Category Archives: Type 1 Diabetes

2015 in Review

Hello readers!

As part of the goals I set myself each year, I like to report back in my last post of each year to see how I’ve progressed and what I could have done better over the year. As I am aiming to start 2016 with a more focused approach to the blog, as well as writing more of a variety of content, the way I approach these goals for next year will be changing. However, here’s what I learned from 2015 in line with the goals I set:

-I have learned that health is a priority. This year, I’ve started to discover that my health is starting to stop me from doing things that I used to be able to with no problems. Any ideas I previously had about doing extended travel are pretty much impossible now due to my health, so I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to do shorter overseas trips than I normally would hope to do. I also cannot really drink alcohol anymore (or as much as I could when I was younger) due to how much it mucks up my health in the days after. My levels of tiredness and fatigue have really increased, meaning I struggle to stay up late and attend social events. I’ve seen more specialists than ever this year, and after trying out an insulin pump sensor (where the doctors could not figure out why, even though I was taking all the right steps, my blood sugar levels still weren’t as good as they should be), my doctors have started me on Metformin. They hope that taking this will help my blood sugar levels stabilise, and help in dropping my insulin levels. I’ve always been afraid of needing to be on more medication than needed, but for a chronic immune disease I have to be accepting that this may be the case. My health has come in the way of a lot of things this year, but I have been reminded this year that I am still a strong, capable person and should be thankful for the health I do have.

-I have learned that it’s good to be flexible with plans for the future. I went into 2015 with no idea of what I wanted to happen with my career, plans for saving up for a house, my husband’s job and much more this year. Most of 2015 was pretty rough for hubby and I in relation to these: hubby made the decision to leave his career of teaching due to the lack of permanency and more (which I won’t go too much into on here), so he is currently trying to find a new job for 2016. His goal is to find something that allows him to pursue his passion for writing – whether it be part of the job, or outside of the job (ie. it’s a job where he doesn’t take the work home, and he has time to work on hobbies at home). It’s been quite a journey seeing his focus change over the year, but after what’s happened this year I can completely understand and support his decision. As a result, we’ll hopefully be closer to our goals of saving up for a house (something we’d never be able to do if he stayed in teaching). At the same time, I’ve spent the year trying to figure out where I wanted to be going career-wise, and have ended the year starting a one year secondment with a fantastic, supportive, positive team. This role will help me cross-skill and give me a chance to see what other opportunities are available, and it’s the perfect place for me to be for 2016. I’m really proud that I’ve taken the step to think outside the box and be more flexible in where I could be going for the future – stepping out of a permanent role for a year to try something new is quite a big change for me. However, I feel that it’s really going to help be establish myself career-wise and figure out the direction I’d like to take for the future.

-I have learned that being healthy is more important that trying to reach weight loss goals. After all the health issues I’ve had through the year, I managed to put on about 2 kilos this year. This was pretty tough for me, however in hindsight I really did have a lot on my plate in the year health-wise which would make weight loss and visual progress impossible. Looking at progress photos from where I started my journey in 2014, however, there’s still a massive difference thanks to muscle and toning. Nevertheless, I really struggled this year with the expectations of the gym to follow their meal plans and programs against what my doctors and health needed from me, as well as not seeing much physical changes in my body from exercise. The realisation that I need to get my health sorted before I can try and actively pursue weight loss was absolutely vital for me this year. Due to finances and needing to afford new medications for 2016, I have stepped back from following the gym’s meal plan program. Instead, I will be going into the new year making my own meal plan to follow: a hybrid of the plan I was on at the gym, filled with the required amounts of food and nutrients my doctors and dieticians have recommended, and taking lots of inspiration from Japanese bento lunches. My hubby and I are aiming to make ourselves more bento styled lunches and eating more organically (more grains, meat, fruit and veg and less processed things) in the new year. I also need to start not drinking soft drink anymore – something which has crept up again on me towards the end of this year. So, in focusing on getting my diabetes blood sugar levels in control, hopefully having less insulin as a result and following my own meal plan, I hope to get my health in order so that I’ll then start seeing some progress at the gym.

-I learned that keeping up the things that you’re passionate about is vital (and that exploring new interests is also vital). This year, I feel that I’ve let my hobbies go to waste – I haven’t actively given myself enough time for the things I enjoy. I’ve only really given myself two sewing projects (one where I only need to hem the dress before I can report on it on the blog), but I just haven’t been inspired enough to finish it off. My resin jewellery adventures went on the backburner once Summer ended last year, while I also barely managed to read any of the books I had in mind for my Goodreads 2015 challenge. This year has been rather serious in nature as a result, focused on sorting out finances, health and jobs. I feel I would have gotten through this year much easier if I had given myself more time to pursue my creative outlets. As we get closer to 2015, I now have my Shamisen – something I intend to share with you as my musical outlet. Hubby and I are also aiming to revamp our sewing area, so it is much more accessible and easy to use (I think one of the main things which makes sewing uninspiring for me is how messy our sewing area is!) And once financial plans are sorted, I’m hoping to get back into resin jewellery and maybe complete a workshop to bring myself up to speed. I really hope I can get these hobbies back on track, as I’d love to share them with you.

