Saturday, 12 May 2018

University and Applying for an Extension

I was recently talking to a psychologist (not diabetes trained) who couldn’t understand why my blood sugar should ever be high or low. She told me that she just wanted to shake me and make me try harder. She was COMPLETELY shocked when I told her that it isn’t as simple as doing regular exercise, having a healthy diet and taking a daily dose of insulin. She couldn’t believe that things like hormones (such as a woman’s monthly cycle, adrenaline, endorphins, etc), heat and stress all affect blood sugar. It is so frustrating that health care professionals have this view, and this all contributes to the misconception that having high and low blood sugar is always the fault of the person living with type 1 diabetes, instead of a factor out with their control.

These past few months have seen a few major changes for me. I got a new insulin pump, however when I got that I got stopped on the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM, it continuously tracks my blood sugar and alerts me if my blood sugar is going low or high). I have had the CGM for 4 years, and it is a big change for me. I had it funded because I struggled to control low blood sugar and sometimes had seizures because of it, so my safety blanket was taken away.

I have just completed my 2nd year of University, and this came with a lot of stress. During the semester, we have regular classes and contact time at the university, and sports clubs have regular training, and having this regular routine makes living with type 1 diabetes easier to handle. Having a routine with type 1 diabetes really helps, as you don’t have new situations to tailor your insulin doses to everyday. Having an insulin pump does help with this, meaning it is easier to change insulin requirements, as it can be done at the click of a button, but it is such a hassle and you don’t always get it right.

When the semester came to an end this year, so did classes and regular sport training sessions, and it is more difficult to handle diabetes (in my personal experience). It is easier to oversleep when you don’t have anywhere specific to be and it’s easier to avoid regular exercise, both things that affect diabetes control for me, and increase my blood sugar. After the classes finished I had to write a few assignments for university, something that required concentration and a lot of thought, and something that I couldn’t do when I had high blood sugar, which came from the lack of routine.

It takes time for high blood sugar to come down, insulin takes 20 minutes to start working in the body and is active in the body 4 hours. A symptom of high blood sugar is low mood, it makes me feel so angry and sad at everything, and it is impossible to get any work done when feeling like this. With the fatigue and lack of concentration that comes with having high blood sugar, lack of routine, the low mood associated with increased blood sugar and the time it takes for blood sugar to drop, I was finding it very difficult to write coherently. I was getting come work done, but it takes a lot longer to concentrate and it often doesn’t make too much sense.
This is why I decided to apply for an extension on the remainder of my essays. I was becoming so stressed at the looming deadlines that it was another factor that was affecting my blood sugar, and I needed to be able to complete my assignments calmly, without too much stress. I also needed to stop and take care of myself, some time to relax and de-stress, otherwise I knew that I would end up being completely overwhelmed and burn out completely.

I decided I needed an extension for my assignments the day after the deadline, however I still applied and hoped for the best, continued to write my assignments and thankfully I got granted the extension request. I got an extra 2 weeks for the remainder of my assignments, but I didn’t want to abuse this, so I only used what I needed from it. I took time to myself because I knew that I needed to relax, and I finished my assignments only having gone 2 days over the extension deadline. The pressure was lifted, and because I wasn’t as stressed about a looming deadline, and I was able to concentrate and get my head down.

I am aware that not everyone living with type 1 diabetes has these problems with high blood sugar. I am finding it especially difficult right now to keep my blood sugars in range, and hopefully in time I will be able to handle things myself a lot better, however right now I knew needed to ask for help and accept that it is okay to do that. I can still do everything, but when I’m feeling rotten, I find an easy task nearly impossible, and so I do need to sometimes focus on my myself and my health.
Until Next Time,
Alyssa x