Friday, 31 May 2013

Be confident

On Wednesday night the #doc were having our weekly Twitter chat and the theme was about Diabetes and Restaurants etc. Everyone had a lot of stories to tell. Then the focus of the conversation switched to injecting or testing whilst out and about; in a restaurant for example. A lot said not to inject in the toilets, others said it all depends on confidence.

I'm in the middle of those two opinions. When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes I had no confidence with it in terms of showing others that I was diabetic. I didn't want to be stared at or feel any different from everyone else sitting around me. I don't want to attract negative attention; and in my eyes people looking at my blood meter or my injection pen- that was the attention I did not want. And so, I often went to the toilet to take care of my things; but I did bring my mum along with me too so I suppose I didn't have to set anything down on the sinks. Then once we were done I carried on my business as usual, no one would know I was diabetic apart from those whom I was with, and I was seemingly just like all those around me; which is what I wanted. 

Nearly four years on and I am much more confident in managing my diabetes in front of others. I suppose a lot of the time my lack of confidence was also derived from being only eleven years old at the time and also not really knowing what I would say to a curious person. In hind-sight, I also didn't like explaining; it frustrated me to be asked to explain why I was doing what I was doing, I just generally didn't like it. I suppose I just didn't want to keep being reminded that I had just been diagnosed I was diabetic. I had enough to remind me about that during the day. 

I recall sitting in a restaurant once and I was with my parents and my sister- I got out my testing kit to check my blood sugar and the waiter said to me "are you okay?" I swiftly replied "yes" and sort of giggled. It was really unexpected and I'm not sure if the waiter even knew what she was asking me about. I guess she saw blood on my finger and asked. Even though she may not of known exactly what I was doing, she still asked me about it and for some reason, that was a bit of a confidence booster for me. In knowing that people do care and not everyone is going to stand and stare. 

Over the years after being diagnosed I have developed the attitude of "Who cares?" Now I will get my insulin pump out in public and do my insulin, I will get my blood sugar testing kit out whenever I need to. It doesn't bother me anymore. I know what to say to people now and I like telling them about it. I would rather them ask me about it, rather than go around still unsure of what diabetes is and possibly still harboring stereo-types or assumptions. Whereas when I was younger; I was very shy and didn't want to talk to others about it. I have had people stare before but I just quite literally smile at them. Just to get rid of the awkwardness. 

In August 2010, about a year and two months after being diagnosed I went on my second holiday with Diabetes in tow. The first was July 2009 on a cruise ship with my family- that wasn't the best holiday blood sugar wise...anyway, I was still on injections when we went to Amsterdam and we went to a sandwich shop and whilst my family were up at the counter ordering their food, I had to stay and do my injection and test my blood sugar. I looked around warily before injecting myself with insulin in my stomach. I finished and when I looked up there was a lady just sitting there with her friend; both of them staring at me. It was actually really awkward and I just felt really singled out and it knocked me back a bit. 

Looking back at it, I think I took that situation and used it to motivate me into not caring about what other people think. I have grown up with the idea that what other people think of me matters- especially when it came to diabetes. But now,  I realise that it probably doesn't. I am living my life and going through my life just as everyone else in this world, I just have a few more things to do to get through the day. Now I don't mind, ask me about my diabetes, i'll tell you about it. I'm not afraid to tell people about it now.

Being confident in diabetes helps you deal with it so much. It helped me deal with it. Talking about it is good too; I find that speaking about it helps me cope with it more. I'm only fifteen and diabetes taught me what others think of you doesn't matter. As a diabetic, all the things that I do in public that Ii find people staring at: is exactly what is keeping me alive. So, do what you need to do. You're only trying to survive. 

Be confident and show people how awesome diabetics are. 

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin] 

Monday, 27 May 2013

Race for life 2013

On June 16th 2013, me, my sister and my mum's running group are doing the Race For Life. This year will be the 3rd time that Lauren and I have taken part in the Race For Life. This race has always had significance in my life, not only do we do it in support of my mum, my grandmother, in memory of my great-granddad and all those who sadly lost the fight and in honor of all those affected by cancer- but June 21st 2009 was the first time that I did the Race For Life, and was also the day that I was diagnosed with Diabetes.

This year our target is to raise £1000 for the Race For Life and we are nearly at our target with £960. The work of Cancer Research UK means that more and more people can survive cancer and we can be one step closer to the cure. It is research like that of CRUK that means my mum and my grandmother are still with us today. So, it would really mean a lot if you could please donate and sponsor all of us for the race so that we can reach our £1000 target, or even exceed it. Together, we can beat cancer.

www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/breakthrough-runners 

It would honestly mean so much if you could sponsor us, every donation big or small means everything. Thank you.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Fifty random facts about me

I was tagged by my friend Tara to do this blog post. She has done her own version and asked me to do my own fifty random facts. So here goes:

1. I am the only person in my family to still have my tonsils
2. I have a twin sister
3. When I was little I had an imaginary friend
4. I have lived in London all my life
5. I once had a pet goldfish that only lived for two weeks
6. I like acoustic music
7. I enjoy singing and secretly wish I was a singer
8. I don't like the colour pink
9. I hate olives
10. Half my family is Italian, the other half are English
11. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S2
12. I love cats
13. I have a cat called Fudge; his brother Smudge sadly died last year
14. I own a purple medtronic insulin pump
15. I have a windows 8 computer
16. My laptop is red
17. My favourite colour is purple
18. I can't dance to save my life
19. I am really tall at 5ft10
20. I used to go to recorder lessons in primary school
21. In Year 4 I played Friar Tuck and sung a solo in the school production of Robin Hood
22. I got my first mobile phone when I was 11, it was a pink motorola flip-up
23. I used to want to be a vet
24. I have nearly finished my GCSE's
25. I start sixth form in September
26. I love going to the theatre
27. Les Miserables and Wicked are my favourite theatre productions
28. I used to be obsessed with Atomic Kitten as young child
29. When I was little I used to think I could jump into the set of the tweenies
30. As a baby I used to have this recurring dream that a gorilla would climb in through the window
31. Every halloween as a young child I would dress up as a witch
32. I cried when our neighbour's cat died
33. I used to do acting on TV when I was younger, with my twin sister and sometimes my family
34. I met Robson Green on the set of 'Northern Lights'
35. I had my first kiss on the set of 'Living it' under a coat with a kid called Ben, I was like 7
36. I am absolutely terrified of wasps
37. I hate lifts; if I can avoid getting in one I will. If you try and force me i'll probably cry
38. I love to laugh
39. I don't like horror films
40. My sister and I were in an episode of 'Casualty' when we were around 6 years old. We met Simon Maccorkindale.
41. The only pizza I like is pepperoni pizza and margarita
42. I have an A* in Year 10 history
43. I hate maths and I'm really terrible at it- yet managed to get a C in GCSE maths
44. The countries my family and I have visited are America, France and Amsterdam
45. I once had my plastic scissors confiscated at a french airport
46. Sometimes I can be superstitious
47. I have major OCD about the bathroom cupboard, everything needs to be in perfect positioning
48. I have braces
49. My friends and I worked backstage for my secondary school's production of Guys and Dolls
50. I used to be afraid of dogs

So there are fifty facts about me. I suppose I should tag someone to do their own now...I guess...I tag Paris? c:

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]



