Tag: diabetic

What is dignity?   And why is it so important?

Dignity is a complex state and something that I truly believe that everyone deserves.  Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect

My blog is all about being fabulous despite the circumstances of your life.  Despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Your dignity is something that is truly integral to your fabulousness no matter what age, gender or circumstance.

A little about me

Over the past five years (and a bit more perhaps) a lot of things have come across my path. I have been a victim of gaslight bullying in the work place. My health as also been a huge struggle, most especially with my arthritis, which has been stripping me of some of the things that I perhaps took for granted.  It is some of these situations that has made me realise how important dignity is.

If dignity has been stripped from you – for whatever reason, it isn’t the easiest thing to get back. Walking tall and acting confident when you are crippled with pain or humiliation is hard.  The first time I walked out with Stan, my trusty walking stick was hard.  Not simply because I thought people would be looking at me and questioning , but because I felt vulnerable.

Vulnerability is closely linked with dignity.

When I feel vulnerable, be it a situation when I had to return to the office after a humiliating dressing down, or when I had to introduce Stan to my date.  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a plate of dinner that I know I cannot cope with (there are days when I cannot cut my food because of pain in my hands, and many days when I know I will be decorating my clothes with the food that I might spill).  I feel vulnerable when I need to ask for assistance to carry my tray in a restaurant and even on a very bad day when I cannot pick up a cup of tea.

There are days like this – perhaps more than I would like.  After several attempts, trying to get my essential fix of tea, I realised that lifting the cup was not an option.  I asked for a straw which was delivered with a smile and with an attitude that didn’t make me feel vulnerable.  This kind woman understood dignity.

We are all different

No two people are alike and there are many people living with disabilities both visible and invisible.  This month is autism Awareness month and I am delighted to hear of many supermarkets introducing shopping hours where attention has been paid to decreasing light, sounds and other sensory stimuli.  I will certainly be taking note of these.  As a result of my conditions I am hypersensitive and find shopping overwhelming at the best of times.

Invisible disabilities (very like me on a good day when I don’t have my stick or hand splints)  are exactly that.  They are invisible.  These include depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and MS just as a start.  Anybody going about what seems like daily life with these conditions is fighting an uphill battle and dignity is part of that.

So how can we help people to maintain their dignity?

  • Firstly as mentioned above we don’t know who is struggling.  So why not show everyone respect.  It is old-fashioned I know but if you are sitting on a train or tube and know that you are ok to stand, offer your seat.  I promise there is someone who is struggling to stand and maintain balance.
  • Be aware.  It takes so little to hold a door open, to perhaps notice that someone needs a little help, perhaps with carrying a tray or a cup of coffee.  Perhaps allowing someone to go ahead of you in the queue.  These are all little actions that will allow someone to maintain their dignity and not feel quite so vulnerable.
  • In close relationships, family and friends who know what someone is going through it is both easier and harder.  My advice would be to again be aware, be conscious of what things might be difficult, and simply help silently.  I had visitors over the Easter weekend and every day I realised that little things had happened.  My bin had been cleaned thoroughly, the back garden was tidied, the dishwasher had been packed and unpacked.  I didn’t ask for help, but it was given.  And I am so grateful.
  • Acceptance is key.  If there is a person in your life who is disabled in any way, simply accepting them for who they are is a wonderful gift of dignity.  When I was in a new relationship, I was shy about introducing Stan the Stick.  Eventually we were going on a trip and I knew I would need the support of my stick.  I remember asking my Mom.  If he doesn’t accept Stan he isn’t the man for you.  Wise woman!  I just loved the day when he suggested bringing Stan out with us.

 

My tool kit for coping

It may seem odd, but the little things I do for myself to feel better, and to maintain my dignity are important to me.

I like looking good.  I love my fashion and style.  If I am going out (and even sometimes staying in) choosing great clothes, doing my hair and spending time on my make-up give me that added confidence boost.

I also of course rely on the old favourites of pain relief, mindfulness and rest.  A great day out feeling totally dignified has a lot of planning behind it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who I share my life with.  My friends who know and the strangers who don’t.  Allowing me my dignity is a gift.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

 

The Magic of Three – and how this little number helps me in my day to day life.

Three is a magic number.  Or so I am told.