-I have learned the value of studying a course relevant to my employment and one that is very versatile for the future. I spent the first half of the year trying to figure out whether I wanted to get back to study: the course I was completing last year came to a halt when it was cancelled and all the distance classes on offer disappeared as a result. With my Asian Studies course no longer available, I decided to re-evaluate what I wanted to study. I have a love of learning, and I can see myself studying so many different areas in the future. However, I never really pursued academia related to my career – this year, I decided to branch out and make this happen. In starting a postgraduate business degree, I felt quite nervous: I was from a humanities background, and unsure as to whether I could be as concise and factual as a business degree required. However, my first subject was a fantastic introduction for me, and I can see just how relevant and useful this is going to be for me. I received a distinction for this subject (in fact, I was two marks off a High Distinction), and considering I completed this subject in my own time around full-time work, I’m suite proud of the result. I am hoping in the new year to try and do two subjects a session with the support of work, which would mean that I could potentially finish my Masters degree with a double major by the end of 2017 – years in advance of when I would complete it if I did it all in my own time. Studying a degree directly related to my career (which could also help me branch out into other areas if I decided to do so in the future) has been such a confidence booster for me this year.

– I have learned that I need to stop writing about certain parts of my life on the blog just to “have content” each week. As a result of this, I’ve made a conscious decision to stop talking about my job/work on the blog. Work is work. Last year, I felt that even though it was something I could provide an update on for the blog, it shifted my focus from using the blog as my creative outlet. Also, as I’m trying to differentiate myself from my professional/career through this website, I don’t see as much value in providing updates. I’m starting 2016 in a fantastically positive and supportive space for my career, which likely means I will have more energy and enthusiasm to working on some of my goals surrounding hobbies and outside-of-work pursuits.

Overall, I think that for 2016 I will continue most of the goals I had listed for 2015, but rather put them as overall goals. I think giving a year limit for the goals makes them unrealistic and makes the blog too rigid in the content I’d like to share. So, these goals will be more of a reference point for me to keep in mind when sharing ideas on here for next year onwards, but I’ll also focus on just writing and sharing more on here, and not being afraid of stepping outside the box of my usual content.

I look forward to sharing 2016 with you! Happy New Year 🙂

Week 42 Update, 2015

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Ahh Week 42 of the year: the week of the meaning of life (you’ll get it if you’re a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan. If not…go watch the movie, or read the book). Well, it’s not really the week of the meaning of life per se, but it’s been quite a busy week! Here’s what I’ve been up to (with a warning: nothing too exciting has happened this week, but it’s important for me to stick to giving a weekly rundown):

-Well, I’ve managed to maintain progress with the gym this week. That’s pretty much all I was wanting this week, given how much was out of my control health-wise in the process. My gym really reminded me that making sure my health is stabilised is more important than seeing progress: once my diabetes starts behaving itself, I’ll start to see more progress. Fixing my health takes priority, always.

-I have spent most of last week (up until this Monday) with the Continual Glucose Monitoring device attached to me, which has resulted in almost 6 days of 24 hours of recorded blood glucose levels. I’m in the process of sending a batch of reports to my doctors which I downloaded from my pump (yep, the pump can connect to the computer via a transmitter device USB dongle), which will hopefully help figure out the best insulin levels for me to help stabilise my crazy blood glucose readings of late. It’s been pretty interesting seeing how my levels change over 24 hours – overnight, my levels dramatically drop after midnight. I had some false readings recorded on the sensor – over the weekend, the sensor tried to convince my pump I was having some hypos, whilst my normal blood tester showed otherwise! The representatives from the insulin pump company have provided information to me about prices and how to purchase supplies for the sensor…however, at around $400 a month, it’s pretty much impossible at the moment. After seeing just how much the sensor can capture, which will massively help my doctors sort things out for me, I’m so hopeful that the government will help subsidise the costs of insulin pump sensors. It makes so much sense – it would literally help save lives of so many Type 1 Diabetics who pass away due to undetected low blood glucose levels at night, and it’s helping Type 1 Diabetics like myself to improve our blood glucose control – helping us have longer, healthier lives and less risk of long term complications from diabetes.

-With my major essay out of the way, I have one reflective report, and two weeks of discussion posts left until my subject is done for this session. It’s been a bit of a relief that the workload for the subject has been very manageable, especially around my health troubles of late. Anyway, the good feeling I have about the subject will be validated (or not) in the next week or so – once I receive the result of my assignment weighted 45% of my final grade.

That’s all I have to share for this week, for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 41 Update, 2015

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Hello! Yes, another late post – sorry! I’ve had a crazy-stressful week, with some unexpected medical stuff and a major assignment due in. Now that most of this is out of the way, I’ve finally got time to sit down and write an update…so, here we go:

-I guess I have to be honest – I’m still not doing fantastic about the run of bad luck we’ve had lately, and am finding it pretty hard to talk about it general (except on here, I guess). What’s been hardest for me is seeing how upset my hubby is, and it’s going to be hard to change that until he is able to figure out what he’ll be doing work-wise next year. The feeling of helplessness about the situation is weighing us down, especially when he clearly deserves to be happily and permanently employed in whatever field he decides to follow. I’m still finding myself getting upset every couple of days about how unfair and disappointing it’s been, and that we don’t know what is ahead next for him/us. This could place so much of our future on hold, which we were so ready to start going after next year. We’re trying to find happiness in the simple things, but it’s so difficult to remain positive when careers are a massive part of life, and it’s so uncertain for us at the moment. That being said, we are fortunate to both have steady wages for the rest of the year, so we should be thankful. It’s just a very emotionally exhausting time at the moment. That being said, the love we have for each other is stronger than ever, even through all of this, and we’re so lucky to have each other’s support as we deal with this rough patch in hubby’s work situation. This is making us so strong, and we’re thankful that, no matter what happens, we have each other.

