Tummy troubles

I’m jumping to the other side in this post and talking about my IBS, rather than my diabetes. Even though diabetes is known to be wrought with potential complications, there are times when I worry much more about IBS and the amount of aggro it causes me. 4 years after being diagnosed with IBS, I am still getting to grips with the condition, and trying to find a way to cope with it better.

A couple of years ago, I was referred to a dietitian who suggested I try the FODMAP diet. In it’s simplest form, the FODMAP diet cuts out 5 sugars that are most difficult to break down, after eating. These are FERMENTABLE, OLIGOSACCHARIDES, DISACCHARIDES, MONOSACCHARIDES AND POLOYS. The basis of the FODMAP diet is 6-8 weeks of eliminating all of these sugars. After this period, you begin to reintroduce the sugars, one at a time.

When I initially did this diet at the end of 2013, I didn’t find any sense of relief from cutting out all the foods that were supposedly troublesome. However, I’ve recently come across an online community of people who have I’m currently in my third week of eliminating the FODMAP foods. If it weren’t for all the stress I’ve been under recently, I think I’d be feeling good right now. I’ve not had any flare up’s caused by food, in the past 3 weeks. From stress, I’ve had 2 pretty uncomfortable flare ups – the ones that make you just want to hide under the duvet and sleep, until it goes.

Because FODMAPs are found in the majority of sauces and meal solutions, I’ve been doing a lot of my own cooking. I do like cooking but I don’t always have the time or energy to cook from scratch after finishing work. However, being on this diet has meant that I’ve had to make time to cook. And you know what, I’ve made some real tasty dinners! I’ve also made contact with some lovely people, with awesome recipes. Check out the lovely Amy – I made her lasagne with a twist, and chicken gumbo.

I feel like carrying on with the low FODMAP diet, seeing as I’ve had some good results so far. I am a little apprehensive about the reintroduction phase. I don’t want to jeopardise my stomach. Even though I’ve started the FODMAP on my own initiative, I do wish I could have the support of a dietitian for the reintroduction phase. A trip to the GP for a referral might be on the cards…


Dear Diabetes

Dear Diabetes, do you get pleasure from
Playing cluedo with my pancreas and I?
We don’t know whether we’re up in the clouds
Or way down low in the valleys of time.
You give us the shakes, you wear us down
You make us want to let it all out, cry like a babe.

Dear Diabetes, what do you expect
From my pancreas and I?
We wake up in the middle of the night
To tend to your needs.
Broken pancreas, broken sleep, what more
Will you take from us?

Dear Diabetes, why do you persist
In giving that extra push to my pancreas and I?
We did not ask for you, and still we treat you right.
Checking on this little broken pancreas,
Hoping no more damage will come.
Please diabetes, disappear tonight.

Dear Pancreas, I have heard your request.
Sadly I am bound to you, for there is no way to rid you of me.
Yes, you work hard, and I throw obstacles in your path.
But to be frank, I don’t know why I’m here.
Nobody likes me and quite rightly so.
But you are stuck with me and I won’t be ignored.

Dear Mind, I know I make your life hell.
I make you sad, I make you cry.
I make you wish I would just disappear.
I cannot and will not do that, I am here to stay.
Learn to accept me. Take in my highs and my lows.
I am diabetes and we’re in this for the ride.

Dear Diabetes, you do not see the true
Hurt that you cause my pancreas and I.
With you on our back, trying to lead a normal life.
You are invisible to others, they do not see
The pain and effort you demand.
24/7 you follow us around.

Dear Diabetes, we look after you.
We treat your highs and lows
We try to keep fit and eat healthy food.
We follow the rules to keep you at bay.
Give us a break, before you break us.

Dear Diabetes, what can we do
To get rid of you?


Confession time

Confession time
Ok, let’s get this out of the way. I have a confession to make. I’ve not done anything I shouldn’t have. What I have to confess to is the NOT doing something I should have.

Wednesday evening I noticed my pot of test strips was getting a little low. That’s fine, I thought. I have another pot in my drawer. *Insert big Family Fortunes ‘Incorrect’ buzzer noise* WRONG. Louise, you have run out of test strips and haven’t even ordered your next lot, yet. Silly girl.

