Diabetes, Insulin, Hypos & lifeisfunhaving abrokenpancreas X

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The American Recall Centre aim to provide practical healthcare information alongside drug and medical device recalls. They are taking the month of October as an opportunity to “talk about your medicines”, in the hope to shed some light on the importance of medication safety. This is where I come in… they have asked ME to to be part of this due to being a diabetic 😦 Yep as much as I hate to admit it I am an insulin dependant or as I prefer an insulin-a-holic :)! I am honoured to help such a good cause and help make a few more of you guys aware of what us diabetics have to go through on a daily basis. I have been wanting to share this for a while and now seems like the perfect moment to turn this draft post into a published one. 

Let’s start with the basics…

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition ‘where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. This is because your pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance)’, as explained by 
www.diabetes.org.uk.

This video explains what causes diabetes in more detail…

I personally, do not have the time to be a diabetic nor do I have the time to measure my sugars 10x a day as well as keeping a record of them and making sure I avoid high blood sugars as well as hypos (low blood sugars)! The word hypo is short for hypoglycemia, this occurs when blood sugar levels fall under 4 mmol/L which is explained in more detail here…

Whereas this video shows how aware the public are of hypo’s and the symptoms to look out for, to me it’s shocking to find out that some people are not aware which is exactly why its so important to help raise awareness…

The simple version of this = WE NEED FOOD! 

Although the worst part is knowing that there is nothing I can do but accept it,  I will prove that although I have a pain in the ass of an illness it’s still fun being me because you guys don’t search for lifeisfunbeingasobstory or lifeissadbeingme!  

The first bit of good news is that after a year and a half of hell, struggling to keep away hypo’s I have finally managed to get my diabetes under control! My hypo’s have finally started to disappear, I cannot explain how much this means to me, I finally feel normal again considering that my pancreas still doesn’t work! Now instead of my weight going up it will start to go down, yayy! My doctors explained that I was ‘feeding my insulin’ which means I didn’t calculate the carb ratio of what I eating correctly, which meant I would then inject too much insulin and would then have to eat again to get my sugars back to normal take more insulin, eat again and so on; it became a vicious circle of hypo’s and weight being constantly piled on. Finally, it’s stopped! The diabetes no longer controls me but I control it…Eeeekk! I no longer worry as much when I go out and no longer have the constant worry of, ‘What if I go hypo?!’ I genuinely do think that to be able to master diabetes you really do need a PHD in Maths… 

One of the perks to having this illness is knowing that you are not alone, knowing that there are other people out there who also know what its like to have a broken pancreas and I kind of love that, I love meeting other diabetics because having a diabetic buddy is the best thing in the world! They understand you like no one else and the best part is that there is no better feeling than saying the word ‘Hypo’ and for once not having someone looking at you like you’ve just made up a word! Instead you see the same panic (in a good way) that you feel when your going hypo and there’s that instant compassion towards that person, an understanding of ‘OMG you need to eat!’ and a quick… ‘Have my emergency snack or take my last sugar tablet.’

Since being diagnosed I have suffered from panic attacks as I was convinced that I was going to die, it really is scary to find out how many complications this illness brings and so I found writing therapeutic as it was a way to get everything off my chest. Since then I have started to take blogging very seriously (although being limited to how much I can get done due to working full time). A few weeks ago I went to a blog conference where we had some very inspirational speakers talk to us about their blogger experience, one of the speakers spoke to us about how writing helped his autism and I don’t know why but what he said really affected me. He described his Autism as an ability and defined his ‘disability is an ability’, that phrase has kept me inspired to achieve more for the simple reason that I have diabetes, for me personally its not an excuse to not try, its the perfect excuse to push myself, reach for the impossible and be able to say, ‘I’ve done all of this AND I have diabetes’. I’m kind of glad to be a diabetic because if I wasn’t I don’t think I would have anything fuelling me to reach for my dreams.

Becoming diabetic changed my perception of life and changed me for the better, its made me seize the day even more and really live life. I’ve even lost friends because they didn’t want to understand my illness, the people in my life need to understand that I have an illness and that sometimes it may challenge me AND I need to know for my own peace of mind that YOU will be there to help me. Out of my friends and family I am one of the weakest one’s because I need help and will always be the one making a fuss and if you can’t accept it, I can’t accept you. 

