What I miss

(Post idea taken from Renza)

I’ve only had diabetes for four years. If my diabetes was a child, I wouldn’t be able to read, tie my shoelaces or plait my hair. I’m a diabetes baby, and as weird as it may seem to me now, I’ve lived the majority of my life without this stupid disease. I never really sit back and reflect on my pre-diabetes life, as it hurts too much and feels like I’m purposely putting myself in pain, but I thought it was a good idea to delve into that part of myself that I always push down and try to ignore.

What do I miss?

  • I miss my emotions being JUST emotions, not something that will affect my blood sugars and result in more guilt, on top of the stress/worry/sadness I’m already feeling.
  • I miss being able to exercise without doing a 12 step equation in my head to figure out basal rates.
  • I miss not being connected to a machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • I miss my old stomach, thighs and hips. They weren’t full of bruises, scars and insulin lumps – I could rock a bikini without people asking me if I had been in a fight.
  • I miss walking around completely naked ;) #pumpersgetit
  • I miss being able to eat with strangers and not having to deal with people freaking out whenever they see the blood on my finger or the syringe I’m using.
  • I miss sick days just being sick days – no ketones, no high BGLs.
  • I miss the easy assumption that having kids will be straightforward.
  • I miss being able to eat when I want to, not when my blood says I can or can’t.
  • I miss feeling safe in a hospital. I know more than the nurses and most of the doctors about my diabetes, and that is a terrifying feeling. I had a nurse nearly give me 30u of NovoRapid because she thought it was long acting… (RAPID!! HOW DOES RAPID IMPLY LONG ACTING?!) I have to stand up for myself the entire time and that sucks.
  • I miss going out with a tiny bag.
  • I miss not basing my self esteem on my diabetes control (I’m working on this)
  • I miss my life not revolving around numbers – weight, food, bgls, bloods, averages…
  • I miss the lack of guilt – guilty because of the money I cost my parents. Guilt for future kids if they ever get diabetes. Guilt over my numbers.
  • I miss going to bed and knowing 100% that there is no risk of dying in my sleep.
  • Most of all? I miss the freedom. Diabetes is always there. It’s there when I’m doing an important uni presentation and my sugars shoot up to 23 (thanks stress). It will be there on my wedding day, the day I have a child, at the funerals of my parents – it never leaves, and I can never have a break. What did I think about before diabetes…what was in my head?!

Diabetes has brought a lot of amazing people and experiences into my life, but if you could wave a magic wand and take it away from me forever, I would be first in line. I HATE it, like I’ve never hated anything before. My life is great, but I can clearly remember life before it, and it sucks to have tasted that life. This may seem like a pity party post, but I think I’m allowed to mourn my old life sometimes. I’m a realist – diabetes sucks, it doesn’t matter how pretty they make the pump covers or blood test meters, it sucks. Don’t pity us, but understand that it’s not easy. 

Diabetes NINJA

(Sorry for the lack of posts, I’ve been overseas on an intense study placement and didn’t have time to breathe!)

So I’ve recently started cheerleading! I thought it was time to stop watching “Bring It On” on repeat and try it out before I get too old.

It was my second training tonight, and I’ve been wearing my pump clipped to my sports bra like I do in dance and calisthenics. I thought that would be ok…IT WAS NOT OK.

So we’re doing jumps, and we’re doing a “herkie”, which looks like this.

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We’re on a spring floor, and I got really excited because I’ve spent the best part 18 years on hard floorboards! The coach shouts “and 1,2,3,4″, I jump ridiculously enthusiastically and MY PUMP GOES FLYING.

OUT OF MY BRA, HITS ME ON THE FACE, THEN OUT TOWARDS THE FLOOR.

For about a millisecond it dangled there, somewhere near my crotch (shout out to Animas Inset IIs for staying stuck to my belly even when it was dangling completely unsupported). As I came down, I grabbed it with the hand that wasn’t up near my head and stuffed it back into my bra, cleanly snapping back to “8!”, with no-one the wiser.

I don’t want to brag, but I felt as cool as this dude. 

ImageNinja diabetic, at your service.

Moral of the story, pump is coming OFF for cheerleading! 

Body image issues for people with diabetes can’t be ignored

Body image issues for people with diabetes can’t be ignored.

