was my lowest number since I moved to Dunedin in 2006. 

I can attribute my better levels to my discovery of the Online Diabetic Community. Diabetes is so isolating that it is damn great to have someone to share it with. 

Almost 11 years of finger pricks

Sometimes I look at my finger tips and think they are hideous. Other times they are my battle scars, the ones to show each individual battle I've won.

What are your finger prick scars to you?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

There's just something about being sprayed in the face with blood


One of those days

Monday, 21 July 2014


I love this hashtag. And I'm glad that Miss Idaho's pump has made an appearance in NZ media!

Here's mine :)

Friday, 11 July 2014


It's amazing how the pain of exercise can make you feel so damn amazing!

A while ago I decided I would be a SERIOUS runner. I spent some time researching what I needed to do to become this. I told my boyfriend I that would do a half marathon later in the year.

Annnd about 5 or 6 weeks ago I finally stopped researching and went for a run. I started the Couch 2 5K program and continued with that. I've just done Day 3 of Week 4. Today's run consisted of a 5min warm up walk, 3 min running, 90 sec walking, 5 min running 2min,30 sec walking and 5 min running.

And I did it. Even though I find running very hard and I haven't been for a run in over a week.

I feel amazing!

These feet and shoes have actually been running!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Year of the Horse - Galloping by Diabetes Style


The days are flying by. I remember the older people in my life always used to say that the days go quicker as you get older. Younger me always thought this was stupid. However, 26 year old me says slow the heck down world.

May was a pretty great month in terms of Diabetic things. I wrote all 7 blog posts for the 2014 Blog Week, I tuned into the Diabetes Hope Conference, My blog got a shout out from Amy over at Diabetes Mine, I got my lowest a1c in 8 years and to top it off, I got renewed funding for my insulin pump consumables. That is a whole bunch of great things!

There's more to come with June too. I'm determined to continue to get amongst the DOC by reading and commenting away on blogs. I'm also starting training for a half marathon... keen eyes may have noticed my exercise log on my blog. It lists my training runs and some data I've done around it. Going to put up a separate post about this my reasons why I want to run a half marathon and how I'm feeling about it.

Feel a little like I'm caught up in whirlwind but I am enjoying it so far!

Year of the Horse I tell you! Credit to Artist Centauressa

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thoughts on Diabetes Hope Conference 2014

The Diabetes Hope Conference was just over a fortnight ago and I've spent a bit of time reflecting on how I found it. There were a lot of things I loved about the Conference and only one minor thing I didn't really enjoy. In a nutshell - I loved the theme, the participants, the conversation and the ease of access. The one thing I wasn't such a fan of was the early start it required. 

First and foremost I loved the idea behind this conference. From the About page on the website:

"We thought that this lack of hope should change. We thought that someone should take up the mantle of hope and at a minimum, start creating hope by getting people to talk about complications like DPN. By talking about it amongst each other, with members of the medical community and yes, even with the pharmaceutical companies that supply the devices and medications for diabetics, we can share knowledge. And it is our belief that knowledge is the first step towards hope."

Diabetes is relentless, it's unforgiving, it's incurable and sometimes it does truly feel hopeless. Talking about hope and talking about the things about Diabetes that make you feel hopeless was only ever going to be a great thing. 

Great range of speakers and topics. They were conversations that I was truly interested in. I missed about half of the first conversation due to timing schedules (I was in bed snoozing... it was 4am!) but I still was immediately interested in it even though it was 4.20am NZ time. The whole complications thing can sometimes weigh on my mind. I'm 10 years in to my diagnosis, if they are going to happen, the time is only coming closer. Also, having just finished Diabetes Blog Week - was great to be able to Karen live in person! :)

As a blogger, the Value of Blogging Chronic Illness immediately jumped out when I first looked at the topics. It was really interesting hearing about the research done into this by Pamela Ressler and it gave me a bit of perspective. I spend so much time wrapped up in my own blog and the Diabetes Online Community that I hadn't given thought to what other chronic illness communities may be out there. I can only assume a lot!