I don’t quite know how it happened, but people forget. That’s ok. I’ll just put in my repeat prescription in tomorrow after work, and hope that they can speed it up. Sorted.

*Insert big Family Fortunes ‘Incorrect’ buzzer noise* WRONG.

I forgot that the surgery is only open until 1pm on a Thursday. I don’t really know why this is, but it’s been the case with the other surgeries I’ve been a part of. Louise, you should have dropped by the surgery on your way to work. Silly girl.
I should say that when I realised I was running low on test strips Wednesday, I had 3 strips left. I check my blood sugar levels at least 4 times a day.

You don’t need to be a mathematician to see where I’m going with this…

Friday afternoon. I manage to request a repeat prescription, but it won’t be ready until Monday, if I’m lucky. Great. No more test strips, and I have the weekend to get through.

I don’t like not being able to check my sugar levels regularly. I feel out of control and it makes me lazy. There is no way I can judge how much insulin to give myself for meals. I could be high before eating. I could be low. Louise, you’re a silly girl.

The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that I had 1 or 2 (or 3,4 or 5) ciders Saturday. It felt dangerous, but I knew I would more than likely be high, so I wasn’t too worried. Because I couldn’t check my levels, I had a healthy lunch and healthy dinner, both meals had very few carbs. Fingers crossed, I’ll be ok.

I decided to ask for a miracle, and I managed to find a test strip. My meter told me I was 10.5. I was chuffed at this. I’d been drinking alcohol, I’d eaten, and I was neither sky high or rocketing towards the bottom. Not pushing my luck, I stopped drinking, and had a glucose tablet, to keep me going overnight.

Let’s fast forward to today, Monday. I’ll confess that I haven’t checked my blood since Saturday. (Paul, if you read this, pleaaaaase don’t tell me off, I’ve done that already!) Luckily, I’m picking up my prescription after work today, so I can get back on track with checking my levels.

I do feel terribly naughty for my lack lustre attitude toward my diabetes, this weekend. Let it be a lesson to you all – always make sure you put in your prescription in advance!

EDIT: Life is never simple, but what comes next is probably karma for being so lack lustre. So, here’s how the excitement continued yesterday. My plan was to pick my prescription up from the surgery, and get my test strips, have dinner and happily make my way to my zumba class. Oh no, how could I have been so naive, thinking all would go smoothly. Silly me. What actually happened was a lot more time consuming, frustrating but funny to watch if you saw me.

My surgery had somehow elected my prescriptions to be sent straight to pharmacy, to save me time. Sure, it would have saved me time if they had informed me, first! It would have saved me time if they had told me it would be taken to the pharmacy near where I work. It would have saved time if I hadn’t driven to the wrong Tesco or caught up in traffic, whichever way I went.

Moral of the story – always make sure you put in your prescription in advance!

Connecting connections

The very first inspiration for Diabetes Blog Week was to help connect our blogging community, and that continues to be the most important reason it’s held every year. So let’s help foster and continue those connections as we wrap up another Dblog Week. Share a link to a new blog you’ve found or a new friend you’ve made. Or pick a random blog off of the Participant’s List, check it out and share it with us. Let’s take some time today to make new friends.

So, this week has been great. I’ve read so many posts, with people thinking the same things I do, about my diabetes. One blogger I’ve taken to, is someone I’ve never spoken to, had never heard of before this week. I don’t know much about him, except that he has diabetes and lives on the other side of the world.

I’d like to give some recognition to Frank

I’d also like to say ‘hi’ to the beatiful Alanna who has also been posting this week.

If it weren’t for Diabetes Blog Week, I wouldn’t have read all these wonderful posts, written by truly amazing people. Just imagines, all these people have diabetes, they go through the same highs and lows that I do, and the best thing is, we’re in this together!

Thank you so much to Karen for taking the time and effort to keep Diabetes Blog Week going for yet another year. It’s so comforting to be connected to so many people in such a short period of time.

A work of art

Day 6 Favorites and Motivations – Link List.
If you have been blogging for a while, what is your favorite sentence or blogpost that you have ever written? Is it diabetes related or just life related?

