Thank you so much!

I just wanted to write a short blog to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has been watching my #happydiabeticchallenge insta stories so far! I have been overwhelmed with all the views they have received and all the wonderful messages people have been sending me regarding them.

I had no idea that my videos were sparking so much interest for people! So many people have said that they are learning things from my videos, which is fantastic because I am always wanting to educate others about type 1. I have had loads of friends telling me that they can’t wait to watch them every day and see what I have to say about each topic. A few friends have also said that it’s so great to see me talking so openly about various diabetes related topics too. I must admit though, it’s really difficult to get everything I want to say in some of the videos because they’re only 15 seconds long! 

I’ve also received the most wonderful messages from fellow diabetics who are really appreciating what I have to say. I received the most thoughtful message from a lovely guy called Greg (@gregreekie90 on Instagram) who said that my stories have been inspirational. Wow! For me, knowing that I can make a difference to just one person is extremely humbling. It’s great to know that my videos are inspiring others! It just goes to show that talking about type 1 diabetes really does make a difference!

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So far I have talked about the following topics:

  1. Introduce Yourself
  2. Type of Diabetes
  3. Pens, Pump or MDI
  4. Diabuddy(s)
  5. Diabetes and Style
  6. Biggest Supporter
  7. The Bright Side
  8. Fave Diabetes Accessory
  9. Blood Sugar Roll Call
  10. Tattoos and Diabetes
  11. Low Carb Snack
  12. Lancet Change Monday
  13. Diabetes and Mental Health
  14. World Diabetes Day
  15. Diabetic Cost of Living
  16. Your Motivation
  17. Blood: Lick or Wipe?
  18. Society and Diabetes
  19. Diabetes Essentials
  20. Where are you from?

Later today I will post another video about exercise and diabetes, so make sure you check it out!

I have a feeling that when November is over I will really miss doing the daily challenges! I am thinking about doing more videos in the future and answering questions that people want to ask me. These questions can be to do with acting, diabetes or life in general! Anything you’d like. Look out for my post about doing more videos in December and have your say.

On another note, it’s my birthday on Saturday! I can’t wait! However, it has felt a bit odd this year because I’ve been so busy and had an awful lot to do in the run up to heading off to Clacton for Panto. I am working during the day at PQA (Pauline Quirke Academy) but on the night I’m going to have a lovely meal with Bobby and hopefully quite a few glasses of prosecco and wine! (I’ll keep that blood sugar in line though!)

On a further note, I attended one of our Panto publicity days last Saturday too, which went very well. We performed a few songs at the Victorian Christmas Market which was actually held in the Princes Theatre (where the show will be playing) in Clacton and then we headed off to Colchester Hospital to visit some lovely children on the pediatrics ward. It’s never nice to see children in hospital, however they seemed pleased to see the arrival of 4 strangely dressed characters walking up to their beds!

My next few blog posts will be following the progress of Panto rehearsals and the show so fingers crossed it all goes well! I’ll also be 28 when I write the next one! Where has the time gone?!

Panto News and The Happy Diabetic Challenge

HE’S BEHIND YOU! That’s right! I have some wonderful panto news for you all. If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or you’re a friend of mine on Facebook you’ll probably already know that I’m going to be performing in Peter Pan this Christmas at the Princes Theatre, Clacton on Sea!

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I had such a great audition for this show and was extremely chuffed when I got offered the roles of Mrs Darling, Darcy the Pirate and Persil the Mermaid! I’ve known that I’ve had this job in the bag for ages and I only recently announced it on social media. I’ve had such a wonderful reaction from all my friends and family, so thank you very much everyone. I’m really excited to get started with rehearsals at the end of the month.

Before rehearsals begin we actually have a couple of publicity days coming up which I’m also really looking forward to. Definitely gives the cast a chance to get to know each other before the rehearsal process begins. We also get to indulge in singing some Christmas songs in November! I’m sure my neighbours are enjoying the rehearsing I’m doing!

If you want to book tickets to see me in action do so by clicking here. The show runs from 8th December through to 1st January. Make sure you let me know if you’re planning on coming to see it! It would be great to see some familiar faces in the audience.

So November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

This year I am completing the Happy Diabetic Challenge which was created by the wonderful @the.insulin.type (instagram). For every day in November we have a different topic regarding diabetes to post about. I have decided to change it up and instead of uploading photo posts on my account, I’m recording an insta story for each day instead! So if you follow me on there make sure you check them out!

November Happy Diabetic Challenge 2018

It’s so great to follow the hashtag #happydiabeticchallenge on Instagram and see all the posts from our wonderful Type 1 family. Everyone has a different opinion every single day and it just goes to show that everyone does things a little differently. I also find it really interesting to see how people control their diabetes. Do they use pens or a pump? Do they still check their blood sugar old school like me, or do they have a libre or dexcom? Give the hashtag a search on Instagram and definitely check out the posts.

Whilst I’m on the diabetes chat, I just want to quickly make sure that no one forgets to have their flu jab! As a diabetic in the UK it’s so important to take advantage of the fact we get free flu jabs. It’s difficult enough to regulate your blood sugar levels when you have a cold, I can’t even begin to imagine how out of whack we would get if we had to deal with the flu! Awful!

