Let me bring you up to speed

Good morning! So I’ve had a super busy week this past week. Lots of working on various projects and preparation for upcoming events. Last week I was working as an SA (Supporting Artist, or Extra) on the set of the new JK Rowling BBC series. The series is based on the crime fiction novels which are written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. They follow private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. Tom Burke is playing the role of Strike alongside Holliday Grainger as Ellacott. Tom and Holliday are lovely people and the show is looking good. Not sure when the air date will be, but make sure you check it out when it’s on!

I also have an exciting event coming up this week where I will be modelling make-up for Givenchy! I was very shocked when I booked this job and I am one of six girls who have been chosen. I am very much looking forward to it! I will hopefully manage to take lots of photos so I can pop them up in a blog and tell you all about it.

For anyone who follows me on Instagram you may have seen that I have been audition prepping this week! Myself and my wonderful boyfriend, who is also an Actor, both have auditions for Chapterhouse Theatre Company on 1st April. Fingers crossed they go well! The auditions are for an open air summer tour of various shows. It’s looking great and I would love to be a part of it! Need to get learning my Shakespeare monologue however!

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Alongside all of my work, I have been getting to grips with a new type of insulin. For the last five-six years I have been following the DAFNE (Dosage Adjustment For Normal Eating) programme to control my Diabetes. This means that I count carbohydrates. It changes for every diabetic as an individual but for me I work on a ratio of 10g carbohydrates = 1 unit of insulin. So I work on a ratio of 1:1. The insulin I use when I eat carbohydrates is a fast acting insulin called NovoRapid. Alongside NovoRapid I take a slow acting insulin once every night called Lantus Solostar. However, I have recently been to see a Diabetes Specialist and they suggested that we change my slow acting Lantus Solostar insulin to a twice daily insulin called Levemir.

For a body that has been receiving Lantus Solostar for five-six years it’s difficult to suddenly change and adapt to the Levemir, so my blood sugar levels have been all over the place. It’s extremely frustrating and I am having a constant battle everyday adjusting the units of insulin and trial and testing it until I am at a stable place. My poor body doesn’t know what’s hit it! I’m sure I will get it right sooner rather than later!

Seeing as I have changed insulin I seem to have an abundance of unused Lantus left stored in my fridge. I wasn’t sure about what to do with this as in the UK once medication is prescribed, it cannot be taken back in by Doctors and Chemists. I have been doing some research online and have found a website called http://www.iddt.org. It is the InDependent Diabetes Trust. They collect unwanted and unopened medication and send them to developing countries as part of a humanitarian aid programme to help poor children and young people with Diabetes. I am absolutely going to get on board with this and (once my levels are stable with my Levemir) send my Lantus and an old unused blood tester off to this brilliant trust! If you are in a similar predicament to me and you have unused and unopened Diabetes medication why not get on board too?

As I love trying new things and reviewing products, not long ago I applied for a free blood testing meter called the Contour Next One. You can still apply for them for free here: https://www.contournextone.co.uk/free-meter/. I haven’t tried this meter yet but I’ve heard good things. It connects up to an app on your phone and stores your blood glucose readings for you. I am very intrigued about this and will have to give it a go soon.

Despite the erratic blood sugar levels, things are currently going smoothly and life is beginning to fall slowly, but surely into place.

Thought I would just get you up to speed on what has been going on recently before I tackle a true and false Diabetes blog next week. I have heard some very bizarre thoughts from people about Diabetes recently and I feel that I need to set the record straight. So look out for that next Monday.

Have a good week!

 

 

 

 

Oh, you’re an Actor? What have you been in?

As well as tackling the Diabetes world, I am also an actress – possibly the hardest and most challenging career path that I could have chosen for myself. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My love for acting and performing came about long before I was diagnosed with Diabetes. From around the age of 3 I loved to sing, dance and act. I attended ballet classes for 8.5 years, went to a weekend drama club called Spotlight and always took part and pride in performing in the School shows. To this day I wish I hadn’t stopped going to ballet, however at the time I was 11 years old when I quit and I didn’t quite realise the relevance it would have for my future.

