Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nessa Front

Vanessa
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Messages to our younger selves

Hi everyone,

Vanessa here! So it was my 25th birthday this week, which meant one thing.........treating myself to lots of cake and having a diabetes 'free' day as I call it. This does not mean that I don't inject or check my BG levels, as that would just be silly! This to me basically means enjoying treats that I wouldn't usually eat such as chocolate and cake, but injecting just that little more if I need to. And if my BG levels are a little high.....SO WHAT.....IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!

In life it is important to accept that we will have days where our BG levels may be a little higher than normal, such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings etc. but to also realise that we shouldn't beat ourselves up for this. As long as we attempt to control our diabetes consistently 99% of the time, there is nothing wrong (from my experience) with letting our hair down and treating ourselves once in a while. The same applies for healthy eating....if we eat clean 90% of the week, that 10% can be a treat, whether a meal out or drinks at the weekend.

What many people who don't have diabetes don't realise is that diabetes and a positive mindset is so important. If our head isn't in the game, control becomes a lot harder. With many newly diagnosed individuals, this includes acceptance:

  • Accepting that we have diabetes
  • Accepting what we need to do to control it
  • Accepting the consequences if we don't control the condition 

Myself and Georgia visited a clinic in Kings College London a few weeks ago, where we spoke to a number of teenagers living with T1 Diabetes, who shared their stories, experiences and thoughts with us. Like many other teenagers with a diabetes diagnosis, control was the last thing on their mind and putting the condition to the back of their mind required a lot less effort than controlling and facing their diabetes. Myself and Georgia have both been there, especially growing up as a teenager with diabetes, trying to live like our friends and imitating the behaviours our friends particpate in, i.e. drinking, eating crap, being a TYPICAL teenager basically, whilst finding it much more easier to bury the thought processes regarding BG levels and carb counting etc. However, years of neglect soon caught up on us and we had to experience the consequences in order to open our eyes to the importance of diabetes control, in my case retinopathy.....

 

  • Guest Speakers at Kings College
  • Break Time at Kings College
   

I remember the day I found out I had retinopathy and my first initial thought was...... I am going to lose my sight. Well that was it for me.... my diabetes then became my number 1 priority, as did Georgia's followng her own consequences. But what we tried to get across to the young teenagers at the clinic is to take control NOW and not when it is too late. To not let shock be what changes their behaviour...... but their own motivation, drive and passion to be as healthy as possible and to take control of their diabetes. During the talk, we then wrote 'letters to our younger selves', mine were as follows:

  • To not ignore my mum when she says to me 'have you checked your blood?' and to follow her guidance in terms of food choices
  • To not let one high blood glucose level demotivate me for the rest of the week, simply correct and start again
  • To make healthier food choices and not be influenced by peer pressure
  • To thank my parents more for the help they provide me with every day
  • To not be ashamed of my diabetes
  • To not vision myself as different to everyone else
  • To not rebel if my blood sugar levels are not how I want them to be

I think we could all write many letters to our younger selves regarding diabetes control, decisions and mind-set. But we live and learn.....

The message we are trying to get across to manyyoung diabetics is basically to:

  • Take control now and not when you feel like you have to......Rule your Diabetes, don't let it rule you!