Like the majority of us, I’ve already had a cold and I’m just coming off the back of it now. It definitely did throw my blood sugar levels all over the shop and it is really hard to bring them back to normality. However, here are some things that may help you out if you do end up suffering from a particularly horrid cold this winter!

  1. Stay hydrated. Like anyone needs to (diabetic or not) staying hydrated really does help to flush out a cold. It also helps with higher blood sugar levels because you’re probably going to get thirsty anyway if you’re riding a little higher than usual.
  2. Keep warm. You don’t want to drag out the length of the cold any longer than necessary! Keep yourself wrapped up and sweat it out of your system.
  3. Check your blood sugar more often. I don’t mean constantly! But checking a little more frequently can help you preempt what the cold is doing to your levels and can help you to prevent any awful highs before they happen.
  4. Small correction doses. Don’t go too mad! Remember, a little correction dose can really help you out where necessary.
  5. Exercise. I was really poorly a couple of weeks ago and stupidly partook in a very difficult gym class (that was even harder because I was so ill) and I actually thought I was going to pass out or be sick on my way home. Luckily I wasn’t! A little exercise is always good to help sweat out a cold and regulate your blood sugar, just don’t overdo it like I did!
  6. Feed a cold. Get lots of veggies in you to help battle that cold! You also won’t need to inject for them either, bonus!

Injecting in public and taking the low carb plunge.

I’ve definitely spoken about this before, but I feel like it needs to be addressed again as I know so many people feel awkward when it comes to this topic.

Injecting in public

Injecting in public for some type 1s is a daunting and uncomfortable experience. I think back to when I was first diagnosed almost 12 years ago and how my thought process regarding it has very much changed since then.

I guess for me, at first, the thought of injecting openly in public was rather scary. I did worry about what other people would think and whether someone might say something about it. I also worried about people openly watching what I was doing and potentially thinking it was something bad.

As I’ve gotten older and diabetes has become a solid part of my life, my attitude towards what others think has completely changed. I literally don’t give a damn about other people watching me, thinking negative things and generally being aware of what I’m doing. I’m actually waiting for the day when someone challenges me about it or says my actions are inappropriate for doing so in public. I have so much ammunition stored in my head ready to take them down. I’d actually be quite thrilled to school an ignorant person on how my actions are completely acceptable!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not spoiling for a fight, but I’m just utterly prepared for the worst situation. I will defend myself and the entire diabetic family to the end of the earth because at the end of the day, injecting in public should never be an issue. We are doing it to keep ourselves alive and well and if someone doesn’t like it, then they should keep their opinions to themselves if you ask me! It shouldn’t be necessary to take ourselves off into a private area to carry out an injection.

A friend of mine once got accused of taking drugs in a Burger King by an uneducated member of the public. The person didn’t even approach my friend directly, but spoke to a member of staff in Burger King who then approached my friend. My friend made it extremely clear that he had type 1 diabetes and was in fact injecting insulin. It’s safe to say that the staff member and member of the public felt pretty stupid. My friend also went on to inform the member of the public about diabetes and what it entails. She literally didn’t have a clue. Fortunately for my friend, he is very ballsy and will always stand his ground. He had nothing to apologise for and rightly so he put the woman right!

A friend of mine, Ruth, told me about her brother being a type 1. He was diagnosed when he was 18 and he’s now 24. I told her that it must have been quite difficult for him being diagnosed then because he would have been heading off to uni, experiencing student nights out and drinking and living independently. She said the thing he finds the hardest is injecting in public. He doesn’t feel at all comfortable with it and always feels like he should go into the toilet to do it. He then struggles to balance his insulin wallet and needles on his lap because there is nowhere else to put it. She did say that the one thing that comforted her brother was that he went into a disabled toilet and saw a sign that said; “Not all disabilities are visible.” I don’t consider diabetes as a disability, but I can understand why he found that comforting.

I really do think that injecting in public is completely based on how confident you are about it. For me, I am super confident about my diabetes and I really don’t care about what others think. Of course, if I am out having a meal with some new friends, I always inform them that I’m about to do an injection and not to look if they don’t want to see it or if they might feel uncomfortable. Most of my friends, however, are so used to seeing it now, that they don’t even notice me doing it!

What I want to get across is that you should never feel like you need to inject in the toilets because the public around you might stare or find it inappropriate. You wouldn’t ask a woman to breastfeed her baby in a toilet, so why should someone have to inject insulin in a toilet? It is part of your life and it’s keeping you alive, it’s a normal every day activity and there are enough diabetics who inject in the world for it to be normal. Be loud and proud and don’t ever feel ashamed!

In other news…

I have finally, actually, properly, started a low carb diet! I know, I know, I said I would do it before but I just wasn’t mentally prepared for the commitment and it ended up not working out whatsoever. However, I went to see the DSN (Diabetic Specialist Nurse) earlier in the week and thankfully my HBA1c had come back down a fraction. It’s not the lowest it could be and I definitely want to improve my control further. I literally decided that I would start my low carb diet and stick to it. The only times I will let myself indulge will be one meal very rarely, because we all have to allow ourselves a little cheat occasionally! I don’t want to miss out on some of my favourite foods by never allowing myself them again for the rest of my life! Surely that’s completely normal. However, for the most part I will be sticking to low carb.

