‘Tips’

Someone out there knows that I’ve got diabetes. Well obviously. I know that you know that I’ve got diabetes and that my family and friends know that I’ve got diabetes. What I mean is that someone who is responsible for the direction-of-junk-into-my-cute-old-style-snail-mail-letter-box knows that I’ve got diabetes.

How else can you explain a twenty six year old getting catalogues full of ‘Special Shoes’, ‘Walk-in Baths’ and even, gulp, ‘Aids for Erectile Dysfunction’. Yes, really. Despite the fact that I am, (or at least was the last time I checked) a woman and no man even lives at my address, (unless he is hiding in the back of a cupboard somewhere and I don’t know it) I get these with frightening frequency. I hope I’m not being insensitive to the needs of those affected here, but the marketing people have gone way wrong somewhere if they’re writing to me!

Sarah one my best friend called up me saying she got into tonsils woes. She said the doctor advised her for tonsillectomy. She was after plenty of information from net and got confused. Sarah read that post tonsillectomy worries like bleeding and dehydration. She was desperate in finding how to get rid of tonsil stones. As I read about Jennie’s Tonsil Stone Cure Helper blog I advised her to look into http://tonsilstoneshelper.com/ which later she endorsed it helped a lot in answering most of her questions. What I believe is “Tips” must be given to the people who in need.

Today, amongst the bills, demands for money, bills and more demands for more money, was a gem with ‘Travel Tips For People With Diabetes’ emblazoned across the top, along with pictures of syringes, bottles of insulin and a blood glucose meter. I suppose, to the people who put this together, these things define diabetes. Personally I’d prefer to see pretty pictures of palm fringed beaches. I have enough of insulin and blood glucose meters on a daily basis. But I digress.

The leaflet was packed full of oh-so-useful completely useless information.

Take this one, for example:

Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of bottled water
The implies that either
a) you purposefully allow yourself to become dehydrated when you are not travelling. This is supposed to be a ‘Travel Tip’ remember? Or
b) that you would allow yourself to become dehydrated when travelling if you didn’t have diabetes along for the ride.

I hate being patronised.

Let’s see what else is in there.

Once you arrive, make sure you put on your Diabetes ID bracelet or necklace
Is it just me, or is this a little daft? Wouldn’t it be better to wear the ID whilst you are travelling as well? This advice is also drastically at odds with the best one of the lot, the one that, if I’m honest, really inspired this post:

Don’t travel alone if you have diabetes
Right.

Good job this all arrived now. I’m heading off to San Francisco in a couple of weeks. As long as, that is, I can find a friend to go with me at this short notice. I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own. I’ve got diabetes you know.

Bah!

Twenty Three Things

This comes from Kassie  whom I must thank, as it has provided me with an opportunity to lift the mood a little from some of my recent posts where diabetes, and everything else for that matter, has clearly been getting on top of me. Time to be more positive: Twenty three pretty cool things I’ve done since I was diagnosed with diabetes.

  1. Went away from home alone at the tender age of eight – to diabetes camp, of course!
  2. Set two county athletics records
  3. Got straight A/A*’s in my GCSEs
  4. Passed four A-Levels , winning a science prize along the way
  5. Was accepted in to Dental School
  6. Moved to London and lived it up as a Fresher, burning the candle at both ends and managing not to let diabetes get in the way
  7. Worked at diabetes camp
  8. Survived meningitis, and the subsequent diagnosis of epilepsy
  9. Survived encephalitis
  10. Obtained my first degree – a BSc(Hons) in Pharmacology with Biomaterials Science
  11. Fought prejudice to continue with my dental training
  12. Started pumping, and really took control of my diabetes
  13. Organised a National Conference for over 200 dental students, raising over £15000 in the process
  14. Started living alone
  15. Fell in love (cool) and had my heart well and truly broken (not so cool.) Later on I took my own turn at doing the breaking (not cool either)
  16. Was elected as President of a National Student Organisation, and travelled all over the UK.
  17. Travelled to many places in Europe and North America, sometimes alone and sometimes with great friends, making fantastic memories.
  18. Graduated from Dental School and registered as a Dentist with the General Dental Council
  19. Attended an ADA Day Camp in Houston, Texas where all the kids thought my accent was “Cool” (That’s a cool thing, huh?!)
  20. Moved to Plymouth in Devon for a year, despite not knowing a soul in that part of the country, and successfully completed a dental training year there, despite spending much of the time with my leg in plaster
  21. Achieved my lowest ever A1c of 5.2
  22. Established a career in dental politics, alongside clinical practice
  23. Started this blog – is that “cool”? You tell me…

If you want to play along, the rules are simple. Number of cool things = number of years with diabetes.