The cementing point for my love of performance was when I was 10 years old and was cast as the lead female in our Primary School production of David Copperfield. I played the role of Agnes, David’s second wife. I remember everything about this show so vividly. The teachers held an audition process for the Year 6 classes for the lead roles in the show in the School hall. I was trembling with fear as I stood in front of two teachers singing S Club 7’s Never Had a Dream Come True. I suppose that was my first proper experience of an audition, which is funny to look back on.

We were all in an ICT lesson on the other side of the School when one of the teachers wandered over to announce who had been cast in what role in the show. When they got to the lead roles of David and Agnes my mouth absolutely dropped when they called out my name. I couldn’t quite believe that they had chosen me! When my Mum and Dad returned home from work that day, they seemed just as shocked as I was when I told them the good news.

The production went really well, of course with many amusing anecdotes, which I still hold dearly close to my heart. After the show was over a teacher approached my parents and said; “We didn’t know Emma could sing like that.” To which my Mum and Dad replied “Neither did we.”

From then on that was it. I attended weekly singing lessons, went on to study Drama at College and later received a 2:1  BA in Musical Theatre and Dance Performance at the University of Cumbria.

This brings me to where I am today. Now, acting is somewhat a dream profession for many people. It is a very difficult industry that doesn’t particularly build you up as a person, let alone a performer. You have to deal with an abundance of rejection. If you can’t handle that, then I personally wouldn’t recommend this industry as the industry for you. I’m lucky in the fact that I am quite a resilient and driven person. I think being diagnosed with Diabetes really molded me into that.

As well as being determined, driven and tough, being an actor comes at quite a hefty price! You have to pay for a Spotlight membership, Casting Call Pro membership, Equity membership, singing reel, show reel, voice reel, headshots, gym membership – the list goes on! It’s rather ironic that the profession which is the hardest to receive work in, is the most costly profession too! No wonder there are so many of us struggling to get by.

Some of us are lucky enough to have an Agent who is able to get you auditions in front of top Casting Directors. Not going to lie, my current Agent hasn’t really gotten me anything, but that’s not to say they’re not submitting me for things as I’ve seen that they are. Sometimes it’s just all about waiting for the call and being suitable for what the Casting Director is looking for. Everything I seem to book I’ve booked off my own back recently through hard work. Saying that, some people have Agents who are sending them to auditions every week. I spend day after day trawling through Casting Call Pro applying for anything and everything that’s suitable for me. It’s a very frustrating experience but I’m never going to give up on reaching my goals.

Whenever I meet new people they ask me the inevitable question of “What do you do?”. Now, this question is completely acceptable, however it’s the dreaded question which always follows. “Oh, you’re an Actor? What have you been in?”

If you’re not an actor you have no idea how it feels to be asked this question. If you’re in a position like me where you’re wanting to break into TV or be cast in a really big Theatre production this question makes you feel rather small. The misconception people have for actors is huge. Just because you’re an actor doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on the TV or in well known films all the time. Acting takes hard work and dedication and getting to that point is extremely difficult, unless you’re very lucky!

For me acting is a constant learning curve that I am experiencing every day. I get myself out there and try every new experience that comes my way. When I’m not acting in a particular project it is inevitable that I need to pursue a “restingjob which will allow me to keep afloat financially whilst I apply like a mad woman for acting work. It is beyond difficult to find a job that is flexible enough to let you drop a shift  last minute to run off to an audition. People just don’t understand how essential this is for actors.

I am currently taking a massive risk and going full steam ahead with self employment. It’s not easy and money is a constant worry. However, I am going to keep going for as long as possible before I need a desperate money fix. At the moment I am grabbing every flexible opportunity I can. I am currently undertaking various bits of promo work with a fantastic company called Tribehttp://www.brandwarriors.co.uk. I am on the books with a teaching company called Horizon Teachershttps://www.horizonteachers.com. I look after two little girls twice a week through an amazing and very flexible creative childcare company called Role Modelshttp://www.rolemodels.me/. I also partake in some extras work though the company POPhttps://www.wegotpop.com/.

As you can see, being an actor is hard. It’s not at all like the glam Hollywood fairytale that people imagine it to be. You really do have to take risks, sacrifices and hone your skills and craft every day. I can safely say that my attitude to acting is exactly the same as my Diabetes. I am never going to give up as I’m too determined to succeed. Let’s just keep going and one day, it will happen.

 

The day everything changed…

I’d been thinking for a long while about starting a blog based on the trials and tribulations of my life living with Diabetes and being an Actor – so here it begins.

