Thursday, September 30, 2010
This note will be my 316th and that number seems huge to me - I never thought that these notes would continue this long when I first sat down to let everyone know I had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After awhile I realized that these notes were more than my therapy - they were a lot of others therapy. Not only other diabetics, but people of all different types living different lives with different opinions and struggles.
316 notes doesn't exactly describe the play by play of my diabetes, but it comes pretty close. I have had diabetes for about 635 days and in that short time I have managed to capture what it's like to live with diabetes and even better how diabetes has changed my life.
I have met the most amazing people through my blogs - people from Australia, people from the United States, Europe and Canada and they all have been open enough to share their stories with me and how they can relate to what I have wrote whether it was from my early stages of diabetes or something recent I have just experienced.
I love hearing from my readers and sometimes I am surprised to know who reads my blogs. I remember when I was getting interviewed by Brant News the reporter asked me if I knew how many people read my blog and I had no idea because truth is I get messages from people who I'd never expect to have read my blog, yet do.
I'd love to hear comments - if my blog has helped you or inspired you. It's so nice to hear positive feedback and to know that my story is being heard and passed along. It's the great thing about writing.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We all can assume things that we can achieve. We assume we can get certain grades on tests, we assume we can walk a 5k distance, we assume things that we no without a doubt we can achieve. But what happens when we go beyond our assumptions. We push ourselves beyond all that we thought achievable.
My life from diabetes on has been all about pushing myself to the unknown. Yes, I've signed myself up for some pretty crazy things like mud runs, amazing races and half triathlons. Those things I didn't think were ever going to make my life story, but some how they did. We assume practical things that pretty much everyone goes through - we assume we will graduate, we assume we will land a pretty decent job and we assume we will create a nice little family.
Assuming isn't a bad thing because it keeps us grounded and feeling like we have a sense of control over our lives, but throwing in the odd curve ball is always a great way to live. My biggest achievements so far have come from things I didn't plan on doing. Like running for a complete hour on the treadmill on Monday. I would have never assumed that I could have ran that long without stopping - basically because I have never, ever, ever done that. But I pushed myself, and didn't let myself give up - didn't let myself assume that after 30 minutes I was done - I just kept going.
Now this makes me think - maybe assumptions hold us back in a way. Who knew I had it in me to run 8 km in one hour considering I've never ran that far before. Maybe I had it in me all along, but never thought I could do it. Like the half triathlon - even the day before the event I was thinking, "oh my, can I even do this?" but surprise, surprise I finished and I wasn't even last!
So maybe some choices I make scare me - for instance applying to Australia. But I can't let a silly assumption stop me from making bold, crazy choices. Who knows what I can do - I can only surprise myself.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
If there is one thing that I am good at it would be stressing. You know the saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff" - well I don't tend to live by that. For some reason I let the smallest of things take away all my concentration which in turn leaves me feeling the stress of the world on my shoulders.
When I stress it's not just my mind stressing, but it is also my body. I feel the repercussions of my stress reflected through my blood sugar and my over all health. I realize that these symptoms may not be apparent for those who aren't constantly monitoring their blood sugar - but it's proof that stress effects absolutely everything.
Right now I am trying very hard to take time for myself and focus on what I am doing now. I worry so much about the future that I miss out on things that are happening now. Now with my Y membership I am allowing myself to de-stress from what school brings. I started a yoga class today and it was very peaceful and very different from my usual workout.
Life is too short to be panicked and stressed all the time, I just need to learn to relax!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Leave it to me to move 100 kilometres from home and find a second family. For most people that second family comes from friends they met in their classes, while my second family involves three little boys and two awesome parents.
I am so incredibly lucky to know that whether I am in Brantford or London I have a place to call home. Yes of course I have my townhouse located in the 'ghetto' of London (Okay, so it's not THAT bad) but I have a home here that I know I can go to at any time and feel as if I never left Brantford.
The Maheu Family has been my home away from home. After having Shannon has a prof, our similar interests in Keith Urban automatically made us friends and since then I couldn't be more happier that I took Human Relations!
Moving away from home is a big deal and especially moving away with diabetes - last year I had only had diabetes for 6 months before having to figure it out all on my own. I was in a new environment and it was up to me how I was going to manage my diabetes - my life.
Knowing that I have the support from the Maheu's in London has made it a lot easier and refreshing for me. I know that if I ever need anything that they are only 10 minutes away. They have been more than wonderful to me and I will always be thankful for their help and kindness.
Let's hope there is an Australian version of the Maheu's for next school year!
