Friday, May 20, 2011

Pack, Relax, Enjoy

At this time tomorrow I will be boarding a plane heading to Mexico. It seems crazy, like I just got off a plane and now I am about to board another. I am really looking forward to relaxing on the beach or by the pool. Aspen was extremely relaxing as well, but in a much different way.

I am predicting that my blood sugars will be a little harder to control because of the heat. I find with the heat my blood sugar can drop unexpectedly, but I am a prepared little diabetic.   Packing with diabetes can be really frustrating because you have to remember to bring so much. Especially when you are going to a place like Mexico, you want to make sure you don't forget anything because it can be hard if not impossible to replenish your stock easily.

The best way to go about it for me, is to get big zip lock bags. If you get big zip lock bags you can keep your things organized.  I have one for bottles of strips, reservoirs, sites and alcohol swabs.  If you keep it organized in that way you can at least lay it out and see what 'zip lock' bag you are missing.    Keeping organized with your diabetes supplies is key.

Another thing that I got for my two trips is a loaner pump. A loaner pump is just like a safety net just in case something happens to your pump. It's pretty important to also know your rates just in case something happens, that way you can re-program your pump or your loaner pump.

But, most importantly remember to relax and enjoy your trip. Yes, diabetes gets to follow you on these vacations without purchasing a ticket, but it's up to you to make sure you don't let diabetes ruin your vacation.  As long as you give it the attention it needs, blood checks and insulin doses then it shouldn't bug you.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Team Diabetes

Today I went to a little get together put on by the CDA and Team Diabetes.  I had heard of Team Diabetes before and mostly I recognized the great t-shirts they give out when you complete an event.  I  was asked to tell a little about myself and what I do at this particular gathering.  With only one type 1 there, it was more of a personal conversation I had between the group, unlike the last event which was yes, personal, but a much bigger crowd.

This session was really great because I, myself got a lot of information from the owner of the Runner's Den in Paris as well as Donna from Team Diabetes.  I am really interested in doing an event in Costa Rica in May 2012, I am just figuring out how I could raise a whopping $6100 or so to go.    It would be an incredible trip - so we will see how confident I feel in raising that amount.

The next event that I know of is the Charitable Golf Tournament on July 14th in Burford.  If anyone is interested in golfing let me know - there is a fee.  I would love to see a friend or family member out there on the fairway.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Again

I'd like to say that now it's time to get back to the real world, but I would be lying. I am leaving for Mexico on Saturday, so this is far from reality! Two amazing trips in two weeks - why not! This past week in Aspen was great - super relaxing and refreshing.  I think that Michelle and I both can agree that what we got from the trip is that we should take more time in our daily lives to take care of ourselves.  Taking time for yourself is important not selfish.

Overall my blood sugars weren't any different than usual. Only one low for the entire week (which is typical). As far as meters/pump screwing up because of the crazy altitude - that never happened. My pump and meter were working just fine the entire trip and the only time I had to make adjustments was for the two hour time difference.

Speaking of time difference - it's funny to see how your body becomes so used to specific 'meal' times.  Because of the two hour difference I found myself hungry for lunch at 10 a.m and eager to eat dinner at 3 p.m.      Either way the blood sugars stayed under control and I didn't have too much of a difficulty carb counting etc.

So, now it is time to prepare for trip #2, or #3 if you count Ottawa.  I have been living out of a suitcase this month, but I guess it's not much of a change from the rest of the year - coming home from college every weekend to watch hockey games.  I am excited to go to a warmer destination this time and enjoy free meals and drinks and lay by the pool/ocean and get a nice tan!

Either way, May has been a great month!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Highs and Lows

Yesterday Michelle, Luke and I enjoyed a nice couple hours at the Aspen Club which is only a few minutes away from our condo.  We scored a free one week membership there which is perfect and includes all of the classes.  Since our timing is still a little off we woke up super early (well at least I did) and toured the town a bit before heading to yoga at 10:45.

The gym is unbelievable, but the best part is the locker room. The lockers are made of wood and there is a steam bath, sauna and hot tub.   Yoga was great and a little more difficult than what Michelle and I were used too (it was Luke's first yoga adventure).   It was super peaceful and after Michelle and I wanted to live it up so we put on our robes and flip flops that were supplied and headed for the hot tub.

Before that I had checked my sugar and realized it was 3.4 and I had no symptoms of a low at all.  I had some Dex 4's as well as half a cliff bar and was ready to go at a 7.3 - I knew the hot tub and sauna would lower my blood sugar even more.

After we headed to town for some lunch - which was delicious.    It has been snowing all day in Aspen and the higher we drove up into the mountains the more snow we saw piling up.  It felt like it was a flashback to December.  It is beautiful here and everyone seems to be super healthy - it would be interesting to see the prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in Aspen.

Later on in the evening my sugar rose to an astonishing 23.4 (it even hurts to type it). I didn't feel high at all and once again didn't show any symptoms (frequent urination, thirst, random laughter)  I treated it and eventually went down.  I forgot to mention that Luke and I went to the grocery store and got 10 bags of candy for $10.00. Yes, I am diabetic, but that doesn't mean I am still not a crazy young person that eats whatever!