I have been having a bit of a tough time lately.  I had two bad falls which set me back a bit.  As I stumbled around the house trying to get focus and motivate myself, I realised that three really is my magic number in so many ways.

I make a commitment to tackle (at least) three things off my to do list every day.  It might seem little, but when you look back on the week, know that you have achieved 21 things.  By using this focus I know that I move forward.  Sometimes little and often, but I do achieve what I set out to do.

As someone suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn’t always easy.  Even if I think of keeping my home tidy – it is overwhelming.  By the 7th day of concussion and I was getting frustrated.  Three things I kept telling myself.  Put a wash on, unpack the dishwasher and wipe the counter.  Then you can sit down.  A little later I tackled three computer related tasks, and after that sent three thank you messages to friends who have helped me out.

By the time I got into bed I felt a real sense of accomplishment despite the fact that I was ‘under the weather’.

The Magic of Three – in so many ways

Every night before I go to sleep I always recall three things I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is more than three, but never less.  This really puts me into such a positive place.

The more I think about it three is a number that resonates through my life.  It is a small number but a perfect number.  It is just enough but not overwhelming.  Add a few threes together and you can really rack up some impressive personal statistics.

Imagine if we saved 3 Euro a day.  That isn’t a lot – a cup of coffee.  Over a month that is 90 Euro.  Over a year it is over a 1000 Euro – more than enough for a holiday.

Three and its multiples are also a great way of dividing up your day.  As I mentioned before I need to pace myself due to my conditions.  By dividing my day into 30 and 60 minute chunks I can ensure that I get enough rest time and also get things done.

I have followed this principle for a while now and I can honestly say that 3 is my magic number.

The internet of things

The internet is awash wish apps, blog posts, and articles confirming that by simply using a formula of three we can become happier and more effective in life.

I have downloaded the 3 Good Things app for my phone and am going to see how that goes.

Before writing this blog post I did a little bit of internet research as to why 3 is a number that seems to have magical properties.

  • As a creative person I was delighted to be reminded that there are 3 primary colours
  • Almost all religions have 3 as a sacred number
  • Mathematicians will confirm that 3 is a really cool number.  It is the first prime number and of course is the first number that forms a geometric shape – the triangle

So many things come in threes – here are a few random ones that delighted me.

  • The beginning, the middle and the end
  • The past, the present and the future
  • The three bones in the human ear
  • The three little pigs
  • The beauty of 3 dimensions
  • And of course the perfect 3  minute egg.

Frivolity aside, I am happy that I have the number three in my life.  It really helps me to pace myself, feel productive and puts me in a lovely positive mindset as I am reminded daily that we have at least three things to be grateful for.

Thank you so much for reading xx

Kerry

 

Using a bit of tech to keep me more focused on diabetic me

I am a diabetic.  Not a very well behaved one I accept. I sneak the odd cake or chocolate and justify it by saying that I will walk it off.  But, perhaps it is time to keep a closer eye on all things diabetic.

I was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2012 and I have worked hard to change my lifestyle.  For me this was the correct choice.  Rather than accept that I would be on drugs and ultimately injecting insulin, I wanted to see what I could do myself.  Using exercise and watching what I ate (and drank) I have managed to keep it under control as far as possible..

Unfortunately for many of us, despite being careful about what we eat, exercising and drinking lots of water, the disease marches on.

When I was contacted through my blog by Ascensia to ask if I would review their new Contour Next One blood meter I was intrigued.  I love tech and use apps on my phone to remind me of just about everything. There is a list app, pill reminder apps, calendar apps, shopping apps and more.  I love them, they keep me straight and also help with the brain fog (associated with Fibromyalgia). If you would like to try it you can get a free meter here.

Self Management

I have learned that with all my conditions self management is the key.  I am the only one who knows me as well as I do.  Talking the driving seat in managing my diabetes I believe is essential.

Use of mobile phones for blood glucose monitoring can help patients manage their condition: According to an editorial piece published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, the integration of blood glucose monitoring technology with mobile phones can provide additional convenience and ease-of-use for people with diabetes by allowing blood glucose monitoring data to be automatically captured and analysed in near real time, helping people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.

This is true in my case.  It is exciting to think that the use of tech in the form of mobile phones can actually lead to better diabetes management, and ultimately better glycemic control.  Since being diagnosed I have always aimed to reduce my hb1ac.  I get this measured every six months and reward myself with a treat (like a manicure) if I have maintained or reduced my levels.

