Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gearing Into Action

As most people are aware I am doing my first triathlon on June 13th 2010! On that day I will have had diabetes for exactly one year and 4 months! For the past two days I have rode my bike in the morning on a 10k route and it has been great. Although I didn't feel much pain yesterday until I got off the bike this morning as soon as I sat down on the bike I felt as if I had been riding for many kilometres already!

With time I am sure it will become easier and easier and as soon as it does I know I will have to push myself harder. Michelle and I are going to swim at the Wayne Gretzky Centre to practice that portion of the race. I am looking forward to doing this triathlon with her even though I am sure she will fly past me!

To me, having the goal of finishing the give-it-a-tri triathlon is a great feeling because each and every day before the race I can push myself to limits that I had never tried before. Rather than getting up and feeling as if I am forcing myself to work out, I am waking up and looking forward to doing some fitness!

I am also going to be working as a full time teacher at the daycare this summer so I will be very busy! Working around that schedule will be a challenge but I know that I can do it! Also I will be getting a pump very soon so this whole summer is going to be one of the biggest journeys of my life to say the least. Thankfully I have all of you to help me along the way!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good People

There are people out there that are truly great people. People who are willing to lend a hand or make your smile. These people are not looking for anything in return but friendship or just that overall good feeling of helping someone out.

Throughout my life thus far I have met several people like this. Unfortunately this type of person is hard to find because let's face it not everyone has the time or patience to always be on your side. With our busy lives it's hard to set your problems aside and focus on another's.

In my first year of college I have met three people in particular that have shown me an unbelievable amount of helpfulness and kindness. Two happen to be professors and one is a new found friend. These three particular people have been a part of my success in my first year as well as success in many other parts of my life including diabetes.

First is Shannon Maheu, who was my Human Relations professor at Fanshawe. It may have been Keith Urban that made us friends or it could be attributed to her kindness and sincerity. Shannon has put in so much work in order to raise money for JDRF - Team KK. She has really been a great supporter since day one and I couldn't have asked for more from her and her family. In May, Shannon is having a garage sale with all of the profit going towards JDRF. I am looking forward to helping out with that!

Second is another professor at Fanshawe College named Haytham Mahfoud. Ever since I told Prof. Mahfoud that I was diabetic he constantly made sure that I was okay and comfortable. He was very aware of my diabetes which was refreshing since most teachers seemed to file it to the back of their mind. Not only did he make me comfortable with diabetes in the classroom he also helped me with my writing skills more than any teacher in the history of my education. His hard work really paid off and will never be forgotten.

The third great person is someone that I met second semester - that I wish I had met in first! Her name is Justine Peltz and she has been an amazing support system this past semester. Justine has helped me with the JDRF table at Fanshawe. She didn't hesitate to help me out and is always thinking of things she can do to help me even more. Justine and I have a lot in common and at this point I don't know what I would ever do without her as my friend!

There are many great people that I know like I mentioned before, but these three people have impacted me during my first year of college. They all demonstrate just how kind people can be. I thank you three so much and I thank all of the other great people in my life.

I like to think that I am one of those people that would lend a hand no matter!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Diabetes & I

Diabetes and I have a very interesting relationship. Unlike any other relationship I have had, diabetes and I are never apart. We don't go our own way at the end of the day or hang out every once in awhile; diabetes likes to stick around.

It is probably strange that I am referring to my illness in this manner when in reality it is just a disease. But I never classify myself as just a diabetic because I am much more than that. For all people, diabetes probably means different things to them. No one really thinks of diabetes as it is defined because that aspect of it is only a part of the disease.

I wonder how children would define diabetes? I doubt they would throw out the words bolus or basal, pancreas or auto immune. I rarely think about that facet of diabetes because diabetes will never change. Every diabetic in the world knows what diabetes effects and what they have to do in order to maintain it, but what's special about diabetes is that beyond all the medical terms; diabetes is much more.

To me diabetes is: new found friendships, outstanding support systems, unbelievable experiences, an emotional roller coaster, an inspiration after the next, a path to maturity, and a story to tell.

Diabetes and I have come along way since March 13th 2009. Not only have we come to know each other but there has been many benefits to our new found friendship. Although at times my friend diabetes becomes my worst enemy; we find a healthy and happy path to continue on.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give it Your All!

I have set specific goals for myself this summer that are bigger than I have ever before. For once in my life I am taking on challenges that will be a complete change from anything I have ever done before.

Never before have I had dreams like these. It wasn't until diabetes did I ever realize that I am capable of much more. That is the great thing about diabetes to me - I don't really have a say in whether or not I want to have diabetes but I do have a say about how I want to live. There is nothing in this world that can stop us from achieving our dreams because any obstacle that is thrown at us does not mean that we have to stop or quit.

