Every time i type or see those words it’s like a warm buzz comes over me.
I wonder if i’ll make it through this without tears, i’m not so sure, but let’s see how i go.
Diabetes camp. A camp for diabetics is what most would think when they hear that. But they don’t know that it is so much more then that. They don’t know that it’s the place where young children blossom. Where they achieve, conquer and shine.
Being surrounded by over 50 diabetics, whether it be the campers, other leaders or Hp’s is a feeling like no other. It really is like another world. A world that i’m so happy and grateful to be apart of. Having the opportunity to be apart of helping even one camper is incredible, and if at the end of camp, i go home having made even the slightest little bit of difference in a child’s life, then that is good enough for me.
Being able to look around and see people testing their blood sugar, pull up their shirt or position their arm to inject, or insert a pump line like it’s no big deal,is a feeling which is indescribable. In “reality” you do so much as prick your finger and you can feel the eyes of 10 people and hear the whisper of comments being said. On Camp, you feel the eyes, and hear the whisper, but it’s different. It’s people looking with proudness, and joy in their eyes, and the whispers you hear are filled with warmth and encouragement.
Diabetes camp is a place where you don’t feel alone, a place where you feel supported, understood and encouraged. Some of the kids are the only one at their primary school with diabetes, some of them have never met another diabetic, let alone 40 of them within a few years of the same age as each other. For a lot of the kids, it was also the first time they had ever been away from their parents. So by the end of the camp knowing that most, if not all of the campers had achieved something such as finger pricking on a new finger or side, injecting in a site they had never tired, drawing up their own insulin for the first time (which looks pretty tricky if you ask me) , doing their line change for the first time, and inserting their cannula, or even just managing to be away from their parents and families for 4 days is achievement enough.
Although camp is primarily for the kids, us leaders, i think, walk away just as inspired, supported, encouraged and motivated as the kids do. After all it doesn’t matter if you’re a leader, camper or Hp, we still go through the same thing, and every once in a while need to be shown that we aren’t alone. But there is no better feeling then seeing the kids interact with each other, support each other and show support when a friend does something for the first time, or pushes through their nerves to give that new finger a go, or have a shot at drawing up their insulin for the first time. Because there is no doubt that any of these things can be daunting at times, so what better place to do it, then when you are surrounded by people who genuinely understand.
As leaders watching from behind as the kids conquered fears and uncertainty about trying new things, you are filled with an overwhelming feeling of warmth and proudness. Each and every camper is inspirational and amazing. They have to deal with so much, things no child should have to deal with, but they take it in their stride, and don’t let it stop them from being little kids and doing what they want.
I have come back from this camp, no different from the others. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done one camp, or ten, you leave each just as humbled, just as motivated, and just as warm and fuzzy. There really is no explanation as to how you feel unless you experience it yourself. But to say I’m grateful to be apart of something so special doesn’t even begin to cover it. Being apart of the camp family gives you the chance to not only help and be there for the campers, but also allows you to make life long friendships and re charge your own batteries. Because camp seriously seems to come at exactly the right time for me. This camp, like the others has given my batteries the re charge they needed. There’s something really special, and motivating about these camps. They make you want to achieve, they make you want to do well. and tighten and better your own diabetes. They give you that motivation and warm feeling that you need to do that.
There is however a down side to camp, and that’s leaving. Camp really is almost a home away from home if you’d like, a place where you’re accepted, a place where you feel normal and don’t have to deal with the every day things (apart from diabetes) that real life and the real world bring. It’s only when you get ready to leave, and are driving home that it hits you. That your safe, and warm place is gone. It’s forever there in memories and future camps, but it takes a few days to compose yourself and accept that it’s back to real life until the next camp. And that is incredibly hard. PCD (post camp depression) hits hard, and it can last a while. But nothing beats walking away from camping knowing that you had an impact on at least, if not all of those children. That is why i do this. There is nothing more special then seeing campers leave saying ‘i don’t want to go home’ or ‘I don’t feel alone anymore’ or come up to you, look up and say thank you when just a few days ago they arrived,with looks of horror, tears and anxiety as their parents walked away. It’s a complete turn around, and it’s incredible to see.
Camps have, and always will hold a special place in my life, and Autumn camp 2016 is no exception.
A few months and i feel like a whole world of things has happened.
Lets see how i go remembering everything…
First of all, i love greys anatomy and i love quotes.. so what better way to start with something that has been especially fitting as of late.
I just need something to happen, i need a sign that things are gonna change. I need a reason to go on. I need some hope.
I came across this quote when i was feeling pretty down, when things were intense and as the quotes says, i really needed some hope to feel the determination to have a reason or purpose to go on.
But lets backtrack a little bit.
As discussed in previous posts, it’s been mentioned that i have a hand injury which without being overly dramatic ruined my life. Now 10 months on, i’m not sure i can say any different. Still fighting to get function, movement and lets not push it too far, but also dexterity back has been a challenge to say the least. Although at this point, i think i’d like to work on getting rid of the pain. Living with constant, at times, severe and debilitating pain is no easy feat. And now it seems almost like this could be it for me and my hand. No response to all that’s been thrown (not literally) at it in ten months is not exactly encouraging.
Over this past 10 months i think i have felt nearly every emotion you possibly could. But there are a couple which decide to hit harder then the others. It’s really difficult not to feel hopeless or useless, or even worse, like a burden on those around you because you have no choice but to ask for help, because you can no longer do and handle everything on your own like you once could. You constantly feel defeated, deflated, and just generally sad and frustrated. How is it, that with all the medical advances and technologies there are still things which leave doctors with the inability to not only give you a simple, straight forward diagnosis, but also a plan of attack and an idea when you can at least think about the idea of a ‘normal life’ again. instead you’re left with the thought of what if this is it? What if at 19 years of age, I’ve lost most of the function of one of my hands. One of the very things which you require the most to complete the large majority of tasks day to day. I mean think about it.. its been 10 months since I’ve been able to use a knife AND fork or cut up a meal without looking and feeling like a child asking for help. Not to mention any of the other number of things i am physically un able to do. And the worse thing, i don’t even know when i will be able to.
