The other day, I walked into my local NDSS pharmacy and collected four boxes pump consumables and a couple of boxes of blood glucose strips.

I have a lovely pharmacist. She’s friendly and chatty and every time I visit, we catch up about how our kids are going and she comments on how I seem to spend a lot of time on aeroplanes and that I need to look after myself better. (She’s also my parents’ pharmacist, so I suspect that my dad asks her to say that to me.)

While we were talking, she was packaging up my supplies and came out from behind the counter to hand me a black bag. As I was paying for them, I had a really strong flashback to the days that I worked in a local pharmacy.

I was a pharmacy shop girl from when I was 15 until I was about 20. It was a convenient part-time job – a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and extra hours in the lead up to Xmas – and a great way to earn a little spending money.

I remembered that there was a customer who came in about once a month and that when he walked in, the pharmacist would step down from his little ‘stage’ with all the medications and bring out the customer’s order, wrapped up in a couple of paper bags. I had no idea what was inside them, and it took me a couple of years of wondering before I finally asked the pharmacist.

He has diabetes. It’s insulin and other things he needs for his diabetes,’ was the answer. ‘He doesn’t like to see the different products, so I wrap them up when I order them in for him and just pass them to him. That way, no one knows what’s in the bag.’

I knew nothing about diabetes back then. I just acknowledged what the pharmacist said with a nod of my head, and the next time I saw that customer, I handed him his package without a word.

I wasn’t working at the pharmacy anymore when I was diagnosed with diabetes, but it is where I picked up my first insulin prescription. I have never, ever thought to ask for my insulin to be hidden away, in fact, the only discussion I have is lying about promising that I am going straight home and don’t need a cool bag for the drugs. Pharmacists seem to worry that the hour or so the insulin is out of the fridge while I pop into a café to grab a coffee is going to send it sour.

But apparently the attitude of the customer at the pharmacy I worked at isn’t all that uncommon. Until the change in ordering from the NDSS, I used to collect my supplies from the NDSS shop downstairs at Diabetes Victoria. This was always fabulously convenient for me, considering I worked just upstairs. The products were always loaded into an opaque, black plastic bag. I remember someone saying those bags were used because a lot of people didn’t want others to know what was inside.

All mail being sent out by the diabetes organisation I worked at was sent in unbranded, plain envelopes. Apparently some people didn’t want their neighbours – or postie – knowing they were receiving mail about diabetes-related matters.

I’ve heard countless stories of people going to great lengths to hide their diabetes. I remember a case where a house was over-crowded with sharps and diabetes waste because the people in the house refused to throw out any packaging that might suggest someone living there had diabetes. They didn’t use sharps containers because they didn’t want to go to their local council for a free one because it might mean having to identify themselves as having diabetes. And they didn’t pay for a sharps container, because depositing it at a sharps collection point would also mean saying they had diabetes.

Another time, someone called me to complain because a letter sent out by the team I managed had slipped inside the plane envelope and the logo identifying the diabetes organisation was visible through the window. ‘I don’t want people knowing I have diabetes,’ I was told angrily.

This reluctance to let others know could be a matter of people simply not wanting to share their personal health with others, which is, of course, fine. But I suspect that it is more than just that. I think that in a lot of cases there is shame involved too. For every one of us who claims to be out, loud and proud about our diabetes, there are others who still want it hidden away – people who feel ashamed, and shamed, by their condition so much so that they don’t want others to know they are affected by diabetes.

I wear my diabetes very visibly and have never thought not to. I don’t feel shame about it at all. Diabetes is tough enough as it is without trying to conceal it from everyone as well. I just don’t have the headspace to think about how to hide it away.

There are lots of ways to discuss diabetes. Some people literally talk about it – in front of roomfuls of people or in the media or record little vlogs of things that they find particularly interesting. Others write about it for different media platforms. Some, you may have heard, even blog about it…!

And then others create comics about it.

