My Activity Tracking
My target 500 kms
I'm fundraising for a great cause!
I’m doing the JDRF One Ride to raise funds for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research! This means I will be riding from 1st to 30th September 2021 to achieve my KM target while competing against other cyclists across Australia.
This year is particularly significant for the T1D community as it marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin.
Many of you know we lost my Mum early this year, Many of her health issues were due to living life with Diabetes. She is not the only family member do have this. I would love for my cousin to live a great life as Mum did but without the hassle this illness brings.
JDRF is the largest funder of T1D research in the world and believes we shouldn't have to wait another 100 years for the next major breakthrough.
DONATE NOW to support me so we can help change the lives of more than 125,000 Australians living with T1D.
Let’s make type 1 diabetes a memory, not a milestone. Thank you!
A New Era - 🥂 Cheers to that PUMPFriday 1st Oct
A new Era.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and this fundraiser so far. The reason and the force for supporting this research is put simply in this story here:
Mum was a trained nurse. In fact, it was during her studies when playing with blood testing that she assessed her own blood in a class (not something so easily done these days) and it was here that she noted her own blood sugar levels. A bought of pneumonia thrown in and she was soon diagnosed as a Type one diabetic as her Pancreas whilst it produced insulin – her body just didn’t seem to recognise it anymore.
Mum found herself an Endocrinologist and with the exception of the time in Sydney He was a part of her team until nearing retirement. He had her back, Diabetics and hospital stays aren’t always fun – throw in the trained nurse side of things and whoever was responsible to treating mum on a ward was in for a challenge. She would administer her own insulin and then be asked 20 questions from the staff about how much she was taking and why and how she new to take that much often the hospital stay would be unrelated to her Diabetes but for some reason it would be the reason to extend her stay, during these times a subtle phone call from the Endocrinologist would be made to the ward nurse, the questions would stop and mum would be left in peace to deal with the ‘actual’ reason for her stay.
But whilst he was a great doctor – perhaps with a foot half on the golf course when the advance of technology lead to an insulin pump Mum didn’t seem to be looking like she ‘needed one’. But retirement came and with it a mid 30’s female Endocrinologist took mum’s case one. The first task – Mum was to record every Hypo she had for a month and then return. The response.
‘You need an insulin pump, honestly I don’t know how you live life like this!’
So in the cusp of her 60’s Mum was sentenced to a 2 night stay in hospital, a insulin port attached to her body, a pump linked to it and a phone to learn how to calculate her carbohydrate intake.
1 month into using
the pump I met her with my Aunty (mum’s best mate) for a coffee. She groaned at
the table that the ‘bloody thing is beeping at me again’ and lamented working
out the carb level of what the snack with coffee would be.
Curious as to how things were going my Aunty simply asked
‘When’s the last time you had a Hypo?’
Mum’s reply – ‘I haven’t had one yet’
The look of astonishment on both mine and my Aunt’s face said it all!
Mum would on average have at least 1 hypo a week, more if she was coming down with a cold or infection – that was 4 – 8 Hypos taken out of the equation.
NO more embarrassing scene’s out in public scrambling for coke or orange juice, No moments where friends or family had to force her to drink or eat something and deal with irrational behaviour.
This is not to say that Mum didn’t have any more hypos in the 8 years she then used an insulin pump, but a nod to that endocrinologist who saw the life mum was living and knew it could be so much better.
When it comes
to technology and diabetes it’s great but it comes at a cost. Whenever mum was
eligible to upgrade her blood glucose monitors, she would offer them to my
nephew. You can’t easily recycle them or return them even though there is no
real cross contamination risk.
When mum passed
away, we found 5 monitors no longer in use. We donated them to veterinary clinics
to use with animals - This is what Diabetes Australia recommended as the only option outside of send it to landfill.....
Lastly that pump
– Brand new they are valued at around $9000.
We were able to return the parts that didn’t interact directly with Mum’s body to the Endocrinologist. Whilst she was sensitive to our loss, she also could not contain her gratitude, she had a new patient based in Regional Victoria, on a pension and with only Medicare the cost of a pump wasn’t going to be in their realm of health management. Now it could be.
So here’s to another 100 years research & technology; to innovation and to the opportunity to improve lives. And even if all I did was one bike ride at a time, I know from the messages I’ve received in the last week, that I am not the only person who has been touched by this experience.
Thank you for your support.
Black and white photograph
Image of Nursing student Mum - Sister Kay in her 1970's uniform, nursing cap, white collar, dark blazer and small watch pinned to her chest.Share
A whole new WorldWednesday 29th Sep
Welcome to Sydney.
There’s nothing quite like relocating your whole life to throw a spanner in your works AND more importantly find a great doctor in the process.
My brother an asthmatic had been and met a local GP for his own needs.