This is the article I wrote for Diabetes Australia Vic. I think you’ve all seen it anyway, but I wanted a record of it on my blog too :)

Thank you so much for all your kind comments on Facebook, so many people have said they had no idea about these kinds of issues for people with diabetes, so I think the aim of increasing awareness of this issue is slowly being achieved!

Weighty matters

GeorgieP:

Renza has said this better than I ever could.

Originally posted on Diabetogenic:

Yesterday as I skimmed a few news sites and social media sites, I came across endless diets, weight loss fads and a downright disturbing article about ‘bikini bridges’ which, it appears, is the latest in ‘thinspiration’ trends (we’ve moved on from the thigh gap, apparently).  I caught up on a piece about ‘diabulemia’ and thought about how diabetes adds an extra degree of difficulty to all things – even eating disorders.

The relationship between weight, food and diabetes is so complex and confusing. We’re told to maintain our weight to remain healthy (or prevent developing type 2 diabetes in the first place); we’re told to manage our cholesterol for heart health; we’re told that certain foods are taboo; we’re told we need to eat at certain times to prevent lows; we’re told we should eat a lot of carbs/not too many carbs (depending on who you listen to today); we’re…

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Resolutions…sort of.

I’m a Bridget Jones when it comes New Years Resolutions. I firmly believe they should start on the second of January, and I usually break them on the third, with excuses like “it’s still 2013 somewhere. v. good effort.”

So, learning from my past experiences, this year I have decided to set little (a.k.a. achievable) diabetes related goals. No huge ones, like GET YOUR A1C DOWN TO 5.5. Just ones that I’ll be able to tackle slowly.

Resolution One: Stop making up your numbers.
I’m a shocker. I will test before breakfast, then usually not test again, or maybe test once, until dinner. I’m always on the go in the middle of the day, my tester is always buried at the bottom of my massive bag, so I usually have a thought process like “Well I was 8 this morning and I had vegemite toast but it was white bread so I’m probs like 12.” I need to respect my health enough to take 20 seconds to test. The world will not end.

Resolution Two: Remove yourself from food talk and do what is best for you
Low carb, no carb, schmo carb. I’ve spent the past 3 years walking through an environment which is constantly triggering, and to tell the truth I don’t particularly care. I eat like a normal person, and I will continue to just carry on eating a balanced diet. I will not weigh my food, cut out fruit ‘because of all that sugar’ (FFS! Biggest pet peeve right there!) or stay below 50g of carbs a day, because that shit is triggering, and I would rather be healthily rolling through life than end up sick.

Resolution Three: Don’t push yourself through hypos.
This year, I’m not going to say “I’m fine!” while trying to keep it together at 2.7. People know I’m diabetic, it’s not like a low blood sugar is a surprise. Hey, it might even be educational for them to see me not looking 100%…sit down, treat, and just accept that you can’t control your body all the time.

I’m looking forward to this year – I’ve found a great group of people to start up an organisation for diabetics with eating disorders in Australia and New Zealand, I’m in my last year of my undergraduate degree, and I’m much more confident in telling people to f*** right off if they feel the need to comment on my diabetes. Here’s to 2014.

Je suis une diabétique

Explaining Type 1 Diabetes is always hard.
It’s even harder in your second language.

I meant to brush up on diabetes vocab before I came over here, but I got distracted by other things, like getting medication together, the WDC, and catching up on Modern Family. All extremely important things…

My host family were told that I have type 1 diabetes, but knowing is a whole lot different to understanding. I think it’s harder now that I’ve gained weight, because I look like what the media portrays ‘diabetes’ as…so when I say I can eat whatever I want, I hit doubt at every corner. “Are you sure? Are you sure?” I know it’s all coming out of concern and worry, but damn it’s annoying.

My host family is absolutely lovely, and I’ve hit the jackpot because they eat mostly organic and non processed foods (apart from cheese, oh my god I’ve missed French cheese). However, there have been a few hiccups, and not just with my diabetes.

The girls freaked out whenever I pricked my finger, so now I test in my bedroom. Normal Georgie wouldn’t do that, but I tried explaining and they can’t comprehend that I’m used to it. I think the blood also freaks them out a bit, I keep forgetting people actually have fears like that, it’s only been 3 1/2 years and blood is so normal to me now! When I was working in an English boarding school, the students did the same thing and I just brought out the teacher voice. I don’t have the capabilities in French yet to assertively explain what I’m doing in the right tone (I’ll either sound angry or patronising), so I’ve just decided to be one of those people I swore never to be and test away from people. It’s not worth upsetting them!