With my blog, I tend to write as I think. I sometimes don’t stop to read it over (perhaps I should) before publishing. The one post I’ve written and taken the most care of, is this post from way back in 2013. I spent a lot of preparing this post, and was so happy that people commented on their experiences, whether they be similar or in disagreement.

I have always said that I write this blog as a king of therapy. It’s an added extra that people take the time to read my posts, and even leave comments. I’ve met some great people through the online community, and I just hope that I can continue to write engaging posts and connect with people in a similar situation!


Day 5: Taking a cue from Adam Brown’s recent post, write a post documenting what you eat in a day! Feel free to add links to recommended recipes/shops/whatever. Make it an ideal day or a come-as-you-are day – no judgments either way.

I have a love/hate relationship with food.
I love going to restaurants.
I love trying new foods.
I love cooking (I’m a little lazy, I’ll admit that).
I love finding a food that tastes good, and doesn’t irritate my IBS…
I hate that choosing what to eat at a restaurant turns into a chore.
I hate how much stress comes from making sure I eat something that won’t lead me to curling up in pain.
I hate how I have to juggle my food choices, taking into consideration my diabetes and IBS.

So you see. Eating stresses me out, which causes my IBS to flare up. On the other hand, I love it when I eat something that doesn’t aggravate me stomach, and my BG levels are in range 2 hours post meal.

So after all this, what DO I eat?

Generally, I eat porridge for breakfast. Breakfast is a meal I’ve never enjoyed. I used to try my best to skip it when I was at school. A breakfast bar (that was coated in sugar) would be pushing the limit. I do try to have breakfast everyday, to give myself the best possible start to the day.

For lunch, I vary between a gluten free sandwich with cold lunch meat, or a salad. I’ll have a small chunk of cheese with the sandwich, and a piece of fruit. I’ll usually eat the fruit first, to get it out the way (I’d rather have a plate of vegetables than a piece of fruit!)…

At 3pm I generally have a snack – oatcakes, a piece of fruit, popcorn or rick cakes.
Dinner is where I like to be most adventurous. The only thing is, when I finish work, I just want dinner, and be done with my day. Exciting dinners are saved for the weekend. So for my dinners, I’ll generally have a meat, vegetable and some sort of potato.

I rarely eat any snacks after dinner. Wow, looking at that, it seems like I don’t really eat a lot.

I like to think I deal with my relationship between food and diabetes quite well. I know where I’m at with my insulin ratios, and my post meal readings are usually pretty good. I’m happy with where I am, I just need to sort my IBS!

Stop judging me

Last week I posted about how anxious I get in public, when I am addressing my diabetes. Injecting in public makes me sweat. It makes me want to run away and hide. I feel like everyone is watching me when I whip out my diabetes kit. Watching me. Judging me. I feel like a criminal, and people are watching me, waiting to take my next move. My next move with that dodgy looking needle. The needle that delivers insulin, because my pancreas is broken. I’m not a criminal, I feel like yelling to those watchful eyes.

It’s really quite amazing, when I hear what people truly believe about diabetes. The things I’ve heard in my office, have made me chuckle and angry, simultaneously.

“I don’t want you to give me diabetes”

“This chocolate bar is going to give me diabetes”

“Why have you got diabetes? Only fat people get diabetes”

As funny as it is to hear these comments, it’s worrying to see that this is the view of people who may not have any experience of diabetes. Sure, they might not have been diagnosed with diabetes, but it is estimated that over 600,000 people in the UK have the condition, without knowing it. Scary statistic.

It is these comments that show just how little is known about diabetes. Is it no wonder so many people are potentially living with diabetes, without knowing it?

For those who are living with the condition, wouldn’t it be nice if they could get on with their lives, like normal people, without feeling like they’re being judged? Any sort of stereotyping is frustrating to hear. The last thing I want when I’m trying to keep up with the rollercoaster of diabetes, is people making comments about how I have the ‘bad’ kind of diabetes because I’m type 1, or that I obviously ate too many sweets as a child – I didn’t eat a lot of sweet things when I was a child, my mum always ended up sneaking the sweets out of my Easter egg, because I took so long to eat them!

Diabetes is hard enough, without these sorts of comments and judgments. How about we do something to educate EVERYONE about diabetes – not just those who are already living with the condition.