Saturday, March 21, 2015

Type 1 diabetes and my wee hero

I am in my bed. A simple pleasure that rarely presents itself before midnight and beyond 7:30am, frequently being interrupted with middle-of-the-night journey's into the boys room for all sorts of reasons, most of which are diabetes-related. I just perused some of my old blogs and musings, 2011 was indeed a good year, and my adorable bundle of joy is now almost 4 years old! Wait, what!?!? How did we get here!?!?! Oh right, 4 years have passed.

Life has changed considerably. I have put my career on pause and now have the joy of spending my days looking after my (almost age 4, and 18 month old) boys! I had been working part-time and was running a project at a homeless charity, a place I quickly came to love and still miss. However last year life threw us a curve ball (I think I need a less sporty analogy here, having never actually experienced the throw of a curve ball...!) in the shape of Type 1 Diabetes. Our oldest son was diagnosed just before his 3rd birthday and I have spent the past 11 months attempting to become as close to an expert as I can possibly be!

Type 1 diabetes is hard work. The pancreas basically stops working and when symptoms present themselves it has already lost 90% functionality. The remaining 10% function will eventually stop too, but at some unknown, unmeasurable time. The pancreas is a vital organ that produces insulin. Insulin basically acts a like a key and unlocks the door allowing sugars to move from blood stream and be converted into the muscles for energy. Without insulin the body cannot convert sugars into energy, the blood glucose levels can reach alarming heights and without immediate medical intervention can actually result in extreme illness, with life-threatening consequences.

We were incredibly fortunate and recognised the symptoms fairly early on, so after a few days in hospital and an intense crash-course in injecting insulin, counting carbohydrates and learning about the basics in managing type 1 diabetes we were home. Back to our home that we had left in a whirlwind only a few days before, but now with an entirely different perspective on life and wondering how to best manage this complex, fragile medical condition in our wee 2 year old.

The overwhelming feeling I currently live with is responsibility. Sure, creating 2 brand new humans, looking after them, teaching them about life, etc is massively responsible but it never felt that way. It still doesn't. It comes naturally and is mainly a lot of fun! Looking after and managing type 1 diabetes though, is entirely different. My job now is to learn as much as I possibly can, so that I can manage his diabetes in the best possible way until he is old enough to learn how to do it himself...and even then I don't imagine I'll just leave him to it!!

It is an intense, daily regime of insulin delivering, blood glucose testing, ketone monitoring, carbohydrate counting, cannula injecting, and so much more. It is knowing how to respond to unpredictable blood glucose levels, treating hypo's (when blood glucose is below 4), re-testing, stabilising. It is correcting with more insulin when his blood glucose is too high. Testing for ketones if he is above 14. Ketones can make him really ill and are basically bad and to be avoided and gotten rid of ASAP!

It is adjusting insulin basal (background insulin basically on a permanent drip, given through his insulin pump) rates, which are all on different hourly rates depending on his requirements at each hour of the day and night. It is adjusting his insulin: carbohydrate ratios to make sure he then gets the correct amount of insulin for each meal and snack time. It is learning how to adjust and tweak  these every day if his blood glucose then goes too low or too high.

It is managing the effects of a million and one variables that affect the body's blood glucose levels nd absorption rates. The weather- too hot or too cold. Any type of illness, cold, coughs, tummy bugs, a temperature, all have an impact. If he exercises or runs about. Feeling excited, or anxious, or anything where his adrenaline is pumping. It is looking for patterns and trends in his levels, uploading data from his pump to the hospital once or twice a week and reviewing the graphs and tables of invaluable information.

It is dealing with the emotional impact of how diabetes makes you feel. And I'm talking physically, not even the psychological effect of having the condition. Too much glucose in the blood pretty much guarantees emotions running high alongside. Crying, tantrums, shouting and aggressive behaviour. Too little glucose in the blood often leads to feeling exhausted, lethargic, teary, needing cuddles and going as white as a sheet. Once we have experienced loss of consciousness, eyes rolling back into the head, floppy as a ragdoll, until the emergency glucoboost treatment kicked in and brought him round. It was one of the scariest moments I have had.

We recently received amazing news, that he would be given a funded CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor), which basically monitors his glucose levels every 5 mins and sends the data to his pump where it can also be viewed as a graph. I'll probably blog more on this another time as it's a whole new realm of clever medical technology that we are incredibly lucky to be benefitting from.

Type 1 diabetes is often misunderstood. It is often underestimated. It is exhausting and relentless and today I feel shattered and a bit like someone's punched me in the stomach. And it's not even me that is living with it.

I think my emotional morning was actually triggered last night by him making sure he took his testing kit to bed with him, just incase he was low during the night and so I could give him his jelly babies and check he was ok. It was so sweet and broke my heart a wee bit!

