Showing posts from 2016

Starting the conversation

Writing this post is tricky, but I think it's important. I hope that reading it helps someone else feel a little less alone. It's still not perfect and I'll probably try to write about this again. But for now, it's a start. 

Mental health is a touchy subject. Despite increased awareness we still whisper about it. We still pretend it doesn't exist. We hide it, and treat it like it's something wrong to discuss. Fact is, you or someone you love have likely experienced some form of mental illness/disorder. The word sounds scary doesn't it? Like it means you're crazy, or unstable in some way. Interesting when you consider that earlier fact. If everyone has been touched by mental illness, why are we so touchy about it?

I feel far more comfortable writing about my diabetes, a more physical/medical condition, than I do about my mental health. Broken beta cells are okay to talk about but chemical imbalances? Oh no. Certainly not polite dinner conversation.


A Pause

I love the diabetes online community, I really do. I love blogging. I’ve had a huge number of experiences lately, CGM, conferences, committees, concerts, and almost finishing my current placement. But try as I might I haven’t been able to talk or blog about them. Doing this is something I enjoy, but lately I just haven’t felt like it. I feel a little detached from the DOC lately, entirely by my own doing.
For the last six months or so I’ve been tired. A generalised burnout of everything. My year at uni has been jam packed with no full holidays this year. My diabetes and general health has been all over the shop. So my hobbies get lost a little, and blogging is one of them. I’ve always made sure to keep this blog as a hobby and not as my job for this very reason. But even so, it’s been left aside too.
Sometimes I think you can take on a bit too much. There’s taking opportunities and then spreading yourself too thin. So for now, blogging is taking a backburner and I think that’s ok. …

This is what diabetes looks like

Long time no blog! Happy Diabetes Awareness Month, I hope you're wearing plenty of blue.

I have a bit of a habit of checking out when the going gets tough with my diabetes. I usually want to write but it's all a bit too hard. This leaves my blog looking pretty squeaky clean and like I've always got everything under control. Well I haven't but I'm trying again.

Let me show you what diabetes looks like.

My current set is taped down using a bandaid because it lost stickiness the day after I inserted it.
There's chocolate wrappers and juiceboxes on my bed from the hypos of finally adjusted basal rates (I'm getting more insulin because my sugars are high).
My meter case doesn't have an inner compartment that zips up so my test strips go everywhere.
There's uni exams, and committees, conferences, events, work, other health management and sugar levels to be fixing.

But in good news I get a CGM trial for a week because despite my ridiculous blood sugar my a…

The Cure- Part 2

A while back I wrote about my thoughts on a cure.
Tonight's ozdoc chat on twitter  focused on our thoughts on a cure, and what it would mean.

Some really big issues came up, and one really stood out for me. If we did have a cure, who gets priority?

It looks deceptively simple. I know my first thought was children. Babies who can't tell when they're running high or low. Little kids who are terrified of needles. Parents who never sleep the night through.

But then that got me thinking, how can I compare individual's experiences of living with this? What makes the 4 year old with t1 more deserving of a cure than the hypo unaware 25 year old living alone, not leaving their house because they're afraid of going low? What about the pregnant woman who has to keep her levels stable for the sake of her child? What about the teenager who is isolating themselves because they're ashamed of their condition and just want it to go away?

What about me, a 20 year old uni student…

World Alzheimer's Day

The 21st of September marks World Alzheimer's Day, a part of World Alzheimer's Month. My grandmother had dementia (likely of the Alzheimer's-type) for many years and passed away in 2014. We're encouraged to use this month to focus on the prompt "Remember Me", where you reflect on your favourite memories, or those of a loved one. These aren't my favourite memories, but they're important ones. I wrote about some of the good memories here
I have never hidden my diabetes from anyone except my grandmother, and it was quite the effort. For four years I didn't test my sugar in front of her, didn't touch my pump, and didn't say a word about my now broken pancreas. She never knew about this really big part of my life, and that makes me incredibly happy in some ways, and sad in others. Not knowing about it meant that I couldn't share some of my achievements with her, like starting work with Trapeze, or doing my major work in high school. But f…

When patient advocacy and speech pathology collide

I've been working as a youth representative for Trapeze for a few years now, and have found that patient advocacy has become a huge part of my life.
As a part of this role I recently made this short spiel on the importance of providing care that is age and stage appropriate. Huge steps are being taken toward making youth friendly services for young people with chronic illness, which is very exciting!

(Apologies for the loud clang at the beginning. I'm uncoordinated even when sitting down)
I've spent quite a lot of time lately wondering how I can make my interests work together. Speech pathology and patient advocacy for young people with chronic illness. They just didn't seem to gel together the way I'd like.

Now that I don't have placement on I've found myself with time. Instead of using this like a normal person would (by relaxing), I chose to apply for a scholarship and write a voluntary essay this past week.

