Category Archives: Diabetes

Friday Ride Damned By Diabetes

The Best Laid Plans…

Yesterday someone told me off a bit for not using my bike more.  It got me thinking about how I could use my bike more.  “How can I use my bike more?“, I thought.  On four days a week, I wear a suit for work.  I’m also fortunate enough to have funding towards my car from my wonderful employers, so if I was to ride to work questions would rightly be asked.  However there’s nothing to stop me going out for a quick ride in my lunch break on Fridays, the one day each week when we dress down.

So, I resolved that today would be the first day of the rest of my life.  I’d put the bike in my car this morning, along with a change of clothes.  At lunchtime I would simply get changed into my bike gear, get on my trusty Fat Boy, head away from work for 15 minutes, then head back, get changed back into my casual work gear and get back to my desk.

But of course it never happened.  Kids’ homework, getting ready, sorting out breakfast and other things conspired to make it impossible to get the bike plus change of clothes packed in time.  So here I am at my desk.

Ruddy Diabetes

On top of that, my blood sugars dropped to coincide with lunchtime today.  This hypo meant that I’ve been sat through my lunch break, staring through pinholes in a cold sweat and avoiding talking gibberish to anyone whilst my unusual lunch (below) took effect and put me right again.

My Hypo Lunch

Tip To Cure Hypo: Eat Everything Here, Right Now. I Said Now.

So maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the bike in the car.  I would have checked my sugars before setting off, but if I hadn’t been careful, the hypo whilst I was out riding would have been bad news.  Maybe the Gods of Cycling were smiling down on me, really.

Every cloud, and all that.

So…. Next Week…

… I plan to put my bike and change of clothes into the car on Thursday night.

On Friday, I’ll ride out for 15 minutes, turn around and head back to work.  Then each week I’ll see how much further I can get.  It’s only once a week so I’ve got no excuse.  Maybe with enough time, I’ll work out a loop I can TT each week, but for the time being a simple there-and-back ride with no route will meet my needs.

And now I’ve published it here, you might ask me how far I got.  No pressure then.

Fruity? Nuts? You can get free ones here…

What a Great Bank Holiday Weekend!

Well, how was your Easter weekend?  The weather wasn’t fantastic but it was good enough to get a couple of leisurely hours playing out on the Fat Boy on Saturday, then another little circuit on Sunday.  The map for the longer jaunt is posted below, but the pick of the phone photos are here.  The hill shot is taken from just the wrong side of the huge motorway bridge that looks over Littleborough as you drive towards Yorkshire on the M62.

My First Graze Box

I got back to work today, to receive my first delivery from Graze.  These brilliant people send a box of healthy snacks, in the post, each week or as regularly as you like.  I’m going to use them as an alternative to the dustbin bags of choc-rice-crispy cakes and flapjacks that a colleague keeps bringing into work!

If you fancy trying them out – and I suggest that you should (fatty, ha ha) – go to and use the Promotion Code 56PVZBJN which will get you a free box, absolutely free, at no cost to you whatsoever.
I’m already tucking into the roasted seeds and they’re really tasty, not to mention packed with Vitamin E to boost my immune system.  Each box comes with 4 different snacks, taken from the feedback you put into the Graze website about what you like and what you’d rather not get.  It’s a brilliant little idea, done brilliantly, in my opinion.  A great big thanks to Toby who first put me onto them in his own blog.

Other Stuff

We got the front room painted over the weekend too, and I’m glad to say that the garden furniture has been taken out of the garage to mark the onset of Spring.  Although it hasn’t been sat at yet!

Here’s the map from Saturday’s ride:

Guest Blogging – My Diabetes On Show

I Got A Guest Blogging Gig. How Did That Happen?

A few weeks ago I spotted a tweet about healthy eating.  It said something along the lines of “eat a bit less food and be more active, then you’ll lose weight“.  I ReTweeted it with a sarcy comment: “No sh*t Sherlock” and thought nothing more of it until the author thanked me for the ReTweet and pointed out that sometimes all we need is a reminder, a gentle kick up the backside to remind us to do the right thing.

Fair enough.  It’s very true that we often know what to do, we just need someone to gently prod us now and again to make us actually do it.

The author, a guy called John McGran, runs a blog on a US-based website all about healthy eating.  After a few direct messages about my diet and my diabetes, he asked me if I’d be interested in contributing regularly.

My Blog on DietToGo

How My First Guest Blog Effort Looks On Screen

I jumped at the chance.  A couple of iterations later and my blog went live.  I’m looking forward to writing about my diabetes on DietToGo and hopefully I’ll pick up some good feedback along the way.

Lessons Learned

Housekeeping.  While I was thinking about the contribution, I realised that my categories on this site were a bit messy.  As a result, I’ve added one for “Diabetes” and edited a few old posts to tidy things up a little.  Who knows… maybe this blog will start to show some focus, but I doubt it.

Listening.  John at the DietToGo site gave me some honest feedback on my first attempt at an article for his blog.  Writing for my own site is easy, I just ramble on about what’s on my mind, with a half-hearted attempt at some structure and an appropriate image.  When writing for someone else, it’s absolutely necessary to take feedback and apply it, so that a new audience (which is actually someone else’s audience) will appreciate your work.  I have to remind myself about this in my job as a Business to Business Marketing Manager: write for your audience, not yourself.

Now What?

I’ll be writing my Living With Diabetes blogs roughly every week, so I’m hoping that the discipline will force me to think in a more structured way about how I manage my condition.  I’m lucky enough to have my health but I want to keep it, so the routine can only be a good thing for me.

I also hope, and in many ways I hope more, that readers of John’s blog will learn something that might improve their own outlook in some small way.

