Windows

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. That they show emotion and react instantly. One can peer into another’s windows but do they really see. What if the windows are closed. What if the blinds are drawn. Shutters down. 

Windows aren’t always clean. Smudges of reality painted provocatively. Curtains of emotion hang loosely at times and can be drawn too quickly. 

My eyes are blue. My lenses are plastic implants. Sometimes the colour blue runs. Sometimes. 

We see what we want to see and choose what we like to see and what we don’t. Eyes wide shut. Windows can be dressed. Things can be missed in the blink of an eye. We watch and we are watched.

Wide eyes. Closed eyes. Open to view eyes. Crying eyes. Happy eyes. Desperate eyes. Calm eyes. Knowing eyes. The all seeing eye. 

Windows wide open shut tight with bright light. We can close them or open them. We can look through and into them. We can see if we choose to.

There is an interesting quote by Pauli Coelho : “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them”

Windows, mirrors, eyes. How we use them is unique. Silent wonder. At times in awe. To see is a gift that most take for granted. The light and the darkness hidden in the shadows of the eyes. The look that speaks a thousand words in one stare. Use them wisely as you never know who is looking. 

Glistening windows inside and out. See them, respect them as you also never know what they hide or mask. If they smile then smile back and if they don’t then smile anyway. 

The hole in the middle of the cd

I suffer with depression. I have done for many years. I have Type1 Diabetes. I have had this for many many years. They are separate conditions for me. I didn’t choose to become diabetic and I didn’t choose to become depressed. My diabetes didn’t cause my depression and my depression did not cause my diabetes. I don’t miss being non diabetic because I cannot remember anything other than growing up with and always living with my Type1 diabetes. Or am I in denial? I’ve talked about my diabetes in my previous blogs but I haven’t broached the subject of depression yet. It’s a personal subject to discuss. How it affects me differs with how it affects other people as does the way we individually deal or at times don’t deal with it.
At times I feel empty. Empty like the hole in the middle of a cd. When that cd gets stuck and repeats the same bit over and over oh that’s annoying. The guilt that consumes me when I feel utter loneliness yet I’m surrounded by supportive and loving family and friends. I can feel fine for ages then out of the blue I will burst into tears for no apparent reason. That sinking lowly drowning feeling is an area I dislike finding myself in and it’s hard very hard to dig a way out. I have flown over the cuckoos nest. I have felt desperate and helpless. It’s very hard to write honest thoughts and opinions about depression. How it has affected me. Who it makes me become on different days at different times. How open should I be? Well if I can’t be completely honest in this blog then there really is no point writing it. You are able to use Tip-Ex on paper and a delete button on a computer to remove sentences and words that you choose to omit. But there is no Tip-Ex or delete button for depression or for Type1 diabetes either. I get annoyed with my Type1 diabetes but I don’t think I get depressed over it. For me they are separate things that go alongside each other. I get annoyed when people leave my front gate open too!
Depression is like a spider and it’s web. At times I find myself climbing the wall to get out of it! I reach the top corner of the wall and effortlessly remove the web over and over but never the actual spider that’s hiding there somewhere unseen plotting it’s next web. I count myself very lucky that I’m here. Many years ago I was at a dark point, the point of no return and I could not see clearly. I wrote my letters. I attempted. I did not succeed. Was it a cry for help or an actual attempt ? Well the white coats decided. After days in hospital I came home. I came home. Were my actions selfish ? Some think so others disagree. Am I being too honest here?
I want to hide away from the world at times. Shut the door and turn out the lights. I have gone to bed with tears in my eyes and woken in the morning with tear stained cheeks. Now I am able to look at my problems and issues and I compare them to the starving children in the world and war ridden countries consumed in fatality and devastation. Our world can be a cruel place to be.
One thing I’ve found that has helped me when I’m combating depression is to pick up a pen and write. Sometimes it’s just words sometimes sentences or paragraphs. It enables me to get my feelings out. It’s a release and it’s therapeutic for me. I talk about it now to my family and friends I try not to hide it when I feel down. It’s not easy but the more I try the easier it has become to share. Having the ability to talk openly is difficult and only successful when the person your talking to is really listening and yes I said listening I didn’t say understanding as being listened to is what counts you then understand or try to together. And smiling whilst crying inside is possible.
As human beings we fret, fear, cry and scream. We lie we hide our feelings. We make mistakes we have regrets. We feel emotional and physical pain. We deal with things differently in our own way. I am unable to wave a magic wand for my depression or my Type1 diabetes or for anyone else’s. Life is full of hurdles we have to jump and overcome. Sometimes we knock them over as we jump. Sometimes we sail over them. That is life and no one should presume or judge. Never judge a book by its cover they say and I don’t believe we are all truly open books. Read and learn. Read and discover. Read and laugh and cry. Read and share. Read and help and solve if that is an attainable goal. Just try to keep your book open as unwritten pages are waiting all the time.