Sunday, 26 May 2013

A child

It's hard, it's hard for a child to understand. It's hard for a child with diabetes to understand that the diagnosis will change their life. A child is innocent to the fact that the diagnosis means a new life. It's difficult to comprehend that there has been change. The child finds it hard to adjust; tough to of lived a life that didn't know diabetes. A child finds comfort in settling down, a child finds respite in knowing life is okay and life is good. A child is oblivious to the fact that things can change. Small fingers, stomachs with no scarring, is a child. Then before they know it, a child with diabetes is no longer free from this. Fingers that were once untouched, at the most pricked by a splinter; the splinter turns into a lancet and grazes turn into injection or pump sites. Unknown to them that they will soon become brave in their scars. The scarring from what is to keep them alive; will be battle scars. Scars of strength and courage. Scars that mean determination, determination to live the life they are still blessed to be living. A child wishes to be carefree, a child does not understand the need for obstacles; they see no obstacles in life. With a diagnosis; a child loses their innocence in knowing that there is hardships in this life- but a child with diabetes gains more wisdom than their parents would ever imagine. A child who has incredible courage is found within a child that once was, a normal child. Diabetes will bring the familiar prick of tears to the eyes of a child; tears they should not have to cry. Tears that mean strength is within them, the tears meaning a child has been strong. A child does not want to visit the hospital, a hospital means needles, unfortunately a child with diabetes lives on needles. A child's beaming smile when they see their doctor provides relief for a nervous parent; the child has learnt to trust; they put their trust in their doctors, they do not fear them. Every time a sweet treat blesses their taste buds, a needle prick touches their nerves. All too focused on eating, the injection becomes second nature. A parent soon learns that injecting the child is their new normal, a child learns the "Diabetes normal". A child will find diabetes harsh, a child will find diabetes unfair. A child is un-welcoming to the signs of low blood sugar, holding up their friends is not what they want, a child should be free to play instead a child with diabetes is inside feeling thirsty. Even though the child is sound asleep, diabetes will be awake. Awake and ready to instill fear on parents who could once sleep all the way through the night; forcing terrible feelings upon an innocent child; shaking, confusion, thirst...A child with diabetes is tough. A child with diabetes is strong. A child with diabetes soon understands their new life and takes it in their stride. A child knows there is a silver lining and a child with diabetes is so close they can almost touch it; they can almost touch the incredible hope that they have in knowing there will be a cure. A child is flexible; a child can bounce back from any set-back that shows itself to them. A child with diabetes also knows that life is good. A child with diabetes understands that diabetes isn't all that they are. Despite struggles a child with diabetes continues to strive, to strive in the supportive shadow of their family and friends. A child with diabetes is brave.

A child with diabetes knows they can do this. A child knows that diabetes will never win.

I wanted to write this because young children with diabetes are amazing in their strength to carry on, to carry on and not let diabetes get in the way of their dreams. I suppose what I wrote could apply to an adult all the same too. Everyone with diabetes is wonderful. This more so applies to a child that would have just been diagnosed too. Adults have already gained wisdom and courage in living with the disease, small children still harbor innocent minds but find the strength to take diabetes under their wing anyway.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

A poem

It's 3am and I'm lying here awake,
Sugar I must take,
To ensure I get it through the night,
It takes all my might

It's 3am and I'm lying here shaking,
My muscles are aching,
My sleep is on the line,
In a few moments I will be fine

I hate nights like this,
My sister is next to me, dreaming in bliss,
I put the pot of dextrose tablets down,
Fifteen minutes till the next finger prick comes around

It's 3am and I need a drink,
Why am I thirsty, I need to think,
I have over-treated,
I am high and over-heated

It's 3am and I have a headache,
I just want to sleep for goodness sake,
the world is asleep,
I hear my insulin pump beep

The correction does is finished,
All my energy diminished,
I should be fine now,
Fifteen minutes until the next finger prick comes around.

At the moment it is actually 3am and I am awake right now. I am not very good at writing poems but I needed to do something to help me stay awake so I can treat my low blood sugar. The poem basically talks about how diabetes never takes a break and it is a 24/7 thing, even in the middle of the night. I can't forget about diabetes, even when I am in bed.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Last day of Year 11

Yesterday was the last day of Year 11. I honestly can't believe how quickly it has all gone. In Year 7 I didn't even imagine the last day of Year 11 because it was five years ahead. Now, five years later on May 24th 2013 Year 11 is over, and Year 7,8,9 and 10 have all been and gone quicker than I could have ever imagined. I still remember the first day of Year 7, my sister and I had our hair slicked back into a bun, our blazers were about three sizes too big and our skirts hung just below our knees; it's safe to say we looked atrocious. Not to mention our bright rucksacks that were massive.We were typical Year 7's.

Year 7 was the year of settling in, the lessons weren't all that serious because we were just starting out, we were all making friends and the girls in the years above were very intimidating. It was a whole new school, everyone was worrying about getting lost so people tended to walk around in little swarms so if we got lost, we'd be lost together. Sat in the Hall on the very first day thinking "please let me be with my primary school friends" I walked into secondary school with the mindset that I wouldn't make any new friends because I was too shy, but five years on I have made some pretty amazing friends. To name a few, Tia, Lauren, Monica, Frankie and more. Year 7 was the year everyone ran to class because teachers would say "You will get detention if you're five minutes late!" so the end of break consisted of most of us sprinting to class...apart from the kids who were born to defy the rules.

Then there was Year 8, now everyone would say to me when I was younger "Year 8 is the best year" for me, Year 8 meant change. I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the end of Year 7 in June. So when I went back to school in September, not only was I moving onto a new year but I was also still adjusting to a very new life, but I had my family and friends to get me through it and support me. Once I got back to school, most of my friends held memories that I didn't get to gain because I was in hospital when 'Activities Week' was taking place just before Summer. I was gutted. I managed to miss London Zoo, The Science Museum, making goo in class...but I suppose looking back on it, I was too focused on having been diagnosed to think too much about missing it all. Now I feel a bit disappointed. But all is okay because I have many more memories from Year 8. Apart from being diagnosed before Year 8; it was the best year school-wise. It was relaxed. We all sailed through Year 8 with flying colours until Year 9 graced us with it's presence and things got a little bit more complicated.

Year 9 is when the school prepare you to start GCSE's in Year 10 and the words "This is all in preparation for your GCSE's!" will be forever embedded in your mind. By Year 9 we all pretty much figured out who our friends were, and the friends I made in the beginning have been my friends ever since, despite ups and downs through out the years. I found Year 9 pretty boring...it was all serious compared to the years before. Although we did have fun at our end of year trip to Thorpe Park. But the end of Year 9 brought the start of GCSE's.

The year we all dreaded. Year 10. Notorious for being a very stressful year. I chose to do Drama, History and regrettably, French. Pretty sure taking French for  GCSE is the biggest regret of my life so far. I used to be good at French, and I enjoyed it with my old teacher in Year 9; but once it got to Year 10 I hated it. The only thing that got me through those lessons was Eleanor and Clara and Emily. I loved Drama and History though. I came out of Year 10 with an A* in Year 10 History which I would never have imagined because I took History as a sort of last resort, but still enjoyed it and a B in core science. For Drama we went to see Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre in the West end which was amazing with the best Drama teacher ever. The exams we did in Year 10 were maths, Science, RE and History. Then along came Year 11. Despite all the stress I left Year 10 with amazing memories.

The second year of GCSE's is Year 11 and is the most stressful year ever. I have had moments in Year 11 just wanting to pull my hair out it was so much work. We had to cram in so much information and try and account for things we had learnt all the way back in Year 7. "Come on, you did this in Year 7!" listen, I can't even remember what I ate for dinner last week so I will not remember that. ICT was very time-consuming, as it was all coursework and no exam and so was Drama when we had to make up a 25 minute play for our exam. French just stressed me out so much because I was literally failing that subject and probably still did. Maths had been going down-hill ever since the start and I ended up doing a linear maths exam and came out with a miraculous C which means I have a GCSE in Maths, something I never thought I would get. After two years of preparation through Year 10 and Year 11 we got our exam timetables which consisted of about three billion exams. Only joking, but I had about ten I think. Now that Year 11 is over I only have two more exams and only go into school for those; we can go home after the exam which is great. Year 11 was an all-round brilliant Year, it was the year that everyone matured so so much and we all became stronger as a year. As we all prepared to go our separate ways.

