Uni: Week 1, 2 & 3


I thought I'd start a new little series documenting life at university as a mature student juggling a chronic illness. I did a year of uni back when I was 18 and that was why I started blogging in the first place because I couldn't find much info other than 'It was the best experience ever!' and 'It's totally doable!' All very encouraging stuff but I needed to know about the practical things such as any help I might get or tips on how to keep up with the workload. I left uni after a year because I didn't like the course or university very much so didn't feel it was worth carrying on with as at the time my health started going a bit dodgy too. However this time round I'm doing something completely different at a different place that I absolutely love and of course I have new lungs too so I feel like this experience is going to be so much better! But again I couldn't find much info on doing uni with CF post transplant so maybe this will be my blog's niche hahaha. I'm no expert, I'm just learning as I go along, but hopefully someone may find these posts useful! I'm planning on doing these weekly but today I've had to cram three weeks into one but you'll see why.





Week 1 & 2

So I'll start with the basics, I'm studying Fashion and Dress History at Brighton and living in private accommodation with other students as I did halls the first time round and if you've done them you know once is enough haha. I'm super lucky to be living very central to literally everything so even on days when I'm really tired I don't have far to go into uni or a shop or whatever. The first week was Fresher's Week and to be honest I didn't go out much at all. Firstly, because I was feeling a bit ropey and secondly because I've been there, done that haha I like a night out but clubbing every night just ain't my bag. We had a week of introductory classes so just like getting to know the course, tutors and classmates which was cool. Week 2 was our first lessons, I only have to be in 10 hours a week as a lot of it is reading and doing your own research which suits me just fine as on days where I maybe don't feel so good it'll be a lot less tiring being able to study at home. So far, so fun! Also had some VIP visitors over these two weeks including Baby Florrie ('I love your funfair!' - she thought Brighton Pier is my home) and Freddydog (he refused to walk home from the beach so we had to carry him around town in a bag for life!)

So onto practical, health stuff - I booked an appointment with the disability team as although I'm a lot better than I was I still have a long term condition that may affect my studies. Being immunosuppressed post transplant I pick up every cough and cold going so am often ill still and I of course still have CF so there's that to contend with too. I'll need time off for various hospital appointments as well. Obviously I'm nowhere near as ill as before but I'll never be living that 100% healthy life haha!  It's important to let them know as soon as possible so they can help you should you need extensions on essay deadlines, extra time in exams or help catching up if you need to miss classes. I also had a word with each of my tutors about my situation as it's the polite thing to do, it's easier to explain in person rather than email and if you have a good relationship with them it'll make things a lot easier in the long run (that goes for all students!) Everyone at this uni already seem a lot friendlier and helpful compared to my last one which is really great! 

I've kept the same GP as anyone who needs to order a lot of medication knows what agg it is to change doctors haha. Luckily my mum drops in my prescriptions and then they send them to a Boots pharmacy close to me so it's really easy. I get my transplant drugs delivered home still as they only come every three months and again it's less aggro sticking to the same address! 

Week 3

I'd had like a hint of a cold since I started but by Monday last week it was in full swing, I phoned Harefield and booked a clinic appointment for the Thursday but ended up phoning them again by the evening as my temp was 40 and I was feeling pretty rubbish! The doctor said I had to get to A&E asap as there were no beds at Harefield so my parents had to come and get me to take me to my CF hospital (didn't fancy local A&E as usually doctors who don't know you are scared to touch you post transplant so wanted to go somewhere that knew me) so that was a fun road trip back to London at midnight haha! Luckily bloods all came back fine so it was probably just a virus but they were concerned about my blood sugars as they were crazy high.

 For perspective they should be like below 9 but mine were so high my machine that I test them on was just in panic mode and wouldn't give me a number, it just said HIHIHI hahaha. They've been high since I was in Harefield back in August and it's taking a lot of playing around with insulin to try and get them right. I've had cystic fibrosis related diabetes for about 10 years but it was always really easily controlled, however due to being on daily steroids since transplant it's gone a bit nuts. This is a common complication of transplant but having CF too makes it a bit more complicated! So for now I have to test my blood sugars a lot more than I usually do and I inject insulin about 5 times a day instead of once like I used to, as well as having to work out carb counting and correcting which can be a bit mathematical for my non mathematical brain! But I'm getting the hang of it and it's no bother really because it seems to be working as my sugars finally seem to be under control! No more feeling knackered and dehydrated anymore, woohoo because it was making me feel really ill. Where I have CF and have to keep my weight up they don't want my sugars to be controlled by diet like someone else with diabetes might have to so I get to eat what I want still which is fab. I do have to try and avoid the overly sweet stuff though so I'm a bit like poor Gwyneth Paltrow's kids now with my 'Coke of the Week' hahaha. So it's been a bit of an adjustment as it's almost like having a new health condition to get used to but just have to get on with it as there's no point feeling sorry for myself (although of course I did have a sulk for an hour, I always do.) 

So yes, was in hospital for a couple of days on a 'sliding scale' insulin drip whatever that is and then went home as I only had a 20 minute tutorial left for the week and it was better to go home and rest. My tutors were really great and understanding, plus my coursemates sent me some stuff so although I have lots to catch up with they've made it a lot easier for me. I have to rearrange my meeting with the disability people and am going to sort a meeting with personal tutors so we can sort a plan if this happens again. I really wasn't expecting to need time off so quickly but that's CF for you! How typical of it to make me ill as soon as I start uni haha. But I shall keep you updated on that. 

So now it's my second attempt of the start of term! Sorry if this post has been a bit long and boring, had a lot of info to cram in haha!
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