Thursday, November 16, 2017

Additions & Subtractions

Sometimes I think to myself, What is diabetes adding? What is diabetes subtracting?

This may seem like an odd thing to think about, but when it comes down to it, living with type 1 diabetes it both a mental and physical marathon.  You wake up each morning, sometimes having spent the night getting up and out of bed to use the bathroom, or having to treat lows, or maybe you had a great night sleep with zero disturbances and you wonder what life would be like if diabetes was not in your life. 

While I don't think it's healthy to spend too much time wondering 'what if' I think there are moments for all of us where we think about what diabetes has added to our lives.  As much as we don't wish to have diabetes, for some of us we have found friendships or experiences that we other wise may not have ever come across.   I pull from those 'additions' when I struggle to accept that cards I've been dealt.  The times that I have had to leave a party because my site ripped out, or had to embarrassingly ask for a glass of juice from someone I had just met.  

Then there are the 'subtractions' and for me those aren't the ripped sites, or time spent checking my blood sugar, but the future what ifs that linger across my mind every now and then.   Sometimes, those things I thought would be subtractions turn out to be okay and I am reminded that living life alongside diabetes is not a marker for disappointment. I can achieve my goals similar to my non-diabetic peers. It is my hopes that the subtractions stay distant, and are dissolved by the time they arrive. I am not naive to think I will never be let down because of my diabetes; however, I am confident that with the additions, I can stay encouraged and push forward. 

For all those that have walked before me with type 1 diabetes, and have documented their additions and subtractions, I thank you.  It is not easy to share our lives so openly and courageously, but in doing so, it gives those who follow your footsteps a string to hold onto.  

Kayla 



Friday, November 3, 2017

Diabetes Awareness Month: What is my role?

The fall is flying by and I hardly noticed that it was November i.e Diabetes Awareness Month until I saw all the posts online.  I find myself in a bit of a withdraw from blogging, reading up on diabetes related news/blogs and find myself immersed in life outside of the internet.  However, I am missing blogging and catching up with all the amazing things my fellow online diabetes community members are up to.

I find it interesting how time slowly changes us, the messages that stream across our social media begin to resonate with ourselves a bit differently and our drive of what to put energy into changes.  I remember when I was first diagnosed I was greatly involved in spreading awareness and advocacy, each year preparing for the diabetes walk in the spring and constantly finding opportunities to let my peers and community know about type 1 diabetes.  While I still have those goals and desires, I have found ways to put energy into that without losing energy for other things in my life beyond diabetes.  Some may say that's balance.

November is important to note as Diabetes Awareness Month, but part of me wonders what my role can be in this month.  Is my role posting on social media about my diabetes? Is my role correcting those in public that push stereotypes about diabetes?  Is my role to raise money, awareness, create new projects?

I feel that some may feel pressure to push out awareness, when most of us are tired, most of us have been in the diabetes world for awhile now and are running out of steam or inspiration. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone with diabetes deals with diabetes differently. We all find what's comfortable within ourselves and anytime we share our experiences, stories, words of education or wisdom, it comes from a vulnerable place that we are sharing because we want to be heard. That is our part of spreading awareness whether it is November, December, June or July.

For me, this month I will continue to do what I have been doing for awhile now.  I will spend every Thursday evening speaking to teen girls with type 1 diabetes.  I will blog when I have the time and inspiration and I will continue my work that I do on other diabetes platforms. Nothing extra, nothing different, but what I have the energy, comfort and inspiration in doing.

Kayla



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Diabetes on the Internet

Does the internet really help those living with diabetes?  Beyond googling what the carbs are in a milkshake, beyond sending a email to your nurse asking if you should change your basal rates, and beyond responding to your mom via Facebook about how your blood sugars are doing.  Is the internet hurting our understanding of both diabetes and ourselves?