Yesterday's leaver's assembly brought tears to all of our eyes, and we said goodbye to our Year leader who has been with us ever since Year 7. Most years have different year leaders every year. Mrs Cowley was a wonderful year leader and it will be weird not seeing her around as she is going back down to the lower site, to be the head of year for the Year 7's. In September, I start sixth form and thankfully a lot of my friends and I are staying at the sixth form of my school. Sadly, some members of my form are leaving and it was sad yesterday. Even though we will see each other at exams and have the chance to say our proper goodbyes at prom it still doesn't excuse the fact that our form will not be 11.4 anymore in September because everyone is moving on.

But everyone has to let go and move on at some point. And the years through 7-11 have left me with amazing friends and amazing memories that I will never ever forget.





























11.4
2008-2013<3


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Heroes

This morning I was changing my infusion site and I fired in the needle.

I let out a yelp because it stung quite a bit. My mum was next to me reading her magazine, when I said "ouch" all I heard was my mum say quietly with her head still down as she read "don't tell me..." I looked up briskly and I said "huh?" then she simply replied and said:

"I don't want to know that this hurts you"

And at that moment, I hardly had a reply but to say "aww" because I was sort of lost for words because I forget that, when I go through tough moments with Diabetes, so do my parents.

They have seen me at my worst and they have seen me at my best with Diabetes. My parents were there when I was diagnosed, they sat as the doctor told me the life-changing diagnosis. They have seen me hooked up to an IV laying in a hospital bed, twice since I was diagnosed. Sleep has been sacrificed just to make sure that I am okay during the night, stress has been endured as I run out of test strips while we're out and my mum or dad has to drive back home to get me some. Time has been spent by them as they take me to hospital appointments and go out to buy me dextrose tablets. My parents have been my biggest support system in my life with diabetes and have done so much more for me. They are MY HEROES.

And to all of you out there who have a child with Type One Diabetes, you are your child's hero too. Don't ever forget that. Even if your child doesn't show you appreciation all the time, know that all children with Type One will hold a special place in their hearts for their parents because all that parents of type one kids do for them, is a testimony to their incredible strength and courage.

The courage that it takes to inject your child, to prick their finger, to watch them go through DKA, to see them struggle daily with blood sugars, the endurance of sleepless nights and more; is one that only ones with kids just like us will harbor.

I went through a stage in my life with diabetes when I didn't test or inject, I also lied to my parents about my blood sugars. I lied because I wanted to make them happy and tell them what they wanted to hear; because I didn't want them to hear a high blood sugar because I know that it hurts them more than I could imagine when I tell them a high reading. All my parents want for me is to be healthy. I used to have a lot of arguments because of my blood sugars with my mum and dad and they would always say to me "we don't want to see anything happen to you" 

I know my mum and dad realise the harsh realities of Type One Diabetes and so do I. I know that every parent with a child with Type One Diabetes knows it too. All they want is for their child to live as normal as possible, to see them grow up and live their lives as they should.

My parents mean more to me than anything and I couldn't live with out them. They have caught low blood sugars in the middle of the night and driven me to the hospital with high ketones; and for that I guess I could say they have saved my life and so has every parent of a child with Diabetes.

I will be forever grateful from the bottom of my heart for all that my parents have done for me and do for me and to those who work so tirelessly every day just like my parents, to make sure their kids make it through the day.

You are all our heroes, parents of type one diabetic kids.

"Because not all heroes wear capes"

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]



Saturday, 18 May 2013

I'm excited

This morning when my parents got back from shopping they said to me "Ellie, you have a package?" so I was all "woah, for me?"

Feeling totally special and important I eagerly awaited the package to be presented to me. Then my mum said "It's from Abbott" So by this point I just burst out laughing, pretty much uncontrollably. I just could not stop laughing because I had  forgot that about a month ago I ordered a free Insulin x meter, just for the fun of it really. I was bored and wanted to try something new.

My mum started laughing and said "oh, another one to add to your meter collection" but I think that it is pretty cool how it's touch screen and such. Plus, I can personalize it, so now the background will be a little kitten. Which makes me smile because its very cute. Anything to make testing your finger a nicer experience, even though stabbing your finger with a needle is hardly "nice" but oh well.

Also, I am excited because tomorrow morning I get to meet @pippop82 which will be nice. She only lives about ten minutes away from me and I first saw that she lived near me on Twitter, through the GBDOC. So yeah, i'm looking forward to it and we both have the same blood sugar meter so she is going to give me a spare case because the cases she has for it are lovely.

And...in a few minutes our friend Megan should be arriving too, oh and one more thing! I just found out that my wisdom teeth are coming through and it doesn't hurt so that's a bonus.

All in all today has been a pretty exciting day.
But the blood sugar of 19 mmol earlier tried to dampen my mood, but my blood sugar is okay now so, you lose again Diabetes. Ha ha.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Friday, 17 May 2013

Funny stories

Even though having Type One Diabetes is a real pain in the backside, it's always good to find the silver lining in things. Although Diabetes is frustrating and worrisome and makes me feel like utter rubbish more often than not, it has made me life a little more interesting in the sense that some funny stories have come out of it. I can only remember one or two really significant moments that I have thought of that I remember being quite funny.

My class were getting changed for PE on the school stage because there were exams going on in the gym and so we couldn't use the proper changing rooms. My friend Monica and I were messing around with Tia who is my other friend and so Monica wrapped the curtains around Tia when she wasn't expecting it and it was really quite hilarious because Tia is really light so she is easy to pick up. Then I was getting changed and suddenly I was blinded by curtains and got so disorientated that I just fell...just like that, I just fell backwards straight onto the floor.

All I remember on the way down was flailing my arms in a desperate attempt to maintain my dignity, whilst I held down my school skirt. It was very funny and it is safe to say everyone else found it amusing too. It took me around five minutes to regain my composure after I just sat on the floor, wondering what on earth made me fall over. Anyway, I got up and I checked my blood sugar. Turns out my blood sugar was 3.6 mmol so I really didn't have the energy to even try and stand up against the curtain which swept me off my feet. Diabetes left me looking like a bit of an idiot but was very humorous none the less.

Most of the other times have just been funny for me, just listening to people end up being so baffled about what I'm talking about. For example I was having a conversation with my friend Hannah about when my blood sugars go high- at this point a girl in my class strolled past with a sort-of bewildered look painted on her face. I turned round and I just grinned at her then I thought "better tell her. She might think I'm smoking weed" so I told her what I was actually talking about and she said "oh, I was about to say!"

Another time a girl from one of the other classes found my cartridge of test strips on the floor, picked it up and said "Someone's camera piece has fallen on the floor" My friend and I just burst out laughing, it was funny because she seemed so confident that it was a film roll out of a camera and then just trailed off. It amused me how oblivious she was.

Now this had never happened to me up until then, but I experienced the dreaded fountain blood sugar prick. I have no idea how this strange phenomenon happens but it likes to strike at awkward times. I was rushing and I did a quick prick and must have squeezed too hard because some blood came flying out of my finger, it was only a small exaggerated squirt, but small enough to make me throw my head back, in a desperate attempt not to get blood on my face. Then I threw my head back and bumped it on the wall, so that wasn't a very good moment for me...but it was funny- I laughed at myself earlier.

I just imagined, if someone filmed that and then put it in slow motion, it would be like those dramatic scenes in films where the actors are made to sound like some sort of incredible hulk hybrid.

Even though life can be tough, there is always a light trying to shine through and when you find the light everything feels like it's going to be okay and that you can do it. That is how I feel about Diabetes, the funny and interesting moments that are derived from a life with Diabetes help me get through life with Type One Diabetes. Some days are good and some days are bad.

Make the most out of what you've got, life with Diabetes can't be all doom and gloom so when a funny moment comes along, laugh. Smile and live your life, take every moment in your stride because there is always a silver lining.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Thursday, 16 May 2013

I can do this

It's slipping, diabetes is slipping from my fingers again and I feel like it's hanging in the balance. I am trying to hold on to the good control as hard as I can, even if I let up a little; I know I will lose it completely and I will revert back to my old ways.

