Friday, 29 June 2012

Have your say

Do you use a VEO? (All the best people do) and want to make your voice heard?

A little birdy dropped me a line today saying the following:

Medtronic seeks market research participants for new diabetes technology

Interested families should contact Sophia DeRham at

We are looking to recruit 15-20 people (total) in the following categories:

Group 1: Parents of Medtronic Veo pumpers of below 12 years, using sensor for at least 6 months

Group 2: Parents of Medtronic Veo pumpers of below 12 years never used sensor

Group 3: Adult Medtronic Veo pumpers never used sensor, at least 6 months on pump therapy, age range 20-45

Group 4: Adult Medtronic pumpers using sensor for at least 6 months / at least 6 months on pump therapy, age range 20-45

Group 5: Adult Medtronic pumpers that have stopped using sensor, at least 6 months on pump therapy, age range 20-45

If this sounds like it is for you, then drop Sophie (I want her surname!) an email and take the chance to have your voice heard!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

When others know best

My best friend Lauren and I have known one another now for 18 years. We met at the age of just 11 at school and of course, knew all there was to know about life. Like, what Leonardo DiCaprio's hobbies were and that school was really just about learning how to copy home-work and still make it look like your own.

Almost two decades later on and things have changed. A lot.

For starters, Leonardo DiCaprio never came knocking and judging by his preferences, I'm not sure it would have worked out.....And school was, in fact, for learning how to copy home-work and make it look like your own.

Nowadays we have both grown up, settled down and even got ourselves 'real' jobs.

Amazingly despite hating school and having a diabetic as a friend, Lauren decided not only to branch into the world of teaching, but also to specialise in the care of diabetic children, meaning she is one of the few golden people without diabetes who 'gets it'. I'm lucky in that I have always been blessed with people who sympathised and gave a damn. But in many ways Lauren has the knowledge you could expect only the parent or partner of a diabetic child to have.

Where we once had all the time in the world, finding time to just 'hang-out' these days is a very rare occasion, but this weekend Lauren and I stole a few hours to celebrate, albeit belatedly, her birthday. So we packed a picnic and headed for the hills - literally.

Halfway through our delightful afternoon, my 'spidey-senses' kicked in and I could feel a hypo brewing. I had already eaten and knew that the high fat contents had slowed down the high-sugar treats (oh come on, it was a birthday!) from entering my system. But I was still panicking. The hardest time to be calm, is during a hypo.

Worrying that I had eaten all the food we had and had only just run out of lucozade, I started to freak out, just a little. We were, after all, at the top of the hill with only one roll and half a glass of wine left.

But Lauren, with all her training on diabetes calmly said, "Give it 15 minutes honey,” and carried on telling me a story.

Of course despite nodding and saying 'yeah of course you're totally right', in my head it went more like this:


Begrudgingly, knowing that she was probably right but so worried I could only half concentrate on what was being said, I held on.

Low and behold after 15 minutes of worrying I had jumped from 3.2 (and very ‘wobbly’) to 5.4 and finally able to concentrate again.

It’s funny how sometimes other people really do know better than you.

For a stubborn old bag like me, that’s a toughie to accept

Monday, 11 June 2012

Armed with my Google degree

‘Low-carb’ - the words that strike fear into the hearts of potato-lovers the world over and cause others to protest its value with great conviction; how it ‘changed their life’ and so on.

So what is the deal with low-cab? Is it good for you?

I am not qualified in any way and most of my information is either a discovery of my own clumsy experiments or, the wonder of Google. Enough said, right? But ‘we’ are always arguing that diabetics are the most knowledgeable of all, so here is what I found when trying to find a way of moving to a low carb diet.

About 2 years ago my journey on the pump led me to address my diet and stumble across a book called ‘The Diabetes Diet’ by Dr. Howard Bernstien. ‘Diabetes Diet’ eurgh, like I haven’t seen enough of those! And is he even a real doctor? Anyone remember Dr Gillian McKeith; the so-called Doctor who, as it turned out, gave herself that name and was wholly unqualified to give anything but her personal, slightly unhinged, opinion? Well, I was fully expecting ‘Dr Bernstein’ to be more of a Mr, than a Dr.

Well as it turned out he was a Doctor, a type 1, and was one of the key thinkers behind the whole low-carb revolution in the US (you know, other than Mr ‘shove some more cream in that coffee’ Atkins, that is). As a type 1 patient himself, he discovered some decades ago that carbohydrate was beyond any doubt, the most impactive form of food on his system. And further that these chaotic blood sugars were the cause of most – if not every - complication we ‘duffers’ spend our lives trying to keep at bay. But as a patient, he was practically laughed out of the clinic when he suggested eating low-carb. So what did he do? He got himself re-qualified as a diabetic professional of course, and began his mission to address the education about carbs. That’s one determined dude!

Enthralled by the book I began to make lots of changes to my own diet, with wonderful effects. Eggs for breakfast, removal of pasta and bread and no more high-sugar fruits were the main changes. As a result, I felt great: my blood sugars were vastly improved, I was never as bloated thanks to far less wheat in my diet and after following it strictly, achieved my first ever A1c of 7%.

But I am regularly reminded by dieticians and nutritionists that by lowering the carbs, I have to increase something else in the diet. My intake of healthy meats like tuna, salmon, trout, turkey mince and chicken went up and my consumption of 'crap' went down. But as someone whose greatest diabetes fear is kidney failure (dialysis scares the shit out of me, quite frankly) thoughts about renal disease thanks to the extra stress that the digestion of protein puts on the kidneys, regularly creep menacingly into the back of mind. My defensive argument has always been that low carb doesn’t have to equal high protein.  A statement usually met with the groans unconvinced 'experts'.

But here is why I stand by my assertions, thanks to my Google research. It is recognised that a healthy person should only eat around 0.8 grams of protein per 1kg of body weight. Now, at 140 pounds/10 stone (in a healthy weight bracket with a fair bit of muscle) then I could consume up to 67 grams of protein a day, ‘healthily’. On an average day I would normally eat a two-egg omelette (12g protein), a small handful of nuts mid-morning and mid-afternoon (8g), a tuna salad with lots of red, yellow and green leafy veg (20g, a generous estimation) and for my evening meal I may have something like salmon and vegetables or turkey mince spaghetti bolognese with green beans instead of spaghetti. Let’s call it 10-30 grams of protein to cover all bases.

According to that, even if I had the most protein-heavy dinner I can find, I am still only at 70g, when the recommended daily intake even for those with stage three kidney disease (according to, would be around 67g for someone of a healthy weight. In fact, on days when I have only a tuna steak or chicken thigh (easier to eat organic when you buy the less popular bits!) at 20ish grams, then I am 7 grams under the maximum.

So, with my Google degree and knowledge that I really am only eating medium protein, I continue to be convinced that low-carb, medium-protein and ‘stop faffing about fat’ attitude is the way to go.

The question you have to ask yourself is this; when the renal capacity of your kidneys is 8.8mmol, is it safer to eat low carb but accept carb-fuelled spikes after meals, or is it safer to eat more protein and maintain near-normal blood glucose?

Anna (off to eat a handful of minimal carb, nutrient dense and protein rich nuts).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Football, beta cells and temporary basal rates

Luckily for me, the self-defined 'lazy' Tim and Alison over at Shoot Up or Put Up were not in a position to attend the recent Animas Sports and Exercise weekend after being offered a spot as avid diabetes bloggers.  So thanks to my misguided enthusiasm and well-documented struggle with exercise, they offered me their spot.

So hoping you will find some useful info in here, this post is about the weekend in general, and here is a post about what we learned about exercise and diabetes.

Happy exercising!