burnout – à la française

 

 

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This is the first time I’ve tested in two days.

My head does something weird when mymental health ducks are all in a row – ‘oh, you’re feeling happy? Got some healthy coping strategies in place? DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR LACK OF BETACELLS, MOTHERFUCKER’.

I packed enough supplies, that’s not the issue here. The food here is fine – when I check my BGL and dose my insulin, it usually plays by the rules. The people here are lovely, and I’m not being shamed in any way by anyone. But something is a bit off kilter.

I guess I just resent my diabetes for getting in the way. I’m spending this year self-reflecting, taking joy in the little things, and figuring out my priorities. Every time I have a pinch-myself moment – the first snowfall, my host kid jumping on me for a hug, walking home past a casual château, making a joke in French and getting a laugh (underrated but a vital inclusion on any language learning checklist!!!) – diabetes seems to rear it’s ugly head. It could be a flat pump battery, host kid accidentally ripping out my site from aforementioned hug, a sneaky hypo, a wave of nausea from a kinked cannula…it feels like diabetes is shoving it’s way into this new life. Every time I test or bolus, I feel resentful. I resent that it has come along with me, as STUPID as that sounds.

I have to get back on the horse again. Tonight I tested, told myself “it’s just a number”, took my full dose of insulin, and drank some water. Tomorrow I’ll aim for two tests. I have this whole year to look after myself, and that needs to include diabetes as well.

 

 

…still hate it though.

 

My favourite discovery at the local Carrefour is HANDBAG SIZED WINE, PERFECT FOR A SNEAKY MERLOT IN THE PARK

 

P.S – look at how often I’m blogging over here, how amazing is FREE TIME?!)

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Maximum impact, minimal effort

If I gave you a $5 note right now, what would you do with it?

Usually, I’d take it to the nearest café and order myself a large double shot latte. If I feel like living on the edge, I might even buy an avocado – hellooooo luxury!

Around this time of year, many people would put it towards some Valentines Day flowers. Society in general can make us feel as though we don’t believe in romance and hate life if we don’t acknowledge our partner on February the 14th (can you tell I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day? See below image for an accurate portrayal of my last 25 Valentines dinners).

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However, I have a get out of jail free card for anyone who resents spending money on a token gesture. What if you could literally save a life with that money?

There is an incredible initiative Spare A Rose, Save A Child from the diabetes online community, (linked to Life For A Child ) that asks you to sacrifice one rose that you’d put in a bouquet, and put that money – around $5 – towards the wellbeing of a child with diabetes in a developing country. If you’re like me and emotionally dead inside, take the whole $60 you’d reluctantly spend on a bouquet and put it towards this initiative. You’ll be providing life for one child for an entire year. How? Your money provides:

  • regular insulin
  • quality blood glucose monitoring equipment (meter, strips, lancets)
  • essential clinical care
  • up-to-date diabetes education materials

There are people dying because they can’t access insulin. If they can access insulin, they are making huge sacrifices to do so and are dying way too early due to outdated equipment and healthcare. I whinge about the cost of my healthcare, but I am incredibly lucky to be able to afford it and there are systems in place to ensure I will always be able to access insulin. It is appalling and horrific that a lack of money means that people with diabetes are dying. Money should never be the reason that you lose someone you love.

I’ve written about this before, when the campaign first started, and I’m repeating myself because access for EVERYONE with diabetes is important, not just the privileged. Take that $5 note, donate it to Life For A Child, and tell your partner you’ve both just saved a life. That’s better than any bouquet you could buy.

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Diabetes distance

 

It’s taken moving halfway across the world to realise that I’m still not 100% comfortable with talking about my diabetes. At home, I’ll take out my pump or meter anywhere, and happily explain what it is to anyone that asks  – but here? I find myself being super subtle about it, and only saying “I have diabetes” if the conversation stops as I test my BGL or my pump beeps. I keep switching the subject anytime people push further. My first day at language school, a woman next to me asked why I was pricking my finger, and do you know what’s really hard? Explaining diabetes in French.

