Office Etiquette with Diabetes

person holding jelly babies at The Diabetes Diet
Mine, all mine!!

I waved goodbye gaily to office life in 2013, glad to embark on new adventures in freelance world.

There’s a lot to be said for freelancing, not least the ‘free’ bit. I love being in charge of my own scheduling. But the pay… ah, the moolah just isn’t to be found, folks. You’re undercut all the time by global competitors who can afford to write for tiny sums or people in your own country who do it for free as a hobby. Argh.

Anyway, I started a new part-time job in April, working in a communications role on a project at Glasgow University—a worthwhile project and the chance to add a regular income. The equal opportunities form asked if I had a disability. I ticked the ‘no’ box. It also asked if I had a chronic health condition. Er…no?

Okay, I get that I do, but until my thirties, I thought all I had was diabetes. When someone pointed out it is a chronic health condition, I was stunned. No, really. I know that sounds like a “duh” moment, but diabetes hadn’t caused me much hassle. Calling it a chronic life condition felt a bit like I was straying into hypochondriac territory.

Back to my new office job. I decided to be a grown-up and tell my colleagues about my condition, instead of sneakily eating jelly babies at my desk and hoping they didn’t notice. It’s not that I don’t want to tell folks; I just I hate drawing attention to it.

I introduced the subject at a team meeting in a round-about way. Did my new colleagues know of anywhere on the campus where I could offload spare medical gear , I asked. (And benefit others at the same time by recycling my stuff. See what I did there?)

They suggested places. I’d told them I was a diabetic by default.

Job done.

Next up—the hypo talk, where I explain what a hypo looks like and why I’m a stingy jelly baby hogger, instead of offering them around.

ADA Reveals Diabetes Now the Costliest Health Condition

At the end of March, the American Diabetes Association released a report on diabetes’ fiscal impact. Guess what? It’s scarily high.

Diabetes is now the costliest chronic condition in the country. Diagnosed diabetes expenses in the US totalled $327 billion in 2017. The data indicates that one of every four healthcare dollars in spent by someone diagnosed with diabetes. And one of every seven is spent directly treating the condition and its complications.

The Economics of Diabetes in the US in 2017 kicked off the ADA’s annual call to congress event. More than 150 diabetes advocates meet with members of congress and staff, urging them to make diabetes a national priority.

The report showed that the economic costs of diabetes increased 26 percent from 2012 to 2017, thanks to its increased prevalence and the rise in cost per person living with the condition. The costs include $237 billion in direct medical bills and $90 billion in reduced productivity. The largest contributors to the costs of diabetes are higher use of prescribed medications, hospital in-patient services, medications and supplies.

These costs are passed on to all Americans thanks to higher medical costs, higher insurance premiums and taxes, reduced earnings, lost productivity, premature mortality, and intangible costs in the form of reduced quality of life.

ADA’s chief scientific, medical and mission officer, William Cefalu said: “From our new economics report, it is very clear that diabetes bears a significant impact on our nation, both in its toll on the lives of the millions affected by it, and the economic costs for all.

“The most important solution we have is continued and increased investment in critical diabetes research, care and prevention to improve diagnosis and treatment, and to help us turn the tide through diabetes prevention. These efforts can help us to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes – and hopefully decrease the cost of diabetes.”

 

Diabetes Diet Book – Updated & Given a Make-over

We’ve been doing a little work in the background here at the Diabetes Diet. We decided to go for a print version via CreateSpace, and we’ve updated our book and uploaded it onto Kindle.

This is the new cover. What do you think?

diabetes diet
The Diabetes Diet is now on Amazon.

The Diabetes Diet explores what people affected with type one diabetes and type two diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity need to do to get mastery over their blood sugars, metabolism and weight.

The scientific reasoning behind the low carbohydrate dietary approach is fully referenced and made easy by menu plans and low-carb recipes. You will be introduced to information and case studies that help you decide what level of blood sugar control, carbohydrate restriction and monitoring is most appropriate for your individual needs.

This book can help those with type 1 diabetes AND type 2 diabetes. It won’t cure diabetes, but it will make living with the condition so much easier.

