Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The (Mock) Exam Week - Take 1.

The past week and a bit I have been doing my mock exams. I haven't even enjoyed them a little. I can officially say that I hate GCSEs. I also hate exams. (Somehow it still hasn't put me off my dream of medical school which is a miracle!)

So for just over the past week I've been taking exam after exam. The mocks aren't supposed to be terrible, they're supposed to be easier than the real exams I have next year. But they were. They were beyond terrible. Did I mention the fact I hate exams? I have to do it all over again in February when there's  another set of mocks. And of course I have to do the real exams in May/June time. Oh, the joys of high school. 

Although the revising for the exams is worse than the exams themselves. Simply put, it is boring. Revision is painfully boring. (Yes, the subjects that I have an interest in aren't as tedious but I'd rather be chatting with friends or go out shopping rather than sat inside for hours on end cramming facts into my already fried brain, you know?)

I even started snacking on my hypo treatment, well I used lucosade as hypo treatment as per usual but if I started heading low the smartguard wasn't enough, so I would munch on a couple of jelly babies too, but they're my all time favourite sweets. Bad move getting them for hypos, I know. I'm usually pretty good at self control with my jelly baby hypo jar but sometimes the urge to consume the entire jar was to much and I would indulge in some much needed sugar. Which sent me high. Because I'm rubbish at accurately bolusing for them time-wise. I eat them guiltily then forget I'm a diabetic. So I give insulin after. Again, bad move.  

However, my blood sugars have been pretty amazing throughout! I've hovered in the 9s and 10s for every single exam which is excellent compared to what could have happened. Those numbers are just because I still haven't figured out how to manage my breakfast bolus and what is the best food to eat. But other than that it has been a walk in the park diabetes-wise! Revision hasn't impacted on my blood sugars to horrifically either. I did have a 1.9 after a practice exam I did at home in preparation and I've had a few hypos but not as many as I had when I revised last year. So, I consider myself successful at revising too, when it comes to blood sugars.

The school have been utterly amazing with my exams, so I reckon I've got a better deal than all my non-diabetic friends with all these exams. I have (not even kidding) been given a room of my own. It is a little lime green wedge shaped room, with a little triangular table and thankfully normal shaped chair plonked in the center. It definitely beats sitting in a huge drafty exam hall with hundreds of others! I needn't worry about my pump alarms going off, testing in the middle or treating hypos and highs, which is a huge relief because I'm that type of person that doesn't want to disrupt others so I would do something stupid like not treating the hypo or not stop the exam to wait for my blood sugars to rise (which I can do in my lime wedge)! I find it so much easier to concentrate on my exams when I'm isolated too, giving me the best chance possible of getting the grades I need. So, I owe a big thank you to my school when all of this is over! So, I hated the exams but they weren't as horrific as they could have been.

But, exams are exams so to sum it all up: Exams are stressful and revision is boring. What a wonderful mix!

I can't wait until I only have to study the subjects I enjoy, at A Level. I long for the days when I can enjoy my study time.... I've got to survive another few months of high school and then I'm free! 



Saturday, 14 November 2015

Am I normal?

It's world diabetes awareness day 2015!! So to celebrate I'm going to write about a thought that crosses every diabetic's mind at one time or another - am I normal?

have been type 1 diabetic for 15 years.

I have always felt that I am different from my peers because of that fact. I viewed my condition as a hindrance and throughout the years I have resented the fact I am diabetic, been angry that I am diabetic, been wishful of being a non-diabetic or been highly annoyed about what life with type 1 diabetes entails. Sometimes I think these things more often or more strongly than other times but at the very least they were always in the back of my mind. However, all this completely changed when I started asking myself - what is normal?

In the Oxford Dictionary the adjective "normal" is defined as:

"Conforming to a standard; usual, typical of expected".

In terms of people, the definition is:

"Free from physical or mental disorders".

I cannot categorise myself into either of those descriptions therefore I am not normal. I am different. 

If I am not normal, who is normal? 

