Friday 30 November 2018

Autumn Almanac: The November #HappyDiabeticChallenge

The #HappyDiabeticChallenge which many have been following and contributing to on Twitter over the month of November, has proved to be enjoyable and interesting. I am pleased that I managed to post on every one of the 30 days, and I found it interesting to be made to reflect on these themes about diabetes. It seems a shame that they just drift away on a Twitter timeline, so I decided to curate my 30 posts into a blog post. I hope readers will enjoy seeing it all in one place, with selected illustrations and links. 

Of course, all my blog posts need a song title, so I chose a 60s classic from the Kinks to reflect the November theme and the idea of daily posts: Autumn Almanac. Click on the title and enjoy it while you read on...

So here it is - my #HappyDiabeticChallenge for November 2018:

Day 1 - Introduce Yourself: I'm Adrian, #T1D for the past 21 of my 61 years. Retired teacher, married with 3 adult children. Lover of gardens, cats, football, music, conversation and silver linings: diabetes has been a curse but also a source of new friendships & opportunities.

Day 2 - Type of Diabetes: I'm Type 1, initially misdiagnosed Type 2 at the age of 40 back when adult onset Type 1 was thought to be rare.

Day 3 - Pens, Pump or MDI: I'm unequivocally MDI 

Day 4 – Diabuddies: My definition of diabuddy is "Anyone who is, or who supports, a person with diabetes" And they bring a wonderful silver lining to the cloud of diabetes. I count several diabuddies among my very closest friends. You know who you are.

Day 5: Diabetes and Style: Hmmm. Not sure what that means. "Style" is not a word commonly associated with me. But I do think my @FreeStyleDiabet reader has added style, thanks to my #DeutscheDiabuddy @PEP_ME_UP

Day 6 - Biggest supporter: I wouldn't want to single out any of my #diabuddies who are such great supporters, so I'll say it's Mrs L. She's been with me for 19 years without D & 21 years & counting with. Always puts up with my "carry on regardless" attitude

Day 7 - The Bright Side: Two slides from my talk at #TADTalk2017 - "12 good things about diabetes" Tongue in cheek (so please don't get cross), but I hope it strikes a chord with some. It's a serious & exhausting condition, but there are positives.

Day 8 - Fave Diabetes Accessory: Well, it wouldn't be me if I didn't say my @FreeStyleDiabet, especially on a day with NHS access once again in the news. But my #JellyBabies box is also always with me.

Day 9 - Blood Sugar Roll Call: “Here Miss” 6.8 at 08:38am

Day 10 - Tattoos & diabetes: I don't have any tattoos so (with permission) here's a pic of my favourite, on the arm of my diabestie @ellierosehuckle. A #hummingbird, a thing of beauty with an apt & subtle nod to diabetes, evoking the role of balance & sugar

Day 11 - Low Carb Snacks: The words "low carb" seldom cross my lips and certainly never precede the word "snack". Crisps all the way for me.

Day 12 - Lancet Change Monday: I think I was cleaning my hens' teeth last time that happened. #gbdoc

Day 13 - Diabetes & Mental Health: I am VERY aware of my own good fortune. Meeting many fellow #pwd has brought home to me the struggles that so many others living with diabetes experience. I salute their honesty & resilience. It's a tough condition.

Day 14 - #WorldDiabetesDay: A perfect opportunity amidst all the excitement of this day to acknowledge & thank all the health care professionals, charities and advocates who do so much to help & support those living with all types of #diabetes

Day 15 - Diabetic cost of living: well I hope mine may be about to fall by £100 pm with yesterday's #Libre news. A timely reminder that, despite the embarrassing political chaos unfolding before our very eyes, we are luckier than many. #Insulin4all

Day 16 - My motivation? Remaining positive by trying to do the right thing & helping where I can.

Day 17 - Blood: Lick or Wipe. Fortunately a less common issue thanks to @parthaskar @cahmn @DiabetesUK @JDRFUK et al, but I'm 100% lick, then try to guess BG from the sweetness of taste. I used to be pretty good at it. Is that weird #gbdoc?

Day 18 - Society & Diabetes: you don't have to look far on SocMed to see the cruel or plain daft stuff that's said about diabetes. In real life, I tend to encounter just embarrassed ignorance tinged with sympathy. Like from that radio interview with the PM on LBC.

Day 19 - Diabetes Essentials: In reality, insulin is the only true essential (ask @PeteDaviesType1 for perspective on d-care from 50+ yrs ago) But accurate, frequent monitoring is essential in the context of a full & active life

Day 20 - Where are you from? Born & raised in Bolton, Lancs., of Londoner parents; lived short but significant parts of my life in Oxford, France & Liverpool; then past 32 years in rural Fylde, Lancs. All relevant & influential on my thinking & outlook.

Day 21 - Exercise & Diabetes: I'm by no means an active sportsman these days, but I keep active and I find activity, or lack of it, are VERY influential in trying to maintain reasonably steady BG levels.

Day 22 - What are you thankful for? The #NHS; supportive & loving family; good health other than #T1D; an instinctively positive mindset; not having #T1D during childhood & youth; and above all, the lovely friendships & opportunities arising from #gbdoc

Day 23 - Blue Friday. As opposed to some other colour of Friday which parts fools from their money. Bit stuck on this one.
How about a Blue Playlist? Click on the link and enjoy.

Day 24 - Fave Diabetic Book? I haven't read any book about diabetes since reading this after diagnosis in 1997. I've still got the book - it looks rather quaint these days.

Day 25 - Diabetic hero/heroine: Where to start? Banting & every researcher working on meds & tech; Docs & DSNs who care for & support us; diabetes charities; & #diabuddies who do their thing with practical/emotional support, techie expertise or humour.

Day 26 - Advice for Newbies: Difficult: there's rather too much advice out there! Perhaps best to say there's no "right" or "wrong" way to do diabetes. Take time to watch, listen to & observe others. Then choose wisely & never claim you've cracked it.

Day 27 - Fave Testing Finger: Outside of little finger. Why? Least used for other tasks I guess. Not that I do many fingerpricks these days thanks to @FreeStyleDiabet

Day 28 - Diabetes & Technology: I've had no cause nor wish to embrace pump technology, having found MDI perfectly adequate for my needs & lifestyle. I am, however, fully convinced of the huge benefits to all #PWD (inc #T2D) of some form of continuous monitor.

Day 29 - Goals: to live out a long & contented life free from complications. For others: the same, but with the hope for younger #pwd that innovations in medication & technology can minimise or even eliminate the burden of diabetes.

Day 30 - Beyond Diabetes: A great one to finish the month. I always look beyond diabetes in myself & others. In my friendships with #diabuddies, I always aim to keep diabetes in its place: a very deep & significant bond, but beyond diabetes is the person.

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