Obviously, my lingua franca with everyone who isn’t Anglophone is French (minus anyone from Scandinavia or Germany, because DAMN their English is better than mine) and I don’t have the nuances in expression yet to hit that balanced explanation of “It’s sorta serious but I manage it!”, so it ends up sounding like I’m either wearing a clumpy activity monitor or I’m hooked up to a machine that could kill me at any moment. I don’t want people to think I’m weird and/or broken, so it’s just easier to not make it obvious for now.

Diabetes frustrates me because it makes me different. I think we all want to fit in in some aspect, and here in France I don’t have a diabetes community around me yet. In Australia, around a third of my friends have diabetes so it’s not a big thing, but here? I’m already different – I come from halfway around the world, I have a funny accent, and I’m older than the majority of the people I hang out with. I don’t want to add a misunderstood and stigmatised chronic illness to the list.

Could I make diabetes less stigmatised and more understood if I talked about it more here? Sure. But the people I’ve met so far pick up on the fact I’m just doing what I need to do, and most of my daily diabetes stuff passes without comment. I do NOT want to be that person who talks about themselves. I’ve become expert at juggling my BGL meter on my lap whilst drinking coffee and speaking a mixture of French, English, and whatever first language the person across from me has (my Italian is improving!). I’m a person with diabetes first, and an advocate second, and sometimes I just want to exist, and practice my second language, without diabetes making itself known. This is a year off, in more ways than one. I feel guilty about this, because I feel like a hypocrite – how can I claim to be a diabetes advocate when I avoid talking about it? But I just CAN’T right now.

Online me will be as obnoxious as ever, but real life me is just going to take some time out. Please don’t ask me about the beeping in my bra – shall we go for crêpes instead?

 

Most importantly, I’ve figured out the carbs in a chausson aux pommes (apple pastry). 36 grams of deliciousness 🙌

 

2017 – study, stress, and stamina.

 

This year I’ve been hurtling through life at 100%, all guns blazing. I love being busy, but one thing has suffered, and it’s been my diabetes.

My day would typically involve teaching all day, replying to DEDA emails and posts from members while doing my grocery shopping, calling a parent on the drive home because I didn’t have time at lunch (debating coaching/production rehearsal/kids wanting a chat/meetings/anything OTHER than what was originally on my to-do list), and trying to smash out a few hundred words of a Masters assignment while eating another 10-minute-frozen-vegie-and-rice-poor-excuse-of-a-stir-fry. My mind would zero in on something that day – maybe I had said something ‘stupid’ in a staff meeting or someone in Coles had looked at me funny – and I’d lie in bed stressing over that one thing, tossing and turning until I eventually fell asleep.

My diabetes is super sensitive to stress. When I wear the Libre, you can literally see my BGL shoot skywards when I am confronted with a high stress situation, and no amount of bolusing or exercise will bring it down until the situation is resolved. The class where two students started fighting and I had to rip them apart?? >25 mmol for the rest of the day. The lead-up to co-ordinating Senior Diabetes Camp? Did not touch the blue zone once in a week! What’s more, this year has been a constant of background stress – there was always something in the back of my mind stressing me out, and my mental health would usually grab onto that and make it worse. Anxiety is a bitch!

However, since I’ve finished work,  I’ve been rolling from the couch to the shower and back again. My daily routine resembles a retiree, complete with an addiction to daytime lifestyle shows and meals made for one. I spent an hour this morning doing yoga, then plonked myself on the couch and napped. My BGLs? SO MUCH MORE PREDICTABLE. I feel like I’ve cracked the code as to why my diabetes has been hard to manage this year – I’ve completely neglected self-care! I ‘m not saying that it’s impossible to manage diabetes when you’re stressed, but DAMN not having ten balls to juggle whilst balancing on a Masters unicycle makes a difference! I’m able to breathe, and I’m so much more able to take a step back and realise that my health is the most important thing.

I’ve battled this year. I’ve been to the emergency department a few times thanks to gastro and pneumonia (thanks year 7s!), I’ve gained weight due to stress and aforementioned lack of self-care, and relationships have been short and blurry. My hba1c is in the 9s, and I’ve been out of range way more than I’d like.