The print version is going though some final checks, but should be ready in a few weeks’ time and we’ll update you.

You can buy the Diabetes Diet on Amazon.com here, and Amazon.co.uk here.

Why it’s Great to Have Diabetes!

Another thing! You get to do blood tests every day. Yay!

It’s GREAT having diabetes! Bear with me… If you have diabetes, no doubt you’ll have read the many things that can go wrong with you. It’s depressing. And in my 20s when I didn’t bother looking after myself, being told what could go wrong didn’t motivate me.

Most of us are carrots, not sticks people.

I’ve done this exercise before, but it’s worth repeating. Here is what I think makes having diabetes amazing…

I am a special wee snowflake. Yes, I am. Not that many people have type 1 diabetes. We’re in an exclusive gang. We like people with type 2 diabetes too. They can join our gang any day!

I’m very organised. You have to be with diabetes. Daily life needs to be organised around it – working out what medication you need, when and if prescriptions need to be picked up, working out your food choices for the day, scheduling in exercise, and taking everything you need with you when you go out. Do employers look for people with superb organisational skills? You bet they do.

I get regular health checks. People without diabetes can live with conditions for a long time, but my HbA1 levels and kidney function are tested every six months, my liver function and the nerves on my feet every year, and my retinas are screened twice a year. I’ve probably left something out, but I think you can agree I’m subject to regular checks that can pick up issues at an early stage.

I get to be obsessed with food, legitimately. While making food the primary focus in your life isn’t the best idea, I do get to spend a reasonable time Googling recipes and working out meal plans because that helps my health and well-being. I can also be fussy about what and where I eat, again because what I eat is crucial to my health and not because I’m an awkward wee sod.

I have a high pain threshold. I must have, right? I inject myself every day, and people are always taking blood out of my arm (see above!). A high pain threshold is handy if you want to get your legs waxed*.

I have a ready-made excuse. I try not to play the diabetic card, but it does come in useful from time to time. Need to get out of something and stuck for an excuse? High blood sugar levels are a legitimate way to wriggle out of anything…

Finally, here’s my favourite one as suggested by the comedian Arthur Smith, himself a type 2 diabetic. As I have diabetes, that is yet another thing that differentiates me from Donald Trump. Hooray!

 

*Okay, I’m scraping the barrel now.

 

Diabetes and Professional Sporting Careers

“It’s like having a team-mate by my side.”

Would you say that about your diabetes? It’s an unusual viewpoint perhaps, but a positive way to think about it.

Uefa.com ran an article this week about Real Madrid player, Nacho – real name, José Ignacio Fernández Iglesias. The central defender, who also plays as a right or left back, has had type 1 diabetes since the age of 12.

When you have type 1 diabetes, it’s always interesting to read about people in the limelight who also have the condition.

When Nacho was first diagnosed, he ‘d already been on Real Madrid’s books for two years. His doctor told him his footballing days were over. However, three days later he saw an endocrinologist who said the opposite – he should keep playing football, as exercise is important when it comes to blood sugar control.

Nacho said that the extra care involved in taking care of yourself when you have diabetes does help his football career. Diabetes, he says, makes you take greater care with your diet and the way you rest. And it makes you more responsible.

The 27-year-old doesn’t take things easy when he’s on holiday either, choosing to cycle in the mountains or do duathlons and triathlons. He eats everything, but he says he is more careful about certain food types. His diabetes is under control, and he gets on very well with his doctor.

Talking to Gonzalo Aguado at Uefa.com, Nacho said: “[Diabetes] makes you a more responsible person and you look after yourself much more. I know it’s going to be there for the rest of my life – well, unless they find a cure. It’s like having a teammate by my side.”

Type 1 diabetes? Bring it on…

A Day of Type 1 Diabetes

wp-image-1961591207jpg.jpgWhat’s it like having type 1 diabetes? Like having a part-time job on top of everything else…

I’m like most people – sometimes I manage great control. Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I don’t. And sometimes the fault is my own. My blood sugars go haywire, and I spend the day yawning, wishing people wouldn’t talk to me because it’s too much effort to talk back.

Sorry if you’ve met me when I’m like that.

