Instagram Diary: Diabetes Awareness Month

Hmm, I really thought that if I can link the photo’s or subjects to Instagram then anyone can see it but Instagram is not playing nice. You will have to log in to see the post.

Not too worry for those who do not have Instagram, for you I will type it out. Okay, copy and paste but you will be a part of this.

Even though we are two weeks into December already (can you believe it?!) I want to share what we did in November here.

Some of the prompts I included blog posts on that I have written linking to that prompt, click on the “include blog post” to have a look.

{From Left to Right}

1. Diagnosis Story [incl blog post]

Diabetes Awareness Month 2021.

Usually I join @the.insulin.type for the #happydiabeticchallenge but it will not be featured this year. My heart is sad, but I understand.

I found this one instead from @type1toucan and I am excited to join the #diabetesawareness challenge this year.

I also decided to post a few things on my blog for this month and how fitting is it that day 1 is your diagnosis story.

So, on my blog you will find my story.

2. Pumps, Pens or Pills

I am on MDI which stands for Multiple Daily Injections which then means PENS.

Sometimes it hurts (using a needle for too long or hitting a vein) and sometimes not at all.

My endo have tried to convince me through the years to try the pump, but I am old school en just do not like change when it comes to Diabetes Management. My way of thinking is, why change it if what I am doing works?

I deal with a lot of pricks daily!

3. Cost Of Insulin

In South Africa we have a problem where this life giving liquid is not available to everyone. Some people do not even have access or cannot afford it. People are rationing their insulin and this should not be happening.

Our government provides insulin to Diabetics through the clinics but they do not offer the latest and sometimes they do not even have enough to provide which results in people having to purchase insulin out of pocket who can not afford the cost of it. People have to queue more than 6 hours a day and besides that it costs money to get to the clinic in the first place.

This just breaks my heart.

I have been on medical aid all my life. My dad had to support me by paying for it at one stage, but I have never had to worry where my insulin is going to come from. I have access to the best insulin options (which our government does not offer) and at the moment I do not have a co-payment. My insulin is covered as a Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) and are a set of defined benefits to ensure that all medical scheme members have access to certain minimum health services, regardless of the benefit option they have selected.

I am very privileged to have access to medical aid and it is sad that our government is not offering the same level of medication as medical aid does. Why should we go private if our government is supposed to look after their people?

To think that insulin was sold for $1 with the message that the insulin is for all and now it is being used by huge pharmaceutical companies and governments for prophet. You are playing with people’s lives here.

This needs to change!

4. Favourite Hypo Treat

I do not have a favourite hypo treat. We tend to not keep sweets and chips in the house because I have such a sweet tooth.

When a hypo strikes at home I go for the money, ag I meant the honey and on the road I have glucose tablets or super C’s with me.

I also use golden syrup, but not often and then whatever carb thing I have on hand I will use to stabilise the level.

But, should I have to choose a favourite I would have to go with Woolies soft gums or chocolate!

5. Type Of Diabetes [incl blog post]

What a fitting day to post my latest post.

I am a Type 1 Diabetic which means, in short, I am completely insulin dependant. My pancreas do not produce insulin.

@everydayisdiabetesday and I worked on this post, The differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, to help lift out the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. There are more types, but we focussed on these two as we get a lot to do with it.

Link to the post is in my bio.

6. Tag A Diabuddy

What a year it has been. Meeting SO many amazing people with 1 thing in common which makes us immediate family, Diabetes.

When I got involved in the community I had 1 person I chatted to a lot. @the.insulin.type and I have had many discussions and even did a colab post. I hope to meet you in person one day. I learned a lot from you!

Then I got to meet the one after the other awesome people.

@msbridgetmcnulty@riaan.sharkie.naude@charnejadephillips@liesl_engelbrecht@msbridgetmcnulty@theglucoseglitch@the_octobers_27

You all impact my life in different, good and pure ways.

7. Is It In Your Family?

At the time I was diagnosed there was no history of Diabetes (any type) in our family whatsoever which is why it was a great shock for my parents to find out that their 10 month old is now a Type 1 Diabetic.

Later in my life I had an aunt diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic due to a unhealthy lifestyle and being morbidly obese and a few years later my uncle was also diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic due to health conditions. I also have a cousin with Type 2 Diabetes.

So, apart from me, there are no other Type 1 Diabetics in our family, a few Type 2’s and no other types.

8. Medical ID

I have been wearing a medical alert bracelet since day 1 of diagnosis. I was never allowed to take it off.

I used to hate it. I hated when people asked me what I am allergic too and it turnes out nothing and then had to explain I have Diabetes. In my head, it made me feel different.

