I’m not Looking for Sympathy, Honestly….. Well OK maybe a bit !

Saturday 1420 – 11 May 2013

If you read my blog last week you’ll know I’ve been in Cuba. If you didn’t take a look here .

I’m home now and late posting this but, outside of Havana, internet access is not only very expensive in Cuba but Dial-Up..  Yes I did say dial-up! Remember how slow that was ?

My 2nd Saturday in Cuba was quite different from my first and I have nothing exciting to share with you. Unfortunately I spent most of it in my room at an all-inclusive hotel on one of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast of Cuba!  No I wasn’t sulking or avoiding people, well I was but not because I didn’t like them, but because I was suffering.. Noooo! I didn’t want to be suffering on my holiday!.

Camels head I’m rather annoyed to report that I had the Cuban equivalent of Delhi Belly for most of Friday Night so sleep escaped me.  The inside of the bathroom became a necessary friend and the air-conditioning an absolute blessing. Several of the Traveleyes group I was travelling with had already been struck down, most with Diarrhoea, and I was feeling rather pleased with myself that I had managed to escape. Ha that’ll teach me.. not only did I have Diarrhoea but vomiting too.   I know this is way too much information but you have signed up to follow what I’m doing on Saturdays so I have no sympathy,  just as you probably have no sympathy for me, after all I was within spitting distance of that beautiful white beach and aquamarine sea ! 

On Friday we spent several hours travelling from the Caribbean sea, south of the island, to the North Atlantic Coast and during the last hour I could feel myself getting more and more bloated and feeling more and more queasy. I knew this was going to end badly !

I just made it through check-in at about 6.30 p.m and to my room before the vomiting started. Yipes !

How I longed to have someone rubbing my back while I knelt retching in front of the toilet. It’s at times like this I don’t like being on my own. Mind you if I was in a relationship who’s to say that the man in question would want to rub my back while I’m getting sick!! Would that be asking too much do you think?  

Actually I think it’s rather a romantic thing to do for someone but maybe that’s just me being a bit odd?

By about 4 a.m Saturday morning I have to confess that I probably would have been rather glad if someone had put me out of my misery but by dawn at 7 a.m and 2 Imodium later, the sickness et al ,abated and I was left feeling like I’d done a few rounds with Cassius Clay; with sore abdomen and ribs from retching.  No way I could do sighted-guide on this Saturday which was very annoying as it was a free day (Traveleyes didn’t have any previously organised excursion). I was due to be paired with the lovely Jenny. We had specifically asked to be paired together because we knew we would get on well but it wasn’t to be. I missed a trip out in some of the lovely 1950’s cars, that Cuba is so famous for,  and I had really been looking forward to that. Boo Hoo !!

Many of the group told me I didn’t miss that much but I sense they were just being kind!!

I moped around all day, sleeping on and off, trying to drink lots of water, eat a little dry bread and hard biscuits.. I was desperate to get well for Sunday;  the last full day of the holiday which was to be spent on a Catamaran, with free bar, snorkelling, dolphins, Desert Island type beach, perfect sea and lobster for lunch and I did.. Whey Hey!! 

So if you have been feeling even a tiny bit sorry for me while you’ve been reading this you can stop right now because I enjoyed the Sunday even more than I probably would have done if I hadn’t been ill. It felt sooooo good just to feel alive.

camels hump Why the photos of the camel?  Just because it happened to be in a field near the hotel and it was the only thing I photographed that day, late in the afternoon.. well I just HAD to photograph something, ill or not !!

Oh and because he had the hump and so did I !

For those who aren’t from the UK having the hump means being annoyed about something or with someone. In this case I was well annoyed with whatever was making me ill. (it does mean certain other things too but I’m not going to elaborate here, being a lady and all that ! )

Anyway that’s quite enough talk about illness as I’m sure you’ll agree but tell me do you like to have someone with you when you are being sick or do you prefer to be alone?

Keep an eye on Photomania, link below, because I’m sure there will be photos from the catamaran day in due course.

Next Saturday I’m going to tell you about a very special place we visited at the end of this trip and a little of what I think about Cuba and the political system as I witnessed it in action.. Hope you’ll drop by for that.

You can find my photography blog Photomania here

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You win some. You lose some.

Saturday 1452 – 29th Sept 2012.

This morning I spent a lot of time thinking ( I REALLY shouldn’t. I think, I think too much! ) and the reason for that this week is because yesterday (Friday 28th Sept – just imprinting that date) 2 momentous things happened to me on the very opposite ends of the happiness spectrum.

