Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Some may suspect that being diabetic I must live a super healthy life. Eating vegetables at every meal and sticking to low carb food choices. Well, thank you for those who believe this because if you really knew what I was eating you would probably be trying to get a hold of my doctor a.s.a.p. Because, while I am a diabetic, I am also many other things and all the other things require me to enjoy life, unfortunately, so the whole diabetic thing just tags along - I guess I make being diabetic enjoyable.
At my age (21) I know a lot of girls that are constantly worrying about what they eat and how much fat and carbs food contains and really I've been carb counting for the past 2.5 years and if I wasn't diabetic I'd be so happy to not have too. I see food as something that will make my blood sugar go up. No matter what it is, I look at it with an evil eye and know that if I don't do something besides chew it - I am bound to be feeling horrible later on and not because it had 3000 calories, but because it raised my blood sugar.
I can't really imagine looking at food before being diagnosed. I don't know if I really thought about what I was putting in my mouth or what I was making my body do in order to deal with the food. I guess we don't think about our body parts much unless they aren't working.
For me, I still enjoy food. I eat cake, pizza, muffins and cookies. I guess that is one of the biggest misconceptions, people think I am limited as a diabetic. Sadly I know more non-diabetics that avoid cake than diabetics that avoid cake. It's simple though, yes as diabetics we look at a slice of cake as maybe 60 grams of carbs and 6 units of insulin, but we also appreciate that cake. We eat the cake and no that we have got our body under control. Maybe we are all imagining that insulin subtracts calories...now wouldn't that be nice.
Either way, I am not sitting at home munching on carrot sticks and lemon spiked water for three meals, nor am I eating crumbs of birthday cake for desserts or one chocolate chip that has fallen from your chocolate chip cookie. I am diabetic and I'll eat a loaf of banana bread and chances are, I'll eat that cookie too!
Monday, November 28, 2011
This weekend has been absolutely crazy from having to drive back to London for diabetes equipment to visiting the dentist about my wisdom teeth. First off, I decided I would be prepared this weekend and pack an extra supply of pump supplies in my bag because I was going home. To my surprise I was going to need it when the door handle decided to grab hold of my tubing and rip out my site. So, being so prepared I put in another one, but again to my surprise this site decided it didn't want to go in properly.
So, being either a bad diabetic or a wise one, I decided to try to make it go in, by putting the site back through the needle, pressing down on the Mio capsule thing and shooting it in. I tried it probably five times leaving blood stains on my skin - it wasn't working.
Before going into panic mode I searched my house for something that I may had left behind from the summer or the last time I visited. Diabetes supplies seem to float everywhere, so I was crossing my fingers that something was near. Ah-ha! I found a site - one of my silhouette ones. I fed that one through my skin, realizing how much I hate those type of sites now and then I was set...until... I realized that the tubing connected from the Mio does not connect with the silhouette. Side note: Dear Medtronic, maybe you should make all your sites connect some way or another... just in case.
So, I was back to wear I started basically, I had a site in me, a pump, tubing, but nothing could connect. I wasn't sure what exactly what to do, I could go back to London (about an hour drive) or give myself shots of insulin all night and get Vince to grab some of my stuff from my apartment and bring it in the morning.
I decided that I wouldn't put my life in Vince's hands this early in the relationship (haha!) and my mom, sister and I took a road trip back to London at about 9:30 p.m. By arrival time I was pretty grumpy - lacking insulin and all, and to make matters worse I was also dealing with a very, very painful wisdom tooth.
So, this was the next issue. My bottom left wisdom tooth is coming in with no consideration about my feelings. The pain has been annoying and I haven't really wanted to eat much because it hurts so badly. Vince brought me a doughnut last night and ended up having to break it into small pieces, so I could half enjoy the treat.
Today I got to visit the dentist and the 5 minute appointment that cost $75.00 resulted in a prescription for antibiotics and a few scratches on my car as I attempted to get out of the parking lot. Either way, I am now in London, calming down from the crazy weekend and intending to take the quote, "Keep Calm and Carry on" to heart.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Most diabetics are not surrounded by other diabetics. They spend their days filled with 5.5'ers who eat whatever they want without consequence and the only thing that is attached to them is their cell phone. Diabetics are living with their boyfriends who can polish off a pizza and fall asleep right after, or living with roommates who can skip lunch because they don't feel like eating.