Last December, I was sent a copy of Claire Murray’s first ‘Living with It’ comic and just last week, I was sent the second. I don’t actually know Claire (other than online), but I know her dad. And like all good dads, he is (quite rightly) very proud of his kid and wants to show off her brilliant work. So he kindly popped the comics in the mail for me.

There is much to love about Claire’s comics. They are very funny –  as in laugh out loud funny. I’m writing this in a local café and keep giggling as I flick through their pages. ‘Living with It’ chronicles the story of a kick-ass young woman with diabetes called Megan who just happens to have type 1 diabetes. Oh, and she’s a bona fide superhero.

A new diabetes superhero! Back cover of ‘Living with It’ #1 by Claire Murray.

Megan as a character is brilliant – the perfect mixture of snark and sass! She fights crime while managing to deal with diabetes in a most fabulous manner. I want to be friends with her so she can teach me her ways! (Plus she looks like a human, not a barbie doll, which is a nice departure from how women are usually drawn in comics.)

And you absolutely don’t need to have diabetes to get the story, which is why this is such an awesome channel for discussing diabetes. Claire hasn’t created a ‘diabetes 101’ story in a comic – this isn’t really about learning the ins and outs of diabetes. (Although the glossary at the beginning of the second comic is excellent in its straightforwardness and a perfect way to describe some of the basics of diabetes. Simple pictures, clear explanations.)

Glossary from the beginning of ‘Living with It’ #2, by Claire Murray

What Claire has done is shape a very clever and funny superhero story, and wound diabetes through it. Diabetes isn’t really the central theme – it’s just there and in the way. Kind of like diabetes in real life! She has managed to unmistakably show the disruption and irritation diabetes creates each and every day.

I love the idea of kids and teens with diabetes (and grown-ups with diabetes) reading these and sharing them with their friends. The gentle, funny and captivating tales are a terrific way to explain just how and where diabetes can get in the way of real life, yet, despite the mess of out messed up beta cells, those of us living with it just get on with things.

You can read more about Claire Murray and her work at her website, Tumblr and Instagram.

(For the record, I think Claire might be a bit of a superhero, too. I believe that she is on a panel this weekend at Supanova where she will be speaking about the Women in Comics Festival.)

It’s cold. And rainy. And miserable. And I have a sore throat that is making me whinge. All I want is soup.

Here are some things that are doing their best to brighten my day.

My Apple Watch works!!

Truthfully, my Apple Watch has always worked (both the first and second series watches I’ve owned). But it now finally working exactly how I imagined it.

The Dex 5 app update last week finally, oh finally, integrated with Apple Watches. So now this happens. (And I can stop needing to divide by 18 which is what I was doing after sneakily downloading the US version of the Dex 5 app last year…)

At this stage, ‘followers’ cannot see their friend’s/family member’s glucose readings on their watch, still needing to use the Share app on their phone. (But apparently, this functionality is coming soon).

You could win….

….a year’s worth of Freestyle Libre products. Just by entering this competition. Go!! (Only open to Aussie residents.)

Tell me a story, doctor…

As a huge promotor of listening to and sharing stories about health and healthcare, I was interested in this article from Stanford MedX.

As much as I love hearing the tales of those living with diabetes (and other health conditions too), I also want to hear the stories of healthcare professionals. Why do they do what they do? What drives them? What are some experiences that they always remember or wish they had done differently? What are their challenges and how to they manage the disappointments and frustrations? And celebrate the successes? I want to know these things to better understand what shapes them.

Bakers gonna bake

I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember. My 30th birthday gift to myself was a firetruck-red Kitchen Aid stand mixer which gets a run at least a couple of days each and every week.

Baking makes me feel good. The predictability of results is wonderful. It allows me to showcase the foods that are in season at different times of the years. Being a regular baker means than anytime friends drop by for coffee, they’ll be offered a biscuit made a day or two earlier. And it means that I can easily give gifts to friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, the guys working on the building site across the road…

This piece in the Huffington Post explores why we feel so good when we bake for others.