Dispatches From the Home Front: Failure, or Success?

I had an experience at home a few days ago that contrasted somewhat sharply against my hospital experience last week. I traded blood sugars that wouldn’t come down for those that wouldn’t come up. This is by no means a new experience, and I’ve written about it before, but this time it just seemed more intense and had an outcome I can never recall reaching before.

I’ve looked back on it searching for the reasons, the triggers. Trying, I guess, to find fault. To find an explanation. I’d had a deeply stressful day and spent much of it running low. I’d been exhausted and in pain from my foot, so I didn’t eat much dinner. Didn’t eat many carbs, beyond pure glucose, all day in fact.

Until 11pm, when a quick pre-bed check revealed a symptomless 2.7 (47) In the next hour I consumed:

A whole bottle of Lucozade
Two tubes of Glucogel
At least six Choc Chip Cookies

And in all that time my blood sugars stayed between 1.6 (29) and 2.8 (50). For a whole hour, while I was pouring carbs into myself, my blood sugar stayed that low. I sat in the dark, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. It finally came with a reading of 5.8 (105) Only the little light didn’t get any brighter. In fact, within moments it seemed the light was already fading and that control of the situation was slipping back out of my hands. Just a few minutes later I’d dropped down to 1.3 (23)

I was at home alone, with my leg in plaster. And so came my unusual outcome. I self administered a Glucagon Kit. One of the kits that usually sits in my fridge until I realise it has expired. One of the kits I had only previously had given to me as a child, or during a seizure.

I can’t remember ever having received Glucagon whilst conscious before.

But I guess with just about the last strain of lucidity that I had, I figured it would be better to get it in to myself before I lost consciousness, since I was going to have to be the one to give it.

Around half an hour later, when my blood sugar had risen to 9.5 (171) several thoughts were busy running around my head:

I wondered was there any point in eating the carbs you are supposed to eat following a glucagon injection – in order to replenish glycogen stores and ensure a later dose of glucagon would work – given that I had just used my only kit and given that I knew I’d probably be seeing anything I ate again, later that night. (Sorry, gross)

I wondered what on earth had happened to the more than one hundred grams of carbs I had fuelled my body with in the preceding ninety minutes.

But most of all I wondered whether getting into the situation where I needed to use a Glucagon  Kit represented a failure, or whether having used it, and so avoided a potentially bigger problem, actually heralded the evening a success.

I’m definitely leaning towards the latter. And trying really hard to eradicate this ‘failure’ word from my vocabulary where diabetes is concerned, because deep down inside I know it doesn’t belong there.

Dispatches From the Hospital Frontline: Failure

Ok, not quite true. Not literally from the hospital.

Fortunately I’m at home right now despite the planned 24 hour stay in hospital for the surgery on my ankle turning instead to five days. (Plenty of stories for another time)

Then, Friday night saw me in the Accident and Emergency Department of St. Thomas’ Hospital. (Before anyone gets picky about my punctuation, that is how they spell it.)

I was feeling generally lousy, with throbbing pain in one of my six inch incisions, (I’m going to look good in sandals!) a feeling like a red hot poker was being shoved under my plaster cast, and with blood sugars that stubbornly refused to stay down despite three times my usual amounts of insulin and all the usual pump problems excluded. The logical step was to get the cast off and check for wound infection.

So I spent a couple of hours in the stuffy waiting room with an assorted variety of drunks and fight victims for company and the Poland vs Ecuador World Cup match on a giant screen: a reflection of living in a football obsessed society!

The good news: no wound infection.

The bad news: I was heading for DKA.

Ten seconds after uttering the words “I feel like I’ve got an amazingly high blood sugar” the reply came “You’re not wrong”

22.2 (400)

And I was spilling ketones.

The doctor was lovely. Efficient, but with enough time to listen and be compassionate and empathetic. She was also very insistent: I’d be better off on an intravenous sliding scale. That is when the tears started falling.

“I don’t want you to do this” I insisted.

“Why not? It’s the best thing for you right now.”

“Because you putting me on a sliding scale is like telling me I’m a failure. Diabetes is my job. It’s what I do. It’s my job to manage it, keep it under control. If you take over, I’ve failed.”

