The interweb gets a bad name when it comes to health – you can’t trust it; the information on it isn’t checked; it’s dangerous to take health advice from people you’ve never met and whose qualifications you don’t know; and finally it’s full of nutters claiming you can cure diabetes by eating radish (for the record, you can’t).
I’m a sensible girl so why have I got myself mixed up with something so dangerous? A couple of years ago I read an article in a magazine (paper, remember that? It came before the interweb) about CGMS. It sounded interesting so I started digging around online. I did the vast majority of the research into my pump and CGMS online – from reading about the product, to understanding what the NHS criteria were for funding pumps. Then I used it to source the research that showed it works to support the business case I was wrote to get the NHS to fund it.
But it was when I got the pump that the interweb really came into its own. When I knew it was on its way I found a great insulin pump forum in Canada full of people who use pumps. They recommended a good book to get me started (paper again, it’s not dead yet!). I bought the book online because wasn’t available in the UK, read it and by the time I went to my pump training I had a pretty good idea of what was going on.
I’ve never asked someone online how much insulin I should take or whether I should reduce my basal rate before I go to bed. But I have asked whether they find Special K breakfast cereal sends them through the roof for no good reason (answer, yes, and adding almonds to it helps slow it down because the fat slows the carbs down – genius).
I’ve also asked how I can wear my pump and go white water rafting (answer, buy an Aquapac waterproof case for it – genius).
Without asking I’ve picked up some ideas on how I might deal with my dawn phenomenon and some tips on how to bolus for pizza. I’ve also learnt that lots of you use those little kiddie juice boxes to treat hypos – genius. How did I survive for 25 years without having them hidden under my bed?
But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learnt is that everybody has those days where you’ve done everything by the book but you’re a 16 for no reason and nothing you do will bring it down. Or those days where you seem to no longer need insulin as you’re constantly hypo and nothing you do will get you above a 4. I’ve learnt that sometimes they just happen. Because it’s Tuesday. Because there’s a full moon and the wind is blowing from the east. Because that’s just diabetes for you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.