Friday, May 11, 2018

One Size Fits All Care

I've come across many people with diabetes who accept and handle their diabetes in different ways. Really and truly as much as people think diabetes is just about insulin doses, carb counts and blood sugars there are many factors that come into play when trying to manage the disease. The frustrating part of it all is that usually the care in which a person receives in clinics and hospitals alike, is the one size fits all care.

It's unfortunate because many (not all) health care providers just don't have the time or energy to sit down and focus on what the patient/person with diabetes truly needs to see the light at the end of the tunnel.   Sometimes it is a matter of listening or a matter of providing different options for care. For instance, in my case I knew my downfall came with blood sugar checking. I knew in order to avoid missed finger pokes, I needed a sensor to stay on track.    That isn't the solution for everyone, it was just one of my solutions.

I often meet with youth who live with type 1, many who have had diabetes longer than I have. They're experts in their own diabetes care, and often times they know what they're slacking in and what the answer is, but the idea of changing or putting in the extra work is daunting. I get it!  Imagine back to when you were a teenager and think about all that was on your mind, now throw in a complicated autoimmune disease.  It's daunting!  

The care one person needs can be completely different than the next.  It's about listening and finding out what the obstacle is and how as a whole community (I'm talking family members, healthcare team, friends etc.) can help the person with diabetes in a way that makes THEM feel comfortable in managing their diabetes in a successful way.

Kayla







Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Running Shoe Effect

Does anyone else feel like as soon as they put their running shoes on, their blood sugar decides to plummet?  I could be running high all day, but as soon as I pull out my Nikes from the closet and lace them up, my blood sugars begin to trend down, causing a delay in said exercise.

Yesterday, M and I decided to go for a hike after dinner. My blood sugar was 6 mmol/Land steady, and I really wanted to not treat pre-hike because 6 mmol/L is a lovely number to be at.  Unfortunately, as soon as we parked our car in the lot before the trail, and began our way through the hilly dirt trail, M scanned my sensor and said, "You're at 5 mmol/L and heading DOWN!" Of course, that 6 didn't last very long before I was having to eat candies for the entire hike because being stubborn and wanting to hike, I wasn't willing to turn around and go home.

We trekked a bit further before M decided we shouldn't go too far into the trail (for obvious reasons and he wasn't likely going to be able to carry me the rest of the way, if I did pass out) I was a bit annoyed at diabetes for the fact that my blood sugar was quite high all day despite going for a walk earlier and cleaning the windows and deck, which are two things that usually lower my blood sugar and now here I am plummeting into the ground of blood sugars.

We stopped a few times seeing a deer and her babies, talking to some other hikers passing by and taking silly photos of one another, but ultimately I could feel my blood sugar still dropping (cue the white spots in vision and weird mood coming on.)  

Ultimately we got a hike in and my blood sugars were merely a lesson that at anytime diabetes can do what it wants so you have to role with the punches.

Kayla

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tech Support

Often we talk about how diabetes technology is helping the person with diabetes.  We hear about how it will make the  person with diabetes lives easier by allowing them to ease some of the burden of having to run their entire pancreas with blood drops and syringes.  But, what I have come to realize is that diabetes technology not only benefits me as the person who has diabetes, but also everyone around me.

With two weeks before I become a Mrs. I am soaking up all the love from my friends and family. We had my bridal shower a couple weeks ago and my bachelorette was just last weekend.  Now, I've spoke about the affects of diabetes and alcohol before, so I will leave that aside; however, it was so key to have the technology during these fun times to help assist my friends keep me safe when I am too busy having fun!

More and more I am feeling thankful for the new diabetes technology that is honestly changing the game of diabetes.  My fiance does not have to wait for me to stubbornly check my sugar anymore, he can just secretly swipe by my sensor.   He doesn't have to worry about us remembering if I bolused for dinner, we can easily check my pump to make sure it happened.  I think about the ease of mind that the technology must bring those people around me. I know that the tools that were designed to make the person with diabetes lives easier, in return also helps the ones that love them too!

Kayla

Friday, April 20, 2018

Adapt

While I've been silent on the blog, I've been steadily busy the past few months. I have found myself working hard at all my ambitions and really focusing on getting things done.  Oh, and I am planning a wedding which is happening NEXT MONTH!  With this being said, diabetes clearly has not been silent the entire time.

I must say though, since incorporating the Libre into my care system doing all of this on top of diabetes has been slightly easier. Not easy, but easier.  I have been finding myself focusing on building routine without letting diabetes interfere in a way that is detouring or destructive.  I am finding myself running with blood sugars that are manageable for the most part which gives me a much more relaxed mind to focus on my goals, ambitions and expectations.

I've had diabetes for awhile now and I have been able to adapt so far, because life is always changing and so are we as people.  We find new solutions and thankfully to new technology we can find ways to really live without feeling defeated.

I've wrapped up a semester of teaching at Fanshawe College and will be putting that energy into writing again and hopefully sharing more moments of my now and how diabetes is trailing beside me as I embark on a new chapter of marriage and all the other moments that will come about.