I even tried to get a job, and that too failed. Theres only so many things you can fail at before you are left feeling pretty useless and like a failure.
Now, un like other posts, this time, I’m going to explain the heading.
It seems straight forward, right? It is, but theres a little bit more too it. Let me explain.
Nothing better then drawing some creative juices from Katy Perry. One of my favourite singers. Her songs not only inspire me, but they also speak to me, they speak the words i so often fail to say.
The saying that the good comes after the bad, or you can’t see the stars without darkness is true. Makes sense right?
Well with all the shit that has been going on with me lately, it was about time that i got my rainbow after my hurricane.
and a few weeks ago i did. I went and had a meeting at uni to discuss the possibility of returning to study towards the middle of the year / next year. I was never prepared for what the outcome was. I was told that i was able to start back at uni the following week. I was prepared for maybe coming back in a few months, not a few days. A whirlwind of emotions came across me. But most of all i was excited. After 9 months, and having to leave uni, i was able to return. Although i wasn’t returning to exactly how things were the previous year. There was going to be some changes, and certainly some more challenges.
It took a while for what has just happened to register. But the problem was, i didn’t have time to allow it to register, i was only up in Ballarat for the day.But there was so much to organise so that i could start the new year with as smooth of a start as possible. That couldn’t have been further from what happened.
Although i had managed to organise everything i needed to before leaving for home that day, when i returned the following week to start classes, it wasn’t as easy as it should have been.
I got up the first morning i had classes, expecting a normal day, prepared to hear the boring unit outlines and the assessment tasks and whatever else we were. I finished the uni day without any stress. It seemed to be going well. Until i got a phone call.
I was informed that i needed to be back home (2 and a half hours away, add another hour with city peak hour traffic) to be admitted to hospital. I was given only about 20-30 minutes notice until i had to leave if i had any chance to get there. My afternoon quickly went from stress free to fell all the stress and literally run around like a headless chicken trying to grab stuff before i leave.
Not only did i need to drive about 3 hours which i wasn’t prepared for, i was also not prepared for a 5 day hospital stay. I need time to prepare for something like that. Especially knowing that it wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience. But as i had no choice, i got in the car, incredibly flustered, and tried to use the car trip not to think of how the next five days were going to feel.
I was being admitted for a 5 day infusion of pain relief for my stupid hand. I’d had the drug one time before this, but not for long and going from that experience, i was not in a good head space about the following days. it was not going to be pleasant. and to say i was right is an understatement. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when the doctors were trying to put an iv in and couldn’t. i forget how many attempts it was that time, but it was by sheer luck that some doctor finally got one in at 12am. and finally that meant that the infusion could start. Which meant that feeling like death was also going to start. Things were travelling along ok, well as ok as they were going to get until my iv had ’tissued’ which means that it came out of my vein and the medication was instead being infused into my arm. Not a very pleasant feeling. It also meant that i was left with a painful, red, raised patch on my arm which hurt, a lot. Time for round two of trying to put an iv in. Again, multiple doctors attempted, and thank god there is such thing as a fluke, because i already feel like a human pin cushion enough, i didn’t need to be stabbed any more. I bet your thinking, cool, new iv, no more problems… If only that was the case my friends….
iv number two stuffed up, more doctors, more needles, more of me being traumatised, however this time no doctor could get an iv in. So they got the big guns in; the anaesthetic guy. Who lucky for him, walked away without being hit, and i was left with an iv in my arm.. Now number three mind you. but thats not the end to the ordeal.
Because i missed an entire day due to not having an iv in, that meant that i would have to stay an extra day. Who doesn’t love a 6 day hospital stay…
And again, my iv ’tissued’ and needed to come out. This was probably the worse day of all. I had three doctors attempt, as well as junior med students, who literally said oh can i have a shot.. By this point i was over it, and could no longer hold the tears back, so i sat there as numerous people stuck numerous needles in me .. what so that they could practise? them, and i both knew they weren’t going to get the iv in. It must’ve been pretty clear that i was over it, because they finally decided the aesthetic guys needed to come down again. and they did, after a few tries, this guy was also unsuccessful, accept he decided to try something different. He decided to pull out the ultrasound machine and actually have a look before i was stabbed with anything else. I mean they were running out of spots, they did only have the one part of my arm to work with. He tried a few more times under ultrasound guidance, but was again unsuccessful. He decided to get the big big guns.. His boss. The top aesthetic guy needed to come and attempt to put an iv in.. i mean seriously, ridiculous doesn’t even begin to cover it. It even took him a number of goes before he lucked out and shoved that stupid little plastic tube into my stupid little vein.
I’m not going to go into detail about what my arm looked like, but lets just say that it looked like i have a very bad recreational habit.
This iv was gold. After it took 15 attempts for this one iv, it was only being touched with the most delicate of hands. I was not going through that again.
Not only did i have 4 ivs in 5 days – nearly a new one each day, i was also faced with an overall total of 26 attempts for an iv. Never again do i want to go through that. Now nearly 2 weeks on, and I’m still bruised, and traumatised. I only wish i never have to see another iv enter my arm.. but i know that’s not going to happen.
What makes that entire situation worse, is it was all for some pain relief. I have to go through all that, mixed with feeling like death because i was basically getting all but poison pumped into my veins just in hope that i will get some relief from the pain. That makes me so frustrated. I don’t even think any amount of words can explain how that makes me feel. And what’s even worse, is you don’t even know how long the relief is going to last. Yet this is what i’m left to try because all else has failed. All because of something i all but shook off 10 months ago.
