Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Reflecting

I am still here, in case you were wondering.

I can't believe it's been over 10 days (I literally accidentally just typed in 10 years) since I last posted. I have just been super busy with starting sixth form and getting into the swing of things. Everything is all still up in the air and homework is being piled on us like bricks, dragging heavy text books home from school, forcing ourselves to sit up till 10pm writing up essays on the computer, stressing over homework deadlines...but apart from all the "education" side of things; sixth form is actually pretty fun and we have so much more freedom that I'm not even sure what to do with it.

Seeing as this is a diabetes blog I suppose I will go ahead and update you on what is happening with my diabetes life. Not much interesting stuff is going on at the moment. Although I am struggling to get on top of things right now- I really have to force myself to test my blood sugar and even bolus. Everyone has their rough patches and I seem to hit a bump in the road more than once, a month. I have this thing about feeling "motivated" to do what I'm supposed to but I don't understand why good hba1c isn't motivation enough.

I had a hospital appointment on...August 28th I think it was? It might have been the 27th actually; oh well it was around that date. It wasn't a hba1c appointment- as I think I explained in a different post actually...If you click here you can see why although the reason really isn't all that interesting at all. Anyway the appointment was with the DSN and we had a chat and I got my annual review done.

My blood test results were ok but they found protein in my urine and so last night I had to do a 24 hour urine collection (ew) and today while I was at school my dad had to take it up to the hospital. They said they should have the results by my next appointment which is in five days on October 1st, but there are no guarantees it will be done. I'm not stressing over it though, the nurse said sometimes it can be an error but they just have to double-check that my kidneys aren't damaged (which I doubt they are- it's more than likely an error) and if they are then I'll have to take some sort of medication but I'm not sure what. Anyway I'm certainly sure that I will be fine.

My mum was talking to me this morning and she told me that one of her clients (my mum is a personal trainer) just had her retinopathy test and it came back with bleeding behind the eye- my mum's client who I shall refer to as N because I won't name any names- has been Type one diabetic for five years and she is 25 years old. Mum said N was in tears when she told her last night because she is really freaked out by the whole thing- which then my mum said she was also nearly in tears because she felt so sorry for her. I suppose it's hard for my mum to hear things like that because I'm type one and it probably freaks her out. Anyway N's eye test has been sent off for expert checking and then I suppose she will find out if it's anything to do with her diabetes or not.

If it is because of diabetes I will be overly shocked because N has always had very good hba1c's and for her to get eye disease after just five years is pretty unnerving. Ah, diabetes- you're so unpredictable.

Earlier today I was sitting in school with my friend, Eleanor and we were talking about the first time that we met and she said to me "Oh yeah! I remember that and that was when you had just had your blood test for your diabetes and everything was all up in the air and you didn't know if you had it!" I was like, wow. Yeah, it was around that time. Strange because I always denied it, and I said to my friends that day "I don't think I have diabetes though" ...and here I am today sitting here writing my diabetes blog. Crazy to think I was diagnosed over four years ago- where did the time go? I remember being so laid back about my impending diagnosis though because one side of me knew I probably had it but another side of me was saying "No. You're not diabetic" I suppose it was another one of the "Things like diabetes don't happen to people like me, I'm just a regular girl going about her life" ...exactly; just regular. Diabetes does not pick and choose.

When I think about life before and after diabetes sometimes it feels like change for the better...as in I'm a better person because of it.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]

Saturday, 14 September 2013

He won't hear the end of it

A few days ago...on Wednesday I think it was, we had to go to the chemist to get mine and Lauren's passport photos taken. Which, for the record I look atrocious in. Anyway that isn't the point. Whilst I was in the little room where they take the photos I looked up, and saw the Mendor blood glucose meter and another one which I can't remember the name of, gleaming down at me from the top of the shelf.

That reminded me, why don't I ask about why I have to use the meter that I have now. At first mum and I asked the lady behind the counter- but she called "Ian" out, the guy from the back that you hardly ever see, he is the mysterious being who dispenses the bags. Ian came out and so my mum explained to him how much I dislike the blood meter that I have now and he nodded and understood what we were saying. Then we asked him why everyone needs to use it- and his answer? "because it's cheap" My head nearly fell off. 