“But Caroline, everyone needs help sometimes. Getting help isn’t failing. You’re not a failure”

But sitting in that curtained cubicle, listening to the drunks arguing loudly with staff outside, hearing bleeps of machines somewhere in the department and the distant ringing of a telephone, I felt totally overwhelmed. Totally out of control of my diabetes. Out of control of what was happening to me.

It was a horrible feeling.

I hated myself for feeling it, but I still felt that I’d lost the battle that night and diabetes had won.

The Girl at the Crossing

Standing waiting to cross the road, she lifted up her shirt, looked down and peered at her infusion set. The lights changed. She put her shirt back down and carried on her way.

The girl wasn’t me.

I’ve been overwhelmed in the last couple of weeks. Being in plaster and having to wait for surgery, knowing that it will be at least another six weeks in plaster after surgery and just wishing I could get it done sooner, to end this thing sooner.

I still have to get up and go to work. I’m self employed, so if I don’t work, I don’t make any money. And the bills won’t pay themselves. I have to hop on and off the bus and hope the drivers don’t pull away sharply before I’m safely seated.

While my friends and family are great, they can’t be with me 24/7. I don’t have a partner, and I live alone. (And, in fact, most of my close family have chosen this very week to be on holidays in far flung places.)

I ran out of milk today, and there was no one else to get some for me. Picture this: girl on crutches with two pints of milk swinging from  the little finger of her right hand, and a box of fabric conditioner pearls tucked under her chin. I swear the guy on the till sniggered, but no one offered to help!

There was no one to take out the rubbish today, and I didn’t want it sitting in the kitchen overnight. The laundry still needed doing. The bathroon needed to be cleaned.

But seeing that girl, standing by the roadside checking out her infusion set reminded me that, at least as far as diabetes goes, dealing with the crazy effects all of this is having on my blood sugar, I’m not alone.

It is just a matter of typing the words.

The Monster Unleashed

I suppose I shouldn’t be embarrassed by what happened this morning, but I certainly can’t help feeling  thoroughly ashamed at how rude I must have seemed. In front of a whole queue of people.

I knew I was hypoglycaemic before I even got off the bus. A test confirmed: 2.3 (41). A frantic rummage in my bag turned up my tube of glucose tablets.

With one tablet in it.

Damn.

How could I have forgotten to fill it up? I know I’m only human, and these things happen, but why did I have to be hypoglycaemic at a time when I had just four grams of carbs on me? It seemed like a cruel joke on the part of fate.

I was on my way to hospital for a non diabetes related appointment. Fortunately there is a branch of WHSmiths right inside the entrance to the hospital. I grabbed a bottle of Lucozade and, knowing I still had a lot of active insulin on board, (which was a remarkably coherent thought given that ten minutes including a five minute walk to the hospital had passed since the test and I was probably now even lower) a cereal bar.

I joined the queue.

I’m always told that queueing is a remarkably English thing to do. That doesn’t mean we enjoy it, just that we do it without question. We even form queues when we don’t really know what we are queueing for. But this queue had to be the slowest moving queue in England. In fact, it wasn’t moving at all. It felt like five minutes passed, though it probably wasn’t more than one or two.

If I had been in a logical frame of mind, a non hypoglycaemic frame of mind, then I’d probably just have opened the Lucozade there and then and drunk some. But if I wasn’t hypoglycaemic it wouldn’t have mattered. Instead, with all the stubborness of hypoglycaemia, my brain hung on to the hard-wired thought that we queue first, then pay, then eat and drink.

So instead, frustrated and impatient with sweat pouring off my brow and legs turning to jelly, I did something totally stupid: I marched to the front of the queue, slammed my potential purchases on the counter and declared loudly “I wish you could all get your act together” before storming out of the shop.

This was in a hospital. I’m sure they’ve seen worse. But only I knew I was hypoglycaemic. The queue of people gawping at my outburst didn’t know. The bewildered cashier, who probably had no idea what she’d done wrong, didn’t know.

They probably just thought I was rude and inconsiderate, and breaking the cardinal rule of being patient in a queue, waiting your turn.

And worst of all?

I had to swallow my pride two minutes later and return to the very same shop, the only one available, retrieve a bottle of Lucozade and go to the counter, thankfully now queue-less, to pay.

I placed my purchases on the counter, accompanied by a few drops of the sweat coursing from my face. With shaky hands I threw a five pound note at the cashier and grabbed the Lucozade back before she even had a chance to scan the barcode or think about my change.

But I couldn’t get the damn bottle open. My hands were shaking too much.

The cashier looked at me. Wordlessly she took the bottle from me and opened it.