But our boy is an absolute star! He has just arrived home from the shops munching said jelly babies as he just had a hypo. He is delighted with his new puzzle and we are going to spend the next few hours making it and playing in the garden. Life with type 1 has become the norm and he takes it all in his stride. It's not without it's challenges, far from it, but my cheery wee guy is my proper hero. And he has absolutely no idea what that really means!

Our boy is an absolute star.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scum in Glasgow

greetings loyal readers!

hark, another blog doth appearest!

i am aware these are rather sporadic posts, but not to worry, they are here for your simple enjoyment every now and then!

so, today's is to highlight the visit and blog of a fabulous team of folk from the US of A, to the Glasgow City Mission, an amazing charity who provide practical, emotional and spiritual support and care for the homeless and vulnerable in Glasgow.

check out there blog, Scum kids in Scotland here, or here, or even here! :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nice one 2011, you did good!

Whoa, so here comes a cheeky wee blog sneaking in right at the end of 2011!! Admittedly it's been my most lacklustre year on the blog thus far, but as real life goes 2011 has trumped all the others! :) turns out that producing a human is quite time-consuming & does not leave much space, (or brain power) for doing anything more productive, in my now rare moments of peace, than reading Harry Potter or Heat magazine! Still, here I am to wish any readers who might happen across this a very happy new year indeed!

2011 went basically something along the lines of this:
  • Jan- was 4 months pregnant but in the dismal stage of just looking fatter & still occassionally vomiting / fainting! partied in the new year with friends in Stockholm- a true delight!
  • Feb- stopped feeling so unwell & consumed every pregnancy book known to man(woman)kind in an attempt to prepare for giving birth! Spent my days completely distracted & additionally consuming combinations of sweet/salty treats!
  • Mar- long wknd in London to see the family & enjoy last wknd away with husband before tiny human arrived! Shopped, dined, theatred & still failed to spot a celeb, on my ever-failing quest!
  • Apr- work got v busy, i spent my days trying to prepare for a year on mat leave & spent many hours indecisively researching, purchasing & returning baby-related items. As suspected, I am indeed a marketers dream!
  • May- began prep for finishing work & relaxing for 3 wks before my due date! Enjoyed a yummy- mummy tea party thrown by family & friends, & a delicious cocktail (ok, mocktails) evening with work girls!
  • - 7th may as I got ready for a friends wedding my waters broke!! Eek! 3 days of contractions & a stay in hospital ensued, passed time by freaking out/ sunbathing/reading all my books again!
  • - 10th may I spent 14 hours in the labour suite & finally gave birth! 3 weeks earlier than expected! Gorgeous baby boy appeared & I fell madly in love!
  • June, Jul- spent most of the summer in a blur on the sofa! Or in the park! Realised I forgot to read any books on actual babies/ parenting & experienced steep but most excellent learning curve based around nappies, feeding, dressing tiny people (trickier than u may think!) & sorting baby-related stuff! Surprised myself with how little sleep one can survive on!
  • Aug/ Sep- first family holiday to cottage in Northumberland! Swapped my couch for armchair by log fire & enjoyed my extremely cute baby! Visited various castles, beaches, chippies & realised prams are not easy to drag across sand!
  • Oct/ Nov- started participating in more 'parent-type'' activities with my other new- mum- friends & felt like part of a new unofficial club where it's all a bit uncool but totally excellent! Days now generally consist of coffees, 'bounce & rhyme' time, buggyfit exercise classes, shopping, blowing raspberries/silly faces/playing, etc & I couldn't be happier! Have gradually re-discovered my social life, albeit at slower pace, but then who really wants to be out every night anyway!?!
  • Dec- baby now 7 months & a definite adorable cheeky wee monkey! Festive merriment inspired new sparkly-themed clothes for me & Santa/elf/reindeer themed clothes for my poor son who will no doubt look back in disgust when older! Enjoyed Christmas parties, lunches & other festivities with various friends, family & folks from our most welcoming church! :)
So, all in, 2011 was a bit of a life-changer! I've never had such little sleep, so much time on the sofa & so much pleasure from a tiny new human!

Nice one 2011, you did well! :)

Hope 2012 brings more excitement, satisfaction & adventure! & my waistline back!
Happy new year everyone! Xox

Saturday, September 11, 2010

THINK boutique Fashion launch

Last night saw the pop-up shop, DJ spun, and very well attended launch of {Think} Boutique, a brand new ethical fashion company run by Vic McQuillan! In Glasgow's Merchant city the beats were fast, wine flowing and excitement mounting for the fashion show and for many, a first peek at the clothes and accessories available. I did succeed in gaining a sneak preview of the range, as Vic kindly lent us her collection for the NYA2010 Stepping Up ethical fashion show last weekend (more on that later!).

So what is the company all about...

"Stocking the
most exciting and
fashion-forward ethical brands {Think}
Boutique strives to retail
clothing that have the highest possible social
and environmental credentials. Products are from Fair Trade,
organic, sustainable, up-cycled or
locally produced sources." (from website)

{Think} currently stocks 8 suppliers, all varying in their styles and backgrounds, but consistent in their creation of fashionable pieces made from recycled, up-cycled, fairly-traded materials.