I am looking forward to today and to see what more Aspen has to offer.  It is a nice change from home - very low key and comfy.  I am having a great time with the Richardson family and so far my diabetes management has been the same and I haven't noticed anything different really.


Hello from Colorado!

Hello from Colorado!  Right now it's 6:30 a.m Aspen time while it's 8:30 a.m home time. I am a little bit confused as to timing because of the slight time difference as well as having to get up at 3 a.m (home time) to catch three flights to arrive here.

Right now it is snowing outside, after enjoying a warm day yesterday. To say the least, it's still beautiful looking outside and the view is absolutely stunning.  I feel so lucky to have been able to come to Aspen for a week and I am definitely going to soak up all the scenic views as much as I can!

So far my blood sugars have been normal.  I haven't noticed anything drastic or different about them.   I have been feeling out of breath a couple times, but as far as I know it is normal because of the high altitude.    We signed up for a free one week gym membership and are going to try out some classes etc.  We also planned to run/bike around the town a couple times.

Last night we took a steam bath and Michelle, Luke and I felt so relaxed after, we only lasted about thirty minutes into our movie before we fell asleep. I did notice it dropped my sugar fairly quickly especially after eating pizza for dinner (I was impressed!)

I am really excited about the rest of the week and what's to come!

Talk soon!


Monday, May 9, 2011

A Face

Type 1 diabetes doesn't look like anything. At one time, yes diabetes made a person look ill. You could see their bones and knew that they were unhealthy and near death, but now type 1 diabetes has no face.  The most evident way to prove this is to gather in a room with type 1's and if you can find a commonality between all of us despite the fact we have type 1 - good luck.

Type 1 doesn't have a hair colour, some blonde, some red, some brown, some black. It doesn't pick an eye colour, some hazel, some brown, some blue, some green. It doesn't pick a body size, skin colour, height or weight - type 1 doesn't look like me nor does it look like any of the women and men I spent the weekend with.

Our identify is unique from one another and despite people trying to make links towards weight, height, etc. there doesn't seem to be anything truly visually telling.  I remember during the CIM scavenger hunt in Toronto a older man told a group of us type 1's that we were supposed to be tall - clearly a lot of us are NOT even close to being considered tall.

As diabetics we are so used to be different from everyone else on a daily basis for the most part regarding carb counting, checking blood sugar, giving insulin in fact this is what makes us for the most part unique.  However, when you are in a room full of type 1's and you are asked what make you unique  - you are forced to think about other unique qualities that separate you from everyone else.

The truth is though, we have tons of different things from one another, we are not the same despite our daily routines that often match up. We are unique in every single way and concerning our diabetes story for the most part.

Type 1 doesn't have a face.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Click or Call

Every single day we deal with our diabetes whether that is through daily injections, playing with our pump, CGM's, or checking our blood sugar.  At no moment do we 'forget' we have diabetes although we may try to.   However, just because it's a 24/7 disease it some how doesn't consume our life. We are able to keep hanging on and pushing forward to find support, acceptance and most of all motivation.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to go to d-treat in Ottawa. I say 'lucky' because I know a lot of people either cannot afford to attend these events or do not have access to these events. This weekend was full of interesting information and social events that allowed a group of type 1's to vent to one another as well as share tips and tricks about living with diabetes.

For me, I often think you could put a group of type 1's in a room - run no formal events/activities and still have a great inspirational weekend. But, of course we also have a lot to offer in terms of semi-formal guest speakers regarding type 1.  We all in some way like to know what the history and future of diabetes is as well as all the in between things we may worry about.

Personally some of the best moments of the trip were not in the conference rooms; rather, in the lounge or  walking around downtown Ottawa.  Meeting type 1's from America or other provinces in Canada.  Learning about other type 1's experiences in practical every day things.

I shared a room with Meredith and our late night talks till 1:30 a.m were the best because when do you ever have a sleepover with someone who also is checking their blood sugar before bed and understands when you say, "I'm going to turn on the light for a second while I eat these crackers - I'm low" and they respond with, "Oh yeah go ahead!"   without question.

My 'diabetic' friends are people that I can lean on no matter what the situation and they are like my little personal google. If I need to know what it's like to travel with diabetes I can ask, if I need to know what it's like to wear a CGM (Continuos Glucose Monitor) I can ask.

This weekend like all the weekend or days that I may spend with type 1's was amazing and inspiring. Coming back home I am the only diabetic under the roof; however, hundreds of diabetics are just a click or call away.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Don't Wait

In the dictionary disease means: A disorder of structure in a human, animal, or plant esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

How can something so bad sounding bring so many people together? What is it about 'diseases' that can round up hundreds of people alike to enjoy life 10x more than ever before?  What makes one person with the same disease feel instantly accepted among a group of people the same disease.  Why do diseases make people want to do more and get out there?