Moreover, so far, so good! This is the end of day 4 of my low carb diet and it’s actually not been as hard as I imagined it would be. I have also googled some low carb alternatives which I will eventually get around to making all of. Here’s what I found:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Courgetti
  • Butternut squash waffles
  • Cauliflower pizza (which I have made before and was delicious!)
  • Butternut squash wedges (which we had with tea tonight! Yum!)
  • Sliced aubergine or courgette instead of lasagna sheets
  • Cloud bread

I’m sure there are plenty more alternatives too! I just have to resist temptation. Especially crisps! I also have an excellent cookbook especially for diabetes which my boyfriend got me, which has tonnes of amazing recipes in it. It’s compiled by Phil Vickery and it’s the Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook. Fingers crossed!

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The consequences of type 1

First of all, apologies for not writing for a while! I’ve (as usual) been really busy and was visiting home last week, which was so lovely. Lots has been going on, so I’ve found it hard to find time to write. However, finally, here we go!

So, a story was brought to my attention a few weeks ago about a girl from my local area who has passed away after neglecting her diabetes.

Natasha Horne was just 20 years old when she died at her friends house from a suspected diabetic coma on August 25th 2018. Prior to this she had also suffered three DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) attacks. She passed away just 2 years after her type 1 diabetes diagnosis after failing to inject insulin and look after herself properly. She hardly informed anyone that she had diabetes and claimed “I don’t do needles”.

Her family are now raising awareness for type 1 diabetes after many failed attempts to help their daughter to deal with her condition correctly.  Before Tasha was diagnosed she had gone from a size 22 to a size 10 in just six months, which is unnaturally unhealthy. It’s obvious that this insane weight-loss was fueled by her then un-diagnosed diabetes. Her parents felt that the compliments she received over her rapid weight-loss clouded her judgment and deterred her from injecting insulin and potentially putting weight back on after she was diagnosed. Which was just one of the contributing factors towards her unfortunate passing.

What a tragedy. Such a young life taken because she was unwilling to understand the severity of her condition. It’s difficult to discuss at length because I didn’t know Tasha personally, but there are two ways to look at this situation in my opinion. Was she silly to assume she would be fine without her insulin? OR Should she have been offered more professional help in order to adjust to her new condition?

At the end of the day, Tasha was an adult. She was left in charge of her own medical care and she didn’t seem to understand how serious her diabetes was. Was this down to a lack of information or just her stubborn pride? I really do feel that Tasha wasn’t educated about diabetes and the impacts in can have on your every day life and ultimately, your entire life ahead of you. I don’t blame her for not knowing, because when I was diagnosed I didn’t know a stitch about diabetes. I had to learn everything in very quick succession and it was something that I wanted to learn about. To this day, I am still learning and this is nearly 12 years on from my diagnosis. The difference between her and I, however, is that I was very open about it and always willing to share my story. I was always eager to learn in order to help myself.

It did really seem that Tasha was ashamed of her diagnosis and even embarrassed. It’s as if the invincibility she felt she possessed was breaking down in front of her and she couldn’t accept that, so chose to ignore it in the hope it would go away.

I presume Tasha wasn’t attending her medical appointments either, because if she was then surely her medical team would have intervened and gotten her the help she needed. (Many diabetics that I have spoken to think that there isn’t enough help offered in regards to mental health and diabetes. This really would have been something that Tasha could have benefited from.) You have to be able to process and understand diabetes in order to be able to look after yourself.

I find this whole story utterly devastating. Such a tragic loss of a young life. If only someone could have gotten through to her and really made her understand the consequences of her actions. Unfortunately, now it’s too late.

I really feel that this story just enforces what I’ve been saying all along. The general public are uneducated when it comes to diabetes. People don’t understand it, they don’t know what it is, they don’t know how to deal with it and they don’t know how serious it is. I really do feel like diabetes should be a topic that children learn about in school. Not just in a science lesson, but more so like a sexual education class. It’s not something to be skimmed over, but something that needs to be talked about in detail. If Tasha had been educated about diabetes in school, then maybe this dreadful situation could have been avoided. We will never know.

RIP Natasha

On another note, less awful that the previous, but still not great, a fellow Young Adults Panel member had an awful experience a few days ago. David was having a hypo and at the time, was in a (very) well known shop. He headed to the section labelled “Diabetic” and was greeted with this:

Boots Diabetes Section

Now, what can you see here? Yep, you can see tonnes of “diet” related products. What we don’t see here are any blood glucose testers or any hypo treatments whatsoever. How utterly misleading and in my opinion, quite frankly offensive. In his hypo fueled state David removed the sign reading ‘diabetic’ as he has and still does, find this section of the shop offensive too. The duty manager advised him not to come into the shop and told him she is also type 1 and doesn’t find it offensive.

It infuriates me because it’s just heightening the misleading information that the media churns out. Everyone who is uneducated about diabetes assumes you get diabetes because you eat badly and you’re overweight. Seeing these diet products in the “diabetes” section really does not help when wanting to quash this stigma. Highly irritating. I won’t say what shop this is, but I’m sure it’s clearly obvious from the signs.