This is a hard question because most of what I do for diabetes is via the internet.   For instance, this very blog, or the type 1 diabetes meme page I started years ago.  I believe that so much good can come from connecting via the internet, because firstly you can reach more people and secondly you can keep connect to those that don't live close to you.  The internet has become our way of dealing with issues and chances are those cute journal books we used to write in, are long gone.

Sometimes I want to delete myself from diabetes related conversations via the internet. I want to shut it all out and focus on what I am dealing with at the moment.  It's hard to take on the burden of others struggles, and then in turn compare them with your own.  Am I worthy of feeling frustrated that they don't understand my point of view? Am I worthy of feeling stressed about my current situation, when theirs seems worse off?  Comparing, consulting, confusing.

A few months ago, I left A LOT of diabetes groups online because I couldn't take it anymore. I felt myself comparing myself to others, I felt myself trying to consult those that I felt were struggling and I was confused at what my place was.  We are all living our own lives, yet rely so much on how others perceive us, good or bad.

I think about my local empowerment group, where we meet in person weekly, interact, share our frustrations and opinions and can't help but think of much of a breath of air that is. Connecting, face to face, and getting to know one another in more ways that what we post via social media.  I want those deep rooted connections, yet I also want to have the platform to express how diabetes has played out in my life.

It's a tug of war trying to find that balance between being an advocate, having a platform, but still stepping back and realizing when this isn't fulfilling my time and I am going to let it go.

Kayla



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It Takes a Village

"I checked to see if you were breathing twice in the night. Once before I had fallen asleep, and the second I woke myself up to check. I looked over and watched the covers raise up and down and I knew you were alright. " 

This isn't something you want your loved one to have to say, but knowing that they did, is both heartwarming and tragic at the same time.

K.S Photography
This past weekend something was in the air, my blood sugars were ridiculously high for a ridiculously long time. Despite a complete change of my site, insulin and the whole shebang, I still was trudging through the brutal highs, feeling less than human with zero patiences and zero ambition. While this is awful for the person dealing with the highs, I'd argue is it pretty brutal for those around the said, high person.   I am sure we, as type 1's with high blood sugar, are nearly impossible to reason with or even speak to without getting us all riled up (for what appears to be no good reason).

The first night of high blood sugars, I must have gotten 5 complete minutes of sleep. I had to visit the bathroom so frequently, I was considering moving my blanket and pillow in there.  I woke up feeling like garbage, and had a breakdown at the grocery store because I couldn't find macaroni salad for a party we were going to.  I literally had zero energy and felt like I was walking in a weird fog.  I was checking my blood sugars and watching them barely budge, it would go down a few and then up another couple a few hours later. Like an awful teeter-totter that I just couldn't get off.

I once again changed my site, and new insulin and checked frequently until it was time to go to sleep.  Mike asked if I should stay up, but I knew that that meant staying up for awhile, there was no way insulin was going to drop my 28 mmol/L blood sugar within the next 30 minutes. For anyone that has had a long period of high blood sugars,  knows that your 'care' begins to slowly float away. I just wanted to sleep, I was pissed off at my diabetes and I was done dealing with it.

Thankfully, Mike was not done with dealing with it. He was worried, and checked on me in the night.  It hit me in the morning (when Mike said he had checked if I was breathing) that it takes a village to take care of one person's diabetes.  When we feel like we literally cannot, someone can and most importantly, someone will.

Kayla


Monday, September 18, 2017

On The Go: CONTOUR® NEXT ONE

It’s always a good thing when you realize that your diabetes supplies simply fit into your lifestyle as though someone had kept that in mind (which I am sure they do!). For those that live with type 1 diabetes, the battle of having to remember, carry and use your diabetes supplies can be hard when you’re the type of person that is busy or just never stays in one spot!