There were some fabulous items, including coats, dresses, cute knitted tops with sparkle as well as winter woolie accessories.

The camel coat is predicted to be a top trend for the autumn season so if you're looking to invest a little more in an item which you can wear, in the confident knowledge that not only will you look stylin' but are helping the environment, it's a serious win-win! :)

Thursday, September 09, 2010


ok, so it's been a while, I admit it!

However, I like to think I have made resourceful use of my time away from blogging: doing some travelling, expanding things in my job (really I mean increasing my hours, sigh), planning events, meeting new people and more! and from this year I have a few more ideas to share and exciting ventures to blog about! excellent!

a few blogs to watch this space for:

  • Think Boutique's fashion launch- a new ethical fashion company, launching this weekend in Glasgow's Merchant City!
  • NYA 2010- it happened last weekend in Stirling, it was excellent, and it involved around 200 young people having a voice within the CofS! Discussions were focused around Violence, Ethical Fashion, Politics, Mental Health and much more... Check the COSY blog for more!
  • a variety of upcoming gigs! phew! similar to 2009, the first half of the year has been a laid back one! Now it would appear gig season is descending and I am thoroughly pleased! Gig thirst: about to be quenched! it starts tomorrow with RBRBR, Bright Light Bright Light and Mopp at King Tuts! and the guest list! I'm all about the guest list these days! :)
  • Photos: i have a new camera. And a new iphone. And a new photo app which i've just started to play with! *PLEASED*
So it's happy times here! nice to see you again friends :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeah

December saw my unintended gig-drought come to an end as the 4th Dec brought one of my favourite bands, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to the O2 Academy! Support band were way too metal for my liking so after warming up with a few drinks in the bar we snuck thru the crowds down into the main floor and secured our spot!!! a giant sphere hung over the stage, and as the lights began flashing it rolled round and eye-balled us all, a little freakishly!!! 

Karen O absolutely owned the stage when she appeared throughout the night in a downright bizarre range of outifts, including metres of draped fabric hung over wooden arm extensions, hoods and masks!! the music and atmosphere were electric, everyone was well into it and they played a great mix of tracks from their most recent album 'It's Blitz'- stand-out performances were definitely Zero and Heads Will Roll! one of the best moments was when she switched things down a gear and played a more laid back version of Maps from their older album 'Fever to Tell', with the whole crowd joining in !!

'wait, they don't love you like i love you'! 

Thursday, August 06, 2009

sandwich solutions!

this morning radio 1 had a genius idea! rather than spending hard-earned pennies on new lunchboxes for the school/ office/ picnic experience, u can instead give the VHS case a well-earned comeback!

1) take one sandwich

2) clean out a VHS case from one of ur favourite videos

3) and Voila, a fabulous looking, highly affordable, and rather kitsch lunch box!! :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

what katie wore

my friend Ing discovered this most excellent blog site by katie and joe! it's simple really:

katie wears a different outfit every day of the year.

joe photographs her and writes a wee blurb.

people like you and me have a nosey and see whatkatiewore!


Monday, August 03, 2009

Drops like stars

is the title of rob bell's new book, just out on aug 1st! looks very interesting! his books always provoke some new sort of appreciation of the bible and faith in an actual relevant way! i find them refreshing! and am looking forward to engaging with Drops Like Stars!

'Official Description: 
We plot. We plan. We assume things are going to go a certain way. And when they don’t, we find ourselves in a new place—a place we haven’t been before, a place we never would have imagined on our own.
It is the difficult and the unexpected, and maybe even the tragic, that opens us up and frees us to see things in new ways.
Many of the most significant moments in our lives come not because it all went right but because it all fell apart.
Suffering does that. It hurts, but it also creates.
This book is an exploration of the complex relationship between suffering and creativity, driven by the belief that there is art in the agony.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

a few things of note, for tonite!

  • i am tired and exhausted in every way!
  • i have had an outrageously fun weekend involving coffee's, deep chat, bbq's, a 4am bedtime, probably too much rosy, some great company, top tunes and a highly satisfying full breakfast brunch at stravaigins!
  • this evening 6 of us went to the Arches for Alien Wars... only 3 went in, of which i was not one!! i suspected nervous disposition and nightmare tendencies would not combine well with massive alien, sharp claws, darkness, confined spaces and being chased!!
  • costa coffee only charged me £1 for a mug of steamed soya milk, vanilla syrup and marshmallows :)
  • fopp is my favourite shop. even when i can't afford anything it's so nice to wander about and lose yourself amongst it all! books, cds, dvds= perfect! it might (might!) even beat clothes shopping!
  • in the Oxfam bookshop on Byres Rd my friend's book is being sold! 'God's Never Offside'! now sitting at front of shelf of religious books!
that's all really!