This isn't a bad thing, because I can't imagine if two diabetics got married and had to live with one another constantly not knowing who is beeping and my biggest question, what happens when you both go low and there is only one chocolate bar left? Everyone knows that a low diabetic isn't willing to share at this point. I just think the whole thing would cause major marital problems in the long run, but I am sure there are people who manage.
Either way, most diabetics are spending their time with people who don't really know what is means to be diabetic. As diabetics we are always kind of like the kid that has to wear the fanny pack to school in movies - the one with all the medication and gear. Everyone is always worried about us, whether or not we ate before we left, or if we should check our blood sugar.
But, every now and then we get a chance to hang out with the cool kids (obviously I am talking about other diabetics) and soon the kid with the fanny pack has now multiplied and no one is asking the obvious questions and getting tangled with door knobs is a normal daily occurrence for everyone.
Everything changes when diabetics unite because ordering diet coke is an obvious choice at a restaurant, searching in your purse for the meter, poker and strips is normal, and feeling random vibrations in your back pocket or bra is just apart of life.
But both diabetics and the 5.5'ers are what makes the world go round' - but we all know those 5.5'ers secretly want to be 16.9'ers.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
When two 'regular' people meet they don't say, "Hi, I'm Beatrice and I frequently have headaches," and the other person replies, "Oh, sweet, I am Dan and I also have frequent headaches." This just doesn't happen. No 'regular' person exposes their random aches in pains within the first five minutes of a conversation; however, if these two people were both diabetics and knew it - the conversation would seem strangely normal if they said, "Hi, I'm Beatrice and I am diabetic," and Dan said, "YEAH me too! How long have you had diabetes? Oh and my name is Dan."
The reason these two people would have met is probably because Beatrice whipped out her insulin pump in class while Dan was interrupted by hearing a familiar beeping noise. Or maybe they met at some crazy function that diabetics like to throw every now and then. It seems that diabetics everywhere are uniting (strangely this word looks like unit-ing which makes me think of a crowd of diabetics giving themselves units of insulin...)
I have found many different diabetics everywhere not all are like me, looking for somewhere to write I am diabetic, or jumping at the opportunity to share my stories. No, no there are many types of diabetics out there.
"I don't care I have diabetes - diabetic": These diabetics aren't reading this right now. No, these diabetics are not even thinking about diabetes right now in general. I have no problem with these diabetics because everyone has their own opinion, but let me just say this, I know a group of diabetics that really could help....okay, obviously this type of diabetic has not typed diabetes in google before so let's just let their health care team let them know.
"Divabetic": These are the diabetics that care much about their gear. The skins and colour of pump comes before the actual technology of the pump. Where is the pancreas you ask this diabetic? - I don't know - she replies. (this sounds like....me?)
"OCDiabetic": This diabetic likes to check, check, check, check their blood sugar and not only check, but chart. Check, Chart, Change, and Count Carbs. I bet these diabetics upload their pumps like good diabetics and actually track what they eat and maybe use one of those food weigher's.
(I think I have one somewhere . . .)
"Dangerous Bete": This person is wild with their diabetes. It's a part of their life, but they like to take risks with their diabetes. Proving that diabetes is just a disease and not a partner in crime. This person probably has had their pump replaced a few times and a couple meters dropped down a high cliff or lost at sea. These diabetics are wild, but as long as they are on top of things, who cares!
"In the Closet Diabetic": This person realizes that they are diabetic and have been properly informed and know when to take insulin and the whole list of what it means to be diabetic has been laid down on them, but this person does not want to talk to you about diabetes. This person isn't like the I Don't Care I Have Diabetes - Diabetic, they do care about their diabetes, they just don't care if you know about it and if you try to talk to them about it - have fun!
"Diabetes Tell All": This person has accepted diabetes maybe not at first, but eventually they have accepted diabetes to be a part of them. This person has so much decided that diabetes is going to be one of their highlights in their life. These people are reading right now and probably have found themselves somewhere in another category. But, mainly these people are willing to go out there and let the world know they have diabetes, so what?