I don't understand why it is so hard for me to do all that I am supposed to do. I never used to have the motivation to do it all, I didn't want to get up in the morning and prick my finger straight away; I wanted to go downstairs and eat my breakfast straight away, just like my sister does.

Then I got over that. I got better at doing it all, I finally got diabetes back in my grasp and once again, it was mine.

Diabetes hasn't controlled me for a few months now, I have been controlling it as best as I can and honestly, it is still hard for me to stay on top of things, but I am doing it. I am getting tired of doing it, but I am still trying to do it and it will stay this way.

I'm slipping but I can do this. Ever since I was diagnosed I always had the attitude that I will have hard days and I will have good days on my long journey with Type One, and that it is just a bad day and not a bad life. Living with diabetes is a massive rollercoaster ride, sometimes you expect the loops then you don't.

But the ones you don't expect, just shut your eyes and hold on tight because it is over before you know it.

That's how I am taking it now. This rough patch that I have encountered will be over soon and I will get back in control, proper control. It is still being controlled okay, but I can just feel myself slowly reverting back to how I used to be. But I just can't let myself do that.

I need to get my hba1c down, for myself, for my parents and for the sake of my soon-to-be bunny rabbit.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Diabetics can eat sugar

During Biology revision today my teacher had skittles and I had just come into the classroom from doing my French exam. I was doing a past paper for revision and I heard her say "Oh Ellie do you wan-" and she sort of just stopped mid sentence; I knew what was coming so I sat up and I said "What is it?" and she said "Wait, you're diabetic I can't feed you sweets, right?" I laughed and I said "yes you can. I can eat sweets!" and she sort of just giggled and was like "oh okay here!"
In this instance, at least my teacher didn't just assume I couldn't, she made sure of it first. Even though there was nothing to make sure of because for the fifty billionth time Diabetics can eat sweets. 
I don't like that people have this misconception about diabetics and sugar; they don't really understand that we are not allergic to sugar. We didn't get diabetes by eating too much sugar. Sugar will not kill us. Blood sugar doesn't rise from just pure sugar; everything we eat makes it go high. Especially for me being a teenager, I go to school and I know that a lot of the girls I go to school with don't really know that I can eat sugar. Often when they ask me questions about my diabetes they will ask if I can eat sugar. I will always end up giving them some sort of massive explanation for it in the end, only because they get confused about half way through the conversation.

A lot of it stems from literally, lack of understanding of the disease. I get things like "oh I didn't want to make you go high" It isn't understood that my insulin is there to counteract the food I eat to stop my blood sugar from rising too high. Some people believe that my insulin is what makes my blood sugar rise; no. I would probably be dead right now if my insulin pump made my blood sugar rise.

I mean sure, if I didn't have my insulin then eating anything with sugar in it probably wouldn't be a very good idea, but I do and it is the reason that I can eat sugary things when it is offered to me, I mean actually...my insulin is the reason that I can even eat anything; the reason that I am even alive right now.

Carbohydrates, are a form of sugar- every single food has carbohydrate in it- except from meat and cheese. Carbohydrates make my blood sugar rise just as sweets would do. It is no different. I just take my insulin for it and things are all good again...hopefully.

 But everyone has to eat things in moderation; so diabetic or not- never eat too much sugar!

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Sunday, 12 May 2013

My bag- what is in it?

I have a bag that I carry around with me everywhere; it is very rare that you would see me without it. It is constantly with me, mainly because it contains all the stuff I need to get through the day.

In my bag I have my blood sugar monitor, glucose tablets, a bottle of water, extra test strips, insulin pen, extra lancets, and my blood glucose log book. I will never leave the house without any of this stuff...in short, I would never leave the house without this bag.

Because of this, the bag has gone through a fair amount of wear and tear in the past couple of years or so. It also seemingly likes to collect various amounts of things; this morning I was emptying it out because it needs to go in the wash again, and I found lots of little things in my bag that in some sense, were almost like mini memories because everything in my bag; is evidently a remnant of something I had done previously.

For example, I found an old blood sugar book in my bag.

On the front it reads 'Ellie and Paris' blood sugar book' It made me remember that me and my Diabetic friend Paris made a pledge to one another not long after we started talking that we would help each other out with our Diabetes, and we would get our hba1c's down by the Summer. It reminded me of the gift of a friend because a couple of months later me and Paris are still helping each other out and still here for one another.

I also found an old copy of some discharge notes from my recent bout of DKA in  February 2013.

It flooded me with thoughts of the struggles that I have been through with Diabetes, being able to sit on my bedroom floor and read through those papers a few months on gave me a sense of pride, because I have faced obstacles on my journey with Type One and I will probably face more...but today I was not struggling, my blood sugars were good as they have been for a little while now. I am here still going strong and it made me realise all the little things count. Because in February I experienced my second time in DKA but in May I am fine, I am sitting on my bedroom floor, listening to music, emptying out my bag: even though it doesn't sound like much fun, at that moment that I saw those papers, I was happy and grateful to be living my life, even if I was just cleaning out a bag.

"Just a bag" On the outside all you see is it's seams and the fabric complete with the zips and the pockets sheltering all that sits inside, on the inside it has memories and it is the carrier of my lifeline every single day. It makes it easier for me to carry all of my diabetic stuff around- it is a bag that I have had for a long while and it is even in photos of significant times in my life; even looking back at a photo I took back in February in A&E my bag is with me on the bed, I have my bag on in a photo of myself in Amsterdam; the first Holiday after diagnosis.

February 2013- DKA

My bag also has a 'Lennie the Lion' hanging from the zip. I was given the mini Lennie keyring during a visit to the Hospital to get the new Medtronic Enlite sensor back in March last year.

Although my bag contains all of my Diabetes supplies; it also has all of my "normal teenager" stuff within it too. It has my purse, my headphones, my phone, an eyeliner, some random clips, a brush, lipstick and other small things that make up my life as a Teenager, minus Diabetes.

But then again, my bag interlocks diabetes with my life as a regular teenager. Sometimes I will go to get my headphones out and find them entwined with the zip on my blood sugar kit- I see how Diabetes fits around and within all that I do; it isn't all that I am. My bag has been to the hospital with me as a Diabetic teenager, but then again it has been to Thorpe Park with me as a seemingly "regular" teenager, but it still has my supplies in it 24/7- my bag sort of sees the balance between being diabetic and being a teenager.

I love to listen to music, then again I have to test my blood sugar a lot and I wish I could just listen to music as much as I have to test my blood sugar, so sometimes I test my blood sugar whilst I listen to music.

I love music, I love my family, I love my friends, I love cats and pretty pictures and skater skirts and peter pan collars, I love converse and vans, I love Starbucks, I love Skittles, I love sunny evenings, I love smiling, I love to make people laugh, I love helping others, I love to smile. I love to be a Teenager; despite facing both emotional and physical challenges that most other teenagers I know don't.

My bag holds much more than I realised, it's intriguing how if you observe something in a different light it can reveal so much.

Sometimes even just a mere object can harness memories and thoughts deeper than a photo can.

So, my bag- what's in it?
A lot more than you would first think.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Leaver's mass

Today at school me and my friends had the school chaplain begging us to do some jobs at the Year 11 leaver's mass; we kept refusing because we're all pretty shy with things like that.
During my French lesson, he came in and then I had to ask him a question; then suddenly me and my other friend Eleanor were reeled in to bringing things up to the altar during the mass. The conversation went a little bit like this:

"Girls, please do the offetry?"
"nooo"
"Please. Come on, you two can walk up together"
"but...!"
"Why are you so shy?!"
"...we don't know!"
"Ok you're doing it. I'm writing your names down!"

Then he swiftly left the room before we had a chance to refuse. So I went to find him at lunch time and I asked him if he was being serious and he was like "yeah?" I decided just to give in, in the end and say okay. I didn't want to turn him down again, we felt bad. Anyway, we had to get to the church at 6 o'clock to practice, even though we didn't actually practice...he just told us how we were going to do it and then that was it really, but it was simple stuff.