Also, I think I need this.

Messed-up basals

I’m desperately trying to tidy up my basal rates which are clearly in need of a good shake up. I started Monday and straight away could see this was going to be a long – and probably painful – process. Watch this space…

#WorldImmunisationWeek

It’s World Immunisation Week this week, which is a perfect time to check if you are up to date with all your immunisations and book into get your flu vax if you’ve not already had it.

After I had my flu shot last week, I foolishly got into an argument with a couple of people who told me they ‘don’t belive in vaccinations’, to which I replied ‘You don’t get to ‘not believe’ in vaccinations. They are real. Vaccinations are not fucking Santa Claus’. Then someone suggested I should get that on a t-shirt, which I just might do. In the meantime. I made a poster, which you should feel free to share with fools.

Cold weather = hot books

With the rainy, grey days and nights ahead, it’s a perfect time to get comfy in front of the fire and get reading. I most sneakily used the ‘ice breaker’ at the Diabetes Advocates Day (#DAdvocatesAU) I facilitated a few weeks ago to get some new book recommendations from the attendees. That list is safely tucked away for …well, for a rainy day.

This weekend I rushed out to buy the book that just won the Stellar Prize (a literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing) and what a delight this book has turned out to be. It’s called Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose. I’m rationing my reading of it – only a chapter each day; two at the most – to make it last. The writing is exquisite. It’s set in New York and is taking me back to wandering the streets and galleries of my favourite city. And desperately making me want to go back. Do look it up!

New diabetes book coming soon

While we’re talking books, Diatribe’s Adam Brown has written a new book that is due out soon. I’d probably read a shopping list Adam wrote because he is a fabulous writer and I always find something to take away for my own diabetes management in what he writes. So I’m more than a little excited that a whole book of this wisdom is due out soon.

Adam’s book is called Bright Spots and Landmines (with a subheading of The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Given Me). Generously, e-copies of the book are free – you can register to get yours here when it is launched in the coming months.

Also coming soon (but not soon enough) – new faster insulin

Novo Nordisk has launched its new ultra-fast insulin (Fiasp) into lucky selected markets.

Please can we have some here in Australia?? No news on that as yet…

Health Professional Grant

If you’re a healthcare professional member of Diabetes Victoria, you can apply here for this year’s Gwen Scott Grant.

Trolling is pure evil. Except for this…

Pete Souza was the official photographer for the Obama Whitehouse and took thousands upon thousands of photos during his tenure.

In recent months, he has been posting photos from the Obama Administration that are very clearly trolling Trump, comparing the new Administration’s blunders with the class and professionalism exhibited by Obama and his team. It is very cheeky and just so damn funny. This article explains more.

An honest weather app

And finally, have you installed the WTForecast app yet? You should. It gives authentic and accurate weather updates for wherever you are in the world.

Current situation here explaining current miserable mood:

 

A couple of days ago, I woke up at 5am low and stayed that way until about 12pm when I decided to have a sushi roll for lunch. My thinking was that if white rice didn’t solve this low, nothing would! I’d already thrown a lot at it – juice, black tea with sugar, jelly beans – sitting there watching my CGM trace stay in the red area apart from very occasional and very small rises before dropping back below that comfort line.

The rice did the trick. And then some. I watched the spike as the evil rice did its thing and sent me into the mid-teens. Thanks rice; thanks you very much. (I know, I know…we’re not supposed to think of food as good and bad, but rice is the freaking devil.)

I then watched the spike change direction and start to plummet. I’d done everything ‘right’… dosed at the right time, calculated the carbs, delivered the correct amount of insulin… Rice is my food nemesis. I’ve tried everything and just can’t get it to work which is why I rarely, if ever, eat it. But I was getting nervous at the non-budging CGM lows and knew that rice was a sure-fire way of getting me out of low-zone.

