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  1. Day 7 - Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading

    There's one good thing that comes from being a week behind everyone else. Since everyone else has already finished their week of posts, it makes reading them a lot easier, because they're all centralised. How lovely! However, because there have been so many amazing posts, just picking three seems a bit stingy, but hey, here we go!

    The first two posts that caught my attention were from Day Two's petition topic. I came up short with this one, and pulled a wild card, so I was really fascinated to see what everyone else had come up with. 

    I can completely relate to to The Blue Heel Society's post about the lack of nutritional information in food outlets, because it drives me crazy. Half the time I've given up asking, because they never have it anyway, and I'm the person holding up the queue that everybody huffs, sighs, groans and rolls their eyes at. SWAGing is an art we'd all rather not have to perfect, isn't it?

    Similarly, George's post over on Ninjabetic rings true with me as well. Supermarkets are hell for the hypo effect - I just had one in Sainsbury's on Thursday, for heaven's sake! I'd say it makes about as much sense as the almost immediate hypo I get from picking up the hoover, but I can find some logic in that, at least!

    Last up, Elizabeth at Life or Something Like It gave a lovely account of meeting her first ever diabetic friend, which made me think back on my own relationships with my d-friends, and particularly on writing about this myself. It's always good to take account of our own relationships and remember how special they can be, and how blessed we are because of them.

    So there we go. That's D-Blog Week over for another year. But I'm hoping that this will help me kick start more regular posting. I plan to keep to it this time...

  2. D-Blog Week - Day 6 - Coming Soon

    Saturday 25 May 2013

    Day 6 - Diabetes Art

    This time I'm just teasing you. I'm not showing my art just yet. But I will let you know that I have a major arty project in the pipeline, which I hope you're all going to be really excited by.

    Just you wait and see...

  3. Day 5 - Freaky Friday. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?

    I tried. I really, really did. Which disease would I want to switch out Type 1 for? What would give me a better insight on the lives of my friends? What would give me a new perspective on things? 

    But what comes to mind is a tweet I saw being retweeted by @EverydayAbleism - which is a wonderful account that I highly recommend following if you're not already. It's very illuminating. But I think this really makes a valid point.

    It set me thinking. Though I'm sure I'd learn a great deal in a switch, if we're going classic Freaky Friday, that would mean the other person would get my Type 1. And to be completely honest, I wouldn't want to give this to my worst enemy. I can live with it, but there's no reason they should have to. Even if it would be enlightening.

  4. My biggest accomplishment

    I had to think hard about this one. I'm in a place right now where I don't really feel like I've got a handle on anything, so apart from the fact that I'm still here, alive and kicking - which I suppose is something of an accomplishment in and of itself - there isn't much, diabetes wise that in feeling like I can hang my hat on. So I had to have a good long think about what I wanted to write about. And then it came to me.

    I don't know if you've ever stood barefoot in snow. I'd you haven't, I can't say that I recommend it. I know that this is staying the obvious, but it is really really cold. All the same, that's the position that I found myself in at a disturbingly early hour one Saturday morning in January this year. This was because I was all smartly decked out for graduation day. So ok, I wasn't technically barefoot, but due to a badly considered stocking and suspender belt fiasco I was bare legged, which is as close as dammit. This wasn't my first graduation, as this was a postgraduate affair.

    I had taken two years to complete my MA. It has a ridiculously long title, of Master of Arts in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance, and the fact I had been completing it part time had nothing to do with the length of the name, but to do with the fact I couldn't afford to stop working full time. So I had a part time degree, a full time job, and diabetes which didn't seem to want to cut me any sort of slack.

    In the middle of my first set off assignments, I had numbers that wouldn't come down for love nor money, and felt sick as a dog, which is exactly what you want when you're trying to be intelligent and informed.

    I started pumping during this time as well. I can't say that two hourly testing for two weeks straight helped my concentration during lectures.

    If I'm honest, I hadn't really imagined that it was all going to impact on the whole degree process as, much as it did. With hindsight I should have anticipated it, but I didn't. On my graduation day I didn't really take stock of how much perseverance it had taken. But I'm thinking about it now.

    It took me two years and, more energy, sticking power and sleepless nights than I anticipated, but I did it. And no-one can take that away from me. Mainly because that bad boy's on my CV, and you wouldn't know where I keep the certificate anyway.

  5. D-Blog Week - Day 3 - Flying Solo

    Wednesday 22 May 2013

    Day 3 - Memories

    As soon as I came off IV insulin, I was presented with an insulin pen and an option. The one wonderful nurse who worked on that ward, whose name I can never remember (I think it might have been Heather, but she's always been Anna in my mind, because she reminded me so strongly of someone else) said I could inject myself, or she could do it for me until I felt like I wanted to myself.

    I didn't want to do it. Of course I didn't - it's a sharp pointy thing - the sort of thing that generally we're told not to go at ourselves with. Who actually wants to stick needles in themselves? No-one I've come across. I didn't think I was ever going to want to do it, so it seemed as good a time as any. I was 24, I was supposedly an adult, I could handle this. Of course I could. 

