So, this started as a little Instagram post, but then I rambled on, as I am prone to, and so here is a fully-fledged blog post for your perusal. Fancy learning what ridiculously unattainable goals I’ve set myself for this arbitrary social construct that is the new year’s resolution? Well, prepare for disappointment. I’m actually hoping I’ve set my standards so low that even I’ll achieve them! With an introduction like that, I’m sure you’ve got your popcorn at the ready for this rollercoaster thrill ride of a blog post…
Test less frequently:
I have a Dexcom G5 CGM but I have trust issues with basically all medical devices, so I over test using test strips and my BG meter an “insane” amount according to my lovely but frank new endocrinologist. It started when I didn’t have Dexcom and, being hypo unaware, testing all of the time gave me peace of mind. Still, it didn’t prevent me losing consciousness from hypos on numerous occasions, which is why I bought Dexcom in the first place. Now that I have Dexcom, you would think I would only test to calibrate, and when I’m hypo… you would be wrong. I test upwards of fifteen times a day. In the sage words of my friend Lauren: “but why?!” But why Lauren, I do not know, so I’ve taken your nudge and I’m really trying to test way less! I’m trying to limit myself to testing when I wake up and take my basal and breakfast bolus (1), when I eat breakfast an hour later (2), before bolusing for lunch (3), before bolusing for dinner (4), when I have a snack that requires insulin: over 6g carbs – my snack ratio is 1u:6g (4), and when Dexcom alerts me to being hypo (5-10). Admittedly, this can still mean a lot of testing, especially if I have multiple hypos in a day, which is not uncommon. Essentially, I’m trying to resist testing every time I’m worried about my blood sugar… which is basically all of the time. I’m not doing this in an attempt to save the NHS money, though that will hopefully be a welcome side-effect, but more to try to reduce my anxiety about my levels. I’m still worried I’m going to pass out from hypos because that’s still been happening, but I have to admit to myself that testing so often does little to alleviate this, and only means that my fingertips are a bloody mess.
Lower my a1C:
I’m starting on the Omnipod insulin pump this month, so hopefully that’ll go some way to helping me achieve a lower a1c. However, due to ill-advised efforts to run myself high in order to restore my hypo warning signs (NICE do NOT recommend this – see 1.10.6, and it didn’t work either, surprise surprise), my a1c has crept up to its highest level since diagnosis (though I don’t even know what my a1c was then, I would imagine it was pretty high!) It’s 6.6, which is still absolutely fine, but I know it could be lower. I don’t expect it to decrease whilst I’m transitioning to the pump, but I’m hoping to get down to the 5s by June.
Spend less on stickers for Dexcom:
This sounds like a pretty redundant resolution, but last year I spent a frankly horrifying £225.31 on Dexcom stickers. Although plenty of these were given as gifts, I did only start Dexcom in July, so that’s not even a year’s worth of stickers! Furthermore, I’m still no closer to finding something that works. I spent £125.75 on GrifGrips which don’t last very long, especially the more intricate shapes – Batman ridiculously lasts less than a day for me. Also, I seem to have developed an allergy to them, though my skin was chill with them initially. I then spent £55.93 on Pump Peelz, which also don’t last very long, and I’m also very allergic to. After asking for recommendations, I was overwhelmingly pointed in the direction of Expression Med Tape. Despite crappo customer service, my £34.64 worth of stickers arrived a month after ordering them, in a battered, cheap as chips envelope – I was surprised there was anything left in it considering how flimsy it was. Lo and behold, the sticker lasted longer than my actual Dexcom sensor. However, peeling it off was painful af, and the irritation it left has given me pimples… on my arm! I mean seriously, no amount of stickiness is worth arm pimples, people. I’ve put another one on my tum, because I’m not spending that much on ONE sticker, but I don’t have high hopes for my poor skin. I also spent £8.99 on Rock Tape a while ago, and, wait for it… I’m allergic to that too! Shocker! I’m super duper allergic to Skin Tac, but any recommendations for um free tape wouldn’t go amiss at this stage!
Make friends with my food:
But not literally, because I don’t eat anything with a face, or anything that came from something with a face. Some of you might know that before I was diagnosed with type one, I was vegan, and had been for quite some time. I’ve been vegetarian pretty much my whole life, so going vegan was the next natural step for me. However, in the weeks preceding my diagnosis, I was losing so much weight, and frankly getting so much slack for being a too skinny vegan, that I decided to start eating sugar in the form of non-vegan donuts in an effort to put on weight. When that didn’t work, and I actually lost more weight despite literally eating a bag of donuts every day, that was the alarm bell that sent me to see my GP, and resulted in my eventual diagnosis.
After I was diagnosed, learning to carb count on my own, and being terrified of the effects of certain foods on my blood sugar, I ate a very limited diet for the first six months. Said diet mainly consisted of COOK ready meals, of which there was only one vegan option. So, I went back to being vegetarian. When I finally regained the courage to eat more things, I felt that it would be unhealthy to limit myself again by being vegan. Instead, I’ve slowly transitioned back to being vegan, and I’m not allowing myself any exceptions this Veganuary. Admittedly, my only weaknesses are really nice milk chocolate and pastries, but I still think it’ll be a bit of a challenge for me personally. However, If I find myself obsessing over food too much, I might not continue with it, but that’s going to be a personal decision. I don’t need convincing of the arguments for veganism, but my own mental wellbeing is frankly more important.
Make friends with my body:
I know I’m not the only person who’s struggled with their body image since regaining the weight they lost before being diagnosed with type one. I lost a whopping 30kg over the period of about five months. I got used to being very skinny, and when I put that weight back on after diagnosis, I really struggled to love my body. I also put that weight back on and then some, NOT because “insulin is a fat-building hormone” because that is total bull crap, but because I eat a lot more sugar these days to treat hypos, and I’m afraid of exercise because of… hypos. How I love hypos! So, in an attempt to make friends with my body, I’m taking up yoga this year. I’m going to aim to do it every day for ten minutes. Ten minutes might not sound like much, but I think it’ll make unable to come up with an excuse NOT to find time for it everyday. I know from doing yoga before that it probably won’t help me lose weight, but this also means that it probably won’t give me any hypos, which makes it pretty much the perfect exercise for a slightly on the tubby side type one.
How am I going to stick to my resolutions?
Sadly, I’m not a pure enough person to be satisfied simply by achieving my goals – I’m the kind of person who likes to be rewarded. What can I say. At least I’m aware of my foibles, and big enough to admit to them publicly. I’m not a materialist, so it’s actually even harder to come up with something to “treat” myself. Instead, I’m going to tie this in with my final diabetes related resolution – raising money for diabetes charities I care about. How I am neatly tying this in is an entirely other matter about which any advice is welcomed and pre-emptively appreciated. Hit me up with your suggestions!