However, I’ve achieved a damn lot. I spoke at an international diabetes conference, went to some local ones, and met amazing people while doing it (still pinching myself over that one!) I graduated from my Masters degree with first-class honours and only had a couple of breakdowns. Same-sex marriage finally went through in Australia and I started embracing my sexuality and feeling more accepted by the society I live and thrive in. I discovered more of myself – they say that your personality starts to settle around 25, and I believe it. I discovered what I value, and what I don’t. Turns out, I don’t stand for bullshit, run from the ideal of a white picket fence (give it ten years and “Cool Aunt Georgie” will be a thing), and am less of an introvert than I thought (still obsessed with cats and HGTV though, no-one panic). I discovered how liberating accepting your body is, and how invasively diet culture has permeated every aspect of my being. I gained a lot of weight, but I also gained a load of self confidence and respect for myself. I became a better teacher, as evidenced by the links with my students and the growth that they had, and made friends for life – some who are nearly 20 years older than me but made me realise that age is irrelevant. When you find like-minded souls, hold onto them!

I’m taking a year off teaching to move to France, au-pair, and figure out my next step. I adore teaching, I adore advocacy, and I’m taking a year to figure out how to fit those both in my life without sacrificing my health and happiness. I want to throw myself into both of these things, but without sacrificing my diabetes management and mental health, In the wise words of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation*

I’m going to spend 2018 figuring out how to whole-ass this whole teaching and advocacy thing, whilst thriving with diabetes. I’ve been half-assing my diabetes all year, and in order to whole-ass my life, I need to whole-ass my management too. A year to focus on myself, my health, and my next step? Sounds divine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you do one thing in 2018, watch Parks and Rec. You’ll thank me later. 

DEDA minisode

On Sunday I did a short live minisode with Beta Change about diabetes and eating disorders. Although my internet connection was terrible (get ready to watch my face constantly freeze in unflattering positions) I think there is a quite a good overview in this video of the basics of what Lisa, Zo, and I do within DEDA. Take a look if you have a spare 20 minutes!

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Diabetes and feminism – yes, it’s a thing

The International Diabetes Federation is running a “Women and Diabetes” campaign this year, and there’s been some rumblings on social media.

“I feel so left out”

“How many BOYS has this condition”

“It reinforce stereotypes of females as the only ones who should/do provide care”

“Any theme that appears to negate a particular group’s experience will always be problematic”

Ok, before I go any further, let’s make one thing clear – repeat it, after me.

Advocating 👏for👏 one👏 group 👏does👏 not 👏discount 👏the 👏other

Changing the font of worksheets for my students with dyslexia isn’t ignoring the other kids in the class, it’s making life easier for the students who struggle. It’s the same with this – by focusing on one group of people one year, it’s not saying that all other groups aren’t worth looking at. This SHEro campaign is simply acknowledging that women living with diabetes are bloody brilliant, and that there is still more work to be done to dismantle the inbuilt societal structures that perpetuate inequality.

The thing about privilege is that it’s invisible to those who have it. I have never felt the micro-agressions or overt/covert racism that people of colour live with daily, because I’m a white woman. I have never been denied entry to a place or mode of transport because I physically wasn’t to access it, because I don’t have a physical disability that prevents me from moving. However, women face systemic discrimination in the health care system. If you are a woman and you haven’t encountered this, that’s INCREDIBLE (and you need to give me the number of all your HCPs immediately), however it’s an issue for many of us, and I think it’s a fantastic move by the IDF to acknowledge and recognise that we face barriers in our healthcare.

As Renza said in this fantastic blog post on this topic, “the campaign is not suggesting that men do not experience struggles when it comes to living with diabetes themselves, or are not involved and integral in the care of others living with diabetes.” If you actually LOOK through the campaign, you will not see a “MEN SUCK” poster anywhere, regardless of how much you want to.

