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It's Diabetes Week and this year's theme is 'Setting the Record Straight'. This means patients, carers, professionals and charities are taking to the streets (and the online streets) to dispel myths around diabetes. Join the Diabetes Online Community (#DOC) in telling your stories, experiences, facts and videos and help set the record straight about what diabetes is and what it is like to live with.
Saturday 18th June - The tweet above is one that really stood out to me this week. Although I have Type 1 Diabetes, I look after patients with Type 2 and I see how all types of diabetes can be really friggin' hard to live with. We should all be proud of how we manage a chronic condition. Every person's diabetes management varies and there is no 'one size fits all' approach. If you have Type 2 diabetes and need move onto insulin injections, or if you have Type 1 and need to use an insulin pump, be proud that you are doing all you can and making the most of all opportunities to create a healthier life for yourself. A change in treatment is not a failure, it's just another step forward in your journey with diabetes.
Please follow @DiabetesDayUnit on twitter
Wednesday 15th June - "Are you allowed to eat that?" is something that many people with Diabetes (any type) have heard before. A well meaning question, I'm sure, but it can be frustrating non the less. The typical times when we hear this question is when we eat something that isn't green and leafy. I can only speak from the point of view of a type 1 diabetic, however we CAN eat anything we want to, it just takes a little bit more thinking before we do.
Here's what I did before I ate a doughnut today...
- Tested my blood sugars by pricking my finger
- Found out the amount of carbohydrate in the doughnut (using an app)
- Used my blood glucose meter to see how much insulin I needed for the doughnut (the insulin amount I need when eating varies from hour to hour)
- Thought about how much active insulin was in my system from lunch
- Thought about whether or not I would be going to the gym in the afternoon and how long after eating I might go (I may need less insulin if I was going to exercise)
- Thought about the trend that my blood glucose had been showing that day and for the previous few days (it has been slightly high after eating meaning I may need more insulin)
- Thought about the basal rate that my insulin pump was delivering
- Thought about my gastroparesis and if my stomach had been emptying as it should that day and for the previous few days
- Made a decision about when to take the insulin and if I needed it to be delivered via my pump over an extended time period
Yes, people with Type 1 Diabetes can eat doughnuts, it just requires us to think like a pancreas.
Pumps, pens, pricks and sensors
Tuesday 14th June - For far too many years I shied away from injecting insulin or testing my blood glucose levels in public because I worried about what people thought. I had a few experiences where I was told that I should go in the bathroom to inject, or that injecting was disgusting. This really knocked my confidence and contributed towards me not taking my insulin appropriately for a very long time, with dangerous consequences.
People with Type 1 Diabetes must inject insulin or use an insulin pump in order to survive. Without it we will die. It's as simple as that. It is not disgusting or something that we should be ashamed of, hide or neglect. Please help us stamp out stigma and encourage the people you know who need to inject insulin to be confident in doing so whenever they need to.
Take a look at my new YouTube video (above) showing how I'm loud and proud about my diabetes treatments and technology! Please comment, like and subscribe!
Monday 13th June - I have Type 1 Diabetes (find more info on Type 1 here). It is mostly an invisible condition in which a person looks just like anyone else on the outside, but inside they can be quite unwell. Quite often I wake up in the morning and don't feel right, only to test my blood glucose and discover that it is too high or too low (keeping glucose levels steady line when almost everything affects it can be difficult). This means making a decision about what to do (take insulin if glucose is high or eat something sugary if glucose is low) and then I get on with my day. If I didn't tell anyone that I was feeling unwell then most people wouldn't be able to tell. Feeling ill with diabetes can make day to day activities more difficult than normal, however a lot of the time I just get on with it because I don't want diabetes to hold me back. After a while my glucose levels will settle and I will feel normal again. This is a good feeling!
More info on getting involved with Diabetes Week can be found on the Diabetes UK website