My life before diabetes was pretty bland. I didn't have any big dreams that took effort to achieve. I was more interested in instant satisfaction than working towards something. Now I work hard in school to challenge myself and I push myself to conquer things that some people never attempt in their lifetime.

Although at times I don't think I can make it. Sometimes I don't think I can do the last 1km of my run or study any harder but there is aways something more to do and once you reach your goal whether it's finishing a 5k run or passing with a 90% you know that you gave it your all.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Within Range

Within the past two weeks I have had about four lows. That is a lot of lows for me since I rarely have them, so I have been trying to see what has been going on that has made my sugar out of whack.

One of the conclusions I have drawn up is that I am drinking a lot of water. Since I started drinking 2L of water a day it has been that way. Another thing is that I have started running and biking which causes my system to get a little mixed up. Hopefully once I start doing this type of fitness regularly my body will get used to it.

Going low could also be because of extra stress. With school wrapping up in the next week I have begun to pack up my things while studying for exams. Although I can never admit or 'feel' stressed - my body knows and shows it.

For anyone who doesn't have any idea what a low is I can try to explain. Going low is when your blood glucose goes below a 5.0. For everyone I believe it has different variations and sometimes a 3.4 can feel different depending on the day. But usually for me a low feels like my whole body is numb and shaky. The shaking usually begins to start in my hands and work its way down. I can feel the shaking in my butt but I am not sure if people can recognize it.

I get incredibly frustrated and quick paced. Everything I do is like a race to get done at this moment and sometimes the race isn't to get sugar - it could be to get supper finished or add a couple more words to my essay. Another thing is that I get incredibly sweaty as if I had done a 45 minute exercise. Sometimes these symptoms are felt at 4.5 but sometime it isn't until a 3.2 do I feel these signs.

Lows are never fun but neither are highs that is why it is so important to stay within range.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Auto Pilot

The other night I was thinking about who I have become. It is hard to imagine that almost ten years ago I was ten years old and had no clue where I was going to end up in life. How much ten years can change a person and to think in the next ten years how far I will go and how much I will have learned.

Truth is I am probably equally as clueless now as I was when I was ten. I don't truly know what the future holds but I do have a good idea where I want to end up. It can be a little annoying not knowing if you will make it where you are planning to go but half the fun is the journey getting there and of course there is going to be little detours along the way.

No one predicts that they will divorce, lose their job or get a disease/illness. These things are life's little ways of making sure you are paying attention. Truth is, we go on auto pilot for the majority of our days; we get stuck in the same rut. Thankfully a lot of people wake up from auto pilot once they go through these things and begin to start living.

So I could have never predicted that I would get diabetes. There is nothing in my power that could have stopped my disease. However, this unpredictable event has brought me somewhere very special and has allowed me to become mature, adventurous and happy.

I am proud of what I have accomplished and even without diabetes I know that I did have these great qualities I just did not have the confidence to believe in myself! I hope that with this confidence and ambition I can make the most out of the rest of my life because I don't want to live life on auto pilot.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Make Change

Yesterday I did my table out front the bookstore at Fanshawe and made $2.80. I realize that isn't a lot of money but it adds to the already collected amount of around $100.00 from Fanshawe students/staff. Sitting at the table I was more concerned about making people more aware of juvenile diabetes rather than taking their well earned change from them.

I was at the table alone so I had a lot of time to think to myself. As I watched people go by I really realized how much is unknown to the public about type 1 diabetes. I obviously can't expect people to know about diabetes since I once had no clue what the difference between type 1 and type 2 was; however, I was absolutely disgusted by the way some people act towards the word diabetes.

Now, I realize that there are numerous other diseases in the world that are well known and receive a great amount of support financially and socially around the world. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. I would never dare make remarks or conclusions about these diseases nor any other diseases because people are struggling every single second of the lives in order to survive these horrible diseases.

So why do people think it's funny to raise awareness about diabetes? Why do people think that diabetes isn't a big deal. I have no clue. I honestly cannot draw up a single conclusion why people would smirk at the idea of raising awareness/money for a disease that effects so many, many people.

I know a lot of people are probably thinking, no one really does this do they? But they do! I observed this! People read the sign that I made: "Dollars for Diabetes [ Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation]" and laugh or make jokes.

An example that happened was that a grown lady asked if she had to donate to get a sucker. I insisted that that was why I had the suckers and she then asked if I had change for a dollar. I couldn't believe that a person would walk up to a donation table for a sucker yet have no particular interest in helping out or even asking questions!