I am over people in positions of privilege using their already prominent voice to drown out those who are in need of the focus, awareness, and advocacy. Saying ‘but what about the MEN’ completely detracts from the aim of this campaign, which is to highlight inequality and inequity of health outcomes for women. They could have just as easily chosen to run with the PWDs living in developing countries, who struggle to access insulin daily. They could have focused on people with ‘different’ types of diabetes – LADA, MODY,  etc. – who may not have the awareness and knowledge around their conditions. However, this year it’s women, and shouldn’t that be celebrated?

When you’re in a position of privilege, not being included feels like discrimination.

Recognise that privilege dudes, and work with us to dismantle the system that creates it. Read this for a simple explanation of the privilege you may face in daily life, and not even recognise (but just saying, if it takes this article – written by a man – to tell you “that male privilege is real and ubiquitous, then you just proved its power”.) Work every day to recognise it, understand how it’s held in place, then dismantle the HECK out of it. I try to do this every day with white privilege – if I can recognise that I unconsciously benefit from a system that is built around my needs and wants, surely you can too! I replace this mantra with ‘racism’, and damn it’s been useful at making me into a better person!

Sexism happens, I benefit from it, I am unavoidably sexist sometimes because I was socialized that way, and if I want to be anti-sexist I have to be actively working against that socialization 

I think a big issue that needs to be discussed this year is the fact that women face implicit bias in the healthcare system that undervalues symptoms and pain (read this , and this if you think I’m talking out of my butt, it’s not just my feminist ass saying this) . For women with diabetes, this sexism suddenly becomes more pronounced. We’re at the doctors a LOT, and as we all know, diabetes is nearly never the sole offender. Once you get one chronic illness, others decide to join it. We need healthcare professionals who take us seriously, ones who don’t discount our pain as ’emotional issues’ or assume that we can be treated the same as men. I experienced this when I was told by a doctor to ‘calm down’ when I was having an asthma attack. TELL THAT TO MY LUNGS BUDDY.

We also need intersectionality in this space – I’m in a position of privilege being white, women of colour with diabetes have so many more barriers to break down as well. If you’re LGBTQI+ in this space, it honestly sometimes just becomes downright hilariously bad (flashback to the chat with a doctor who couldn’t understand that being sexually active didn’t always mean a risk of pregnancy…). We need understanding from the whole community that this inherent bias is a valid problem, and we need collaboration. By people drowning out this campaign with complaints of “It’s not fair, men are heroes too!” they’re missing the entire point. We’re here to raise awareness and lift women UP, not drag men down. Use your position of privilege to elevate our voice – as a commenter (and diabetes dad) on the Diabetes Australia Facebook page said in response to the campaign announcement…

“I could not be more proud of my daughter, and am extremely happy that women are being recognised this year. It doesn’t mean men (and boys) aren’t important, but some of these comments suggest that at least some men are very precious little petals, which saddens me

Feminism benefits everyone – and to let it benefit everyone, you need to let us have our space.

 

Some of the fucking brilliant diabetes SHEroes in my life 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumps – they’re personal

There was an announcement today (yesterday? I’ve just returned from diabetes camp and after minimal sleep and maximum shenanigans, time is an illusion!) that Animas is out of business, and it hit me like a slap in the face. I felt as though the breath had been pushed out of my lungs, and my heart has somehow moved its way from my chest to halfway up my throat.

In Australia, this doesn’t mean too much right now. We don’t have to suddenly make a super hard choice like our American and Canadian friends, but it does mean that the Animas pump will no longer be upgraded and will slowly fall into obsolescence. I don’t know what this means for Animas support – I’m guessing that awesome hotline will be gone? No Diasend? No lovely Cath on the end of the phone telling me how to stop that incessant beeping?

My reaction may seem a little out of proportion – I mean, it’s just a pump right? Some people don’t even have INSULIN, and you’re right! The fact I even have a pump is a blessing, however that doesn’t negate the fact that the drop out of Animas leaves Aussies with type 1 diabetes in a precarious position.

Australia is a small type 1 diabetes market, and an even smaller pump market. We don’t really have much of a choice anyway, and now there are two – the Combo, which looks like a pager from the 90s (and most likely has the same usability), and the Medtronic Veo. There’s a risk that without another viable competitor in the market, Medtronic will gain a monopoly, and that terrifies me. We need a choice, not a forced hand to the ‘less shit’ company.