Rice: evil little grains of misery.


Everything fell back into place by the afternoon and then that night, dinner consisted of a low carb meal. The roasted cauliflower, warm salad of broccoli and green beans, avocado and cucumber salad with pepitas, and roast beef barely caused a blip on my CGM graph for the rest of the evening. The tiny bolus that accompanied the meal did its trick and the line stayed in-range and mostly flat. The dark chocolate and cup of tea I had before bed had no effect either.

Before I started using CGM, I had no idea just how different foods truly impacted my glucose levels. Carb counting can be pretty hit-and-miss, but I wasn’t too horrid at it – at least for most of the time.

Doing the recommended four or five checks a day hid most of the truth about what was going on for most of the time. Sure, my glucose levels may have been not too horrid when I checked before meals or before bed, but in between those random checks, there was A LOT happening to which I was completely oblivious.

CGM doesn’t necessarily need to translate to being more limited (or more boring) about food choices. But it does arm us with a lot of information about how our glucose levels react to certain things, which means that we can make more-informed choices about what we eat, and how we eat it.

Using CGM means that I can be much smarter about timings of boluses (and the types of bolus), and even the times I choose to eat different things. I know I am more insulin resistant in the mornings, so it’s a lot more difficult to manage with high carb foods at that time of day. I learnt that delaying my morning milky-sugar-added coffee by just half an hour results in less of a spike.

Of course, we need to remember that food is not the only factor that impacts our glucose levels. CGM has offered great insight into hormonal changes, effects of stress and different meds and eating a certain way cannot guarantee a flat CGM trace.

For the record, THIS is one of the main reasons I use CGM. I get a little tired of the constant focus there is on the technology ‘saving lives’. Do I honestly believe that my CGM has saved my life? Sure, it makes me feel safer – especially when travelling on my own – but for me, the real reason I use it, and its real benefit, is to be armed with information about how to best deal with diabetes.

DISCLOSURE

I probably just should mention that I generally self-fund all my own CGM costs. This includes the $540 I just spent on a new transmitter! When I’ve been given product while participating in trials, or in exchange for speaking gigs, I’ve always disclosed on this blog.  

I also have some very generous friends in the US who have most kindly given me sensors when they’ve had spares. They are wonderful, wonderful people and I am so grateful for their generosity!

There’s a war going on and it’s getting very, very messy.

Fat or carbs? These are the two big hitters in our diets, and when it comes to diabetes, are demonised by some, celebrated by others. And it’s confusing to say the least.

It’s also incredibly polarising and some of the most brutal arguments I’ve seen online within the diabetes community are about the foods we choose to eat or the eating plans we choose to follow.

My own personal decision to eat a lower carb diet was met with almost comical responses. Both sides of the fence told me I was being an idiot, all of which I happily ignored and continued doing what I was doing. Because it was working for me and is none of anyone else’s business.

When we look at the science of food, it’s confusing. I don’t for a minute pretend to understand how things work, I really don’t. I know how different foods impact my glucose levels, I know foods that make me feel better and I know that I like to eat.

But having made all of those disclaimers, I am health (and food) literate and I do understand some aspects of the science. I understand the basics of the carbs versus fat argument. But mostly, I understand that choice needs to be the driving force, along with acknowledging no one way of eating will ever work for every person. (Because if that were true, we’d all just eat Nutella ALL the time, because it tastes so bloody good and if you believe their spin, it’s a health food! Don’t believe their spin.)

What I really don’t like about the debate though is the acrimony. It makes me uncomfortable when either side take to cheap shots or aggression. Exhibit A is in the form of a tweet which I’m not sharing, because its writer is selling diet books and I’ve no intention of giving her any publicity here. But the gist of her tweet was condemning dietary guidelines and slamming carbs because she doesn’t (and this is a direct quote) ‘want to be fat and diabetic’.