The happy bit ?   I made the last mortgage payment on my house so it is now mine.. Wey hey !!  I had about 4 hours to celebrate this and then came the not so happy bit, sitting in front of my GP I was told I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  He assured me that it was no good me thinking “maybe there has been some mistake and it’s not really that bad” ( he knows me well)  that I have 3 indicators and there is no doubt..no doubt AT ALL. I am thankful to him for being so clear.

First I thought well it’s only Type 2 it would be worse if it was Type 1 diabetes but as my late brother died at 53 and one of the contributing factors was his Type 2 diabetes which he did not manage well I know that Type 2 must be taken seriously because it is a progressive condition.

If it is not well-managed it can lead to long-term health complications affecting many areas of the body including eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet. 

My reaction to this news? Within the space of a few hours I cried, raged, blamed myself because I have a very sweet tooth, laughed with a true friend, walked by a beautiful lake and meditated.

Nothing was changed except my attitude. I thought how lucky I was that, by chance of birth, I had been born in a country where the access to services and care of people with diabetes is very good indeed and it IS just that isn’t it.. the luck of the draw. 

How wrong is that? 

Very, very wrong because although I am an individual I am no different to any other person on this planet, I don’t deserve good care any more, or less, than any other human being and that makes me sad indeed.  We should all try to work towards ending this inequality.

I thought how lucky I was that my diabetes was discovered by accident because of blood tests that were taken for something else entirely and showed high blood glucose levels and it was suggested I have fasting bloods which identified it. I consider this very lucky because Type 2 diabetes can be more or less symptomless for many years

Immediately after I wrote this and while I was still researching on Diabetes UK I read an article on the website which indicates that there are thousands of people with high risk factors who are not being screened. I urge you to take a few minutes to read the article  “Flaws in NHS Health Check have “dire consequences” for Type 2 diabetes” here   I did have fasting bloods taken in 2010 and they were just within the normal range.

As for me I am where I am now and it goes some way to explaining how I’ve been feeling. I’m sure it will take a while to adjust to this news and make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage my diabetes but it’s just another of life’s hurdles to get over, under or round. We all have them don’t we and what defines us as a person is how we deal with them.  I intend to stay positive because I have been given a metaphorical kick up the backside and now have an opportunity to improve my health and fitness which will have lots of long-term mental and physical benefits. Life is for living and I intend to try to enjoy it as much as possible :D.

I thought this would be a good place to dispel a few myths because as I have already mentioned I was blaming myself so checked out what the Diabetes Uk website had to say about that and this is what I found.

Some things that do not cause diabetes

  • Eating sweets and sugar does not cause diabetes,but eating a lot of sugary and fatty foods can lead to being overweight.
  • You cannot catch diabetes, like a cold.
  • Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may make the symptoms worse in people who already have the condition.
  • An accident or an illness will not cause diabetes but may reveal diabetes if it is already there.

But these ARE the recognised risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes  according to Diabetes UK

Some of the risks factors associated with Type 2 diabetes are out of your control while others, such as being overweight, you can act on to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. You should ask your GP for a test for diabetes, if you:

  • are white and over 40 years old
  • are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old
  • have one or more of the following risk factors –
  • A close member of your family has Type 2 diabetes (parent or brother or sister). (brother in my case)
  • You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.
  • You have high blood pressure or you’ve had a heart attack or a stroke.
  • You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.
  • You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.
  • If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes.
  • You have severe mental health problems.

 But I am a couple of stones overweight so I did increase my risk and that’s why I am sharing this on my blog today because some of the risk factors mentioned are in our control.. particularly the overweight and heart ones.   Oh and by the way Steve Redgrave the 5 times Olympic gold medallist was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997 and went on to win his 5th gold medal after that.. inspirational . You can read what he says about it by clicking on his name and there’s a link there to a useful website for people with diabetes who want to take up sport or are already sportsmen/women.

I know I have readers from all over the globe so please do check out what help is available in your own countries – isn’t the internet great for this sort of thing !

If any of you my readers have a nagging feeling that you might have diabetes or are in high risk groups get it checked out with your doctor.. it’s very easy too.

Ending on a much happier note. I was at the wedding of good friends Jo and Peter today and had a great time.. I will probably do an extra post this week to share some of the photos from this very happy event but I will share just one with you. It’s a photo of the photographer and he just spotted me as I was about to click and pulled this face.. It made me laugh and he did too when I showed it to him.

Oh and don’t forget I HAVE paid off my mortgage.  YIPPEE

See ya’ll next week

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.

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