I know it isn't possible to categorize all diabetics into these little silly names, but I am sure that all the diabetics are trying to find their place. We all deal with diabetes in different ways and for me, all the diabetics I know are friendly and willing to talk about their diabetes, but I have encountered the ones that would rather not.
Either way, diabetes has somehow defined the lives of many of us and has changed the way we approach one another. It amazes me how we can stick one hundred diabetics in one room and somehow everyone becomes friends without judgment. (But now you will be trying to put them in a category...)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Many of us pay for our education, we pay to be taught things we would otherwise probably not have picked up anywhere else. We learn things sometimes that make us nod our heads, while other things float in one ear and out the other. As much as education through schooling is important there are so many life lessons hiding in the little cracks of life.
Life lessons are simple in nature, but complicated in so many ways. I don't know how many times in my entire life I have questioned why something has happening to me or asking why I deserved something. Hopefully everyone at this point is nodding their head - agreeing with me. At every age we go through these little life lessons from learning that that boy wasn't worth it in grade six or that one day you will grow boobs, so don't worry about it... (thank's for that life lesson, life.)
Every time we are worried about something it seems like the end of the world. We think that it can't get any worse and that we don't deserve what is happening to us. I've learned that if we really read in between the lines of what is happening we can find the good and realize that once the issue is dealt with that is when the good comes out and that is what we deserve.
I have taken all the life lessons I have learned thus far and from that I have gathered a good understanding of the meaning of being positive, staying calm and being patient because I know that the life lessons I have gained have made me the person I am today.
Monday, November 21, 2011
If there is anything that I have learned in the past 2.5 years it is that I am capable of handling whatever life decides to throw at me or put on my plate. I have learned that despite wishing for something better, the once 'bad' thing that you thought couldn't get worse will get better.
I think of my life in two parts, part one - pre diabetes and part two - with diabetes. How a disease could change a person so much is beyond my understanding - I am just a living example of the concept. Before diabetes life was simple, of course I was younger than nineteen, but I also had no understanding of what life and death really meant. My life had never been threatened before. I went from no worries, to knowing that this plastic external pancreas is saving my life every time that little drop of insulin enters my body.
Somehow I took diabetes and turned it into something better than anyone has given diabetes credit for. Diabetes isn't good, and it will never be a good disease - but I give it credit for so many things. Beyond diabetes I have endured some other life surprises and if I was Miss. Kayla Pre-diabetes I am not sure that I would be able to handle the unexpected.
A lot of people tell me that my life could be a book and being the little blogger that I am who knows maybe a day will come, but in the meantime, I am living my life story of unexpected twists and turns and proving not only to everyone else, but to myself that I am capable of handling where ever life wants to take me. I know that sometimes things seem over the top and out of my control, but deep down inside I know that everything will get better.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
After getting interviewed by the Gazette the journalist said something that really sparked a light within in me, "I guess you didn't choose diabetes - diabetes chose you." I have kind of dwelled on this idea for a couple days now thinking of how it really applies and what it really means.
Before diabetes I was pretty typical. I didn't really do anything out of the box even though deep down inside I knew I had potential. I always thought to myself - I wish I had something unique about myself that I could share with others. Of course, now telling this there is no proof that I felt this way. Even sitting in elementary school hearing the names read out on the attendance list - the last names sounding so unique and extraordinary in some way and then mine was read...Brown...how unique.
I know now looking back that I've always been unique because every person is unique in their own way. I didn't see it then and to be honest it wasn't like I had a whole slew of life experience to share. Now, I have a blog full of life experience and it just keeps getting longer.
So, going back to diabetes choosing me. I think it's obvious that I didn't choose diabetes. I didn't even know I could be a target for diabetes - I wasn't excessively heavy, nor was I older in age. I had no idea that the shadow of diabetes crept behind me waiting to smoother me and convert me into a diabetic.