It’s like when you blink, in not even one second, everything in front of you can change.
The only thing certain about the future is that you can’t predict it. You aren’t to know what you will be faced with next. The only thing you can be prepared for is the fact that you need to be ready for anything.
*There are a number of other things that have been happening that i haven’t even touched on yet, but looking at the length of this, i might save that for next time!
As the year closes, why not take some time to reflect? I think we have a lot to get through, so let’s get started.
2015 was a year of completely new things. February brought both my eighteenth birthday, as well as the day I packed up and moved over two hours from home to start the adventure called university. That was a big change. But it brought independence and I was setting up my immediate future. Being 18 also meant that I could get my lisence, and even better, tattoos – which I got 5 within a month, oops!
The next few months brought challenges of their own including my first hospital admission without mum, as well as being put on the adult wards rather then the peadiatric. I also called an ambulance for myself for the first time, but I’m sure it won’t be last. March brought an experience id been waiting for for over 3 years. My first diabetes camp as a volunteer leader. And boy was I not dissappinted. it was definitely all, and if not more than I wanted it to be. these few months also tested my determination and want to complete my university degree. April and May were nothing too exciting, they were the months leading up to the end of my first semester of Uni where a long break was needed.
June is where the year gets messy. The beginning of my uni holidays and I find myself at a local footy game. Nothing too exciting. half time approaches, so what else are you going to do other than kick a footy. I thought nothing could go wrong there. Turns out, I was wrong. A small injury which I all but shook off at the time, has essentially ruined my life for the past 6 months (and counting).
When I say ruined, I mean it. I had to leave uni and move back home. I had to stop work, and have basically done nothing other then run around going to appointment after appointment. Now being diabetic, that’s not out of the ordinary. But to go to health professional after Health professional, and appointment after appointment for something you thought was so simple only to find out its the complete opposite is so completely frustrating and draining I don’t even know where to begin. I have seen that many different people I can’t even count anymore. to be told that everything is in your head despite clear, physical evidence is quite possibly the worst feeling ever. To be handed of to a team of psychiatrists because the doctors in not so many words tell you you’re crazy.
It’s the most infuriating thing to be living with constant, worsening, debilitating pain. But what’s worse is trusting in the health professional team, and being let down time after time. For 6 months now I have had hand therapy weekly, tried like 6 different splints, and have had so many tests, only to have most of them fail. The most recent of them being a small theatre procedure where I was given needles into my neck to block the nerves as pain management, only to have that too fail. The worst of it, was sitting in recovery, and having the surgeon say he’s going to keep you in hospital for at least another 24 hrs to put me on ketamine. One of the strongest chronic pain medications there is. And seriously, the shit could not have been more brutal! Did it help the pain? honestly, I’m not even sure because the side effects hit me that hard. not only did I spend some of Christmas Eve in hospital, I wasn’t myself for the next four days which meant that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy Christmas. We are now heading into 2016 and I still carry this injury, the thing that has ruined the last 6 months.
July wasn’t too bad, although as it will be every year, there are a couple of days that will always hit me hard. July is the month I was diagnosed with diabetes, it’s also the month that my nan died. Six years, and these things don’t get that much easier, you just find ways to cope. August was the month where I packed up and had to move back home. It’s the month where I was forced to stop studying. it’s the month where I felt useless and hopelss. and along with that, the endless appointments just brought dissapointment.
Much to my surprise September however started with something completely unexpected. A date. And not just an ordinary date, but one where I felt a connection, one where I looked at him and got butterflies. As if I knew straight away that he was the one. I’m not going to go into detail because something so special should remain personal. But we’ve now been dating for 4 months and it’s been the best four months of my life. I never knew what it was like to be with someone who gets you, who accepts you, for all that you are, and is there to support you in everything. And to know I have someone who does all that, well words don’t really explain how special that is. Ending 2015 with the love of my life, and beginning 2016 with him is incredible.
Not much happened in October, November was also pretty quiet. However, November is the month that I decided to become a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house. it didn’t take long to get the ball rolling, and even less time to complete my first shift. The feeling you get when you walk out after a shift is one that nothing could replace.
And of course there is December. It wasn’t too exciting apart from my first theatre procedure, as well as my first Christmas Eve in hospital, but I knew that it was going to happen sooner or later.
I think it’s often the small things throughout the year that we overlook. But when you look back and reflect, it’s the small things that actually have the biggest impact. 2015, like any other year, has had its own set of challenges, and many firsts. It’s the year I grew a lot. It’s the year everything took a turn for the worst, but it’s also the year that I met the love of my life.
Although I enter 2016 with many of the same challenges and things to overcome, there is no way that I am the same person I started 2015 as..
Until next year, goodbye!
If you haven’t already noticed, i’m a sucker for quotes. They are often slipped in throughout these posts, or i finish with one.
So it only seems fitting that i begin this post with a quote which really got to me.
“Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a single flat”
I lied, here’s another quote (i just can’t help myself)
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength”.
‘Okay’ (totally a book / movie reference there), now that i’m done with the quotes for now, here’s what’s been going on.
Now heading into my fourth month of a forced gap year, i have no more accepted what has happened. There have been times when i’ve seriously questioned what i’m going to do now, because the reality is, i’m not sure if i’m going to be able to return to what i was doing any time soon and that poses a whole new lot of questions and what if’s and uncertainty as to what i’m going to do with my life; both in the near future, and in years to come.
There have been times when it just seemed easier to let go of my dreams, not aspire to be or do anything, and just see what happens from there. But when i thought about it more, that’s not what i wanted to do. But at the same time, at the moment, i’m not able to do what i want to do. Come to think of it, i can’t actually do much at all. It’s hard to accept something which was forced upon you. Uni may have been one hell of a challenge, but i wasn’t ready to give up yet. Turns out, it wasn’t my choice.
