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Monday, 19 May 2014

Food For Mortals

I didn't know this, but apparantely when you become diabetic, you don't need to eat anymore. We have no need to partake of any oral ingeston of any vitamins, minerals, proteins, good fats, or any other sort of nutrition at all. I think that all of my doctors must have neglected to tell me that I now absorb all these nutrients through magical diabetic sunrays or osmosis. Food is now something I have purely just to get fat.

At least that's the way non-diabetics can make it feel to me. I had a blood test on Saturday as my endo appointment was today. The collection lady was chatty and cheerful and my first impression was that I liked her and maybe I would always get my bloods done on a Saturday with her from now on. Unfortunately, my first impression was wrong. About halfway through the collection she took a closer look at what she was harvesting my blood for and out it popped:

"Oooooh this has your 3 monthly average (HbA1c) on it! Will it show that you've been a naughty diabetic?"

She was lucky there was a needle jabbing into my arm. Otherwise my fist might have (Who am I kidding might have? Would have. My fist WOULD have) met with her face.

Besides that fact that her job is purely to stick things into my veins and make me bleed into a little tube and not at all to question my diabetic habits, this is insulting. No wonder diabetics can have a pretty volatile relationship with food at points. The basic gist of it from everyone else is 'diabetic eating = bad. Starving = good'. Do not put anything into your mouth and you have done well.

I should have asked her if she had any alcohol last night, or EVER really and proclaimed she was bad.

EATING IS NOT BAD. That is all I have done that could possibly ever make me a 'bad' or 'naughty' diabetic. I test alot. I don't always write it down and I sort of went to my endo appointment empty handed, but I test so damn much that I could give my endo my ranges before and after each of my meals and what I needed help with. I take insulin for everything I eat. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way I wanted it to, but that's not for a lack of trying. The ONLY thing I could posibly have done to be a bad diabetic is to have provided my body with the nourishment it needs to sustain my life. I wasn't aware I had reached god status and no longer needed physical consumption of food.

And even if I didn't follow the testing and injecting regimen as closely as I do, I am still not BAD, and no diabetic is naughty for it and NOBODY has the right to make these judgments without knowing diddly-squat about us or what we have going on in our lives.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week Day 5: Diabetes Life Hacks

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.)

Diabetes Life Hacks? I probably don't have anything original that I haven't picked up from other blogs or D-forums/chat rooms.

I guess I struggle with remembering how diabetes devices affect my body - like lancing devices, set changes, etc. So whenever I need hacks these are the things I look for. 

For the 1st 6 months I was diagnosed I have a favoured finger that took the brunt of testing. Consequently that finger is now very calloused and require 1 1/2 whole lancing points above my other fingers to draw blood. Eventually I worked out a system where I assigned each finger to a meal or a specific testing reason. My thumbs are for my pre and post breakfast, index fingers for pre and post lunch and middle fingers for pre and post dinner/before bed. My ring finger (and the equivalent on the opposit hand) is for pre-driving checks and my pinkies, because they bleed much more readily are reserved for hypos. In doing this my fingers have a chance to heal and the callous on my favoured finger is slowly softening. 

As well as this, I change my lancet on pay day every fortnight, which is the same day I buy my strips and other diabetes supplies, so I am just able to start with everything fresh. Failing every fortnight if I buy supplies in bulk, I try for at least once a month

My next hack is to remember when I last did my set change as I always forget and will just wait for the insulin to run out. I calculated an average of how much insulin I use per day and I fill my insulin up with this exact amount for 3 days, plus approximately 6 - 7 units for prime/air bubbles. It also helps to curb overeating because I have to remember I have only given myself x amount per day, so if I pig out one day I take it easy the next to save premature set-change.

The other hacks I use most often are about remembering carb counts for things. When I package up sausages I will write on the outside in marker how many carbs are in the serve I just froze so Its not something I have to look up later. Or for cereal I find a small bowl, scoop, etc that is roughly the size of a serving and have attached to it a label with all the cereals I eat and how many carbs is in 1 scoop - so that way  I never have to weight it and can just quickly use the scoop to get out an exact amount of carb. I tend to cycle through about 3 different cereals so the scoop has all 3 written on it and I just move it from one box to the next. 

Not over exciting hacks, but they help make diabetes care just that little bit easier for me.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week Day 4: Mantras and More

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.)

Dance Magic Dance! I am a shocking dancer. No sense of rhythm whatsoever. But when diabetes is kicking my ass, my lack of groovin' moves is the least of my worries. So when I'm having a hard diabetes day, I post a few gripes to the DOC, and when I have had understanding and suggestions a plenty thrown my way from amazing people all over the world, I go to groove town. I twerk in my kitchen like no-one can see me (except my bogan back-door neighbours really can see me).

Its not just the dancing that helps - I have a collection of songs that specifically relate to diabetes (at least in my head they do anyway). They're all mostly break-up songs and I sing them to my defunct pancreas. Except for that one random 'The Used' song "Together Burning Bright" which I reserve for when I've had enough hypos that my happy-making hormone is exhausted for the day. On particularly bad days I close all my windows and doors and warble along with Bert McCracken to how everything is going to be AOK at the end of my day:

"I think it's gonna be alright, now
I think it's gonna be okay
Just close your eyes
'Cause we are only sparks
But together burning bright"

Failing singing and dancing, the diabetic rap always makes me want to wrap my diabetes in a bear hug again, cos without diabetes, things like this wouldn't exist:

Dancing doesn't exactly solve diabetes problems...but it makes me happy and gives me energy, which bad diabetes days suck from me hard.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week Day 1: Tell Me a Story

For the 2nd year now I am taking part in Diabetes Blog Week. Today we are supposed to be talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up.However, I think I do this on all-to-regular basis and I'm just not in an advocate and cause mood, so I decided to go with the 'Tell me a Story' WildCard instead. 

