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Last updated: July 2017

My diabetes

For a few different reasons December was quite a stressful month. I'd been feeling quite tired and unwell but that's exactly what I put it down to - stress. Then a few days before Christmas I fell out of my wheelchair. I was fine I just needed picking up so I pressed the alarm I wear around my neck to call the paramedics. When they did their routine checks they found my blood sugar was really high (16 when normal is 4-7) so they took me to hospital. It was funny because just the day before I was emptying my catheter bag and noticed that it smelled really sweet - a bit like demented rice crispies.

However the hospital sent me back out with antibiotics for a UTI as apparently this can cause high blood sugar. As I know diabetes can be associated with FA I bought a test kit the next day and monitored myself. Over Christmas it went up to 29 so I made an appointment with my doctor as soon as I could. He sent me for a blood test and the next day I was officially diagnosed with type II diabetes.

I was initially prescribed 2 Metformin per day but as I was still getting some high readings (I had been told to test twice every week) so this was very recently increased to 3 - I've had regular check-ups with my doctor/diabetes nurse and they've been really helpful. In fact my doctor referred me to a DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) course which was so helpful especially considering I didn't even know what a carbohydrate was!

Using what I had learned on the DESMOND course and my own research on websites such as Diabetes UK I managed to get my diet under control and lower my HbA1c level (HbA1c is a measure of diabetes control) from the upper 60s to the lower 50s. – normal is 48. I was told by my doctor not to test my blood sugar any more although I still do randomly like I feel unwell, have an infection or take new medication as both of these things can raise blood sugar, or at times when I know my diet hasn’t been so good!

My tips for getting blood sugar under control:

  • A diabetic diet is actually all about carbohydrates and eating as few of them as possible - carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body.
  • Exercise after meals to get the sugar moving.
  • Eat three meals a day and avoid snacking between meals - this gives your body time to digest the sugar after each meal.
  • Be very careful with bread, cereal and fruit as they tend to be really high in sugar - I stick to berries, weetabix and wholemeal bread and avoid granary. It's not always the obviously sugary foods that are the worst.
  • It's easy l get really anxious about diet when you're first diagnosed but in time you will relax as you will learn what in general to avoid.

I live alone, but having very clumsy fingers I had been looking for a way to test my blood myself for a while. It turns out I can use a normal lancet (finger pricker) by turning it upside down, standing it up on my desk, putting my finger over the top of it, putting my other hand on top to secure my finger and to push down with. It took 5 attempts on the first day but only 2 on most days since. I also use the marvellous Accu-Chek Mobile with which I don't have to faff around with test strips.

Diabetes isn’t a life sentence – we all love food – they will always be birthdays and celebrations and depressing times when the only thing that cheers you up is a good old chocolate bar. The trick is to eat well and exercise so that in general your blood sugar is low enough to have the odd treat and live a bit. Diabetes has forced me to get super healthy and most of the time I enjoy the challenge!

This website has been around sinse 1998, and although it's changed a lot over the years it's always been about me and my disability. Over the years I have used many different hosts and website design packages. For the past ten years or so I have used 1&1 as my host and I have always been very happy with it. I have always wanted to learn how to build a website from scratch using Adobe Dreamweaver, so about three years ago I got in touch with Polar Solutions and arranged for a trainer to come out to my home to teach me at my own pace. So I now design this website using Adobe Dreamweaver and the skills I learned on that course. I designed the buttons using Cool Text.