But, here I am - my life line is a plastic tube attached to 300 mL of insulin. Diabetes some how decided that I would be one of the 300,000 others in Canada to get type 1 diabetes. I think I am slowly learning why diabetes choose me and the more I think about it - I can't imagine what it would be like if diabetes had decided to leave me alone.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Diabetes is very serious, did you know it is the leading cause in kidney failure and amputation? Also that over 300,000 Canadians live with type 1 diabetes? COULD YOU IMAGINE if my blog bombarded you with this information daily? Giving you facts about diabetes and what the likelihood of my survival is. Not only would my readers be depressed, but I am pretty sure I would be drowning in tears.
I know the facts and I have seen the consequences of not controlling blood sugar; however, these things should stay on the papers of medical documents and don't belong on here. No type 1 wants to hear about their possible chance for kidney failure or blindness or that they were the lucky ones that got picked out of 300,000 Canadians - why couldn't I be picked for the jackpot lottery instead - I am sure my chances were similar if not better.
Instead of rolling in money, buying Coach purses and fancy diamonds, I am rolling in OSAP's funds and buying test strips and vials of insulin. Not exactly the lottery if you ask me. However, I have accepted that I am not a millionaire, nor a billionaire; rather, I am a diabetic...
And even though I don't want to hear about how your cat got diabetes and now you have to put her down and that guy's great uncle Melvin can't see because of the complications of the Big D - I still hear it daily which I think adds to my humour about diabetes, because without humour I think I would be scared to leave my room and would be sipping on water and soda crackers for the rest of my life.
So, how is diabetes humorous? If you've ever watched the evening cartoons like Family Guy maybe you could get a glimpse at diabetes humour. It truly is everywhere, but mainly about type 2 diabetes. But diabetics don't get mad at this, well at least I don't think so, we don't get mad at Family Guy for having Wilfred Brimley talk about his aggression while having a high blood sugar instead we get mad at when Dr.Oz doesn't justify what diabetes he is speaking about.
But, I don't get my diabetes humour from t.v sitcoms - I just get it from living with diabetes. I know that diabetes can cause some damage, but I also know that living with diabetes can be a little funny. Who else can eat like mad and no one will judge them? Do you know anyone that can lasso a door handle with 23 inch tubing? These little life moments are hilarious.
I started thinking about this today when Michelle and I were interviewed by the Western Gazette about my blogs. Michelle and I have been best friends for years now and she pretty much is the biggest diabetes groupie I have ever met. As we were both being interviewed I began to realize how many inside jokes we had about diabetes or even just moments that involve diabetes that we laugh about. Why is it funny that time I went low in Wal-Mart - well you had to be there to understand.
Michelle said after to me that she didn't realize how much she knew me. But, I think it is more so, we didn't realize how much we have shared since she knew me pre-diabetes and now with diabetes. I think since she is probably the closest person to me, especially now being my roommate, she has a good idea about what diabetes is like and finds the humour in it - which a lot of people are scared to do.
Diabetes isn't a joke, but it doesn't have to be taboo. I'll gladly applaud you for making a diabetes joke because that is better than telling me that I might end up like your Great Uncle Melvin...no one wants to end up like that.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Every single day diabetics around the world are pricking their fingers, counting carbs and giving themselves insulin. Despite there only being one day a year titled, "WORLD DIABETES DAY" every second, every hour and every day diabetics around the world are celebrating diabetes, I guess celebrating isn't really a good word for it.
I think that for the most part diabetic's celebrate that they are alive and acknowledge the fact that without insulin they wouldn't be here to enjoy what life has to offer. But, beyond that diabetics are busy enough dealing with their diabetes and working hard to maintain good health psychologically and physically that the whole celebration doesn't take place very often.
For me on this one day of the year that I get to shove diabetes-ness in everyone's face I would like to point out that when the clock strikes 12:00 a.m it will no longer be diabetes day for the world, but for those that are waking up at 4 a.m to eat a snack or for those that are having to check their blood sugar 5 times on November 15th and every day following that, diabetes day is every single day for us.
So for the diabetics out there that are living diabetes day - everyday, I think that we should celebrate our diabetes. Because like that weird birth mark you have or that lisp, diabetes makes you unique. Without diabetes we wouldn't have one another. I know that I would not have had such the opportunity to meet amazing people like Stephanie, Nadine, Chloe, Meredith, and so many more.
