Gosh, 2016 has been a strange year hasn’t it? With the UK opting to leave the EU, Donald Trump being voted in as leader of the USA, the multitude of celebrity deaths that are constantly being reported and even Wales unexpectedly reaching the semi-finals at football’s UEFA’s Euro 2016, it seems the World has gone mad!
2016 has been an odd one for me personally too! 2015 ended on a massive high despite me turning 30 that January. I’d dropped a dress size, learned a lot about fitness and nutrition and had started taking my first steps in improving my Diabetes care. I’d got my first tattoo, got addicted and promptly got two more. My social life was booming, I’d started having driving lessons again and for the first time in a long time, I’d met a guy I really liked and things seemed to be going well. I was feeling hopeful and excited to see what 2016 would bring. I was hoping for more of the same, more tattoos and to pass my driving test.
Fast forward to April 2016… My relationship had ended before it really started, my cat had suddenly died and I was diagnosed with Macular Edema, a condition common in long term Diabetics which can eventually lead to eyesight loss. I also unexpectedly found myself financially worse off, which meant I had to put my driving lessons on hold, sack my personal trainer and cancel my social life. I’d started to think, what was the point? I was no longer living, I was just existing. My friends had lives, families of their own, planning engagement parties, holidays! In my world, it was just me and my daughter, Cici. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little girl with all my heart, but single parenthood can be a very lonely place to live.
With April came a little glimmer of hope. At my latest appointment with my Diabetes Team, I received my HbA1c results: 7%, my best result in a very long time! I was ecstatic, but that wasn’t all. My Consultant suggested I switch from multiple daily injections (MDI) to an insulin pump in order to help control my mid-night time hypos, which I’d been struggling with for a while, and I surprised myself when I jumped at the chance! I was given a date to attend an open day, just 2 weeks later, to find out more about insulin pump treatment and to help me decide whether I wanted to go ahead. For the first time this year, I felt like something was going right for me. I jumped straight online to research the pump process in the UK and others’ experiences, and found myself struggling to find a whole lot. An idea popped into my head. Not a totally brand new idea, but an idea I had been toying with over the last couple of months. I’d been wanting to start a blog, but I couldn’t think of anything that held my interest enough to write about. Here was my answer: I’d blog about my pump journey!
My summer was spent back and forth my local Diabetic clinic. Before I could go anywhere near an insulin pump, I needed to take a refresher carb counting course. Once my team were satisfied that I knew my stuff, I moved on to learning how to use my pump and was finally sent home with it. Although 2016 has been a pretty blah year for me, I’m so grateful to my Diabetes team for giving me the opportunity to take control of my condition further. I’ve read so many stories of patients having to fight for years to get their pump, I’m still pretty gobsmacked with just how quickly my process took.
The latter part of the year has flown by! My Diabetes is so much easier to control with a pump and I feel I have so much more freedom. My blog has also given me a new focus in life. I’m learning something new every single day and I’m enjoying it so much. The blogging community is one of the nicest I’ve come across, and I’m amazed by how many Diabetics actually read my blog and comment on how they’re going through the same emotions. I’ve always felt alone in my experiences with Type 1 Diabetes, so it’s helpful to see that my feelings are normal. My year has ended on a different sort of high to last year, but a high all the same. Three days before Christmas, I was informed that my eyesight condition is currently stable and that as long as I keep on keeping my Diabetes under control, it should stay that way and my eyesight should remain intact. Gotta be the best Christmas present ever!
So, what will 2017 bring for me? Hopefully it will be a massive improvement to 2016, I don’t think it could get any worse! I tend not to make massive new year’s resolution, I prefer to set myself a few long term goals for the year and tiny bite sized goals to help me achieve the main goals. So here’s what I’m hoping to achieve:
- To up my game with my Diabetes management by decreasing my Carb intake. I know I’ll struggle with a NO carb eating regime so I’m going to gradually cut out certain things from my diet or swap them for a low carb alternative. Carbohydrates are what raises the body’s sugar levels so I feel this is what I need to do as the next step in keeping my sugar levels at a manageable number.
- Hopefully, by gradually decreasing my carbs, this will get my weight back to the number it was at the beginning of 2016 and I will feel fabulous in my bridesmaid’s dress at my best friend’s wedding.
- I can’t afford to re-employ my personal trainer yet, so I’m going to try and do some exercises at home. The reason I spent a year training with a personal fitness instructor was because I needed the motivation, someone to push me and spur me on. I needed him to push me to do that one final barbell back squat when I really just wanted to lie on the gym floor and have a nap! I learned a lot from him about fitness so I’m going to try and come up with a manageable, affordable but fun routine at home that will fit in with my busy life.
- My ultimate goal for my blog this year would be to make a part time income from it, but I know I have so much work to do before I can get to that point. I need to get organised and continue putting all my free time into it.
- Over the last few months, I’ve been lucky enough to receive some fabulous product review opportunities which I’ve enjoyed completing. During 2017 however, I’d like to focus more of my attention on creating personal content, writing more about Diabetes (and in particular my pump journey, which I’m very aware that I’ve neglected in recent months!), the things I’ve gotten up to with Cici, single parenthood and just random thoughts that often enter my head.
- My main goal is to move house, nowhere too far, but I’d like Cici to grow up in a safer area. Our current garden is hard work to maintain and we have absolutely no privacy, so ideally it would have a lovely back garden for Cici to play in.
- Once we’ve moved house, Cici has asked for a cat so I’m hoping that can happen at some point.
- I’d like to pass my driving test. It’s booked, but I’m far from a natural at driving. Then there’s the small matter of saving for a little run around. Having a car would also give us more freedom in where we live, as at the moment we’re limited to staying within walking distance of the school and my workplace.
- Last year, I came across a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. The concept is simple, you pick up an item in your home and ask “Does this item give me joy?” If it doesn’t, get rid of it! If it does, keep it! The book suggests a particular order you should work through: clothing first, then books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) then finally, sentimental items. I started konmari’ing my home last year, and although I haven’t been as strict as I’d have liked, it’s working. My home feels a lot less cluttered and I’m getting quite ruthless with what I allow into my home in the form of unnecessary gifts, toys etc. I plan to continue this concept in 2017 but with more effort.
- And last but not least, to continue to be as good a Mum as I can to my perfect little girl!
How did 2016 go for you? Was it a good one, or are you, like me, hoping that 2017 will be a better year? What are your goals for the year? Let me know in the comments below!