I took it off once and I felt guilty. How bazar! I was trying to change who I was. I thought for that day, I am not a Diabetic. Well, it did not work like that.

I changed the look of my medical bracelet by adding a bangle instead of a chain, in silver-same as the disk. It is now a life saving fashion accessory!

.Apart from this I have a seatbelt cover as well for when I am driving.

This is my life saving alert. On the day that I am not able to speak, this will speak for me

9. Kit Bag

I do not have a kit bag persé, but I have a few containers around the house with my Diabetes stuff and when I leave the house I have my “kit” that leaves with me.

Pic 1: The entirety of my Diabetes stuff.

Pic 2: When I leave for more than a day and depending on how long I will be out of town, this will influence what goes in the bag. It is safe to say that this is what I would take if I am leaving for a night or two.

Pic 3: This is my daily kit whenever I leave the house and I am only around town.

Getting the kit ready is always stressful to me. I am always scared that I am going to forget something, but that is why my husband is there to remind me and why I like lists so much!

10. Decorating Diabetes

This can be interpreted in many ways. When wearing a sensor you have the cutest and coolest stickers and plasters and making Diabetes colourful.

I use to see Diabetes as a dark colour. Not completely black, but pretty close. In the 80’s and 90’s there were not as colourful options relating to Diabetes as there is today.

My interpretation is a bit different.

I never used Diabetic products or branded stuff because it was not always colourful, it made me feel sad, for a lack of a better word, but just look at these.

This beautiful bag and blanket gifted as part of a Diabetic conference and yellow is so so happy. And the plasters to keep your sensor in place (gifted by my friend).

I love using this bag and blanket en I am looking forward to using the plasters (just waiting for summer to really arrive).

It is a product I use and people will ask who the company is and that is when I can Diabetes relate this. This to me is decorating Diabetes.

11. CGM or Fingerstick

I am team #freestylelibre

But, I have not always been.

I pricked for 34 years. I hated it so, so, very much. I used to dream of the day when I did not have to prick any more. This dream came true in 2020 when the good fight was done and we won Discovery over with @sweetlife.org.za and @everydayisdiabetesday

Now, I can simply scan and know exactly what my levels are doing and I do not get any funny stares anymore.

This device change my life and my Diabetes management. I am eternally grateful!

My wish is that every Diabetic will one day have access to this device to live their best life!

12. Hypo Symptoms

As each Diabetic is different from the next Diabetes, so different is each hypo symptoms.

At the display of any of the following, I know I need to check my bg urgently:
– Mouth goes pins and needles
– Cold Sweat in my neck
– Blurry vision
– None responsive
– Nauseous
– Shaky
– If the room starts spinning but then it is almost too low.

I prefer a high bg above a low bg. The reason behind this being that a high you treat and then wait it out. I still feel absolutely horrible, but it feels to me this settles much faster.

A low makes me want to clean out the fridge, the cupboard, the freezer and anything that is edible. It takes so long to “normalise” again and what usually happens if I can not contain myself is a high afterwards. It sucks.

Although the symptoms are not the same for everyone, someone being unresponsive is usually a tell tale sign and if the person is weak or shaky. Another sign is usually if the person is pale. Always keep an eye on your Diabetic friend for signs of that low sneaking up.

13. Favourite Diabetes Book

I have 4 favourite Diabetes-related books.

My go to guide for assistance on carb counting is the Kilojoule Carb&Fat counters and The South African Glycemic Index & Load Guide – Gabi Steenkap RD (SA), Liesbet Delport RD (SA). I use them a-lot. The fact that they are based on South African food is an absolute win. It makes my life SO much easier when trying to calculate my units to be injected.

Diabetes: A Practical Guide to managing your health – Rosemary Walker & Jill Rodgers is another go-to. My dietitian, Anel, from @paarldietitians actually suggested I get this book as I had some questions,and I found almost all my answers in this book. I still refer to it quite often. This is a very good starting point.

I have a few on my Kindle I still have to read, but I have only heard good things about these particular books. I just find it a bit hard to read “medical” types of books. Watch this space. Maybe one of these days I will rave about them as well.

14. World Diabetes Day

What a freakin fantastic day.

We had the best Diabetic Friendly cup cakes, the greatest laughs, sharing stories and the most awesome dance for Diabetes!

Thank you @abbottglobal and @sweetlife.org.za for our diaries and I am in there! What an honour!!

Jordy, You are making waves and I am excited to see your work. Thank you for my super cool merge from your new company and the honour to be part of your work.

Kirsten, thank you for opening your home and hosting us on this beautiful day.