On a lighter note, I have recently shot 2 new videos for Diabetes UK! Finally, some positive diabetes related news! Hurrah! The first video is all about how to inject as an adult and you can watch it here. It was such a lovely shoot to do and I really enjoyed it. The second video was for diabetes and exercise. These videos are available on the Diabetes UK Learning Zone which can be found here. You do have to create an account on the Learning Zone in order to access them, however, when more public links become available I will post them up for you all to see!

 

 

 

 

Original Impact presents ‘Knock’ Review

Knock Poster

On Tuesday night I had the absolute pleasure of watching the debut of new play ‘Knock’ by Megan Jenkins at the Drayton Arms Theatre Pub. The show is performed by Original Impact Theatre, a company that is going from strength to strength.

Original Impact Theatre’s shows are performed, directed, written and produced by the company themselves. At the helm of the company is Artistic Director Alexandria Anfield. I have been friends with Alex since we met in 2010 and trained together at the University of Cumbria. Alex has always been a determined, talented and driven individual so it’s no surprise that she is producing her own work with her own company. New show ‘Knock’ is directed by Alex and her sister Katie Turner.

The show is written by the hugely talented Megan Jenkins. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Megan writes in such a fluid, intelligent and provoking way. Her writing is always slightly controversial as it tackles themes that need to be (and should be) addressed in the modern world. Another recent work of hers, ‘Gone’, recently premiered in late August with Original Impact Theatre at The Lion and the Unicorn, London. Again, another show (which regretfully I was unable to see) which tackles the challenging subject of missing children.

Initially ‘Knock’ was presented at a scratch night held by Original Impact a few months back. Originally titled ‘Knock, Knock’ it was highly received and it was clear that the audience were left wanting more. Months later, here we are watching the finished piece with a brand new fresh cast for the company.

I don’t want to give too much away or ruin the story in advance, so I won’t be discussing much of the plot. It just give you an incentive to go and watch it instead! (Be that now, or the next time it’s on!)

Amy Kitts plays the role of recent graduate Dinah, Will de Coverly as Ben and Natasha Culzac as Director Jude. The show focuses on the three characters who are currently in rehearsal for a play, which (within the show) is based on a very disturbing and unsettling true story. The actors work very well together throughout the show and all bring a different energy to the story. Culzac performs in a very engaging and naturalistic way, which really reflects the age gap of her character to that of young graduate, Dinah. Culzac moves around the stage effortlessly and is a great casting for this role. Kitts really enforces the eager nature of young graduate Dinah. She portrays the role in exactly the way you would expect a young drama graduate to be: willing and ready to take on the world. She is highly enjoyable to watch and extremely expressive which for me, works incredibly well. de Coverly plays the role of Ben, husband of Jude. It’s very clear from the outset that Ben feels emasculated by his successful wife. de Coverly really provides a conflicted character who is trying to remain professional, yet struggles with his flop of a career. He portrays Ben as, not your typical “manly man”, so to speak, which works incredibly well because it really enforces who wears the trousers in Ben and Jude’s relationship.

What I really loved about the casting was not only was the woman more successful than the man (which is rare to see) but Culzac is slightly taller than de Coverly. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it’s nice to see a casting that doesn’t have to be conventionally strict.

Throughout the show, watching the characters flick from the “actual script” to “the script they are rehearsing within the show” is highly engaging and Megan Jenkins’ writing of essentially two stories in one, is extremely intelligent.

The show space itself worked really well for the piece. Being in a smaller space kept it intimate which aided creating a tense atmosphere for the more chilling parts of the story. ‘Knock’ had a nice contrast of funny yet jumpy moments and if it was intentional to really hit that scare factor level, it needed something a little extra for that. What that is however, I can’t quite put my finger on.

There were a few lost lines within the show that were just a little too quiet. Saying that, 95% of the show was clear and concise, because, let’s face it, no one wants to miss out on any dialogue! The end of the show, I feel, could have been much stronger. I have a feeling that due to opening night nerves and initial adrenaline the actors’ energy was starting to lull, especially knowing that they were nearly at the finish line. All we needed was a strong ending for it to really go off with a bang. There was also a very short blackout which didn’t particularly help the situation.

At the end of the show, I was feeling like it could have carried on further. To me, that could have been act 1 and we could have only just hit the interval. I guess that shows that it has been left open to interpretation and that I definitely wanted even more!

All in all, ‘Knock’ is a fabulous show, with an equally marvelous cast. Alex and Katie did a wonderful job of directing and the overall show was very effective. It’s on tonight and tomorrow only so if you read this and manage to get last minute tickets then wonderful! (Although you will be pushing it for tonight!) Don’t dismay though, Original Impact Theatre have more and more work coming. They are definitely a company to keep your eye on, so make sure you check out their future projects!

Visit their website here or follow them on Twitter @OrigialImpact or Facebook here.

To buy any last minute tickets for ‘Knock’ for tomorrow click here.

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The cost of Diabetes.

