Friday 30 August 2013

Lesley Jordan: show her your love!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the Quality in Care People's Award, which seeks to give recognition to the hard work put into patient advocacy by a group of nominated individuals.  You can catch up with the post here.

My passion for my work with INPUT and the team there is well-known, and I am so pleased to share that Lesley Jordan is one of the finalists!

Lesley has been working for INPUT for years, first as a volunteer and more recently as the Chairman, after having discovered the wonderful work they do in trying to increase access to medical technology for the people with Diabetes.  Lesley, herself a type 1 for more than 40 years and a pump, Diaport and CGM user, has taken the work INPUT do and brought it flying into the limelight to highlight the challenges faced by PWDs trying to access medical technology.

Please show her your support and thanks for the tireless commitment she gives to helping people with diabetes!

Vote for her here

Thursday 22 August 2013

Face cannula?

January 2014 will mark the fourth anniversary of my jumping on the pump wagon (that sounds somewhat racy, if you found this blog looking for something else, I can only apologise for what is about to follow...).  In that time I have reaped the many benefits of life using an insulin pump that converts spout about all the time; better BG control, more predictable BG levels, rarely bruising, no more needles, more freedom. Not exactly uncovering any secrets there.

But there is a little problem I has discovered as the years roll on: serious lack of 'landscape'.

By this I mean that once you remove your two or three day-old cannula, you need to move at least an inch away and allow that space time to heal for two weeks (ideally). That may sound easy, but after four years I am discovering that fleshy real estate on a diabetic is a valuable commodity. 

This weekend, as I prepare to join my cousin at her beautiful outdoorsy country wedding, and having reached a bit of a stale mate on the diet front, I decided to purchase some of those hideous monstrosity pants (Bridget Jones-esque) that suck you in and lift you up. You know the sort of thing like nickers with a girdle in. Smokin'.

As I 'hoiked' them up (actual term for the process of giving oneself a full-body lift while squeezing metres of your body into millimetres of garment), I realised that my usual stomach cannula site wasn't going to work. There was no room for anything else in this pant-horror.

But where to re-site it? My right arm currently rocks the Dexcom sensor, my giant pants rule out my midriff (I kid you not, they are THAT big) and I don't really want medical devices on both sides of my body when I sleep. They are a little 'lumpy' sometimes. 

So that leaves me with two options: my thighs or my face. You ever see anyone wearing a face-cannula? No, me either. 

So tonight I am trying out a thigh site. So far it feels awkward and obvious, like I am insanely aware of it being there. But that's how I felt about arm sites, stomach sites and love handle sites, too. And I have no doubt a face site would do the same. 

Perhaps I am about to discover my new favourite site, perhaps not. Time will tell. 

Do you use thigh sites? Or better still, a face-cannula? 

Sunday 11 August 2013

The Quality in Care People's award

Diabetes advocacy comes in may forms - in fact, it can take which ever form you want it to. Whether you use your voice to speak for those who can't, take your fight to parliament, give advice on a website or push current issues into the limelight in which ever way you know how, you are an advocate.  And you are amazing.

It's not often you get a chance to give recognition to the people in the world of diabetes who help shape our future and use their voices to be counted.  Advocacy is something people just kind of do, irrespective of thanks or gain.

The Quality in Diabetes Care however provides a rare and wonderful opportunity to have your say about people you feel are making that difference we all talk about.  Last year, Hedgie Pricks Diabetes Zoe took the award home for her continued efforts in highlighting the importance of understanding the social, psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with diabetes. And well-deserved she is.

Well the time is back again and you have another chance to nominate someone you think is shaping the future and the world is your oyster, but with only nine days to go I'd recommend you get your say in now!

Check out the website and take this chance to have your say about who is making a difference in our world and bringing the challenges we face to the attention of others.

Here it is folks! Happy voting :)  

Wednesday 7 August 2013

How do I tell him...?

Thanks to the wildly inaccurate media reporting of type 1 diabetes (and at times, even type 2) there can now be a minefield of social stigma and misconceptions the size of a moon-craters to wade through when trying to talk to someone about your diabetes.  If you are lucky, the person you are talking to will have an open-mind and the willingness to learn.  At worst, you may have a battle on your hands.

But there is one time when being able to explain your diabetes really matters; to someone you might be getting into a relationship with.  While they should also perhaps be the ones most willing to learn about you and your many facets, they are probably also the ones who you want more than any other to understand you - truly understand you, their view untainted by the damage we all know the media can create.

Recently one of my Independent readers contacted me to ask me about exactly this situation. Having got talking to someone she likes, she's now trying to cross 'the diabetes talk bridge' and needs your help. How to drop it in conversation?  When the best time is? What to say? And how to replace years of wacky reporting with our version of events?

So ladies (and gents), to help out a fellow DOC member trying to navigate this sometimes tricky road, how did you start that conversation with your significant other?

Friday 2 August 2013

Crazy-fit, super-toned gym bunny

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I wish I were you.

Two years ago I was desperately trying to shed some stubborn weight for the day I would marry my fiance.  I was never huge per se, but I was big.  And I was unhappy. Although I was about to marry the man of my dreams, I still had trouble taking my clothes off in front of him, wishing I was someone else.  Every meal was tortuous event of walking the gauntlet of food, trying to avoid anything my broken body would hold onto in the shape of fat. And clothes shopping was a mortifying process to get done as quickly as possible so that I could escape the judging eyes of others.  I doubt they were really judging but it felt like it, to me.

I'm not sure where my 22-year old runners body went, but it was gone.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I envy you.

When I first stepped foot in a Les Mills Body Combat class, my arm twisted by my soon-to-be-qualifying Body Combat instructor friend, Tammy, I stood as close to the back as I possibly could.  I'd been to a class here and there as Tammy needed to practice with people, but that was with my friends.  It was safe.  It was fun.  Now, I was with a group of 60 people I didn't know.  Each of them slim, toned and confident.  And when I joined a gym with a mirrored studio, I had to face myself as I clumsily fell about the room, trying to keep up with the coordinated and graceful seeming Combat mob. I wore my super-size 'New York' t-shirt from America that I'd previously used to sleep in, because it was the easiest way I could see to cover up. Black and tattered, it represented much of how I felt at that time.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I'm right behind you.

As something pushed me to go time after time and I slowly began to learn the moves, a strange thing happened; it seemed my bi-weekly exercise was beginning to help me see myself in a different light.  As the inches crept off and my body became stronger, I started to go simply because I enjoyed it.  Each week I found myself getting a little further through the routines before I needed to stop and get my strength back.  I found that certain moves (the running man, *groan*) became manageable, even fun.  What was this strange process taking place in the body I'd once wished I could exchange? And why for the love of God was I creeping forward to the front of the class, flanking the gym-bunnies on the left?!

This week I finished work before my usual time and arrived first at an earlier class.  There was no-one I recognised; no-one I knew.  Without even realising it had happened I had placed my water and CGM on the sidelines and I found myself staring at my reflection at the front of the class only feet from the mirrors, crazy-fit, super-toned gym bunny standing on my right. I was so close I could see a hair having escaped from my ponytail.  I was at the front of the class.

Over the last two years I have seen my body grow stronger, my confidence shuffle forward and my ability to see things through to the end, creep up.  I may not be the smallest one in the class, but this week the t-shirt was finally shelved and exchanged for a brightly coloured one I can move in more easily. I no longer hide myself away at the back.  I no longer wish for any exchange. I no longer wish I were you.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I am your equal.

Because despite my body being broken in so many ways and still fighting my battles with weight, I can keep up with you to the end of the class.  My form is fantastic, my determination unparallelled and the fire within me is back.