I may be running with this and honestly I do like to joke around and have fun but there comes a point where people need to realize what others go through. I would campaign for anyone that needed my help, whether or not I had the disease or whatever, I know that I would be there to help. But to some people have no interested in any one else but themselves.

I keep saying this but I want to make it very clear that I will do anything in my power to teach the public about juvenile diabetes because not everyone is going to get it, but chances are people are going to run into someone along the path of their lives that has it. We don't all get AIDS or HIV but it's incredibly important to be aware. Just be aware of what is around you and it's okay to be curious.


Wacky Dreams

Last night surprisingly my sugar was 20. I had taken the proper amounts of insulin during the day and even went for a run yet my sugar was still high. I didn't really know what the source of this high b/g was so I took corrective insulin to at least bring me down to 10.

At about 1:30 a.m I was having these wacky dreams. I often have these wacky dreams when my b/g levels are low. The dreams are very 'annoying' and keep me up and constantly tossing and turning. I decided to check my sugar and I was at a 6. This should have been fine but from my last experiencing of fainting at a 6 during the night, I decided to have a little chocolate and then go back to bed.

About an hour later these wacky dreams were still happening. It was as if my brain didn't want to rest. When I woke up fully, all I could think about was how hungry I was. I was wishing the cafe was open because I wanted to buy a great amount of food. I was starving! I checked my sugar and I was 3.8.

I acted on this but being very sleepy it was a little difficult to just sit there and eat. I had a few chocolates then some Mini Wheats. After about 15 min. I checked again and was at 5.9. I fell back asleep and before I knew it my alarm was going off and I was getting up to go to school.

Today has been a very sluggish and tiring day. I really just want to go to sleep and not worry about diabetes right now. Thankfully I only have revision left to do to an essay and then I just have to attend classes and prepare for exams.

At this point in time diabetes is really throwing me through some loops that is making my days a little bit more of a challenge. But I've done it before, what's going to stop me? Nothing.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Three Challenges

So I have decided to take on three specific challenges this summer:
1. 5k Mud run
2. Tiathlon
3. The Great Urban Race

I have already done the 5k Mud Run but it was definitely a challenge and I want to accomplish it once again. The second challenge is a Give-it-a-tri Triathlon so it won't be as extreme as a regular one, this one insists of a 2.5 k run, 400 m swim and a 10k bike race. The third challenge is one that I absolutely am so pumped for, it is like the amazing race in Toronto!

These specific challenges are expensive ones. Together they will cost me about $122 BUT I probably would spend that on clothes over the summer so I can think of it that way. Plus once I accomplish these I will feel great about it. I am really excited!

So I can't exactly rush into these without training in some way. I haven't been able to run in awhile so soon as I am done school in two weeks I will be out there practicing. I am getting a brand new bike as well so I can start riding my bike, since I haven't rode a bike in a very long time!

Hopefully these three specific challenges will put my butt into gear as far as fitness. Also, an update on my 2L water drinking experience: so far it is going great! I have done it every single day and have had amazing b/g levels!

Anyways, I am excited about the tree challenges and there is nothing that will stop me from conquering them!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Get Out There!

The key to living is to live: to live every second without doubts and to cherish those seconds that you will never get back. This key is so incredibly easy but more the half the population still does not know it yet and are struggling in their own lives just to find happiness.

I can't say that it is easy for everyone, and that my way of living will lead anyone to happiness because it simply will not. Some people are the type that happiness is weekends at the bar, or happiness is on the couch watching a good movie but to me happiness comes in many forms.

This unfortunately wasn't realized till a couple months after my diagnosis. Of course the first couple months were a big mumble jumble of figuring out what this 'diabetes' thing was but after that it all sort of sank in. With the help of Clinton, my family/friends and Connected in Motion, I found a place for me that made me feel happy and confident.

I was always known as the shy girl, but anytime I say that to someone now they think I am lying! I have come out of my shell because life isn't as good when you're just getting by. My life is not in no means perfect but I really do have a good time. People probably think that my life must suck having to put needles in my stomach and prick my fingers but honestly it's not too bad.

Yesterday we went to CIM Beach Volleyball tournament in Toronto and it was absolutely amazing. We had such a great time 'trying' to play volleyball. We didn't win but we truly all had a great time that we will never forget . . . including me spiking the ball into my mom's face.

Diabetes is so much more than just a disease. This term that doctor's throw at us, paste on posters and booklets to tell us what is wrong with our bodies. Diabetes may bring with it some extra twists and turns but ultimately diabetes is a community.

