I have been a diabetic for over 12 years now but have never really altered my life the way I should. I am starting this blog as a way to try and hold myself accountable. I know that this blog may not be of any interest to the majority but if you should take the time to read it please leave a comment with an encouraging word or a kick up the bum depending on the need at the time.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Saturday 28th May 2011

Firstly apologies for the delay since my last post.  I have been on a very intensive course for work for the past two weeks and what with working five days a week for the first time in over 18 months and 4 hours travelling a day I haven't had a spare minute to update the blog.

I haven't been testing everyday but I have been testing more than I was before I started this blog.  I definitely haven't been eating healthily in fact I've been eating much more junk but to be honest I just need to get through this course before I can put myself 100% behind the healthy eating etc.

One good thing is that I got a letter from my consultant following my last diabetic appointment and the blood they took then showed a HbA1C of 8.8% which is a really good improvement on the 9.9% it was last time.  It is still my aim to reduce it again before my next appointment but things are going in the right direction.

I am off work next week, but have quite a bit of studying I want to do during that time.  I also have a lot of house work to catch up on but I am going to try and go for a walk everyday as I have been doing more walking than usual to get to where I go for my course so I think this wouild be a good goal to set this week.  I aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Wednesday 12th May 2011

The last time I posted my goal was to test my blood sugars at least once a day and I'm happy to say that I managed to do this.  The ideal would be that if I am only going to test once a day I do it at different times of the day so that I get a better picture of what my sugars are doing during the day.  But I thought to try and get myself into a "habit" it would be easier to test at the same time everyday so I chose first thing in the morning.  I am going to set up a different page and post my blood sugars on there so if you are interested you can look at them but if you're not you don't have to look at the boring figures!!

Today has not been a good day foodwise.  I am feeling extremely nervous and stressed at the moment.  Next week I am going on a course for work, the course is taking place at a hospital near Liverpool and will mean getting two trains and a bus.  It probably sounds silly but even though I've already been and checked out where I get the train to and how I get to the hospital I am really nervous about making this journey.  Will I fall asleep on the train and miss my stop, how will I know which is the station I need to get off at, will the course finish in time for me to get the train home or will I have to wait an extra hour in the station etc etc.

Basically the next seven weeks are going to be difficult.  I do two weeks of course (full five days - no Wednesday off for me!) then I have a week off, another week of course, a week in work, a week on holiday and then in the last week another three days of course.  I know that by keep thinking about the 7 weeks in total I am going to overwhelm myself so I am trying to think of it in smaller bite size pieces.  So to start with it's just the first 5 days I have to get through.

So because my stress levels are high I've been turning to food.  Honestly it could have been a lot worse today but I am a bit disappointed in myself now.

So my next goal is to carry on testing my blood sugars at least once a day and try and replace at least one unhealthy snack a day with a piece of fruit.  Still starting small and building up.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Saturday 7th May 2011

After my last post I continued to have a really good day - for the first time I can ever remember I didn't have any chocolate at all.  Friday however was a different story.  I don't know why but there are some days where it doesn't matter how much I eat I am still hungry.  I snacked all day at work and could tell my sugars were high (although I didn't test) as I was nearly falling asleep at my desk in the afternoon.  It was a colleagues birthday and they had brought in chocolate chip cookies so I had a couple of those, another colleague was retiring and they were having a get together at lunch time and I ate more than I should have there and then we had a takeaway for tea.  My insulin pump ran out just before I was going to bed and I was so tired I didn't change it before bed so I also had a whole night without the insulin I should have.

I am still feeling motivated with all your support but it's so hard.  I haven't tested my sugars at all today either but haven't had such a bad day food wise.

When I listed my goals in my first post these are all the goals I want to achieve long-term not all at once.  However I think I am trying to concentrate on too many things and getting a bit overwhelmed.  It's difficult to decide what I should tackle first though because what I eat will affect my sugars but if I don't measure my sugars I don't know how it's affecting them. 

I think for now I will just concentrate on taking my blood sugars and I am starting small so for this week I am promising you all that I will test my blood sugar levels at least once a day.

Now for the very scary bit for me - I said in my previous post that I would weigh myself and then publish on here how much I weigh - well yesterday morning I weighed 222.8 pounds.  I will try and weigh myself every Friday but at this moment my goal is not to lose weight but just to try and eat a little healthier.

If anyone has any suggestions or motivational words they'd be appreciated.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Thursday 5th May 2011

When I published my first post I really didn't expect anyone but my sister to read it.  I have been completely overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received with comments on here, on facebook and private messages people have sent me. 

On Wednesday after my appointment I tested my sugar before and after my evening meal and counted the carbohydrates in the meal.  I can't remember the last time I did this.  The readings were higher than they should be (10.5 before and 8.5 after) but I have to start somewhere (my blood sugar readings should be between 4 and 7).