Look at me I’m Type1 D

This blog needs to be read or actually sung along to with the tune of ‘Look at me I’m Sandra Dee’ from the film Grease in mind (to be fully appreciated). Type1 D is short for Type1 Diabetes/Diabetic whatever you prefer…The you tube link is at end as yes I actually sing it😉

Look at me I’m Type 1 D
Lousy pancreas challenged me!
Won’t go to bed till I’ve tested you see
I can’t because I have D

Watch it hey hypo go away
I won’t tolerate your ways
Won’t come a loss even
Glucose tablets found their way to help hypo me

I don’t always understand
Or want to care
I try not to pull out my hair
I get ill from one missed bolus

Keep your filthy ketones
Off my tired bones
Would you pull that crap with anyone else?

As for you high carby food
I know what you wanna do!
You’ve got a crust I’m looking at with lust
I’m just plain Type1 D

Sugar sugar let me be!
Keep that rise far from me!
Just keep your cool
When I’m starting to drool

Hey don’t be fooled
I’m Type1 D!http://youtu.be/ZPmcoJ1sy2g

What is Diabetes?

Who am I to answer that question? Diabetes is unique, personal and differently similar for us all. This blog is my outlook on type1 diabetes, how I feel personally about it.
Diabetes is an unanswered question that breeds countless unanswered questions. Diabetes is ‘Pandora’s box’. It is an itinerary of reactions and counter actions. It is the ‘Hotel California’ as in the words of The Eagles “you can check-out any time you like but you can never leave!”.
Diabetes can neither be defined or define. It is an Achilles heel at times. It is a mathematical education with no certificate or recognition. It is an education of its own. It is a jigsaw that makes me feel like I’m a character in a ‘Saw’ film because within these films one is forced to play a game, a game with rules. Live or die play the game.
Diabetes is faceless yet it has the ability to rear it’s ugly head and can be both recognised and unrecognised time after time. It is presumed and often misunderstood. It is accepted but never wanted. It is a type and a stereotype . It is a constant.
Diabetes is the red wine spilt on the cream rug. It is the item that is never going to end up in the lost item box. It is the swimming pool that doesn’t allow armbands. It is the vampire that invited itself in. It is the unwanted gift that can’t be returned to the shop.
Whatever you decide diabetes is, it is real. It is real for myself, my family and friends. It is real for every child, teenager and adult that lives with it. It is real for their parents and family. It is for many people our reality however we describe it.
Diabetes is a never ending story without the cuteness of the dragon in the film of the same title. Diabetes is courage, determination, dedication, patience and frustration all rolled into one. It is an enigma of emotions. It is hard work! Diabetes is all I’ve ever known it’s a way of life for me. Diabetes is waiting for the cure…….

Yesterday and today

-8 blood glucose tests via fingers on left hand
-1 hypo
-1 suspend via pump (suspension of insulin delivery during hypo)
-4 extra blood glucose tests due to hypo
-2 correction insulin doses to try to maintain a good range
-3 bolus insulin presses on pump for food eaten through day
-3 carb counting events
-1 insulin pump set change (done every 3 days)
-1 five minute episode of flicking air bubbles out
-countless looks at insulin pump screen checking sensor graph
– approx 10 sighs (mixture of frustration and relief)
– unknown amount of smiles/frowns (but they occurred)

Plus
-no post ( is that a good or bad thing?)
-took my dog for booster vaccine and walks
-visited my nan who no longer recognises us and is living in her own bubble but aren’t we all to an extent? Think my hypo occurred from this visit due to the stress of happiness and sadness of situation.

So that was my ‘yesterday’. Whatever today or tomorrow brings the things I know that will definitely be included are blood glucose tests and insulin. Everything else is for now yet to happen. Life is short and can include some ‘ bitter pills’ at times so make the most of it and count your blessings. Could be a lottery win soon! There sure will be for someone so never saying never! Sometimes events during the day put things into perspective. Some days are a ‘ walk in the park ‘ and others are difficult and a strain on our emotions which play an integral part on life and my diabetes life.

