Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finding Happiness

We all want happiness in our lives. But, it's so incredibly easy to feel like happiness is impossible, or temporary.  Unfortunately, even those that appear to be happy, often have some days where they wish they could sink back into bed and forget about things.   Diabetes like many other obstacles is one of those diseases that tries its hardest to take over and maybe make it more difficult to find happiness.

For me, I never really think about what it would be like to not be diabetic, and if I do it is really brief, because I know that thinking this way isn't going to get me very far.  Since I am not a scientist, I am not going to be the one to cure my diabetes; however, since I am a writer and appreciative of the life I am given,  I can be the one to temporarily enjoy my diabetes in the meantime.

I'm still riding the stream of motivation that I got from Slipstream.  I know that there are girls and guys checking their blood sugars as I write this, some are changing their pump sites and/or cursing at their pump. But, despite all the checking and potential cursing we are all somehow finding happiness in our lives.

I have heard stories from 50+ diabetics this past weekend that prove to me that living with diabetes and being HAPPY is possible.  You can laugh until your pancreas starts kicking in' (or not...) and you can party, dance, joke, stay up all night and most of all smile.... and still live with diabetes.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Diabetes Pride

Quote I wrote during Hot Topics at Slipstream 2012
What good can come from the thought of pricking your finger and wearing an insulin pump 24/7? What good can come from taking daily injections and carrying low supplies with you at all times?  To many, this is a huge burden and the thought of being diabetic is depressing and unfair; however, if only they knew the support that is out there and how easily you can turn from hating diabetes to loving it.

One of the most prominent things I heard said during the weekend was that we were all proud to be diabetic.  I am sure at first the camp staff were confused: why would a bunch of T1's gather and laugh, play and dine over the fact that we have a disease; however, I am sure by the end of it the camp staff realized, WHY NOT?

It isn't that we are happy that our pancreases went on a forever strike, it is that we were able to pick ourselves back up again and see life in a new light unlike many others. We realized that it is important to find that balance between diabetes and happiness and the best way to do that is to be friends with other diabetics, spend a couple hours with them every now and then and never lose that connection.

Everyone was proud to be diabetic because it was normal to have tubing hanging out of your pocket and it was normal to find blood sugar strips scattered around the floor that were not yours.  All of a sudden the 5.5'ers looked like the 'different' ones and and all of the diabetics seemed to be able to breath and know that they did not have to explain a single thing as they stepped aside from an activity to eat a few carbs.

On the way home I was in the car with two diabetics who I had became quite close too.  We were laughing per usual almost the entire way home and then I just shouted out, I LIKE BEING AROUND TYPE 1'S BETTER!  Of course, I was joking - sometimes it is nice to be the only diabetic in the room, but at that moment and after that great weekend I realized just how much fun it is to be with these people.

I realized that I would have never met such amazing people had I not been diagnosed - and that has become almost a scary thought. I love all of these people that I have met and the stories that they have shared with me, will always be my inspiration to keep on moving, checking and pumping.

I'm proud to be diabetic.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Beginning

Slipstream 2012 - Photo taken by Mike Last 

I've finally trekked back home and now that I am the only one in the house checking my blood sugar and adjusting my insulin pump and to be more specific - exploding a vial of insulin all over the kitchen counter...it's safe to say that as much as I'd love to have invited all the diabetics to join me at my house for a nice dip in the hot tub, I think this house has a limit of one diabetic.

Throughout the weekend I started to write little things down to remind me of what I was learning while I was there and most importantly what I wanted to share with the people that weren't able to make it, or found out about slipstream too late to attend (don't worry there is always 2013!) The conversations that were had at the lodge, on the trails and in the cabins all were extremely important and powerful.

Since there are a billion things I want to talk about, I am going to stretch them out a bit; rather than, talking about them all in one post.   So, here is the first thing I sort of thought about:  Slipstream is like New Years for Diabetics. 

Everyone looks forward to New Years because it is the end and start of something.  You are capping off a great year and are prepared to start a new one.   Since Slipstream is annual, you revisit the photos from the last time, laughing at memories you had then and getting that little reminder taste of what inspiration you felt when you were there.

You know that once this slipstream is complete that you will be starting off new again.   You were diabetic when you came there and you are leaving diabetic, but something inside you has changed.   You have now set new goals for yourself to achieve and the feeling of starting fresh is well, you can sure feel it!

But, unlike those new years resolutions that always faze out, you promise that you won't forget what you felt in that room of diabetics. You promise that checking your blood sugar will not be your last priority and that nothing is impossible when it comes to finishing that race or writing that book.  You are inspired and you don't want to fall out of that just like others don't want to quit their resolutions.

It truly is a buzz that you leave with.  You feel like you didn't have enough time to talk to everyone that was there and hear what they had to say - but you accept that until there is some form of diabetic colony (LOL!) there just isn't enough time.  You have realized that you aren't alone even though you can see this through Facebook, in person it is so much more apparent.

How nice is it that I got to have two beginnings in 2012 - all because I am diabetic.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Order

Graffi Wall - Slipstream 2012
This weekend really puts life into perspective because for once in a year, I'm the norm. There are blood strips on the tables and floors and meters scattered around. There are beeps and vibrations sounding and everyone is checking their insulin pumps.

I'm surrounded by 50+ diabetics, all type 1. They are all here for many different reasons, but despite the variety - it's just important that they came. I'm learning so much about my diabetes, yet I have been living life with diabetes for almost three years now.

But, as the night winds down I realized one thing that I knew all along, yet never really thought out. Diabetes is about good blood sugars and insulin; however, diabetes is also about taking control of your life and being the best person you can be. All aspects are important when dealing with diabetes, but the inspiration is what gets all those things in order!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome From Slipstream!