-In light of our dampened spirits, I made it a priority to get outside and exercise last week. I managed to get to Curves three times a week, and have a decent lunch break walk for all my working days last week. I’ve maintained my progress, which is a miracle based on all the stress I’m currently feeling. Exercising really helps me to take my mind off things, or even get it out of my system (even for an hour or two). Now my studies are almost at an end for the year, I’m hoping to resume my normal exercise regime of four times a week, and finally start back at my yoga.

-Earlier this week, I got an unexpected surprise. My diabetes specialists have wanted to put me on a Continual Glucose Monitoring device (CGM) so they can see my blood glucose levels over a 24-hour period. The CGM device is inserted under my skin (like my pump) on the opposite side of my stomach to where my pump is located. The CGM then constantly checks my blood sugars and sends it directly to my pump, where it is graphed and insulin levels adjusted (so, rather than just relying on my blood glucose checks I use my fingers for, we’re getting a crystal-clear view of my sugars for 24 hours over six consecutive days). I am very lucky that I received this device free of charge to try thanks to the efforts of my doctors and the pump company Medtronic. I have always been scared to try out a CGM, as even though it has massive benefits, I was so worried about having something else attached to me. Something else to worry about, and which would make me stick out. Plus, another needle/insertion to not get freaked out about. Anyway, after inserting the CGM with the Medtronic representative, I was really surprised – it was much easier than inserting my insulin pump site! So, I’m glad I finally got over my worries about it – yeah, it means I have more devices on my body, but as hubby says, I’ve “gained more cyborg parts”. Haha.

So far, it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster. I have to pretty much check my levels every hour or so (with preference especially for overnight…goodbye sleep!) for 24 hours as the device calibrates. For the first 12 hours, the device was inaccurately recording I was having hypos, so I was on a mission of monitoring my levels closely. Overnight, the device had an error due to loss of signal, which seemed to result from me accidently bumping the device in my sleep. However, this morning it seems to be monitoring my levels with no issues. It will take some getting used to (and I’m so tired), but I can definitely see the benefits of having a CGM.

However, if I wanted access to this device on a more permanent basis (and for diabetics during pregnancy, it is advised that they wear a CGM for their entire first trimester), it would currently cost $250 a month: something hubby and I could not afford. However, it was discussed on the television show Q&A last night that the government is currently assessing whether this could change to be more affordable in the next budget. However, on the show, Type 1 Diabetes (the auto-immune disease I have) got confused with Type 2 Diabetes, and as a result many audience members and watchers were incorrectly asking why funding should be allowed for a condition caused by obesity and poor diet choices. I’m glad I wasn’t watching, as I would have been infuriated – it’s ridiculous how the media yet again misinterprets Type 1 Diabetes to the general public. Anyway, enough on that – when hubby and I want to have kids, this is something we definitely want to have access to, so as to ensure I have a successful pregnancy and healthy children in the future – it’s pretty much vital. I hope the government can look past the misconceptions of diabetes as a whole and see the benefit and ease of mind this device will bring to so many sufferers like myself.

-As I write this paragraph, I am about to review my final draft of my major assignment for my business class. This case study on social enterprise is worth 45% of my final grade. While I’m surprised about how well I’ve been going so far (I’ll admit – I’m only a few marks off a High Distinction average at the moment), the weighting of this assignment is enough to make me worried. Luckily, I haven’t gone *too* far over the word limit, but have the issue of making sure I haven’t used too many references  (something TurnItIn wasn’t happy about for my last assignment). Anyway, with this class the lecturer discussed the weighting of components of our class work last week, and I was surprised at how in-class participation and discussion was not graded. However, the lecturer assured that while it didn’t have its own grade, it would be considered when giving out final grades. I’ve tried really hard to contribute in class (even though I’m nervous about it most of the time), as well as put in the time each week to contribute to the online discussion boards. So, it’s great to hear that all of the work will *hopefully* pay off. I’m eager to see the timetables for next semester (starting in February) to figure out which subject to do next: currently, I’m tossing up whether I’ll get my compulsory introductory accounting class out of the way, or if I’ll undertake the core class I’m most excited about, which focuses on organisational behaviour. We’ll see once the timetable comes out next month.

-In light of all the stressful situations hubby and I have had to experience over the past few weeks, we’ve started putting more effort into our hobbies – particularly relating to gaming. I have helped hubby set up his podcast (add link) related to his Dungeons and Dragons setting, and we’ve started back with streaming on my channel, doing a casual play-through of Skyrim. Seeing how much happiness and energy these give us after all the bad luck lately has reminded us that it’s important to give yourself time to do the things you enjoy. It’s pretty much commonsense, but we really needed that reminder.

That’s all that’s been happening – or has been decent enough to report on for this week. Thanks for reading!

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Week 38 Update, 2015

Lindsay & Austin // Engaged

Hi there! Time to give you an update on what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-Since I went to Diabetes Clinic earlier this month, my doctors have been working with me to try and stabilise my blood sugar levels. It’s been a bit of a guessing game at times (or feels like it is, at least), as I ended up coming out of last week having had eight hypos. There were two days where I had multiple hypos, so I was completely exhausted from so many low blood sugar levels. As a result, I ended up not losing any weight at the gym (in fact, I put on a couple of hundred grams). I really hope we can stop all of the hypos, so that I can have the best scenario in order for me to exercise and see better results – as well as be healthier overall.