Thursday morning the first thing I did was get on the computer and start writing this and reply to some more of the messages and comments I'd received.  I did my blood test and it was 5.4 which is perfect!!  I hope I can keep this feeling going as I really feel amazing. 

I hope my posts aren't going to be too boring for you all but I feel I need to make a record of what I'm doing again for the accountability but also so I can look back and see what I've accomplished.  I suppose I am going to use this blog a bit like a diary but I'm not going to commit to posting each day, I'll just see how it goes.

Later I am going to weigh myself and will publish what I weigh so I can keep track of my weight loss.  The thought of people knowing how much I actually weigh is actually quite terrifying for me but again I can't measure progress if I don't know where I started from.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Me and Diabetes - 4th May 2011

I was diagnosed with diabetes in August 2000, it came as a complete shock as at the time I had no symptoms.  I had applied for a job as a medical secretary on a Special Care Baby Unit and part of the recruitment process was a medical.  As part of the medical they did a dipstick urine test, my sugar levels were high and I was told I needed to see my GP for a blood test.  I had the blood test and they confirmed I was diabetic.  They suggested the rest of my family be tested and this is how my mum found out she is also diabetic.

So I started off "controlling" my diabetes through my diet.  Well I didn't change anything I did so that didn't work.  I was then put on medication and lost about 3 stone in 2 months as I had quite severe side effects from the tablets.  This was the one and only time in my life I have lost a significant amount of weight and I didn't really do anything - basically I had no appetite at the time and anything I did eat shall I just say quickly came out one end or the other.  Finally I was started on insulin - five injections every day it was hell.  About 3 years ago I started using an insulin pump and I now only have to have a needle once every 2 days when I change the infusion set on my pump.

While I was pregnant with my son my control was excellent - my HbA1C (the blood test which shows what your blood sugar levels have done for the past 3 months) was at the level of a non-diabetic.  I was very proud of the fact that my son was born weighing 6lb 13oz when most diabetic women have much larger babies.  This just proved that I had looked after myself and my son during my pregnancy.

After my son's birth I unfortunately suffered from postnatal depression.  It was an awful time and the last thing I was thinking about was looking after myself and my diabetes. 

In February 2011 I had my first follow up appointment with the Diabetic Team since my son's birth.  My Consultant is absolutely amazing.  When I told him I hadn't tested my blood sugars for 12 months, had been skipping doses of insulin and eating whatever I wanted, he told me that this was not unusual during the first 12 months after having a baby but that I really needed to get my act together and start looking after myself.  He wanted to see me again in 3 months time. 

So today I attended clinic again my last HbA1C was 9.9 (it should be less than 7).  I told him the truth I am now giving myself my dose of insulin with the majority of my meals although I do occasionally forget and I am very rarely testing my blood sugars.  I don't need education, I know what I should be doing, I know the terrible consequences I could face later in life if I don't take care of myself.  My biggest fear is that I will lose my sight to diabetic retinopathy and will no longer be able to cross stitch, read or knit, these are the things I do to relax and honestly I don't know if life would be worth living if I couldn't do them.  That probably sounds very harsh but I am trying to be open and honest.

He suggested that I take half an hour to an hour 2-3 times a week to sit down and think about my diabetes.  What I am doing wrong, what I could be doing better, what the consequences may be and what those consequences could mean to me.  I thought about writing a journal but then thought if I were to write a blog about this then there may be someone out there who will read it and encourage me or give me a virtual slap and basically just hold me accountable.

I know that I cannot change everything overnight but my aim is to make small changes every week and hopefully by the time my next appointment with the Consultant comes round I will be able to report that I am making good progress.  I have found with my cross stitching that setting myself goals motivates me so I am going to try that technique with this as well.  So here are my goals.
  1. Reduce my HbA1C by my next appointment, even if it is only by 0.1 it will be lower and going in the right direction - once I know what the result was from today I will add it here - my next clinic appointment is 28th September
  2. Test my blood sugars at least once a day
  3. Measure the carbohydrates I am eating rather than just guessing
  4. Reduce the amount of sugar I eat
  5. Reduce the amount of fat I eat
  6. Lose weight
  7. Exercise more
This is all I can think of at the time being but will review these goals and update my progress regularly.

My next list is the list of things that could happen should I not get control of my diabetes.
  1. I could lose my sight
  2. I could lose limbs due to neuropathy
  3. I could end up with kidney failure and have to have dialysis
  4. I could shorten my life
If you've made it this far I thank you for your patience.  I hope you will come back and help me on my journey.

I would also like to add that if there is anything here you don't understand please ask me and I will try and explain.  If you have questions about diabetes please ask and I will try and answer.  If you have any suggestions as to how I can change please tell me.