Mum had found a new endocrinologist who of course had instantly started to change things around for her to learn to get used to…possibly not the best idea.
So whilst getting used to our new environment (the dog got hit by a car – we were not used to living by a main road)
Mum’s rate of Hypo started to increase, thankfully she had been keeping of track of them, and Dad had been on hand in the evenings. It was the era of the beginning of the mobile phone – not the smart device we are used to these days.
So one Friday night before dad had commenced his commute we the teenage kids were met with a not so well Mum:
- Orange juice wasn’t working
- Blood sugar test plummeting to 2 and lower
- Dad not answering the mobile phone
- My brother headed for the service station to buy some coke and chocolate.
- I was left attempting to coerce a honey sandwich into Mum. The challenge is that this wasn’t working now and the next sugar reading up to 26 – bummer she’s got honey on her hands and it’s affected the test.
- Brother returns and we can’t get the coke into her.
- The decision is made lets see if we can call that Dr we’ve met. He was packing up and leaving work so he simply said give me your address I’m on my way – why he didn’t suggest calling the ambulance I’ll never know – I guess he was yet to learn the rate and pace of which mum’s sugars would move.
7pm – Dad walks into the house and finds us in their bedroom. Teenagers at the end of the bed. A sweaty pale mum in a dressing gown. The new Dr injecting vile of glucose into her veins.
From that day on:
Dad kept his mobile phone on.
Mum found a different endocrinologist thanks to the Doctor.
Future Orange Juice was laced with glucose powder
Mum was a social being. She grew up in a house with lots of siblings. My house is your house was very much a thing. She much preferred a bunch of rowdy teens in her house than us wandering the streets doing goodness knows what. So, the picture is of Mum as a ‘fright’ when we hosted a Halloween party
A smiling white painted face with black lips and spikey grey hair.Share
Final Week - Hypo when Travelling - from DadTuesday 28th Sep
The Hypo from Hell - Image from one of their cruise holidays
In 2002 we went on a holiday to Europe and one of our stops was in Lucerne in Switzerland where we spent two nights; we had an attic room in a quaint hotel. I will remember Lucerne not just for its charm and beauty but also for the worst hypo ever. Kay won’t remember it for that reason however because she was right out of the action. It was here that I discovered that a hypo could be related to a traumatic event such as stress or in this case extreme fear.
One of our tours was to the top of Mount Pilatus, seven thousand feet above sea level. We went up on the cog wheel railway, one of the steepest rail journeys in the world and once at the top Kay admitted she had been scared but that was nothing to the way down. The first part of the downward journey was in one big cable car. The top of the mountain was covered in cloud and when this big box suspended from a cable appeared out of the mist Kay went as white as the clouds. There was no turning back though. Over forty people crowded in and Kay stayed in the middle of them so she couldn’t see out. As we pulled away from the mountain we were suspended around four thousand feet in the air and Kay started to shake like a leaf. If the car had not been crowded and the people around her had not held on to her she would have fallen to the floor. We made it and transferred to a Gondola for a less scary ride at tree top level and the rest of the day went smoothly.
At midnight the drama of the day and affects of the cable car ride must have hit home. It is the only explanation as far as I am concerned. We were about to go to sleep when Kay said, “Oh God I feel terrible, I think I am going off.” We had a large Swiss chocolate ball sitting on the dresser so I grabbed that and rushed around to her side of the bed and as I did I forgot about the sloping roof in the attic room and bashed my head on it nearly knocking myself senseless. With blood pouring from my forehead I managed to feed her the chocolate before she passed out. We had the blood glucose meter with us and I managed to get her blood sugar level, it was 1.1.
I pride myself that I have never had to call a doctor to bring her out of a hypo and at midnight in a foreign place I wasn’t about to start trying to find one so even though she was barely conscious I fed her everything sweet I could find, sugar mainly but it didn’t do a lot. Her sugar level went up to about 1.4 and by this time I was having trouble getting blood.
With nothing left to feed her, at one in the morning I decided if I could get some regular Coca cola (loaded with sugar) I could solve the problem. Hearing activity in the street I thought there was perhaps a bar open so I went out. The voices were a long way away however and everything was closed so I returned to the hotel only to find the front door locked. You could get out but you couldn’t get back in. I almost reached panic level but ended up ringing a bell and a night porter eventually arrived so I held my room keys up and he let me in. I then explained my predicament and he kindly got me a can of coke from the bar fridge.
Even though she was an inert object I managed to get some coke into her and at about two thirty her sugar was back up to nearly three and I decided I could go to sleep. At around three thirty she woke up and said “Are you alright …??”
“Am I alright? Ask me in the morning and I’ll tell you!!”