The Doctor/Patient relationship is something that I come across in both a personal and professional way. In my professional life as an Advocate, I know what rights people have when it comes to health care in NZ. I know what quality means and I am find I am speaking up more about this  in my personal life and embracing this idea of being an active participant in my health care!

The biggest thing about the participants and their topics is that 99% of them are names I have come across before. They are the celebrities of our online community and I was a bit starstruck. Like so many of my peers, these bloggers are cornerstones of my online community - I read about them, tweet them, see them pop up on TuDiabetes etc. It was really fantastic to tune in and be a passive part of their conversations. 

As a kiwi it is so so amazing to have the chance to participate in something like this. I have to admit I get very jealous hearing about the events that are held in the States. So, having the opportunity to get involved in this conference was something I jumped at. I invited a friend for a sleep over so we could both get up earlier in the morning. I organised bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and croissants. And I got the laptop hooked up to our big TV screen - check out the pic I posted on twitter: .

I rocked my dressing gown and pajamas for the entirety of it and when it finished I jumped in the shower and headed to work for the day. I wasn't watching intensely for the whole time, I balanced between cooking breakfast, drinking coffee, chatting to my D Friend (thank you for joining me that early!) and watching the goings on. I like that side of it, that I could relax and be in my own environment. I sure did enjoy being in my pajamas! Comfy! That brings me to the only thing I wasn't such a fan of - the timing! It meant an early start of 4.30am for me and I was exhausted by the end of it. But it's a non issue, so much so I am purposely not putting it under a heading. Being in NZ means that timing is always going to be an issue and with something like this I would rather it be on in the early hours of the morning NZ time. The DSMA chats are on at night time in the US (I think?) but 2pm here in NZ so its sometimes hard to participate due to work. 

All in all - such a positive experience for me and I can't give enough thanks to the organisers, speakers and every one else behind the scenes. You all rock. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - My Favourite Things

As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things from the week. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment left on your blog that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!

Click for the My Favorite Things - Sunday 5/18 Link List.

I am well and truly belated with this last post of Diabetes Blog Week 2014. But I have had some spare time to think and reflect on what I enjoyed about. 

For me, the biggest thing was the community feel of the week. It has been so amazing to click on the link list for one of the days and have noticed that I am part of a great communal effort. It's been truly fantastic. I've tried to get amongst the community a bit more by leaving blog comments on the posts I've read. This sparked from an idea somewhere in the community  about posting comments on every blog post you read. I can't recall the blog I read it on though which is not surprising because I read quite a few.

There's too many posts to name all the ones I've enjoyed but here's a go at a few:

I loved the haiku's from Courtney at Pancreassassin  - they definitely gave me a few chuckles.

I loved the rawness of Erin's post about Anger and Diabetes - A lot of what I read resonated with me.

I enjoyed reading this post from Vicki about her double life - Not a lot of people know about my blog either so I also sometimes feel like I'm living this other blog life on the internet...

And there's been lots more and I must say a thank you to all the comments - it is really nice hearing what others think of my blog!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Snapshots Saturday

Back for another year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like!  With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures.  Post as many or as few as you’d like.  Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Click for the Saturday Snapshots - Saturday 5/17 Link List. 

Apologies for the delay of this!! I was originally going to turn this post into a photo journey of my Saturday but that didn't work out. Instead I spent the day in the kitchen cooking and hanging out with my other half. So instead I sourced my photos from the gallery on my phone - the first one is from June 2013.. so without further a do .. Here is my snapshot!

My experience with a CGM  - June 2013

Current basal rates! This is the reason why I love my pump - so great to be able to change these.

His name is Eddie. Not exactly D Related but belongs to the other half 

Micro dosing - Another reason I love the pump

Always connected

Difficult to see but my fingers show years of pricking. 