Me and my friend had to carry candles. My thoughts were basically..."don't drop the candle and burn down the church...don't drop the candle and burn down the church" As you may have gathered, we did not burn down the church and all was well. I rejoined my class mates after we had done it and sat through the rest of the service. The annoying thing was that during the mass my blood sugars were a bit high at 11 mmol and I was feeling thirsty and I had no water on me so I couldn't have a drink...then I had to go to the toilet twice before the mass even started, and then afterwards.

I gave myself some insulin and then discreetly checked my blood sugar, I made sure not to do it during a moment of silence, that would have been really awkward. My blood sugars had gone back down to 6 mmol, then I was a bit worried about going low with all the standing up so I popped a little glucose tablet into my mouth, then there were mini cupcakes afterwards so everything went to pot again...

Our Year leader did a speech at the end of the mass and had us all tearing up.

Our Year Leader told us about how she was so grateful with all of the support that we have given her over the years as a year group and how lovely we are and the last thing she said was "and even though we are parting different ways, we will always be in each other's hearts" By this point she was struggling to hold back the tears and most of us were nearly crying; a couple of my friends cried a lot as some are leaving the school for good and going to separate colleges/sixth forms. Our Year leader has been with us right from the very beginning to the very end of our journey through secondary school and she is such a lovely person. I will miss her a lot and she did a lot for me in terms of my Diabetes too, which I will always be grateful for.

After the mass we had refreshments in the Parish hall and some of us went to find her and she gave us all hugs and it was really cute. I realised today how much everything is going to change when we all go into sixth form; it won't be the same and it's going to be strange.

Like in Drama today, we were revising for science and some of the girls in our class went into the Library whilst some of us stayed in the Drama room with our teacher. We were all chatting and we were making our teacher laugh and she turned round and said to us "Aah, I'm going to miss you girls" and she told us that a lot of girls stop talking to her after she stops teaching them and we all assured her that wouldn't be happening with us, I'm going to miss my Drama teacher a lot too.

Today was also my very last french lesson that I will ever do. After five years of learning French, I am never doing it again which is very strange to think about but I'm also happy at the same time because I hate french.

But yeah, I'm sort of sad to think about everyone going their seperate ways but like my Year leader said, we will always be in eachother's hearts. After five long years, that was the last mass that we will ever have as a year group. Our official last day is the 24th May 2013.

"The only way we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change" 

Goodnight.
-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wednesday

Today is Wednesday 8th May 2013, I have my first GCSE exam on Monday 13th May 2013, which is RE. I have some more that week and the weeks after that. My last GCSE exam is History, which is on June 19th 2013.

Woah.

Tonight's theme for the #gbdoc Twitter chat got me thinking about school.

I honestly can not believe how close I am to the end of my time at school and moving on to sixth form. We have study leave on May 24th and only go in for exams; after that, we won't be going back to school until results day which is sometime in August.

I still remember the first day of school all the way back in 2008. I was such a typical Year 7 student, with my  hair slicked back in a tight bun, my blazer three million times too big and my skirt hung way below my knees. Looking back on pictures now I seriously wonder why my mother let me and my sister out of the house looking so monstrous.

Five years on and I am weeks away from my last day of school. I'm starting sixth form September 2013 and my A-Level subjects are: Media, History, English and Phsychology. My GCSE subjects were: French (Biggest mistake of my life) History and Drama. I hated French. Tomorrow will be my very last French lesson and I can leave five years of french lessons behind. I am so happy.

I have had a lot of memories through my school years. Even primary school.

And when I was just starting Year 8 was when I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

I thought it was so very unfair. I had only just started Year 7, I was doing my best to settle in, to fit in and find new friends; and I was excited about being in secondary school. Despite living with Diabetes through a large proportion of my secondary school life, I coped, I managed and now I just have to push on and make it through my last GCSE exams with out Diabetes getting in the way. I managed to get an A* and an A in my Year 10 History exams, an A in my Year 10 RE exam and well, I just recently passed maths with a C; which I am happy about, seeing as I am horrible at maths.

The maths exam that I just recently passed was the one that I had been blogging about a lot. I made a blog post the night before because I was up most of the night sorting out my blood sugars. That seriously freaked me out, I did not want to fail that maths exam, but I was tired the next morning- hypos in the middle of the night just drain me of all my energy so it makes things three thousand times harder in the mornings. To top it all off my exam was at 9am and I was exhausted.

But, miraculously, I did it. I was determined not to let Diabetes ruin my chances of passing my maths exam.

I didn't and I did it, and for that I am proud. I'm proud that it hasn't dampened any of my other major exams either and it won't dampen any of these forthcoming exams either.

Random funny story:

Today in school one of my cartridges of test strips rolled out of my bag.
There was a girl sitting behind us and she turned around to me and my friend and said "Someone's camera part has fallen on the floor!"
Me and my friend both looked at one another completely baffled by what she meant. but then my friend looked on the floor and said "oh Ellie, your test strips are on the floor"
Then it clicked.
She thought my test strip cartridge was a camera cartridge! Now that I think about it, it could be sort of easy to mistake for a camera cartridge but because I am aware they are test strips, it is sort of hard to imagine.

Test strip, anyone? 


Don't let Diabetes stop you from achieving what you want to achieve.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Monday, 6 May 2013

Family barbecue

Today my family and I went over to my grandmother's house and we had a barbecue with the rest of the family. It was really lovely and the sun was shining which made it even better.

I love the smell of a barbecue, except it's not so great when the chicken sets on fire...

We were all sitting down to lunch and the thick grey smoke coming out from under the lid of the barbecue caught my eye- "can you see all the smoke coming out from under the barbecue?" no one really paid any attention to it until my uncle went in there to do a regular check on the chicken; "er, there's a bit of a problem here" My uncle went to lift the lid off the barbecue and a cloud of black smoke puffed into the air, wrapping itself around him. He came back outside and my granddad caught sight of the mayhem unraveling and he quickly dropped his fork, got up and sprinted into the garage. I could just imagine what was going through his head "I must go and save my barbecue!"

My granddad went to warily lift the lid freeing more smoke from the heat- I could see small flames flickering off the top of the chicken which was now incarcerated having succumbed to the fiery depths of the barbecue.
It was soon all under control and my granddad stood there for a good five minutes fanning it, just to make sure it had cooled right down. Throughout the whole mishap, the rest of us just sat there in awe as the chicken burnt, but it was okay because we had all already eaten the first lot of chicken- and some bits were saved, I believe.

Anyway the moral of that story is...don't leave the barbecue on too high- you might just lose some chicken.

There was no Diet Coke today, either. I was mortified. I saw my sister bring out the bottle of Coke and oh no, the bottle was not silver; but it beamed a red wrapping- in other words "DANGER. I AM FULL SUGAR COKE. DRINK ME AT YOUR OWN RISK"

"Is there no Diet Coke?"
"I thought I gave some to nanny earlier?" My auntie swiftly replied.
"Ah, I must have left it at home then, sorry Els; just have a little bit"

How could they forget to cater for the diabetic one?! They never forget! Oh well, I let them off; I wasn't too sad about it all because I don't really like full-sugar coke that much anyway- I prefer Diet. I hardly ever have fizzy drinks so I've never had to tackle such a sugar monster as full-sugar coca cola. So I warily entered in the carbs which I thought sounded feasible based on me and my mum's joint efforts to estimate what 100ml looked like. I came out a little bit on the high side afterwards at 9.4 but I kept them under 10 so I think me and my mum handled that quite well.

So today was a pretty amusing day and I had a lot of fun with my sister, my little cousin and my brother and his girlfriend. Turns out that I am hideous at balancing and should never take up a career as a tight-rope walker because that wouldn't work out for me...

