MyMuscleMug and Type 1 Diabetes… The Beginning

Written by Emily Case: @type1_ejc Owner of @my_muscle_mug

Hi, I am Emily: a 35 year old Type 1 Diabetic and the proud creator of MyMuscleMug. It all began in 2016 while I was looking for healthy products to eat after training, ones that would not adversely affect my Type 1 Diabetes. I had found in the past that those protein bars that claim to be low carb (net carbs?! A carb is a carb no?) raised my blood sugar levels far higher than a normal chocolate bar would! So I made it my mission to create something healthy, tasty, easy to make and actually low carb!

Diagnosis:

I was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic when I was 11 years old. There’s never a good age to be diagnosed with such a confusing and difficult condition, but you don’t get the choice.

I remember feeling unwell for a few weeks before I was rushed to hospital after being sick all day one Saturday. My doctor had historically treated me for ear infections, so kept putting it down to that. It took a few days of blood tests and observations in hospital for the doctors to come to the conclusion that I was Diabetic, since my sugar levels were not returning to normal after shots of Lucozade!! I remember they never actually explained what it meant. Not to me at least, so when I was making a cup of tea with my dad and asked for the sugar he said I could no longer have sugar in my tea! Devastated!! Sweeteners from there on in!

I would love to explain in detail the causes, symptoms and effects of Diabetes but www.diabetes.org.uk does a much better job than I could ever do so please have a read! However, here are some interesting facts you may or may not know…

What is Diabetes FactSheet

Learning How To Be A Good Diabetic!:

I was a terrible teenage diabetic: I wanted to be like any other “normal” teenager so would often guess what my blood sugar levels were. Blood sugar levels are considered good when between 4 mmol/l and 8 mmol/l for a Type 1 Diabetic, so I just picked a number in between. (I do not recommend this!) Not until I was much older and attended a week long NHS course for diabetics that I realised I could learn to control my diabetes and still live a perfectly “normal” (hate that word) life by calculating the number of carbohydrate units in each meal or snack I ate. For example, a typical sandwich would have 40g (20g per slice of bread) of carbs which means I would inject 4 units of Insulin either before, during or straight after my meal. This keeps my sugar levels within range.

My insulin to carb ratio is specific to me since different people need more or less insulin per unit of carbs. I am currently on a 1:10 ratio, 1 unit of insulin per 10g grams of carbohydrates.

Finding The Positives:

From my early twenties, after this invaluable course, I was able to take control and live a much more flexible and enjoyable life with Diabetes. I have now lived with Diabetes for 24 years and have an average hba1c of 7.6 mmol/l (this is the regular blood test diabetics have to ensure they are controlling their condition). People often say, “Oh, you can’t eat that” or, “Are you allowed this?” referring to something obviously sweet such as chocolate or cake. Truth is, I can eat anything so long as I inject for it. Oh, and apparently I don’t look Diabetic – still makes me laugh when I think of that!

Diabetes is not a life sentence: I will never see it as a negative as it has helped me control my diet, encouraged me to exercise, and allowed me to become self employed doing something I absolutely love and am utterly proud of!

What Keeps Me Alive:

The below photograph shows my diabetic kit, most of which I carry with me at all times. The two pens are different insulins; Treshiba a long lasting insulin which I inject every morning, NovoRapid for when I have eaten or my sugar levels are unexpectedly high. This would take affect quickly to avoid sugar levels rising too high. I test my sugar levels at least 10 times a day; upon waking, before eating, before and after (sometimes during) exercise, before bed and sometimes during the night. I use the small machine which takes seconds to test using the test strips and finger pricker.

The Orange box contains a GlugoGen HypoKit, I am pleased to say this has never been used, but is there just in case my sugar levels drop too low for me to be able to treat myself. Someone else would be required to inject me with the glucose solution to bring me round and avoid a Diabetic coma.

Diabetes kit

Thank you for reading, I hope you have found my story interesting and please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or queries about Diabetes or MyMuscleMug!

MugLove, Emily

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