A good year disappears, but another one’s coming

At the start of 2013 I only had one New Year’s resolution, which revolved around getting more proactive managing Amy’s diabetes and handing over knowledge to her to let her decide where to go next. I blogged a bit about it here.

Honestly, I’m not sure whether this has been fully achieved but I do know that she and her diabetes knowledge, attitude and advocacy towards and for diabetes care has much improved. And realistically that’s all that matters.

We started off 2013 getting playing around with different sports and she’s pretty much found that she prefers Squash and Badminton and is pretty good at the latter. Cycling has featured a fair bit and she successfully cycled 27 miles with Gavin’s GBR30/30 challenge this year. The good that’s come out of this is that she’s proved herself to be better, stronger and more determined to achieve than many of her peers and I have no doubt that diabetes has raised this drive and determination.

Having attended so many diabetes related events Amy has gained a lovely set of friends in Chloe, Mimi, Max and Harry, friends I hope will stay in her life for a long time, such is the positive effect it’s had on her attitude to feeling ‘normal’. Her own friends are great but there’s nothing like being able to speak to other kids who just understand.

Getting the insulin pump has been one of this year’s big achievements, from fainting at the mere mention of cannulas at the start of the year, to getting a pump in June and on to giving cannula change demos in public to soon-to-be-pump-wearers she barely knew.

So 2014 is almost here.
I have no doubt it will match or exceed the good things which happened in 2013. I have no doubt about this because we have so many wonderful people in our lives, in our family, locally and especially within the Diabetes Online Community. Thank you to all of you.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Amy with her much-awaited new shirt from Diabetees.
amy jelly babies t-shirt

Open letter to Dextro Energy: 1 more tablet please

Dextro Energy Classic

At the last Wednesday’s #GBDOC tweet chat a question and my joke answer got me thinking…


…so I thought I’d write an open letter to Dextro…


Dear Sir/Madam,

Firstly can I thank you from the bottom of my heart for literally saving my 13 year old daughter’s life on so many occasions. You see she has Type 1 Diabetes which in simple terms means her pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and it involves her having to inject* insulin to match the carbohydrates she consumes for each meal. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but throw in exercise and hormones and growth spurts and the whole process gets tricky. Giving too much insulin means that she’s likely to go ‘hypo’, which means her body will be in a hypoglycaemic state, which is bad news, potentially very bad news, unless it’s treated fast. That’s where you come in.
* luckily she has an insulin pump which makes this job easier for her

My daughter and tens/hundreds of thousands of other people in the UK with Type 1 Diabetes use Dextro Energy to give themselves a glucose boost and bring them out of a hypo. To do this they often consume 15g of carbohydrate. Obviously other sources of carbohydrate are available but in my daughter’s eye Dextro Energy tabs taste the best.

Sorry I’ve just realised that you already know this, you’ve written about it here: http://www.dextro-energy.com/werbrauchtdextroenergy/diabetiker/index.asp

Five Dextro tablets are just right to cover one hypo, but if her blood glucose level is dropping fast they may not be enough and a second lot of five tablets may be needed. If we go out for a day we want to make sure we’ve got enough to cope with three hypos.

3 hypos x 5 tablets = 15 Dextro Energy tablets.
That’s 15.
Number of tablets in one stick of Dextro Energy: 14.
(Just for info the sticks are the only ones we can get in our area.)

So what I ask of you is to consider increasing the number of tablets in each pack by one to 15. I’ll expect the cost to increase by one-fourteenth, that’s fine, but it would make things so much easier. It would mean we wouldn’t have to count how many tablets were left every time we pack the hypo-kit-bag, but more importantly it might mean not find lots of old tablets in ones,twos,threes,fours lying around the house/car/garden/bags/coats.

Thanks for reading this.

Whirled diabetes days: a new blog, one year on

On World Diabetes Day 2012 our new blog, Circles of Blue, went live.

What a year it has been.

A good year.
A year of dealing with diabetes proactively.
A year of diabetes advocacy.

whirl (hwûrl, wûrl)
verb. whirled, whirl·ing, whirls
    1. To revolve rapidly about a center or an axis.


“there’s now multiple series covering diagnosis, getting an insulin pump and travelling to India with Type 1”

The blog was officially released on World Diabetes Day 2012 although I let everyone have a preview of it a few hours before that day dawned. Since then we’ve written 70 posts over many subjects and there’s now multiple series covering diagnosis, getting an insulin pump and travelling to India with Type 1. It’s fair to say I’ve been blown away to how it’s all been received, not just by the #DOC (Diabetes Online Community) but by the thousands of individuals who’ve happened to find an article of use to them thanks to Mr Google. It pleases me to see that people have reached my blog after search for things like ‘can a diabetic travel to India?’ (answer:yes) and ‘can a person with diabetes get a fast pass at Alton Towers?’ (answer:yes).

It’s been a year of reflecting

Well, actually it hasn’t been a whole year, most of the reflecting was done in November and December when Amy, Jane and I wrote our diagnosis stories – full series of articles is here. Occasionally I try to re-read them but I rarely get to finish them.
One of the most read areas of the blog is the series about travelling to India with Type 1 Diabetes with the top page of choice being Cooling Insulin with Frio Wallets. I really enjoyed re-working my original blog about that trip – Monsoon Meandering – reflecting on the epic trip it was and making it useful for any people with diabetes who are thinking about travelling there.

It’s been a year of learning

This time last year we knew very little about diabetes, we just coped with it on a day-to-day basis.
Amy had just got an Aviva Expert meter which made life so much easier that I started asking the #DOC about insulin pumps. It took a while to get Amy interested, and further time for her to not faint whenever they were mentioned, but in March 2013 Amy decided she wanted a pump and on the morning of the 20th June she took her last scheduled injection and starting pumping a few hours later – it’s changed her life in so many ways.
Now, we’re looking into CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) and hope that early next year Amy will starting using that.
All of this learning wouldn’t have been so easy to obtain without my friends from the #DOC, so once again I thank you all for that.

It’s been a year of attending events and meeting people

“Since April I’ve met with around 40 – forty! – people I know from the #DOC”

Starting in April we met our first two people from the Diabetes Online Community (#DOC) – Laura and Anna, who gave Amy a demo of their pumps.
A few days later We went to our first official event the JDRF Discovery Day in Bristol; the Portsmouth “SweetMeet”; the JDRF Discovery Day in Dorset; the DRWF Wellness Day; the Greater Minds Inspire event; the Diabetes UK Big Event; the Bristol JDRF Walk to Cure.
In May we took part in Gavin Griffiths’ GBR30/30 Challenge, with Amy cycling 30 miles in one day and ending it with a run up a big hill carrying Gav’s Olympic Torch.
At the end of June we had a great two days in Alton Towers with Derek, Clare and Chloe, meeting other #DOC people Philippa and Vanessa.
Since April I’ve met with around 40 – forty! – people I know from the #DOC and more importantly Amy has met some other kids with Type 1 Diabetes; they’re sure to be friends for some time.

It’s been a year of stepping up our game

Amy became as JDRF T1 Ambassador and wrote a two page article entitled – Adventures with Type 1 – for their T1 Kids magazine, appearing on the front page
I’m halfway through becoming a Peer Supporter for Diabetes UK, where I’ll man a phone line for a few hours a week, helping people with any type of diabetes. I’m excited but also nervous about this opportunity as I know I might not have the answers they need but hopefully I can help them.
Earlier this year I was asked by a neighbouring area’s diabetes special nurse to introduce parents of newly diagnosed children to the benefits of using Social Media for diabetes. I ended up creating a leaflet entitled ‘How social media helps us with Type 1 Diabetes’ which has been well received by many, be they health care professionals, newly diagnosed people/parents as well as the diabetes community at large. I’ve been so grateful to the endless retweets, posts and linking done by others in getting this leaflet out there and feel sure it’s got to many of the right people.

The icing on the cake has just arrived

Whilst writing this article a new tweet flashed up on my screen. I was amazed at its content and I couldn’t be prouder than to have a leading, respected Doctor mention this blog.