32. Body Image and Wedding Dress Shopping

So let’s talk about the dress in more detail shall we? Whoa, not that much detail, I still want to surprise Matt when I walk down the aisle. No, I want to talk about all of those body niggles and worries that every bride to be experiences. You know, the ones that lead to the majority of brides feeling like they have to go on a diet or extreme workout plan ahead of their wedding? I get it, it’s the day when you’re photographed the most in your entire life and you want to look back and see the image you have in your head in your photos, but what happens when you feel you have barriers to doing that?

 

My own personal relationship with my body image is chequered at the best of times and in the run up to wedding dress shopping it took a real nosedive, the reason behind this was definitely related to T1D. 

 

How would I wear my pump on the day? How would I access my insulin pump? How would I manage my diabetes? Could I manage to lose weight before the final dress fitting? Could I get back into being more active ahead of the wedding?

 

The last 2 were big ones for me, and probably the real reason why my body image nosedived. I realised I was chasing an ideal of other peoples perception of perfection and that was so unhealthy. After all, Matt proposed to me as I am so who would I really be losing weight for? Did I honestly want to look at wedding pictures and see someone I wasn’t familiar with? I spent more time than I should of thinking about this and made some decisions that helped me get to the wedding dress shop to find my dress.

 

1. I stopped looking at pictures of dresses in magazines
2. I stopped watching Say Yes to The Dress
3. I decided to choose my dress without allowing my pump to be a barrier
4. I spoke to my diabetes team about using a different insulin pump for my wedding
5. I wouldn’t choose a dress with the mind set “It’ll look better when I’ve lost some weight”

 

So, I fell in love with a dress and I brought it almost a year ahead of my wedding date. I then needed to find a solution for my diabetes management on the wedding day and I was fortunate enough that Kaleido became a very real possibility for me. That first day, and pretty much every day since has seen me more invested in being more active, because I have so little baggage and don’t have to worry about what to wear to accommodate my pump. The temporary basal function is so easy to find and use that I’ve rarely forgotten to use it ahead of a walk or a swim. It’s all been so natural, I guess that’s what happens when you get to cut the literal ties that were binding you.

 

My first dress fitting came around a week after starting with Kaleido and I didn’t even think about having tech attached to me, a very different experience to buying my dress., where I needed to detach my pump. I also realised that I hadn’t spent a year worrying about my weight or starting an extreme workout plan that would take time away from my daughter and fiancé. Instead I’ve spent that year planning a wedding, making sure my diabetes management is catered for in a way that will enable me to just enjoy our wedding day and most importantly, I’ve learned to feel more at peace with the body I’m in. It’s mine, it’s not perfect, it may not be the prettiest, but it houses a person who loves and is very loved. What could matter more?

DISCLAIMER:
THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

31. And so it begins…

Leading up to Friday 6th September 2019, I felt such excitement and a smidgen of apprehension all at the same time. I’d developed such high expectations of what the Kaleido could do for me. Aside from the ability to control the pump remotely (a big win on the wedding dress front), I hoped this teeny tiny piece of colourful technology would help me overcome many of the body image obstacles I experienced every day. Of course the biggest expectation was always that it would be the most effective management tool in my Diabetes Kit.  

Since returning to MDI in March, I’ve found that my weight increased and I found I needed more glucose to treat a hypo, I also shied away from a lot of exercise for fear of hypos. I knew that Insulin Pump Therapy would make a difference, having experienced it before; I was looking forward to experiencing the difference Kaleido could make to all of that.

 

When Jayne from Kaleido arrived, it literally felt like she came bearing gifts. From the bags the pumps were in, to the boxes; opening it all up was such a lovely, non-clinical experience, which is such a rarity when Type 1 Diabetes lives with you. Our every day is lead by clinical decisions; we spend a large proportion of our lives with medical professionals in clinical environments and so this really was a breath of fresh air. It made me feel like I was at the centre of this process rather than my Diabetes.

 

We spent time going through the kit and various functions, using the guidebook; which is colour coded to match the handset screen options (so helpful when you need info quickly) and having a few dummy runs at filling the cartridge before we did it for real. Filling the cartridge, fitting it in the pump, inserting the cannula and then attaching the pump was all new but it went smoothly and this time, when the handset confirmed “orange pump connected” I didn’t cry as I had at previous pumpstart, instead I felt empowered and raring to go.