-On the note of exercising: some people have suggested certain products or tablets to me to try and “lose weight quicker”. I’ll put it out here: firstly, I’m not exercising with the mindset of losing weight. As I’ve always said, I’m exercising to improve my health and medical conditions – any weight loss is a bonus. Secondly, I’m doing this the proper way, by exercising and trying to eat right: to me, any other way seems like a short-cut with short-term results, and will end up stuffing up my progress for the long term. Plus, I don’t want to be doing anything that could impact badly on my medical conditions – such as the interesting effects of many weight loss pills and products. I just wanted to put this out there, as I’ve had a few people trying to sell me on these “short term fixes”. While it’s taking me a while to see progress, and it’s probably much tougher than just taking some pills, it’s much more rewarding and effective for the long-term for me.

-Last week, I received the results for my first postgraduate business assignment. I was really nervous due to never studying business before, and felt that the result of this subject would help me determine whether I was good enough to keep going with this course. Well, turns out I had nothing to worry about: I was a couple of marks off a High Distinction. This really boosted my confidence, and I’m now working on a group assignment with a fantastic, dynamic group of people. With this subject, I feel I have a lot to prove – this could determine whether I am able to access study leave in the future, and also influence my future career path. But overall, I’m in a really good mindset about my studies: it feels like I’m finally taking the right academic path to enhance my future.

-I’ve spent the weekend trying out the new Lipsense products I’ve received. I definitely think I’m onto a winner, and am majorly impressed with the durability of these products. You’ll see on my Instagram (on the right-hand side of the page) that I’ve been posting up pictures of the product, from when I first put it on to the end of the day. For the test I did on Saturday, I ate, drank, kissed hubby a lot, had a shower, scrubbed my face and cleaned my teeth – after all of this, the product was still on my lips (with a little bit of wear, but understandable given everything I got up to!) I am tossing up the idea of whether I could become a distributor of Lipsense, but it would depend on the demand (how many friends would be willing to purchase through me), as well as whether I’d have the time. It works on a similar basis to companies such as Nutrimetics (which I also was a consultant for years ago), however it is the “in” thing to be a part of at the minute. I don’t want to get into something where the market is already flooded…but if enough friends want to give it a go, I may reconsider and try and sign up as a distributor for my hometown region. Once I get the neutral colour I’ve wanted to try out, I’ll write up a thorough review on here.

That’s about all I’ve been up to! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 37 Update, 2015

 

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Welcome to another week of updates! I feel that yet again time has gotten away from me over the past week. I really wish I had more time to work on my blog and writing projects (to bring lots more different posts here than my usual goal-setting updates). That being said, I’m not getting any less busy, so I need to refocus and try to get myself back into the “funk” of writing a unique, encouraging blog. Here’s hoping I’ll get inspired over the next few weeks.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-I’ve been gradually getting back into my usual level of exercise with the Curves Complete program; however, I’m still sticking to 3 workouts a week due to some rib pain still being present. Last week I managed to reach the gym and walking goals I set myself. I have had some slight weight gain due to hormones at this particular time of the month, but I’m really hoping I can try and reach a specific weight goal over the next few weeks.

This coming week though, I have an even bigger goal to reach: my 200th workout at Curves. This is pretty incredible for me – this time last year I was reaching 100 workouts. Considering I’ve had pretty much 6 months off due to illness and injury since joining Curves in 2014, I am pretty excited about finally reaching my 200th workout milestone. While I really can’t see much of the progress in my appearance (I’ve lost some centimetres and kilograms, but nothing which I could parade as being a dramatic change), I can clearly see the progress in my health. My diabetes is in the best control I’ve ever seen it as an adult, and I really feel more active. The fact that I’m making an active effort with exercising regularly – even if I’m not losing record amounts of weight, is what makes me feel really proud of what I’ve achieved. I’ve made exercise a habit in my life, and that is such a massive milestone.

-Thanks to the extreme generosity and help of my amazing brother and his wife, my husband and I have finally been able to set up our gaming desktop computer. This is something that occurred based on some gifts we received for Christmas last year, and my husband and I are so thankful. We’re finally able to play so many games which weren’t working on our old/weak-powered laptops, and have a reliable computer to do video editing and streaming. I’m so excited to have a decent desktop computer again, and spent a large amount of time over the weekend playing Skyrim, World of Warcraft and installing the Elder Scrolls Online. Overall, I’m continually reminded of how blessed I am to have such a supportive, kind-hearted family who is happy to help out each other.

-This week, I finally took the plunge and have purchased a product I’ve been wanting to try for a while: Lipsense lipsticks by Senegence. These lipsticks seem to be doing the rounds on all of the Pinup/Retro fashion buy and swap groups I’m a part of on social media. I was a bit curious, as I really want to be wearing lipstick regularly (daily, if possible). I am someone who is a bit of a klutz when it comes to lipstick: I will eat, drink water, talk and, as a result, get lipstick everywhere. The amount of times I have to retouch lipstick (if I try to wear it) has made me really self-conscious about trying to wear it regularly…yet, it’s something I really want to do. Here’s where Lipsense comes in. So many ladies are raving about its staying power, as well as durability through the whole day with eating, drinking, kissing…and no retouches. As a result, I’m going to give it a go and see whether it lives up to the hype it’s caused. I have purchased myself a few shades, and will hopefully work on writing a review on here once I’ve had a bit of an experiment. I will let you know though; I hope they end up being as good as I’ve heard, because this could literally change my life of being too scared of wearing lipstick! 🙂

-I submitted my first postgraduate assignment last week, and am eagerly awaiting the results this week. I’m slightly nervous: I felt that I did a relatively good job on the assignment, but I don’t want to be overconfident either (studying business for the first time ever). In all honesty, I’m worried that I could get terrible results, and I’ll then have to decide whether I hang in there and work extremely hard, or if I give up. It’s tough: being unsure as to whether I actually know what I’m talking about in this new degree, or if I’m a big fake. Here’s hoping the results prove me otherwise, as we have a group assignment next and I don’t want to let the group down. I’m pretty excited about the group assignment, as I have a really great group to work with, along with a fantastic topic.