This disease has created bonds between people that would otherwise never happen. It has brought diabetics from one side of a town to another, or one side of the world to the other. Diabetes has caused friendships, relationships and unimaginable support systems. If only in the booklet they hand you in the hospital said . . . may increase your support system, friendships, outlook on life as well as overall happiness.

I know there are people out there that are not okay with their disease but trust me you can find this happiness too and if you're in Ontario I can even help you find your happiness a little faster. It all lies within an amazing community. Just get out there and start living.


Friday, April 9, 2010


As soon as I was diagnosed everyone told me to drink a lot of water. I do drink about a bottle of water a day but I knew that, that was not enough. I never really could get into the whole 2L of water a day in order to be 'healthy' and even when I tried I found myself falling off the track and drinking diet coke.

I decided to try and get back on the wagon again and so far the past three days have gone pretty well and I have almost stopped drinking diet coke. I drink 2L of water a day plus maybe a glass of milk or a large tea from Tim Hortons. The down side is the numerous visits to the bathroom but I have already noticed so many benefits from drinking all this water!

The first day I did this my sugar was amazing the entire day not going over 7! Yesterday I noticed that my eyes felt so much better! Hopefully I can keep up with drinking all this water because it is definitely going to make a difference.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Perfect Times

I have come to believe that people enter and leave our lives at perfect times. At first, they may not seem perfect but when we step back we begin to realize just how perfect of timing it truly is. Clinton and I have talked about how it is unfair when friendships end or when bad things happen to good people. I have had nights where I think of all the things I have done that could have made deserve getting diabetes.

There never will be an answer to why bad things happen to good people, but there definitely is different perspectives on it besides giving up and saying, "life just is not fair!" We are all put through little trials in our life that test our strength and abilities. Those who pull through whether the outcome is a success or not are fighters and those who give up are simply uninspired.

It would be incredibly easy for me to not be inspired. I wouldn't have to take time to write, volunteer or even speak about my diabetes. In the end I'd still have diabetes but I truly don't believe I would be as healthy as I am today. I could give up by not taking my insulin, nor checking my sugar; that would be easy but that would be a sign of weakness.

Rather than giving up I am fighting. By fighting I don't mean for my life ( I guess I could mean it that way) but I am doing just fine. I am fighting to make change in the diabetes community. Unfortunately I didn't have even a pinch of inspiration to live off of, but luckily now I have a whole handful.

What has brought me such luck is the people around me. Although at times I know they think I am crazy and have taken diabetes and ran with it, but deep down I know these people truly know what I am up too. To make things clear I am not using diabetes as a crutch. I don't do this for people to feel bad for me. I don't ask for pity parties or one on one care because 'I am special.'

My goal isn't too overwhelm the general public about diabetes. It's not my mission to annoy people about what type 1 diabetes is because I know that type 1 diabetes doesn't matter to a lot of people but I know that there are people out there that diabetes is a big part of their life.

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with people coming in and out of one's life at perfect times and frankly I may have gone off on a tangent. But this all really does connect in the way that the people around you are there for a reason even though you may not realize it at first. They are in your life to help you along the way and inspire you. They are put there because they understand you and can make sense when you have no sense at all. When we change as people, which I can clearly be a spokeswoman for changing as a person everything around us kind of changes too. Some people leave our lives that we know may not have been able to change with us while others change and adapt along our side.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ask a 4 Year Old!

If only diabetes was as simple as it is described by a child. As we get older everything gets a lot more complicated, but I do wonder if it is just because we make it complicated. The simplest things can just be the hardest to adults and our communication skills always leads to frustration and well, miscommunication.

For children it's much easier because they tell you how it is, they don't leave out words to be lazy and they tell you the truth without worrying about making it sound 'sweet'. I think that's why I love working with children because you can just be you without worrying because that is exactly how they are going to act.

Diabetes; however, is a disease that you don't have to be an adult to get. So children with diabetes instantly have their own ideas and thoughts about the disease without having to listen to the doctor's jargon. I don't know what it is like to be a child with diabetes but I can probably guess that they were not really thinking about the medical mumble jumble; they were just simply working with what they had.

Having diabetes as an adult is where things get complicated because an adult worries more and thinks way beyond reasoning. I really should speak for myself but I am sure I am not the only one who worries about what it's going to be like with diabetes when I am pregnant, diabetes when I get married and diabetes complications. These are things that will come with time, and being nineteen now, I shouldn't be worrying; however I do.

We really don't need to put extra stress on ourselves, diabetes or not. Things will come with time, and we just have to roll with the punches. If we were all children again we wouldn't be worrying about these things, of course these things were bound to hit us eventually but not soon. We were happy with simple things and nothing was MADE complicated.