The tweeter managed to food shame, fat shame, stigmatise and judge – all in 140 characters. As well as get things wrong. There are plenty of people who do follow dietary guidelines and eat carbs, yet do not have diabetes and nor are they overweight.

I get that there is some real anger, particularly within the LCHF community because there is so little recognition of how eating in this way can, for some people, help manage weight, diabetes and overall health. And some feel cheated that LCHF is frequently not even presented or recommended as an option, instead ignored or claimed to be dangerous. I get that this is frustrating for people who have seen great results after adopting this sort of diet.

I’m actually one of those people. But I refuse to think for one minute that just because this is working for me that everyone else should do it, too. I’ve never subscribed to thinking that any aspect of diabetes management is one size fits all.

So, what’s the answer? Well, I’ve no idea really. Ever since taking an interest in different eating habits, I’ve been astounded at just how many new diets are released. Obviously some of them are more sound than others, but regardless, there are always new ideas out there.

Perhaps the answer is to be patient. The ‘in’ and guideline-approved way of eating changes every decade or so. Perhaps those who are cross that their chosen eating plan isn’t the plan de jour just need to wait a few years before it is. And then they can say ‘told you so’. At least, until it’s old hat and replaced by some other new trend.

This is the first of a couple of food/diet-related posts I have ready to go over the next few days. I’m really interested to hear what others have to say about what works/doesn’t and why. And also how people deal with the judgement and commentary that inevitable comes when we are talking about what we eat.

Easter seems to be a feast for eating. ‘Feaster’, if you like. It’s a four-day holiday and a chance to catch up with family, bake and eat. Sounds like a pretty perfect long weekend, if you ask me.

But it’s also a loaded time of year for me. I was diagnosed just after the Easter Bunny visited. I can still remember the way I felt at our huge extended family gatherings on Easter Sunday, desperately trying to quench a thirst that was simply unappeasable, visit the bathroom frequently and squint as I tried to bring into focus whatever I was looking at.

You’ve lost weight; you look amazing,’ remarked a family member, clearly blind to the fact I was slumped on the floor by the heater, distractedly trying to warm up my shrinking body which was virtually falling apart. ‘I feel like shit,’ I replied. ‘But, thanks. I think.’

This Saturday will mark nineteen years I’ve lived with diabetes. It feels like forever to me in some ways, yet there are moments of life before diagnosis that are still crystal clear, and achingly unattainable.

If someone was to ask me what the most valuable piece of advice I could share with someone else living with diabetes, I wouldn’t hesitate. It has nothing to do with the foods we eat, the drugs we take, the devices we use. It wouldn’t be able the healthcare team to bring along on the ride or the hospital to visit. It wouldn’t be about the best time to inject or the supplements to take or the way to think about diabetes.

It would be simply to advise people to be kind. If you have diabetes, be kind to yourself. If you are affected by diabetes in any way, be kind to yourself and to those actually living with diabetes.

I don’t have many answers when it comes to living with diabetes. I muddle along, learning what is good for me at that moment and doing what I can to live as well as I can. I try to be kind to myself, although often need a reminder. I probably am my own harshest critic – a lot of others are probably in the same boat.

Nineteen years down, and a lot of personal criticism in there. A lot of self-blame. Not enough kindness to myself. I judge myself in ways I wouldn’t tolerate from others. I am harsh when I should be kind.

So this weekend, as I go about my ‘Feaster-ing’, I’m going to make a real effort to be kind to myself. And to help remind me, I have my heart on my sleeve to remind myself to be gentle and kind. It makes life easier. It makes life with diabetes easier.


On Saturday, Medtronic Australia hosted their first Diabetes Advocates Day. Ten or so advocates from across Australia came together to hear about new technologies and talk about real-life application of technology in our diabetes lives.

There were some familiar faces and some newbies too which is always great to see. I, most opportunistically, used my role as facilitator for the day to get book recommendations from as part of the ice–breaker session. (Truthfully, this is always one of my favourite parts of these events, but it can also be a challenge when the people in the room are all over-sharing bloggers!)