The Contour Next One

The Contour Next One is, at first glance similar to any other system.  The meter is really neat, but the difference is in the interface with the app on your smart phone.  I was a little intimidated about the prospect of setting up the app and getting it all synced and ready but, honestly it was so easy.  Testing is much the same as normal, but tracking them becomes so easy.

The wireless meter simply sends your reading to your phone – it’s that simple.  This is an ideal system for someone who is testing regularly and monitoring.  The system allows you to log what you eat, whether you are testing before or after food.  There is also a cool system where you can either use smart testing (set up for insulin users, and non-insulin users) or you can set up your own reminders.

At this point I am not  insulin dependent.  I do know a good few friends and family who are and I would certainly recommend this system.

Next week is my visit to the practice nurse who manages the diabetes programme. I will have my phone with me and be ready to show my trends, my readings, and hopefully get a good report card!

This is a sponsored post, and I was given the meter, however the reporting is totally my own and I can honestly say that I do like the system and will be using it going forward.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you are a diabetic and would like to chat about it with a fellow diabetic please feel free to get in touch.

Kerry x

Talking about blogging, and more on the Radio

Kerry Manning talks to Angela Faull on the Chatroom on CRCfm 102.9 by Crcfm on Mixcloud

 

I was delighted to talk to the lovely Angela Faull on CRCfm – the local community radio station in Castlebar.

I really love blogging and sharing ideas and this was a fantastic opportunity to have a chat.  I honestly forgot it was going out live on the radio until it was over.

We started talking about blogging but, Angela is a skilled interviewer and I landed up talking about some subjects like depression and pain, that I normally shy away from. We also talked about friendship and how I learned the joy of walking.

I would love it if you would have a listen, and would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks for listening.

Kerry xx

Berry crumble – that is raw, healthy and sugar free!

 

De-constructed Berry Crumble (2)I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets.  I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way.  This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.

Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.

Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.  Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.

Untitled design (8)

Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up.  Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup.  I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.

Cover and leave to marinate.  The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.

To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt).  I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.

The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate.  It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat.  Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.

Enjoy xx

How giving up dieting changed a fat girl’s life

Untitled design (4)

I grew up thinking I was fat.  From day one really.  I don’t know why because when I look at those old faded photos with the white borders, I wasn’t.  But, I thought I was and that’s what counts.

I started dieting radically when I was 13.  I attended a slimming clinic where I was put onto a high protein diet and spent two hours a week a bit like a mental patient bandaged up with electrodes placed around my body to help burn fat.

To cut a very long story very short – I believe that crash dieting makes you fat.  I have through my life probably lost my entire body weight (not a small amount) at least twice.  I have mastered almost every diet known to man and woman.  I am an expert dieter.  I have got gold stars, stickers and even spoken as a motivator for a diet.  And yet as I crept into my forties I was fatter and unfitter than I had ever been.

Now, I know that it isn’t all’ dieting’s’ fault.  I have quite a few medical conditions including depression. Medication doesn’t help either.  I have also suffered from depression for a long time A couple of years ago I started changing my life and this is part of my journey.

Today, I am a little thinner, but a lot fitter – and fit feels good

After a three or four year period where I had just given up dieting (and surprisingly stayed the same large size rather than gaining weight), I made a decision that the time had come to ‘deal’ with it.

What made me so determined.  Are you ready? I wanted to feel sexy and feminine.  Each person will find their own motivator, but this was it for me.

My first step was to make up a mantra.

‘Nothing tastes as good as sexy feels.’

Everytime I looked at a chocolate or eyed up seconds I would repeat it in my head. I shared it with a few people and got varying responses. There were some who said they would go for the chocolate, and there were days I would agree. (and then I ate chocolate, and still do)

The next step was to get an appointment with a dietician.  The tiny lady who saved my life

Seriously!  Both that she is tiny and that she saved my life. Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

I have always had this idea that dieticians shouldn’t be too skinny otherwise they might make the fatties feel uncomfortable.  Well my dietician is seriously skinny – but healthy.  You can see it on her face so after my first misgivings I started to listen.

I remember 3 things from that first consultation.