    And I did. I injected into my arm. I had been given the induction of all the places you could realistically inject, but the very thought of injecting anywhere but my arm made my insides churn.

    A couple of days later, I was sat on the floor of my living room with the pen in my hand again. Trying to force myself to inject in my stomach. I don't know why I was so hung up on making myself do it. Maybe I was trying to break through a mental block, I can't be sure. What I do know was that it must have been gone 20 minutes before I actually got the nerve together to do it. Time when I remembered that this first solo flight was only the beginning of everything. That it wasn't going to end, that I wasn't going to wake up and find it was all a bad dream. 

    Perhaps it was a way of taking control. But the memory of that moment is still very clear to me. The funny thing is that I routinely injected in my stomach until I switched to pumping. I only ever injected in my arms if I was wearing a dress and couldn't easily inject in my thigh. Even now I'm pumping, I never put my site anywhere other than my stomach. I'll have been pumping for 3 years in November, and not one non-stomach site. Another mental block? I don't know. Maybe I just need to push through this one as well, but I'm not sure how to go about it. But if I can kick through it, maybe that can be the memory I look back on for another Diabetes Blog Week in a couple of years...

  6. Day Two - Already calling in the wildcard for Dream Diabetes Device

     Ooooh doorknobs. How I loathe thee. You are one of my greatest (nemesises? nemesi? Apparently nemeses) nemeses. (There. I look educated now). But seriously, I hate doorknobs. I hate drawer handles, unexpected hooks and things that my pump tubing can coil and catch on.

    I was going to say recently, but I suppose it's not so recently now, I moved house. One of the biggest surprises to me was that I was completely outwitted by the way that all the handles on all the doors had suddenly moved from where I was expecting them to be. Especially in the kitchen. The kitchen had turned into a seemingly booby-trapped minefield of pinching, pulling and snagging fun. But regardless of location, if there is something I can get my tubing caught on, you can be sure that I will do it. 

    Now, I know there are tubeless pumps. Omnipod, I'm looking at you, but on the whole, I love my Vibe. Yes, I know I said Vibe, not 2020. More on that after the week is over. I love Animas' customer service, I love the product, and I don't really want to switch to a patch pump.I know plenty of people love them, but they seem so huge to me, and I just can't imagine that being comfortable.  But I do wish there was a way to reduce snagging. Particularly when I'm in rehearsals for a show, it can be a real pain to try and negotiate my tubing around costumes, changes, and especially physical sequences. 

    I had a fabulous idea suggested to me, and I wish there was a way of making it work. Yo-yo pump tubing. For those moments when you just want to coil tubing away safely, or for when it falls out of a pocket, or the one I'm most guilty of, which is getting up in the night and forgetting you're wearing a pump altogether and down it goes. Tug, ouch, you're suddenly much more awake than you were two seconds ago. I love the idea. Something of a cross between tubed pumping and patches. It all comes with a feel of being very Inspector Gadget. Man, I loved Inspector Gadget when I was younger. Show of hands in comments if you now have the theme tune in your head...and let's be honest here, people.  Now, I know that this would be unlikely to work, because of weighting, and the chances of kinking your line are just too high. But it's supposed to be a fantasy device isn't it? A girl can dream. So I'd love to be a bit more Inspector Gadget. Only a bit smarter, since Penny did all the work anyway...

  7. So, last week was fairly crazy for me for various reasons. I was irritated by the fact that Diabetes Blog Week had passed me by. But, in an effort to cut myself a bit more slack, I am simply posting my contributions a week late. So here we go...

    Day One - Share and Don't Share...

    I love the DSNs that I see when I go to clinic. They are marvellous women, and I have a huge amount of respect for each of them. Whilst I have had various ups and downs with my endo, these wonderful ladies have fought my corner all the way over the past four years, and have taught me a great deal. 

    I don't have one DSN, I have a team. Each of them has been with me through different parts of my education so far. They've taught me the absolute basics of testing and injecting, brought me from mixed insulins, to MDI, then pushed papers in the right in-trays to get me my pump. They taught me carb counting, let me borrow a CGM, and how to handle all sorts of things. I am very, very lucky to have such an understanding, skilled, fabulous team. I know lots of people out there who have teams who ignore them, belittle them, and don't see their point of view. 

    However, I always feel a little bit of, well, shame whenever I see these wonderful women. They know that I blog. That I have done awareness and advocacy speeches. I've been on the radio, done some magazine interviews, that I've done fundraising. They themselves have had me come and talk to new pumpers about my experiences in starting pumping. They use words like 'well controlled', and 'educated'. 'Aware', and 'clued in'.  And yes, I might well be some of these things. But when a good a1C feels like a fluke, or I haven't logged my numbers off my meter in months, and I feel like a cheat, a coward and I struggle not to squirm in my seat in the waiting room, and I feel uncomfortable. I feel like a fraud. Like I've wasted all their efforts. Because I'm not the perfect example that I think they want me to be. Even though that's probably the thing furthest from their mind. I'll never achieve perfection, and I doubt they would ever expect that from me. But I want to do it. For them, because they have given me so much. And I'm always disappointed in myself when I fall short. Because I do it all the time.