To Josh, a 4 year old I babysit, my diabetes is only in my stomach. I only have diabetes when I give myself needles, and the needles suck out all my sugar. Of course this isn't true but it works doesn't it! It's not complicated nor a big issue and the best thing about it is that there is something to help me and after I give myself a needle everything is all good!

I guess what I am trying to say is that stress gets the best of us all, and it's way too hard to eliminate it but if we try baby steps to make things a little less complicated we may relieve some stress! Just ask a 4 year old.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Means so Much

Tomorrow is the second day of 'Dollars for Diabetes' and I am pretty excited about it. I really enjoy meeting different people in the halls of Fanshawe that have some connection to diabetes, whether it is their brother/sister or even themselves living with type 1 diabetes.

Last Tuesday we collected $64.00 which is outstanding! Any change makes a difference whether it's a penny, quarter or a five dollar bill. What's more important to me is being able to teach people what JDRF is and what they do, as well as giving them the link to my blog.

I know that some will just lose or throw out the card but I also know that, that card can potentially make a difference to someone out there. The more people are aware of my blog the better chance there is of helping someone which is my goal.

I will update everyone about how the Dollars for Diabetes table goes. Once again I thank Justine Peltz for taking the time to help me with this table. It means so much to me.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Easter Hop

As everyone knows Easter is filled with massive amounts of food. Not only do we pile it on our plates but we even go on a hunt for it and fill baskets. Unfortunately for diabetics Easter can be one big mess of insulin injections and blood checking.

I can only imagine what it is like for a child that is diabetic. I have so much respect for children with type 1 and their parents because kids are all about candy, chocolate and food. For me, it is a little easier because I am older and can understand the whole concept of eating only so much.

Unfortunately it's incredibly hard when on insulin injections to figure out how you're going to plan out your food. Food is constantly being passed around from appetizers to dinner to dessert to more snacks. It truly doesn't stop and neither does diabetes.

I have had a crazy weekend of highs because I have been bombarded by food choices! I could have said no but it's once a year! Today I could definitely see why a pump would make an excellent companion. My needles and I saw each other way to much this weekend!

Overall Easter went well, and slowly but surely I am letting people know that diabetic chocolate/sugar free chocolate is not for me!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Diabetes Game

From high to low sometimes can be a worse than a low. For me, I had an outstanding sugar of 19 but after giving myself insulin I went straight down to a 5.2 and that was with eating as well! The sudden drop within an hour and a half made me feel as if I had been struck by a truck.

I was thinking how much diabetes is like a game. You have to stay within range and battle the road blocks like going too low or being too high. You have to master a plan and obstacles such as birthday parties and Easter dinners are bound to make you re-think your game.

I know it's much more serious than a game, it isn't exactly Scrabble or Pictionary but at this point it's all about managing diabetes and however you may find it easiest is how you have to tackle it!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Numbers are People

There may be 300 000 Canadians living with type 1 diabetes but that's just a number. There are 300 000 human bodies living with type 1 diabetes, they have names, lives and different experiences. Of these 300 000 people one may be your neighbour, your dad or your classmate. We can provide outstanding numbers of people battling cancer, diabetes or multiple sclerosis but these numbers are just numbers like one plus one. These numbers are people.

I guess only being diagnosed for a year I am still considered pretty new. So maybe I don't have a huge story to tell regarding diabetes but I've definitely got one, just like all of you who have a life story with several chapters of your life that at different points you get to re-tell or maybe they're never spoken of.

I love meeting other diabetics because even though we are completely different people we share a bond that really can't be shared between a diabetic and a non-diabetic. It's like we know exactly how they feel when they talk about bad highs or lows. Of course the non-diabetics can recall when you had a low and maybe empathize with you but a diabetic really can understand.

Today I had a really weird experience. I sat down at a desk today, and then looked over and saw a Nova Rapid case with a insulin pen in it. It was one desk away and I couldn't help but think it was mine. I thought to myself, "why is my insulin pen over there?" It's not like I had it out but there was just no way in my mind that it was anyone elses but mine.

It may have been a silly question but I asked the girl who sat a desk over from me if the needle was hers. If it had been mine, I would have looked dumb but I just couldn't see why 'my' case would be sitting on the desk, had it fallen out of my bag?

She said it was hers and all of a sudden in a matter of seconds I felt like I knew her. We talked a little bit about it, but I just couldn't believe that a girl that had been in my class for almost an entire semester was living with diabetes and I had no idea.

I know there are tons of us out there and it really isn't too rare that one could be sitting beside me at any point in time but it was just one of those times where a number became a face.