My cat, Fudge, fell asleep with his little head resting in my hand earlier today as well, it was just such a precious moment. I love when he falls asleep with me stroking him, he is just the sweetest little cat anyone could ever ask for- he never scratches or bites anyone- he never has and I don't think he ever will. He is
a perfect little kitty and I love him.

So, that is pretty much my day in a nutshell. I love my family so much and love spending time with them. I had such a great day.
I'm sad that we have to go to school tomorrow though; it felt like a weekend today even though it is Monday. Ah, only a few more weeks left of school though.

Goodnight.
-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]






Invisible illness

So, I was reading through the blog 'SixUntilMe' and a while back she did a 'Thirty things about my invisible illness' post. I thought I would do it too, because well, I'm bored.

1. The illness I live with is: Type One Diabetes
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2009
3. But I had symptoms since: A few months before
4. The biggest adjustment I've had to make is: Trying to adjust things to fit around an unpredictable diabetes.
5. Most people assume: That Type One and Type Two are exactly the same thing and that Diabetes isn't serious and that Diabetes is all through fault of our own. They assume more like how we shouldn't eat sugar and eating too much sugar caused the Diabetes. There is more but it might turn out to be a very long list so I'm just going to stop there.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: When I get up and it's raining...or waking up low and/or having to get up early on weekdays for school.
7. My favourite Medical TV show is: Casualty
8. A gadget I couldn't live with out is: It is a mix-up between, my insulin pump, my phone or my computer. (What? I'm a teenager)
9. The hardest part about nights is: Fearing a low blood sugar during the night or having to get up to test or correct.
10. Each day I take: Two regular vitamins and I infuse insulin daily 24/7.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: There isn't any? Insulin is the only treatment for Type One Diabetes. There is only stuff that you can do to make life a bit easier; like eating healthy and exercise. None of this is a cure though.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness and a visible illness I would choose: Neither. I don't want any illness quite frankly. Sometimes, with diabetes not having a visible impact, it's easier for people to see me as me, and not just the diabetic.
13. Regarding work and career: I don't work. I go to school. But when I'm older I will get a job, obviously.
14. People would be surprised to know: That just because we deal with diabetes all the time, it isn't easy. There are days that hurt more often than not. I mean, that isn't all that surprising but whatever.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That I will face tough days and there is nothing to make them go away because there is no cure.
16. Something I thought I could never do with my illness but I did was: Nothing. I don't think? I always knew that I would still be able to live my life with Diabetes.
17. The adverts about my illness: ...seemingly don't exist. I have never seen an advert on TV about Type One Diabetes in my life.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed: Hmm, nothing really. I don't put sugar in my tea anymore, does that count?
19. A new hobby I have taken up since I was diagnosed is: Blogging.
20. It was really hard to have to give up: My carefree childhood and have it switched for a life of Type One Diabetes with all the worries and needles and 24/7 attention.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Sit around, eating food and not have to worry about doing one single bolus or prick my fingers, or feel guilty about having high blood sugars, on the complete opposite I would run around like crazy and not bring anything with me but my phone and keys, because low blood sugar won't get me that time.
22. My illness has taught me to: Be strong and appreciate those around you and the little things in life. It has taught me to be faithful and to find courage in everything I do. It has also taught me to live in hope.
23. One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Type One Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar" or "At least you don't have (insert devastating terminal illness here)" Okay. People seriously need to be educated on Type One Diabetes and Type Two; and yes at least I don't, but it doesn't make diabetes any less serious than it is or any less tough.
24. But I love it when people: Ask me normal, regular questions and actually show an interest in Diabetes. I also love when people read and comment about my blog and when people try to understand Type One Diabetes, but still see beyond it and see, me.
25. My favourite motto, scripture, quote, that gets me through tough times is: "Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it all together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart...that's true strength" I have a few more that I like but I can't remember them right now.
26. When someone is diagnosed I'd like to tell them: That they aren't alone, that this will all become a part of your life soon and everything will be okay, just stay strong.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: Before having diabetes, I only ever saw others deal with illness and bad times and I saw them feeling sad and depressed and thought they must feel like that all the time; but after being diagnosed and realising that having an illness can actually teach you a lot of things to value about life, I realised that those around me who I saw deal with illness, probably see the beauty in life too, despite their struggles.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was: When my friend, Chris stayed up and text me for most of the night while my blood sugar was high and I was trying to get it back down. He could have gone to sleep, but he didn't. He waited up with me until I was okay again.
29. Why talk about invisible illness?: Because Type One Diabetes is an invisible illness; unless you saw the scars on my fingers or caught a glimpse of my pump. But if you didn't know, you would never know. I walk down the street just as anyone else does, no one would know I have Type One Diabetes. It's what people don't see me doing just to keep myself alive everyday that makes it invisible.
30. The fact that you just read this list makes me feel: Like you took an interest in my answers to this "quiz" type-thing. And that you might post your own list.

Thanks for reading c:
Maybe you should do one of these too?
I'd love to see everyone else's answers c:
But for now, Goodnight.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]



Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hope for a cure

"Mum, what would you do if there was a cure for diabetes?" 
"I would run down the street naked"

Oh, mother. You are funny.
She probably wouldn't do that of course, but from that I gather that she would be over the moon, as would my dad, as would the rest of my family as would I and everyone else out there affected by Type One Diabetes.

In just over a month, on June 21st 2013, will be my fourth year living with Type One. It is so weird how fast it's gone. The past four years have been a crazy rollercoaster ride with more ups and downs than I can count, or even remember for that matter. It's daunting to think that I will still have Diabetes for the years after this; for the rest of my life. I will deal with the needles, the crazy blood sugars, the hospital visits, the bruises, the smiles and the tears until of course, there is a cure.

My diagnosis immediately instilled a sense of hope in me that I have never had before. "Hope" it isn't a word many people use often, it's not a word that a lot of people live by. For me, it keeps me going. I live in the hope that there will be a cure for Type One Diabetes in my lifetime and no one will ever have to deal with this disease anymore. Everyone with diabetes will be free; more free than they have ever been before. No boundaries, no pain, no blood sugar mishaps to stop us enjoying the day, just pure freedom to live life as every one around us, normally. And not the "diabetes normal"

I've lived with Type One since I was eleven, I'm fifteen now; soon to be sixteen in July. My life changed forever right from the words "there is no doubt you have Type One Diabetes" and things were, different. Thankfully, Type One hasn't meant that I can't do everything every one else can, it has just meant that I had to alter my lifestyle slightly, it meant that I had to make sure I ate and couldn't skip breakfast, it meant that I couldn't lie in because I will go too low or too high, it meant that I have to go to the hospital every three months, it meant that I had to learn to deal with needles, it meant that I now have to deal with both physical and emotional pain, it meant that sometimes my blood sugar will affect my day-to-day activities, and more.

If there was a cure?

I would be able to run around spontaneously with out the fear of being low, I wouldn't need to carry around a bag with all my supplies in it all day every day, I would be able to leave the house with just my keys and my phone, I would be able to go on random walks with out needing to "plan ahead" I would be able to eat and not feel the sting from my insulin every time, or test my blood sugars, I won't have scabs and bruising on my finger tips, I won't have bruises or lumps on my stomach from my infusion site, I wouldn't spend all day worrying about my blood sugars, I wouldn't have to face the risk of complications when I'm older, I wouldn't have to deal with silly stereotypes about this disease, I wouldn't need to change an infusion site every three days, I wouldn't feel a low blood sugar again, I wouldn't feel a high blood sugar again, I wouldn't need a shelf full of diabetes supplies just to keep me alive, I wouldn't need to wear a Medical ID bracelet, I wouldn't need to keep vials and cartridges of insulin in the fridge, I wouldn't need to keep cans of coke and dextrose tablets in the cupboard, I wouldn't need a bottle of water and glucose by my bed every night, I would go to sleep knowing that I will make it through the night with out a low or high blood sugar, I would be able to lay in for ages in the morning with out waking up low, I wouldn't have to go to the hospital every three months, I would be able to be carefree.