Friday, September 24, 2010
You could read through my notes from the very first post in March 2009 up until the last post in September 2010. You might find a change in me from then until now, find lessons I learned, experiences I shared. I enjoy looking back at these notes because unlike a lot of other people I have created an archive of me. I can go back to this very day last year and know just how I was feeling. Last year I wrote about how much Clinton meant to me in 'Here's to You' and thankfully to this day I can still safely say that that note remains true.
I know that I have created a written story of my life that will hopefully live on forever. My challenges, triumphs and battles will always be a tale to tell, proof that diabetics or anyone with an illness or disease is in no way limited. If anything it gives me that extra push to try new things, go beyond and live life to the fullest because I know that I am in control of my story and the more things I can experience and do the better the story becomes.
I am only twenty and don't intend on sitting around for the rest of my life. I cannot afford to waste time, i've got a lot of things to do and a lot of places to see.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Lately I have been determined to be the best that I can be. I am sure that is written on a poster somewhere in a classroom - but honestly, determination is a trait that takes hard work to maintain. I have had so many phases in my life when I said I was determined to lose weight, determined to get a good mark, determined to not fall for stupid boys, yet time and time again I broke my promises and threw determination out the window.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes there was nothing I could do to change that. I could have ignored the whole diagnosis, but I can safely say I wouldn't be here writing this blog. At that moment I became pretty determined that whatever the challenge I was determined to beat it or at least stay strong throughout. I like to think that this determination as lasted.
There were a few slips along the way. I did have moments where I wanted to stop needles, stop pricking, just stop diabetes. There were time when eating healthy was like a last resort that I was not willing to visit at all. I went through the phase of, well I'm not huge, so one more handful why not? I realize that I did this pre diabetes - but honestly who doesn't say that when they want to eat something incredibly unhealthy.
Determination in some aspects of my life slipped, but apart of me was ready to pick it up again and prove that not only am I doing this to prove that diabetes doesn't have a hold on me - but to prove that I can do whatever I set my mind too. I am determined to go far with my education, to become the best primary teacher you've ever seen and also I am determined to be healthy and take every opportunity like it's a Christmas gift wrapped just for me.
I am not turning down chances or experiences - I am going to step outside of my comfort zone and I am going to think outside the box. If we only get one shot at this then I am determined to make the most of it.
Monday, September 20, 2010
It always crosses my mind whether or not people perceive me as healthy. The facts are that when people say diabetes most people have a different idea in their head. I can only assume that if I asked random people what kind of people get 'diabetes' they would say, old people and unhealthy people.
The stigma around diabetes is extremely harsh for those living with type 1. Not only are the majority of us young, but we are healthy in some cases extremely healthy. I realized just how bad the stigma was when I set up my booth outside of Fanshawe. I was extremely shocked at some of the reaction to the booth (even though it said Juvenile Diabetes) I am sure the word diabetes stuck out which then lead to the belief "oh well it's there fault they got it - why would I give them money!"
As type 1 diabetics we find ourselves laughing at the misinformation that is given by people of some-what authority. People we watch on t.v like Dr. Oz. How can these people who know so much about 'medicine' not have a slight clue on how to get across that type 1 diabetics are nothing like type 2 diabetics.
Okay, so this sounds like a war of the diabetics - but it truly isn't. I just know that as a diabetic I can easily be judged as being an unhealthy girl who ate too much candy. It's hard to educate people about diabetes because how many times do you hear about the epidemic of diabetes due to fast food, lack of exercise, processed foods.
I guess the best thing to do like many other type 1's I know - is to prove to those people who have already judged me - that I am healthy and that nothing is too big of a challenge for a type 1.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I've spent about 16 years in a classroom from kindergarten up to my second year of post secondary. Throughout those years I have had some outstanding teachers that will always have left an imprint on me. I have managed to learn lessons that I assume were gained through my sixteen years behind a desk, writing down words off a chalk board and memorizing words that meant something to someone at some point in time.
But even though all those lessons were essential to who I am today and must be given credit for getting me where I am - I know that a lot of the lessons we learn are from outside the classroom or institution. These lessons are learned at recess, playtime and social events. These lessons are learned from health issues, break-ups and family conflicts.
If all our lessons were learned from inside the school we would all be the same. We would all just be able to regurgitate what we learned in class and have no idea how to apply it. We wouldn't have anything interesting to add to conversations.
Yes, we need school systems and outstanding teachers to teach us lessons that will help and will always help us in achieving success and wisdom; however, I think we need to put a little emphasis on the lessons that we can learn from outside.
I never realized how important it was to take part until being diagnosed. It is so easy to just let the world pass you by. It's amazing how many things are out there for us to experience and learn, yet so many people think the only place for learning takes place in front of a professional teacher.