There were a couple of standout moments throughout the day worth sharing.

Melbourne endocrinologist, Professor David O’Neal, gave a great talk on the future of diabetes technology.

David is one of those endos who after you meet and hear speak, you want to make him your endo for life. He is ridiculously tech savvy and his knowledge of diabetes technology is hard to beat. If you Google him, you’ll see that he is a regular contributor to diabetes journals and is involved in a lot of diabetes tech research.

Which is all good and well, but the real reason David is so wonderful is because he completely ‘gets’ diabetes and what technology can actually offer us. As a tech geek, it’s easy to be completely and utterly captivated by the technology, but David readily admits it has limitations.

This is really important to remember. Too often we forget that the tools we have today are not perfect, and cannot seamlessly mimic a fully functioning pancreas. Most importantly, this is not the fault of the person using the tech. David acknowledged both of these points in the opening to his talk.


I really love that David mentioned this because so often when technology doesn’t work the way it is meant to, there is an assumption that it is the fault of the user. We mustn’t have pressed the right button, at the right time, in the right order, with the right calculation.

But actually, the tools are just not smart enough to account for the daily changes and variabilities and inconsistencies that play a pivotal role in life and impact our diabetes. As David said, insulin requirements overnight can fluctuate by up to 200%. There is nothing available at the moment that is equipped to deal with that sort of variation.

Add to that, the effect of exercise, food, stress, hormones, illness or pretty much anything else, and there is no way the tech can keep up – or those of us using it can work out how to factor it all in.

This constant need to makes changes is what sets diabetes technology apart from other medical technologies which are often ‘set and forget’ for the wearer. With diabetes devices, there is no such luxury, which is why we need to remember that often, technology actually adds work to our already significant list of diabetes tasks.

Another absolute gem from the day came from blogger and advocate Melinda Seed. During a discussion about HCPs reticence to deal with PWD’s research online, was her comment (as tweeted by Georgie Peters):

This really is turning the whole ‘Dr Google’ thing on its head. Instead of fearing the internet – and PWD who use it to research and better understand our health condition, surely HCPs could engage to discuss safe ways to do that research. Being part of the solution rather than just fearing it makes a lot of sense.

And perhaps, look at it the way David O’Neal chooses to:

In a roomful of tech-heads, there was also a moment where we considered those who have no interest in using any sort of newer tech available. With the dawn of new hybrid closed-loop systems that take even more control away from the user, how do we make that leap to completely trusting the device? And is this particularly difficult for those of us who identify as control freaks when it comes to our diabetes management?

Affordability and access also came up, reminding me – and hopefully those from the company producing the devices – that this needs to be a consideration at all steps of the conversation. There is no point in developing and releasing onto market whiz-bang tech if people can’t afford to use it. (And we also must remember that as every new piece of tech is released, the divide between the haves and have-nots becomes more and more cavernous – especially when you remember ‘have-nots’ refers to not only the unaffordable tech, but also to basic needs such as insulin…)

DISCLOSURE

The Diabetes Advocates Day event was hosted by Medtronic Australia and was supported by Diabetes Australia. I am employed by Diabetes Australia as Manager of Type 1 Diabetes and Consumer Voice, and attending and facilitating the event was part of this role.

There was no expectation by Diabetes Australia or Medtronic Australia that I would write about the event, and my words here and in other online spaces are mine and mine alone. For more, check out the #DAdvocatesAU hashtag on Twitter and keep an eye out for blogs by other attendees.

It’s been a big week in diabetes. And even though it’s Friday, it’s not over yet. Tomorrow, I’ll be facilitating an event for Medtronic Australia when they bring together some diabetes advocates from across the country. (More on that another time.)

I don’t often feel overwhelmed by the diabetes world. Of course I feel overwhelmed by my own diabetes – frequently, if the truth be told.