A few weekends ago Bobby and I got to go and stay for a night with our wonderful friends Lottie and Michael, in their newly bought home in Bordon. On our train journey there I swiftly realised that I’d forgotten to pick up another Levemir pen from the fridge. I only had enough insulin to get me through that evening and none at all for the following morning. I had enough NovoRapid but just that on it’s own isn’t going to help to keep my blood sugar under control. Upon this realisation, I panicked. I also couldn’t believe that I’d forgotten to pick up another pen. I even reminded myself in the morning to get another out of the fridge and it completely slipped my mind! At the end of the day, I’m only human and I do forget things, but forgetting something as important as another insulin pen really isn’t like me at all! I was so upset, angry and annoyed with myself.

Bobby and I looked for a nearby chemist close to where Lottie was picking us up so we were able to drive their straight away. We got to a really tiny chemist close by and we rushed in. I didn’t need an entire box of Levemir pens, just one pen if it was at all possible. We spoke to the pharmacist and he told me he didn’t have any boxes that had already been open and couldn’t give me just one. Not only could he not give me one, but regardless of giving me one or not, I would have had to pay for it. I steeled myself to hear how much it would cost and when he told me the price my jaw dropped. It was going to cost me £80 to buy a box of 5 Levemir pens. £80!!! My emotions were so heightened at the time that I couldn’t physically speak to the pharmacist in case I cried my eyes out. (Which for reference, I did when I left the chemist). I told him that I couldn’t afford to pay that and he said there was another chemist that we could try. He gave us the details and we immediately left.

Lottie rang ahead to the other chemist and told them the situation. The pharmacist actually said they would be able to give me a Levemir pen for free! We drove to the second chemist and the pharmacist was incredible. He sorted out another pen for me free of charge and we were soon on our way to Lottie and Michael’s house.

That experience utterly terrified me. Apparently, the reason why the second chemist could give me a pen and the first couldn’t was because they operate an emergency prescription service. Thank god they did! Imagine if they hadn’t, I would have been utterly screwed and I wouldn’t have known what to do.

When I’d calmed down and I was able to properly reflect on what had just happened, I actually couldn’t process that it would have cost me £80 for a box of 5 Levemir pens… Who the hell can afford to pay that? I definitely couldn’t fork that out every month. Not only £80 for a box of Levemir, but probably £80 for a box of NovoRapid too. On top of that I would have to pay for lancets, test strips and needles too. We are so lucky to have the healthcare we have in the UK. I honestly don’t know what I would do if we didn’t have the NHS and the amazing services that they provide. We are so very lucky and I don’t know where or what state I would actually be in if I had to pay for all my medical supplies.

Unfortunately for some, their healthcare systems just aren’t as great as ours and they have to fork out hundreds to thousands of dollars each month to keep themselves alive. They have to pay for medical supplies for a condition they never asked for. It’s really completely unfair. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a high paying career, so how can everyone afford it? The answer is: they can’t.

I read an extremely distressing story recently about an incident that happened over a year ago. A 26 year old man, Alec, from Minnesota died from diabetic ketoacidosis last year due to rationing insulin because of it’s high cost. (Ketoacidosis is when the body starts to run out of insulin and builds up a harmful substance called ketones, which can be life threatening if not treated.) Alec aged out of his parents’ insurance coverage last year and from that point on had no insurance. Without this his medical costs would have been between $1000 to $2000 a month. He died 27 days after his parent’s insurance coverage expired for him. Alec’s mother had no idea that he was having to ration his insulin because of the cost and it was too late when she found out. Alec’s mother is now campaigning to reduce the cost of insulin in America and is working alongside The American Diabetes Association.

In America the cost of insulin is constantly on the rise. One father testified that the cost of his son’s insulin rose from $300 in 2017 to more than $900 at the beginning of 2018. The father had no choice but to buy the insulin from Canada where prices were significantly cheaper. There are around 30 million American citizens living with Diabetes. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people. The rising cost of insulin is becoming so detrimental that people are beginning to question whether they should be using their money to buy insulin or food.

I honestly can’t begin to imagine being in that situation and the thought terrifies the life out of me. I thank my lucky stars every day that we have such amazing healthcare. Thank god, thank god for the NHS.

 

 

Acting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

I’m currently stuck in that awful acting limbo where I haven’t had a job for months. I’m not afraid to admit it and it definitely doesn’t make me a failure. However, it really is hard to stop yourself from questioning what on earth is going on. I have had auditions and I know I’ve absolutely smashed them, but I just don’t seem to be getting the jobs. It is so frustrating! I know I’m not the only one in this situation, nor will I be the last. A friend of mine was in the same boat and had been waiting months and months for a job to come along. She was smashing all of her auditions and not being offered a single thing and suddenly wham! – 2 job offers come in on the same day. It’s such a difficult industry and you just have to keep your chin up and stay positive and determined.

Seeing as I’m feeling like I’m stuck in purgatory right now, I thought I would share some facts about actors who took their time getting their big break. It really does shed some light on the situation and makes me feel a lot better knowing that even the big time stars didn’t just walk straight into a job. There are tonnes that I could choose from but I’ve picked some of my favourites. So here we go…

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman

The late, great Alan Rickman. First of all, what an absolute legend. Definitely one of the actors that I thoroughly admire and look up to for multiple reasons. Alan didn’t even attend drama school (RADA to be precise) until he was pushing 30 years old. So he decided to start his training slightly later in life than most. He then went on to spend over 10 years acting on stage until he finally received his big break when he was cast as Hans Gruber alongside Bruce Willis in Die Hard at the age of 46. What an absolute career he has had! Amazing man, absolute legend and of course, my all time favourite Hogwarts teacher.