My Diabuddies, I really, really love you all so much!

15. Monday Motivation

𝒮𝒽𝑒 𝓇𝑒𝓂𝑒𝓂𝒷𝑒𝓇𝑒𝒹 𝓌𝒽𝑜 𝓈𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝑔𝒶𝓂𝑒 𝒸𝒽𝒶𝓃𝑔𝑒𝒹-𝐿𝒶𝓁𝒶𝒽 𝒟𝑒𝓁𝒾𝒶𝒽

I want to live the healthiest life I can. I want to achieve my HBa1C goal. I want to live an active life. I want to grow old. I want to have grey hair and sit on a stoep with my husband.

This is what motivates me.

Diabetes challenges me so much in many, many ways. I struggle with the muscles in my legs, my shoulders and some times I am in a lot of discomfort. But, I am determined to reach a goal and it does not matter how hard it gets, I remember who I am and try again.

I am strong and fierce!

16. Your Test Metre

I use an Accuchek Instant Metre for the last few years. It is small, fast and my medical aid covers the test trips. So, its a win.

I do not use it regularly though because I am on a CGM, but I do check to see how accurate my CGM is especially with a low or a very high reading.

My first metre looked pretty much like the second picture and it took ar least a minute to give me a reading. We use to treat my lows in the meantime while it was loading. I also needed to almost draw a vile of blood to cover the sponge on the strip. I am so happy the metres got better over the years.

17. Mental Health

Apart from managing our pancreas, we need to look after our mental health as well. This can not be said enough.

We did an event a few weeks ago on The Emotional Side of Diabetes. Please check the link in my bio. It is very informative and covers some of the aspects of Mental Health and Diabetes.

We all have our struggles and it can get so overwhelming. I just want to tell you that you are not alone. Please reach out if you feel overwhelmed, alone or need to talk, this community will carry and support you!

Thank you Kirsten @everydayisdiabetesday and Daniel @daniel.j.sher for the info slides.

18. Lancet Change

There are quite a few reasons why you should use a new needle every time, but hey, I am not perfect and I am lazy as hell when it comes to lancet changes.

I used to use my needle until it is so dull it wont go in *cringe*. As a child I just thought I need to save, why waste it if it is not dull yet. It felt like a waste to throw it out after one use,

I am way better at it than what I have been. I change my insulin pen needles regularly, but as I am on a cgm the lancet gets change not so often.

But, for Diabetes month I will make it an event and change all at once.

Swipe to see what my needles look like and the last picture got some action for you! Look at it goooo!

Side note, most times it does not hurt, but obviously the more dull the needle, the more it hurts. Except if you hit a vain, then I want to die. Injecting into a vein burns like hell! Whatever that might feel like.

Remember to change your needles often! It is necessary.

19. Top Tips

I never had tips, I hated Diabetes so much, but as I worked through the resentment and anger-learning how to accept it, I got my tips.

1. Learn how to carb count-this changed my Diabetes management and my levels got so much better.
2. Get down deep into the Diabetic community. They are a bunch of good eggs and the support is out of this world.
3. Build a relationship with your endo. You are going to spent a lot of time together.
4. If you struggle-speak!
5. It is okay to not be okay. Take your time and process it. Get up and try again.
6. Exercise every day! At least 30min. Your body will love and thank you and your Diabetes even more so.
7. Live your best life! Go for it.

20. Favourite Fake Cure

I love how everyone think that:
– Sprinkling cinnamon over your porridge every morning will cure your Diabetes
– Using copious amounts of cinnamon in any form will cure your Diabetes
– Advising that my friends, grandma have been using Cinnamon and it cured her Diabetes

It does not matter whether I eat, drink or sniff cinnamon, and I love the taste of cinnamon, it is not going to cure my Diabetes. Might help as a holistic approach to stabilizing sugar levels, but it will not make my pancreas miraculously start producing beta cells again.

I completely understand that advice like this is not with a malicious intent, but it does more damage than it does good.

There is no cure for any type of Diabetes.

Instead of trying to convince us to eat cinnamon (which I already do), try asking a Diabetic questions like,
– What is Diabetes?
– How do you feel if your levels are low?
– How do you treat it?
– What works for you?

Please be kind to Diabetics. We deal with enough pricks.

21. Diabetic Confession

I have to admin that this is a hard one for me. I know what I can confess, but I do not really know how to put it into words.

I will try my best.

I do not have a healthy relationship with food.

I struggle with food everyday.
I struggle with my decisions around it.
I struggle with calculating how much insulin I need even with knowing my carb-insulin ratio.
Food decisions and thinking about food makes me anxious.

