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Monday, 3 December 2012

Something about me, beaches and insulin pumps

I will never say I'm happy or glad to have diabetes. No-one in their right mind would. But there are some things about diabetes that I wouldn't feel or experiance without this disease. 

I feel the strongest sense of advocacy and passion when it comes to educating others about this disease. I have a strong direction in life, one that I wouldn't have had without diabetes.

I can appreciate my health and my access to medical care. Before diabetes I thought a cold or flu was the worst thing in the world. I never considered how another person might be living, and how they would survive. I have insulin, so I can live. In another country, I would die a slow and painful death becuase I would be unable to afford insulin. Forget clean and fresh needles everytime I want to inject. The insulin pump wouldn't be a possibility either. Yes, I might get complications from my diabetes. But here, I have the tools I need to hopefully avoid them.

Mostly, I'm discovering more and more how amazing diabetics are. How much they are willing to give and to support each other through this horrible disease. I love meeting other diabetics (and I'm super excited to be going to the Brisbane young adult T1D meet up for the 1st time this month) and hearing their stories. Knowing you're not alone and that other people understand helps so much. So far I've found that everyone is happy to offer advice and listen to your D problems.

Through my diabetes I can collect stories I would not have had without diabetes.

Today I woke up at 6.30am, and actually felt like getting up. Early waking turned into a spontaneous mini-road trip to Caloundra. It was the perfect day for it. I usually hate the water because I'm a major wuss when it comes to temperature. But it was just right. After a short dip, I reattached my pump and moved my towel to a beautifully sunny spot to sunbathe. Lewis clipped to my bikini top. As I lay there, slightly dozing, Lewis vibrated. Pulling Lewis off my bikini, I held him high to the sky and cleared the 'Check BG' message. A small voice behind me piped up: "Look! She's bolusing!". Next thing I knew, 3 small children had scurried in front of me. Silently, the eldest looking girl shyly unzipped a belt attached to her waist (the whole time I was thinking, lucky shes not an adult man or I would've run away screaming by now). She held out her own, bright blue insulin pump .  Her mum a safe distance away, we chatted for a little while about the big D. I was so amazed by her acceptance of her condition at such a young age and her want to reach out to others in the same situation. She made contact with me. She didn't care that she had had pancreatic failure far longer than I had, which weirdly, is something I always feel slightly odd about. I feel kind of bad for not having it earlier when so many kids have to go through it. Yes, I am a little crazy and my head doesn't think rationally most of the time. She was just happy to share her experiance and feel connected to another human being.

I love connections. She made my day.

Later my partner and I calculated the odds of sitting right next to someone else on that beach with an insulin pump. And who also came from the same hometown as us (Jervis Bay, NSW). But I can't remember the number he came up with now. Oh well.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

And So it Continues

I'm hurtling towards the end of the 1st leg of my life with D. 8 months have come and gone. In that time I have completely faced and locked horns with my fear of needles, and I'm pretty sure I'm winning. I have seen numbers that give me nightmares. I have learnt the carb count of coco pops off by heart. I have hypoed; stuck in my car waiting for my numbers to climb more times than I care to count. I got my licence...with D (which actually, I think one of the major reasons I was passed was because of the way I handled D in the exam). I have eaten a sausage flavoured jellybean - consequently I will never keep 'Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans' as a hypo treatment anymore. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I have seen my first World Diabetes Day come and go and spammed my Facebook with it. I have realised how little people know about T1 Diabetes. And that it just not possible for me to punch everyone who says something dumb about it to me in the face. 

I met Lewis. 

As we round closer to the Christmas end of my 1st year with D I wonder what to expect. Obviously, I'll eat whatever the hell I want. I'm T1. In saying that, I do try to keep a low GI diet. 

I don't want any presents. I usually know what I want, but this year, I haven't got a clue. I've been so pre-occupied with BGLs and set changes and all that other diabetes crap that I haven't had the time to even go to a shop and see whats new. I guess what I'd love most would be for Santa to swing his big old sack over and  come good on my lifetime warranty on my pancreas, agree to take mine back to the store for a new one. But I don't think that's happening any time soon. And it wouldn't be Santa dishing out those goods.
I have to face my family. My family is huge, loud and most of the time I'm with them, they are all yelling at each other about how much they all hate each other in the nicest way possible. I've seen all my dad's family since diagnosis, and actually they're pretty good. Besides one uncle who told me to lay off the sugar (and who could lay off the sweet stuff himself), they all seem to want to know more. My immediate family are a little less awesome. I have 3 siblings who, at the mention of my diabetes, manage to all develop spontaneous hearing impairment until the topic is changed. Or who, in the case of my little brother, will adamantly tell me I can't eat chocolate before developing this rare spontaneous hearing loss impairment when an explanation as to why I can is entered into. My dad is my dad. He has himself to look after. My mum tries very hard. But she thinks 10 is amazeballs and I'll die if I hit 4. She also thinks its helpful to tell me stories about 'this one old person she looked after' and how they're on dialysis and blind and missing 20 limbs because of their diabetes. Thankyou. I wasn't scared enough already.

So I will face my mums family. I see them once every 2 years. Usually at weddings. Or Christmas. They're probably all likely to think my glucometer is some sort of fancy blood alcohol measuring device and will probably all demand to use it to see if they can drive at the end of the day. Except for J. My cousin. Diagnosed with T1D years ago. And I'm actually really nervous about seeing him. I don't know why. He has D, I have D.

But I'm definitely avoiding this.