Although i was forced away from uni right now, maybe i don’t have to give up on it forever. At times that’s what i think i want to do but you can’t just give up on something that easily, because of one setback. Not if that’s what you really want anyway. Even if giving up seems like the easiest option, the easiest options don’t have the most fulfilling rewards.
The last month or two i have been really struggling. In all aspects of life. Diabetes, the fact i am unable to do anything, not being able to do uni, not being able to work, literally just everything is a struggle. Not to mention the only answers i have been given in regards to my injury are ridiculous and a complete load of shit. And health professionals wonder why people are hesitant to go to them. I know after this long, and excruciating experience (that is still not over) i will be incredibly hesitant to seek out any professionals unless absolutely necessary. It’s just not worth it. How can you tell someone who is quite obviously in constant, severe pain that it’s all in their head. That they don’t know what’s going on, so they’ll just stop seeing you because that’s easiest for them. I thought being a health professional was about helping the patient, and if you can’t you find them someone who can, not just palm them off to “deal with it”. This whole situation i’m in is seriously fucked. And it’s really made me question why i bother with anything really. Like i never get results, or answers, or anything. I just get told i’m crazy.. despite clear physical symptoms of something going on. It’s degrading and makes me feel like shit. Five months of constant pain is draining, exhausting and i’m so physically and emotionally over it. I even went to two different emergencies to try and get some answers, it took every argument i had to even get something for the pain. Seriously, ridiculous is an understatement.
As everyone knows EVERYTHING interferes with diabetes, and diabetes interferes with everything. So this five month stint of stress, pain, lack of sleep, exhaustion, and every other emotion is a perfect time for diabetes to pounce. Adding diabetes to the mixture almost pushes me to breaking point. Actually, i’m not sure i’m not there. It’s seriously so draining. There are days where i go from high twenties to hypo to not being able to keep my blood up to having ketones, and of course everything in between. And any diabetic knows how much a small fluctuation in levels can play of how you feel physically, so just imagine experiencing all those levels, sometimes in a 24 hour period. I’m at the point where i just want a break, like there are times when you want a break, but you can still handle it, but then there are the times when you need a break, and i really, really need a break, or it’s not going to be long before everything breaks me.. if it hasn’t already.
It’s really really difficult when all you want to do it give up on everything, or have a break from everything, But you can’t. You can’t not test despite how much you want to. You can’t ignore a hypo, or not calculate and have extra insulin when you’re high. You can’t just ignore it for a day and have a better day tomorrow. Diabetes doesn’t work like that, and neither does constant severe pain. It’s debilitating and fucking shit. You can’t not keep an eye on your pump and make sure you have enough insulin so that you don’t get sick during the night, so that you will actually wake up in the morning. You can’t take a break, despite how much you need one.
Diabetes is by no means all bad, however coupled with everything else at the moment, i would really do anything for a break. I don’t think i have ever been this drained or over everything before. it’s really hard to stay focussed on what you want and what you want to achieve when majority of the time you don’t even care anymore.
But as i said before, taking the easiest option will never give you a fulfilling reward. it just won’t, because that’s not how things work. I guess you just have to hold onto any fight or determination that you have, and take each day as it comes. And try to do better the next. You can only do your best after all.
As i have a lot of time up my sleeve, and tv series are only interesting some of the time. I have had to come up with something to distract me, and give me something to do during the day. Last week i made the decision to start selling my artwork. After being asked to design a tattoo for someone, and having some interest in a couple of my pieces i decided to take it from a little hobby just mucking around, to producing more pieces which i am going to try selling. After finishing a few drawings, i was then asked by someone else to design them a tattoo. So that is now twice that i have designed a tattoo for someone which is absolutely the boost i needed. To know that there are people who actually like my work enough to ask me to design them a tattoo is just amazing. I have also had interest in a few works that i have done recently. It’s such a nice feeling knowing that people actually want to buy my artwork. Seriously, how awesome! Definitely the pick me up i needed.
So maybe it’s not about letting go or giving up on your dreams, but instead adjusting and acting on right now. As well as focussing on keeping the pieces together, and although some may be broken, it’s about rebuilding, re creating and just trying to get through, and not giving up, despite how much you may want to.
“Our greatest weaknesses lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always just try one more time”
I finish with a quote i literally just found. And for me, right now, i think it’s perfect.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which i rebuilt my life”
Here are a few artworks which i have done recently:
(ALL ARE FOR SALE!)
The old saying “You don’t know what’s around the corner” is so incredibly true.
Each day is a new day, and a surprise at that. We think we can predict things, we think we know what’s going to happen next, and sometimes that may be the case, however more often then not, we don’t know. We can’t predict and we don’t know what to expect.
I’ve had a few things prove this as of late.
I thought i had finally gotten into a routine, had begun getting my life on track, and had worked out the immediate future – as much as i could of course, because like i said, you never know what to expect, you just have to be prepared for anything i guess
I had completed my first semester at uni, and had gotten through about half of second semester until things took a turn.. for the worst. I walked around a new corner, and i didn’t like what i was faced with. Over the holidays between semesters at uni i had injured my hand, no big deal.. I thought. Turns out i was wrong. Close to four months later, and what i thought was ‘no big deal’ has now changed everything. Ok, everything might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it has seriously screwed everything up. I’m not going to go into massive details because it will just make me angry, but long story short, because of the lack of ability to get a diagnosis, from supposed health care professionals, and specialists nonetheless, i have had to defer my university course until at least second semester next year. I AM NOT HAPPY. This is basically a forced gap year, where i can literally do nothing. I can’t even work. Not to mention, that I’ve been in constant pain for the past close to four months. IM WELL AND TRULY OVER IT.. and i mean one hand to do 99% of daily tasks is such a challenge – not to mention a complete pain in the ass.