It’d be nice to leave an unknown legacy of improvement just by throwing a few words onto a website…. how cool is the internet?

Good News Bad News

Good News and Bad News

This morning it was time to see my new GP.  I registered with a new surgery because, to be blunt, my last one was rubbish.  I’d put up with 3 years of having to ring after 10am to order prescriptions, then the phone being engaged until 12 noon.  I would spend my mornings at work, in work’s time, ringing them again and again just to order the drugs I need to manage my diabetes.

I’d had a letter to arrange a “routine appointment” with my new GP. So I did.  This morning I turned up, checked in via the fancy little touchscreen in reception and waited for less than 5 minutes before he called me in.

Good News

Up to this morning, I’d only ever been told what I was doing wrong by health professionals.  Sometimes a nodding approval of what I try to do, but usually just reminding me what I don’t do perfectly.  This morning was different though.

My HbA1C has been 7.6 the last 2 times it’s been measured.  I thought this was just about acceptable, but Dr. Parton said “That’s very good for a Type 1 diabetic”. Cool!  I think this is one of the problems with diabetes: everyone assumes that Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependant)  is as easy to manage and should have the same parameters as Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependant, usually in middle-aged or older folks).

My blood cholesterol is als pretty low.  The good Doctor asked how I was doing with the statins.  I replied “I’m not on statins”.  He then asked what other medication I was on besides my insulin.   “None”, I explained.   “So you keep the cholesterol down without statins or anything? Brilliant.” he said.  I was feeling better by the minute!

So, lots of good news.  My new Doctor is efficient, understanding, an expert on diabetes and a generally good guy.  Not just that though:  He’s also reinforced my belief that I am doing ok with my diabetes management, by just using a few encouraging and motivating words.

Bad News

Things can’t all be sunshine and roses.

A few weeks ago I took an elbow in the ribs during a Wednesday night football game.  It hurt when it was done, but over the last few weeks it’s hurt steadily more and more every time I’ve played.  On Wednesdays after footy and on Thursday mornings, it’s been creasing me.  Getting out of bed is a big job.  I’m only 40 for goodness’ sake.

Dr. Parton confirmed what I already knew.  I can’t keep my head in the sand any longer.  No more football for a few weeks, until at least 2 weeks after it stops hurting.  If I don’t rest I won’t be running in the Great Manchester 10k Run, or doing the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride this year.  Both of those are in my plans for 2010 and I’m using them to help raise money for the hospice where my Mum was so well looked after, so football will have to take a back seat until I’m properly better.

What Next?

Keeping fit is a must, so I’m going to ride the bike when I can but no bouncing around off-road for a while.  If the ribs are ok after a week or two, I’ll get back on the treadmill too and try to complete an 8 or 9-week training plan before the 10k run.  I won’t be running all the way, but I will be completing it and joining my colleagues (and anyone else who fancies joining us) in the Moon Under Water on Deansgate for a pint afterwards!

If you can join us there on May 16th, tell me I sent you!

The Habits Kill You Not The Treats

Diabetes On The Wrong Side Of 40

I’ve got diabetes, but I don’t like to talk about it.  I don’t avoid it because I feel guilty: I feel fine.  I don’t avoid it because I’d prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist: it’s as much a part of my life as my shaving; my showering; my worrying about my children and my getting up for work.

I don’t talk about it much because, for the vast majority of people, it would be boring.  There are some excellent blogs about diabetes out there and I’m not going to print a list of them here.  Maybe I will one day, but not today.

Today, I’m not going to talk about what it’s like to live with diabetes. Nor am I going to share with you how it affects my day-to-day life (not right muchly).  Instead, I’m going to share with you my mantra for living, which has served me well through almost 20 years of insulin-dependant diabetes:

It’s The Habits That Kill You, Not The Treats

Over 20 years or so, I’ve used this phrase with every friend who’s ever told me about their diets, their lifestyle choice du jour or their inability to improve themselves in some small but frustrating way.  Life is about choices, but the most important choice as far as I see it is the one you make about your day-to-day existence.

I love cake.  You love cake too.  You know you do, you love it, you do.  Love it!  But we don’t eat it every day.  Well, I can’t speak for you but I don’t.  Last night I had a massive plateful of cottage pie, then at bedtime I had some cheesecake.  A cake made of cheese which was delicious.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day.  If it did, I’d be a right fatty.  As it is, I’m a skinny bloke with a little pot belly.  I can live with the little pot belly.

It is not the superfoods you occasionally eat; not the meal you skip once a day for a fortnight; not the meal replacement shakes you persist with until they run out and you can’t face re-filling your cupboards; not the frenetic jog aound the park on a sunny afternoon when the kids are being looked after.

It is your day-to-day routine; your habits that you live your life by.  These are the things that are more likely to make you what you are.  For “what you are“, you might be thinking… healthy; happy; quick on a bike; capable of that 10k run.  I hope you are.

If you’re thinking… overweight; unsatisfied; too slow; unfit… then have a think about your day-to-day routine.

Most of the people who read this blog are a lot fitter than me.  You ride faster and further; you run faster and further.  I like that.  I read your blogs because they help inspire me to become fitter myself, quite aside from making me laugh and keeping my feet firmly on the ground.

As far as the diabetes goes, it’s helped me to give a big reason for trying to live my life right.  I don’t want to go blind and have my kidneys fail; or to have my feet amputated.  But the same goes for us all: if you look after yourselves, the chances are much higher that you will live long and prosper.  To you, that might be earning loads; it might be doing that marathon or that massive ride.

To me, it’s watching my children grow into what I’ve started to make them, and what they’ll decide to be.

Just look after yourselves. 🙂

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