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Entry Number Four: (Too) sweet 16 and beyond.

Published by Charles Robin in the blog Charles Robin's blog. Views: 262

Welcome back dear readers. Unless this is the first entry you are reading. In which case, welcome! I started yesterday's entry with a moan. I am continuing that theme today. My arms ache. A good friend of mine asked me to help him carry some furniture yesterday. The words 'not too heavy' and 'short distance' were bandied about. It turned out that the table wine rack type thingy wasn't all *that* heavy. Just really, really awkward to get hold of. It took us 10 minutes to walk to the shop. It took us almost an hour to struggle back. My fingers, my arms and my hands are now all part of the not impressed club.

So, moan over, and on with the story! You may recall last time that I disregarded anything resembling sensible control. I ate what I wanted, when I felt like it. This was all throughout secondary school. However, I did take up a couple of activities which helped bring my HBA1C down. It came down from appalling to just awful. (I rate things on a sliding scale: Exemplary, excellent, good, ok, not ok, bad, worse than bad, awful, appalling, heart failure. Thankfully, I have yet to see the last state on the list). I found that I really enjoyed cycling, and was quite a fan of swimming as well. In fact, I enjoyed a lot of outdoor activity. Does anyone remember doing the bleep test at school? That thing where you had to run a set distance, while a machine emitted bleeps. The time between bleeps would get progressively shorter, so you would have to run faster to stay in the exercise. You were out when you couldn't get there in time. Most people hated the bleep test. For some reason, I loved it. I was a big fan of cross country as well. Don't get me wrong, I was not good at it. But I was not bad either. When all the athletic kids were off participating in school football matches, I would come in the top 10% of the ones left behind.

So I got out and cycled when I was not at school. My weekends and summer holidays were often spent on my bike. This brought my blood sugars down, although I was still way too high a lot of the time. It wasn't until I was doing my GCSE's that I moved down from awful, to somewhere between bad and worse than bad. Then when I was 16, I changed schools. I decided I had had quite enough of Grammar school. My GCSE results were as follows:. 2 A's, 4 B's, 3 C's and 1 D (Sorry Latin, you just didn't do it for me). Not bad results in my opinion. Better than I had hoped for. Technically, good enough if I wanted to stay. But I would have been grudgingly accepted. The deputy head phoned everyone on results day, to discuss the future. I will always remember what he said to me: 'Well, you can come back if you want, but I don't know that you'll do very well here. There are people who are better than you, and you'll struggle.' Thanks Mr deputy head. It didn't bother me really. I had already decided I was unhappy there. I had hardly any friends, and plenty of unpleasant memories. I had opted instead to go to the local sixth form college. It turned out that there, if you weren't amazing at maths and science, you weren't a pariah. I was ok at maths (B at GCSE), but science I was awful at.

Sixth form was the start of my attempts to take back control. Here, I found friends. I was focusing on subjects that I enjoyed, rather than a ton that I was forced to take. I had a reason to get up in the morning, and I started eating a bit more sensibly. My last appointment at the children's diabetic clinic was actually pretty pleasant. My levels were on the way down, and I made peace with the health team. From then on, I was moved to a 'half way house' between children and adult diabetic clinics. I was seen at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, and I can't thank the team there enough. They organised evenings where people could come and meet other diabetics, and share their experiences. We participated in different activities, and had a few trips out as well. My HBA1C came back into the 7s for the first time in years, and finally found its way into the high 6s. I was thrilled. In hindsight, I was still very poorly controlled. But it was better than before. That was something. I was also moved from 2 injections a day to a basal bolus regime: Lantus and Lispro. In theory, I could match my insulin to what I ate. I thought I could finally get back on track now.

The problem was, my eating habits were still unhealthy. I still ate the sugary snacks, now just giving myself large doses of Lispro to compensate. It was a lot better than the two injections a day method, but that didn't make it good. I found that I was having a lot more hypos than before. One time, I had 5 hypos in two weeks, which required either my parents to help me, or paramedics. On one occasion, I had a hypo about 2am, which caused me to have a fit. The paramedics came, and I was given glucagon to bring me out of it. The rest of the day, I was even more hungry than usual. So I ate loads, and took loads of insulin. I was exhausted from the lack of sleep caused by the hypo, so I fell asleep about 6pm. And had another hypo, and another fit. Paramedics out twice in one day. Genius.

The thing was, I convinced myself I was doing well. My HBA1C was down in the mid 6s. I failed to understand that this wasn't the only thing to consider. If you have a whole load of hypos, and a whole load of highs, you can have a low HBA1C. Needless to say, I still had a long way to go.

Next time, gasp in wonder as I recount how I left Essex, and started my time at university! You'll get the scoop on my successes, my many failures, and the one event that would eventually get me to take back control. Now I'm going to go and do some cycling.
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