Yeah, it’s ‘just a pump’, but this machine is on me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am constantly using this thing, my fingers know exactly how many down and up pushes I need to get to ezBolus and the best angle to hold the pump line at to prime it. I touch this machine as much as I touch my phone, and it constantly sits in the middle of my chest, becoming a part of me, like my tattoos or my freckles. When the pump comes off, I feel naked – I’ve become used to that slightly bulky and heavy feeling in the middle of my chest, and to lie in bed without the tiny weight of my pump dragging down my PJ pockets makes me feel as though I’m missing some sort of body part.

At the end of the day, pumps are so personal that choice is inherent in the selection of one. We all value different things – I went with Animas because of their fantastic customer service and upload app (unlike Medtronic and Carelink, they give you as much information as your HCP – funny to think that people with diabetes can be trusted with their own data?!). I’m not saying I’d never change, but with the closure of Animas it forces our hand, and with Canada and the U.S. completely destroys their hand! I’d love a TSlim in the future (people would stop asking why I still had a pager and why it was lighting up in my bra), but from my OWN choice. I want to choose a pump because I’m a fan of its design, its software, or its customer care – not because the other option is rubbish and I’m over syringes.

People with diabetes are not identical, and nor should their pumps be.

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It’s about time

It’s about time I told you my diagnosis story.

This isn’t coming out of the blue – National Diabetes Week is this week, and for the first time there is a part of the campaign exclusively focused on type 1 diabetes, and knowing the early signs of type 1. Their hashtags (well played Diabetes Australia, keep it up #hashtagsarelife) are #ItsAboutTime / #NDW2017 / #4Ts , and the first one jumped out at me.

It’s about time that we knew what the signs are – with all the resources available to us at the tips of our fingers, with HCPs having more qualifications and knowledge than ever before, why is this still being missed? Why am I still hearing stories on diabetes camp about kids and adults being dismissed as ‘dramatic’, ‘sensitive’, or ‘just a bit stressed?’

Alright, buckle in, make a cup of tea, and read up. This is long. You’re in for a tale and a rant on why #ItsAboutTime the symptoms of type 1 diabetes need to be known. #ItsAboutTime that we understand that diagnosis does not stop at the words “You have Type 1 Diabetes”, and that a diagnosis is multi-faceted. Treat the diabetes, but treat the tidal wave of emotion that comes along with it. 

January, 2010

I’m 17. I’ve just returned from an exchange trip to France, and I am buzzing with my newfound acquisition of the language, an obnoxious penchant for relating everything back to my trip (“That reminds me of this one time, in France, where…”), and a taste for French wine. I have a week before I start Year 12, and being the nerd that I am, I land in Melbourne and pick up my books the next day. We’re studying A Streetcar Named Desire and dear God, I will do all the pre-reading and extra reading if it kills me.

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17 year old me halfway up the Eiffel Tower. May have had a glass of pinot for déjeuner.

February 2010

Ok, so it’s starting to kill me. It’s been a few weeks since Term 1 has started, and I’m already feeling tired and burnt out. Each day seems like more of an obstacle, and I go from being full of beans at the start of term to sitting at the back of the classroom and willing my brain to concentrate on the words and data in front of me – and why is my vision kinda fuzzy? My school has three levels, and dragging myself up those stairs become like scaling a small mountain – as the weeks go on, I start to pause and lean against the wall to get myself to each floor. I’m also drinking, and therefore peeing, a LOT. I carry a 1.25 litre drink bottle around with me, and fill it up every chance I get. I’m constantly asking to go to the toilet, and my teachers are starting to get annoyed. I stop hanging around after class and run to the toilets every break that we get.

I’m losing weight, and I’m LOVING it. All of my friends are complaining about their “Year 12 padding”, yet whatever I eat, I seem to drop even more weight. I sit there smugly eating a Mars Bar while my friends complain – hey, I may be exhausted, and married to the toilet, but at least I’m losing the muffin top!