After being diagnosed I knew that I was given diabetes for a reason. It's very cliche for me to say this, but it's one of those things that once you have been given something that you cannot change you begin to think of why you were given it. I knew that I was overall a good person with a kind heart and good intentions. I knew; however, that I wasn't living my life to its full potential.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I try my hardest to experience life. Even though naturally I am a bit timid and sheltered - I have come to realize the best lessons come from taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone. For example, moving away to attend school. Even though pre-diabetes that was out of the question I began to realize that there was a lot more out there for me. I allowed myself to jump into something I was unsure of, yet knew that I was strong enough to handle.
I guess this is what I am living by now - knowing that even if I feel scared about it and nervous chances are I am going to come out with more knowledge than before and who knows what will follow next.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Since having a pump I have had a lot of other diabetics ask me whether or not my choice to go on a pump was worth it. I know that a lot of type 1's are finding themselves stuck between two pathways - whether to keep going with what's familiar or take a path that has unknown.
It's so easy to take the path that is familiar and that is why so many people get stuck in old habits. They may find themselves saying well this has worked, so why change something that isn't broken. It's true with a lot of things in life whether your diabetic or not. It becomes that much harder of a choice when you know that it is closely directed to your health and well being. The choice is yours, but the question is what impact will the choice make.
For me the choice at first was pretty clear - I wasn't going to go on the pump. As interesting as it sounded and as cool as you could make them look with skins - I was NOT going to wear something on me. It wasn't because I was hiding to the world that I was diabetic or because I was embarrassed of needing some type of device to keep me alive, but the fact that I would be stuck to my diabetes was absolutely absurd.
I don't know what struck me that made me change my mind. I really hadn't endured too many needles - it wasn't like I grew up being diabetic. I just had this feeling that the pump could do something for me that my needles couldn't. What it could do I didn't know. Still to this day I am sorting out the pros and cons of wearing my insulin pump, but I cannot see myself going back to needles in the near future.
When diabetics ask me if I regret getting it - I know that I don't because I have a choice to stop insulin pump therapy. I don't know exactly why I don't regret it, but I just don't. When diabetics ask me what I have noticed as far as improvements I basically say it cuts out a lot of needles in the long run; however, the needle to put it in is a little bit intimidating.
The cons of course relate to having to wear it all the time. As if diabetics don't have to think about their diabetes every second of the day - let's attach something to their body to remind them. It isn't exactly the best accessory to every outfit, but hey it's family now!
There has been quite a few times where I feel my site or my pump and think, 'oh my god' am I really diabetic? As if I just found out again - because I grew up non-diabetic and really haven't had a long run with it yet. I am still shocked that I am diabetic and I think it's one of those things that you just don't believe even though you are treating it, dealing with it and living with it every second of the day.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Now that the first week of school is over with and it's finally the weekend I have had time to reflect about where I've been and how far I've come. This week has been hectic and crazy. From trying to get from class to class while settling into a new environment - this week has by far been the craziest week I've had in a long time.
On my hour drive home from London to Brantford I thought about how fast time flies. Not even from Monday - Friday, but from year to year. It is almost like we blink and it's a new day. Some days that's a good thing - stressful days we wish to go by in seconds while amazing days we wish to last forever unfortunately that usually never works in our favour.
After finishing up this crazy week I began to think about how far I have come as a person and how much small things in my life have changed me. I am so incredibly lucky to be where I am today - going to college, having great friends and family and knowing myself for the most part.
In a way getting diabetes early in my life has been an eye opener that many people my age will not experience until much, much later in their lives. This simple inspiration I have received from diabetes cannot be gained through going to bars, getting drunk or just sitting around - it's a knowledge that has to be learned from hardship, pain and experience unlike no other.
I am not bragging, 'oh I have diabetes - I know myself better' because I could be very wrong. However, just from my personal experience I've come to realize that diabetes may have given me more than a broken pancreas and an insulin pump - diabetes may have given me knowledge that can't be learned through any degree of education or basic life experience.
So here I was living healthy and free from diabetes for almost nineteen years of life - was I incredibly happy? no. Was I living life to the fullest? no. Did I have nearly enough empathy, interest or dedication? absolutely not. It was all a matter of pieces falling into place once I was diagnosed - as if I instantly had the answer of who I am?
Of course I am still learning and will always be changing in various ways, but at this young age of twenty I think I have a good understanding of myself.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Since having the pump I haven't had too many troubles with my sites. There have been a few pretty tough ones to put - some that hurt and some that felt like nothing. Usually I haven't had a problem with keeping them on for a full three days, but these past two sites have been a huge pain!
