Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ways to Support


Well, this has been quite the month!  We’ve spent almost the entire month isolated. Since Mike works from home, not a whole lot is different on the home front, but I do miss my routine very much!    We try to get out for walks when we can, because of course Cola also needs to go outside but part of me realizes that soon that could be cut short as the measures get more and more severe - plus the trails and sidewalks were starting to look like the mall with all the people that have no place to go but outside. 

Living with type 1 diabetes, I realize I may be more at risk. To be honest my blood sugars haven’t been optimal because Nixon keeps me incredibly busy (we have an early mover since six months and he’s go go go!) and since my fitness has drastically gone down since we can’t go to our baby and mama classes - it’s just been a bit of a struggle bus over here. Not to mention the extra snacks from being near the fridge all day. 

Since we are all practicing social distancing (or at least we should be!) I wanted to chart out a couple things you can do for the type 1 in your life during this time because to be honest while staying home may sound like a good opportunity to catch up on new t.v shows or rest (unless you’re mom...) a lot of people living with autoimmune diseases are feeling a bit on the edge during this time. 

  1. It’s possible that the type 1 in your life has had delayed or cancelled appointments from their doctors or nurses at the diabetes education centre. While they may have the resources online, they may be struggling with management.  Of course, don’t give them medical advice, but check in with them to see how they’re doing (both physically & mentally) and assist them (remotely) in finding alternatives for care.
  2. It’s likely during this time of self isolation they will need to go to the pharmacy to pick up supplies such as insulin, test strips, sensors etc. Thankfully pharmacies will stay open (of course!) but having them go may put them at risk, instead you can assist them by suggesting alternatives like delivery or if you’re well enough picking up and dropping off their prescriptions on their porch.  Of course this is ultimately up to them and what you feel comfortable doing, but what I’ve found is a lot of people do not realize the amount of delivery options out there for things like medicine, supplies and groceries.                
  3. Grocery stores are insane right now. We’ve been doing online ordering and drive up pick up. It means we don’t have to interact wit any other humans outside of our car!  As a type 1 we need low supplies whether that’s juice boxes, fruit snacks, skittles etc.  I don’t believe these things are high in demand for others, but when we run out of low supplies, going to the grocery store just to pick up fruit snacks may feel a bit silly.  Instead, if you’re heading out to get groceries or making an order, check in to see if you can add a low supply to your list to once again porch delivery drop off.   I think this is a good idea for anyone that is living in close proximity. The less people going to the stores, the better!

Thankfully, I’m not self isolating alone and have Mike to help me.  But there are type 1s out there who are home alone and could use the extra support during a time of uncertainty.   I realize how important it is to at least attempt to keep our diabetes in check despite battling stress, and other entities that come with staying home (possibly child care, work etc.) however, sometimes this is difficult and can seem like an endless pull.   Finding ways to support each other during this will be what helps us keep positive.  

Kayla 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Shifting my Perspective


I must admit I didn’t realize the impact this COVID-19 was going to have on this world and by world I mean literally every thing from travel plans (our Disney trip...) to groceries, right down to general human contact.  I was at Shoppers Drugmart earlier in the week to get a few things and didn’t stock pile on anything like toilet paper or snacks (okay, I did buy some Cadbury eggs, but they’re long gone).  I didn’t think about getting more insulin or juice boxes and maybe I should have? I don’t know. 

I don’t usually get anxious about this type of stuff. By “this type of stuff” I mean things that may greatly effect my diabetes.  I don’t know why I’m not a worry wart about it because I literally worry about EVERYTHING else but I guess that’s how I keep my cool about living with type 1 diabetes.  

When people say “compromised immune systems” I literally don’t think about myself in that group even though technically I am.  I am “the people” that are at risk I guess, and with everything slowly shutting down maybe I need to sprinkle a little worry into myself so that I am prepared as a type 1 to hunker down. 