But, I can't answer that question simply because normality changes. I once heard a friend of mine say - "normality is just a perception of the mind" - and he could not be any closer to the truth. What is normal to me is abnormal to the next person, what is abnormal to me is normal to someone else. But still we believe that society has these unspoken terms and conditions and we question ourselves. 

Am I normal? 

If you put me in a line with 9 other people who were all non-diabetics, 7 of which were female and the other 2 male (including myself there would be 8 females in total), no, I am not normal because I am the only diabetic stood there. I am not usual, typical, expected or conforming to the diabetes-free standards. I am not free from a physical or mental disorder. I am not normal. 

And yet, I am normal at the same time. 

I am normal if you are judging us on gender. In this circumstance, I am normal.  I am conforming to the female expectations of that line up. I am also normal if I am in a line up of 9 diabetics and 1 non-diabetic. 

So, I ask myself over and over again - am I normal? Well my answer is this,

Why would you want to be normal?






Friday, 6 November 2015

My Home away from Home

I cannot emphasise enough how much I love the Friends For Life conferences. After 6 years of going, it goes way beyond simply being with other diabetics now. I'm not sure my friends at school would recognise the me at FFL, I feel like a whole other person - in a good way - whilst I'm there. 

For those of you who don't know, FFL is a conference for families living with type 1 diabetes usually in held all over America throughout the year, but once a year they bring one over to the UK for us. This year was my seventh and was quite possibly the best one I've been to so far! The parents go to educational or emotionally supporting sessions (four a day, breaks and food in between each!). While they do this the children go to sessions of their own. I am in the teens, 13-18 and I wouldn't miss it for the world. 

We did fun activities and group discussions all day Saturday and Sunday morning such as a competition for carb counting fast food (which for non diabetics probably sound difficult and boring as hell but for us diabetics and siblings it is great fun and highly competitive!), a presentation on the latest technology (I will probably do a post at a later date about these) and separate girls/boys/siblings discussions (I'm in the girls diabetic talk of course) which always goes slightly off track but are brilliant because of the tips, tricks and stories we get to hear. 

Sunday afternoon and Saturday evening are the best parts though - the disco and Thorpe Park. 

I'm not a party animal in any way shape or form and I have rhythm but I cannot dance properly at all. However at discos you can't get me off the dance floor easily. This would be one of the times my non diabetes world friends wouldn't know me! Moments when you're all dancing like maniacs and yet can still compare blood sugars on CGMs whilst dancing are what I go to the conference for. A lot of people wouldn't understand this but it is moments like that are when I am completely normal and completely myself. I don't hide any part of me from my diabuddies - I love it. 

Thorpe park was just incredible. Walking round with a group of type one diabetics free to go and do whatever, in an adrenaline junkie's heaven is something I will always remember. When we got there initially and the leaders yelled "Right. There's forty of you. We have 20 fast track passes so get into pairs, one diabled and one carer!" I knew it was going to be a good day. 

I only recently got into the whole rollercoasters and rides thing, I used to be quite scared of them and would only go on the mediocre rides at most. So (for those of you who know Thorpe Park) I went on Swarm first (forwards), Nemesis Inferno, Swarm (backwards) and I would have gone on Colussus if it had been a shorter queue (even with the fast track it was a really long wait!!). I had an incredible day and I would go back again any day!! 

But the weekend wouldn't be complete if it weren't for all the people I get to spend time with whilst I'm there. There is nothing quite like being with someone in the same boat as you, no matter what you're doing or talking about, there's this unspoken agreement. They understand you and have your back and vice versa. That's what makes these weekends special:)


This year's group photo of the conference. I'm in there somewhere....!


The green diabetic band I wear all weekend (everyone gets colour coded into orange non diabetics, green diabetics and yellow coeliacs) and the yellow Thorpe Park fast track band!


I got soaked. Twice. This was the first time - there's nothing like a large caramel latte to warm you up. (Carb counted and insulined of course!)