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I wrote this post on this day last year and today, when it came up in my TimeHop app reread it and realised it is a good one to consider at the beginning of the year as I’m trying to get myself in order. I’ve made some edits to some of the points due to changes I made last year in the way I manage my diabetes. (The original post can be found here.)

I suppose that I was reminded that being good at diabetes – something I’m afraid I miss the mark on completely quite often – does involve others who sometimes don’t necessarily understand what it is that I really need. And I can’t be annoyed if they don’t intrinsically know what I want and need if I can’t articulate it. This post was my attempt to do just that. 

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Sometimes, I’m a lousy person with diabetes (PWD). I am thoughtless and unclear about what I need, have ridiculous expectations of others – and myself, and am lazy. But I’m not always like that. And I think I know what I need to do to be better.

Being a better PWD is about being true to myself. It is also about reflecting on exactly what I need and I hope to get it.

  • I need to remember that diabetes is not going away
  • I need to remember that the here and now is just as important as the future
  • I need to remember that I don’t have to like diabetes, but I have to do diabetes
  • I need to remember that the diabetes support teams around me really only have my best interest at heart, and to go easy on them when I am feeling crap
  • I need to empty my bag of used glucose strips more frequently to stop the strip glitter effect that follows me wherever I go – edit: while this is true, I do have to admit to having far fewer strips in my bag these days due to my rather lax calibration technique
  • I need to remember that it is not anyone else’s job to understand what living with my brand of diabetes is all about
  • I need to remember that the frustrating and tiresome nature of diabetes is part of the deal
  • I need to be better at changing my pump line regularly – edit: even more so now that I am Looping and think about diabetes less than before.
  • I need my diabetes tasks to be more meaningful – quit the diabetes ennui and make smarter decisions
  • And I need to own those decisions
  • I need to see my endocrinologist – edit: actually, this one I managed to nail last year and even have an appointment booked in for a couple of months’ time!
  • I need to decide what I want to do with my current diabetes technology. There is nothing new coming onto the market that I want, but what about a DIY project to try something new? #OpenAPS anyone…? – edit: oh yeah. I started Looping….
  • Or, I need to work out how to convince the people at TSlim to launch their pump here in Australia – edit: even more relevant now after yesterday’s announcement that Animas is dropping out of the pump market in Australia
  • I need to check and adjust my basal rates
  • I need to do more reading about LCHF and decide if I want to take a more committed approach or continue with the somewhat half-arsed, but manageable and satisfactory way I’m doing it now – edit: sticking totally to the half-arsed way and happy about it!
  • I need to remind myself that my tribe is always there and ask for help when I need it
  • I need to make these!

And being a better PWD is knowing what I need from my HCPs and working out how to be clear about it, rather than expecting them to just know. (I forget that Legilimency is not actually something taught at medical school. #HarryPotterDigression)

So, if I was to sit down with my HCPs (or if they were to read my blog), this is what I would say:

  • I need you to listen
  • I need you to tell me what you need from me as well. Even though this is my diabetes and I am setting the agenda, I do understand that you have some outcomes that you would like to see as well. Talk to me about how they may be relevant to what I am needing and how we can work together to achieve what we both need
  • I need you to be open to new ideas and suggestions. My care is driven by me because, quite simply, I know my diabetes best. I was the one who instigated pump therapy, CGM, changes to my diet and all the other things I do to help live with diabetes – edit: And now, I’m the one who instigated Loop and built my own hybrid closed-loop system that has completely revolutionised by diabetes management. In language that you understand, my A1c is the best it’s ever been. Without lows. Again: without lows! Please come on this journey with me…
  • I need you to understand that you are but one piece of the puzzle that makes up my diabetes. It is certainly an important piece and the puzzle cannot be completed without you, but there are other pieces that are also important
  • I need you to remember that diabetes is not who I am, even though it is the reason you and I have been brought together
  • And to that – I need you to understand that I really wish we hadn’t been brought together because I hate living with diabetes – edit: actually, I don’t hate diabetes anymore. Don’t love it. Wish it would piss off, but as I write this, I’m kinda okay with it
  • I need you to remember that I set the rules to this diabetes game. And also, that there are no rules to this diabetes game – edit: that may be the smartest thing I have ever written. I’d like it on a t-shirt
  • I need you to understand that I feel very fortunate to have you involved in my care. I chose you because you are outstanding at what you, sparked an interest and are able to provide me what I need
  • I need you to know that I really want to please you. I know that is not my job – and I know that you don’t expect it – but I genuinely don’t want to disappoint you and I am sorry when I do
  • I want you to know that I respect and value your expertise and professionalism
  • I need you to know that I hope you respect and value mine too.

And being a better PWD is being clear to my loved ones (who have the unfortunate and unpleasant experience of seeing me all the time – at my diabetes best and my diabetes worst) and helping them understand that:

  • I need you to love me
  • I need you to nod your heads when I say that diabetes sucks
  • I need you to know I don’t need solutions when things are crap. But a back rub, an episode of Gilmore Girls or a trip to Brunetti will definitely make me feel better, even if they don’t actually fix the crapness
  • Kid – I need you to stop borrowing my striped clothes. And make me a cup of tea every morning and keep an endless supply of your awesome chocolate brownies available in the kitchen
  • Aaron – I like sparkly things and books. And somewhere, there is evidence proving that both these things have a positive impact on my diabetes. In lieu of such evidence, trust and indulge me!
  • I need you to know I am sorry I have brought diabetes into our  lives
  • I need you to know how grateful I am to have you, even when I am grumpy and pissed because I am low, or grumpy and pissed because I am high, or grumpy and pissed because I am me.
  • Edit: I need you to keep being the wonderful people you are. Please know that I know I am so lucky to have you supporting me. 
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Two years ago today, I wrote my favourite ever post about one of my favourite ever diabetes encounters with one of my favourite ever people with diabetes. I met this kid just once and spoke with her for only a short time, but I often think about her and wonder if she is running a country, or at least her school, by now. I don’t doubt she is.