I don't have the answers to these, but I am sure the odd time you have wondered why people with 'diseases' seem to be reaching for the stars more than ever. For me, before being labeled with a disease I found it amazing how people like Terry Fox could be so motivated and ambitious to run for so many kilometres across Canada to support Cancer Research despite having only one leg.  

After personally being diagnosed with diabetes I began to realize that having a disease was like a kick in the pants. A good reminder that life is fragile and each moment spent doing absolutely nothing - was a moment wasted. Finding others like me wasn't hard at all because people like me are everywhere in the diabetic community.  These people are willing to go out for wild adventures and enjoy life despite living with a disease.

I have said it a million times, but please don't wait. Don't wait until you get that 'disease' to know that life can be so much fun and there are so many opportunities waiting for you.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What You're Dealt

Living with diabetes isn't always easy, but certain things make it 100x easier.  I really wanted to speak last night about support, but after getting choked up I knew that, that was enough to get across how important support means to me.

Diabetes never goes away and I think a lot of people do not understand this. I will never grow out of my diabetes like a pair of running shoes. I won't ever know what it is like to eat a piece of cake without counting carbs and pushing buttons until there is a cure this is my life.  However, although a cure would be fantastic - that is not my focus - it simply cannot be. I have to be focused on what's going on now in my life and most importantly how I am going to manage my diabetes correctly in order to see tomorrow, to see my future, and to make an ever lasting impression.

Diabetes has given me so much beyond a broken pancreas. I often speak about how many friends I have made along the way, but most importantly I have found the best of friends in those who were always my friends.  I cannot stop bragging about how amazing of a best friend I have, Michelle. She absolutely will go out of her way to make me happy and to support me.  I wish that everyone could have such a great friend and hope that most do.

We all can support one another and that is the key to managing diabetes.  We all have to take our medication, but there is more to it. We need one another to share information, to make each other laugh, cry and smile and most importantly to tell each other how important it is to live your life to the fullest no matter what hand you were dealt.


Anyone interested in seeing the video from last night's event visit: 


Monday, May 2, 2011

An Evening to Remember

I remember first being diagnosed going to events all around Brantford and surrounding areas, thinking every time the motivational speaking stepped up to the podium, "I want to do that!" At that point in my life I had not yet seen what diabetes and the diabetes community had to offer, but deep down inside I knew that I was going to be apart of something, I was going to do something.

So, today was the day when I stood in front of hundreds of people and made a dream I had come true.  I was the motivational speaker of the night sharing my experience with a good portion of the diabetes community of Brantford.  I couldn't believe it as they called my name to come up, I even whispered to my sister, "this feels like a dream."

Once I got up there my nerves flew away, I saw each person as a person with a story of diabetes. People that loved people with diabetes, people that hated their diabetes, people that needed that motivation to keep on living with diabetes, whether type 1 or 2.

I held it together for the first half, until the slide that read, "support."  I looked over at my best friend Michelle and knew that the real aspect of diabetes was about to explode in front of all the people that watched me so intently.  As many could tell, support is the absolute biggest part of my diabetes that keeps me moving, writing and loving my life.  I love all my supporters so much from those who read my blogs to those who have to live with my highs and lows.

After the speech I felt so good. I felt like I had made a difference and most importantly proved that diabetes doesn't have me - I have diabetes.  I love my life and love where it has taken me and I know that no matter what I have an army of diabetics and supports behind me.

Thanks to all that attended! Special thanks to Abby (my sister) for being my clicker during my presentation, Michelle for taking photos and Joanne for filming. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for coming as well! I know a lot more of my supporters wanted to come, but couldn't make it! You were there in spirit!

What a wonderful day!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

CIM Volleyball!

As soon as our feet hit the sand we were ready to pass around the ball and bring out our skills!  Maybe it was the polka dot attire, but we had no luck in winning any of the games, however; we received endless amounts of compliments about our shirts!  (Which was good enough for teammates - a little more competitive)

But, it wasn't about winning (I say) because for me going to these events is a simple fun reminder that I am not alone in my disease.  When Chloe asked how many people at volleyball had type 1, the hands all stuck straight up in the air, proudly I must say.  No one wanted to be left out - after all it's cool to be type 1 there (anywhere..)  It amazes me that so many type 1s are in a room together and explains why there was a giant silver bowl of Dex Tabs.  I bet the concession stand has never sold so many bottles of diet pop!

There were approximately 100 people at Volleyball some type 1's and some just family and friends. It was great! I could introduce my parents to all the people I talk about (all the time)  Now they have a face to name, when I say things like, "Ugh Nadine would understand..." "Ahh, Imran drinks more Diet Coke than I do!"

Most of all I am proud of my team because they are the best of supporters! It feels good to know I can put together a team for anything in a matter of seconds! The Richardson Family - you are awesome!  Also, I know if Clinton wasn't in playoffs he would have been right by my side!

If only Connected in Motion events happened every day. What a great way to get active, have fun and feel accepted!  I loved every minute of it! I cannot wait to go to Ottawa this weekend!