-To end this week’s post, I will finish on a hopeful note. This week, hubby and I are awaiting some news from his end that will change our future for the better. It will bring us confidence in pursuing our future, and will bring many of our plans for the near-future closer than we think, as well as a hell of a lot of security and hope. I will not reveal any more on here until my hubby finds out more…but we are eagerly awaiting some news and hope with all our might that things will work out how we hope they will.

And that’s all I’ve got this week! Thanks for reading, as always 🙂

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Week 36 Update, 2015

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Hello there! Sorry this week’s post is delayed – I have studying to blame. I’ve managed to just finish writing my first assignment for this session, and finally have some spare time to write up my weekly update. It’s going to be a busy week, so I’m glad I have some time – even if minimal, to catch up with you 🙂 Here’s what I’ve been up to:

-I spent all of Monday at my Diabetes Clinic check-up, with my awesome endocrinologist (the Dean of Medicine for the university in the region, as well as being from Cambridge University), as well as the supportive Diabetes Educator Nurse. I was extremely nervous, as due to being unwell, my diabetes had been all over the place, and as a result I felt my progress towards making my condition more manageable for future plans had come undone. However, my endocrinologist, even after hearing my bad news, was full of positivity and encouragement about how I’ve been going, and is confident I’m still going in the right direction. In fact, my Hba1C is down from 7.9% to 7.5% in the course of three months, which was absolutely shocking to me (I thought, given how many levels I’ve had above 25 mm0l over the past few weeks due to infections/steroids/antibiotics, I’d be doomed!) Considering I was sick for almost a month (of the three months examined), this is amazing results.

The team are also investigating whether they can give me a Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring Device (CGM for short) to use for a week or so to ensure we can closely monitor my levels 24/7 for a week. This is another device which has to be inserted under my skin and kept clipped onto me like the pump – something I’ve always been scared about doing due to being worried about having too many things connected to me. But, I may finally be confident enough to give it a go if it means I can get my blood glucose levels sorted, especially whilst I’m continuing to lose weight (something which makes diabetes insulin levels dramatically change and need to be adjusted all the time). Overall, the diabetes clinic is really happy with my progress considering how ill I’ve been over the past few weeks. Hubby and I have some work to do to tighten up our carbohydrate counting at meals, but otherwise I’ve been doing a fantastic job checking my blood sugar levels through the day, as well as trying to be more active.

-In light of my recent clinic visit, as well as all of my health issues recently, I’m constantly thinking of how lucky I am to have such a supportive husband who is eager to understand my health issues and to help me. He has gone out of his way to understand how my health needs to be taken care of, as well as researching and working on some projects to help prepare our kitchen/meals better so we are more accurately counting the carbs and sugar levels in our meals.

-As of last week, I’ve returned to the Curves Complete program, going to the gym 3 days a week (returning to 4 days once I no longer have pain in my ribs, which will hopefully be next week). I’ve also started my lunch-time walks again, as the doctors can clearly see the positive difference in my blood sugar levels when I am doing these walks at work. I have also started using the “Calm” app for guided meditation, and have just completed the “7 Days of Calm and Mindfulness” program, which was a great introduction to meditation. Until my ribs are fully recovered, I’m using this app until I can get back to my full yoga routine, however I feel like I will continue to use this app to help me relax before bed, even after I resume yoga.

-Last week, I also completed the 100 day Global Corporate Challenge, which I was participating in through work. Monitoring my daily step intake over 100 days was really motivating for me, even if I spent the last few weeks of the program unwell, meaning I had very little progress. According to the GCC app, I managed to lose 2.8 kilos for the duration of the program, improved my blood pressure and heart health and with my step count intake, travelled from Japan to Peru (virtually). It was quite encouraging seeing the progress of other teams (unfortunately, our team captain only entered ¼ of their steps for the whole program). Overall, it was great to be a participant in the program, and I hope to participate again next year – hopefully when I’m in a better state of health!

-Over the weekend, hubby and I finished watching all seasons of The Great British Sewing Bee. It has definitely left me inspired to get some sewing projects finished, and dedicate more time to developing my sewing skills. Not only will I be able to start developing a unique wardrobe, but I’ll also build my skills and confidence. On my radar, I have a circle skirt from last year which needs to be finished, a dress to hem, and then a new circle skirt pattern to try out on some of my materials. I also am going to try and make some vintage-inspired pyjamas soon. Here’s hoping I can stay on track, and also that I have some epic time management skills to fit this hobby in around study and work.

-My current session of study finishes in November, with the next session not commencing until February next year. As such, I was contemplating if I’d complete a subject via distance in a Summer Session instance, but have decided that I want to take a break over Christmas to spend time with family and relax instead: with all the health issues I’ve had this year, and no holidays, it’s important that I give myself a proper break. I’ll hopefully catch up on some craft projects and cleaning up the house in those months where I have no studies to worry about.