Listening to the track ‘Birdhouse in your soul’ by They might be Giants I smiled in recognition:
” I’m your only friend
I’m not your only friend
But I’m a little glowing friend
But really I’m not actually your friend
But I am.”
So (and yes the following pun is intended) ‘ not to put a finer point on it’ Im with you 24/7 diabetes as your the main ‘bee in my bonnet’ but my mum brought me round from hypos on many occasions when I was younger by using honey… How ironic? If the cap fits wear it with style. My birdhouse sings and ok I have to pass it a microphone sometimes and other times I’d like to mute it but together we will get through today and tomorrow…..

Hot Hypo’s

The recent and present weather has been hot! Sun, sun, sun. The heat from the big smiling shinning yellowness in the sky is at times a hindrance for people with diabetes for their blood glucose levels. Some of us find our blood glucose levels soar off on a jet plane and some find they are constantly dipping themselves in the bottom of the pool! I find personally my blood glucose levels go low and I go into hypo alert mode in the heat. So far in the past few days I’ve experienced quite a lot of hypos and my lowest levels have dipped to within the figure 2 mmol range. It’s quite difficult and annoying as it’s a constant worry with these blood glucose levels being so temperamental in the heat.
I haven’t let it stop me from going out and enjoying the sunshine. I try and think well I know from previous experience of this sunshine and heat that I’m likely to get low so I just try and be prepared. Keeping an ever watchful eye on what my blood glucose levels are doing (or going!). Over the weekend I’ve spent time with family walking around castle grounds enjoying the sights, music, funfair and the odd ice lolly!
Diabetes can try to get in the way of things but so does our weather at times! I’ve been caught in the rain without my umbrella but I try my best not to be caught out in a hyper or hypo situation without my diabetes supplies.
There are no factor protection creams to stop our hypo or hyper reactions but providing we are aware of the possibilities and prepared then I say just go out and enjoy it if you want to ( wear sun cream to stop any burning though! ). This sun may not be here tomorrow or next week and it could be a long time knowing the British weather before it puts in an appearance again! I’m determined to make the most of it and deal with whatever temperament my levels decide to play at.

Chloe

Last night for the first ever time, I decided to sleep without my insulin pump clipped to an item of clothing (of the nightwear variety at the time of decision). I decided to allow it out for the night if you like. I’ve always worn it either attached via its clip to my bra or jeans, trousers, skirt, shorts and pj’s. I’ve recently noticed through the #DOC (Diabetes Online Community) that not all other people appear to use a clip during the night. So I wanted to give it a go and try for myself. After four and a half years of pumping I was apprehensive of letting it loose. I’ve become accustomed to and like the secure feeling that I get having it clipped onto my clothes.
I also decided that I didn’t want my insulin pump to be an ‘it’ any longer. Heathcliff the main character from ‘Wuthering Heights’ had been referred to as an ‘it’ I recall from my A’level days upon his introduction to the family and though Heathcliff is an unforgettably complex kind of guy I didn’t want to call my pump after him. I’ve often thought about names but never really found one that I felt suited my pump. As an avid lover of the TV series ’24’ it came down to one of three, Jack or Bauer or Chloe (ok O’Brian was considered also). The deciding factor for me was the infamous line Mr Kiefer Sutherland uses as Jack Bauer to Chloe during the 24 series… “Dammit Chloe!”. Not because I shout at my pump in frustration ( ok occasionally I do I admit ) but because I often hear myself say “Dammit!” When my blood glucose level is too high or low and I begin the programming and fixing of this together with my pump. I’ll press you deliver. For Jack Bauer to get through his next 24hours in ‘real time’ he needs Chloe’s help so ok I’m no Jack Bauer but I need my pumps therefor now Chloe’s help too. Hence my pump is named.
Anyway last night I told Chloe to work hard with me and not to misbehave while out for the night she had never been a field agent before! My strict advice was not to get herself tangled up in an unnecessary mess! These instructions were to be duly noted not knotted. So I cut the apron clip so to speak. I let her fly the nest well only so far, as my cannula tubing wouldn’t allow her to become completely lost so I was safe in that knowledge at least.
I woke this morning and Chloe was with me. Safe and sound. No near disasters. Unlike the counter terrorism unit agency in the 24 series my CTU ( cannula tubing unit ) had maintained contact all night. She was by my side although slightly hogging the duvet! Loyal and faithful. My companion for the next and the next following 24 hours which inevitably will as usual be taking place in ‘ real time’ every time. Now should I have a naming ceremony ? With cake to celebrate her naming and surviving the night unharmed ? Would she appreciate it ? Not sure but I know she will certainly deal with it! Chloe always has.

