Have you ever been guilty of not giving yourself enough credit?
I was guiltier than most towards the end of my first year with type 1 diabetes. After having time to reflect – during a week away in Italy – I’ve come to look back on the 12 months that have passed since my diagnosis in a positive light. Of course, there are plenty of things I could have done better, but I feel its best to aim for small and consistent improvements over time. After one year of improving bit by bit, there is already a massive difference in my outlook and control.
Below are five ways in which my life has changed because of T1D. Some are adversities that I have had to overcome, and others are positives that I have added to my life to try and deal with the condition.
1) Injecting myself
Don’t you love that comment we all hear from time to time? ‘I could never inject myself every day.’
Well its at least 5 times a day actually… (in my case)
First of all, there isn’t much of a choice. Given the choice between injecting regularly and a slow painful death I’m sure most people would choose the former.
Second of all, the fear of injections is something we need to address, so hopefully one day the fear of this specific part of diabetes management isn’t causing fear to those being told they have tested positive.
The needles can leave bruises and do hurt on occasion, but injecting is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. In the UK at least we are lucky enough to have insulin pens, with small one-use needles.
Injecting was the one part of type 1 diabetes I was terrified of when first diagnosed, but it barely registers now. Its just something I have to do, like brushing my teeth. Little did I know the most difficult part of having type 1 would be the mentally draining task of…
2) Tracking My Blood Sugars
Keeping a track of blood sugar readings has been key for me to maintain good control. I find its a big motivator to keep my numbers as healthy as possible, and also allows me to see where I am going right and wrong.
I used the teeny tiny books that come with blood glucose monitor to record sugars for most of the year. Recently though, I got frustrated. I wanted to see all my data in a way where I could more easily see my progress.
My attempted solution? I have started to record my numbers on a spreadsheet, along with the food and carbs I have consumed.
I had thought this would be difficult to maintain, but apparently it is 2019 and you can do pretty much anything on a phone. Its probably showing my age, but setting up a spreadsheet on a laptop and updating it with my phone has been an eye-opener.
Its too early to call this method a success… but its convenience has been a godsend so far. Its also got the added bonus of making me think about what I am eating again. My diet had become less healthy than it was in the first months with T1D, but has definitely improved just from knowing I’ll have to write down what I’m going to eat.
To be completely honest I had no idea what hypoglycaemia was before my diagnosis. It didn’t sound like a fun thing to go through when it was described to me by my DSN and the first one was scary. I was shaking, sweaty, and had to refrain from shouting at a shop assistant for being slow serving me sweats! The incidents since have been much less dramatic.
Unfortunately they’re going to happen… I just try to see them as a good excuse to eat some fruit pastels now.
I have let my running slide a little in 2019, but I’ve still ran 5k parkruns in my first year as a type 1 diabetic. With a baby thrown into the mix I’m taking that as a win!
I have been trialling running at lunch and it seems like a good way to avoid exercise impacting on my home life, so will definitely look to keep that up.
I did set a goal of a sub 25 minute 5K and created a 10 week training plan for that purpose earlier this year, but illness got in the way. I will be starting on the path to that goal again soon, and will document my progress here.
I’m completely new to this game, having never attempted to write for an audience before getting T1D. I look back at the posts I’ve written and feel good that I’ve shared some useful lessons for anyone who finds themselves with this life changing condition.
As with running, I need to regroup and become more consistent. I’ve planned out a few blog posts over the coming weeks and will aim to post at least once a fortnight from now on.
To Sum Up
Its been both the best year of my life – having a kid is beyond amazing – but also one of the hardest. Luckily, I’ve had amazing support from my wife, the rest of my family, friends and work, which has made things much easier.
The above list contains just a few of the ways in which my life has become different. Hopefully you’ll notice that not all of them are necessarily completely bad. In fact, some are good.
Maybe its because its still early days, but hopefully anybody who reads this close to being diagnosed can see that – while there will be challenges to overcome – you can lead a pretty much ‘normal’ life.