That’s about all I’ve got to report on for this week. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 31 Update, 2015

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Hi everyone! I’m so sorry for yet another late weekly post – thanks to a pretty bad chest/sinus infection, I’ve spent the past few days in bed resting and with no voice. The infection moved into my throat, which has been very painful and left me unable to talk for the past day. However, the doctor confirmed that it’s not tonsillitis yet, which I’m very thankful about (as I haven’t had tonsillitis yet this year, compared to getting it several times in the past few years). Anyway, here’s an update of what I’ve been up to:

-We’re now in the start of August, and it really feels like the year has gone by so quickly. It’s made me wonder how much I’ve accomplished this year. Recently, I’ve really felt like I haven’t progressed much this year with life goals, and that I’ve been stuck in a rut. Though, perhaps that’s what this year has been for: a chance for me to step back, learn to be flexible and to work on self-care and health.

-Curves Complete has been pretty average, other than acing my step goal of over 10,000 steps for the work week. Otherwise, there was no change in my weight loss, and a couple of centimetres lost in body measurements. I’m still battling unstable diabetes blood sugar levels, where having a hypo almost every day last week meant I had to eat more than usual. I’ve got a lot of things against me in seeing some progress, but I’m going to keep working at it regardless. Exercising on a regular basis really is helping me get out of the slump I’ve been in lately.

-Well…I bring you (yet again) no good news about the opportunities I was waiting to hear about. It appears that things didn’t work out, and it wasn’t the right timing. I don’t know what it’s been so difficult for me lately, however it could be because I am finding it to be hard to be satisfied with where I’m currently at – especially in financial and professional terms. That being said, I seem to have completely forgotten the approach I had a few months ago: that where I am now will help me work on other goals and parts of my life that I’m passionate about. This includes study, hobbies, home life and more. However, the perfectionist and goal-driven part of me keeps convincing me that where I am right now is *not* enough: that I should be aiming higher and better off than where I currently am. I’m really trying to get myself to step back and be grateful for what I have and where I am now, because in all reality, I *am* doing pretty well, given how young I am.

-Based on the above, this year has yet again reinforced to me how important health is. Yes, there will always be finances, work and everything in between, but we won’t always have our health. This week has really drilled in the importance of looking out for yourself, especially with illness. As a Type 1 Diabetic, Coeliac Disease and NLD-sufferer, I have a pretty weak immune system. As such, I’m learning that when I become ill, I really have to make sure I nip the sickness in the bud as soon as I realise I’m becoming sick, and give myself enough time to get better. Otherwise, pushing myself to work and do everyday activities when I’m unwell makes me sicker for longer. As a normal person who has some pride in showing they can perform like a normal human being regardless of their medical conditions, it’s been tough for me to accept that I will become sick more regularly than the average person.

-Hubby and I did something pretty dangerous this week: we started playing World of Warcraft again, but on a private server this time. The history and story of the game had been tempting us to play again (thanks Youtube videos), but we were both not keen on starting up our subscriptions again for something that we would barely play.

-I’ve recently noticed that my energy levels have been decreasing, and have been trying to figure out what options I have. Over the past few months, I stopped taking my morning multivitamins, which included Magnesium and Zinc. Both of these were recommended to me by several doctors to assist with energy levels of Type 1 Diabetics, and a Professional Development coach this week connected Magnesium with assisting fatigue and mental health. So, a combination of the above has led me to try taking these on a weekday basis again. Here’s hoping that it will give me energy so I can stay up until 10pm, and restart the hobbies I’ve been so eager to maintain around work and study!

That’s all I’ve been up to around being sick and all over the past week. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 24 Update, 2015

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Hello folks! I was off work today due to my Diabetes Clinic (more detail about that below), so I’ve had a chance to write my blog post a little bit early this week after a weekend filled with bride and bridesmaid dress shopping for a close friend, and family birthday celebrations. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-This week, I’ve managed to lose 900g on Curves Complete! I wasn’t expecting much weight loss due to the long weekend, but this is a pretty good result. At the current rate, I’ll be hitting the lowest weight I’ve had (just before our honeymoon last year) in the next month or two! I’m going to focus on really trying to stick to the Curves Meal Plan this week. Plus, this week I had to make a “healthy pledge” for the rest of the 12 Week Program. I’ve decided that mine will be to not have any soft drink at home – the only time I could have soft drink is if I’m out for a special occasion or such. Otherwise, I’m trying to wean myself off soft drink (and even soda water due to the sodium, as my blood pressure is above normal). So overall, I’m feeling like I’m back into the swing of becoming a healthier me 🙂

-I spent this morning at my Transitional (those between the teenage and adult) Type 1 Diabetes Clinic with hubby. It was hubby’s first time attending one of my clinics, and it was really beneficial for both of us to be there. As my Endocrinologist is on maternity leave, my doctor for the next year is the Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney. Not only does he specialise in Type 1 Diabetes, but he is one of the world’s experts (he was running programs at Cambridge University before coming to Australia) in Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnancy, and Type 1 Diabetes and young adults. Don’t get ahead of yourself reading that – I’m not planning on getting pregnant right now. However, as a Type 1 Diabetic, if I was wanting to have kids any time within the next 5 years (which is pretty true), I need to have my health perfected 2 years prior to even become pregnant or have a successful chance of becoming pregnant and having a healthy child. If there was any doctor who could help me achieve this, it’s the one I saw today. He is the leading doctor in this field, and not only did he want to personally handle my diabetes management now, but he wants to over the next few years to ensure I am able to successfully have children. Not only did he balance out what challenges I’ll be facing, but he also was very encouraging and said that I was doing so very well in exercising and trying to get my levels in control. Today’s clinic session was very informative and helpful for hubby and I…even if we have a lot of work ahead of ourselves.

