I read a story this morning about a 17 year old girl who was found dead in her bed. This story really hit a nerve with me, because I have something in common with this girl. Type one diabetes. I like to think that I have relatively good 'control' over my diabetes, but in actual fact as many diabetics know, 'good' and 'control' aren't words that go together.
Hey! My blog has had a makeover! What do you think of the new look?
PAINTING TYPE 1 DIABETES WITH RAINBOWS
I realized today that certain things have changed right under my nose.
I don't know whether they are necessarily bad changes but none the less they have changed.
Our life is so different now. We have different routines and restrictions. Our goals as a family are different and with that has come needs and an appreciation for different things.
Back in November I posted about the Australian Diabetes Social Media Summit (here) as a Part 1. Yeah…. I know. It has been five months. Let me explain.
Part 2. I was so inspired by just being there. Everything that went on, everything that I experienced and felt by just being there for two days inspired me.
This is why the moment my feet hit the ground back in WA – I was propelled into action. I literally hit the ground running.
What I witnessed was people with a very specific vision, a specific area of interest and passion into transforming the lives of Australians living with Diabetes and I realized that I was actually quite clear of my own too. I had been for a while.
I have a burning desire to contribute towards the emotional aspects of what living with Diabetes is all about. Educating the importance of wellbeing to become a recognised factor of managing Diabetes – not just an elective option. Strategies and methods for those living with Diabetes to recognise, manage and thrive should be a standard in Diabetes care. That is in part why I started my blog in the first place.
The importance to nurture/support and evolve the mental and emotional health in a measured approach from Medical Professionals seems lacking. They might refer you to a counsellor or psychologist but generally the patient needs to bring issues up for it to discussed. And yes, these avenues are very beneficial but sometimes it takes someone with first hand knowledge and experience to help you realise what you’re doing needs changing in the first place. Sometimes it takes you to see what someone else is doing to realise that there is an issue in the first place. How does a person even know that things could be different until they are asked to question it?
It seems that the non-specific, un-scientific and sometimes immeasurable aspects to living with Diabetes (or any chronic condition really) is left for the ‘patient’ to discover and deal with. Which is a real shame because a lot of people miss out on this opportunity or realising that what they feel is normal and okay – that is a real passion for me.
This is really why OzDOC, blogs and forums are so important. I know, I haven’t been blogging or part of OzDOC in a while which may seem contradictory to what I am saying but just read on…. And I have really really missed OzDOC!!!
And why did I hit the ground running when I got back?
A few years ago I was in the middle of a boot camp style workout session on one of our many beautiful WA beaches. This was an ordinary boot camp exercise session run by an amazing personal trainer. I wasn’t all that fit back then – am not really exceptionally fit now even – but I had a moment. A pure life epiphany. I decided then and there that I wanted to be a personal trainer. Not a Michelle Bridges – lose a hundred kilos – type PT. Although I wouldn’t complain if I worked out and looked as good as her by no means! To use fitness and life management skills as a tool to help with people living with all types of Chronic Conditions not just Diabetes.
Who wouldn’t want to be that fit! Click to see her website – really great info
I was so fuelled by this intense desire to achieve this long term goal that I instantly started looking and meeting with fitness institutes to find out about the how I could, what do I need, where can I and the how much is the cost. I had decided that I would go with what I thought was the best choice – The Australian Institute of Fitness. I found out about the cost and decided that I would do it in about a year’s time due to my commitments at the time and finances.
The feeling of realizing something that felt like it had evolved from my true inner core or my authentic self was indescribable. It clicked and the freedom in that was emotional. It
actually baffled me as to why I hadn’t thought of it before as it seemed so – DOH! – Obvious!!
Isn’t it funny how things just happen when you are heading in the right direction. About a month later I noticed a competition in the Diabetes WA – Dialog magazine. It was a competition for people running in the HBF Run for a Reason that year who had chosen DiabetesWA as their charity. I had already signed up for the run and was training for it. I had already chosen DiabetesWA as my charity to raise funds for. It seemed seriously and deliriously unbelievable.
Click to check out their website and all the cool stuff they do!
The prize for the competition was a full scholarship to The Australian Institute of Fitness – Master Trainer program. You had to write 200 words why you would want to win this prize. Of course I entered immediately. However I did struggle to keep it under 200 words
and Yes!! I won that competition.
It still totally spins me out – to this day! – That I won. I had only been speaking to their consultants a few months earlier and had even told them to call me at the end of the year as I would be able to sign up then.
Holy crap! I won! Can I really do this? And the fear of the surreal timing crept in. The fear of actual success became a reality.
I started the course a while later once I felt I could commit but I stumbled around for a bit – struggled with self belief and confidence – an ongoing daytime soap but when I came back from the DSMS last November I realized something with urgency. I needed to get this course done – before my scholarship expired! – and head towards my goal.