Yesterday I looked into our pantry after hearing and seeing the lines that were pouring out of our local places like Costco and Walmart. We have pasta, we have rice, but my stash of fruit snacks for low blood sugars is getting low. Wait, I may need those. I do need those.   Of course I have run low on low supplies before, but it wasn’t a worry about whether or not I’d be able to get more.  I’m sure all the mamas are loading up on fruit snacks along with the toilet paper, so will fruit snacks be hard to find soon too?  Who knows. 

The next thing I did was look in the fridge to see how much insulin I had left. A few vials and because of the restrictions on how many vials insurance will cover during a certain period (I called) I cannot stock up.  So there was another little moment of, “oh sh*t”.      

It’s not really bothering me that I am “at risk” because with type 1 diabetes I am on the top of many lists, but what began to worry me was would I have enough supplies if things were to shut down, or become sparse.  

We often ‘joke’ about if diabetics would survive the apocalypse, after all we are so dependent on our supplies and medications and while this isn’t an apocalypse, it really shifted my mind into a place I’ve never actually felt.   A place where I truly realized my dependence on things despite always feeling at ease.  

I know access to these things like insulin and food has been something I have taken for granted when for many people around the world this is their everyday reality despite what’s happening in the world.  It has given me an opportunity to step back and realize how fortunate I am. 

Hopefully in this chaotic time we can also take time to appreciate all that we have and know that nothing is guaranteed.  Whenever the hysteria settles, I’ll be thinking of my health in a different light.  

Friday, March 13, 2020

Eleven: Friday the 13th 2009 vs. Friday the 13th 2020


Friday the 13th, it’s a familiar day, because it was Friday, March 13th 2009 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 

Most people know my diagnosis story, I’ve been blogging about it for eleven years. The eerie part has been that it was a Friday the 13th.  The emergency rooms were full of craziness, which is likely what it’s like right now eleven years later during this pandemic.     As Mike joked yesterday, “world is shut down, just like your pancreas.”   Hopefully the world can get back on its feet just like I did.  
Gift from Mike & Nixon 

To add some positivity to what seems like a daunting Friday the 13th.  I wanted to highlight three things that I am grateful for having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.   Seems wild to see the positive in something that can be stressful, taxing and difficult - but I always try to find the good.  

  1. Friendships Made 
 I am so incredibly lucky that my diagnosis introduced me to people (globally) that I would have not met otherwise.  Friends that I can vent to, laugh with and know they they truly understand. I’m so thankful for every single one of them. 

  1. Timing of Technology
I’m very familiar with the technologies or lack there of before I was diagnosed. Never did I have to boil syringes to reuse them like my Great Grandpa did, or did I have to pee on a stick and wait for the results to know what my blood sugar was.  The technology has surely progressed in the past eleven years ten fold and I’m grateful for that. 

  1. Empowerment & Growth of Who I Am
I’m not sure where I would be today had I not been diagnosed. I am not sure what my profession would be, if I would have found an outlet for my hobbies like writing,  or if I would have travelled as much as I have been lucky to do so.  What I do know, is who I am today is greatly shaped by type 1 diabetes.  I admit that I have really thrown myself into these opportunities (I realize that you don’t get to just travel the world as soon as you’re diagnosed) but having a story to tell and the confidence in my craft of writing, public speaking and leadership has allowed me to pursue these opportunities. Type 1 diabetes has empowered me to show that I can do whatever I set my heart on, with hard work  (pregnancy for example) it is possible.  

Thank you to all my friends & family for being there for me for the literal and metaphorical highs and lows.  

Kayla 


Thursday, March 12, 2020

A Story to Tell: Year One with Type One and Twas My Type of Christmas


Books can be great tools for discussing type 1 diabetes with little ones and I don’t think it’s ever too early to start.  


Nixon won’t know any different about his mom having diabetes, the checking, juice boxes, test strips and tubing will be the norm to him as he sees me navigate type 1 diabetes.  What I’ll teach Nixon - with the help of these books Year One with Type One and Twas My Type of Christmas is that there are many others of all ages out there that live with type 1 diabetes. 

Thanks to author and diabetes dad, Mike Suarez for sending us two of his books Year One with Type One and Twas My Type of Christmas. These two stories that are so wonderfully written both had me smiling and tearing up as he tells the 
story of his son’s diagnosis through his child’s eyes.