My Diaversary

Today is my ‘diaversary’. At 1.30pm 33 years ago today ( 23rd July 1981 ) aged 3 years old I was officially diagnosed with Type1 diabetes. I know the exact time as it is written in my hospital records and even though the pages are ageing the handwritten notes from that day have stood the test of time so far!
I often wonder when my diabetes actually began prior to my diagnosis date? Was it days, weeks or months or longer? Ok it wasn’t days. It certainly was at least weeks as I had been noticeably drinking a ridiculous amount for weeks on end. This was the key factor that led to my mum taking me to visit the GP that morning .But how long had it been before the symptoms started to appear? When exactly did my immune system decide to attack my Beta cells ? Where and when was that design placed on my body’s blue print? These questions will never be answered I guess? Are they important? Do they matter? My diagnosis was the effectual beginning in the reality of my diabetes journey.
So what have I learnt over my three decades with my Type1 diabetes ? Well it’s been a bumpy ride! Most importantly I am a person. I am human and if I’m not then please don’t ‘beam me up Scotty’ because I haven’t phoned home yet…..There have been tears, fears, bitterness, incomprehension, exasperation, tolerance, intolerance, pain, joy and eventually acceptance.
I’ve walked the tight rope on the hypo line and danced with devil in the hyper circus. I’ve gone on a kamikaze into minute numbers and rocketed into outer space too….super speed in both directions! I’ve injected into bruises and screamed like a shrieking siren. I’ve unhooked my insulin pump and then moments later got out of bed while helplessly watching it sky dive towards the floor with a powerful jolt feeling the immense tug and swearing I’ll never do that again. I’ve even vowed I’ll unscrew the door handles off every door in my home! I’ve flicked those air bubbles once, twice, five times, ten. I’ve washed many a white top and taken out shares in stain removers due to numerous blood glucose finger fountain displays. I’ve had my ‘Yabadabadoo!’ moments when my HbA1c result is really good or better than expected and I kind of resemble Droopy dog if my result isn’t what I expect or want…..
I’ve witnessed glass syringes, testing powders, colour charts, dip sticks, strips long and short, plastic syringes, blood glucose machines big and small, hand written blood glucose diaries, USB data diaries, pen injections, clicks, bleeps, HbA1c results given months later at your next appointment changing to instant results, insulin pumps, CGM sensors, improving technology all the time. (These are just a handful of things I’ve mentioned) How things have changed since I was 3 years old!
After all back in the sixties way before I was born when I was a twinkling star Bob Dylan sang ‘The Times They Are A Changin’. They certainly are. Changing for the better for diabetes technology and management so here’s looking forward to continuing positive steps for us all and a delicious slice of cake for me. I would normally share but as it’s my diaversary I’m going to scoff the lot!

Who am I ?

I am a Mother, a Daughter, a Sister, an Auntie, a Granddaughter and a Godmother. I am a best friend, a friend and aquaintance. I am a memory and a future. Oh I nearly forgot I am a Type1 diabetic or should I say I have Type1 diabetes. This term ‘diabetic’….Is it a noun or an adjective? It’s used as both. I don’t have a preference. Type1 diabetes is part of my life. It has accompanied me for over three decades. The terms ‘diabetic’ and ‘diabetes’ do not define who I am. They are both made up of eight letters so in a nut shell are they not one in the same? It is part of me. Ok a majorly humongous part but it isn’t the only thing about me that there is. And neither is it an ‘it’.
Some people with diabetes feel like they have a label. That there said label is divided as the term ‘diabetes’ is an umbrella term. There are types of diabetes don’t forget. … Tyoe1, Type2, gestational….So does that make me a ‘Type’ plus a ‘label’ or a type of label? Then there is they way you choose to treat your diabetes (Tyoe1 in my case) by MDI ( multiple daily injections) or by means of an insulin pump. I’ve done both and I’ve chosen the pump to stay with me. So I’m a pumper too. That is my personal decision. We are all individuals. We all have a choice. We can be what we want to be.
Society labels people. We as a society have done this over time to ourselves. I have Type1 diabetes it does not have me, except for 24 hours of every single day where I have to think about what I’m doing, eating, carb counting, working out insulin doses and of course continually checking my blood glucose levels. But all of that is only part of me and my life.
So who am I ? I am Kate Louise. Born in the 70’s a child of the 80’s, turned into an adult in the 90’s and gave birth to my daughter in the Millennium. I laugh. I cry. I bleed. I can be spontaneous, crazy and wild. I am a cat and dog lover and I love snakes too (just could never bring myself to feed them dead mice so stopped myself from becoming an owner of one). See I can be sensible ! I am a wind up merchant and love it when someone gets their own back on me.. Touché ! I can listen, empathise and advise. I am an ex-wife, an ex lover. I am human ( I think!) I have stories to share and secrets to keep. I have regrets, I have wishes. I can be a pain the backside too. I can be naively confident at times. I have blonde hair and yes when I do something rather silly I am the first to describe myself as ‘a blonde’ why? Because I can laugh at myself. Because I can say it too and I have no problem with this, after all I know I can change a fuse in a plug!
I am me. I have my diabetes and other conditions that join me on my journey through life. I am Kate Louise so label me what you wish. I am my own person, myself and I are content with this.
On my headstone there won’t be a reference to my diabetes, or my achievements or mistakes made and learnt from. It will hold my name and relationship to the family I love. Plus my date of birth and the date that is yet to come. That is all. That is enough. It will read Kate Louise and that is what is important. That for me is ok because like the song says ‘I am what I am’. I am Kate Louise always have been always will be….