And here I am - May 19th 2014 :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Diabetes Life Hacks Friday

Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.)

Click for the Diabetes Life Hacks - Friday 5/16 Link List.

It's Friday already! I have had great pleasure in sharing 5 days worth of posts with the DOC :)

I've also made an effort to stop being a lurker and start being a commenter on other blogs, so if you are visiting this blog because I left a comment on yours then welcome!

I'm really looking forward to reading some of the life hacks that others have but will share one of the biggest ones of mine.. 

Pump on a belt. 

When wearing a dress or any kind of clothing, wear a high waisted belt. Thread the pump tubing out of one of the arm holes of the dress and hook it onto the belt.

I feel like this should be a given but haven't really seen it discussed much or offered as an option in thread etc. 

I don't have anything else but am excited to read up!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Mantras and More Thursday


Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we've done that and we can help others do it too? (Thanks to Meri of Our Diabetic Life for suggesting this topic.)

Click for the Mantras and More - Thursday 5/15 Link List.

I'm a bit of an introvert but people people people get me through. After about 8-9 years of not having any D Friends in real life I have one now. There's something comforting about knowing if I text her a rant about my blood sugar levels, she'll just get it. 

There's also the love of my life who doesn't know what it's like to live with Diabetes but certainly knows what it's like to live with someone who has Diabetes. He's always happy to listen, let me cry on his shoulder or give me a hug. 

I also use this blog as a mechanism to get me through. Writing about what's going in my mind helps me to process it, it can sometimes make a diabetes fueled rant clearer. 

And lastly I could not get through without the DOC - I don't tend to ask a lot of questions or participate in discussions but I do read read read. Thank you to everyone out there for sharing. It might be that your visitor stats list is low but I hope you take note that there are people out there reading! I am one of them. 

And what is my mantra?

One day at a time. And in the times where the days are a struggle? It's one blood sugar level, one injection, one site change.. one at a time. Step by step. 

You can do it.

Shonelle xx

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - What Brings Me Down Wednesday

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)

Click for the What Brings Me Down - Wednesday 5/14 Link List.

I could write a book on this topic. It would be my topic of choice if I did write a book about D, something which I would seriously consider in the future. 
There is so much to come to terms with when you have T1D. It's overwhelming. The testing, injecting, the carb counting, the supplies, what to carry with you from now on, the testing, the injections etc. Diabetes can be less of a medical condition and more of a constant freaking annoyance. Those things I mentioned are really just the practical side of it. What is it about these things that turn Diabetes into an emotional waterfall as well? I think it's the idea of living with a chronic medical condition. Knowing, and getting used to the fact that this is your forever. There's also something about knowing that everything you do may possibly impact your Diabetes Management. Want to exercise? Have sex? Relax? Have more sex? Yea, they all can affect your Diabetes in some way. OR. They could not. It could be that some of the things you do, don't actually change anything. It could also be that the one piece of exercise you do on Monday, can have a completely different impact when you do it on Tuesday.

I could go on and on. It's relentless. Sometimes you can figure it out. Sometimes you know that you've incorrectly counted the carbs in a meal. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes no matter how much investigation you do you'll never know why you have that wacko blood sugar. Just writing this blog post has made me tired. Living with it is even more tiring. 

There's also those wondrous times when the physical impact of Diabetes can cross over into the emotional impacts - those high or low blood sugars that make you snap, cry, yell. The emotional side of Diabetes is very very very real. But why? For me, I've swung between depression, acceptance, a fierce need for independence, a recognition I need help. I'm fiercely independent. There was a time sometime after starting University when I discovered that if I didn't tell people about my Diabetes I wouldn't get all those over the top worry warts all of the time. So I stopped sharing with people. And then it got to be an obsession, going so far out of my way to hide it from people that it was ridiculous. Going to my bedroom in my very own home to test my blood sugar or inject because I didn't feel comfortable doing it in front of my flatmates. 

It wasn't a healthy, emotionally stable way to live. What changed? I did for one, my work load got lighter and I really wanted to tighten up my management. So, I started seeing my CDE at the local hospital and we worked on the puzzle of my Diabetes Management. I did some googling and found the DOC. There's definitely a causation between my better controlled blood sugar levels and my discovery of the online community. But I think I was ready to take a leap and change my mind set. 

Diabetes will always be relentless but it is a part of me, not some medical condition I have on the side. Once I accepted that it paved the way for better things. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Poetry Tuesday


Blog Week 2014

This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

Click for the Poetry Tuesday - Tuesday 5/13 Link List.

I've written a couple of poems in the past. I don't know if I could find them now as I suspect they were on a long gone computer. I do remember I saved them in a folder and then made the folder invisible, I felt pretty spy like doing that. 

I do recall reading back on them that they were pretty dark and depressive. They were written at a low point during my teenage years. When I saw this topic I immediately did not want to do it. I thought that I would choose one of the wild card topics. However, when I looked at the topic again this morning I thought, hmm maybe I can write a Haiku - so I googled it and found an explanation on Wiki How.

There's some context to my Haiku - the word relentless came to me and just fit with how I was feeling about my diabetes management. I've been on my Animas Vibe for 6 months now and feel like I'm walking a tightrope. In order to qualify for continued funding of my pump consumables I need to show a 10 point drop in my Hba1c, that's about 0.9% drop in the other units. 

So today, I received the news that my A1c has dropped 14 points from 76 to 62 or 9.1% to 7.8%. So happiness for me! Glad to see the work is paying off. So this Haiku shows that change, from earlier in the day when I the word relentless resonated me so much to when I felt like the changes I made were seeing results. 

So without further ado.... 

Relentless Diabetic Puzzle
Turned a corner
The Changed Wind appears to blow through

Monday, 12 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Change The World Monday


Blog Week 2014

Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)

Click for the 
Change the World - Monday 5/12 Link List.

Here, in my own corner of the world in New Zealand I work for an Advocacy Service and can be an advocate for any one who is having an issue with the quality of care they are receiving from a health or disability provider. In New Zealand we have the Code of Health and Disability Consumers' Rights which establishes the ten rights that anyone in New Zealand is entitled to receive when receiving a health or disability service. I really respect that New Zealand has these rights enshrined in law. I work with them really closely and as an Advocate, advocacy is part of my day to day job. I really enjoy being an Advocate and I think most importantly any changes that happen, are not about me. They are about what is going on for the person, what a resolution may look like to them and absolutely led by what the person may want. 

I started this blog for me, for a way for me to reflect on what was going on for me in my Diabetes Management. It was and still is, a way for me to process what's going on for me. I use it as a tool of self care and to develop my self awareness. This idea of self care and self awareness is what presses my buttons and is an issue that is important to me. It is so important to figure out what is going on for you, what is pressing your buttons. Are you angry? Absolutely fine, but what is at the heart of the anger? I think too often, we have this human nature that tells us we shouldn't be feeling these "negative" feelings. Feeling sad today? The world tells us we should have some ice cream/chocolate/wine and cheer up. But you know what? It is okay to be sad/mad/grumpy sometimes. Let it happen. Figure out what is going on for you and a way to help you process it. Part of my self care equation is using this blog as a tool to help me reflect and figure out what is going on for me. I find that writing it down helps. Sometimes, I just start typing and am surprised at what comes out! So my shout out to every one is to simply look after yourselves and each other. That to me, is the basis of self care and is my important issue. 

So when I see that topic starter the word advocate catches my eye. I advocate all the time! Its my 9-5 but I was a bit stuck on how I could relate it to my personal life? I can be pretty quiet about my personal life, I don't tend to see myself as a champion for the 'Diabetes' cause. After all this blog, is about me and my personal experience. The intention is for this blog to simply be a glimpse into the life of someone with Diabetes. That takes me back to the reason I started this blog.. and from there I realised what is the one issue that is important to me. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Excited for DOC ness

I tried pretty hard to come up with a good title for the blog post but I thought this one does a pretty solid job with how I'm feeling...

Excited! There's a few D things happening this month that I am excited to take part in. The first is Diabetes Blog Week 2014 hosted by Karen over at Bittersweet. This will be the first time I've taken part and I'm excited about that as well as slightly nervous. I'm already signed up and have checked out the topics!

The second thing is the Diabetes Hope Conference. Being from New Zealand there isn't always the opportunity to be involved in conferences and what not. However this one is online! Without a second thought I signed up. Then I figured out it's on 5am NZ time! Ugh. But the wheels were turning in my head... and so a plan for bacon, eggs and coffee was formed! I'm also going to ask my other half if he can hook my computer up to our giant TV so I can watch on a big screen. The best part? A d friend of mine is staying over the night beforehand so I'll have a companion!

The third thing isn't an event or conference. It is a resolution for my involvement in the DOC to be more active and less passive. I'm doing this by tweeting more and finding more people to follow. I'm also on the hunt for more D Blogs - if you have one and want a follower then let me know! I discovered the DOC about 3 years ago and a lot of the blogs I'm signed up to aren't active any more!

Pretty excited right now! Though, I'm sure that was obvious by the amount of exclamation marks in this post..

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

On a roll....


I've just woken up to my third day in a row with perfect BSLs. It seems thr change to my correction factor is working like a charm :)

Mon: 6.1
Tues: 6.6
Weds: 6.4

To give some context, the night before these tests I ranged from 8-15mmol/l.

Win! I think my issue now is making sure my carb to insulin factor is right... getting there!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Pharmac and Insulin Pump Funding concerns

I'm worried about the funding for my insulin pump, or more specifically the pump consumables. As far as I am aware, an application for funding was sent off in July/August last year. The application listed the last three of my HBA1cs, the lowest of which was 73 in the new units, or 8.8%. I received 9 months of funding for pump consumables in August and started the pump in October.

In the middle of last month (March) I had an appointment with my CDE. My A1c was 64 - or 8% in the old units. It was actually the lowest it had been in my 8 years with my current District Health Board. I haven't always been so intensive with my management. It was interesting to look back on those results, there was a couple of results that were so cringe worthy that I didn't want to see but for the most part my control has stayed in the 70s for the past 8 years. I hadn't realised that so seeing that 64 was even more of a win. What's more, is that I knew I could do better than this. In February the average on my meter was about 12.5 mmol/l, I had a couple of unfortunate experiences where my site or tubing pulled out so I woke up in the 20s with ketones. I was also using teflon cannulas with my Animas Vibe pump and found that on the 2 or 3rd day I would sky rocket in my BSLs and it would take so much insulin to bring them back down. When I switched to metal cannulas, the results were amazing. The March Average on my meter was 8.5 mmol/l - which would equate to about a 53 HbA1c. So at that meeting, my CDE was a bit puzzled at what she could do to bring down the 64 lower, based on a few days worth of records that indicated I was running pretty good averages. I explained that I'd changed cannulas and was certain that the month of February would be artificially putting my Hba1c higher than it was. She was happy with this, I was happy and I left feeling positive and overwhelmingly happy at the pump. We organised I would get an A1c test done in yjr beginning of May and that my CDE would put through the application for continued funding in Mid May.

And now we come to the month of April. The average on my meter is 11.1 mmol/l - which would equate to an Hba1c of 70 or 8 %. To qualify for continued funding I need to show a 10 mmol/l drop to a 63 I was on track for this in March but now? I'm scared. I'm been trying to figure out the reasons for the increased Bsls - I had been extremely busy at work, I had a family bereavement, I thought I might be getting a bladder infection...many things which could contribute. Freaking stress. So I'm scared I'm not going to qualify for funding.

So my plan of attack is:
- Increased exercise
- Recording BSLs and sending them to my CDE
- Healthier eating

It looks easy when I put it like that. I think it's been working though, I tweaked my Insulin Sensitivity factor a couple of days ago and I am noticing lower morning BSLs. I feel a lot better writing this all out and there is another thing that could be helpful to me. I received funding in August last year but didn't actual start on an insulin pump until October, so in theory I haven't actually had 9 months of treatment on a pump. My CDE has said that will be enough to get an extension, so I imagine that's the next step.

It's nerve wracking thinking about all of this and it has been on my mind a lot. Writing it down has been cathartic for me. If there is any one else having trouble with continuing their pump funding I would love to hear from you.

S x

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cooking! And doing some food prep for the week.

I'm not quite sure how it happened but somehow I have become obsessed with food. I can spend hours pouring over recipe blogs, pinterest and websites like tastespotting. Being a diabetic, food plays a big part in my day to day life - I try to weigh my food as much as possible to ensure that I am carb counting correctly. Because I am reliant on a "good A1C" for continued pump funding it is important I am eating healthy food! I'm not someone who is big on restricting food or treats. I find that if my meals are home cooked,  they are in general healthier. I try to limit carbs but I am in no way a "Low Carber" - my meals tend to range between 40-70 carbs a meal. More if I'm having pasta or take aways.

More recently, I've been looking into  the idea of freezing cooking, food preparation and cooking in general. A few weekends ago I did the following food prep!

I made two meals of Lasagna. One I put in a foil container with the intention of freezing it. The other I put in my regular dish and made it that night. I also froze two portions of Saturday Nights meal and popped them in the freezer. I defrosted one of  the portions by putting it in the fridge the night before. Then at work I popped it in the microwave and it was delicious! The other portion I forgot to defrost, so left it out while I was at work, when it came to lunch time I put it on defrost for awhile and then on high but unfortunately there was one bit in the middle that was still cold.

At the beginning of the day I put my Corned Beef in the slow cooker, then did two batches of spicy paprika wedges. I seasoned and put them in the oven for about 25-35 mins. Then I waited for them to cool and I popped them into freezer bags. I made up two chicken dishes, one was a satay chicken and the other honey sesame chicken. I didn't really follow any particular recipe, just took inspiration from 3-4 different ones.

So there you have it!

2 X Lasagna

Corned Beef in slow cooker
Satay chicken
Honey Sesame Chicken
My kitchen looked a little a tornado had run through it!

I think prepping food is easy and fun. It can be time consuming but it means I have a whole bunch of healthy food on hand and stops me straying to those tempting fast food options!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

From where I was, to where I am now. Some thoughts

One of the things I really like about having this blog is that it is an online document. It's a memory of where I have come from and makes it easier to compare my past to where I am now. I took a look back recently on my blog posts and compared them to my A1C levels. I just want to jump in here and say I think there is a danger in placing too much importance on your A1C result - it is only a number after all. It's true that  a "good" A1C might be for "bad" reasons such as not necessarily catching swinging in blood sugar, the bouncing from high to low. But for me, I think it is interesting in using the number to compare my state of mind and my diabetes management. A lot has changed for me.

In August 2012 I wrote my first post and my A1C was sitting at 81 or 9.6%. This was the start to blogging and I was so fresh faced. I genuinely thought that if I tried hard enough, counted correctly and injected the right amounts my A1C would come down. That didn't turn out to be the case. Early on I identified that a couple of key things for me were to ensure I was testing more often and testing when I knew I was high to exactly how to correct it. I focused on not guestimating!

January 2013 I was at 77 (9.2% in old units) with my A1c test. At the time I was blogging about New Years Resolutions, struggles and this idea of a jig saw puzzle. I inspired by the changes I had made, by the DOC and by the journey I was on. I really like the analogy of Diabetes Management being like a jigsaw puzzle. It's an ever going journey but sometimes, just sometimes if you have the right piece and the right angle then it fits into place. The one big thing about jigsaw puzzles that is different to diabetes is that you can finish a jigsaw puzzle. You can't finish the diabtes jigsaw one unfortunately.

I was fairly sporadic with my blogging after that. I found myself turning to it when I had thoughts swirling about in my head and I wanted to get them on paper. Sometime in January/February I was looking at booking tickets to the States to visit my other half. I also looked into travel insurance, it was one of the first times that having less than well controlled diabetes management had a real time, right at the moment practical affect on me. One of the insurance companies I looked at stated that they would only cover Type 1 Diabetes as a pre existing condition if a person's A1C was under 75. At that point (Jan) mine was at 77, however in Feb as I was looking at all these insurance things it had dropped down to 73 (8.8%). After sitting in the 9s for the last 6 months, it was a relief to see it come down to the 8% range. With healthcare being publicly funded in NZ I had never, not to my knowledge anyhow, had an experience where I couldn't access something because of a high A1c. The experience with that insurance company having that clause wasn't particular shocking for me, but did give me food for thought. I ended up going with a different company, not because of that clause but because I felt they had more comprehensive coverage.

In May 2013 I wrote a blog with this sentence in it:

"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."

What a great head space I was in then? Probably something to do with seeing my partner for the first time in 6 months and having a 5 week holiday. I think it also represents the change in myself, about me not feeling like I needed to hide my diabetes. A realisation that disclosing Diabetes didn't make me weak or vulnerable. My A1c before this blog post was 72 and a few weeks after it had gone up to 74. Some time around here my CDE mentioned an insulin pump, just briefly. But it was sowing the seed. I remember not being too concerned at this A1C increase, but my post of June 2013 details some of the thought processes I had around eating, carbs, low blood sugars. What did happen in June was my experience with a CGM - I was truly heartbroken to see those overnight lows sitting there without my feeling them. It was scary. At that point I felt a lot like I had hit a brick wall. It was so fresh, so raw the emotions tied up with that experience that I didn't blog about it for a few months later. Again, more discussions around insulin pumps. These aren't documented in my blog. I think something about an insulin pump made it seem like it was a far away magical device. When I was approved for 9 months initial funding in August, I chose not to blog about it until September.

But I kept on, keeping on. My testing by this point had gone up hugely, since I was seeing my CDE on a regular basis I was taking food diaries here there an everywhere. It kept me accountable though the amount of paperwork burnt me out eventually. I think at one point I had done 20 days worth of food diaries. At one of my appointments my CDE said something to me that took months to sink in. She said that I was doing everything I could and that it was up to her now to figure out what would work for me. Part of that was the Insulin Pump and so an application was put in for funding. Sometime after being approved funding I received my lowest A1c of 2013, a 71 (8.6%) in September.

I started my pump in October and it was and still is a big learning curve. One of my biggest take away lessons? I have a significant dawn phenomenon, between the hours of 2am and 5am I need almost three times the amount of insulin that I need during the day. Targeting that is not possible on MDI. There's still some part of me that says, I could have tried harder on MDI and it would have resulted in better results. But really? I did, I honestly did. The proof is in the pudding as some might say. After 3 months on a pump my A1c is 65 or 8.1%. That one was taken in January of this year. I am due for another one in a couple of weeks and I'm actually looking forward to the test.

My current head space? Pretty good. Feeling comfortable. I am happy that the numbers I am seeing on my meter seem to make sense these days. More often than not, I am not correcting a blood sugar level. I'm waking up in the 6's rather than the 12's. I test my blood sugar now because I want to. I'm interested to know where I'm at rather than just cringing. It's a life long journey but right now I am happy with the speed and direction it is going in.