Sounds insane. It probably is. But from doing a…

Petty diabetes battles

Sometimes my diabetes gets the best of me. Sometimes it means I can't do things I would like to and when it happens I feel angry. Really really angry. I hate that my body attacked itself and that even when the brain is willing sometimes the rest of me isn't. It's almost like I've lost control of how my body functions, and lost confidence that it can function correctly.
So, being the stubborn cow I am, sometimes I fight back. With myself... yup. I've been walking every day lately (yes I know, EXERCISE. I can hardly believe it either) and today was no exception. I was looking forward to walking back to the station from uni with a friend. I'd been hanging out all day through a stats lecture and tutorial to be outside again. I walked to uni that morning as well, who knew exercise made you feel better?
But when the time came my level was 5.0 with a bunch of insulin still in my system from a later lunch. It was dropping quickly into the 4s and as it did I grew more a…

The Diabetes Brain

There's a bit of a theme lately from a few of us in the DOC. From Frank's post on guilt to Kelly's tweet on the brain never being off, it seems we're all experiencing the same thing. You can't switch off the diabetes brain.

At some level I'm always aware of my diabetes. From the moment I wake up, to the last check before I sleep. No food is not thought about, whether I carb count it properly or not.

There's a constant stream of questions running through my head:
- When did I last eat?
- What did I last eat?
- Did I finish that? Did I get enough of the carbs? Do I need more carbs? But I'm not hungry.
- When am I supposed to eat again?
- How much insulin do I have active right now?
- Do I have to walk anywhere soon? How far? How long after I've eaten am I walking somewhere?
- Am I doing something different tonight? Do they have gluten free food? Is it gluten free food with carbs in it? Will I be home late? Am I sleeping at home? Should I set an alarm …

Talking to a PWD 101

Tonight on the OzDOC chat (thanks again to Frank at for introducing me to this!) we were discussing diabetes and mental health. I'm very passionate about this and was really excited to talk about it. The chat was wonderful and some really great points were raised, but it got me thinking about how we can help non T1s around us to support us.

I usually don't discuss my diabetes and mental health with anyone besides my parents, psychologist and very few close friends. It's a tricky topic and it often makes people uncomfortable because they simply don't know how to respond. Usually when someone comes to us with a concern, we are able to draw from our experiences to listen with empathy and act as a sounding board/support. But when you add in diabetes, people start looking like a deer caught in headlights. Suddenly the link that helps them develop empathy vanishes, and it becomes a very awkward experience. Here's some strategies that I would find comforti…

Reasons why my diabetes doesn't want me to be an SP

My diabetes has had a 3 year vendetta raging against getting a tertiary education. It doesn't want it. It doesn't want to be a Speech Pathologist at all.

Reasons why my diabetes doesn't want me to be a Speech Pathologist:

1) Every single time I have a clinic session, it pulls out a low.
I have to set temp rates (lowering my background insulin dose) and eat before every session because I know it won't hold out.

2) It strikes when I'm trying to do my session plans. They're essential parts of clinic and compulsory with a strict deadline each week. My sugar sabotages this by going low and making me exhausted. Not conducive to session planning at all.

3) It likes to give me a reputation as completely unstable. My first lecture of second year involved me sitting in the front row sobbing because I was having one of those emotional lows. The kind where I was confused as to why my eyes were "leaking". That poor lecturer was great, too bad it looked like I was …

2 Years Ago

I was interviewed almost exactly 2 years ago for this video with Trapeze as I'm a Youth Representative. Tonight's OzDOC twitter discussion focused on healthcare services and it reminded me of the hoops we jump through to access quality health care. It reminded me how much has changed regarding my healthcare management, plus my life in general.

So now I'm in my third year of speech, I don't lisp any more thanks to my speechie, I'm 20 and I put that insulin pump (Dobby) through an x-ray shortly after this was filmed.

I remember at this point in my life being very frustrated with the healthcare system. During this interview I had just been referred to a new endocrinologist and had my first session. It didn't go very well as you can probably tell by the video. I felt a bit lost in the system at the worst possible time. I had just finished my first semester of uni, I had all of these expectations heaped on me and I felt ready for none of it. I remember being afraid …

National Diabetes Week 2016

Apologies for my blog hiatus. It always happens after Blog Week. I love Blog Week but it makes me exhausted and I don't feel like touching this thing for a while afterwards.

It's National Diabetes Week here in Australia, yay! Well, partially yay. It brings awareness to the conditions yes but sometimes I'm not overly fond of their theme selections.

This year it's diabetes related amputations, great huh? Cheery. Wonderful. I feel inspired already.

Seriously though, it is a very big thing and yes it does need attention. Like every other person people with diabetes of any type should be encouraged to look after their health as best they can and seek support when they're having trouble.

However, for type 1s (or at least this one) it feels a bit like a scary unknown. I don't like to motivate myself using scary things. I mean it wouldn't be nice if everyone tried to motivate themselves to live a healthy life by thoroughly studying their family medical history and …

The Ketone Strip Shortage

I just saw a status posted by a friend of a friend, and it opened up a whole new world to me. I did a bit more digging and finally found out more about the nation wide ketone strip shortage. 
T1Ds use ketone blood or urine strips to test our ketone levels. Ketones occur with very high sugar levels, or when you’re sick. In t1ds the presence of ketones with a high sugar is very dangerous and called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The body begins using its own supplies for energy and the glucose level rises.
In short, DKA is the threat high sugars pose. It can lead to organ failure, coma, and death.
We aim to keep ketones under 0.6, anything over that and there’s an emerging problem if your sugars are over 15 as well. 1.5 and you often need to seek immediate contact with a healthcare professional.
The ketone strips we use are inaccurate, or expensive. Ketone urine sticks have a 20minute delay, but they’re cheaper. Ketone blood strips are more accurate, but don’t come cheap and only have…

DBlog Week 2016: Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks - Friday 5/20