 

In fact I was so raring to go that that evening, we went for a family dog walk. I was running after my 16-month-old daughter and laughing at her holding the lead; I chased my dog through the long grass and I held my fiancé’s hand as we watched our 2 girls exploring the nature reserve near us. The temp basal worked a treat and so did the extended bolus when we had pasta for dinner. We spent lots of time walking together over that weekend, my family, my Kaleido and I. Immediately I felt a sense of freedom I didn’t expect, a weightlessness; emotionally and physically. No longer did managing my diabetes feel like a chore, but more of a choice* and I cannot wait to try my wedding dress on at my first fitting.

 

 

*This is the best metaphor I can find for how I’m feeling and in no way am I suggesting that Diabetes, or it’s management is a choice.

DISCLAIMER:
THIS IS A SERIES OF BLOGS I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT KALEIDO. IN THE INTEREST OF BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL THAT I’M EXCITED TO HAVE BECOME A KALEIDOER. THIS MEANS I AM FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET TO TRIAL THE KALEIDO INSULIN PUMP. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR UK RELEASE WAS IMMINENT, KALEIDO ASKED FOR KALEIDOERS AND HAVING BEEN KEEPING A CLOSE (AND VERY INTERESTED) EYE ON THEM FOR SOME TIME, I GOT IN TOUCH. I FEEL REALLY LUCKY THAT THEY’RE ALSO LETTING ME USE THEIR PLATFORM TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES OF LIVING WITH T1D WHILST PREPARING FOR MY WEDDING DAY. THESE BLOGS WILL BE SHARED ON MY OWN SITE ALSO.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DM ME.

All images copyright Author and Kaleido

19. On the 12th day of Christmas and the 4 months since….

I wish I could tell you that by day 12 all was wonderful and marvellous and I had my basal rates sorted, my ratios and correction doses accurate and on the money, but alas; on day 12 of this pump start journey I wanted to throw it out of the window.

I was told that this officially makes me a pumper!

4 months on and I’m still fine-tuning, but that’s OK; I’ve spent 15 years doing MY Diabetes one way, so it stands to reason that it would take me some time to adjust to doing MY Diabetes a completely different way, along with some other discoveries……..

I’ve accepted that the smooth lines of Libre’s and CGM on Social Media aren’t the daily reality for everyone and so I must stop judging my own reality by these, in doing that I was creating barriers to praising my own undulating (instead of spiky) lines when they happened, even if only for a couple of hours. 

I’ve learned that literally saying out loud to my boyfriend, “I’m happy with MY Diabetes over the last few hours” makes a mammoth difference to how I feel about MY Diabetes in that moment.

Working with some wonderful professionals, I’ve acknowledged how difficult MY Diabetes journey has been and how isolated I have felt during the last 15 years. By acknowledging all of that, I’ve also acknowledged and am learning to celebrate how well I have managed MY Diabetes pretty much alone in those 15 years, how strong I have been; how strong I AM.

I have a permanent mental post-it note in my head that reads: “When someone who doesn’t have Diabetes and knows nothing about an insulin pump, assumes it’s an artificial pancreas and the minute you connect your issues will be gone, don’t let that make you feel like a failure. Educate them about YOUR Diabetes instead”! (It’s one of those bigger post-it notes).

I’m learning to unlearn, sounds daft I know, but just as you do with driving a car I developed certain “habits” around how I managed MY Diabetes on MDI. Now, as much as there are new “habits” to learn, the old habits need to be unlearned.

I accept and celebrate my bruises – they mean I’ve kept myself alive for another 3 days thanks to my battery operated pancreas and whilst they’re bigger, more regular and a little more sore than the occasional bruise I’d get on MDI – the volume of bruise causing activity associated with MY Diabetes is greatly reduced.

I’m more mindful now than ever about where seatbelts meet infusion sites, or how waistbands sit and move as I wear them. I’m getting used to considering and planning bath or shower timing and set changes, in addition to considering and planning activities and Temporary Basal Rate requirements so that I’m in charge of MY Diabetes at all times. 

I still struggle and have meltdowns over what to wear, but now I just blame MY Pump!

It’s not easy, you have to be organised and mindful and resilient, but we all do that on a daily basis anyway. I didn’t begin my journey to IPT because I thought it’d be anything less than hard work, I went this route because I wanted the best treatment for my Diabetes after 15 years of “winging it”. If I could achieve what I know I will achieve with an Insulin Pump on Multiple Daily Injections, I wouldn’t be attached to my peacock feather coated little box 24/7. MY Diabetes Consultant asked me last week if I was Happy with the decision to move to Insulin Pump Therapy, my answer was:

“Yes, because although there’s not much change right now, I am hopeful and certain that the change is on it’s way and it’ll be well earned!”

Nx