A week pre diagnosis. I’d lost more than 10kgs in two weeks, but unfortunately still thought a side fringe was a good idea and that Passion Pop was the height of house party elegance.

Mum notices that something is up, and even though I protest and say “I’m just stressed”, she basically frogmarches me to the car and takes me to the GP. She’s heard me peeing like a horse at least five times a night, and I’ve taken to sculling water ON the toilet – this thirst just won’t go away, however much I drink. Over the next couple of weeks we see three doctors in a row, all of which tell me that I’m stressed (“told you Mum”), working myself too hard, and may ‘have a small virus’. They do no tests, not even a simple blood prick, and raise their eyebrows if we push any further. So we don’t.

This is done way too often – people are brushed off, time and time again, as too dramatic, anxious, or sensitive. Often, it is mothers taking their kids to the doctor, and often it is mothers being told to ‘calm down’. Whether it is the mother or the patient, women are consistently discriminated against within the healthcare system – consciously or unconsciously, but the fact remains that it happens. I’m not saying that doctors misdiagnosing is exclusive to women, but I am saying that it is more common, and that it is embedded in the Western healthcare system. You can see this here and here (done as part WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health). If you’re still thinking “Classic Georgie, harping on with that feminist rubbish” do a quick peer-reviewed study search and you will be buried with research that shows, time and time again, women’s concerns are dismissed and/or delayed. Whether that woman is seeking treatment for herself, or a dependent, we are pushed away, told we are being dramatic, or that we’re too sensitive. One of my closest friends was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 22 – TWENTY TWO – and only got the ultrasound that ultimately diagnosed her cancer when her nurse mother pushed and persisted for it. We should not be advocating to get to the bottom of a problem, that’s our GPs job. 

MOVING ON

Labour Day Weekend, March 6th – 8th

I am beyond exhausted. My family is packing for a camping weekend away with my cousins, and because I like camping as much as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I’ve decided not to go (Why would you pay to sleep on the ground and shit in a hole?!). However, watching them prepare to leave makes me scared, and I make a last-minute decision to go with them. I’m scared because I can feel my heart beating through my chest, it takes energy to lift my head off the pillow, and my vision is a little fuzzy. To put it bluntly, I feel like death.

We’re camping with my cousins and some friends – and one of these friends has type 1 diabetes. He is my parents’ age, and when I mention my incredible ability to pee and drink at the same time, he furrows his brow and pointedly tells my aunt to “take her to the hospital, that’s not good”. The weather is terrible, so we shrug and I secretly revel in the fact that I only had to sleep in a tent for one night. We debate back at my aunt’s whether to take me to the local hospital then, or wait until tomorrow, but I’m so tired and comfy that I’m already sleeping and the point is moot. Unbeknownst to me, my aunt checks my breath that night – her friend told her that if I had type 1, my breath should smell sweet. It did. Lucky me.

Before heading to the hospital, I google my symptoms and everything points to type 1 diabetes. “Hey guys – Google says I have type 1 diabetes! Haha oh god can you imagine, I’m so bad with needles.” Idiot.

March 7th

We get to the hospital, and my mother lists all the symptoms that I have, and we’re rushed right through. I’m leaning against my aunt, nestling my head on her shoulder and trying to regulate my breathing. My chest is hurting, and I feel like my whole body is full of lead. The nurse pulls out a finger pricker, takes my blood, looks at the meter, and my aunt looks over and says “Oh SHIT”.

From there, I’m hooked up to a million drips, and I start to cry. I hate needles, I don’t know what’s happening, and my mum and aunt are on either side of me trying to calm me down. At some point, a doctor walks in, tells me my blood sugar levels were ‘dangerously high’, that I have type 1 diabetes, and she walks right out again. At this, I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. Type 1 diabetes? What the hell is that? Is this my fault? Is it all the Mars Bars that I ate?