Diabetes gives us reasons to not eat gross food that people make for us because we can just insist that it has too many carbs. It also gives us the reason to eat whenever we want, we NEED that chocolate bar because our sugar is low (wink, wink). Diabetes gives us something to talk about when we are in an awkward situation and topics on the weather have already been discussed.
Not only does diabetes give us random knowledge on insulin and our body it also gives us random nutritional information that we can brag about to girls who think they are doing a good job at avoiding sugar and carbs. Having diabetes shows others that we are strong and can handle whatever life has to throw at us or in our case take away.
Diabetes has allowed us to separate our friends from true friends to friends that don't want to deal with your diabetes as well as introduced us to non-diabetics that wish they were diabetic because let's face it, diabetes is cool.
Let's not forget that diabetes has also provided us with pretty cool gadgets like insulin pumps and that USB meter. Not only can we get excited about colour choices, but we can also get excited about graphs even if the line is all over the place!
But, most of all we should celebrate that diabetes isn't that bad. Yes the neighbour is going to tell you that they know someone who knew someone that lost their leg from diabetes, and the doctor is going to tell you that you need to tighten your blood sugar or else, but I know and you know that living with diabetes is second nature now and that there are a lot of good things that can come from diabetes besides free glucose meters.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Since my sugars are all over the map during the day I often wonder what it is like to just feel 'good' or if I feel 'good' what is my range? Because even though doctors say that when your blood sugar is between 5-7 you are within a good target sometimes even though we are now at a 6 we previously an hour ago were at a 15, so that 6 doesn't feel 'good' rather we are experiencing headaches or grumpiness to get really medical.
There are some parts of the day that I feel better than others, but for the most part I wouldn't say that 100% of my day is spent on cloud 9. Sometimes I just know that diabetes is causing my day to be full of drowsiness, cloudiness and overall crabbiness. I know that everyone in the world has these days, but just relating back to diabetes is it possible to just feel great 100% of the time... is the only solution to watch our blood sugars 24/7 and make adjustments every minute?
I think this also links to how we feel doing daily tasks or even exams to be specific. If we go into an exam at a 7 are we more likely to succeed instead of going in at a 12 or higher. Sometimes the stress of having to do an exam can really take your diabetes control out of your hands.
Either way it makes me wonder what feeling good (mentally/physically) is all about.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
More and more I am starting to realize how different college is from university. In college I had more time to get my things done and really I had more spare time than I knew what to do with. Now, I have spare time, but it is what I like to call illegal spare time - meaning I don't really have spare time and I should be doing something I just have chosen not to.
In college my professors for the most part were 100% approachable and this still stands except for the 100% part. I have some professors that are approachable while others not so much. In fact some are terrifying and I would hate to be on their bad side and I am hoping not-so-good marks doesn't put me on their bad side.
In college my multiple tests were pretty straight forward there was none of this "which one is the BEST answer" we either know it or not, why do we need to be challenged on it? In the real world, if someone asks us a question the answer is not going to be hidden instead we will just go onto google and search it if we don't know the answer - so let's be more practical okay?
I guess the list of differences could go on and on and there are some advantages the other way around as well such as not having to have early classes if I choose not too! But, really when it all boils down to it, University is really difficult compared to College for me.
What does this have anything to do with diabetes you ask? Well, basically with University I have caused myself a little bit of unneeded stress. Being a not so stressed person (because I know it's bad for me) I have tried my hardest to keep my focus and avoid stressful situations, but I have started to realize the biggest fact of all University = poor diabetes management.... just kidding I really am not going to blame University for diabetes related problems, but it's something to think about right?
I am curious to know if University students with diabetes have a harder time dealing with their diabetes in comparison to other students of different academic levels or those who are in the work force?
Thursday, November 3, 2011
One thing that I am highly educated on is diabetes. Not so much the medical side of diabetes, more so the everyday things that diabetes brings (stuff that no doctor or nurse could ever explain unless they in fact were diabetic themselves.) The one good thing about being so knowledgeable about my diabetes and being very aware of what diabetes is all about is that when people ask me questions (because everyone asks me questions about my diabetes) I can give them clear, truthful and good answers.
More and more Vince has been asking about diabetes and we've actually had really good conversations revolving around diabetes. He really does think about it on a different level than most people I talk to do. This could possibly because he spends a lot of time with me. I don't think he fully understands it yet. I think that what would really be beneficial is to take him to a diabetes event and expose him to my million diabetic friends.