This week, I have found it overwhelming. The NDSS CGM Initiative announcement last weekend has, as expected, resulted in a lot of interest and a lot of work. It’s been long hours in the office and then longer hours at home. (In case you missed last night’s webinar, you can watch/listen here.)

Yesterday I called Aaron and the kidlet who are enjoying school holidays and begged them to come and meet me for lunch so I could have an hour of diabetes-free time with my favourite people.

We sat outdoors at a café in Carlton, talking about anything but my work and it was lovely. The kidlet told us about the book she had her nose planted in, announcing proudly ‘I can swear in Gaelic now’ delighted her, and reminded her parents why we should never have encouraged this reading palaver!

The sun was shining, the weather was warm, the food was great. And the coffee was taking the edge off the frenzied place I’d been lost in for most of the week.

As we were chatting about something (possibly the many languages our child can swear in), I looked up at the exact moment a young woman walked past our table. And there, firmly attached to the waist band of her jeans was an insulin pump. An Animas Vibe pump, boldly fastened just above the pocket, catching the sunlight. I jumped in my seat a little.

Look!’ I hissed, pointing. ‘Look!!’ (Yes – I am all decorum and subtlety. Obviously)

Aaron and the kid turned around and immediately noticed what I was getting excited at.

At that moment, I knew I just needed to go and say hello. I knew it was exactly what I needed. In fact, the words I used were: ‘I’m going to say hi. I need some diabetes in the wild right now.’

I think what I meant was that I needed some ‘anonymous’ diabetes. A connection with someone who wouldn’t know the constant madness that has been so present this week.

I walked into the café. The girl was standing there with a young man and another woman who I figured was her mother.

Excuse me,’ I said to her. I then noticed my kid had followed me in, eager to see this encounter.

The girl spun around and looked at me.

Hi,’ I said, smiling widely. ‘I’m sorry to be so intrusive…but…um…I noticed your pump, and um…I have one just like it. Oh and this!’ I pushed my left arm forward, lifting the sleeve of my shirt to show her my Dex.

Hey!’ She said. ‘I used to use one of those!

I introduced myself and she told me her name. I apologised again for rushing up to her.

No! I love it and I don’t mind at all,’ she said. ‘I stopped using the CGM after summer, but I really loved using it.’

‘You know there was an announcement about a funding initiative just this week. Do you mind if I ask…? How old are you?’ I ask.

‘I’m twenty. And yes, I know. I’ll only be able to access it for about 6 months, but it’s great.’ 

‘I’m so pleased!’ I said. ‘It really is such useful tech…I wouldn’t – I couldn’t – be without it.’

I looked at her mum and smiled. She asked me how long I’ve had T1D. ‘Nineteen years this month,’ I said.

Wow…so…’ she looked at the kidlet who was watching all of this in interest. ‘Is this your daughter? Did you have her…’ she let her voice trail off, thinking about what she wanted to ask. I smiled gently, knowing full well what she was about to say.

I introduced the kidlet to the group. ‘I’d had diabetes for 6 years when I had her. It was hard, but it was absolutely the best thing. She’s 12 now. I used a pump, but there was no CGM in Australia just yet. The tech is so much better now.’

I could see the look of relief flood over the mum’s face. ‘It’s the thing I’m concerned about. She’s still young…but it feels like the next big thing to deal with. When she’s ready.’

I mentioned a few different things she may like to check out and we chatted a bit more before we said our farewells.

The kid and I walked back to our table. I sat down and took a deep breath. I felt myself fill up. I’d just connected with one of my own and that small interaction refocused my energy and eased a lot of the pressure that had been pushing down on me throughout the week.

This week has been huge. It has been busy. I have felt overwhelmed. But it has been great. It took this brief encounter to help me pinpoint the reason for it all. People. I wasn’t really sure how I’d forgotten that.

This is me standing next to my favourite poster drinking from an excellent coffee mug:

And this is a close up of said coffee mug:


And this is the back of same said coffee mug:


Decompressing today and grateful for this little reminder! I love homewares that give a pep talk.

