Just a shot…I think not

So as all of you probably know by now those of us with T1D have to give ourselves insulin manually, this is done either through an injection or an infusion via pump. Today I’m going to explain the process that you have to go through to have an injection of insulin, that right there is more to it than drawl up an amount, stab and push in insulin.

This is the pen that I use to deliver the majority of my shots (I have another one with a different insulin but I only use it once a day).

Insulin pen

Before I tell you exactly how the pen works lets start at the beginning of the whole equation (trust me the whole thing turns into a giant equation!)

Blood test, that’s right, it all starts here. Depending on what your bloods are you may need to factor in a corrective dose to your insulin shot. How do you work this out? Well every T1D is different on this point so I will just explain what I do. I have what they call a correction factor, so for every 2 mmol/L of blood sugar that I want my bloods to come down I need to have 1unit of insulin. So right now lets say that I want my bloods to come down by 5mmol/L, I would need 2.5units of insulin.

Part one:check.

Next are you going to eat anything? For arguments sake we are 😉 for this part you have another calculation to run. It starts with how many carbohydrates have you eaten? (as a diabetic you are taught to carb count but I wont give you a lecture on that right now or your head might explode, the easy way is look up on your phone how many carbs are in your meal) So lets say we’ve eaten dinner and all up dinner contained 60g of carbs. Now we have to divide those carbs by what is called a carb ratio (every T1D’s ratio is different!) my ratio is 10:1 so for every 10g of carbs that I eat i need 1unit of insulin. 60g of carbs means I need 6units of insulin.

Part two:check.

Now it’s time to have your insulin, right? Wrong, now you have to factor in how much activity you are going to do after dinner. If you don’t do this you will either need to eat again to keep from going low or your will go low. If I’m going to do exercise I will generally have 10% less insulin. So lets say that I am going to do some exercise and we’ll factor that in in the next bit.

So we have 2.5units for a correction and 6units for our carbs, together that’s 8.5, but now we have to minus 10% for exercise that we are going to do (I generally round the numbers to the nearest .5 because my pen has increases of .5) so that brings us to a grand total of 7.5units of insulin.

Now for the easy part, having the shot. Simply dial up the required amount, choose the place you want to have it, put the needle in and press the insulin in. I then keep the needle in for a count of 10seconds because it can take the insulin a little bit longer to come out of the needle and start to be absorbed. If you don’t wait insulin will come out of your injection site and then you’ll go high because you haven’t had your full dose.

As you can see having a shot just isn’t that simple. Every time that I test my bloods or eat food I have to go through this process. At first it was really difficult and I needed lto write it down and use a calculator but now I can manage it all in my head. But if my bloods are too high this makes thinking harder so doing all of the above takes me a little while longer. Hopefully now you see that we T1D’s have to do a bit more than just have shots to keep alive, I just felt the need to let y’all know 😉 any questions about any of this y’all know where to put them 🙂

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What’s Wrong With Me?

So many people think that Diabetes is Diabetes, that everyone who has Diabetes has the same kind and it is caused by the same thing and can be treated in the same way…well today I’m going to tell you that is wrong. I’m going to explain what Type 1 Diabetes is in the most understandable way that I can, a little bit of a story for you. So lets give it a go, I’ve no idea which order to tell things in so if I say them in an order that to you doesn’t make sense I apologize.

Lets start with what a non-diabetics body does.

When you eat food with glucose in it (that’s sugar that comes in many different forms but the form that I count it in is called carbohydrate) the glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. Now here comes the fancy part. In order for your body to use the glucose for energy it needs to get into your cells (where is is transformed into a form of energy that your body can use). Glucose cannot just float in and out of your cells it needs the equivalent of a hall pass, something which can accompany it through the walls of the cell and inside. This thing in your body is insulin and is produced in your pancreas by your beta cells.

So to wrap that one up, when you eat glucose it gets absorbed into your blood stream, then your pancreas produces insulin which accompanies the glucose into your cells. The glucose is then transformed into energy that your body can use for daily functioning, things like running around, thinking, walking, getting out of bed, pretty much everything that you do needs energy and you get this from the process above.