I used to be shy measuring my sugars in public or having to inject my insulin, I would act all 007 with my diabetes but now its kind of fun freaking people out with needles and blood, I need to make it fun somehow… I know that it’s human nature to be curious but what I do want to point out is that there is a difference between people caring and wanting to know what diabetes is as opposed to those who are just nosey as to why you just pricked your finger and injected your stomach just because they are sat next to you in a coffee shop. So please do not be offended if I don’t want to waste my time telling you about my illness, I’m too busy living life 🙂  

So whilst my condition means I’m not allowed to drink, well I am but to the extent of being allowed one shot for the whole night to me is not worth damaging your liver a tiny bit more now and again. I would rather stay off it completely and as a consequence I’m always designated driver, my friends can throw up all they want and make a fool of themselves whilst I’m in the corner sticking to my boring diet coke which tastes like crap. BUT at the end of the night I will have saved my £20 instead of spending it which I can then go and spend on a new jumper,  a shirt or skirt. I’ll able to keep up to date on the latest fashion trends and don’t have to wait for my next pay check as opposed to my friends. I don’t need alcohol to have fun and nobody knows that I’m sober for all they know I’m as drunk as them and you would probably think the same if you saw my awful dancing skills. When people try to make conversation and ask, ‘What are you drinking?’ A white lie here and there never hurt anybody, nobody knows that your not really drinking vodka and coke do they?? Ideally what are we missing out on? If anything people miss out on the advantages that being sober brings! 

Being diabetic means I slow down outings because I have to check my sugars regularly to make sure they’re not too high or too low but as much as my friends & family may hate it I know that I’m taking care of myself, avoiding all long term complications and you cannot say that this isn’t an advantage…

For those who know me personally they will know that I’m the biggest hopeless romantic that you could ever come across and I’ve kind of had to accept the fact that my illness can potentially dent and ruin my happily ever after. I’m terrified that when the day arrives that I get married I will have a hypo walking down the aisle! BUT if I’ve learnt one thing my wedding will be full of people who love me – my friends and family, so I’m hoping that those sat at the end of the aisle will all have a Mars Bar, Lucozade or a full fat coke in case my sugars plummet! Now that I think of it… I actually may include sugary foods in the wedding gifts because a diabetic can never have too much sweetness in their life nor can they also be too prepared for a hypo and also because the bottom line is they are expensive! It’s kind of like when your parents tell you not to spend your pocket money on sweets and its like I’m a diabetic I need sweets do not deprive me of sweets! I love silver linings, don’t you?! 

Although I try my hardest to be as positive and as happy as I can with my diabetes the reality of it is all in this picture… 

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If I could have had a decision in all of this, I would have preferred to have been born with diabetes so that I didn’t know what I was missing out on, It wouldn’t hurt me as much to know that once I never had to worry about all of this and to know that I could eat all the crap in the world and it didn’t affect me. 

Everyday as soon as I wake up I need to measure my sugars to make sure they are within range followed by eating breakfast and a shot of insulin. Lunch, dinner and before bed are the same process, on top of that I need to measure my sugars before exercise and before I drive because god forbid I was to have a car crash and didn’t measure my sugars because I couldn’t be bothered, I really do think that somehow it would be my fault even if the crash wasn’t caused by me due to making the point that I could have had low blood sugars allowing me to not be fit to drive and not having the proof to show otherwise. It may sound blown out of proportion but something so simple can very easily become complicated and serious very quickly!  

As you can see my box of supplies is very full…

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I try to stay on top of my illness as much as I can as I worry constantly about the serious implications diabetes can have and so I have emergency supplies stashed everywhere in my glove compartment, in my parents car, my mums bag and in all of my favourite jackets. I cannot leave the house if I’m not wearing my diabetes bracelet because I’m scared of something happening to me and people misinterpreting the signs because contrary to belief you don’t have to be obese to be diabetic it not obvious who has it so do be aware of what the diabetes sign looks like, you could help save a life…

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I feel like this picture looks like a ‘Win a diabetes supply kit’ but it really isn’t that glamorous at all…

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Diabetes has almost taken away a certain fraction of that passion I used to have when sitting down to enjoy a meal as dinner now becomes a maths problem of working out how many carbohydrates I’ve just eaten and how much insulin I need to inject myself with to avoid high blood sugars. Not only that but I feel diabetes affects every aspect of your life such as the media constantly pressurise us to look a certain way and its even harder when you can’t achieve the perfect look especially when you have these stupid bruises which always appear from your injections and are just unpleasant to look at 😦

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Since being diabetic I find it even harder to meet people because I don’t know how to act around them, it makes me panic because I worry that they’ll faint at the sight of me pulling out a needle or pricking my finger to measure my blood sugars, I just don’t know what to do with myself sometimes I even think, do I need to mention I’m diabetic?! The one thing that I truly do hate is passing this illness to my future child who will have no choice but to be made from my genetic coding and that really saddens me because I don’t want for someone to be diabetic because of me, its just not right! 

