Ann Van den Bulck
Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.
I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old. In the beginning, it was really difficult, because all my friends could eat and drink what they wanted and I couldn’t. I did not hide my diabetes at all. It is very important that everyone in your nearest surroundings is aware of the pros and cons.
I did not enjoy my puberty. I was too much involved with my diet, what I could eat, and especially how much I could eat. I have a younger brother and my mother secretly bought him, sweets, without me knowing.
“I did not enjoy my puberty.”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
Currently, I am using the Medtronic 670G pump which is connected to my Enlite sensor so that I can monitor my glucose any time of day, as my treatment. I am using Fiasp insulin. Before I used Insulatard, Novorapid, and Humalog.
What changed the most; in the beginning I used needles, now I have a pump and a sensor. I have the pump since my husband and I wanted to start a family. The positive about it is; I can constantly monitor my glucose. The negative part is; it sometimes gets in the way or gives annoying alarms.
I feel like I am doing pretty well managing my diabetes. Every day is different, I have very unstable blood sugar. I have a specialist in a hospital, together with a couple of nurses that treat me. Also, a dietitian helps me with staying healthy.
Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?
Yes, I can recognize them. When my sugar is high I go to toilet more, drink a lot and have mood swings. When I’m low I’m shaking, sweating and I turn pale.
I have to test 3 times a day in order to calibrate with my sensor.
I drink Coca-Cola and eat a sandwich or cookie to treat my low blood sugar.
I fainted once when I was 21 years old. It was very scary. One moment I was lying on the couch and before I knew there were 5 paramedics standing around me. My husband injected me with the Glucagon injection set.
Insulin Pump + Glucose meter
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
Breakfast around 9AM. I eat yoghourt with fruit and sometimes a sandwich. Lunch at 12:30. I eat a salad with a small piece of bread. Diner between 6PM and 7:30PM. I potatoes, pasta, vegetables, meat, fish or soup. It depends what I am cooking that night.
I give myself more insulin for something that I know will raise my sugar more than normal.
I try to drink 1 litre of water and I do skips meals once in a while. I try to eat a piece of fruit or a small yoghourt as a snack.
I don’t find being on a diet restrictive but I do get annoyed when people ask me about it if I can or can’t eat certain food.
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
I have no experience with this.
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
No, I find it very easy. I just ask the waiter what ingredients they are using.
“I try to drink 1 litre of water.”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
Yes I exercise. I referee basketball games twice in the weekend. Currently I am injured, so no sports for me at this moment.
I work at an office and that is sometimes stressful. My sugar levels are affected by this.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
The hardest part is constantly thinking about it and explaining to someone who has no diabetes. It takes a lot more than just paying attention to your food. Sometimes you are ill, you have stress, your emotions go up and down. People do not know about these things and that they have a major effect on me.
The best part is that diabetes gave me quite a strong character. I am very disciplined because of it.
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
That we have to take our diabetes into account every single day. It’s sometimes very difficult because people do not see that you are a diabetic. Only when you tell them. I would also let them know that it is perfectly possible to have children. I have two great kids; a girl Lana, she is 13 years old, and a boy Tibe, he is 10 years old. They are 100% perfectly healthy kids.
Sometimes it will be difficult, we don’t have to lie about it. But when you have your diabetes under control, you can do anything!
Stay positive and enjoy life! Do not let your diabetes control your life. You control it!
What would you ask the other diabetics?
Do you believe there are any restrictions to life since diabetes was diagnosed?
Feel free to answer in the comments below.
Want to publish your own story?
Hey! I’m Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me .
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