Since my skin is peeling from a sun burn that I got in Panama the skin under my site is not tough enough to hold the adhesive on the site. I first tried covering it with a band aid to keep it on, but when I woke up the band aid was left in my bed. I had to change me site a day and a half early and put in a new one. By the end of the day that site was also peeling off - and it was starting to hurt. Not wanting to change my site again I tried using skin prep (like a glue) to help the site stay on better - I also covered it with a band aid.
So far my site has stayed on even though it looks pretty brutal. I know that eventually my skin will stop peeling and it will be back to normal. I could try using the skin prep before putting on a new site, but I find that it makes the skin too tough and hard which makes breaking the skin painful.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
You don't notice how big something is until others talk about it. To me diabetes is my morning, afternoon and night. I don't think of it as a disability, a disease or a crutch. I know what happens when my sugars go low and when they go high and for the most part I am completely in control of my diabetes.
Yet, when you meet a new person and begin to describe your daily rituals and the work that you had to go through in order to understand your diabetes, or possibly your insulin pump - it begins to sink in that you actually are dealing with a big situation every day.
This year I decided to make it official at my college that I was a student living with diabetes. Reason being is so that my teachers can fully understand what I am doing and what diabetes involves. Of course they don't receive a full on presentation by the Diabetes Education Centre, but they do get a list of all the things that I may need in order to make the most of the classroom while managing my diabetes.
I am a 4.0 student and know that almost all of the services will not be a necessity to me and I addressed that to the counsellor very clearly that I don't want to use services for the purpose of 'because I can' because I know that I am fully capable of independently working alone with no services.
However, in some classes food and drink is prohibited - but with this paper I can go against that - much like leaving the classroom for emergency reasons. Small things like that that may effect me in class, but will not effect my final grade or how my professor views me as a student.
I highly recommend this for any diabetic that is going to a college/university. I know that sitting through the meeting will be difficult and hearing all of the services will be hard - but it doesn't mean you have to use them. No diabetic wants to think that having diabetes is a disability because it doesn't disable us from doing anything, but it's incredibly important for your professors to know that you are diabetic and that anything can happen.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It's like being in a club unlike no other. An all access pass to something money can't buy. Being diabetic is more than being diagnosed with 'diabetes' it's about going beyond the box we live in - and reaching out to places that we have never dared to go.
I think that a lot of people who have had to adjust to a new lifestyle have a common belief that even when times are tough - nothing is impossible. It's about looking at life with a different lens and once you can do that you can begin to realize how much is out there.
Every diabetic I meet - young or old has felt what it's like to endlessly prick their finger, squeeze for blood and hope that there is enough to fill the strip. All diabetics know what it's like to dread to have to give themselves insulin before a delicious meal. It's those kind of things that bond complete strangers together.
I am so lucky to have an outlet that I can use to reach out to so many people living with diabetes around the world. I love hearing the stories of diabetics because I know that no matter what I can some how relate and possibly help them.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
It seems that everything I do is some how connected to my diabetes. If I am stressed my sugars are effected and if I'm busy my sugars will act accordingly. No matter what I am doing I have to have my diabetes in mind.
I now am all settled in my townhouse in London. Since being here my sugar has gone below four three times, one being in the middle of the night. I know that moving into a new place is a big change and the whole environment is one to be adapted too.
I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life - finishing up my Liberal Studies Diploma and even if the littlest things effect my diabetes I am very much prepared to deal with it. I've learned a lot from my diabetes, but the biggest lesson I've learned is that I can get through the impossible and nothing can hold me back.
So even though this change is a big one and I will have to adapt I know that no matter what I can succeed and grow.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I am home now from my Panama vacation! It was a great trip and I would go back there in a heartbeat. The whole idea of having an insulin pump while on vacation was not bad at all - in fact at times I barely noticed I had it.
In my opinion sometimes you just have to do it. Even though it seems scary or annoying, impossible or a pain. There are some thing you just have to do and work with. No, it wasn't fun having to take off my pump every time I decided to dip in the pool and it wasn't convenient wearing a dress with my pump - but there was nothing I could do about it.
Going through the border with the pump was a little nerve wrecking at first. I didn't want my bag of supplies going through the x-ray, so that was the first obstacle then I had to let them know I was wearing the insulin pump that I couldn't take off. Going through the Toronto Airport was a lot easier than going through the Panama airport since they mostly spoke Spanish. The lady at the x-ray machine was trying to press my buttons on the pump and was looking at the site - it was a little strange.
Overall I got through without any problems! I know now that flying with the pump can be a little stressful, but it isn't too bad!
My sugars were pretty good during my stay and I didn't have any lows. I changed my site two times there and now I have a nice tan where my previous site was.
I am very happy with the way the trip went with my pump and I can't wait to go back sometime!