“Are you OK?” she asked. I shook my head, tears adding themselves to the sweat on my face.

“It’s OK. Drink some more” she urged. “You’re shaking really badly. Do you need a chair?”

I shook my head again, this time mumbling “I just need sugar”

“It’s OK” she repeated “Don’t worry, you just take your time”

I couldn’t believe her kindness. Her rationality. Her total understanding. Perhaps she recognised my hypo. Perhaps has diabetes herself. Perhaps she has a relative with diabetes, or her best friend has it. I’ll never know what made her just get it, but alongside being incredibly grateful that she did I can’t help feeling all the more guilty and ashamed for my outburst of rudeness.

I’m cursing the monster inside me, and hypoglycamia for unleashing it.

A Damn Big Hole

“I’m a disabled person”

“That’s not how I see you”

“Why not? Why? It’s who I am. Who I’ve always been. It’s how I grew up. It is how I see myself. I have never considered myself handicapped or broken. I don’t need to be fixed. If it weren’t for this pain, and the limits I’m facing at work and looking after my son, I’d never even consider getting a new hip. This surgery is going to take away my crutch forever, and everybody says that is sooo great. But what else will I be giving up? Who will I be then?”


So says Dr. Kerri Weaver, of the operation scheduled to replace her congenitally abnormal hip. The hip that has caused her to walk with a crutch for her entire adult life. Leaving aside that she is a fictional character, she almost certainly isn’t the only person to feel this way in relation to a disability or chronic illness. In fact, I  know she isn’t. Because there is a part of me that can take what she says and apply it to me.

I don’t consider myself to be disabled.

But I do consider myself to be diabetic.

And that is what I am, what I have always (bar three years) been and how I grew up. Diabetes most definitely doesn’t define me, but it would be pointless to deny that it is a huge part of who I am. It shapes so many aspects of me and the way that I live my life: self awareness, self confidence, responsibility, empathy, compassion, determination, tenacity… Would I have turned out to be the person that I am today, the person that I love being today and everyday, without diabetes along for the ride?

I don’t consider myself handicapped by diabetes either, when handicap is considered under its internationally agreed definition: a disadvantage that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal for that individual. It is a social concept. And quite simply, there is nothing that I can’t do because of diabetes. I refuse to let there be. Diabetes demands effort and time from me for good management but it has given me things: skills, strengths, positive emotions; Sometimes I think the one thing it hasn’t given me is the words to explain how I feel properly. It has taken very little away.

But my feeling still come tearing apart from Kerri Weaver’s when I consider the idea of being ‘fixed’.

Of course I want to be fixed.

I want a cure with the same passion and desperation as every other person who is affected by diabetes. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by impatience and longing, when I let myself dream just a little too long about what it would be like never to have to think about blood glucose levels, carbs and insulin doses again; What it would be like to be free from the fear of hypoglycaemia and the fear complications.

Somehow though, I still grind uncomfortably, harshly, reluctantly back, because like Kerri and her pain, if it weren’t for that fear of lows and complications, and if it weren’t for just how difficult and frustrating diabetes so frequently is to manage, I’m not sure I’d be so bothered about getting mended.

I know I won’t have to give up all those things I’ve listed above that it has given me and the aspects of my personality in which diabetes had likely played a role. I know that I will still be me. But diabetes keeps on giving. I learn new things from diabetes almost every day. And I make new friends. That will be a shame to give up. More simply, diabetes takes such a chunk of mental and emotional effort everyday, and such a chunk of physical time, that even though I long for it, I can’t imagine what I will do with that time and energy if diabetes is not there to consume it.

I want diabetes gone. I have no doubt, though, that it will change me.

And it will leave a damn big hole.

My Favourite Colour

diabetes wise

My favourite colour is blue.

When I was growing up I had a beautiful blue carpet on my bedroom floor. I no longer have the blue carpet, since I no longer have the same bedroom, but I do have a blue throw on my bed, with blue cushions. And blue curtains. The towels in my bathroom are all blue. You get the picture.

My first ever pump, a Minimed 507 on loan from the hospital, was blue. It was followed by a blue 508. I liked those pumps in blue. In they looked sort of funky and, after all, blue is my favourite colour.

But right now, today, I don’t like this blue pump. The blue pump that is attched to me, infusing my basal and tracking my insulin on board as I type this.

The colour is an issue. Whilst I don’t remember ever having trouble with my Minimed pumps clashing with my clothes, more than once in the last week I’ve cursed the…. the… blueness, of this pump. I have a great pair of khaki green coloured trousers, but they look simply awful next to a blue pump. ‘Blue and green should never be seen’  anyone remember that one?