Explaining the pump was super hard. Did you ever learn the words for ‘basal’ ‘bolus’, ‘cannula’ or ‘subcutaneous’ in French class? Yeah, me neither. I ended up saying it was an artificial organ that I controlled, which the kids thought was incredibly cool. The youngest delights in telling me that I’m glowing through my t-shirt.

I’m really scared of hypo-ing here, so I’ve been conservative with my carb counting. I’m sitting around 7-10, and I refuse to budge from that. When I’ve left France and I’m living with Sam and Ces in Prato in a month, who know me and speak my language, I’ll aim for 5s, but right now I don’t think the world will end if I just chill up here in the 9s.

Oh also, my endometriosis made an appearance. That bitch. I knew it would, but I thought I was being sneaky taking all my painkillers the night before I thought I was due. Ends up they did nothing, at all. Sometimes they work, sometime they don’t even touch it. This month was one of THOSE months. My host mum came up to my room at 10am to find me rolling around clutching my stomach, crying from the pain and burying my head in the pillows. The poor woman, I think I terrified her. They were so nice, HM kept refilling my hot water bottle and trying to get me to eat while HK#2 sat next to me and put on Ice Age while intermittently stroking my hair and saying “T’as besoin de quelque chose?” (You need something?). It was the oldest kid’s birthday and I was upstairs in pain the whole day, I felt SO bad. They kept telling me “Don’t worry, it’s not your fault, it’s fine, we’re glad you’re ok now!” but I just feel terrible. They got a person with diabetes and a dodgy uterus. My body can go suck a dick (excuse the language, but it can).

It’s been a week and it’s all going well overall! My host family is lovely, the village is lovely, and I am loving the South of France because everyone is SO nice! It feels super weird to be writing in English, I’ve backspaced French words about once every minute while typing. I haven’t lost or destroyed my insulin yet, so fingers crossed it stays like that!

World Diabetes Congress

For the past two days, I’ve been at the World Diabetes Congress as part of the Diabetes Australia Young Leaders program.

It was an incredible honour to be asked, and I have had the most incredible two days! I sat in on so many sessions, and my favourite was one on Social Media and diabetes, presented by Annelieke Overbeeke, an IDF young leader. However we sat through a complications talk that made me want to throw up. Head in the sand head in the sand. 

There are a few things that I’ve really taken home from this Congress.

The first is a renewed appreciation for how lucky we are in Australia. Sure, I may bitch about the cost of living with type 1 diabetes, but the important thing is that I will ALWAYS have access to medical supplies and medical care, and live under a government that subsidises most of my supplies (touch wood – if a political party tries to cut it I will personally stab them all with my syringes and then move back to the UK). Hearing  studies done in India and Africa, where the issue is not only the cost of insulin but access to it, as well as a lack of education, was incredibly sobering. To sort-of borrow an idea from Renza, it makes all the fuss about changing the name of type 1 diabetes a huge first world problem. There are bigger issues in diabetes than associated and undeserved stigma – let’s concentrate on fighting all types of diabetes and helping those less fortunate rather than having a bitch about a name shall we? 

The second is an increased love for the diabetes community. I didn’t think it could get any bigger, but it has! It really is indescribable, how quickly you bond with people, and the passion that you can nearly feel flying around the room. My lovely #OzDOC buddies and the new connections that I’ve made over the past 2 days are such an incredible group, it’s weird to think that 3 years ago I didn’t know any of these people. We’re a family. #dlove

Lastly, I’ve come away with not only a renewed passion for the work I want to do regarding diabetes and eating disorders, but also connections to help me do it, yay! Funnily enough, one of the DA Young Leaders who I have volunteered on a camp with has the same aim as me, but we hadn’t talked about it until the function last night. We now have each other to workshop with and make more connections, ring more people etc. which is incredibly exciting.

I am so grateful for this opportunity!! If I had my way I’d write a thesis on all the sessions and why they were important, however I leave the country in just over 48 hours, so I should probably go and pack. Clean my room. Pack. Man I hate packing.

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