In a type 1 diabetics body this doesn’t happen. Our beta cells don’t produce insulin and therefore the glucose in our blood cannot get into our cells and be transformed into energy. Instead it builds up in our cells and turns into something called ketones, if the ketones aren’t dealt with or build up too much they become toxic to our bodies and we can die.

Here is why my body now doesn’t produce insulin.

One day there was a civil war inside my body, my immune system decided that my beta cells in my pancreas were bad and so they attacked them. No one knows what caused my immune system to think that my beta cells were bad, it’s just something that happened and it can happen to anyone at any time, although it is most common in your younger or adult years.

Over a period of time my immune system kept attacking my beta cells, now my body does not produce any insulin on its own. So the glucose that I eat cannot get into my cells and cannot be transformed into energy for me to use. There is only one thing that can be done to get insulin into my body and that is to inject it. The insulin that I inject is made in a laboratory (years and years ago it was made from pig beta cells!) but it has the same molecularity as the insulin that a non-diabetic produces and does the same job only in gets there in a different way.

It’s a pretty short explanation I know but it’s how I explain it to people and generally they seem to understand. I’ll post later on what exactly I have to do to use insulin (it’s not as straight forward as just injecting it) but I think maybe this will be enough to try wrap your head around in one reading 😉 If you have any questions about any of this or want more information I’m more than happy to try and help just comment below 🙂

Hopefully now you understand what type 1 diabetes is, it is not caused by eating too much, eating the wrong foods, not doing enough exercise, being over-weight, how you were raised, or where you live, it is just a freak event that happens inside you one day for no reason, it happens to some people and not to others, it is unfair, there is no explanation or cure, but it is not contagious and we can live reasonably normally lives (well most of the time anyway 😉 ).

Last but not least, this is what I look like as a type 1 diabetic, I have an identity, style and life that is unique to me just like all of you whether you are type 1 or not. Really when it comes down to it, I’m just another person 🙂 only I have a faulty organ in there somewhere haha.

Leading a Heifer in an A&P show grand parade

Leading a Heifer in an A&P show grand parade

The #FreeDiabetics Movement

I thought a good way to start this blog off would be to re-blog a post I wrote about type 1 diabetes a wee while ago, while I’m going to give you what I originally thought I’m also going to add in some after thoughts 😉 I posted this on IG, FB and another blog back on September 17th, 2014.

Literally holding my life in my hands here.

Literally holding my life in my hands here.

My name is Hope, normally I hide this side of my life but I saw a post recently and for some reason felt I should join.
I’ve been a type 1 diabetic since I was 4, that’s almost 17years.
I have 12 injections a day, 84 a week, and 4368 a year. I put a hole in my finger 6 times a day, you can do that math on that one if you like.
This is me literally holding my life in my hands.
I have bruises and lumps in places no girl would ever want.
Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate, sometimes I feel sick, sometimes I shake to the point I can’t hold a glass of water, talk or walk properly.
I don’t eat, sleep or exercise without running calculations and having meds.
Does it hurt-YES. Can I eat sugar-YES. Is it contagious-NO. Is there a cure-NOT YET.
I don’t want any sympathy so please don’t post any sympathies. I live life to the full, I milk cows, go 4×4, ride bikes, and am completing a degree. It’s just a hell of a lot harder to do than for most people. But one day i will look back at it all and laugh, because I won’t be having to test my sugars or have shots, I’ll feel normal, it’ll be great, I’ll be free.

Afterthoughts: There is not much more to it really, upon getting to know some of the fantastic people involved with the FDM I’ve found support, support that I had pushed away in the past because I really didn’t think that their was anyone like me, that anyone else knew what I went though on a daily basis. In finding this support I have really been able to start dealing with what my T1D throws at me, even though some days its really hard. For me this is a really important community because it allows me to know that I am not alone and for anyone no matter if they have an illness or not, that is very important.

All in all I really enjoy FDM because I get to see the faces of T1D and they are beautiful dispite this unfair burden that they carry and they are people! They are not faceless things with some terrible disease!! And this gives me hope, that maybe I can be beautiful with this disease and how I live my life with it but also maybe, hopefully, one day without it.