I don’t know if it is the shade of blue that is the problem, or the way the blue looks next to the black rubber of the button strip (I don’t even want to think of what a search engine might do with that sentence!)

Or maybe it isn’t the colour at all. After all, blue is  still my favourite colour.

Maybe it is simply because it isn’t mine. It’s a loaner, replacing my own silver model that betrayed me last week by going wrong. It’s got history. I know; We’re not talking about a potential boyfriend here, but I’m serious. It had ‘History‘ stored in it when it arrived. And nevermind the colour, it doesn’t sound the same. The familiar smooth whirring of a bolus being delivered has been replaced by an altogether more guttural sound. A sort of Brrrrr instead of a Whhhhiiiirrrrr.

I know, I’m daft.

It is actually a very nice sparkly sort of blue, and it does exactly the same things that my previous pump did. And of course I’m glad just to have a pump, any pump, which so many people who really need/want one don’t.

I suppose it may seem that I’m never happy. Back in January I complained about feeling too attached to my pumps when they had to go back. How then can I explain that this time I don’t feel connected to something that I’m physically attached to? I guess I can’t, but maybe someone out there will understand anyway.

Happiness is… A Pump That Works

So loaner pump number two arrived this morning.

I’ll admit I set it up with a little trepidation, especially when, on trying to set the time to 54 minutes past the hour, it wouldn’t scroll down from zero. But evidently that is just the way it is, because the down arrow key works just fine.

I’ve learnt a couple of things from this experience; That being without ‘Smart’ features makes pumping a whole lot more like hard work. I’m not quite sure how I ever managed with a Minimed 508, but maybe my mental arithmetic was better back then. So definitely a case of really appreciating what you have when it’s gone, and remembering how lucky I am to have access to this technology at all now that it is back.

I’m no stranger to pump problems. In fact I think I may just be a little bit jinxed. By my calculations the pump I’m wearing right now is the 14th different one I’ve had in the last four years. Is that some kind of record? What I’ve learnt this weekend, though, is that it isn’t that a problem has occurred that matters, it is the way that it is dealt with. Everyone has been professional and apologetic, and the replacement pumps have arrived right on time. The pump this morning arrived with a great note apologising for the problems and thanking me for, and I quote, “being so reasonable about all of this” and acknowledging that “it must have been a very stressful weekend.” It is very easy to be reasonable when everyone is supportive and doing their very best. Some other pump companies, at least here in the UK, have much to learn.

Oh, and the new pump is blue.

Pump Woes

Maybe I jinxed myself when I commented here, on Sandra’s blog about how my Animas IR1200 was three months old, and I was keeping my fingers crossed as I’d never had one for longer than that.

Or maybe I accidentally uncrossed my fingers.

My pump went wrong on Friday afternoon. Of all times, it would be a Friday afternoon.

Actually it hadn’t been quite right for a little while. I kept missing alarms and alerts, even though I had them set to ‘High’ volume level. I have the pump set to beep before and after bolus delivery, just to confirm. But lately I haven’t always been hearing those beeps, even when the pump is right there in my hand.

On Friday morning, I was doing some work on my laptop lying on the sofa (what can I say… I’m just a slob at heart!) The pump was right next to me, not even in my pocket, as I hadn’t bothered to put it back after a bolus. I was startled to hear the ascending-and-descending-siren (aka ‘Sweep alarm’) plus vibrate start up. I hadn’t confirmed a low cartridge alert. Looking at the alarm history, the pump had supposedly been alarming for nearly an hour.

It was right there, and I didn’t hear a thing.

I’m absolutely certain that there is nothing wrong with my hearing. Certainly I don’t seem to need to have the volume of my iPod as high as 90% of people on London’s public transport, and often I can still hear their music through my own!

I resolved to call Advanced Therapeutics, the UK distributor for Animas, but it wasn’t a high priority, at least not compared to other stuff I had to do right then. In the mean time I set most of the alarms to vibrate instead, and looking back think it was probably a little daft to rank the machine I depend on as ‘low priority’!

Then, that afternoon, when I was changing the cartridge, the screen just went blank in the middle of the prime sequence. Stunned for a few moments, when I next pressed a button, the main screen, showing time, current basal etc appeared fine. Relieved, I went finish the prime, only to find that the prime menu was completely unintelligible. It seemed to have alternating dark and light stripes at varying intervals both up and down and across. Parts of the actual screen display were still sort-of visible beneath the gobble-de-gook.