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

For most people if you asked them what they knew Bryan Cranston from before seeing him on the hit show Malcolm in the Middle I don’t think they would actually be able to say. Bryan did work tirelessly throughout the 80s and 90s and landed a role on the show Seinfeld. However, not many people remember that and his big break came from playing Hal in Malcolm in the Middle alongside child star Frankie Muniz. Bryan was 44 when he landed the role of Hal and his career absolutely sky-rocketed from then on. From Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad – in my opinion he’s absolutely nailed it.

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy

“I’m glad he’s single, because I’m going to climb that like a tree.” Melissa McCarthy is one of the funniest actresses on our screens right now and we all fell in love with her upon watching the absolute corker of a film – Bridesmaids. (Which is actually one of my all time favourites!) Melissa got into acting in the 90s and didn’t actually make it big until she was cast as Megan in Bridesmaids when she was 41 years old. It makes me wonder what small roles she was playing before this, but her career has definitely taken off for the better!

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais must be one of the most well known British Comedians out there. Not only is he known for his comedy acting and writing, but for his outspoken social media presence on Twitter. I personally, think he’s fantastic. Ricky’s first time in the limelight was when he created and started in his own show The Office which absolutely took off with success in the UK, sparking the creation of the very successful US version. Ricky was 40 when The Office became a success and he is now one of the most recognisable comedians in the country.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates

She stars in one of my favourite TV series, American Horror Story and she’s a very successful and versatile actress. She has been nominated for Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globe awards but it wasn’t until she was cast in the film Misery when she was 42 that really launched her career. She actually went on to win an Oscar for her role in this.

There are countless Actors that we know and love today who really took their time to get into the business and get their careers to the level they wanted them to be. A lot of them spent time in resting jobs waiting tables and working hard before their big breaks really came. Not all of us are lucky straight out of training. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get what you want in this industry and you just have to keep working hard and keep going. Just because you haven’t had that “big job” yet or you haven’t worked in a while doesn’t mean you’re untalented or a failure; It unfortunately, just isn’t your time.

Like the old saying goes “acting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon” and I couldn’t agree more. I am 27 years old (28 in November) and I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep working hard and pushing on in order to get there. I know it will happen at some point, but in the mean time I’ve got to stay strong. Don’t ever give up.

 

 

Type 1 and All Inclusive Holidays

I’m really hoping that this blog will be useful for my fellow type 1s who feel like going on an all inclusive holiday will really muck up their blood glucose control and leave them feeling awful. I can assure you – I did it and it was hard but I enjoyed every second. I’ll be honest from the outset though, my levels weren’t great because I did indulge in all the alcohol but since I’ve been back I’ve managed to reign them back in and under control.

When your life revolves around counting carbs, checking your blood glucose levels and injecting insulin, the idea of going on an all inclusive holiday where you are open to as much alcohol and food as you like, can definitely sound like a daunting experience. When you work hard every day to keep yourself healthy and your levels in range the idea of going on an all inclusive holiday and letting go a bit might just bugger up all your hard work – and no one wants to bugger up all their hard work but sometimes you just have to enjoy yourself and indulge a little bit – obviously without really harming yourself or putting yourself in any danger.

When my boyfriend and I booked our holiday I didn’t have any fears or reservations about going all inclusive. In fact, I was really excited about it! I knew it would be an interesting challenge. I took it all in my stride and thought that it would be an amazing opportunity to write a blog and share my experience.

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Whilst away I compiled a list of everything I drank and took pictures of everything I ate (hypo treatments excluded). I have put it all into tables to try and show how things effected me throughout the trip. I think it is safe to say that the alcohol had the biggest effect on my blood glucose overall. So here we go…

 

Majorca 2018 – Alcudia – HSM President Hotel –  All Inclusive 7 nights.

 

(It took me a long time to compile all of the information and photos into a table… I then realised that it was difficult to change the table into various JPEG images – but I got there in the end!)

Wednesday 20th June 2018 – Day 1
Wed 20th - Breakfast and LunchWed 20th - Tea

So, I started off the first day well, despite it being so early in the morning. Not sure why my blood glucose was high before lunch but that could have been caused by a mixture of traveling, jumping an hour ahead and being tired. You never know! It’s very clear that the alcohol shoots up my blood sugar before tea and that I end up over injecting for tea. Doh!

Thursday 21st June 2018 – Day 2
Thurs 21st - Meals

The day started off not too shabby and then eventually my blood glucose crept up with all the alcohol. I know it’s bad but the sangria was so good! When in Majorca right?! When it comes to food, I was trying to keep it as low carb as possible whilst still having some carbs so I wouldn’t end up too drunk. The balancing act is difficult. (Also, I saw a typo in this table and I do apologise but I really can’t face editing these tables again! So if there’s anymore lying ahead I apologise!!!)

Friday 22nd June 2018 – Day 3
Fri 22nd - Brekkie and LunchFri 22nd - Tea

Such a good start to the day until I injected far too much for the ice cream! I think I knew that my blood glucose had been running a bit high so I was desperate for it not to be high. Definitely over-egged that one by miles. However, I managed to bring it back round to a respectable level for tea and the alcohol ruined my evening levels. Again.