I have had numerous tests and scans, and there is only more things to come. I mean X rays, CT, blood tests, MRI and seeing the entire plastics population of specialists and i still don’t have a diagnosis or even an answer, i’m not sure what more of the same thing are going to do, apart from be unpleasant. The fact that as time has gone on things have only gotten worse, is also really not helpful. I don’t even want a diagnosis anymore, i want this constant, horrible pain to be gone, and i want to be able to get back to my course so that i can get on with my life! not be stuck, waiting, with little knowledge of when i can expect things to change, improve and get better.
Deferring my uni course also means that i have moved back home, and as much as that is a good; since I’ve missed being home, i feel like i am only taking steps back, and am no longer moving forward. This definitely feels like a major delay in the works; so to speak.
This is definitely something i wasn’t prepared for, and something that has really had an impact on the coming years of my life.
Somethings are out of your control, and this is definitely one of them. It’s taken me a while to actually deal with it, but clearly life was telling me to take a break. Telling me to take a step back, focus on my health and then come back to everything at a time when i am better equipped. Although with my luck, i’m pretty sure i’ll be waiting a while.
i mean, in all honesty, I’ve had shit luck ever since i moved to Ballarat. including a number of hospitalisations, and now this. Not to mention a number of other things. Maybe life was seriously trying to tell me to take a break, to re gather myself, and get in a better place. Maybe it’s a good thing that the decision got taken out of my hands. I’m not quite okay with it yet, but i think once i accept it, this time off will be exactly what i needed. I think its just a matter of being able to accept it.
Greys anatomy always understands.
Now that i’ve been forced to take a break, and can’t even work at this stage, i’m left a little bored and not feeling too great about myself. It’s a little disheartening when you put all your effort and energy into trying to achieve something, yet for every step you take something hits your in the face and throws you 10 steps back. It’s frustrating, and i’m feeling a little bit defeated. It’s not just this injury, i mean that’s the pressing issue of course. But imagine diabetes in the mix as well. Which now leads me to talk about the beast.
Diabetes doesn’t like anything at the best of times, it’s like a teenager, the slightest thing will set it off, and god, if you dare introduce change, or anything it doesn’t like.. be prepared for an absolute shit storm. Which is where i’m at. I tam also feeling slightly defeated by this. In the past few months i feel like i have been leaping bounds with getting my control good, and hitting targets and working with a fabulous health care professional to actually achieve something. I was for the first time hopeful. However that was soon crushed. I guess constant pain, the extra stress, and simply just feeling shit is just too much for diabetes. I mean, way to kick a person when they are down, way to go diabetes! It really is just so frustrating when you put all your effort into everything, try so god damn hard, yet it isn’t good enough. You tend to loose the motivation to continue, because why would you when you get no results?
It’s so incredibly frustrating when you are so often hit in the face when are you are trying to do it achieve something, which now seems so far out of your reach, i really don’t even know whether to bother or not. Because, really, if i am unable to, that will be the biggest disappointment yet. and I’m not so sure i can handle that
As hard as it is to accept the way things have turned out, clearly, more then one thing was telling me that i needed a break. And clearly i needed it so much that the choice was taken out of my hands. I can only hope that this break allows things to settle, and i am able to return to complete my course, however, there are many more corners to face and the unknown is infinite. But, the only thing to do in the darkness, is to find a way to glow.
Like a movie in the making, like the chaos behind the curtains of a play, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. So much that the audience or anyone couldn’t even imagine ; or begin to understand.
And that, is exactly what diabetes is like.
There is so much more to diabetes than what people imagine. Everyone has their own idea, their own generalisations, their own wealth of expertise and their own ‘complete’ understanding, but that is nothing compared to the reality of living with it.
Diabetes is often called an ‘invisible illness’ and i agree with that and not to compare it to other conditions because they are all different and have their own challenges, but having diabetes at times seems more challenging this other things, because of the fact that you can’t see it. And for this reason, people don’t seem to understand how bad it can be and make you feel fine, because on the outside you look like any other person walking down the street, but on the inside, it is so often a war just to try and keep the peace.
The fact you look so fine on the outside, but be the complete opposite on the inside is so incredibly frustrating. People don’t understand or believe you when you say you don’t feel well, or they can’t accept the fact that your so fatigued and ‘out of it’ because of your past few blood sugar readings. People also don’t really seem to understand pr know just how serious diabetes can be. I mean, in reality, it’s a life and death thing and it can change so quickly, whether you are prepared, or not.
And just the other day, things took a turn for the worst for me personally.
Take note, this is how quickly things can change.This is what you don;t see:
Tuesday afternoon, I was running a few errands and happened to hypo (in the middle of kmart of course!), but i had some sugar and got my blood up no worries. Time to move on in life. Me ad my friend went out for dinner, had a good old time having a chat and enjoying each others company as the night got colder and the rain heavier. And like any other night, before going to sleep, I went to test my blood sugar, only to be faced with what wasn’t an ideal reading (26.6), I had some insulin and wasn’t too concerned at this stage because it was only the one reading, however i knew i was in for a long night of testing and correcting. And indeed i was! At about 2am i got my blood down to what i was comfortable going to sleep at, so i finally put my head down and tired to get some sleep, and thankfully i did.
When i woke up Wednesday morning, i knew something hadn’t gone to plan after i’d decided to go to sleep. I woke up with a blood sugar of (23.3) as well as feeling absolutely disgusting. I also knew i had ketones (I didn’t have any ketone strips of course) but i soon started throwing up which validated my feeling that i had ketones. With the help of a friend, we tried getting hold of ketone strips, but couldn’t find any. As every minute went by, i seemed to feel worse and worse. and by worse, i mean anything probably would have felt better in comparison to how i was feeling. Imagine being punched in the stomach 20 times, being so nauseated you wanted to cry, being so out of it and disorientated you didn’t even know what you were doing, coupled with going to the toilet literally every 5-10 minutes and finally, wanting to down as much water as humanly possible, but knowing that the water would only come back up as quickly as it went down. Seriously the combination of minimal sleep, high blood sugars, ketones, and nausea is the worst thing i am yet to feel. It’s not great and it’s something you have to experience to even be able to begin to understand.