You can find these stories on Amazon here: 



Kayla 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Feeling Guilty


Guilt, we can feel it when we perceive that what we are doing is wrong or will be viewed as wrong. We feel guilty when we don’t check our blood sugars enough, we feel guilty when we see high blood sugar numbers or a not so pleasant lab result.  We feel guilty for eating something that we know we will have to try to fight a battle with later. We feel guilty. 

Most of the time when I feel guilty it’s on my own conscience, not because I fear someone else will judge me. I know that no one is going to see my exact blood sugar at that moment, but I fear to check it to ultimately know what it might be. I feel guilty that I didn’t perhaps take enough insulin, I didn’t give my mind enough time to figure out exactly what I should have done, or that I neglected my diabetes entirely.    

Sometimes when I know, just know that my blood sugars are wild - I try to avoid checking because I know confirming with results is going to change my mood. Of course my mood is effected already because I know it’s likely high, but seeing the exact pattern and perhaps how long it’s been high, will solidify that guilt.  

It’s hard to be ‘easy’ on myself and to remind myself that my blood sugar numbers or care does not define me.  I am capable of taking care of myself, but I forgive myself for the times I can’t do it all.   

Kayla 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Book for Us: Mommy Beeps by Kim Baillieul

As Nixon grows more curious, I wonder what it will be like to explain my type 1 diabetes to him. He has already discovered my insulin pump, often tugging on the tubing or grabbing the pump, while I “ta-ta” him for now, before I know it he will be asking questions and I’ll explain! 



I stumbled upon something special online the other week, that made me place an Amazon order right away. A book that seemed so perfect for now, for later, for me and for him. Mommy Beeps by Kim Baillieul is the perfect little book for not only a child who has a parent with type 1, but also for the parent who has type 1.  



It literally brought me to tears reading each page that simply, yet precisely explained type 1 diabetes and all that it entails.  From doctors appointments, to pharmacy visits, to insulin storage and supplies - this book is a must for any child who loves a type 1! 

This book also has beautiful illustrations (Elisena Bonadio) that make you realize this book isn’t just an educational piece, but a beautiful story of the life of a type 1 mommy! 

While Nixon may not fully understand yet, I know it will be our special little book about his mommy. 

You can check it out here: 


Kayla 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Power of Community

The power of community is unmeasurable. I learned this early on in my diagnosis. I was shown the diabetes community both in real life and online within weeks of my diagnosis and I credit my positivity on that. Knowing people who are going through what you’re going through is incredibly helpful and also very healing at times.  You realize you’re not the only one who may be struggling or feeling drained and you connect over things that others in your life do not

I should have known that motherhood would be the same, it just turns out there are way more opportunities and mothers out there than there are type 1s!  Motherhood is funny because you are literally thrown into it without really being able to prepare. I mean we think we are prepared because we buy the things, we read the books or we do the classes (I only bought the things & totally winged the rest...) but really nothing can prepare you for what being a parent is really like.  Similar to diabetes, you can be the smartest endocrinologist with a strong knowledge of diabetes, but without that lived experience it’s hard to know what it’s really like until you’re thrown into it. .

I consider myself lucky because I didn’t deal with postpartum depression like some mothers do, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have the emotions, anxiety, worry, stress or loneliness that comes with being a mom. Those first few months are rough!  While I had found a few mom instagrammers online (which is both helpful and not helpful) I didn’t immediately think about finding a motherhood community to help re connect me to the outside world, like I said those first few months are rough.

Finding the diabetes community not only changed the way I perceived my diagnosis, but it also introduced me to many amazing people.  I knew that opening up myself to other mothers surely had to have a similar positive ripple effect into my life and surely it has.   It really is community that makes things easier.  Every time we interact with others, we get the opportunity to learn something new, feel a new connection, have an ah-ha moment, re energize or just feel a little less alone in this crazy adventure.

Community is so important regardless of what you may be going through, like that one saying says, “find your tribe & love them hard.”

Kayla