What threw me is that this wasn’t a straightforward screen failure. Several of the screens were still fine. For anyone familiar with the IR1200: Status 1, 3 and 6 are unreadable, but 2, 4 and 5 are normal. The entry screen for ezBG is unreadable, but if you go through to the results page, it is fine!

I managed to complete the prime cycle intuitively i.e. by remembering the usual sequence of button presses. Got myself hooked back up, and gave Advanced Therapeutics a call. As always, I got awesome service. They arranged, with some effort and several calls back, to have a new pump with me before noon on Saturday. In the meantime, I could bolus with a syringe, and the pump would continue to deliver my basals.

Ah… Basal.

It was at this point that I realised the basal review and edit screens were affected, and having made a number of basal rate changes recently, I didn’t have a back up record.

The moral of this story is, of course, always have a written record of your basal rates!

Fortunately I was saved by the fact that the main screen was still working, and shows the current basal. The clock setting screen was readable enough that I was able to set the clock to different times of the day, and retrieve the basal rate from the main screen. Phew!

Saturday morning came and the new pump arrived as promised. It was black, instead of my usual silver. I’ll admit that as I sat looking at the two pumps together I felt a fleeting sense of sadness that I’ve written about before. Nevermind, I thought, at least this one will work…

Got the battery in. Set the date. Accidentally scrolled to 19 instead of 18 for the day. Tried to go back.

Nothing. Happened.

Huh?

Left the wrong date, went into the main menu.

The down arrow key: Doesn’t. Work.

Shit.

So I was left with a choice between a pump that I can’t read, or one on which a major button doesn’t work. No choice really, since no down key means you can’t access the prime menu or set basals.

So the black IR1200 is all packaged ready to go back. And I should have another new one tomorrow morning.

Perhaps the next one will be blue…

Blind Panic

It is always around 4am when it happens. Not that I know that straight away. By the time I look at the clock, after a few seconds of flailing around in the darkness with my heart pounding in my chest, the panic is gone. Because I can see the glowing red digital display, and I know I’m not blind.

It almost always happens in unfamiliar places, outside of London where dark is, well, actually dark. In those moments between full sleep and complete wakefulness, my mind goes into overdrive convincing me that I can’t see. That the inky blackness surrounding me isn’t real, but just the gap in my consciousness that my eyes have failed to fill in. This panic may be unrealistic and irrational, because I know it would be unlikely to happen ‘just-like-that’ from fine to blind, but the underlying fear is very real.

I fear losing my sight.

I’m guessing this is probably not that unusual amongst people with diabetes. The potential consequences of diabetes, especially when less than optimally controlled, are continually being drummed in to us in the post-DCCT era.

Even though I know that my parents invested considerable effort in giving me good control as a child, even though I’ve spent a considerable amount of time working on good control myself, even though I know I’m doing everything in my power to minimise the risk, I still fear it.

Even though my routine retinal screenings have only ever found one tiny ‘background spot’ and I’ve generally been told my eyes are in great shape, even though I’ve passed the magic twenty year marker that supposedly points to having a low predisposition  (for reasons other than those related to glycemic control) for complications, I still fear it.

Even though I know modern laser procedures are excellent, and I haven’t even got onto the long road of any kind of interventions yet, I still fear it.

In my mind I can’t help but magnify all the times my control has been less than it could have been, either despite my efforts, or, perhaps especially, because of my efforts or lack thereof.

I think that I fear sight loss because its impact would be so total. I’d lose my job, and so many other aspects of my life that are important to me. It isn’t even that I think any of the other potential complications of diabetes would be any easier to come to terms with or to live with, I just find them less  overwhelmingly frightening.

That 4am panic sums it up. Oppressive darkness surrounding me until I feel as though I’ll drown in it. Faces swimming into my mind to tell me I’ll never see them again, hotly followed by the realisation that I’ll never see anything that I haven’t already seen.

The only way I know to cope with this, to keep my panic and fears at bay, is to devote as much time and effort as I can to keeping the control that gives me the best chance of staying complication free, and continuing to live the life that I want to lead. My life and freedom are precious, and I’ll do what it takes. Therefore it is mainly to end this fear that I dream of a cure, rather than to end any of the daily tasks of blood sugar management, tedious as they may be. 99% of the time I feel ‘well’ with diabetes. A cure wouldn’t make an instant difference to how I feel physically, but it would lift an enormous weight from me, and really change the way that I look into the future. Perhaps literally.