I wouldn't have to deal with my own life, every single day. I would be a normal teenager, EXACTLY like my friends. 

I would probably be able to do so much more with so much ease, but I can't remember it all.

A cure for Type One Diabetes would lift so much off of my shoulders and all that Diabetes has taught me would stay with me forever- but I don't want to have Diabetes with me forever.

But for now,
I am strong and I will keep fighting Diabetes until there is a cure. I will not let it bring me down and I will live my life with a smile on my face, and so will everyone else with Diabetes.

Because we will not let Diabetes, Dia-BEAT-us.

"There's a light inside of you, that can't help but shine through" 


-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin] 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

50th post

May the 4th be with you...

I realised that this post will be the 50th post on this blog, and today my blog reached just over 3,700 views. I never even imagined that my blog would get any more than a few hundred views. I am so thankful to everyone who reads my blog and to all of you who RT my posts on Twitter and give me such wonderful comments- it really means a lot.



Oh, and note the Star Wars joke at the top, even though I'm not a fan of Star Wars and, well yeah...

Elsewhere in the Huckle House,

Today me and my dad and my sister were talking in the kitchen and me and Lauren were talking about how we wanted to get a job because we have our National Insurance Numbers now, anyway my dad said "Get a job in a Garden Center so I can get free discounts!" I replied "but dad, those places have flowers and flowers attract bees, I don't like bees" Then Lauren piped up and started going on about how I would over-react and pass out if I got stung by a bee and she'd laugh, and it would apparently be "hilarious" I agreed with the passing-out bit, I probably really would that's the thing; I'm terrified of bees and I said about how it's apparently really painful to get stung.

My dad then turned around and said "You probably wouldn't even feel it Els because you're so used to being poked anyway, where as Lauren would probably over-react" It was funny because I remember now that sometimes people say that a bee's stinger is like a little needle and well, we all know about Diabetics and their needles...

The weather is being really ugly today and it is overly depressing. It's been so nice all week and then bam, it gets to the weekend and the weather just goes downhill. It's so gloomy when the sun isn't shining and I am obsessed with sunny days, I love them. If it is sunny outside I will take a picture because it is a rare moment in England that the sun actually properly shines so I like to remember the sunny days, you see.

Oh, the sun has just come out!

My little cousin is coming over today so I must be off now.
That was it for my 50th post c:

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]



Thursday, 2 May 2013

Braces and being a Ninja

This morning me and my sister had our Orthodonist appointments. We got the colours on our braces changed. Coincidentally we both chose the same colour- Royal Blue. I actually had no idea what colour she had chosen, I saw her point to the colour but neither her or the Dentist said the name of the colour. So it was funny that we had chosen the same colour as each other. Although Lauren had this to say about it:

"When you picked that blue, I was like ugh!" 

Me and my twin sister have been wearing braces since July 20th 2012. We started off with just bottom braces and in December 2012 we got the top braces. I don't mind them. They aren't too bad but they do hurt a bit when they get tightened...but it's fun to have a colourful mouth.

Me and Lauren missed our morning lessons and we went back to school in time for Period 4. My Period 4 lesson was English. I went into the lesson to find the class watching a short clip on a poem called "Harmonium" to be fair, the class were all half asleep. We have a really cool English teacher at the moment though, so it's okay. I was sitting at my desk watching the clip when I heard "Ellie!" I was a bit startled at the words coming from the silence but I noticed it was my friend. She went on to tell me that I had missed my French Oral Assessment.

Damn.

I had no idea it would be today. It was actually meant to be last Tuesday but the teacher wasn't in, so our French teacher told us it would most likely be next Tuesday. I knew all the answers but I just wasn't prepared to do it there and then. My friend went off to do her assessment...she came back smiling so she must have done well. I hate French. I am awfully rubbish at it. I used to be good in Year 9 but clearly things went downhill from there. Everyone was urging me to go and do my assessment then to get it over and done with; but I would not have done well under such pressure so I said no and I would do it later.

Anyway, I spent lunchtime trying to avoid the teacher. I did not want to do the assessment. I was sitting in the lunch hall and I saw her walk in and I exclaimed "She's in here! Quick. Heads down!" For the next two minutes I sat there like a lemon waiting for her to leave, eventually she left and I could resume my lunch time. About ten minutes later my friends and  I decided we wanted to go to the Library for the next two periods to do some ICT work; this meant going down the corridor to the...STAFF ROOM. That was the dreaded place where my teacher would be residing for her lunch time break. Whilst my two friends negotiated with their teacher to let them leave the lesson I waited; on edge, my heart skipping a beat every time a member of staff emerged from the big red doors.

Suddenly, the teacher came out. I panicked and hid behind the wall. She hung around for a couple of seconds before going into the other room. Phew! She left. I turned to my friends and whispered "sorry guys this is risky business I'm going to have to retreat" so I ran down the corridor and waited at the other end.

Period five. Drama. Yes. I could get away from "teacher-territory"...not for long. The teacher came down to where the Drama room is, I held my breath. She turned and went in to talk to one of the senior members of staff about something or the other. I stood facing the wall for the whole time. I did not want her to see me. "Guys we have to go up to Room 217" Okay, science. She shouldn't have any reason to come to the Science rooms, right? Off we went, but then...she was back! UGH. Come on! She was clearly following me around...

My friend was like "Ellie look behind you" I shook my head and laughed. I could see the teacher in the corner of my eye though. I did a little fast-paced walk/run past the crowd of pupils, seeking the safety of the Science Lab. Finally, I made it inside. When I thought I had successfully avoided her, my ears were suddenly invaded with "Ellie?" oh dear. I hesitantly turned around to see my French teacher standing in the doorway with a smile on her face. I went over to her and I said "Sorry I missed it earlier, I was at the Orthodontist" and she said "oh it's fine. You weren't to know it was going to be today" I smiled, praying for the conversation to be over. Then she proceeded to say "Are you ready?"

SORRY. WHAT? no no. NO. I am not ready.



I begged her to let me do it tomorrow or Tuesday.
"No, I'm at the lower site...and, Tuesday will be too late" UGH. So, I had no choice but to surrender and do the French. I knew the answers but I just needed more time to go over them and be fluent when  I spoke. Oh well, she left and said "It's now or never. I will be next door" The pressure was immense. People in my class wished me Good Luck and my Drama Teacher wished me Good Luck as I left to go next door.

Ten minutes later, I was finished. Thank God for that.
"Arrevoir" Yeah. Arrevoir to you too.

I was greeted with a lot of questions when I went back into class. "How was it?" "Was it hard?" "Did it go well?" I paused before I spoke and my Drama Teacher said "Oh no..." but I replied and said "no no it went okay, but I'm rubbish at French so..." and then I left and went down to the Library to do my ICT work and my day of being a Ninja came to an end.

Today was rather tiring, having to go to the Orthodontist and being a Ninja for the afternoon.
Anyway, if you're silly like me you'll avoid having to do things you don't want to do. Even if you aren't ready to do something; I'm sure your teacher will understand. Mine was nice about it all and she didn't mind. It is better to get things over and done with, than stress yourself out attempting to be a ninja like I was all day.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

True strength

"Anyone can give up, it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it all together when everyone around you would understand if you fell apart. That's true strength"

In the midst of the high and low blood sugars, the constant worry, the finger pricking, the multiple infusion site changes, injections of insulin, the fear, the anticipation and the 24/7 attention- I feel deflated. I feel alone and I feel like there is no way I could pull myself up again and dust my self off. When moments like those occur, I feel like asking "why does everything always go wrong?" I ask, why is it that no matter what I do to stop Diabetes from mucking things up; there is always a way that it will. I get frustrated with Diabetes, like when I am battling a low blood sugar and I am so exhausted and wonder where I will muster up the strength to get through it- I feel the familiar pricking sensation in my eyes and hesitant tears roll down my cheeks because at certain points- it just...becomes...too...much.