I want to start by telling you my Diabetes story. For some of you, you may already know this story, or you might actually feature in it! For others (especially if you are a fellow Diabetic) I think sharing your diagnosis story is important, we are all in the same boat at the end of the day.

The day everything changed…

When I was 16 years old, I started feeling quite unlike myself. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time for when my symptoms began, as to be honest, it’s all very much a blur. However, I started beginning to feel an unquenchable thirst which would bring me to stand in the kitchen at 3am drowning my body in pint after pint of water. Obviously, I didn’t have a clue why I was so thirsty, but the immediate reaction to drinking so much liquid is the inevitable feeling of needing the toilet. I would find myself getting up during the night 3,4 even 5 times to go.

Whilst the excessive drinking/weeing situation was going on, I also started to lose weight. I ended up losing 1 stone in 2 weeks. NOT HEALTHY. At the time, I initially didn’t really notice the weight loss as I was a rather lithe 16 year old and it was  difficult for my parents to see it too as they saw me everyday. Oh, and finally my vision started to go – I don’t mean I was completely unable to see, but I would sit in the classroom absolutely unable to see what was written on the whiteboard. At the time, I would have to ask my friend Katie if I could copy off what she’d written.

The symptoms were all there, but as an average 16 year old girl who had never encountered Diabetes before, I had absolutely no idea that it could be the reason for all my discomfort.

I remember being in the queue for lunch at School and saying to my best friend, Dave (who to this day is still my best friend) that I was thirsty all the time. “That’s a symptom of Diabetes you know” he told me. “Don’t be stupid, I don’t have Diabetes.” I quickly dismissed his comment, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t constantly play on my mind.

The more I thought about what Dave had said, the more the weight of his comment consumed me and eventually curiosity got the better of me. One night at around midnight, whilst my Mum and Dad were sleeping, I decided to go onto the Diabetes UK website and look at the symptoms. This was all the evidence I needed. Right there in front of my eyes was a list, of which I could tick off four. I ran across the landing and burst into my parent’s bedroom shouting through tears that I had Diabetes. Thoroughly startled my Mum and Dad didn’t really know what was going on. They asked me why I thought that and I explained about going onto the website and seeing that I had four of the symptoms. They eventually managed to calm me down and said we would book a Doctors appointment for the following day.

To this day, my Mum and I still find it ironic that the Doctors appointment that changed my life was scheduled for 9.50am, which is also coincidentally the exact time I was born.

So that was that. I went to the Doctors, they took a urine sample and found that  I did indeed have an extremely high amount of sugar in my urine, and I needed to be sent to hospital immediately. In hospital they checked my blood sugar of which the outcome was 27.0mmols. This is extremely high. (If you think someone without Diabetes has a blood sugar reading of around 4.0 – 6.0mmols.)

I was kept in hospital overnight, with a drip in one arm filled with water to try and hydrate my severely dehydrated body and a drip in the other arm filled with insulin.

Everything happened so quickly, I felt like I went from knowing nothing to knowing as much as I possibly could about Diabetes in the space of 24 hours. I’m not going to lie – it was utterly terrifying. I felt like I was inside a snow globe that had been aggressively shaken, leaving nothing but destruction behind. My Mum and Dad were beside themselves with shock and partly blamed themselves for not noticing the symptoms in me sooner. Never once in my life would I blame them. They are my absolute rocks and inspiration. I can’t really speak from experience, but you would go to the end of the Earth and back for your child/children and you would do anything to take away the “bad stuff” in their lives.

I had to learn how to check my blood sugar and inject myself with insulin immediately. Everything just went from there. I was now a Diabetic and I had so many things to think about. As I was trying to take control of my condition, I couldn’t quite eat exactly what I wanted to I felt very limited and sad. It took rather a long time to get used to the whole idea.

What solidified my determination to succeed and get a hold of my condition was something my friend Katie said to me. “To be honest, it’s probably best that this happened to you. You’re one of the only ones who could deal with it.”

And that, is exactly what I am doing. I’m not only dealing with it, but I’m living with it and getting on with my life. I was diagnosed on the 28th December 2006 so thus far I have lived with it for over a decade.

I think it’s safe to say that Diabetes has taken a big part in my life, but I’m dealing with it just fine.