Monday, 1 July 2013

What's new pussy cat? Whooooooah ooooh aaah ooooh!

Well hello there! My, my things have changed in my life since the last time I took up the pen, metaphorically speaking at least.

So what's happened? In terms of things that have happened, things can be grouped into several categories; university, work and health. So let's start at the top.


As for uni, too much isn't happening on that front. I have finished my year but I have to resit an assignment which is something of a pain in the arse but it needs to be done. I just wish I'd got it right the first time around. I've had to drop out of my elective module for health reasons which will become more apparent when I discuss them in more depth later on.


Well, at last I have some paid work. Hip, hip hooo bloody ray. I can now earn a few things and start turning what is a decidedly Grecian financial situation into something more usual. My first pay cheque rolls in on Friday. It's already promised elsewhere but  at least I shall have it.
I also now work for a rather large voluntary movement which is well known world wide for it's humanitarian aide. Love it.


This is where we enter slightly sticky ground. In terms of diabetes things are doing ok, even though I am in a little of a rough patch that needs a bit of tweaking to sort out. Now for the main event.
Since my last blog, I've had a lot of fun. As you may recall, I did take anti depressants for a little while to help me through a pretty crappy time of my life. I've been clear of them about three months now which is rather nice. However, since I came off them I had some rather unpleasant abouts of palpitations. For those of a non medical mind, these are defined as an awareness of one's own heart beating. A pretty wide definition but one none the less. I saw my GP who is absolutely lovely. We did an ECG. From the GP's ECG it turns out I have something called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. This is a pre excitation syndrome resulting from an accessory pathway. I won't explain it all as I am sure that you are all able to find the Arrhythmia Alliance's website and it has a good deal of information about this.
About a week after this diagnosis, I ended up in A&E which wasn't a pleasant experience to be honest with you. The last time I was an inpatient was in 1999. Things have changed a lot since then. The end of it was is that I scared the living daylights out the charge nurse with a BP of 175/95 and a heart rate of 130 - 140 when I was being triaged. What ED thought is that I didn't have Wolff Parkinson White. Odd to say the least.
I've since been seen by a cardiologist who has said that yes, I do have it. I will get around to uploading a picture of my ECG when I can, no promises. The plan is for a procedure called Electrophysiological Studies (EP Studies) with a view to an ablation. More information on the Arrhythmia Alliance's website. The trouble is, that I will be the first pumper that this particular hospital will have ablated. I can't wear a pump into a cath lab as X-rays are used to guide the placement of a catheter. I feel a sliding scale coming along. However, my consultant hasn't mentioned anything about this so I shall have to go to him and sort this out. Watch this space.

Overall it's been an interesting few months. More to come and more interesting things to come as well.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Here I am! Rock you like a hurricaaaaaaaane!

So here I am, checking in again after an emotional post a few weeks ago. It's been fun folks!

What have I been up to then? Well essentially university which has caused various nervous break downs due to having to prepare and give an assessed presentation on cancer recurrences with a case study. Stress central. I've also had to re arrange a placement as university assigned me a daft one which would have been impossible. So I am now in an environment that I am enjoying but is vastly different to what I am used to. Being able to give one to one care and do a proper job is fantastic. More on that at a later date. 

Having taken citalopram ( a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibtor, an anti depressant) for the better part of a year I decided that as I was running our of medication it was a reasonably good time to come off the damn things. Yes, since I came off them I have been having my moments, as you know from my last post. However, slightly more worrying were the palpitations and dizziness that have been and gone over the past two weeks but have since come back this evening. I did go to the GP who I am rather fond of as she is absolutely lovely and tends to give me what I ask for, you might see why I like her. Back to the palpitations, I have had them every so often which I first associated to the withdrawal from the citalopram. That said I have seen the GP about this. My heart sounds are clear, I've had a listen as well just to satisfy my own curiosity. I have however got to go for an ECG on Monday which will be interesting. I've asked that I get a copy sent to me and the GP is happy to do that. That'll come up on here when I get it. 

On a diabetes related note, I found a box of silhouette sets I didn't know I had in a drawer. Result!

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Those of you that know me will know that I am not one to readily expose my emotions. In fact I am somewhat reticent to for many reasons. Here is me doing something that I usually don't really do. I want some form of catharsis. 