Anyway, here’s what a day of living with diabetes looks like…

8am. Up and at ‘em! Or something like that. I’m self-employed, and I work from home, so I don’t have to commute. Or go to an office – thanks be to all the stars above. My cat likes to sleep on top of me, so sometimes it takes me ten minutes to get up because I don’t like to shift him…

Blood sugar – 6.6mmol. Oh no, is this going to be one of those terrible goodie two-shoes posts where people show off about their brilliant control?

I take my long-term insulin when I get up – 13 units of Levemir. I give the dose in two injections because I think it works better that way. Being an impatient sort, I need to count to 20 to stop me removing the needle too quickly. (You might not get the full dose if you take the needle out too soon.)

I don’t bother with breakfast. Up and at ‘em feels more do-able when I don’t. I’m accidentally doing the trendy 16-8 thing, where you only eat within an eight-hour window.

I work from 9am to 1 pm. I’m a freelance writer, so I write blogs, website contents, video scripts and more for clients, mainly small businesses that are trying to improve their SEO. Some years ago, my husband built me a standing desk. Once you get used to standing for work, it feels much more comfortable than sitting all day.


wp-image-282956511jpg.jpgBlood sugar – 4.2mmol
. Oh, no! It IS going to be a humble-brag blog.

1.30pm-2pm. Lunchtime. Today, I had chilli, salad and some green beans on the side and I finished with some peanuts. I took half a unit of Humalog to cover roughly 20g net carbs. I didn’t take it until after the meal because my blood was low beforehand and because I was planning a walk afterwards.

2pm. I usually go for a walk. I use a Jawbone app to track my sleep and activity. About an hour of walking a day takes you to 10,000 steps.

3.30pm – a bit more work. I write dog blogs for a client, and as I love animals these are my favourite ones to do.

5.30pm – 3.9. I had a banana to cover the low blood sugar, and then I went to a spin class. The instructor LOVES Lady Gaga. I’m beginning to hate her, as I associate the poor woman with nasty hill climbs.

7.30pm. Blood sugar, 11.1. Not so goodie two-shoes now, eh?! Huffing and puffing exercise sometimes does that to me – sends my body into a panic. ARGH, this is hard! Find sugar! Walking doesn’t do this.

I made myself a cheese and onion omelette. Other omelettes are available, but why would you bother?! It was more like cheese, with a bit of onion and egg on the side. I had one unit of Humalog to cover the net carbs.

wp-image-990815369jpg.jpg8pm – oops, how did that get in there? A cheeky little glass of pink fizz… It was so nice, I had another one. And er… maybe another one after that. I reckoned it would help lower blood sugars ;)*

10pm – second dose of Levemir, 6 units. I try to find a spot on my abdomen that doesn’t look too punctured. Medical staff stress the importance of changing injection sites regularly. I’ve got a lump on my belly that’s been there 20 years because I overused the same spot. I don’t go near it now.

10.30pm. I had an Atkins fudge bar. I didn’t take any insulin with it because I’d had a few glasses of wine. Atkins chocolate bars aren’t as carb-free as they boast – but they do contain fewer carbs than a standard chocolate bar.

Bed time. And that was my Friday.

 

*Usual rules apply – as a condition, type 1 diabetes will vary widely between individuals. What I do isn’t a recommendation or prescription for anyone else.

Pensioner Celebrates 80 Years of Living With Type 1 Diabetes

Pic thanks to Diabetes UK

Congratulations to Clifford Whittaker – who this week celebrated living with type 1 diabetes for 80 years.

The Essex pensioner received an HG Wells medal from Diabetes UK in recognition of how long he has lived with the condition.

Mr Whittaker told the BBC he had never allowed his diabetes to stop him from doing anything and that his late wife Doreen had played a part in keeping him healthy over the years. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 8 and only stopped driving two years ago.

Sharon Roberts of Diabetes UK said Mr Clifford was an inspiration, showing people that it was possible to live a long life with diabetes if you managed your condition well.

Read the full story here. Pic thanks to Diabetes UK.

If you want help managing your diabetes for great blood sugar control, check out the Diabetes Diet