I felt like saying, it shouldn't matter how cheap it is. Blood sugar testing is part of what keeps me alive- so why is there a price limit on it? It's like they can only spend a certain amount of money on my life. It's truly annoying. The other thing that annoyed me was when we asked to see the meters- she came out with the one I already have and when I told her that's the one I have and do not like she said "well it's the only one we do" She's lucky I'm the type of person who holds back what they think in their heads- otherwise she would have heard the biggest lecture of her life. Ian checked to see if they did any others and it turns out they do. 

Initially he came strolling out with a box of test strips for my beloved old meter- the Bayer Countour Link. I asked why I don't have that meter anymore and he said it's because they don't do the machine anymore. WHAT. why? Obviously, he didn't know why they don't do it. All in all he claims the doctor isn't allowed to dictate what meter I can and can't use. But apparently he can because I'm still using a meter I don't want to use aren't I? So he put on his glasses and balanced them on the end of his nose as he flicked through a big book- it was like an Argos catalogue for blood sugar meters. He found that they do Accu-check, ok fair enough- their meters are good. Anything but the one I have right now. 

Incase you're reading this and wondering what I dislike so much about the meter I have now, I'll tell you why. One reason being, it takes so much blood; it has a nickname throughout the #DOC for being the "vampire meter". Secondly, when I am low trying to fit the strip into the top is the most awkward thing to do especially when my hands are trembling- the strips are an odd shape and fit into the top of the meter in a strange way that I don't particularly favour.
This is how the strips go in, and let me tell you- they don't always go in as they should and then an error comes up and you need to start all over again. 

Thirdly, the backlight lasts for the best part of two seconds which makes night testing a real problem. Lastly, it has no alarms or features like my old meter did- the Bayer meter spoke wirelessly to my insulin pump and helped tremendously when I wear my sensor as it would automatically calibrate it every time I did a blood sugar test, it also had alarms on it to remind me to test which I really liked because testing is something I struggle to stay on top of. 

Cut a long story short the chemist told us he can order the Accu-check aviva meter I think it was? Yeah that one. But before we can do anything my mum has to ring the GP to see if he will approve of the new strips. 

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin] 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Enfield town show

Today and yesterday, my sister and I along with another girl took to our local park to give out leaflets at the Enfield Town Autumn show which was really fun. There was a lot to do there and it was a great turn out with lots of people- today was actually busier than yesterday despite the weather. We were working for the founder of a Facebook group called 'Love Your Doorstep' there are over 5,000 people on the group and it's a community that aims to connect local businesses with local people- it's all about supporting your local community and what it has to offer.

It's safe to say we were very energetic leaflet dispersers. Yesterday we decided we would get our faces painted and get 'LYDS' painted on our arms. We were representing- animal style. We did a lot over the weekend helping out at the show...Apart from the obvious reason we were there, (to give out leaflets) we ate some 'churros', stroked some dogs, did some dancing, talked to the cadets, met some of Ellie's friends, stood in the rain, talked to various people, had our photos taken, got our faces painted, saw some birds of prey, stroked a turkey and a goat, and so much more. We also harassed the police because they were that cool...but in a "Hi let's be friends" way- but they loved us (I mean, who wouldn't?) so it was okay. We asked him if he had handcuffs on him because we wanted to try them on, but his reply was "the problem is, I probably won't be able to get them off of you" so we decided it was best not to strap ourselves into handcuffs. So we wore his hat instead.

This is us with our faces painted. I was a dog but when I was having a chat with the paramedics (because I wanted to) she said to me "Are you a Giraffe?" I was like "what! no I'm a dog!" Apparently it's because I had the brown spots like a giraffe does. I suppose by now you can probably guess which one is me, Ellie is in the middle as a pirate and my sister is on the end as a Tiger- I must admit hers was a little bit scary. Can you see the 'LYDS' down our arms? We felt like representing in style.
This is a close up of our faces. I had a 'dog moustache' as I liked to call it. Ellie had a sparkly black eye patch and we made a joke out of it about how that really is the true example of a 'shiner'. After a couple of hours our faces started to get very itchy from all the paint so we decided to wash them off. It was good having them painted- we definitely caught people's attention.
These are our t-shirts we wear whenever we help out. It really is a lot of fun.











Our local MP was there- Nick de bois. He's a really nice man but he claims we were stalking him, ha ha. So I said "You know you love us!" and obviously he said "well, yes but I'm all Love Your Doorstepped out!" We have been so hyper over the weekend. Then he said to us our energy was incredible- I think it's the T-shirts, they clearly instil some sort of energy boost. He asked for a photo with us which he tweeted which was cool. I'll post the photo below; if I can save it off of Twitter, wait let me check...


Got it! 

The tweet says "With the Love Your Doorstep team today at the Town Show- wherever I went there they were!" To be fair we only saw him properly about three or four times over the weekend but he was only joking, plus...we know he didn't mind us really! We made him laugh.

There was two paramedics there giving tours of the ambulance which was cool- my sister and I got in the front, and then we went to look in the back and it was so interesting. Then my sister says to him "Yeah, this interests Ellie because she's diabetic!" Uh, it doesn't interest me because I'm diabetic, it just generally interests me? Anyway he was like "So, do you generally keep good control of your blood sugars?" - "Uhhhhhhh, wellllllll" then he was just talking about how it's always the most important thing to keep control blah, blah. I mean he wasn't being annoying or patronising, don't get me wrong! He was really nice. He said "I know you probably get this a lot" and stuff. But I didn't mind him talking to me about it- he wasn't doing any harm, ha ha. 

I asked him if he had a lot of calls to diabetics and he told me he had quite a few. Mostly hypos apparently but sometimes high blood sugar. It was good talking to him about it and although it was really interesting the ambulance just smelt like hospital- you know that "clean" smell. That's how I describe the smell of hospitals, they all smell like hand sanitizer. Speaking of hand sanitizer there was a marquee up, and it was a health one and they had a UV light machine that looked at how clean your hands were and how well you wash your hands. Ellie did it and they gave her some sanitizer to rub on her hands and then she had to put them under the UV light to see how well she washes her hands- pretty good! Just a spot on her thumb. 

Anyway we had lots of fun, and my blood sugars behaved which was a result. Ellie saw my pump and she said "What's that?" and I told her and she was like "Wow it's huge!" when I showed her it. I don't think it's that big- but maybe it is? Who knows? It's a little bit bulky but I like it all the same. She asked me what I can and can't eat so I told her I can eat anything. That's one less person in this world who now knows that diabetics can eat sugar. 

We're helping out at another local festival next weekend which should be fun. We can make some more new friends, to add on to the ones we made this weekend! Pretty sure the whole of Enfield police know who we are! 

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]



Saturday, 7 September 2013

Wordle

I made a "wordle" based on my blog earlier.

Wordle: elshuckle.blogspot.com

Back to school

Wednesday was the first day of sixth form, the 4th September 2013.

In all honesty these first few days of sixth form have got off to a slightly hazy start for a lot of us. It takes a lot of getting used to; we were literally plunged straight into our lessons as soon as we got into school- well, as soon as the teachers had finished giving us lectures on how hard these next couple of years are going to be.
The first thing most of the teachers said upon us settling down at our desks was "it's going to be tough" I'm not too sure what to expect to be honest, I almost feel like I'm 'not ready' for Year 12...if you know what I mean? I feel like, what if I'm not smart enough to do all this? What if I don't have any one I talk to in my classes? So many thoughts swam around my head this week.

The subjects I have picked are: Media, Psychology, History and English Literature. Not sure what I'm in for in these next two years but I suppose we will have to wait and see. I am yet to have my first lesson of Pyschology; that will be coming next week- but all the others seem fine. Media is the one I feel most excited about at the moment only because we get to film various things and we will be going on trips in November of this year and in January next year. I miss some of the old teachers I used to have like my drama teacher, my P.E teacher was pretty cool I suppose, I miss my old year leader...everything is just so, different and I'm not sure if I like it or not yet.

I'm someone who doesn't really like change. I am the type of person who will almost always get the same sandwich at Subway, or order the same pizza every time, I don't like sleeping anywhere else but my house-I just dislike things that are unfamiliar to me. I hate throwing things away even if they're probably the most useless thing ever like an old timetable from school because I always think "Wait, what if I want this for memories?!" I suppose procrastinator could be another word to describe me.

So going to sixth form, is a big step ahead in my education and when I look around in class I'm not surrounded by thirty girls who have been in my class for the past five years- all wearing the same, heavy burgundy uniform which I never thought I'd miss- but standing in front of the wardrobe for half an hour in the mornings wondering what to wear isn't really ideal. Instead I see anywhere from ten to fifteen girls, who I don't know so well, all in our own clothes trying to find our way through sixth form.

It's not a bad thing though- although going to sixth form is a massive step and a change it is a change for the better because it's almost like we're all learning to 'fly' effectively- all through our school lives we take leaps and bounds and strive in all that we do until eventually we find our wings and we're ready to be adults and take on the world.

Of course another year means different teachers, who don't know about my diabetes. This year I made a point of making sure that I definitely told all of them about my diabetes. When I was first diagnosed my mum told my teachers, the next year I told a few- but forgot to tell some. Year 10 saw me skim by with my diabetes, I only told them if I had to which put my in a couple of tricky situations- especially when they tried to ask me questions as to where I was going when I was in a hurry to treat a hypo.

I just cannot stress enough how important it is to tell the teachers about diabetes so they know to just let you get on with things when you have a high or a low blood sugar, or just when you simply need to test. I always used to hate telling them because I was afraid of what they might say or do, I didn't want them to see me as "the diabetic girl" and I didn't want my class mates to see me like that either. I learned that no one thinks that, they all saw past my diabetes and my class and teachers accepted me for who I was and most days diabetes never even got a look in. Obviously some liked to ask me about it which I didn't mind at all- but I was and still am a regular student- I just deal with more than my peers and it takes a bit more effort.

But do you see where I was talking about my sixth form subject choices in the paragraphs above? I don't think I even mentioned diabetes in any of those. *Goes back to double check* Diabetes is a part of my life but as you can see I've chosen to talk about it in a different paragraph- as a (very important never the less) part on the side, it's always there; I can't ignore it but it doesn't define anything that I do or say or the decisions that I make.

On a more exciting note, this week I received an e-mail from JDRF asking if they could use some of my writing about school that I have done in my blogs as part of their back-to-school section for the Autumn 2013 magazine. They wanted to feature my 'story' which is pretty cool so obviously I told them they could. DUK also e-mailed me as they had received an e-mail from Dr Rhys Williams who is the Professor of Public Health at the University of Swansea asking if he could use a picture of me speaking at the Parliament event for T1 essentials- He wants to talk about how how the most effective stories about diabetes come from those living with diabetes themselves. Dr Rhys Williams will talk about that at a presentation he is doing at the World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne this December.

So that's cool, my face is going to Melbourne!

I think that brings us to the end of this blog post- sorry that it's a little bit of an essay but I always do this because lately I haven't been blogging as much as I should and that means things I want to tell you guys all builds up! But I think, I've covered everything.

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sixth form

Tomorrow, Wednesday 4th September 2013 marks mine and thousands of other students' first day of Year 12. 

To even think about it is just so weird- I can't get my head round how quick secondary went, I just about remember primary school. I still remember beginning Year 7 and sixth form was just a distant memory; I didn't really even bother thinking about it because I'd say to myself "it's so far away" but secondary school seemed to flash before my eyes in an instant, and now I'm preparing my bag to start the next two years at sixth form. 

Everyone is growing up and it's scary! One of my friends turned 17 yesterday; she can start learning to drive soon...it's so hard to even comprehend right now. I feel like I need a stop watch that controls the time- I just want it to slow down, or stop- just stop for a few minutes! This summer alone definitely flew by- It feels like yesterday we were all excited about finishing our exams, but then again it feels like it's a world away. 

Although time has gone by quicker than I'd ever imagined; I have done more during that time than I'd have ever imagined. If someone said to me five years ago "You'll start sixth form in September 2013, achieve 8 GCSE's A*-C, do two speeches, be diagnosed with Type one diabetes, climb the O2, hold a snake and a tarantula, dance on stage along with my class and place 2nd overall, complete the Duke of Edinburgh expedition"...and more which I can't quite remember. I'd have never ever of believed them. 

Although tomorrow I am still starting sixth form as a teenager with type one diabetes- I start sixth form knowing that I can achieve just the same as my peers despite diabetes. 

Sixth form is going to be a massive change and a whole new experience, and it will be tough- but I'm up for the challenge. 

-Ellie
[Peace&Insulin]