We now carry a Glucose injection with us whenever we travel and there is always one in our bathroom just in case.Share
Pens & Needles - Wk 3Sunday 19th Sep
I’ve taken a picture from the internet to help explain. The internet says mid 80’s (which is about right for me being almost 10) When the ‘Novo Pen’ came into our lives and made the world of insulin injections far more discreet!
Instead of having to carry vials of insulin and the needles (you’ll have seen plenty of these if you’ve been watching anything to do with vaccination in the media.)
As the children of hard-working parents, we were fortunate enough to travel, it was done modestly but still we got to see the world (Disneyland!) and much of our travel in the USA was done with Greyhound buses. I have a distinct memory of early morning as an overnight bus was nearing its destination, Mum asked to swap seats with me & using me to block the view of the surrounding passengers while she drew up insulin from vials.
With the arrival of a Pen injector this meant that as far as anyone else was concerned when it was time to take her medication, it merely looked like she was playing with a Pen!
Here’s a note from Dad also to do with being out and about.
The Public Hypo
Hypos that occur in a public place are a challenge because you don’t always have easy access to an orange juice or something else sweet. The well controlled diabetic will usually carry some barley sugar and should also carry a card or wear a bracelet with an Inscription like "I am a Diabetic. If you find me acting strangely or in danger of collapse, please give me something sweet to eat". It is difficult to help a diabetic out of a hypo in a public place and do it discreetly. My wife and I were on a cruise some years ago and we were just sitting down to lunch in the dining room when she started to go off. I summoned the waiter urgently for a glass of orange juice and had her drink it in what I thought to be a firm, but discreet manner. About five minutes later, a man on the other side of the table said. "I'm a diabetic too, that's the first time I've seen anybody do that". That same night we sat at our regular dinner table, with the same people we dined with every night when one of the ladies said. "What was the problem at lunch time today"? She had seen me in action from another table, so treating a hypo with some form of dignity is almost impossible.Share
Week 1 - Dad's version is better than mine!Monday 13th Sep
By Jonathan Tromane
A Pregnant Pause
The small blue sedan drove onto the building site and stopped. Nobody alighted from the vehicle so some of the workmen went over to it to see what was happening. What they found was a young woman who was obviously very pregnant and in a distressed state. Strapped in the back seat of the vehicle was a small boy about two years old, he seemed quite happy. The workmen managed to find out the woman’s address and then drove her home. Let her inside then promptly left, assuming she would be alright. It was about midday. At five o’clock the phone rang and the woman woke up and managed to get up and answer it. It was a friend, also a diabetic, checking to see how she was. Sensing that things were not quite right the friend suggested that she go to the fridge and pour herself a large glass of orange juice, drink it, then wait for her husband to come home, he was due any moment. Surprisingly she did what was suggested and returned to the couch. When her husband walked in and saw her he immediately thought that she had been beaten up because she had red blotches on her face. When he established that she hadn’t been and that she was okay, he sat with her and tried to work out what had been going on.
Kay was pregnant with twins. One day, when she was about 5 months through the pregnancy, she was driving home from the Melbourne CBD after a routine visit to her obstetrician when she started to feel strange. Predicting what was happening she stopped at her local shops and purchased a sweet drink and a large cream cake and consumed them, then continued on her way. Still feeling a strange however, she drove past the entrance to her street without realising and continued to the very end of the road she was on. It happened to end at a building site. At that stage she became totally confused and distraught. The workers there obviously did not recognise her condition. They saw a pregnant woman who was upset and assumed that she had a few problems and needed some help to get home. Once there she lay on the couch and passed out for nearly five hours. In the meantime her little boy was alone and unsupervised in the house, so he had a great time. He got hold of one of mum’s lipsticks and decided to do some drawing. He daubed the mirrors, fortunately not the walls and finished up drawing some blotches on his mum’s face.
Over the long period she must have slowly recovered. Being in a state of rest the sugar in the drink and cream cake gradually started to offset the high level of insulin in her body and by five o’clock when the phone rang she was just conscious.
Kay and her husband pieced together the story and then sat back and thanked God that she had got through the ordeal of the hypo without anybody coming to any harm. The reality of what could have happened when they applied those two well known words –what if? - to the events of the day was quite frightening. What if the full affects of the hypo had occurred fifteen minutes earlier when Kay was driving on the freeway? What if the men on the building site had not been honest people? Once inside the house they could have ransacked it and taken what they liked and they could have assaulted Kay and the little boy. What if the little boy had got into the knife drawer or started playing with the gas and matches or fiddling with a power point ….?
You might think this tale is a bit exaggerated. Well it is not because that is one of our stories and it brought home to me how important it is for people who live with Diabetics to watch out for them, know the signs, watch for those signs and take Share
Week 1 - Gestating Mumma Bear - Type 1 DiabeticSaturday 11th Sep
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