Festivus for the rest of us.

This isn’t a piece dedicated to Seinfeld. This is so much more than that.

Festivals; events frequented by young Australians, the 40+ holding onto their youth wearing a KISS t-shirt, and us, T1Ds. Obviously festivals provide an arena where mishaps relating to T1Ds are more concerning to both our health and our ability to have an awesome time than in the real world. These are attributed to activities likes excessive dancing, eating, drinking and the likes. I’ve attended my fair share of festivals over the years and gained some knowledge, I have.

Getting in:

Firstly, getting in. The entrance of a festival – particularly a one-dayer – provides an all too chaotic and energetic atmosphere. Most are excited for the day, some are holding back tears because their grog got taken – nevertheless, bag checks are an inevitable hurdle for everyone in entering a festival. While most are trying to hide their vodka, green, and Batmans, we T1Ds are hoping the security won’t notice our needles and three juices we attempt to smuggle in. Last weekend, those manning the entrance of Groovin’ The Moo threatened to seize one of my juice poppers. Like the girl next to me who was fighting the confiscation of her perfume, I fought back.

But I’m a diabetic!’

Unfortunately her argument of ‘but this is Jean Paul Gaultier!’ wasn’t as successful as mine. I was able to keep my juice and my needles weren’t questioned. This is all because of the good ‘ole NDSS card, saving the day once again. I was asked to prove the legitimacy of my diabetes and as obscene a question as it was, I did.

Tip one for a festivus for the rest of us: bring your diabetes ID!

That warm feeling:

T1Ds are all too familiar with that sensation. That sensation involves feeling hot, a bit shaky and a tad dreamy. Festivals are hard as your hazy state could be associated with a number of things, diabetes related or not. Tricky sitch locating the real culprit here, but you’re only being a devil to yourself if you jump to guestimated conclusions. Be smart. Don’t assume that ciders and cappucinos are all you feel that day.

Eat:

This is a tip for everyone. A very important one. Even more so for a T1D. I have been a festival non-eater, later that day, a prolonged low was experienced that kicked any terrible Tuesday out of the park. Suck it up and eat a few BBQ pork buns, toss in a gozleme and you’re ten four kemosabe.

Test, don’t guess: This rule should apply to everyday practice. We are all guilty of guessing a high or low from time to time. A festival is not this time. If jabbing yourself is on the cards and your finger has not been pricked, abort mission. Not only will you feel like shit, but Flume will play his song without you.

images

What up: Lastly, let your friends know what’s up. Mates will look out for you if anything goes off course. Frankly they aren’t worth it, if you aren’t to them.

Undoubtedly these are all things you are aware of, but festivals get the best of us. These are tips for a festivus for the rest of us.

Time to Ripen.

Advertisements

10 things said to T1Ds that grind their gears

Read this for a visual FYI on how T1Ds are actually feeling when some things are said.

1. “My friend’s cat has diabetes.” (Oh… OK)giphy-4

2. “You should be better at diabetes.” (…)giphy-3 3. “But you’re not fat?” (No, but I probably shouldn’t have eaten those three burgers last week)giphy-5 4.“I pee a lot, I think I’m diabetic.” (You’re most likely not)giphy-6 5. “If I eat this, I will get diabetes!” (Equally annoying.)

giphy

6.”Why are you eating a cookie? You aren’t allowed to eat that.” (Things type 1 diabetics shouldn’t eat. Poison, and cookies with poison.)giphy-9 7. “Gross, I can’t look at that. Oh my god that’s disgusting.” (Yes, I am putting a sharp stick inside my body and yes you probably can see a little tummy flab while I do so.)giphy-8 8. “So you can’t eat wheat?” (y)giphy-7 9. “So you eat sugar free chocolate and stuff?”  (My pancreas is dead, not my taste buds.)giphy-11 10. “I wish I had diabetes so I could eat whenever I wanted.” (Just go away.)giphy-2

T1D didn’t screw me over when I hiked big ass mountains.

I’ve recently returned from travelling through countries in South America. Yes, it was fucking amazing.

During my time travelling, my friends and I developed the unlikely love for a particular activity. Hiking. Personally, I thought I would hate it. Walking is not my strong point. If someone asked me to skip – yeah, fine. Run? Sure. Hike? I presumed struggle street before the first step.

What’s interesting about this as well is that the fitness of my friends vary significantly, often like how my sugar levels vary from day to day. We aren’t a foursome of tremendous muscle and agility to say the least. So when we decided to do our first hike, I felt an overwhelming feeling of anxiety come over me. To top things off, I couldn’t get old mate diabetes out of my mind. If my levels were too low, I’d be stuck halfway up a mountain with dead legs. If my levels were too high, I’d become emotional about only being halfway up the mountain with the possibility of dead legs. More and more  things were being born in my head on how diabetes was once again screwing me over.

11058422_10152682813580737_1864620076909010037_n
Professional volcano scaler

The first hike was up a volcano in Antigua, Guatemala. Not long into the climb, gone were my worries of my disease. Rather my thoughts were consumed by how awesome the natural surroundings were, by the little boy I met whose horse was named Shakira, and whether I heard the guide correctly when he said the volcano was still active ?!?! In terms of T1D, I checked my levels after our decent and I was a perfect 7.

Who woulda thought?

10440728_10155266943150634_2698711045051361436_n
Mt Salkantay, Peru (me in the red)

Our next hike was slightly more difficult than our four hour volcano climb. I still question our reasoning behind selecting the hardest trek near Cusco, Peru because we were seriously not in the best condition for it – naturally and because it was at the back of several nights partying. To make things worse, I was coming out of a horrible gastro experience and had hardly kept anything down (or up) in days. I strongly question our reasoning behind this choice, however in retrospect I wouldn’t have chosen any other way. The Salkantay trek goes for five days where participants endure different environment and terrains. These include green hills, icy peaks, blizzard trails, mountain villages, humid rain forests and of course finishes at the famous Machu Picchu. Although one of the most amazing experiences I have ever, ever, had, it was also the most difficult.

Difficulty was found in a number of things including the hard nature of the trek, the lack of oxygen at high altitude, freezing fingers and toes, and managing the diabetes. Often the temperature was so cold that my meter wouldn’t even turn on! Freak out levels were higher than my levels can be after indulging in sweets. That’s fucking high.

How did I manage this? Just hoped for the best. Kept lollies in every pocket and put my meter down my pants in the hopes it would warm up in soon enough. Obviously I came out of the trek alive and with not much permanent damage (I hope). I guess what comes out of this experience is that shit things will happen, these can be potentially dangerous when dealing with T1D and they are inevitable in life. I’ve learnt that T1Ds need to consider and think about things that would never occur in the mind of someone with a working pancreas. Be smart about it, keep people around you aware and you can minimise risks significantly.

11021280_10155266940495634_1099776335372917365_n
Resting while our guide calls us ‘wimps’ during Colca Canyon trek.

The last of our major hikes was the Colca Canyon hike in Peru. This spectacular hike opened our eyes to the secret treasure of the dusty, Peruvian mountain ranges.  Slippery downs and a steep ups were constant throughout the trek, as well consistent thoughts about what the difference between a hike and a trek is. Overnight we stayed in an oasis which boasted greens and blues as bright as ever. This was a beautiful but hard trek, physically challenging and sweaty. Surprisingly, my sugar levels remained perfect throughout it though.

Exercise and routine are two things I believe contribute significantly to better diabetes management. Obviously to mirror that trekking routine in everyday life is near impossible, but they are the two things that enabled my sugar levels to be as good as they were in these three events. So, thank you T1D for not screwing me over this time.

Cheerio, Time to Ripen.

Angelica.

We asked Angelica, T1D to answer a few questions on her life since she was diagnosed with T1D 8 years ago. Here’s a little blurb on her experiences with the disease. “I’ve lived with type one diabetes for the past eight years – I got it when I was twelve. I’m happy I got it while I was still quite young because it meant getting used to such a massive change wasn’t as difficult. Obviously it was still hard, just not AS hard.  I’m not on the pump yet, I prefer to use needles at the moment. Not sure if it’s a mental thing at the moment or not, but I feel like i have a greater sense of independence with my diabetes if I inject the insulin myself – control sort of thing. I say ‘yet’ because I assume I will eventually get on it. I know a couple of other T1Ds who are on it and say they feel a lot healthier. I think I manage it fine though. Since finishing high school I have started university and am currently in my second year studying sport science. I took a break though and travelled to Canada where I spent 8 months following the snow – I LOVE SNOWBOARDING! This is obviously something that diabetes can impact but if I manage what I’m eating and take out some jelly beans then I get through it unscathed *ha ha*. My levels tend to go low quite often due to my high level of exercise so it does get frustrating at times when I receive comments around my eating habits but hey, there are worse things – like needles!”

Damon.

Damon is a 24 year old T1D who was diagnosed five years ago.

“I’ve been living with T1D for 5 years now – wow those five years went really fast! I got it when I was 19 which was pretty tough. I lost a tonne of weight and I wasn’t competing as well as I usually was. Turns out it was my pancreas giving me some trouble. I had heaps of support from friends and family to get me through the transition period of a normal life to a life dependant on needles, diet and finger pricks. I got really down about it – why me!?

I went through a stage of ignoring it, maybe if I did for long enough I would just get better. I used to read these silly articles on how herbal cures really did work, convincing myself it could happen if I hoped hard enough. It wasn’t until I got my license [sic] taken off me though that I really realised ‘fuck, I need to get my act together’. Being such a keen swimmer too, I knew I couldn’t keep up such a shit lifestyle if I wanted to do well. My swimming was becoming worse and I always blamed the diabetes, I really should have been blaming myself and my poor management of it.

I’m doing really well now, I think the fact that I’m more verbal about the disease and discuss with my mates how I’m going with it helps a lot. Before I just wanted to hide it. 

I am on the pump at the moment which can be hard sometimes because I’m always in the water and need to take it out so that’s why I alternate between needles and pump where I have to.

My view of diabetes has completely changed in the last five years. I really fucking hated it to begin with, yeah it’s annoying now too but it’s pretty much just like that pesky friend you need to pipe down every now and then, but still have a solid relationship with.”

When T1D and Coeliac meet

Are belly pains and bloating common to you? If you have T1D, then there’s a chance you haven’t just shovelled in to much food… With Diabetes Australia stating that an estimated 10% of T1Ds have Coeliac Disease (because having T1D just sometimes isn’t enough), then getting clued in on the disease and what it can do is probably a good idea. Coeliac Disease is a condition where the lining of the small intestine is effectively damaged due to a sensitivity and intolerance to something called gluten which can be found in a number of food products. These products include:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Triticale

So what is the link between T1D and Coeliac? T1D and Coeliac are both known autoimmune diseases, meaning they are both condition where the immune system attacks  part of the body. Although the cause of each condition is not fully understood, what is understood is that there is a slight link between the two causing the condition to affect some T1Ds. giphy-2 Yeah. That’s it. Treatment for Coaliac Disease today stands simply at maintaing a gluten free diet. This serves as the only prevention for the disease. 5-10 years ago, this was a struggle, today however with the healthy, vegan, raw eating crazes more popular than ever, a gluten free diet is very achievable. For some tasty recipes that are sure to hit double digits on the Instagram likes, visit Sugar Free Mom’s site. http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/15-gluten-free-low-carb-diabetic-friendly-breakfast-recipes/ Time to Ripen.

World Diabetes Day only weeks away

10609715_1513445572235153_1944753373468640493_n

With World Diabetes Day only weeks away, T1Ds all around the world are doing different things to create awareness for the disease as well as raise funds to help find a cure.

In America, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) have teamed up with Halloween to create a funky way to send the T1D message of World Diabetes Day. Across the UK, the JDRF are promoting #TypeOnesie day, another campaign leading up to World Diabetes Day where participants wear a onesie to work or school to help raise money and awareness for T1D. Further, the JDRF have worked with the Onesie Warehouse where official JDRF onesies can be purchased and five pounds donated to the campaign’s cause.

This year in Australia, the JDRF run the Walk to Cure Diabetes for World Diabetes Day and then closely behind in January, Ride to Cure Diabetes. In 2014, there will be 40 walks for the JDRF leading up to World Diabetes Day.

If you can’t make 1 of the 40 walks, check out how you can donate to the cause here.

Time to Ripen.

Why the Diabetes Research Institution’s version of Halloween is cool.

B0KuH_UCAAA54Op

(https://diabetesresearch.org/Treat )

The American Diabetes Research Institution have started an awesome campaign to generate awareness for T1D  and help fund research for a cure. Standard campaign you think? We think not. What makes this one particularly exciting is that fancy dress is key. People get to dress as a zombie, bunny, witch or Heisenberg while they spread the campaign’s message.

Treat Me to a Cure finds success in incorporating a message into a loved activity (FYI America ❤ Halloween), attention is achieved and the message delivered. Australia, let's jump onto this!

Check out the campaign here

TREAT-ME-TO-A-CURE_Halloween-2