Saturday 23rd June 2018 – Day 4
Sat 23rd - Meals

Still running high before bed. Its very difficult because of the alcohol intake to get it right. I never used to inject for alcohol because I was always worried that it would send me into a hypo. After a productive appointment with the diabetes nurse I have learned that doing a correction dose for alcohol does help and I will therefore be doing that every time now.

Sunday 24th June 2018 – Day 5
Sun 24th - Meals

Either I definitely got the evening injection wrong, or the alcohol has ruined me again. (Probably the latter). I must admit though that for the amount of alcohol I drank on the holiday I didn’t really ever get drunk. I guess it was spread out over a longer period of time.

Monday 25th June 2018 – Day 6
Mon 25th - Brekkie and LunchMon 25th - Tea

That Capri Sun did me in for the hypos on this day. We also spent a bit of time walking around so a combination of that, the heat and over-injecting slightly for the Capri Sun didn’t help me out then! I have definitely established that Baileys is not a good drink for me, or probably any diabetic for that matter. Insulin definitely required! As for being unwell, I’m sorry about putting in that detail but it happened and I couldn’t leave it out. Not very nice at all, but I did feel a lot better after getting it out of my system! Sorry for the info!

Tuesday 26th June 2018 – Day 7
Tues 26th - Meals

Ok so, I definitely drank 4 glasses of sangria midday because it was our last day and we were really enjoying our final day there! It didn’t set me up well for the rest of the day, no. However, I think this is the first night where I’ve not been high before bed! Still resulted in a hypo during the night though.

Wednesday 27th June 2018 – Day 8 – Home time!
WEd 27th - Meals

Didn’t really start the day off well when leaving Majorca, but I managed to get myself back on track after this! Hypos are never fun!

What did I learn?

I’ve learned that it is ok to enjoy myself on holiday! However, I have learned that alcohol really does effect my blood glucose, especially the likes of sangria and baileys – which to be fair, I wouldn’t normally be drinking at home. Corrections throughout the day for the alcohol are 100% required for me. In terms of injecting for food, I don’t think I did badly at all and I did try to keep it as low carb as possible on most occasions.

We will definitely be going on an all inclusive holiday again in the future because financially it makes so much sense too when you think about how much you could be spending day and night on top of what you’ve already paid for the flights and the hotel. I think next time however, I will really have to think harder about my choice of drinks and whether I need to inject at the time for them or not.

It was an insightful week and despite the erratic blood glucose readings I’m glad that I’ve done it and I’m glad I can be really honest and open and share it with you all. I hope that this blog has given you some insight into how to tackle an all inclusive holiday for my fellow type 1 diabetics and an insight into just how hard it is to be a type 1 diabetic for the rest of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, Bobby and I have never been on an all inclusive holiday before so it really was an interesting novelty for us (which I’ve said we will 100% do again!). At first I really couldn’t get my head around the idea of just ordering a drink and walking away from the bar with it without “paying”. Believe me, I got used to it in the end though!

 

 

There’s always a diabetes update.

Oh my goodness! It feels like an entire lifetime since I last wrote a blog post. I really do apologise for that! I have been super busy as usual and endured a grueling 16 day continuous work stint before I jetted off on holiday to Majorca. I only just arrived back on Wednesday so my Wednesday afternoon and Thursday consisted of catching up on Love Island and lots and lots of washing. Yes, I am back and in full swing now. I have lots of blog posts coming up soon and a really big blog coming up about managing my diabetes on holiday… Keep your eyes pealed for it!

So what’s new?

So first thing’s first. This is definitely a full out diabetes blog post so be prepared for lots of news!

Diabetes UK Annual Report 2017
So I am finally able to share with you the images from the Diabetes UK Annual Report 2017. So exciting! If you click the link it will take you directly to the report on the Diabetes UK site where you can have a look and read it all for yourself. I was very lucky when Diabetes UK asked me if I wanted to get involved in the report. You might remember me mentioning it in my previous blog New flat and Diabetes UK. (Click the link to refresh your memory!) Whilst I was on holiday the Diabetes UK team sent me a lovely thank you card and a hard copy of the report for my own keepsake. I was really surprised when I opened it to see myself and my boyfriend, Bobby, on pages 5 and 6! My blog even has a mention in the report too which is just absolutely fab! I am so pleased with my supporter foreword in the report and can’t wait for everyone to see it! Here’s a few pictures of my hard copy and thank you card.

Diabetes UK Annual Report 2017 (1)Diabetes UK Annual Report 2017 (2)Diabetes UK Thank You Card (1)

I am so proud that I got to be involved and I really do want to say a huge THANK YOU myself to Diabetes UK for giving me this wonderful opportunity. There were so many images taken for the report too and I can also share some of my favourites with you that didn’t make the cut!

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Diabetes UK Learning Zone

Diabetes UK have launched a new Learning Zone on their website which you can find a link for in the menu bar on their homepage. It has been made for type 1s and offers an abundance of information regarding your own personal situation. The content in the learning zone has been created by people living with type 1 as well as clinical advisors so it really does offer you a brilliant mixed bag of information. You need to create your own profile in order to access all the information and it’s really easy to use. Over time the learning zone will further improve based on feedback too, so it’s absolutely worth signing up for! It’s free, quick and easy to sign up and over 3000 people have done it so far. Get yourself signed up!