Kayla

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Advocates Don't Stop

This morning while enjoying my coffee, scrolling through various social media platforms, I came to realize one thing.  Those that are considered advocates in any field in which they stand are full of passion that goes beyond recognition.  I say this because I know as an advocate often times the hard work we do behind the scenes goes unnoticed or unappreciated.  Countless hours spent on planning events, campaigns, Facebook content, or posts that at times, can barely reach immediate family.

Yet, hours on end advocates spend time researching, creating and preaching without backing down.   I think back to my Young Leaders training that I attended in both Australia and Vancouver.  I think about the mass of advocates that I was surrounded by all focused on one cause, Diabetes. We all stood proud, we stood undefeated and restless all because we believed in advocating for a disease that has taken our time, our strength and without a doubt, likely someone we love.   We stood strong. We stood strong on the stage in Melbourne, waving our countries flag, holding brave faces knowing the advocacy work we did and only hoping that the efforts, the tears and the sweat behind each project shone through.

I remember that feeling of overwhelming pride as we walked down the isles of that auditorium, trying to connect with those that passed us by.  Hoping that they could see without a doubt that we were there to advocate. We were there to show them that we are not silent. We are not living in fear; rather, we are living to fight.

But, then by the end of the conference we head back to our homes. We continue our work, we press harder for bigger projects, more media recognition, more people to join our fight. We spend the so little time we have between jobs, our families, our friends and we put it to advocating because we believe it matters. We know it matters.

We are not in this for the pay, or the pat on the back. We are in this because we hold so much passion in our hearts for what we advocate. We solely believe that we, as advocates can make a change.  A change that is worth the time and frustrations. A change that will be for the greater good, rather than just for ourselves.  We hold that passion near to our hearts and together we believe.


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I want to say thank you to all the advocates out there that stand for what they believe in. Thank you for all the time you put into your projects, groups, and work.  Without advocates change would not happen. Without advocates people who are underserved, or left behind would not have a voice nor a place to turn.  Advocates, keep your passion warm and close to your heart and continue to believe that what you're doing will make a difference.


Kayla





Friday, December 29, 2017

Saying Hello to 2018

In a few short days we welcome a new year.  The greatest thing is that it falls on a Monday. A new week, a new month and a new year all bundled into one!  

This is the time of the year where we make resolutions that we stick to for thirty days, we promise ourselves this year is "our" year and we begin to work on ourselves more than ever whether that is clearing the clutter in our desks, eating more vegetables, attempting to floss more or the all mighty resolution, losing weight.  

For me, I have set resolutions every year in the back of my mind and rarely do I ever follow through, instead I end up just setting new goals along the way as opportunities pop up. I don't think that's a sign of me failing at my set intentions, but rather adapting to the ever changing life ahead of me.   For 2018, we will be getting married, which opens up a whole new chapter in itself!  I also will be embarking on a small part time position at the local college as an instructor; which is a very new and exciting adventure! 

Saying Hello to 2018 feels good! I know that while good things are ahead I am sure challenges hide among them. I am open to change, adaptation, new experiences and adventures that take bravery, hope or drive.  I am welcoming 2018 with the idea that my life is for ever changing, but my support through it all has remained stable. 

I wish everyone else the same excitement for their 2018 ahead.  The open mind to accept new experiences, the open heart to love those that surround us and the open door to let others in.

Kayla 




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Draining Battery

During holidays, or stressful times, living with a chronic illness can feel like a draining car battery.  Enough juice to make an attempt, but not enough to go anywhere.  You may feel a heavy sense of guilt, not doing enough as others or falling short on your to-do list.  While this isn't just an occurrence for people living with an illness, seeing the direct correlation of stress and your bodies response (blood sugars) is a tell tale sign.

For me this year has been full of excitement, planning, and of course a lot of stress.  Having been planning a wedding for the past seven months, maintaining a couple jobs, and the recent loss of my grandfather, dealing with diabetes and stress has been an open tab for quite some time. Fluctuating blood sugars, constant lows or constant highs, I've been riding a rollercoaster of unpredictable blood sugars for months now.

Often times in diabetes education appointments, they will speak about how to deal with diabetes when you're sick, but often the mental health aspect of diabetes is overlooked.  While I may not be coming down with flu like symptoms, my mind is busy, overworked and I am tired - now what do I do? 

There really is no one-size fits all answer. While, during sick days you're taught to keep a close eye on blood sugars, drink plenty of fluids and change your insulin ratios - it seems stress doesn't always play such a predictable game.  My best advice that I've tried to focus on for myself is taking time to enjoy those moments where my heart feels content, whether that is playing with my niece, spending time with my friends or family or just being in a space where I feel calm.  

Blood sugars will rise and fall, I haven't come across anyone whose blood sugars remain the same. Stress will come and go in many different forms and life will keep on passing by.  Maintaining the charge in your battery will always be hard, but never impossible. 

Kayla