Talking about diabetes is obviously something that I do on a daily basis just like in my blog. But, in everyday life I often stumble upon someone who wants to know about my diabetes or something to that nature.
One thing that Vince said last night that stood out to me was along the lines of, "I guess I never really thought about how many things you need to think about or go through during the day living with diabetes. Like you have to worry about going low or having a high blood sugar or just feeling crappy because of your blood sugars...a lot of people don't have to think about any of this..."
It's nice to know that despite feeling sometimes like we have a 'disease' and that we are 'different' from everyone else that the people around us and that love us know us for who we are no matter what the circumstance. Although the non-diabetics around us will never truly know what it is like, we have to give them the biggest hug to let them know we appreciate them. After all look at what we make them go through!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I am not sure if this is a common side effect of going low, but for me it seems to be the highlight of all my lows. The feeling that I am in a rush and that everything in my life needs to be completed in a matter of seconds and one of the missions is to find food and not just any food, but the best food, the food you don't even have let's face it.
I feel like I am on speed and honestly I have never done speed so I am just assuming that it would have similar effects. It's like my body is going 100 kilometres an hour and despite psychologically knowing that I don't need to rush since there is no time limit on life in general I still want to do everything as fast as I can and everything that I am doing or trying to do is really unnecessary at the moment. I am going to go ahead and call it "The Speedy Low Syndrome" because we all know that no non-diabetic doctor knows what we are talking about and will then in turn never have a chance to give it a creative name like I just did.
To be honest, right now I am in currently feeling the Speedy Low Syndrome and it is really making me get this blog entry produced fairly quickly minus the fact that I am doing a whole slew of spelling errors and feeling 'frustrated' having to right click and find the correct spelling. Another symptom of the Speedy Low Syndrome - bad grammar and spelling (please feel free to use this excuse next time your professor hands back a bad grade on your Essay due to spelling errors...)
I really do hope there are other diabetics out there that feel this rush and sense of anxiety when they are low. Really my brain is going out of control, "I want chips, 1 or 2 handfuls, I want Marshmallows, I hope there is Marshmallows left, where is that chocolate? Ugh I wish I had chocolate. I am glad I am getting pizza tonight, but why does it have to be tonight why not now? I think it's a good time to count my money, oh wait I should write in my blog, oh! what's happening on Facebook? Oh my gosh, is that who I think it is? Wait, do I have chocolate milk? No, no, okay is my cellphone dead?"
I know that all the diabetics right now are probably nodding their head, someone has to be agreeing with me right now and for all the non diabetics that are reading this you probably are wondering how any diabetic that is low ever pulls through - but we do! Oh yes we do!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Today in Personality Psychology we discussed happiness. Which really instantly made me think about my blog because not only does it project my happiness, but it makes others happy as well. At the same time I received a Facebook wall post from a fellow diabetic friend that wrote: "I love reading your blog so much. You are such an awesome writer. Just thought I would let you know" To me, that shows that what I am doing is not only making me happy, but making others happy as well.
Happiness comes in such a wide variety of forms and way to often we hear about people saying their ultimate happiness would be if they won the 5 million dollar jackpot. But we all know that with that we would have friends and long lost family coming out of nowhere to borrow your money and if you didn't share your money with the poor or donate to charitable causes you would be labeled. Either way I don't think the whole lottery thing would bring complete happiness, but I don't doubt that you would most definitely would be happy.
For me, I find happiness around me every single day. I have horrible days of course, but there are simple things in life that make me happy. Like on Mondays when Vince picks me up from school or when someone compliments my shirt. These little things that don't require me to buy a lottery ticket or get 100% on an impossible exam.
Despite having diabetes I have learned to adapt to my disease and more so make it apart of my life; rather than letting diabetes take over my life. I have gotten used to sitting on a hard piece of plastic for three hours or digging through my backpack for the 'three amigos' more or less I have made diabetes apart of my happiness. I would never, ever say that I am ill or not well and with that I think that accepting diabetes as a part of me and not as a disease I have caught I can gain so much happiness from just that.