In the face it looks like I got this down, but behind closed doors this consumes me from the inside.

Everyone have their own struggle. Some days you actually got it and everything is smooth sailing and the next it is a tornado of emotions, struggle and questions.

We can not have the perfect control on everything all the time. We are just human with a lot to juggle.

I know and believe, it will all be okay.

22. Favourite Low Carb Snack

I love fruit. Fruit are most of the time very good on my BG levels as well.

I stick to fruit with a lot of fibre and my favourites include Apples, Oranges, Peaches, Strawberries, Mangos and Raspberries.

I have to be careful though as the natural fruit sugar does impact my levels and it is always wise to keep my intake in the normal portion range of 1-2 per day. I usually combine this with a meal, but if the hunger strikes out of nowhere they come in quite handy.

23. Diaversay [incl blog post]

My diaversary is 3 October 1986.

What is a diaversary? Diaversary=Diabetic+Anniversary. This is the day that you were diagnosed as a Diabetic.

Why do you celebrate it?
That is a valid question and I talk about it on my blog. Please click on the link in my bio and I will tell you all about it.

24. Hyper Symptoms

As each Diabetic is different from the next Diabetic, so different are each hyper symptoms. Although, in discussion we have seen that we are not SO different after all.

At the display of any of the following, I know I need to check my bg:
– Irritability / Irritated (For no reason)
– Snarky / Sarcastic (For no reason)
– Very, very thirsty which results in a lot of weeing
– Angry for no reason
– Nauseous
– So, so sleepy that I am unable to keep my eyes open
– My mouth feels pasty

You will notice some of the signs are related to the signs that indicate that you might have Diabetes.

I prefer a high bg above a low bg. The reason behind this being that a high you treat and then wait it out. I still feel absolutely horrible, but it feels to me this settles much faster.

I feel a hyper is more difficult to recognise especially for people that do not know you, but your loved ones will know. As my husband has said before, I turn into a nasty person.

Short story, I was so rude to my mother once that my dad gave me the order to check my blood glucose -which was high of course- and I had to apologise to my mom. I didn’t mean to be rude to her and it was not on purpose. It is like I do not have control over my thoughts or expressions.

Nowadays I warn my husband if I know something is not right, to let me be. I do not want to be rude to anyone but on a high I am super irritable and most of the time do it without thinking.

My best advice when your friend or loved one or even a stranger is experiencing a high is to just let them be.

25. Burnout

What is Diabetes Burn Out?
Diabetes burnout is the term given to the state of disillusion, frustration and somewhat submission to the condition of diabetes. It can be characterised by a person’s complete disregard for their blood sugar levels.

They may also miss doctor appointments, forget or avoid taking insulin injections or other diabetic medication, or switch back to unhealthy eating habits.

Often it will be a state of mind that is reached after years of dealing with the condition.

What does diabetes burnout look like?
It looks different for each individual but there are some common signs and symptoms.
These include:
· Strong negative feelings (e.g.,overwhelmed, anger, frustration) about diabetes
· Feeling controlled by diabetes
· Isolation, or feeling alone with diabetes
· Avoidance of some, or all diabetes management activities and being unmotivated to change this behaviour

This can last for days, weeks, months, even years.

When I saw this prompt I had to think a bit and I most definitely have experienced burnout more than once. I think at the time I just did not know what it was as it did not have a name. I just thought at that time I was a bad diabetic, because how can I have such a disregard for my condition. This usually led to a sick carousel of feeling bad, making promises, trying again, burnout, feeling bad and you get the idea.

It is inevitable for someone managing a chronic condition to reach burnout even care givers reach a stage of burnout.

I think the most important thing to remember is that this happens to everyone and that we will be okay and that we need to look up and keep going.

Being part of the amazing community in South Africa most definitely helps make the burden lighter, it did for me.

When you feel tired, reach out, you have a whole community behind you. You are not alone.

If you are a friend of a Diabetic experiencing this, just be there for them. Support them the best you can. Hold their hand and give them a hug.

26. Adjusting to Diabetes [incl blog post]

We as Diabetics make adjustments every day with regard to our Diabetes.

When am I exercising, what am I having to eat, when will I eat, what times are my breaks at work, how much time do I have before meals, I am going to a function – I need to prepare (what will I eat, what will they have to drink, is it buffet etc.), and you get the idea.

Based on the above we need to make adjustments throughout our day to accommodate the Dia-beast but what do our partners do to adjust?

My husband, then fiancé, wrote this post to explain how he found adjusting to me being a Diabetic. It gave me a better understanding from his perspective of what adjusting to me, with Diabetes, was like.