Sisters

It has been said that ‘A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost’ . This is very true however the word ‘childhood’ can also be replaced with the word ‘life’ as for my sister and I together memories forever blossom.
I have a little sister, by little I mean ‘younger’ because in actual fact she out grew me in height a long long time ago. So that makes me the short older one mmmm I’m not sure I quite take to that description but c’est la vie! Sam was born a year after I was diagnosed with Type1 Diabetes. So in reality despite the fact I am the pancreaticly challenged one she too has like me grown up with diabetes dominating the household. She has endured a lot from me over the years not necessarily due to my diabetes just due to the fact I was the older one so despite only four and a bit years age difference I always knew better because I was always right (obviously).
I guess on occasions I took things too far (not always when I was having a hypo either!) for example once when we were younger we watched the film Arachnophobia together. I decided it would be a fun idea to go grab a handful of sultanas from the kitchen and hurl them at my sister whilst screaming “ahhh spiders!!”. Her reaction resulted in her knees empounding her nose and her nose decided to bleed. I was sent to my room. I wasn’t being cruel I was simply teaching her not to be afraid of flying spiders….I’d engineered some fruitful pranks but engineering a nose bleed ? Only my little sister could come up with that!
Diabetes never invaded our relationship if anything it made us closer it brought us together. Despite all my pranks over the years we care deeply about each other. We grew up together with my diabetes. It is part of me part of her and part of the family. She’s witnessed me happy, sad, hypo and hyper. She’s seen me quiet and quite mad. She taught my daughter to burp the alphabet. A favour I’ve yet to return…..
I made my sister Auntie Sam and she made me Auntie Kate a few years later ok maybe ‘crazy’ Auntie Kate but there’s always one isn’t there. A few months ago my niece was drinking a lot of fluids and some uncertainty over took us all as to wether I would be sharing the diabetes after all these years. I am the only one in my family that has Type 1 diabetes it’s only ever been me. I didn’t want to share it not because I’m selfish but because I wouldn’t want anyone so close to me to have to determine every aspect of their daily life because of their diabetes. I was able to talk it through with my sister and help try to calm her worries even if the worst happened they both had me who was tip top educated in the art of diabetes. Been there done it, doing it, got the T-shirt. My niece was taken to the GP for a test and thankfully her blood glucose levels were perfect as perfect as she is herself. The relief was outstanding. We both have many stories from our years together as sisters to share with our children as a united family. Yes diabetes is part of some of these stories but it’s not the only ingredient.
Really the only downside to our sisterhood is the fact that we can’t lend each other’s shoes ( she’s the taller one so work out why for yourself) bags clothes etc there’s no problem. We’ve gained a sisterly joint taste of Stilton on baguettes, white wine and vodka with diet coke. She has climbed through a window while I was having a hypo, turned up at the hospital after an operation I had undergone and ensured my sliding scale was promptly put up. She’s been there for me and me her. A sisters love is unconditional except if I’m having a hypo I get the jelly babies no arguing!
The song ‘Sisters’ sums us up with the lyrics ‘All kinds of weather, we stick together, the same in the rain or sun. Two different faces, but in tight places we think and act as one’.

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