Having a meter that is small, yet packs powerful technology is not only convenient but in my opinion an absolute must. The CONTOUR® NEXT ONE by Ascensia proves that you can have it all. A meter small enough to stick in your pocket to avoid feeling like you have to lug around extra weight. It is also a meter that connects to your smart phone so you can easily view your results in a hurry and later analyze them to understand your blood sugar trends. How impressive would that be to bring to your doctor's appointment or better yet, to email to your doctor in advance? Finally, it is also a meter that uses smart light technology, which alerts you through the flash of a coloured light whether your blood sugar in in range.


For those like me that are constantly running around, this meter is the perfect way to keep yourself on track with testing your blood sugar and to be able to later review your blood sugar results via an app on your smart phone.


Learn more about the Ascensia CONTOUR® NEXT ONE at www.contournextone.ca.










This post was sponsored by Ascensia Diabetes Care Canada Inc., but the thoughts are my own.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheers to the Best Friend Who Has Seen it All!

A good friend knows all your best stories. A best friend has lived them with you! 

Girard Photography


For those of us that find a best friend in life, we know the value of having that special person. As we get older, we grow more and more appreciation for this person as you realize just how much of an important role they've played in your life and continue to play, through not only the good, but also the painful moments.

I am lucky. I am lucky that I found my best friend in my late teens, just a couple years before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, before the really, really bad breakups and before the more positive things in my life, graduating, moving into my own home, getting my puppy and of course now as I embark on the next chapter of my life, marriage!  I am happy because this person has gotten me through all these moments, good and bad, she has been there right beside me. 

For those that have followed my blog since the beginning, you will recognize the name, Michelle.  That is because she literally has embraced every moment of this journey I am on.  She walked the diabetes walks,  she sat in the audience during my speeches, she's carried glucose tabs in her purse and she's fed me while I was on the floor in a really bad low.  She was there when I was first diagnosed and she continues to be supportive in all that I do.  I know, as my maid of honour, she will likely being bolusing, treating and checking in on me on my wedding day. 

For those of us with any kind of illness, we know that it can be hard sometimes to find the time for friends, or to keep up friendships. Showing your appreciation for those that have seen it all, is so incredibly important.

Kayla 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Diabetes & The Dress

My Wedding Dress Shopping Entourage at Sophie's (KW)
I always envisioned where this blog would follow me.  I knew that eventually I would be blogging about diabetes and getting married, but it feels so wild to be here, right now in this moment talking about it all. It's really happening! I'm getting married!

My stress levels have been fairly minimal, the odd thing I will get caught up in, and stress about, but eventually it rolls off my back and I am feeling O.K.  My blood sugars react to stress like glue to paper so, I know that once my stress begins, managing my diabetes becomes even harder.  And, to be honest, sometimes I have neglected to even worry about my blood sugars because I am so caught up in my other things to do. Finding balance has always been hard for me. I have a hard time evenly spacing my attention on diabetes and all else that goes on.

My pump has been on my mind, as I started looking for outfits for various occasions, engagement party, bridal showers etc.  I always think, Where will my pump go?  How will I get access to it when I need it?

For our engagement photos, I simply just sat my pump aside for the photoshoot because I knew that some way, some how that pump was going to make an appearance and I felt like I didn't want anything of this shoot to remind me of my diabetes (not because I don't like that part of me, but because diabetes IS always there, and I felt like this was an opportunity to have a moment to celebrate myself and Mike) PLUS, we may or may not have gotten a bit wet in the lake, so I didn't want to risk breaking my pump.

The ultimate test of wearability with the pump came with trying on WEDDING DRESSES! First of all, I was so excited that I thought my blood sugar was low and had to test before even going into the store. My nerves were all over, jumping with excitement at a moment every girl dreams of doing.  I sat my pump aside as I pulled on the beautiful dresses one by one, not worrying about where my pump would fit into the equation. Just enjoying every moment of wearing something so beautiful.

It wasn't until I said YES TO THE DRESS  that I acknowledged, I will have to make room for the insulin pump as I see fit.   As much as you don't want to have to worry about diabetes in all these amazing life moments, it has to happen, however,  it doesn't have to take away from the experience!


Kayla