Annoying HBA1c News

Eurgh! It pains me to say this but I went for some blood tests before I went on holiday and when I got back I phoned the doctors to find out the results of my HBA1c and I was really upset to find out that it had gone up from 55mmols (7.2%) to 59mmols (7.5-7.6%). So frustrating!!! For my fellow type 1s you know just how disheartening is it to hear news like this, especially as we all work so hard on a day to day basis to improve our glucose levels. I was really upset when I found out, however, I have made an appointment with the diabetes nurse to talk about it. I am determined more than ever to get it down again (and even lower than before) so I have decided to put myself onto a low carb diet seeing as I’ve heard so many good things about it in relation to blood sugar control.

I do love a good carb so it will be really difficult for me, but I am so determined to bring my HBA1c down so I will try my absolute best to do well at this. I am also hoping that it will help me to lose some weight too because I feel as if I’ve gained about 12 stone since being on holiday!

I have only just started the low carb diet yesterday so I can’t really comment on how it’s going yet or talk about it in great detail, but I can assure you a blog post will be on it’s way when I get to grips with it all.

Anyway… I must dash

Only a short one for now as I’ve got so much planning to do for my holiday blog and of course Love Island is on! Nothing best bugger up Jack and Dani or I won’t be a happy bunny!

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Week 2018

#TalkAboutDiabetes

#TalkAboutDiabetes

It’s Diabetes Week 2018 (11th-17th June) and we want everyone to #TalkAboutDiabetes!

Having diabetes is not an easy ride, in fact it’s a very serious condition that needs to be monitored and assessed every moment of the day. It’s like taking on another full time job to be honest! Or, if you’re self employed like me, taking on yet another part time job to add to the list of all the other part time jobs you already have! If you click the link above you can find yourself at the official #TalkAboutDiabetes Diabetes UK page where you can upload content to get involved with Diabetes Week.

Why is it some people find it so hard to talk about having diabetes?

Unfortunately diabetes isn’t something that us diabetics have asked for. We are just the unfortunate individuals whose bodies have decided to attack themselves. For what reason? We don’t 100% know. However, you should never feel ashamed of your diabetic status and you should never feel like a burden to others. That is definitely not the right mindset. If you’re anything like me, I absolutely love talking about diabetes and I am ready to spread awareness and knowledge whenever I can! There is a huge difference in terms of pushing diabetes in people’s faces and actually educating them about it. You don’t want your diabetes to become to centre of all conversations and the only thing you talk about, because then people won’t take you seriously. There’s always a time and  place to talk about it and you’ll know when those times are. You need to find the balance with what you need to tell people, what people want to hear and how often you talk about it.

It’s a very sad thought but quite a few people are embarrassed and ashamed of being diabetic. I don’t ever feel ashamed for a second, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about! I’m the same as everyone else, I just have to inject insulin into my body because my pancreas doesn’t work. I’m actually very proud of being a part of the huge diabetic community and consider myself as a warrior, not a victim.

I guess some people don’t want to come across as an “issue” to others by telling them that they have diabetes. Making sure you tell others that you have diabetes could potentially save your life if anything awful were to happen to you. By not telling people it might be too late if something happened to you and that could lead to serious consequences.

How do you approach telling new people about your diabetes?

Being a confident person, telling people I’m diabetic is never a problem. You just need approach it as if you’re telling them something as simple as your name. Don’t over complicate things. For example, whenever I work with new people I always just say; “Oh, by the way, I just need to let you know that I’m diabetic, so if I don’t feel very well I will just have to take myself off to sort myself out.” I have never (and hopefully won’t ever) had a negative response when telling people that. Usually they just respond with something along the lines of; “Oh ok, well you just do whatever you need to do!”

Sometimes people will ask questions about my diabetes – not because they are trying to see how much of a burden I will cause to them, but because they are generally intrigued about it, or know little about it. It’s honestly the best advice that I could give to any other type one: Tell people – it might just save your life.

What if people ask me too many questions?

Don’t panic! Usually people will ask questions because they don’t know much about diabetes. You don’t have to go into too much detail if talking about it that openly makes you feel uncomfortable. Just let them know the basics, like what to do if you have a hypo or if you collapse. You only need to let people know what you feel comfortable talking about, but make sure they know the basics. It’s so important!

It’s honestly as easy as that. You just need to talk to people. If you feel comfortable and people are asking questions then answer them and educate! Spreading knowledge and awareness is such a positive thing. You never know, teaching people could actually lead to them helping others in a time of need.

You must also remember that not only do you need to talk to new people and employers, but you should talk to your family, friends and healthcare professionals too. If you ever have any worries or doubts about your self care, your HBA1c, your general blood glucose control, your injections etc etc, it makes it much easier to deal with if you just talk. These people are all here to help you and speaking out makes so much of a difference. Don’t bottle it up, especially when bottling things up could lead to further complications and issues.

So this week let’s focus on talking. #TalkAboutDiabetes – it’s important.