As part of our wonderful ongoing series, type one Shelley Bennett describes her average day:
I describe diabetes as a roller-coaster ride with many highs and lows and ups and downs. It is 24 hours a day and never far from my thoughts! Here’s my typical day:
My alarm goes off at 7am and I open my eyes just enough to hit the SNOOZE button, I hate mornings and more so since having diabetes. I start the day swearing that its time to get up and then my thoughts turn to my morning sugar level.
So a prick of the finger later and this usually leads to my second swear word (my blood glucose is usually in the teens). It’s not so bad nowadays since the arrival of my pump but for a good six-and-a-bit years I would wake up feeling as though I had been hit by a train. Dry mouth, banging head, poor concentration and lethargy would be how I’d start my day and this would last until lunchtime on most occasions. I wouldn’t mind if I was an alcoholic and this was the daily result of a hangover! It turned out to be dawn phenomena which my pump (thank the Lord!) has put an end to.
So then it’s onto breakfast, I count the carbs (hard work first thing) and tell my pump how much insulin I need. In my injection days the maths was even harder but at least my pump calculates my ratio to add to my carbs!
Then it’s on with work. I am blessed to work from home, so on sugar related headache days at least I don’t have to dress and face people!
I soon realise it’s cannula change day (oh joy!) so I remove the cannula on my stomach (it bleeds, ouch!) and insert a new one with my device that looks like a stapler. I then pop to the chemist to collect my ‘shopping trolley’ of supplies needed for my diabetes (I ordered it the week before). Diabetes is all about being prepared and planning!
Turns out the chemist have ‘forgotten’ to order my insulin…GREAT! I wouldn’t mind but insulin does kinda keep me alive. I am just about to lose my temper when my pump starts beeping at me. Ironically it’s beeping at me to tell me I have less than 20 units left! Even my pump is angry!
I manage to calm down and dash home to do some more work in the office. Then it’s lunch time, I check my sugar levels and they are 3.0…HYPO ALERT! Just what I need, must have been all the stress at the chemist. I let myself forget about my diabetes for 5 minutes and this is how it repays me! How rude!
So more carb counting for my lunch (with a chocolate bar thrown in for the chemist rage!) and I’m back to work.
Two hours later and I’m staring at the computer screen and my vision is a little ‘off’, a blood check later and surprise surprise am 2.5, an even worse hypo than before. I proceed to the fridge where I have Lucozade for starters (half a bottle), a large twix for my main course and half a tube of Pringles for dessert. WAY TOO MUCH! Hypos are the devil, I’ve decided. I become possessed and would literally kill anyone who stands in the way of me getting more sugar when I am hypo! I turn into a monster! Eventually the shaking and sweating and disorientation settle and I attempt to calculate the amount of ‘extra food’ I have eaten and give myself the insulin to compensate…what a great day so far…NOT!
A banging headache follows the hypo and I feel knackered like I’ve not slept for a month. I go back to work but only manage half-an-hour because I feel so rubbish. It’s then that I remember that it’s Friday and that tonight I am out with friends for a Chinese, great, I JUST WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!
So I start getting ready, dose up on paracetamol for my headache and off I go to meet my girly friends.
I spend the next couple of hours eating LOTS of all-you-can eat Chinese (lets face it, it’s rude not to). HEAVEN for taste buds…but not really for diabetes. It’s a nightmare counting the carbs in the cuisine that has a gazillion different dishes all with different carb values. NIGHTMARE!
So I guess at my insulin as best I can and, sure enough, just two hours later my bloods have dropped to 4.0. Panicking I am going to have another hypo I drink half a bottle of Lucozade and eat a cereal bar.
After the meal we hit a club and I start to feel ‘heady’ and really thirsty. A finger prick later and my bloods are 25! I give myself insulin to counter act this and try to enjoy my night. My head is ‘whooshing’ for the next hour or so as my levels plummet back to within normal range.
I crawl home to bed in the early hours, I try to work out how much to eat to make sure the dancing/ alcohol doesn’t make me hypo in my sleep…I guess and fall asleep…another day living my life with diabetes over.
This is a particularly bad diabetes day I’ve described, and I feel I could write a whole year’s worth of possible days that have happened to me and still have loads to write. Diabetes is a challenge, it’s constant and affects sooo much but I have to be positive and learn to live with it or there’s a chance I would lose the plot! Big shout out and thank you to all my friends with diabetes who are there for me on ‘rant’ days!
Shelley is 26 and lives Kent, she is an Office Manager for Successful Diabetes. She was diagnosed with Type One seven years ago this July. Shelley runs a social group for 18-30’s with diabetes called Circle D which has been running for two years. This July Shelley will be running 10k for Diabetes UK – you can sponsor her if you fancy!