I could do this! I can do this!
The DSMS inspired me to put my goals into action. Unfortunately though, this has also meant that I have had to put blogging and interacting in social media and OzDOC to the side – but it’s only for a while. Plus, damn daylight savings in the eastern states of Australia has made it hard getting home in time. To get this course done before it expires I have had to put every spare time outside of work and other life obligations to get it done.
And I am excited.
I have been loving every moment of it!
I am thankful for the experience of going to the Diabetes Social Media Summit and reminding me that my passion lies in the emotional side of what living with Diabetes is all about.
Writing my blog and being open and honest – sometimes maybe too open and honest – along with being vigilant with testing my blood sugars I believe that I am Training Diabetes to live with me. One prick at a time. I started sharing my experiences about living with Type 1 Diabetes and life in general in hope to inspire and motivate myself and maybe someone else along the way.
Without realising it at the time – I stumbled upon a whole world of humour, support and understanding. I didn’t realise exactly how alone I had felt until I came across the DOC, nor how burdened and desperately in the need to feel connected. Connected to people who knew what it is like to live with this disease. It is this and more why I am motivated to stay online and stay on track to achieve my goal.
The emotional support and mental relief that I get from it strengthens me, gives me courage to move on or laugh at this life with diabetes like nothing else.
At the end of the day – We need to keep this conversation going #OzDSMS
I felt privileged, honoured and grateful to be invited by Diabetes Australia Victoria to attend the first ever Australian Diabetes Social Media Summit. This was held in Melbourne on World Diabetes Day - 14th of November.
Click on the image below to find out more about World Diabetes Day.
This exciting event brought together leaders in diabetes social media from around Australia to look at how online communications feature in increasing attention on diabetes and bringing together the diabetes community.
Yesterday, the same question was posed to me twice: ‘How would you like health professionals to deal with people living with diabetes?’
The first time was after a short presentation I gave to a team of physicians visiting Australia from Thailand. I am incredibly privileged in my role at Diabetes Australia – Vic because I get to meet some amazing people from all over the world.
I ran in The Color Run here in Perth last Sunday – 17th of Feb and it was TOTALLY FRIGGIN AWESOME!
It was like some hippy rave – The happiest 5Klm Run!
Now if you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with running. Click here and here for an update. Running for me just seems like the ultimate fitness challenge and the perfect battlefield to match up against the Big D. Just doing it is a magnificent accomplishment in training Diabetes to live with me but to do it well , like totally smash it and keep the BG’s balanced feels like a total SMACKDOWN in the octagon of Diabetes UFC.
And on Sunday… I totally brought it. My blood sugars did not budge below 6.5m/mol or above 7.5m/mol the whole day.
That’s me on the left and my fellow runner on the right.
I ran at least 4klm out of the 5klm – running a few minutes and then walking a minute or so to catch my breath. I have run in the HBF Run for a Reason for the last 3 years but because of the stable blood glucose levels it didn’t feel as hard.
The big difference between this run and runs that I have done in the past is two things.
Nerves – I wasn’t nervous or anxious before the event because I knew what to expect – having done similar events before - and nerves and totally wreak havoc on the BG’s.
Hydration. Insulin will not absorb properly into the blood stream if you are not adequately hydrated and keeping blood sugar near normal will result in improved strength, speed, flexibility and endurance. Extra sugar in the blood stream limits ours red blood cells ability to pick up oxygen in the lungs and transport it to our muscles. This can cause fatigue and limit cardiovascular capacity. (Resource – Think Like a Pancreas – Gary Scheiner. Click here for his website)
Exhausted and Filthy!
So here is what I did the day before the run and the morning of. Of course, you might be different so don’t treat this as gospel.
The day before: I drank 2L of water, 500ml of Coconut Water (click here for all the magnificent stuff that this does) and 500ml of Powerade Zero Sugar. I ate two bananas throughout the day – along with other normal meals and for dinner I had a low fat, low GI dinner of Free Range pork fillet (don’t get me started on the factory pork industry), steamed sweet potato and steamed green vegi’s. I went to bed early and had a good sleep.
On the day of the run: I ate a banana at 6am with normal basal insulin dose and drank 200ml of pure coconut water. At 7.30am I ate a slice of Soy and Linseed bread with organic peanut butter (only peanuts are listed in the ingredients - not salt, oil and sugar like the others) with a half dose of basal insulin and drank about 500ml of water. I reduced my insulin pump by 40% about 20 minutes before the run lasting 1.5 hours to cover about 30-40 minutes after I had finished running.
I checked my BG about 5 minutes out from running, after the third color zone (3klm), after finishing and then about every hour after that for a few hours.
And like I said… It was AWESOME!