After all, I am only fifteen years old.
I am not an adult, I never feel like I am old enough to handle my own life every single day? The days when I stare my own mortality in my face frighten me - but then, I do not want to feel defeated. I don't like feeling like Diabetes is winning but sometimes trying to hold it together is exhausting. Trapping thoughts and feelings, and tears- all cooped up inside. It isn't nice to feel numb, to feel silent at Diabetes.

And then, the storm clouds clear and the rain stops making my vision hazy and suddenly the sun appears and I can smile and see the road ahead. I smile not only at the fact that I endured yet another challenge due to Diabetes, but I feel strength. I feel an immense sense of pride because I got through something that would leave many people cowering in the corner at the thought of it.

Despite what I endure, I go through my life with a smile on my face. Even on the darkest days with diabetes I will walk out of my house with a smile on my face because I am living my life and I am going to hold it together for that day; and for the day after that and all of the days after that. Because like the quote says "giving up is the easiest thing" and it is, but as a person with Type One Diabetes, I won't give up because giving up on keeping control of Diabetes would be giving up on myself, giving up on my future.

Diabetes is not easy, it is tough and it is everything no one should have to deal with. Especially at the age of a child, or even my age. Actually at any individual age. Diabetes is serious and is not a game. It defines the difference between life and death and I will not deny the fact that Diabetes has made me a stronger person. I have learnt not to give up even in the darkest moments because I know that I will pull through somehow. I will always weather the storm. Diabetes grants those who are affected the gift of seeing the light at the end of what seems like a very dark tunnel.

The strength that all those with Diabetes, and all those affected by Diabetes harbor is the flash-light. It is the light that shines down the tunnel to reveal the light at the end of the darkness. I will have days that test my patience and my vigilance when it comes to Diabetes, and I will have more days when to cry feels like the only option- but I will remember that with every step I take on my life with Diabetes, I am one step closer to the cure and with every step I gain, I discover that little bit more strength and I muster up a little bit more courage to keep on going and not to give up.

To give up is to be defeated, and I will never let myself fall apart completely at the expense of Type One Diabetes. I will smile and I will laugh and I will show courage to those all around me; because as the quote states, that...is true strength.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

All things insulin pump

As you guys know, I have been using an insulin pump since June 14th 2011, this year I would have had my pump for two years. It has gone so quickly, it seems like a world away since I first got my insulin pump and I was learning how to use it and going to "pump school" at the hospital. It's crazy.

When I first got my pump I had to go to "pump school" for two days. One on Tuesday 7th June 2011, and the other on Tuesday 14th 2011. I had to spend a whole day there with my family and another family. All of us had to learn how to use the insulin pump; even my sister. Before I went to learn about the pump I had an appointment before this and I got to choose the colour of my pump and the nurse let me try on an infusion site. It was really nerve-wracking but it wasn't too bad and then when I was at the pump training the nurse asked if my mum, dad and sister wanted to put one on too, just so that I didn't feel alone in this and so they could experience what I would be experiencing every three days.

It was hilarious for me. My mum put it on and she wasn't being a scaredy cat like my dad and sister. They were both wincing at the thought but they did it anyway; in support of me like my mum, even though they both hate needles! When we got home my sister didn't even want to take out the cannula because she was too freaked out by it all, in all honesty I was a bit "eh" about pulling it off too, I didn't really know what to expect it to feel like. Me and my mum even searched up on YouTube "how to take off a pump cannula" but obviously, it was awfully simple in the end.

Two years on and changing my infusion site and using my pump is just like second nature to me. My insulin pump is purple and is a medtronic pump. It is named Maurice.

I get a lot of questions regarding the insulin pump and I thought I would answer a few of the questions that I get about the insulin pump and just some general questions about it.

Some of these answers may be specific to the Medtronic Insulin Pump that I use. Remember, once again this is in no way intended to be medical advice. 

1. I don't like the idea of constantly having a needle in me? 
The insulin pump isn't actually a steel needle under the skin, the tubing is attached to a plastic cannula that goes under the skin. The cannula is really flexible and so you can't feel that it is inserted at all. However, there are different infusion sets you can use. Some are steel cannulas (so, a needle under the skin) others are just plastic bendy cannulas. I use Mio infusion sets which are plastic; but there are others such as Sure-T which are steel.



2. Is the pump a lot easier?
Way. When I was on injections I was on five or more injections a day. This got too much after a while. Sometimes I chose not to eat just so I didn't have to give myself yet another injection. It was so annoying having to carry around the pens and needles and extra cartridges too. I also don't like maths so the extra calculation for my dosage was no fun either. The pump means that  I can give insulin with the push of a button. It also gave me so much more freedom. Insulin injections meant that I had to get up at 8:00 am every morning to administer my Levemir injection, with my insulin pump I have basal rates which is basically short-acting insulin dripping in at a very low dose over the course of the day which does the same job the Levemir would have done; so in turn, I can now lay in in the mornings because my pump has it covered. And the main thing obviously is the tighter blood glucose control.

Random but then again not-so-random message:
When I got my pump set up with the insulin for the first time my blood sugar was 16 mmol. The nurse helped me put a correction does into the pump. This was just before we left. About an hour and a half later when I got home, my very first proper blood sugar on the pump was 5.5 mmol. 

3. How often do you need to change the cannula? 
When you are on an insulin pump the infusion site needs to be changed every three days.

4. Does it hurt?
Personally, I don't think it hurts that much. It hurts a lot if I hit a nerve but this doesn't happen often which is good. Most of the time I just feel pressure and a slight scratch and then it is fine.

5. How big is the insulin pump? 
It is about the size of a matchbox. But, just slightly bulkier obviously.




6. What colours can you get for the pump?
I use a Medtronic Insulin Pump and for the medtronic you can get either; blue, purple, pink, white or black. I think those are the only colours that it comes in. But you can always get stickers or cases to put on the pump to jazz things up a little!

7. What features are available on the insulin pump?
On the pump that I use; there are lots of features available. Like, a dual wave bolus; this means that you can split your dose. So you can program the pump to give half of the dose of insulin then, and half an hour later or so, it will administer the other half of the insulin. This works great with things like pizza that are slow release carbohydrates and tend to make you go high after your meal. Other features include temporary basal rates, where you can set the pump to give more or less insulin depending on what you're doing; for example you can make the pump give less insulin whilst doing exercise to avoid a low blood sugar, or give you more insulin whilst you're unwell to avoid high blood sugars. The pump that I use also has the CGM feature on it; it works with the Medtronic Enlite sensors and when I wear the sensor it wirelessly transmits the data over to my pump and comes up as a graph on the screen, which I find really cool. The pump can also have alarms set on it to remind you about insulin or testing your blood sugar. The 'lock keypad' feature also comes in rather handy when my little cousin is around! Those were just a few of the awesome features that the insulin pump has.

                                                         (please excuse my stomach)

8. Does the pump leave bruising?
Sometimes it does leave bruising but not as bad as insulin injections do.

9. What places can the infusion site go?
It can go in the stomach, arms, back of the hips or "love handles" or legs.

10. Pros and cons of the insulin pump? 
Everyone is different and some people don't get bothered by certain things, others do but I tried to think up as many of these as I could.

Pros                                                                   Cons
-Insulin at the push of a button                            -Attached to something 24/7
-No more injections                                           -Body is more dependent on the pump
-Different features to help blood sugar control    -Takes some time getting used to
-Tighter blood sugar control                               -It could break
-Different colours and stickers
-Only have to have a needle every three days
-Much more freedom

I hope you guys enjoyed my blog post and I hoped that it helped those of you deciding if you want an insulin pump or not. Everyone is different and everyone has different opinions. These answers are just mainly my opinion on my own insulin pump which is a Medtronic Insulin Pump. Remember to ask your diabetes team questions about the insulin pump too! After all, I am only just a teenager so I obviously can't give you ALL of the technical ins and outs of the pump, but I did my best! I hope this helped anyway.

Thanks for reading!

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

This is a picture that I made a while ago c: