100 things: my top three – by Andy Broomhead
I first heard about the “100 Things…” book in November at a Council of People living with Diabetes meeting and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I really think having something “by people, for people” is a huge benefit and really gives people something to relate to.
As I was reading through, I found myself nodding along with a lot of the tips and I’ve pulled out three that I really relate to:
“When exercising, test before, during (if possible) and after. See how exercise affects your levels to help you adjust your control for next time. Bear in mind when you have last eaten and injected as this will impact how quickly your blood glucose can change.” – Chris Pennell, Worcester Warriors and England rugby player.
I do quite a bit of exercise but it took me a long time to really work up the courage to do that regularly once I’d been diagnosed. Even when I really made that commitment, it took me ages to really understand how running in particular was affecting me. I’d test before I set off, carry my meter and a few test strips (in a sandwich bag), and test while I was out. Finally I’d test when I got in and write all this information down. Doing that really helped me run further without having a hypo, or over snacking and ending up too high.
“Instead of wearing an insulin pump poolside, in your swimwear, simply bolus your basal rate every hour and keep it in your beach bag inside a Frio cool wallet to protect it from the heat.” – Alyson, 42, from Leicester, who was diagnosed with Type 1 aged 26.
I’ll admit that swimming with diabetes has become something of a nemesis for me since I switched to an insulin pump. I struggled for a long time to disconnect for any period of time without ending up high for a few hours afterwards. I don’t like to let diabetes stop me from doing things (and particularly things like taking my daughter swimming), and this tip has helped a lot. It’s also worth testing a little more regularly once you’ve got your pump back on to make sure there’s no delayed reaction.
“If you’re offered a course like DAFNE, DESMOND or XPERT, go on it – it will change your life. I have been diabetic for 42 years but never had good control before attending the course.” – Julia, 45, from Saffron Walden, who was diagnosed when she was three.
This tip is the one that really struck a chord with me. I put off going on a DAFNE course for a long time before I finally bit the bullet. Taking the time off work never seemed worth it and I thought there wasn’t much I could learn. When Julia says it’ll change your life, I don’t think that’s an understatement. DAFNE gave me information I’d never had, and reminded me of things I’d long since forgotten. I also got to meet other people with Type 1 for the first time in the decade since I’d been diagnosed and it’s made me incredibly more confident in living with diabetes on a day to day basis. It might seem scary, not worth it, or a bit of a hassle to take time off, but I really think any kind of diabetes course will make a huge difference to you.
If you want to get your hands on a copy, head over to the 100 Things page on the Diabetes UK website. It’s completely free and the tips are for anyone affected by diabetes!