Sunday, May 31, 2009

basal rates

To all of those of you who know that sometimes its easy to slip into bad habits, I understand. I do too.

I had a huge wave of bad sugar levels this last month, with no particular obvious change in lifestyle; except that I've been on holiday 3 times...but my whole life is fairly unstructured and unroutined, I thought this wouldn't make much difference.

Anyways, its totally easy to start accepting bad sugar levels, and it can become a bit of a routine. Thats bad. Thats why its important to have someone close to you who can ask you important questions...someone who understand the ins and outs of Type 1 Diabetes. Most people don't have a clue, so its important to train someone up. Someone who can keep an eye on you.

For me, this is my mum. She helped me a lot when I was younger, and she is always the one to make sure that my sugar levels are on track. This has changed a bit as I've gotten older.

During university when I wasn't living at home, I kept a sign on my wall, door or wherever that said, "What's your sugar level?" That seemed to work, though I had to keep moving the sign around, otherwise I got too used to it, and stopped reading it. I tried making new signs as well, and these were a helpful prompt.

I am terrible with writing down my sugar levels and keeping an accurate record of them. I always have been. I have never found a system that works for me. If you have found one, please let me know! I think I need to ask my specialist for a tester kit that does reports. I used to have one, but it died.

Anyways, so this last month I was going down this slippery slope. And the more bad sugar levels I had, the less aware I was of everything, it becomes harder and harder to look after yourself when sugar levels spiral out of control, awareness is practically nil.

And so, it was two days ago, on holiday in Greece that mum asked me when the last time I changed my basal rates was. It was such a wake up call. I looked at the rates, and they were so low. So, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to try out some higher ones, and see how it went.

As it turns out, that was a brilliant idea, because my levels have been perfect since then!

I'm still waiting for my skin to return to normal, and my energy levels to increase, but I am pretty sure they will soon! Woo hoo! And I must start running twice a week again, and swimming...and pilates. Oh, and walking the dog helps too.

So, for those of you suffering with bad sugar levels on an insulin pump, have a look at your basals, that might just be the solution!

For those of you that don't know what a basal rate is, its the constant flow of insulin into the body through the infusion set. Mine vary from 0.4 to 0.75 throughout the day. And changing it by the tiniest fraction can completely change your balance. (I really should have thought of it sooner!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Diabetic Retinopathy

Scary thing arrived in the post today. It was a letter from my NHS doctor stating that I MIGHT have background retinopathy.

Which is weird because when the guy looked at the screen to check if there was any damage, he didn't seem too concerned, and I thought it looked exactly as it usually does.

Anyways, I think this has given me a little kickstart into exercise again. And more regular sugar level testing.

I have just come back from a holiday in Italy, where my sugar levels were all over the place. Not good. Probably because I was eating too late, and eating way too much fat as well.

So, now I am heading out for a walk with the dog. To clear my head, work out what practical steps I can take to reverse the retinopathy (as much as is possible) and then I am going to make sure I book myself an appointment with the screening clinic for next year.

Oh, and check up with my optician so he can see what the overall condition of my eyes are. Because, everything is linked and I just want to be sure.

The letter says that there's nothing I need to worry about, there is no treatment at this stage, just simply to keep a good control of my sugar levels. Which could be interesting given I am heading off on holiday again in a week.

I know that laser treatment is the best cure at more advanced stages, but lets hope I don't get that far. Come on Patrick, help me out here! Exercise and low GI foods are going to be more important than ever...

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Like a rollercoaster...

For the last few weeks, since Easter, my sugar levels have gone crazy.

Those of you who are diabetic will know that once they get out of control, its hard to pull them back in again.

But I have been trying!

Its exceedingly difficult when you have a desk job, that requires you to be sat down for a large proportion of the day, as this means more insulin and less exercise. And the more insulin, the worse the absorption rate is for Patrick (my Minimed Insulin pump). So, the more insulin you use, the more insulin you will need to use to compensate.

Anyway, things can quite easily go spiralling out of control.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite pick up on this one early enough. It was only a few days ago that I questioned why I wasn't getting much done, why I was snacking more and why I was constantly tired. Hmmm. It was obviously worse than I thought.

So, now I am back on track, trying to stabilise the levels. My fridge is full of veg, and there are tons of tasty snacks around the house and a gigantic fruit bowl too. But, as brilliant as this is, it isn't the answer to my problems.

I have changed my infusion set area, so hopefully the absorption rate will improve soon. And I am trying, trying, trying to stop working at my desk, but the credit crunch has meant that I need to work as much as I can.

So, where do I find the balance? How can I acheive it if I don't have time or money? Tricky, tricky, tricky. Well, I am heading off on holiday in a week, to somewhere that I hope will restore and rejuvenate. A good relaxation, lots of walking and swimming, sunshine and good food and company should help to balance out those levels again! Or, so I hope.