-Speaking of work, from this week, hubby and I will be stepping up our approach to a healthy lifestyle in line with Diabetes Clinic. From next week, we’ll be taking a stricter approach to our meals and exercise. In order to perfect my blood sugar levels, I am now required to check my levels at least 6-7 times a day. As such, we’ll be setting up a “reward system” to help me achieve this. I now need to give myself my insulin at least 5-10 minutes prior to eating meals, and will now also check my blood sugar levels an hour after eating. We will also be more accurately measuring out our meals, and recording their carbohydrate, sodium and fat content – this is to ensure that I am accurately counting the carbohydrate content of my meals for my insulin rates. I will also be changing my insulin pump rates from calculating based on exchanges to mg of carbohydrate, which is much more accurate. Yes, it’s a lot of changes…but it needs to be done to ensure the future of myself, as well as my family. However, it’s not happening straight away – we’ll be easing ourselves into it over the next week.

-Last week, I managed to get my pre-order of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. I haven’t had a chance to play much yet due to a busy weekend, but from what I’ve played so far (including some time playing the beta version a few months back), I’m very impressed. Once I get paid this week, I will be purchasing the Imperial upgrade, as my character will be an Imperial (I love how the Imperials have no set alliance). I will be making a few YouTube videos of me playing the game – I actually started this last week, however the sound didn’t seem to record very well, and I’m wanting to make a different character anyway once I get the Imperial upgrade. As soon as I get these videos up and running, you’ll hear about it on here.

-I’m still waiting to hear some news about an opportunity that could potentially change future plans for hubby and I. In all honesty, I have a really good feeling about things, but I don’t want to jinx myself. If this went well, it would make things so much better for the future. I’m really hopeful so I can share it all with you!

That’s about all I’ve been up to, until I write some extra blog posts on here other than the weekly updates (rest assured – I’m working on these, sorry!) Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 18 Update, 2015

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Update time! The past week has really flown by, and it feels like nothing major happened. However, we’ll see what I can come up with here:

-My NLD appears to be settling down. In saying that, I really hope I don’t jinx myself for my dermatologist appointment today (Monday), where I hope to get the ‘all clear’ to return to exercise, walking and the gym. My leg hasn’t been giving me much pain at all: only when it’s been irritated due to the bandages being too tight, or when I’ve done too much walking and need to rest. It’s now been three months since I had to stop going to the gym, and I am so ready to return. I’m over not having any energy, and I’d love to see the amazing blood sugar levels, confidence and energy that the gym and regular exercise gave me. I had to drop all physical activity in February in an instant, and that’s been really hard for me to do after finally making exercise and being active a daily part of my life. I do miss it, and I’m wishing with all my might that I’ll get approved to return to the gym for this week. Update: as of tonight, I have received my doctor’s approval to return to the gym! I’m very relieved, and will write more about this next week 🙂

-Over the weekend, hubby and I set ourselves up with some YouTube videos to walk us through making simple logos in Adobe InDesign. This was in line with my curiosity with trying out some Graphic Design. Well…it was interesting, but it wasn’t as enjoyable for me as learning things in Photoshop. I also feel that I perhaps lack the creative eye required for Design, therefore my skills would be better reserved for editing, or basics in Photoshop instead. So, it may be back to the drawing board on skills to look into developing…though I’ve had some really good ideas and feedback on family this week on things that I should have a look into.

-Also, I can confirm that I am still slightly addicted to exploring Pillars of Eternity. It’s so refreshing playing a game created by many who worked on the Baldurs Gate series, where it has so many of the great things modern technology and skillsmanship (as well as crowdfunding) has given, such as an epic soundtrack, detailed character appearances and party interactions. I am loving the detail of the story, as well as “good” and “evil” not clearly being defined in the game as well. I really want to write a review/opinion post on the game, so hopefully you’ll see one up here soon!

-In our weekly D&D group, we’ve started playing a Pokemon based series, which has been developed by my husband based on a combination of the Big Eyes, Small Mouth games and homebrew based on the actual mechanics of Pokemon (ie. lots of maths and probability). It looks like a very exciting game that we have ahead, however the first game (where we just created our characters and Pokemon) was basically us having to use a lot of math. I haven’t really done detailed maths since high school, so my poor brain was very tired, haha. But yes, we hope to officially start the game this week, and I look forward to reporting back here with details 🙂

-Speaking of my husband, I’ll be helping him out more with his YouTube channel. I am already doing a Zelda-based web series with him (which I will share on here soon), however due to the increase of followers we’ve received through YouTube and Twitter, he’s thinking about branching out into other areas. It’s a completely new and foreign type of media for me to be doing, but it’s really enjoyable being able to share our experience and love of video games and nerd culture. We’re also so extremely thankful that people actually take the time to watch the videos as well and share their feedback. So yeah, I’ll be reporting more on this in the near-future.

-On the same note as the videos, hubby and I have decided to sign ourselves up for Nerdblock this week. We like to allow ourselves to purchase something small each month as a treat, of sorts. After researching, and hearing feedback from friends, we’ve decided that getting a Nerdblock each would be a good replacement for this. Each month we will receive a box of goodies, and it will always come with a tee-shirt (I really need to branch out with my nerdy t-shirts, especially given how most of the wardrobe is work-friendly clothing). So, it’s something we can look forward to. I’m going to be signing up for the Arcade version (video game merchandise), while hubby is signing up for the Comic version. Whilst shipping is only a few dollars less than the Nerdblock itself, the whole thing pretty much would cost the same as us buying a nerdy shirt and one piece of nerdy memorabilia from a game store in Australia. We’re going to do an unboxing video on YouTube each month too (I haven’t found too many Austalians doing these so far), and it’s good to do something small to keep our hobbies and passions alive and our fan-girling/boying active.

Well, that’s about all I have for this week. Lots of nerd and video-game talk, sorry (but not sorry). I have been working on a few posts behind-the-scenes, and am hoping to have at least one up in the next week. Two of my upcoming posts are about my travel experiences, while another is about the importance of staying creative. Anyway, thanks for reading 🙂

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What you need to know about having Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

So you have heard me mention NLD recently, and you probably want to know what the hell it is I am talking about. Or maybe you’ve just found out you have NLD and now want to know exactly what you’re in for. Either way, here’s a post letting you know all about it:

Firstly, this post is based purely on MY experience of this chronic medical condition. I am in no way medically qualified and I highly encourage you to speak with a GP or dermatologist if you have this condition to find out what treatment options are available to you.

So, what the hell is NLD?

Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (say that three times in a row!) is a condition with no known cause or cure, and where treatment options vary from person-to-person. It is a skin condition where raised, hardened spots appear on the skin. These can take many forms and are frequently lesions, rashes and ulcers. They most commonly appear on the shins or legs; however, there are cases where these appear on the feet, arms, face and more delicate areas of sufferers.

The name is a bit of a mouthful so I’ll refer to it as ‘good old NLD’, only without the ‘good’ and with a fair bit of the ‘old’. Haha.

NLD is a rare medical condition; however, there is research that shows that it is more common for Type 1 Diabetics to have NLD, although they are unsure why. It is also common enough for an NLD sufferer to be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and it is believed that approximately 0.3% of the diabetic population have NLD. The condition is also linked with those who have rheumatoid arthritis, and sufferers of NLD are warned that they may also develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite popular belief, NLD is not caused by poor diabetes control. In fact, my diabetes is the best it’s ever been and my NLD is at its worst. Fantastic diabetes control can help with the healing process; nevertheless, the cause of NLD is not reliant on how well you actually are.

How painful is NLD?

It’s hard to explain the pain of NLD. If the lesion or spot is just a raised, red scar, the discomfort you’ll experience is just an itch or like a rash or dermatitis. However, if you’re like myself and have ulcers that like to open up, the pain is similar to anything from a second to forth degree burn. When my ulcers are open, I generally have a sharp pain in my leg, which is made worse by standing or walking. It’s at its worst when I first wake and it is normally not until lunchtime (and with lots of sitting) that this pain subsides. This pain quickly reappears if I’ve walked too much during the day, or will hang around all day if I’ve slept weirdly on my leg.

How to you treat NLD?

Good question! Treatment options vary with each individual and, from what I have read on some online support groups, there’s no one way that has been entirely successful in clearing up a person’s NLD. There’s suggestions of steroid shots, treatments with topical cortisone, even tanning (what the?!) as ways to treat the condition. I won’t be able to seek a more long-term treatment until my NLD spot has healed completely into a scar again – this could take years – so for me right now it’s about the regular cleaning and dressing of the wound. I find that, for me, the best products to use on a daily basis are Betadine (the iodine in this helps kill any nasty bacteria) and Solugel (this protects the new healthy skin growing across the ulcer and helps immensely with the itchiness!). I am a massive fan of using an Adaptic gauze – which has a slight coating of Vaseline which helps the creams settle in place – and then covering the lot in a cohesive bandage which allows the ulcer to breathe a bit easier than other types of bandages, plus it’s a beige colour which isn’t as noticeable.

Is there a cure for NLD?

In short – no. Not yet. NLD fits into a myriad of other chronic immune conditions where the cause and cure are relatively unknown (or a definitive answer hasn’t been discovered). I’m a bit of a lucky-duck: having three conditions that are all chronic, immune, and based on unknown cause with no known cure. Because of this, many doctors seem to hypothesise that the cause is related to a dodgy immune system (I won’t even try to explain or justify this, as I have no idea), but all medical professionals I have seen have agreed that this condition does not go away. I will have this red, protruding mark on my skin for the rest of my life. When it is closed and ‘healed’ it is similar to a port wine stain in appearance and I know I must one day become accustomed to having yet another aspect of my physical appearance grabbing people’s attention.

What can you do to help someone with NLD?

While having NLD really blows, there are people going through life with worse conditions or experiences to deal with. If anything, NLD has helped me become more compassionate, especially towards those who have medical conditions and are in similar situations and even more so if it’s chronic or immune related. I feel enormously for anyone who, like me, tends to get sick all the time thanks to having a terrible immune system. Naturally, most of us are pretty tough cookies (or we pretend to be); however, it’s really nice to receive support from those who care. So, how can you help someone with NLD, or a similar chronic immune condition? Everyone is different, but I do know the following: those suffering from a chronic illness or condition don’t want sympathy; they want you to understand. Take the time to research and read up on the conditions so you can really acknowledge what the person is going through, as well as considering how this impacts on their day-to-day lives. Knowing that someone has cared enough to take the time to learn about what you have to deal with on a daily basis and to tell you that they ‘understand’, and especially knowing that it’s honest and genuine…that is such a wonderful thing.

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