Many of us know the numbers. Chances are, you are that one in four. One in four persons with diabetes will develop depression to some extent. I am that one in four. The twenty five percent. I am the depressive in the room. 
I suppose that I might as well start from the beginning, the beginnings of my mental health issues that is. 
This post will upset. I don't care about that. For me this is the catharsis that I need.

Three years ago this month I lost my Dad in a particularly traumatic manner. Well, I won't try and hide it. My Father killed himself in a park near  where I worked and where I have many fond childhood memories of. I suppose this is where the over bearing theme of the past three years originates from. To say that the eighth of April 2010 was a bad day is something of an understatement.

Over the next eight or so months I struggled on. Partners both helped and hindered during this time. I was also unemployed for two of those months which didn't do great things for my mental health. I dropped out of my first university course. I found a job. I found a girlfriend. The girlfriend left me. The day to day rigors of diabetes. The day to day rigors of twenty first century life. All took their toll. I am still counting the cost.

In September of 2011 I started a new life here in Oxford. I started the life of a student nurse. My chosen career is something that I can only look back on in happiness. Although there have been many ups and downs through the past two years, I wouldn't change it. I am truly fortunate in having found something that makes me so very happy and that I also happen to get paid for when I qualify. Nearly two thirds of the way through the course, I am scared that I will soon be solely responsible and accountable for many things. The foil for this is that I love and enjoy every moment of my job. 

Diabetes has always played quite a part. I started pumping on the twelfth of April 2010. I don't regret starting to do this then. At the time it gave me something to focus on and direct energy into. To keep me busy and not too think too much. What does rankle somewhat is that I am now attached to a machine to keep me alive. Every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. If there is something that does an exceptionally good job of telling you that you have a broken body part yet counters this by helping me keep what nature has challenged me with in decent check then this is a good thing. I have my ups and downs. I suppose every diabetic has these. I would suppose that I have these more so given the somewhat traumatic events of this month three years ago. 

A lot has changed since I started to use a pump. My weight has shot up. I was about seventy five kilos when I started pumping and I am now ninety five kilos. Quite the change. My body has stretch marks in all the usual places that weren't there three years ago. My mind has been to some very dark places that I never thought I would find myself in three years ago. My stomach is a patchwork of scars from where I have used various infusion sets. It is a canvas of haematomas from sets that have gone bad or went in badly and hurt like hell. It has bald patches where the infusion sets have torn hair from me. 

I am not the happy go lucky young lad that I was three years ago. I am a world weary cynical twenty two year old who is somewhat suspicious of humanity. I haven't really let people close to me in the past three years. Only lately have I started to let people back close to me. You know who you are if you're reading this. An air has blown into my heart these past three years. I have been down a happy highway yet I cannot go there again. There is a land of lost content within me. I see it shining plain. No matter how much I try, I still see it. I still wish I was there. Despite all the good that has happened in the mire of crap that I have had to deal with over the past three years I still yearn for that place where I cannot go again. 

I am a slave to numbers. Blood glucose readings. Basal rates. Bank balance. Exam and assignment results. HbA1c. Average pre meal blood glucose. Post meal blood glucose. You will learn by the numbers that I will teach you. Most of the numbers are to do with diabetes. Something I didn't ask for. Something I was lumbered with. I play the game that it brings me to. I play it not for a season's fame. Not for a ribboned blazer. I play it so I can pass on the torch that burns on as brightly when it was tossed to me. I try to do this no matter how charged with punishments the scroll. No matter what comes against me. I still have to carry on. Because I have no choice but to. I cannot win this game. I can only draw it. Diabetes seems to have it in for me. Deep within me there is something that has clapped a hand upon my shoulder and sent me into bat in the dimming light. To play the game. To keep me going. Whatever this reserve is, I am grateful for it. It keeps me going. It rallies my ranks of wearied mind and body parts. It gets me out of bed to face the day.

Mental and emotional health are quite something. We know the numbers. I am the twenty five percent. I resent the way that diabetes has helped to take those away from me. I hate that of all my memories diabetes has been present the longest. I cannot recall life without it. I know no different . It has taken much from me. It continues to take. 

But I carry on. I carry on because deep within me is something that rallies me. Something that makes me carry the torch. To hold it with pride and carry on. Today hasn't been a good day. Tomorrow may well be better. I just have to take things one day at a time I suppose. I carry on because I know nothing else other than dogged determination. The drive to see me through is still there. I will see everything through. I will not fall by the wayside. I will stay even with the challenges of diabetes and my other mental health troubles. Today has been a low point. Tomorrow will be a bit higher.