As i was feeling worse and worse by the minute, and didn’t have any ketone strips to be able to get an actual reading of how high they were, i made the decision to go to hospital, which is not the decision i make with the lightest of hearts. And of course, emergency was full, and so was the waiting room. I had no choice but to wait. It felt like hours and as I’m sitting there i felt like i was going to collapse in a ball and pass out. I’ve had ketones before, i’ve has high blood before, but this time, it was different. Something more was off and i was getting concerned. Just as i had edged as close off my chair as i could without collapsing on the floor, my name was called by the doctor, and it couldn’t have been better timing.
Once i had mustered the energy to walk from the waiting room to the little chair in emergency, it took me a solid couple of minutes to even begin to speak and as i did, tears just began pouring down my face. and in that moment i couldn’t have felt more pathetic or physically and emotionally worse. At that time, i felt like it had broken me, like i was crumbling in slow motion, and i didn’t know what to do or how to handle it.
Finally i was able to spit some sentences out, enough for the doctors to act pretty quickly and begin taking blood, put an iv in for fluid and anti nausea medication. In all honesty, i don’t think i have ever felt that bade before, i was so out of it, so weak and sleepy and just not in control i didn’t know what to do. The only thing i could think to do was try and sleep. As quick as the doctors had run of with my blood, they were back with the results. Whilst the majority came back ok, there were a few results which were cause for concern which had the doctors and nurses hanging around and checking on my quite regularly.
My blood tests showed that i was in the early stages of DKA – which for anyone that doesn’t know, is one of the most serious things a diabetic can face.
Diabeticketoacidosis, can be life threatening and can cause irreparable damage if not treated immediately In all of my hospital admissions and battles with ketones, I had never reached that fine line between being in DKA and not, until now. The doctors were acting pretty cautiously and quickly because they too knew how quickly things could go from bad to worse. and after my second ketone test, it only made them act with greater caution and speed as my ketones has again increased (4.8). Thankfully for the anti nausea medication, i was travelling ok. I was incredibly sleepy and a bit of an emotional mess. i Don’t know, maybe i was too out of it to have any idea what was going on. However, finally as the hours went on, as each bag of fluid emptied, each blood sugar and ketone test was also on the decline. Finally my blood reached under 10 and ketones had gotten to under (1.0). I had also started the slow journey to feeling somewhat like a person again. As things has improved significantly better then anybody had thought, i was not admitted, but allowed to go home. Thankfully.
The whole point of me sharing this was just to try and paint a picture of just how quickly things can change, and had i not shared this story, i guarantee not one person would have ever suspected or picked up that anything was wrong, but in fact, there was a lot going on and and had i not made the decision to go to hospital when i did, things could have gotten a lot worse. DKA is no thing to joke about or take lightly, and it’s not a matter of over exaggerating or ‘wanting attention’ as many people so ignorantly comment, it’s a matter of dealing with this life threatening condition daily, just to stay between that fine line of being ok, to suddenly not.
You may see the occasional blood sugar check, or even the occasional insulin injection, but you certainly won’t ever see the war that goes on between the person and themselves daily just to try and stay ok. Diabetes is so much more than the eye can see.
On a final note, I want to thank my friend who sat by my side the entire day, who not only kept me company, but also provided entertainment. Honestly though, it was so amazing having someone there as support, comfort and just generally being there because you cared was so touching and nice. Wouldn’t have gotten through the day without you, even if you ate all my food 😉 and were probably bored out of your brains.. although we certainly got some good tips of what to do and what not to do when we go on placement!!
1500 words, i think that’s enough, but i can’t finish without a quote..
“Just when we think we figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball, so we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places, we find ourselves back to the things that matter the most. The universe if funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong”.
Three months? – I think it’s time for an update.
I begin with a quote which I have really come to like;
“perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful”
I really like this quote, because as it says, there is beauty which comes from darkness – maybe not actual and physical ‘black’ darkness, but in a metaphorical sense, and I think there is something so true, and calming about that.
As a person who has had and continues to have, challenges throughout their life, I’m beginning to see more and more that it’s not so much just about reaching the end goal and what you want in life, but it’s more about the path, the direction/s you take, and how you develop and adapt. There is something interesting about a “non direct” path, than one that has no challenges. Challenges, hurdles, and all else, is what tests our strength, how much we want something and if we are willing to give our all to achieve it. Life isn’t meant to be easy, and often our dreams and the aspirations we have, are a challenge to that.
It’s now that I’ve come to the end of my first semester at university, that I believe more and more that it’s the thins which we most want in life, that are the hardest to achieve. Maybe not so much the “hardest” – but they are certainly something which won’t be achieved by simply sitting back and wishing. You have to work for what you want, and the hurdles along the way I think are a good thing. Not necessarily at the time, but looking back, it’s the hurdles and hard times which really allow you to think about whether that’s what you really want.
and because I like quotes, here’s another one which suites:
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety”
I like this quote, and find it quite fitting, because it’s when you get challenged along the path of creating your dreams that you will reach a point where you either decide to take the step forward, and challenge yourself, or you decided to take the step back, and you will always be left wondering. Wondering what if, and I know that at time asking yourself what if? could actually end up being worse then taking what seems to be that all so scary step forward.
Out of a 12 week semester, I was in hospital twice ( due to my good ol’ pal diabetes of course) – both times were something that could not have been prevented, as said in the fault in our stars “This is just a thing, a thing we can deal with” (no, it’s not directly quoted, because I haven’t seen the movie in a little while). But these two hospitalizations were really frustrating and long story short, really inconvenient. It meant I missed about 2 weeks of Uni within a 5 week timeframe, because let’s face it, it takes time to recover completely from blood sugars constantly in the high 20’s – not that that’s too unusual for me, but coupled with ketones constantly for DAYS, throwing up and having to deal with some brainless health professionals, it all takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally. My first hospitalization was only a couple of months after I had moved out of home, so it was my first time in hospital without mum, not to mention, a new hospital, new doctors and all the rest. All makes for a pretty shitty time to say the least. But my point Is that there have been so many little set backs just in this 4 ish months alone, that I’m at times ready to throw the towel in, give up, and work at safeway for the rest of my life. But despite that at times that is “exactly what I want to do” – that’s not what I want to do at all. In the heat of the moment or moments as I’ve so often had, we can make decisions that we don’t actually want to do or make. These are the times when our determination, strength and want are tested. This is when we really figure out if we really want something. Because if we do, we will fall down, but then we will get back up and keep our feet walking forward, no matter how slowly. However, it will be clear if it’s not something you want to do, or that it’s not the right time, because it’s most likely that you will step back, step back into security, where you can predict (kind of) what’s going to happen next or where things will be similar.
Whether you step forward, or step back, it’s not something which needs to be decided in a split second. But it’s not a decision that you can avoid either, it needs to be made. and if you think deciding to take a step back is what will work best for you right now, then that’s ok too. Sometimes, it’s not a matter of giving up or quitting, but instead, it’s the realization that at this moment in time, a step back, re adjusting, re grouping and getting yourself together is what is needed so that you can, again, have the ability to get to where you want to, despite what challenges along the way. Our dreams are not easy to make a reality. Some are harder then others, and some people are able to achieve them with more ease than others. Creating your life, making your dreams a reality, and shaping who you want to be and what you want is an individual process. Yes, people come along for the ride, but they come and they go, and in the end it’s only you who truly knows what you want and how your going to make it happen. Can you tell I’m trying to decide a few things?!
I know this is getting a little lengthy, but I shall continue:
your a bitch and I hate you. It’s been nearly 6 years – that’s nothing in comparison to others, but let’s not compare ourselves to other people. The fact it’s only been 6 years is ridiculous, because it seriously feels like it’s been about 20. But I’m not bringing diabetes up to talk about it negatively; well not overly anyway.
A couple of months ago, I went on my first diabetes camp as a leader, and in a previous post, I had mentioned how I met a diabetes educator. It’s now weeks on and we still have contact. She is continually challenging me, which I both love and hate. But I can’t back down from a challenge now! The feeling of finally having a health professional that I feel COMPLETEY understands every little feeling I have about my levels. She gets my stresses, and anxiety. I guess you won’t understand unless you haven’t had to deal with multiple health professionals. But when you find one who ‘gets it’, who works with you and you decide together how to approach things, it really is an absolutely amazing feeling and I am over the moon. She is an absolute lifesaver, and I could say thank you 100 times over, but it wouldn’t even begin to explain how appreciative I am. I can now, finally see things getting that little bit better in the future. It maybe extremely slowly, but that’s ok. I look forward to your little challenges, and pushing myself to ensure that I keep on meeting and succeeding at them. Whilst my readings are still all over the place, it’s not as much as it has been previously.
In finishing, I’d really like the next couple of weeks to hurry up, because I am going on another diabetes camp as a leader and that makes me really happy.
And as I have wacked a few quotes in here, I may as well finish with one as well:
‘Even if the path is a little blurry, keep walking. You’ll focus in when you know what you want. Then the picture of your life will be crystal clear. Just don’t ever give up”.
And the story continues …
And to do this, here are a couple of pictures to sum up how it’s been:
My last post was some time ago, I guess you could say just a small amount of things have happened, but this post I’m going to focus on the last 5 days.
Anybody who knows me, knows that I have been waiting for the day where I turn 18 so that I can be a leader on diabetes camp. I have had the chance to go on three camps as a camper and without a doubt, They changed my life. The leaders, the health professionals, fellow campers all play a part in making one hell of an experience. But this time I went on camp as a leader.. FINALLY!!! Volunteering and being apart of these camps gives you a feeling like no other. It is utterly incredible, and it’s really hard to explain why unless you experience it first hand.
From watching campers make friends, participating in activities, to drawing up their insulin and injecting for the first time. Whether the achievement great or small, diabetes related, or simply heartwarming, each one warmed your heart and gave you that major warm fuzzy feeling. The kids were 8-9 years old, and I’m telling you right now, they are incredibly smart. Mature and “pancreatic warriors” (camp reference) . I don’t think I would be able to draw up my own insulin and inject syringes at 8 years old.
I was in complete awe at watching the way these campers just took it in their stride, testing, picking up lows, injecting.. Whatever it maybe, just watching how they handle it and jump out of their comfort zone by doing a new site or different finger is amazing. And the amount of “proudness” you feel is overwhelming.
The past five days was filled with so many emotions. Utter joy, proud, laughter and warmth. It was so much fun just being in there with the campers, participating in activities and just the environment – camp is a second reality and it is so hard coming back to real life. Camp, everyone understands, you hypo and someone will get you jelly beans, you stick a needle in your hip and no one blinks. Everyone gets it and there is nothing better.
Some of the activities over the past five days were rockclimbing, low ropes course, healsville, reptile man, and general chit chat with the campers. All just as good as one another.
Camp is as much for the leaders as it is for the campers. I have come back from each camp (as a leader and a camper) a different person, and that is no exaggeration. Unless you experience is first hand, it won’t make sense. But holy crap balls, being in an environment where you can chat to other leaders, campers, and many health professionals is amazing. It’s a chance to exchange stories. Bitch about diabetes, get help and advice with your own care. Camp really is one big family and each volunteer / health professional are selfless, because not everyone will give up their time to be there for kids. While we get so much out of camp to, it is of course still for the campers.
I have come back from this camp, like the others, with a different perspective. On this paticular camp, I met a pretty amazing diabetes educator. She sat with me and went through my upload. But she really went through it, we discussed aspects I’d never even knew were issues, I’d never had anything explained to me like this before. While she pushed me so out of my comfort zone it is ridiculous, it didn’t take me very long to put my trust in her (and you should totally feel special about that). And while I both at the time hated and loved her for it, holy shit, I just wanted to give this educator a massive hug. And I can say thank you as many times as I want, but words don’t describe how appreciative and great full I am to have met this person, she pushed me passed my comfort zone, and hopefully, for the first time in 6 years, I have found someone I can work with to actually sort this shit. Bec, at times you really pushed me, but honestly,THANKYOU SO MUCH! You don’t understand how happy I am go have met you! 🙂
Shoutout to yellow team, and of course the rest of the leaders, hps and campers for making my first leader camp one to remember!! This has definitely cemented and re iterated my love for these camps, volunteering and just being apart of the camp family.
Now, I can’t finish this without anything funny.
Last night was by far the most disturbing and strange night I think I’ve ever experienced. For about 20 minutes there were a few of us leaders who were so incredibly intrigued by two slug like things being totally inappropriate.. And I leave that story there. Although it really concerns me how long we were standing there just staring…
Last night while on night duty, I was sitting on the stairs and one of the campers walks down the stairs completely dazed and unsure of what was going on, we ask what she’s doing and she said “I just went to the bathroom now I’m going back to supper”… This was at like 12.00 or so. It was the cutest thing ever.
And now, I finish, because I am so tired! But also just feeling so good and amazing, because being apart of the camp is such a heartwarming beautiful thing.
I cannot wait until my next camp! Although the hardest part of camp is returning to real life and having pcd (post camp depression)! Time to readjust to “normal life” sadly.
Even though I have received my results and the anticipation has subsided, just reading this heading makes my stomach flip. Thirteen years of schooling came down to that all too important text message which I received at 7.01am this morning – the one and only time a text message will ever wake me up.
As soon as my phone went off, my heart skipped a beat and I felt nauseas. Not because I was potentially going to be horrified and disappointed at the result, but because for once, I had been optimistic, and had not prepared myself for the possibility that my results had fallen short, and would not meet my expectations.
Without saying my exact results, I can say that they are enough that I should get offered a spot in my first preference. That too can remain unknown, there are those who know and others can be left in the dark, that’s ok. After all it is only for myself. It’s not so much my ATAR that im proud of, nor my study scores. What I am proud of is the sheer amount of effort that I put in. Staying back until all but 6.00 every night, studying or “studying” when most were partying. I am by no means the most academically gifted, nor a ‘brainiac’, however, I did put my all into this. Because I had my heart set on something, and that was the only thing that I was going to accept. What I am most proud of is the fact that, before EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY EXAMS, my blood sugar was a ridiculous reading of ABOVE 31. Which for those of you who can relate, is fkn ridiculous. Your brain turns to mush, all concentration is gone, not to mention the fact that.. say in an hour and 45 minute exam, you would spend an hour drinking and the other 45 minutes going back and forth to the bathroom.
However, despite that, despite how screwed up my readings were outside of the actual exam period, despite other emotional distress and despite how little confidence I had in myself, I reached for the stars, and guess what, I am now holding them. I did enough to get into my first preference, not to mention I will be doing not a single bachelor degree, but a DOUBLE DEGREE. So screw you to those who never had the faith in me. Let me tell you a little secret, I didn’t have faith either, but my determination was enough. My effort paid off, and I can look back on this year and not have any regrets because I know 100% that I could not have physically put in any more effort.
This year, I was faced with so many obstacles, hurdles if you’d like, but I didn’t let that stop me. There were times where I thought screw my dreams, I’m not good enough, it’s never going to happen. But despite the temptation to quit, despite the thinking that it was “never going to happen”, I never gave up, I never ‘took my eye of the prize’ and well I have been rewarded with said ‘prize’. Whilst I have not got an official offer, I am hopeful that come January, I will be lucky enough to receive one.
And although that means some pretty large steps outside my comfort zone, hell I may as well be jumping out of a plane, because that’s how tough the decision to chase my dream course has been, I have not looked back, I have not thought twice about it. Instead, I have used my love for the course and looked at this massive change, yet also opportunity as a chance for me to grow, a chance for me to develop and create me, an opportunity to be me, and ALL me. I am nervous as hell about the next four years of my life, but am I excited? Let’s just say I’m not going to run up a $29000 Uni fee if im not…
Of course these results would not have been possible without the help and support of some certain people who I have had by my side through this entire journey. Whilst it was this year that it’s where the numbers were taken and some crazy, intricate, all too complicated maths sum was worked out to destroy our lives.. just kidding, but despite the fact that this year is where the results actually mattered, this wasn’t just a one year exercise. This was in the making for the last thirteen years of my life. But like I said, I can look back on this year at least, and not have one regret or wish that I had have done things differently, because I couldn’t have. I tried, hell I did more than tried. I had a goal, and the only result or ‘score’ that I was going to take, was one which was going to get me to where I want to go. and guess what, im here.
I reached for the stars, and guess what? I now carry them in my hand
P.s I would never have thought that I would, in a million and one years be even considering the thought that I’d have the chance to go to uni, let alone, complete a double bachelor degree and at the end of four years, be a double qualified… like I said, sometimes I’m not going to share everything..
P.P.s Thank you to those who have been there for me. Particularly my mum, and a few teachers ( you guys know who you are!) would not have been possible without any of you xx
It just goes to show, that you don’t have to have the brains behind you, but you do need the determination.