It is a fun read, promise. – Link in bio.

27. Diabetes Celebrity

I remember as a younger version of myself during a time where I thought I was the only Diabetic on earth, I found out that Halle Berry is a Type 1 Diabetic.

I thought it was so great because we think that celebrities are untouchable human beings and here was an actress announcing she is Diabetic. They are after all just normal people. At one point I cut my hair as short as her hair was in The Bond movie. It was not the best idea I had.

Fast forward to now. I did not keep track of her Diabetic journey and I thought let me see where she is at.

Well, turns out that she is not so loved in the Diabetic community. She allegedly cured herself of Type 1 Diabetes by following a strict diet and then weaned herself off insulin which she no longer needs.

This led to a lot of controversy and people asking the question if she was not diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic.

Needless to say, she ruffled some feathers , as we all know there is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes and this made her very unpopular.

I do not have a Diabetic Celebrity that I follow or keep track of at the moment. I have a whole community that I see as local celebrities that is doing a stellar job of advocacy.

Go-Diabetics-Go!

28. Resource [incl blog post]

I am lucky to have access to quite a few of the best resources enabling me to manage my Diabetes the best way I can.

💉I have access to insulin.
💉I have access to a glucose metre.
💉I have access to the @freestylediabetes CGM
💉I see my endo twice a year.
💉I have access to a psychiatrist and psychologist.
💉I am part of an awesome community in Cape Town and South Africa which enables me to learn more and new information all the time.
💉I have access to a dietician and I have to make a special mention to my dietician Anél at @paarldietitians . We have been on this journey for more than 12 years. She has impacted my life immensely. I did an interview with her a few years back and the info is gold. Please visit the link in my bio. It is another good read-promise!

None-human resources include access to books, websites, Wattsapp- and Facebook groups(like @sweetlife.org.za ).

I am very, very lucky to have access to all these resources and my hope is that every single Diabetic will have access to the best possible resources to manage this condition and live their best life.

29. Complications

With any chronic condition there are complications, but it does not mean you are set to have complications. If you look after yourself you are able to manage your condition and live a healthy life.

Diabetes can cause quite a few complications for example, the more severe ones include, but is not limited to, kidney failure, heart disease, amputation due to blood flow loss/infections or losing your eyesight.

The less severe, although this can be severe in some cases, include eating disorders, mental health problems, anxiety or panic attacks.

I struggle with an eating disorder. I am not ready to speak about it yet, but with a whole team I am working through it.

I was diagnosed with severe depression in 2016, but I am currently in remission which I am very thankful for. I do see my psychiatrist regularly to keep tabs and keep my mental health healthy.

I remember I was so afraid of losing my eyesight as this is something I have heard a lot about when living with Diabetes. I burst into tears at a school gathering where the poor team did not have a clue what to do or say and eventually they calmed me down. I am better now, but it is in the back of my head constantly. I see my optometrist once a year to check up.

We, as Diabetics, carry quite a load and we are very aware of the complications linked to this disease. Our own immune system is attacking our bodies and killing cells, but we are strong individuals and the thing we all know how to do is how to survive and strive.

There is a saying from the movie Cinderella Story which just hit me today, but it can be applied to life. It goes like this:

“𝔻𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕝𝕖𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕗𝕖𝕒𝕣 𝕠𝕗 𝕤𝕥𝕣𝕚𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕜𝕖𝕖𝕡 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕗𝕣𝕠𝕞 𝕡𝕝𝕒𝕪𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕘𝕒𝕞𝕖”

30. Hopes For the Future

I can not believe we are at the end of November. What a wild month this has been.

It is quite fitting to end Diabetes Awareness Months with Hopes for the future.

My hope for the future is:
💉Access to insulin for everyone in any quantity as needed and that our government will supply the required amount for a specific individual without compromise.
💉That every Diabetic will have access to a CGM device and that the medical aid/government will cover this in full. It has been proven that with a CGM you have much better control on your blood glucose levels.
💉Access to Diabetic resources and care without any obstacles.
💉A cure for Diabetes.

𝐼𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝑜𝓇𝒹𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝒜𝓃𝓃𝑒 𝐹𝓇𝒶𝓃𝓀 – 𝒲𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 𝒾𝓈 𝒽𝑜𝓅𝑒, 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 𝒾𝓈 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝑒.

Happy World Diabetes Awareness Month!

E xx

2 thoughts on “Instagram Diary: Diabetes Awareness Month

  1. Great post, especially for those who aren’t really privy to diabetes. Thanks for the effort you put into this. I also think I’ve heard of this thing about some dude patenting insulin and raising the prices so much more. What an ass. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Like

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