  1. Change only your lunch – nothing else.
  2. Small changes
  3. Have blood tests (including an iron test)

Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia as well as a very low iron count.

I told her my mantra – still not sure what she thought.

The journey towards health started with small changes, primarily my lunch.

She had also said that I couldn’t eat lunch with my work mate.  We had got into a routine of taking turns making a nice lunch.  Which of course normally turned into a silent competition of who can put together the nicest  spread.  Speaking honestly we also rewarded each other with food.

Bad Day = Croissant or a danish

Good Day =  Curley Wurley (a dieters chocolate)

Boring Day = Long lunch with a pudding

You get the picture…..

The first month wasn’t hard.  I changed my lunch and made sure I was eating a protein at every lunch (not the easiest thing for a vegetarian who lived on cheese), and simply kept the goodies for the evening.

When I weighed in a month later I was 9 pounds lighter!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the first step in a long journey which as led to a complete overhaul of my eating habits and of course my path to fitness.

An extra message before I sign off from this post.  Compliment your children and give them a positive body image – I don’t know why I thought I was fat as a child, but after a long while I can look at these childhood pictures and realise that I was pretty and perfect!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

My Word of the Year Idea – Balance!

Balance (2)I have always been the type of person to make new year resolutions, and to keep them as much as I can.  At th end of 2011 I decided to upgrade this and choose a word for the year.  A word to change my life, step at a time.  I am proud to say that not only have I kept this up, but I have inspired many people to choose a word a year.  This is going to be a series on my blog as I share my ups and downs and how this little idea has helped shape my life.

Four year’s ago my life was in a dark place, and a little self reflection made me realise that my life was completely out of balance.  Work consumed me,  it even defined my friendships and leisure time.  I realise now that I worked because it was easier to do this than think about the other areas of my life that were not  under my control.

My health was not good.  I knew that I needed to improve my fitness levels, and yet didn’t have sufficient motivation to do anything about it.

This was my first year with a ‘word’ and I had no idea how much it would change my life.

Before I continue, I want to ask you to close your eyes and imagine me at the end of the year, in my walking gear, having returned from a walk and having a staring competition while standing on one leg with my son.  I can’t remember who won, but it lasted for a significant amount of time.  No matter what you read below, and in the rest of the series, I have dealt with it and worked to overcome and be positive in everything.  And yes, there have been bad days and tears, but this is a positive story.

The impact of the word ‘balance’  wasn’t anything dramatic to start with, I simply thought about my word, meditated on in and started to contemplate how I could incorporate more balance into my life.  I was contemplating balance not in the physical way, but more in respect of priorities and emotions.  However, be careful what word you choose.

The first six months there were no huge changes, although I consciously started to put aside time for leisure related activities that were not work related.  I explored new friendships and rekindled old ones.  I stepped up my reading and looked for new interests and started an ongoing fascination with psychology.

My world started to rock when I started marriage counselling early in the year.  It was never really couples counselling as the counsellor quickly realised that the situation required individual counselling.  There is a lot more to tell about that, but I digress.

My doctor at the time always invited me for my birthday blood tests.  An annual reminder to check up a few things.  I have had an underactive thyroid for years and years, as well as some hormone issues, that needed monitoring.  A week later I received a call asking me to come into the surgery urgently.  I had pernicious anaemia.  I had to google the word pernicious – I hadn’t a clue what it meant.  (Not going to go into detail now, but it wasn’t good).  Two weeks later I was told that I had Diabetes.  A month after that I got Shingles in my eye.

All this added to the emotional turmoil set me more off balance than I was to start with.  I was really in a place where I felt as though I had no choices at all.  I couldn’t see a way forward, and I felt myself sinking backwards.

The doctor mentioned walking. I didn’t even own a pair of trainers!  The first day I walked, it was on Spiddal beachfront and I walked with a kind friend who encouraged me and said how well I had done – I think that this was what would now be a 5 minute walk or less!  Looking back it was the start for me.  The start of change and getting balance in my life, in all aspects of my life, including physical.

I have found writing this first post both positive and negative.  I am proud to look back and look at my journey.  I am also excited to consider what lies ahead.  To follow my story, come back and visit my blog.  I hope to put up at least three posts a month about my words.  More on balance, and then change, discipline and create.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry x

%d bloggers like this: