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T1D Stories during the lockdown

How the lockdown changed T1D’s perspective

We know that right now we are going through are one of the toughest times we have faced so far as a modern society. Even though we highly recommend you stay informed (only from official sources), we believe it is important, as well, to surround yourself with positive stories.

Therefore, we gathered some real-life stories to help you get through this period. We hope they encourage you to find happiness in the small, everyday moments.

Remember, you are not alone! 

If my diabetes could talk

It would say routine is helpful and I’m a little nervous about COVID-19.

Diabetes is a self-managed condition.  It relies on the person with diabetes making choices and those choices resulting in an impact on blood glucose readings.  Those readings are very much a be all and end all for a ‘diabetic’. We’re chained to these readings because they tell us what the impact of our choices has been.  People with diabetes have unique relationships with their bodies, we know our bodies intimately because we get to see a vital piece of information about a crucial hormone that influences health in many ways.

Wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (I wear a Freestyle Libre) has changed the game because of the ease and availability of information that tells me about the impact of my choices today and yesterday and even a few days ago.  My current reading is 4.1 mmol/L. It’s on its way down, so I’ll go grab a teaspoon of honey now. Honey is a fave remedy to help stave off a hypoglycemic event.  

Being home a lot more now is having a positive effect on my levels.  The routine is helpful to my diabetes management. Having fewer things on my mind gives me more time to focus on food and exercise and monitoring glucose levels.  My diet is not quite as good as it was. A late night cookie has become more acceptable to me, that bag of chilli crisps is suddenly more allowed. I’m letting myself off the hook more easily.  End of world type situations tend to induce a more laissez-faire attitude to my health management. But at the same time, the poorer food choices aren’t resulting in poorer blood sugar readings because I am monitoring and adjusting insulin delivery more readily.

I have fleeting moments of anxiety where my internal dialogue is “you have diabetes, your immune system is not as good as a non-diabetic, you should be a little more careful if you contract a virus your outcomes are more likely to be bad.” We published an article in the Not Just a Patch blog section about the evidence suggesting that T1D’s are not necessarily more at risk.  I believe it, mostly, but that doesn’t stop the nagging voice. I am probably being a little more cautious than if I were without diabetes on my mind.

Don’t tell anyone but being home bound is having some positive effects, and I am mostly thoroughly enjoying the side effects of this lockdown.  I am cautious with these thoughts because I am lucky, I have a job and many other luxuries that many don’t have and in reality, these can be taken away quickly.  Managing diabetes requires some tools and these tools are not easily accessible to all and can also become harder to get should more panic set in or more commercial pressure occurs.  The companies that make insulin and CGM’s aren’t infallible, they can fail and I can let myself trail down those unhelpful thought patterns too. Luckily I don’t because I have confidence – for now.  

I wonder about my fellow T1D friends, how is your experience?

– Pete, Not Just a Patch

Coronavirus has made me slow down

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well during the coronavirus pandemic. As much fear and negativity is being spread around by the media right now, I wanted to take a second to focus on the positive. There is always a positive, you just have to search for it! Coronavirus and quarantine have given me a great deal of time to do some self-reflecting. Spending more time at home and not needing to run anywhere has shown me how distracted I was throughout a typical day.  And how much I had been avoiding diving deep into my own thoughts. Without the distractions, I’ve been able to spend time creating a clear vision on how I want my life to be and the things I find important. I’ve realized my priorities are definitely connecting with family, friends, and staying healthy. All the other distractions don’t really matter in the end.

With nowhere to go, I have more time for cooking healthy meals, spending time connecting with loved ones, and doing hobbies I love just for fun like painting. Coronavirus has also made me appreciate the little things I took for granted. Like grabbing a coffee with a friend, going out to eat with my husband, or going to a yoga class. All of those things I never thought twice about I now see how special they really were. I hope after the pandemic is over, we don’t go back to how we lived before. I hope we can appreciate the little moments. A hug. A concert. A social gathering. I hope we don’t take for granted the moments of connection anymore. 

Additionally, as unfortunate as it is that we will not be able to celebrate Easter traditionally this year, I think it is important we find the best in our situation and still try to enjoy our holiday. Most years my family would go to church Easter morning and celebrate at brunch after with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  This year we will all be staying home but we are planning to do a video call with everyone and enjoy a brunch we each make at home. When I think about past Easter Sunday’s I remember refreshingly warm spring sunshine’s, delicious food, and family time. If you think about it, this year won’t be all that different after all. We can still enjoy the warm spring sunshine, make a yummy brunch at home, and enjoy family time even if it is over the phone. The things that count haven’t been canceled. This Easter I’m choosing to focus on all of the things we still have! 

– Megan, meganschrup

More self-care during the lockdown

This Easter feels very different from the others. In a time when the world is afraid, it feels almost strange to be celebrating. However, it’s in times like this that staying positive is super important. I always try to look at the bright side of things and that is one of the many reasons I’ve always loved Easter – it symbolizes new beginnings and hope. This Easter may be different, but it’s not all bad. Whilst staying at home and being unable to leave except for necessary reasons and exercise, I’ve really begun to see things from a different perspective. I feel so incredibly grateful to be, firstly and most importantly, alive, and also to be living in our beautiful country Australia. When I look out my window in the morning and see the sun shining down, I am overwhelmed with how lucky I am to be here. I miss all the big things, like going to the gym, shopping centers, movies with friends, visiting the gorgeous wineries that dot our landscape, but I am also missing some smaller and somewhat random things too! I’ve begun to appreciate every moment, even if it’s frustrating, as it makes up the beautiful fabric that is our life.

This pandemic has also given me more time and reason to look after myself. Not only as a diabetic, but as a hardworking person, I am always pushing myself to do the very best, sometimes forgetting that what I really need is just a day off. We often get so caught up in our jobs/families/children/education/diabetes/etc that we forget to look after the very person doing it all – ourselves. My self-care routine has never been so good! Face masks, delicious home baking, yoga, you name it! Especially now we need to look after ourselves, and the importance of this has only been further reinforced. 

Honestly, health is wealth. If you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, or your status, or even how you look, because without your health it’s nothing. I’ve always been very health conscious and so I hope that even after this is all over, people will continue to put their health as one of their top priorities.

When this is all over, I vow to visit every place I’ve ever wanted to visit and see all of my family and friends. I’m going to spend even more time with my grandparents, my pet, or anyone who needs company! Life is really too short to waste a single day on frivolous things. I swear to not take anything for granted, and I’ve become more appreciative of all the little things. As a wise man once said, today is a gift, that is why it’s called the present!

– Natalia, thediabeticfitspo

Adapting Easter to a new reality

Easter has always been a special day in my family. It is one of the few days out of the whole year that my entire family is able to get together and sit down to a meal together. This year I feel very lucky to be in my parents’ home during the quarantine both for COVID-19 and my own health reasons that have me needing to stay inside for a year.  However, we are in a different state and far away from the rest of my family and this is a first for all of us. 

This period of life has taught me that life is short and you never know what is going to happen. Things can change in an instant and you can never truly be prepared. I have decided that in my time of self-isolation to keep myself healthy, I have started my Master’s degree online and am loving filling my days with knowledge and growth. I have learned that you don’t really know how strong you are until it’s the only choice you have. While these times are scary and filled with uncertainty, I find solitude and peace of being surrounded by family, love, and support.

We will still be sitting down as a family, just a more condensed version of our Easter celebration and having a delicious meal together. Some things change, but not everything has to.

-Hannah, giffindor