More information about Bill Polonsky and the Behavioural Diabetes Institute here. And more from me about Bill Polonsky here. (And you can buy your very own version of this mug right here.)

Brutal. That’s the way I’ve been describing my week. It’s been super busy and there is no hint that will change any time soon.

But there is so much stuff out there to read. Here’s just some of it…

CGM

Oh, did you hear? CGM is now funded for children and young people under the age of 21 who meet eligibility criteria. It’s been ALL OVER the interwebs, but for the most up-to-date info, go here!

(And yes, I know, people 21 and over need CGM and need support. This isn’t over yet…!)

A psychologist who knows diabetes? Yep!

A good psychologist is worth their weight in gold. A good psychologist who understands the impact of living with diabetes on our overall wellbeing is like a unicorn – rare and magical.

So, I was delighted when someone from my office who has been a Research Fellow with the ACBRD for a number of years came to tell me that she is starting a private psychology practice. Dr Adriana Ventura’s research has focused on the psychological, social and behavioural aspects of living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Adriana understands that living with diabetes (and other chronic health conditions) can be challenging. And she understands that these challenges can make it tough to take care of our health the way we would like.

Details about Adriana’s practice can be found here. (Adriana works with adults and older adolescents – 16 years and over)

Really? REALLY?

Seems that we’ve all been doing diabetes wrong. That lancet thing that we joke about never changing? This is how you use it according to the pic accompanying a BBC Radio 2 tweet.

Apparently it is really hard to do some decent research. (And if the image wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the article looks shit too, so didn’t bother reading it.)

My maths teacher was right

So, as it turns out, I do use maths every single day. Diabetes has certainly put my algebra skills to good use!

This article from The Conversation is all about how an applied mathematician developed an algortithm to help treat diabetes. As you do.

Words that over-promise

I can’t remember the number of times I’ve heard that a diabetes cure is ‘just around the corner’ or any other version of ‘five years away’.

But how do these promises affect people living with health confitions? This article from Medivisor asks just that.

March for Health

While we were celebrating the CGM announcement on Saturday, I was very mindful that my US friends were getting ready to continue their battle for fair healthcare. March for Health was held across the US on 1 April calling for affordable access to quality health care for all people. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

Check out more at the website here.  

And this, by the way, is possibly one of my favourite promotional posters from the March.

Women’s Health Survey … Quick!!!

And while we’re talking women’s health…There are still a few days left to do the annual Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey, which identifies gaps in current knowledge when it comes to women’s health.

Click here to do the survey.

College Diabetes Network

There are some really wonderful groups out there supporting people with diabetes, and my friend from the US, Mindy Bartleson emailed me with some really useful information about the College Diabetes Network (CDN). The Network empowers and connects young people with diabetes and their are CDN Chapters on college campuses across the US.

The Network is certainly US based, but some of the information will be relevant to those in Australia (and elsewhere). Their resources provide information about how to prepare for the transition from high school to college or university. Do have a look!

Information for students can be found here.  And information for parents can be found here.

Peanut butter cookies

I made these cookies and jeez were they delicious!

They are gluten free, which I know is important for many people. For me, I need cookies that take no more than 10 mins to mix together and then taste perfect. Honestly, they are possibly the best tasting biscuit/cookie I have ever made… and I bake a lot.

The recipe can be found here. (I used smooth peanut butter as the recipe suggests, but I reckon they would taste awesome with crunchy. Also, do pop the mixture in the freezer before trying to shape the cookies. The dough is mighty-soft and sticky, and this step helps to get the dough from the bowl onto your cookie tray. AND DON’T SKIP THE SALT ON TOP!! This is what ties it all together and makes the magic happen!)

And finally……

… a little New Yorker Cartoons funny, which may not be directed at diabetes, but boy it certainly shows how I feel most days living as a diabetes tech cyborg!

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