The worst part of diabetes is when I experience high or low blood sugars, I feel that its important that people need to understand that we cannot help or control our emotions during these moments, whenever the two occur I become really irritated at everything around me and this always results in me lashing out to those closest to me and its hard because I don’t mean it but always feel this constant guilt because although they are understanding I was having a hypo nobody should have a person’s rage taken out on them!  

I’m 99% sure that every diabetic will agree with everything in this post whether they say diabetes affects them or not because the sooner you accept the reality that you have a serious illness the easier it is to deal with, you cannot ignore it! I cannot remember my life before diabetes and I miss not having to worry all the time or being able to buy small bags instead of rucksacks to fit in my needles, insulin pens, emergency snacks, sugar tablets and my glucose monitor. BUT the one thing I miss the most is making the most insignificant problem in my life my real one…

Being a diabetic is hard, its stressful and upsetting AND it’s what I have to go through every single day, there’s no day off! I have to do everything I can to make sure my sugars stay in between 4-7 and taking my insulin without fail. I wish that I could take a day off and go crazy with sugar but I can’t, I cannot uninstall my diabetes and say I’ll deal with it tomorrow even on my bad days I have to stay on top of my sugars because I will win and I will NOT let it control me. 

It’s extremely important to be supportive to anyone you know with diabetes especially when they have what we call ‘bad days’ because there will be a point when we cannot take it anymore and have had enough of having to be healthy all the time! There is no such thing as the perfect diabetic we’ve all gone through the same stages where we refuse to measure our sugars, refuse to take our insulin, where we decide to go crazy and eat a tonne of fast food as well as drinking far more than the recommended amount of alcohol which is extremely dangerous. I know this because I’ve done it myself, it took me ages to accept that I have diabetes and I would not be writing this post today if it didn’t give me the wake up call I needed. That moment our sugars plummet for me is a constant reminder that I have a serious illness  and therefore it’s crucial for us to have a good support system so that when we feel like giving up you guys can give us the motivation we need to get back up and continue because we cannot afford to let diabetes get out of control! 

So before you get up and leave remember that… 

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As much as donations help charities, money does not have the power to save or rid an illness, this post is NOT made for you to think, ‘The next time I make a donation to charity, I’m going to give £1 to the diabetes association because I read a post about how much of a horrible illness it is.’ What do you seriously think your £1 will have contributed too? The cost of making a flyer, research?? I will be a diabetic until I die and no amount of money will ever change that!

This post is made to help you understand because I believe in education having more power than money can ever have because if you are aware, you can understand and if you can understand you can help. So please do by spreading awareness that diabetes is not something to brush under the carpet! Re-blog this post because if you are out and hear the word hypo from the crowd you will no longer think of it as a made up word, you will know the implications an untreated hypo can have on a diabetic. YOU can save the life of a stranger by giving them some sugar and that’s something a £1 donation will never be able to do! 

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Please do help diabetes gain awareness by simply sharing this post whether its on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or word of mouth. I hope that you now have a better understanding of diabetes and no longer believe that we became ill by eating too much cake. Please do acknowledge that diabetes is a serious illness and whilst there is no cure we can at least help make aware what we have to go through to survive, how dependant we are of insulin and how much we need our friends & family to support us ESPECIALLY through our bad days.  

I would love to hear your opinions on this post, do comment below, tweet or email me at rosa.aversa92@live.com if you prefer.

I would also like to thank the American recall centre for the awesome job they do in raising awareness for various illnesses as well as asking me to take part and giving me a reason to finally publish this post.

Do check out their website at http://www.recallcenter.com/ and check out their latest blog post on the problematic findings of Xarelto (a blood thinner prescription) 

Love,
Lifeisfunhavingabrokenpancreas X 

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