Anyway, when the link came up on my TimeHop app today, I reread it and it made me smile. Again. I hope that you enjoy it, too.  (The original post and reader comments can be found here.)

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A couple of weeks ago, I met a young child with diabetes. This was one cute kid who was clearly going to be boss of the world when she grew up. And a zoo keeper. I know this because she told me as much.

She has lived with type 1 diabetes for over half her life – she told me that too. And she also told me that now, as a big grade one kid, there were things that she was doing to take care of her diabetes on her own.

‘Want me to show you?’ She asked me.

‘You bet!’ I said.

She checked her BGL for me, talking me through it. ‘I use this to get the blood out of my finger. And then the blood goes here. Did you hear that beep? And here is the number. It says 8. That means I don’t need to do anything right now.’

Then she went off on a tangent and counted to 125 for me, which I told her was very impressive.

She showed me her pump and was very excited when I showed her mine, although disappointed that mine was boring and charcoal while hers was covered in a bright pink skin. ‘You should buy one for your pump. Your pump is not very interesting. It would be much nicer if you looked at something bright instead of boring. And more fashionable.’ I think she tut-tutted me as she shook her head at my lack of inventiveness when it came to pump decoration.

I won back some points when I showed her the bright purse I keep my meter in‘I guess that’s nice,’ she told me, and then found something else to show me.

‘I eat these lollies sometimes when I am low. My teacher has a big jar of them in the cupboard in the classroom. She has to keep them on the top shelf because I caught Matty eating them one day. He got in trouble, but it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know that I need them when I go low. Where do you keep your lollies?’

I told her that I have them in my bag, usually. And on my bedside table. ‘In a jar with a blue lid’, I explained, suddenly desperate to win some cred with this kid!

She nodded and seemed to approve of this answer. ‘Blue is okay,’ she announced.

‘Do you know that I am going to be a zoo keeper when I grow up?’ She asked me.

‘That sounds like a great idea and a very cool job,’ I said, and I told her that I have always wanted a pet tiger.

‘You can’t have a pet tiger,’ she said, sternly. ‘They are not good pets. You should know that.’

I told her she was right.

‘If I’m not a zoo keeper, I might be a doctor. I’ll help kids with diabetes. That would be good too.’ 

‘Sure,’ I said. ‘Maybe you might find a cure for diabetes.’ 

She looked at me with what I can only describe as the sassiest look I have ever seen.

She shook her head. And spoke to me very slowly, like I was a bit simple, staring at me straight in the eye.

‘Why does everyone think that a cure is the best thing? As long as I can be a zoo keeper, I don’t care about having diabetes. Tigers don’t care if I have diabetes.’

This kid? She is 6 years old. And she has it together more than most adults I know.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a very uncomfortable hour talking to someone who was telling me that the very idea of sending any sort of health aid to another country was horrendous because the situation here in Australia is so dire. They went on to say that the refused to support programs helping people in other countries access insulin and diabetes supplies because that was the responsibility of the government of that country.

I’ve thought about the conversation a lot. And then today, on my TimeHop app, this post from last year came up. I wish I had  remembered these words then because I sat there mute after trying to explain why it’s important that we help others who are not as fortunate as we are here in Australia and being cut off and told I didn’t know what I was talking about. I decided that there was simply no point in trying to argue.

So today, I thought I’d share the post. Remembering to look outside our own bubble is always important, And today -especially today – it seems even more critical.

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I speak a lot about the challenges of living with diabetes. Sometimes, the challenges don’t directly relate to me, but I can still see and understand that the diabetes experience is different to anyone and one person’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy is another person’s anxiety- and stress-inducing concern.

One of the things that perplexes and annoys me is people who are unable to see diabetes outside of their own bubble. Frequently these people fail to see that just because they don’t need information about <insert topic here> that doesn’t mean everyone has access to or an understanding of it.

Sometimes, when I was involved in running an activity or speaking about a topic at an event, people say that they have never had any problems with that, so why would we speak about it – completely ignoring the fact that for lots of people living with diabetes this is an issue that is of concern.

I ‘work in diabetes’ (which sounds ridiculous, but you know what I mean) and the last person’s diabetes that gets considered when I am at work and thinking of developing programs is my own. If I thought, for one minute, that my experience of living with diabetes mirrors most others, then I’d be utterly naïve and not doing my job. That’s why working and engaging with, and listening to as wide a range of people affected by diabetes as possible is critical to delivering services that are of use.

(Because, let’s be honest, if it really were all about me, I’d spend lots of time and effort working with the leather crafters at Hermes to help me design a perfect diabetes bag. Because: shallow. And lots of stuff.)

And you know if you just rolled your eyes at that last comment because you have found (or designed) the perfect bag and think it is waste of time to speak about it because it doesn’t affect you, then a) stop it, and b) can you tell me where to get one? Thanks.

With World Diabetes Day next week, it’s a great time to think about how others deal with diabetes, what they know, what they don’t, what their concerns may be.

If I only cared about what was going on in my diabetes bubble, I wouldn’t write so much about campaigns like #Insulin4All. You can read all about the campaign here, and my post about it during the lead up to 2014’s WDD.

I have never had trouble accessing insulin. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about those who do.

The work year is coming to a close (yay!), and with only a couple of days left in the office and all my spare time stressing about my lack of Xmas prep, I am revisiting some old posts.

And because I am looking at ways to continue my procrastination, today, I’m looking back to December 2012 and a game involving the alphabet. Have fun!

 

Click on pic for link.

Click on pic for link.

 

 

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