Aftermath

I spent around a week in hospital, but I can’t really remember a lot of it. I do remember crying my heart out that first night, and I’ve never felt grief like it. The sobs seemed to come from within my very bones, and reverberated through my body as I cried under the blanket, fist curled around my hair and my arm hugging the pillow. I didn’t know anyone with this, and all I had heard from people around me was how diabetics died early, how they went blind, and how they had to inject themselves all the time. The insulin being put back into my system swelled me up, and I panicked – I was getting fatter AND I had a lifelong illness?! There was no consideration for my earlier medical history – my mental health, my history with eating disorders – behind the scenes there may have been, but from where I stood I was told to ‘deal with it’ whenever I brought up my feelings. As soon as I was physically balanced, they led me out of the ward, with a handout on carb counting and injecting and instructions to ‘find yourself an educator in Melbourne’.

2010 was a hard year. I often started crying for no reason, and I was resentful of this new part of my life. I was angry, and upset, and confused – and alone. Nobody in my life knew what it was like, and I had no idea where to find people that did.

Not only is it about time that we know the early signs, it’s about time we make diagnosis easier. Diagnosis is always going to be rough – but you know what makes it easier? Know the #4Ts, get people diagnosed before they reach this stage, and once they’re diagnosed?

Hold their hand a little. We may be adults, but we’re just starting out with diabetes. Slip a support group pamphlet into our hand, welcome peer support volunteers into your hospitals, and for the love of God – stop telling teenagers that they’re going to go blind and die as you teach them to carb count. 

Type 1 diabetes strikes anyone, regardless of age or lifestyle. Know the 4Ts – Thirsty, Tired, Toilet, Thinner – and if you’re worried, ask for a finger prick. It only takes a minute, and could mean an introduction to this world that is calm and positive, not one that is scary and lonely. Diagnosis needs to be holistic and considered – remember you’re dealing with a human that is dealing with this forever, not a medical textbook case study. Help us find our tribe!



 

Relief 

Guess who hadn’t had an eye test for three years because she’s scared of anything going in or near her eye?*

This girl.

Guess who has nightmares about waking up and going blind because her first endo told her that it was basically inevitable she’d end up on dialysis with no legs and no sight? 

This girl.

Guess who finally built up the courage to go and get them tested and has PERFECT eyes?!

THIS GIRL! ​

I went today because I was assured this optometrist was good with eye sooks like me – and this is why it’s so important to work with your patients. If I feel judged or patronised, there is no way I’m heading back. Sometimes I’ll go somewhere else, but often I’ll withdraw altogether. Treat your clients as equals, and we’ll be loyal and back every time 👌🏻 

*stop sniggering, I hear you

Keep ’em at home 

Whiny post alert!

PSA on behalf of type 1 teachers/teachers with chronic illnesses everywhere.

Keep your sick kids at home!!

I understand that it’s hard being a parent and having a sick kid is bloody hard work what with arranging care. I know it might seem easier just sending them to school BUT…

I am not a babysitter. School is not a childcare service. I am here to educate your child, and your child comes to school to learn. If they are not well enough to learn, they should not be at school –  they need to be at home in bed. 

Not only do other students get sick, this turns my workplace into a cesspit of snotty noses and infection, some teachers (*cough ME*) have compromised immune systems and a cocktail of other chronic health conditions – without a doubt I will catch your kid’s ‘harmless’ virus and at best, spend the next few days in bed. At worst, the Alfred Hospital emergency department, DKA, and I become acquainted once again. 

I know they “just have a small virus”, but that virus is contagious, and they also have working organs and a killer immune system (except those few spoonie students, god bless my compromised immune system kidlets). Let that system do its job and keep them at home for one more day while they’re still contagious – they and we will thank you. They’re teenagers, all they need is Netflix. an internet connection, and permission to raid the kitchen. 

Who feels like pricking their finger with aching skin, a sore throat, and a fever? Who feels like spending their weekend trying to mark exams with double vision? NOT ME.
“But Miss, you always seem sick” (Year 11 students after a dizzy spell) 

THAT’S BECAUSE YOU ALL KEEP COMING TO SCHOOL MATE, weirdly it’s frowned upon at work to walk around with a mask and industrial sized bottle of Dettol. 

“Line up outside 7C I just need to disinfect everyone before you come into the classroom” 

Keep 👏🏻them 👏🏻 at 👏🏻 home 👏🏻