Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What kept me too busy to blog......

As I mentioned in my post last week, I'd give you a review of what has kept me from blogging these past 3½ years, diabetes included. In short, I'd say that it has been a mixture of intensive work and everything around deciding to build the new house that we moved into in December last year. This has obviously all been seasoned with diabetes high and lows, but also with a final exam and subsequent unemployment on different levels, while trying to land either a job or funding for a research project that I want to carry out.

My leather-bound thesis - its contents kept me busy for the past 3½ years :-)

In my last post before my un-noticed hiatus, I wa
s about to leave for Glasgow as part of my postgraduate studies, and part of the preparation for that trip involved getting my hands on a CGM. I had hoped to update you on my experience with the Minimed Paradigm CGM, but that didn't happen in a timely manner, and while every experience is individual, I'll definitely spare you a lengthy review on the pros and cons of this system :-) In short though, I can say that I have used Minimed's system on and off ever since. I say on and off because while I'd were it continuously whenever in Glasgow for extended periods of time, I'd typically take a break from it when back in DK, only using it for special occations (e.g. stressful weeks around deadlines, conferences, moving, etc.). While it definitely does have its flaws, I wouldn't have wanted to be without it over these years and I'll likely continue to use it in the future when need be. Even though my current system cannot provide predictive alarms, it saved me numerous times in Glasgow. However, I've never found it to be good with sudden, drastic changes, and as these do occur - sometimes not even giving me enough time to actually feel them - I have experienced the impressive helpfulness of the Scots and their emergency services. These episodes were fortunately far in between, and only one had other consequences than my pride and D-self confidence getting knocked down:
My laptop screen didn't survive a "dance" with a lamppost durin
g a severe and sudden-onset hypo. My laptop was in my backpack and as I tried to stay on my feet with a BG well below 2 - the EMT arriving a few minutes later tested me at 1.2 (approximately 22 in American measures) - I stepped/fell backwards against a lamppost one or more times before settling on the sidewalk. It's never fun when lows affect anything but yourself, yet fortunately I came back up without being too hurt and the laptop screen could easily be replaced.

My postgraduate study obviously took a lot of my time over the past years. It's been super-exciting and super-tough at the same time
. While I was a registered PhD-student with a Glasgow-based university, my project had me spent just as much time at a Danish university, carrying out specialised analyses in the research group where I did my graduate work years before. A combination of lab-work, data analysis and extensive progress reports made for the typical work weeks to hover around 50-70 hours - certainly not healthy to anyone, let alone PWDs. I'm fairly convinced that all this work on top of all the "life" things that I had to fit into my schedule played a big role in the difficulties of managing D that would sometimes be manifested by hard crashes - of course almost always while asleep when I'm least likely to cooperate with Jimmi's suggestions or demands. Especially the last part of the project work was tough as I not only had to finish a lot of experiments and write up a monster thesis of 200-250 pages (I'd have preferred the Danish version of just 50-60 pages along with publications ;-)), but at the same time also had to take part in all the preparations for becoming house owners. There were a lot of issues around the handing over of our house, so we ended up getting it just a few days before I had to leave for Glasgow to hand in my thesis. I was beyond stressed at that time, but somehow managed to hand in my work, register as unemployed, pack down our old home and move into our new house in just about a week's time! This was, however, after several bad nighttime hypos on those nights where I actually made it to bed in stead of working on my thesis.

The beginning of 2011 was a combination of g
etting used to our new house, and the fact that its location generally meant longer bike rides for me (insulin adjustments required), as well as trying to sort out future work plans and possibilities. I had hoped to have at least the work part sorted rater soon as I was given the impression that we might find a bit of money to continue the collaboration from my postgraduate study, at least on a temporary basis. My supervisor in Glasgow and I had prepared project plans to further explore my work and findings. Both of us applied for money to support different versions of this work, but neither of us had any luck with our applications. When I was back in Glasgow for my viva in February, we managed to get things sorted for a temporary research position, though only part-time. My contract would have me mainly working in Denmark, and when it ended in June it was perfectly matched for yet another trip to Glasgow for graduation. When I returned from Glasgow, I started a new position in my old DK-lab. This is also a temporary position, but it's full time and hopefully it will provide me enough time to have at least one of my research manuscripts submitted for publication in order to increase my chances of attracting funding in the future :-)

My parents, me and my supervisor at the graduation reception

Graduates and their families filling the graduation garden

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Those of you who used to read my blog will know that it has been very long since the last update here. It’s not that I’ve been cured from diabetes and therefore have had nothing D-related to write about. There have been plenty of blogable events involving diabetes in the past 3½ years, but there just hasn’t been time – or energy – from my side to consistently blog while working 40-70 hours a week on my postgraduate studies.

Last week, I read a blog post by Alexis over at I Run on Insulin. In essence, her entry was about how that little thing called “life” sometimes makes it difficult to do all you the things you want/need/have to do, online as well as in person, when there’s just 24 hours in a day. I had to comment on this, and that lead to a comment for me from another blogger that my updating my blog was missed. Even if just one or very few people think this, I’m very honoured by it :-)

So here I am with the first update since January 2008, but whether this entails a full revival of this blog, I dare not promise. If “life” allows, I’ll continue to try to check in here once in a while, maybe even try to do the required amount of dusting on my blog settings (layout, about me info, blog role etc.). I’ll also try to post again in the very near future to answer a couple of questions related to what I’ve been doing since 2008.

To end this, I’d like to repeat my statement in my comment for Alexis’ post last week: I know that the DOC is a very tolerant creature that will just appreciate those few times when I actually manage to contribute – and thank you all for that, and for being such an incredible source of advice and support when we need it!

Jimmi and I in front of the Famous Grouse at Glenturret Distillery in Scotland this summer