Friday, 12 June 2015

Blurry days and blurry blood sugar levels

It's been a blurry year. Things have been all over the place - and I'm not just talking about  Diabetes management - there's also been big changes to my work and home life (both for the better) but it's cause havoc all round. Emotionally, physically and every other ally. 

I'm feeling a bit down at the moment but I think it's important to focus on the positive. I'm moved out to a new place on a farm with my fiance. It's bigger, warmer and the kitchen is amazing. I love it! Something about the peace and quiet keeps me sane. I also had my lowest A1c level in about 8 years, due to hard work as well as starting on the pump in Oct 2013. Work life has been all over the place due to a turnaround of staff but we have a lovely lady now on board for our team of three and it should be settled for the next 9 months and generally means my work load is lighter. 

What I'm struggling with is the forwards and backwards nature of diabetes management and generally lifestyle management. I had an appointment with my Diabetes Nurse Educator and my a1c had gone up 12 points (just over 1%) and since joining the gym in March my weight has also gone up. ARRRRRRRRGGGGH

I cried at my appointment. Not at the numbers themselves but at the backwards slant the numbers has taken. It's so bloody frustrating. It feels like one step forward three steps back. My DNE is great though, she took one look at my a1c and said "You are not getting enough insulin". Something about that statement made me okay with it. As if, it's not all my fault. We tweaked basal and carb ratio rates.

 I felt terrible leaving that appointment but I think it helped to build resilience. I'm pretty determined to up the gym sessions and increase the healthy foods. I don't necessarily think I'm doing anything too wrong but with moving house, sickness and general stress in the last three months has meant an unhealthier lifestyle. Then again, maybe I do need a heck of shake up in order to make the changes I need. We've also talked about me starting on some metformin and my DNE was very clear to say it's not to say that I've failed but that my body is generally insulin resistant. I'll try it because I trust my DNE but I hate the idea of being on more medication and I hate that I can't change my lifestyle in order to prevent this. 

I'm feeling determined but I've been in this place before and the stagnation of not having better management is soul destroying. I have spent years trying to get my a1c below 7.5% but I just struggle to break that barrier and simply, I have not had an a1c that low in about 9 years. I was diagnosed 11 years ago and don't have my a1c numbers from then so it's highly likely the last time I had an a1c that low was prediagnosis. It's a goal that's been in my mind for the last 3-4 years. This week I felt a huge sense of frustration and felt like the numbers/test results/levels were consuming me. I'm trying to ride this feeling for a bit instead of blocking it away. It's shit. But life can be like that. I think human nature can be too muffling to negative feelings. The response to having a bad day is usually one of solutions of how to fix it. Sometimes it's a shit day or shit week and that is just that. I'm trying to ride that feeling, I don't want to feel like that again and it's more likely that I won't if I remember that feeling and not hide it away. 

It's a long blog post for me tonight. I've had a few feelings and thoughts to sort through and writing helps. 

Just gotta keep on keeping on.  

Monday, 11 May 2015

I Can - D Blog Week 2015

I had promised myself that I would spend last weekend having a think about all my blog topics and really try and do them justice.
Instead, I forgot and now I'm tip typing away while I sit on a bus on my way into work.
I guess I'm supposed to feel empowered by this topic but I can't help but feel disemppwered. I think in a roundabout sort of way that's a good thing though. How will I know if I feel empowered unless I've felt the other side of it? The powerlessness of disempowerment? So I can't help but sit and think about all the times Diabetes has frustrated me, brought me to tears and that one time I threw my meter across the room.
After thinking all of this I take a step back in my mind, readjust my way of thinking and ponder all the things I'm proud of.
- My 4.5 year relationship and soon to be marriage (bring on March 2016!). I'm proud to have a healthy strong relationship where we can communicate effectively and have fun. And I have someone always offering snuggles after a crappy D day.
- My education. I have two degrees, one in Law and an honours degree in Classics. They represent my university years, my all nighters, my library sessions and a lot of hard work.
- My diabetes management. I spent a whole bunch of time trying to pretend I didn't have diabetes, ignoring the bsl's, the lethargy from high blood sugars and my health in general. About 3 years ago I finally started to be an active participant in my health, fast forward 3 years and I'm now rocking life with an insulin pump. My managment still isnt where I'd want it to be but I'm rocking my lowest A1c in 8 years.
All of these I'm damn proud of. They're all things I can, and have done!

Edit: I think I'm supposed to put the link to Karen's magic linky list of other blogs -  am currently blogging from cellphone so I can't put up the link but will next time I'm at the computer! 

Monday, 26 January 2015

And we're now in 2015


Oh hello 2015. You crept up on me!
I like new years, new starts. I feel like i've been given a whole new slate that is open to a world of possibilities.

It's a recurring pattern of mine to start off with a fresh new week/year/month with best intentions if exercising regularly, blogging more, eating healthily, basal testings etc. Eventually my best intentions fall to the way side and I struggle to follow through.

I don't know the best way to combat this but I am determined to bring that a1c down, to exercise more and to generally feel healthier and I know that blogging keeps me on track!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and Mediocrity of Management

Merry Christmas to everyone!

This Christmas Day is the quietest one I've had. Instead of going home for our crazy overwhelming family bonanza I choose to stay in the South Island with my lovely partner. It's just the two of us and we have a friend coming over for dinner. 

I made a delicious fancy smancy brunch, we had bubbles and then opened presents. Very quiet. I miss my family but am also very much enjoying feeling relaxed today. 

I'm feeling grumpy at Diabetes today. I had one of those overly emotional lows last night, which happened while I had about 8 units of Insulin on board (grr miscalcuation on carbs). It resulted in staying up for hours and I think I balanced between not eating too much for my blood sugar to go sky rocketing and enough to keep me alive. There were moments of sobbing and screeching to my partner saying "I'm so sick of this". I really am. 

But then I wake up in the morning and today is a new day. Even better, it's christmas day and I got a new cook book (Edmonds Cookery Book, I'm a real kiwi housewife now!). 

I really need to get my management on track, it's taken a huge leap in the right direction since being on a pump but has plateaued since that. Instead of being well controlled I'm more moderately controlled, or "could be better". It doesn't feel like burn out because I'm still going through the motions easily enough. It's more like this never ending feeling of mediocrity of management. There's finger pricks and correction boluses but not basal testing and no real tracking of numbers to see where I'm going wrong. I lack motivation to engage with any of that. I also keep getting the slight comments around needing to exercise more and lose weight. After the first week of one such appointment I exercised for 5 days out of 7 for at least 30 minutes. And then I lacked motivation and didn't exercise again. 

It's the same old thing over and over again. Motivation to do something for a week and not following through. I'm not sure how to combat this melancholy but I'm trying out a few different things. As always, tomorrow is a new day with a new beginning. 

Stay safe every one and I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays :)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

11 Years and no complications


This morning I woke up with 7.2mmo/l and corrected this. I was happy with this number in general but because my target is 6 I chose to correct this. My correction dose was 0.65 units.

This is another reason to love an insulin pump. The minuscule amounts you can bolus means, in theory, a better control than on Multiple Daily Injections. On injections I wouldn't correct until I went over 10mmol/l.

I think it's important to stop and be thankful for the little things sometimes. Even if by little, I mean a 0.65 unit bolus. 

Also. Got the 11 years, no complications from my endo recently. Very refreshing to hear that. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

If I bury my head in the sand, maybe no one else will notice

I've been hiding from blogging.

It's been awhile since I felt like writing. I could say that it's due to my current workload which is pretty heavy but really I think it's because my blood sugar levels have been creeping higher and higher. It's not something I want to admit. So, if I wrote about it that would mean actually admitting it. I'm at a point where I can admit it now. 

Blood sugar levels aren't something to hide from though. I think I thought if I tested and corrected I wasn't hiding from them. In reality I was, I was ignoring the above average fasting levels and many other types of levels. 

My downfall? Stress. Stress, stress, stress. It was sending me through the roof. Things have calmed down a bit at work now so I am feeling more comfortable about trying to get back in control. I have an A1c test in 3 weeks and my yearly appointment with my endo. I'm looking forward to it, if only to see how "bad" my A1c has been (side note, there are no bad numbers, only bad decisions made with numbers).

My mantra, as it always has been is one step at a time.  

Thursday, 7 August 2014

How I went from an A1C of 81 (9.6%) to 62 (7.8%)

From this...

I wish I could tell you guys a magic cure for this. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, this drop in A1C took just under two years. Part of it I can attribute to switching to an insulin pump but on it's own an insulin pump isn't a magic cure. I would like to highlight that before this happened I made a 10point drop on my own. The pump is great but you do have to be prepared to put the work in. 

Pre Pump
I've talked about this before here but I found my diabetes managed to be like one big giant jigsaw puzzle, you try one piece and if it doesn't work you try another. That is what I was doing to start with. The first step came from wanting to have an active role in my health care. I had gone through the last 5-6 years, floating through as a passive participant in my health. I had terrible habits but not so terrible that it was unmanageable. My blood sugar levels were dangerous in the long run because they were contributing to a high A1c but in the moment I was able to live. The only point in which I needed medical intervention was when I ran out of insulin one weekend and I thought I would be okay till my doctors appointment on Monday. I wasn't and this showed my lack of knowledge about how intrinsically important insulin is. I went into DKA at the end of 2010 and came out of it being prescribed lantus which evened out my blood sugar levels. In any event, I was still running higher BSLs than I should have been and  I was consistently tired, grumpy and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I put this down to stress and a heavy work load. I also continued to blame myself for these high levels.

And then halfway through 2011 I got sick. I rarely get sick and this one just completely wore me down. It was a combination of being run down, having the flu and a chest infection. I started paying a bit more attention to my levels and found that they weren't making sense even when my sickness go better. I emailed the Diabetes Nurse Educator and the hospital and organised an appointment to see her. From there we started working on the jigsaw puzzle. We adjusted my nightly lantus dose, my insulin to carb ratio, my correction factor, my insulin sites (I was asked to stay away from the left side of my stomach), and it felt like everything else under the sun. I even wore a CGM for a week (loaned to me by my local hospital) I was trying so many different things and trying to keep a brave face of it. Blogging helped but it did get me down to not see a better result than a 71 (8.6%).  Eventually the idea of a pump was brought and I was slightly hesitant at first. And then I had to go through an approval process with Pharmac which was terrifying. I did all this research on pumps and it made me really really want one!

Post Pump and becoming an active participant in my health care!
I've talked a little bit about my experience with my Animas Vibe here but one of the positives of a pump was my acceptance of my freaking enormous dawn phenomena. I now know that I need 3 times as much insulin during the hours of 2am and 6am compared to what I use during the day. When I discovered that it lessened off some of the intense blame I had been carrying for the past few years. With a dawn phenomena like that I was never going to be able to manage on injections. And that brings us to August 2014 where my latest A1c is 62. I know that I have a way to go before I am in a safer range but after 8 years of sitting in the 8 and 9 % range. I think that a 7.8% (or 62) is a pretty good sign. There was something amazing at looking at it and realising it was my lowest number since I moved to Dunedin in 2006. 

I can attribute my better levels to my discovery of the Online Diabetic Community. Diabetes is so isolating that it is damn great to have someone to share it with.