Write a short story personifying a diabetes tool you use on a daily basis. A meter, syringe, pump, pill, etc. Give it a personality and a name and let it speak through you. What would it be happy about, upset about, mad about?  (Thank you Heather of Unexpected Blues for this topic.)

The dark is all around as I wait, crammed against many more of my kin. We all stand, patient, knowing that one day, we will see the light. One day it will be Bob's turn, or Mary's turn, or my turn.

Outside, I can hear a snap. I am rattled about in my prison. A grubby, pin-pricked finger reaches in. Is this is it? Is it my turn? I cannot bear to stay here, in the stifling blackness anymore. The finger passes me by. Now is my chance; I stick myself firmly onto the warm pink flesh.

Now. The light is everywhere, flooding me with warmth. I bask in the world around me as I am roughly shoved into the care of a higher intelligence. A little care, please. I am here to help, after all.

I tense with anticipation as I see the red shadow near. What I was made to do. Fulfilment. I drink in the deep iron flavour of the blood as the finger tries to steady beside me. I relay the flavour to my God, a very sweet tasting blood. My duty fulfilled.

Now. I am finished with the obligations, I can help no more. But I am not ready for this adventure to be over. The world outside my confinement is so big, so bright. As I am wrenched free of my god, I deftly twist and manage to fall. I drop a long, long way and strategically land on a tile in similar colour to my own body. Eyes lumber close, stupidly blinking. However I am a master of disguise. They will never find me. At the first opportunity, I see a dark passage and wriggle away underneath, somewhere I may rest to plan my forays into the world.

I am halfway there when a creature of too much hair sees me. It pounces and attacks, dragging me off to a corner as I fear for my life. It appears my end is not today, as the creature is frightened away by shoe-clodden feet. A foot passes by me and I quickly swing under the footfall of the 2nd step, gripping tightly to a shoelace as it lifts.

I ride to freedom. The greens of the great outside await me. I drop off and into a pot plant. I plan to scale the heights of the washing line and spend my night in a comfortable looking sock. My adventure, the adventure of Harry, a test-strip who dared to dream, is just beginning.

Saturday, 3 May 2014


  1. 1.
    a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
    "the stigma of mental disorder"

Chances are in your life that you have felt stigmatized. Maybe you just like the colour black, so everyone assumes your part of a dark goth vampire cult, and cross the street just in case you want to suck their blood with a quickly applied straw-stabbed-through the neck as they pass. Or maybe your smart, so you never got picked for the sports team, and the lack of being allowed to play is probably why you're not good at sports in the first place.

Diabetes also has a stigma. It's a stigma that can make it very hard to tell people around us that we have the disease, or let on how hard it really is. Before you knew anyone with diabetes, what did you know about the disease? Did you believe the pretty blonde lady on the T.V. spouting that diabetes only happened to fat, ugly people? Did you hear about your neighbors grand-daughter who was just diagnosed with diabetes and wonder how many family-sized packets of M & M's her mother tipped into her throat to cause it? Did you think that we are all lazy and unmotivated or that we don't care enough to take care of ourselves? Did you think that we are sickly and won't be able to hold down a job or have a future because of health concerns? Did you think we DESERVE it? Do you still think these things? 

The stigma of diabetes is real. It can stop people getting jobs and it can ruin relationships. Diabetes stigma can create social exclusions. It can make us feel bad about ourselves and maybe even begin to believe we deserve everything that's happening to us. Stigma can stop us from learning about diabetes enough to take proper care of the disease.

When I was first diagnosed, sitting cross legged on a crisp clean hospital bed, I asked for a pregnancy test. I hoped it was gestational diabetes. Unsurprisingly, the pregnancy test was negative and I did not have some sort of super GDM given my over 30 levels.

After I was told that no, there was no bean growing inside me, I WISHED for Type 1 Diabetes. I don't believe in a god, but I concentrated all my energy on willing my pancreas to be fully, 100% non-insulin productive. I was very much aware that Type 1 Diabetes was the one with needles, and that Type 2 diabetes had potential to be reversed, or at the very least I could diet control or have tablets every day instead of multiple daily shots of insulin straightaway.

Being that I hate needles, the wish to have Type 1 Diabetes is crazy, right? It's not if you're aware of the stigma. I knew about the diabetes stigma - and I did not want the stigma of diabetes, let alone Type 2 Diabetes - or the diabetes percieved to be made of an inability towards any sort of self-control. A Type 1 Diagnosis meant that I could interject that in uncomfortable situations - I could say "I have TYPE ONE Diabetes" or "autoimmune diabetes" and explain that it wasn't my fault. A Type 1 diagnosis meant I could say "Oh no, That's Type 2 Diabetes that get it from poor lifestyle".

Of course I don't feel this way and I never ended up throwing any Type 2 Diabetics under the bus (I hope we're all well aware that Type 2 is much more complex than 'I ate bad'. Genetics, anyone?). I explain the differences between the 2 when asked about my diabetes but never lay blame to anyone with diabetes. And these days I know that the stigma affects Type 1's just as much as Type 2's. I just happened to know that Type 1 was autoimmune beforehand due to a cousin having Type 1, and so I preferred to pick this stigma instead. 

The fact is, I was aware of the stigma even before diagnosis and I knew I didn't want to spend three quarters of my life defending my pancreases right to an early retirement and the shame it might cause me. No one should be made to feel this way. 

So get on board with the Diabetes Stigma Project and support! If you can't do that, then at the very least next time you hear someone saying something about diabetes, blast the bejesus out of them and set them straight damnit! (But don't wish diabetes on them or anyone they love because that's just not fair. Diabetes isn't fair to anyone).