Challenge Course - PineCrest YMCA Camp
Hello from slipstream! It's the real kick off now that everyone has arrived! The first day I had a great opportunity to be apart of the ambassador program run by Connected in Motion! This was great because it gave us an opportunity to talk about our skills and most importantly connected with others and share ideas about new events for type 1's and the 5.5'ers!

Today was fun because in the morning we got to enjoy the challenge course and push our comfort zones. For me, I'm always willing to try something new and these opportunities are rare (at least for me!) The course was high and it does look impossible from below and above; however, once you are up there and have the support of everyone else scattered around you - the course begins to look a little more possible (just a little more...)

Later today the rest of the slipstreamers came! It was great to see familiar faces, but also meet new faces or people who I've seen online! It's amazing to me to hear what everyone is up too! All of these amazing type 1's travelled long distances (in some cases) just for a weekend. But, it really isn't just a weekend - it's so much more!

It's truly only the second day I've been here and I can already say that I'm 100% satisfied with how this weekend is going. How amazing is it that as I write this someone is checking their blood sugar while another is treating a low (not amazing, but to be the norm is nice!). Everyone here is just like me. I see tubing hanging from pockets and test strips on the floor. Life is good!


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Challenge Course at Slipstream 2011
The time has come to head to Slipstream - a whole weekend event for Type 1's 19+.  Last year I did the same event in Halliburton and when I came home from it, I couldn't believe the energy and inspiration that I came home with.  I love the feeling of being around other type 1's. It is sort of a feeling that you cannot get anywhere else... that feeling of all going through the same struggles, triumphs and victories.

This year I am going up a day earlier because I was asked to be a Connected in Motion ambassador.  I am really excited about this because I love being involved in the diabetes community. I love being able to reach out to other type 1's and their families and most of all planning fun events.

Recently I reached out to my own community at the University of Western Ontario [the school in which I attend] I wanted to start building connections between the type 1s at school that may or may not have met one another before.  I know how easy it can be to feel alone in your disease and I don't want anyone to have to go through that.

The first plan is to go to a restaurant - just to get to know each other. So far 12 are attending and I couldn't be happier with the outcome.  I am so excited to connect with all the type 1s at Western! I think that is one of the most important aspects of diabetes is community.

When you have these stable networks you will never have to feel alone in your disease!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Role Models

Chloe & I at Beach Volley Tournament in 2011

We all look up to someone and I am not sure why we do it, but when asked the question I am sure everyone could reply. For some, it is their grandmother or cousin, while others idealize someone famous.   I couldn't help, but wonder who diabetics look up too in relation to their diabetes. Do we all, as diabetics, have a 'diabetic' role model?

For me, the first diabetic I ever met after being diagnosed was Chloe [the founder of a non-for-profit group called Connected in Motion].  That was my first 'real' experience of meeting someone who was essentially just like me. I met her just shortly after I was diagnosed and to say it was a surreal feeling would be an understatement. I couldn't believe that someone else had felt the way I did pre-diagnosis, feeling tired, having to go the washroom, drinking excessively.  All of the things we talked about that day (which I am sure can be found back in a blog from 2009) really made me feel comfortable with being diabetic.

For many diabetics, they don't know that there are others out there just like them - that there is a girl out there with blonde hair, blue eyes, and an insulin pump.  Feeling alone in a diagnosis seems to be all too common for a lot of people.   After joining a few 'diabetes' groups on Facebook I began to realize that a lot of diabetics out there haven't found their role model yet.

After reading several posts from diabetic parents about their children - I couldn't help, but feel like I needed to help out. Besides the odd comment back to them, I just felt like there was a way to show diabetic children, teens and young adults that living with diabetes isn't a death sentence nor is it a good enough excuse to stop living, dreaming and wishing.

As time goes on I have realized that my blog has made that kind of impact on a lot of people, giving people a chance to see me as a role model of diabetes.   This makes me feel good, because hearing the heart breaking stories from parents of diabetics or even diabetics themselves, makes me want to  just take their hand and show them what living with diabetes can really be all about.

I was never a diabetic child,  and I have never had a bad week of diabetes, but I do know what it is like to toss and turn and throw your pump from side to side, to be asked if you can 'eat that?' and to feel so incredibly low that if you were able to drive a car, your first stop would be a buffet.   I know those feelings and I know that there are thousands and thousands of other diabetics out there that can relate.

So, why not find your diabetic role model? Someone you can look up too and be inspired by?  That way you can always be in check of your diabetes, yet still know that when you're having a bad day - it is okay.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diabetic Kid

Since I was diagnosed at age eighteen, I missed out on being a diabetic kid.  The whole concept of a diabetic kid to me now sounds scary. I couldn't imagine my mom having to chase me around the backyard trying to prick my finger; nor, can I imagine leaving class to head down to the office to record and check my blood sugar.  However, there is one thing about being a diabetic kid that I feel as though I missed out on in a sense and that is the camps!

A lot of the diabetics I have met have been a part of a diabetic camp at some point in their lives.   They have built a strong community of diabetics that all enjoyed swimming in the lake and playing crazy games while all having to routinely check their blood sugar and give insulin injections every now and then.   It seems there is always a chain that links all diabetics and usually that common denominator is camp!

For me coming so late in the game, I began to wonder what I would have thought about this camp had I had the chance to go.  I can only imagine that it was like the similar 'camps' that I get to do now as a young adult with type 1 diabetes. I wonder if the camp really made diabetes any easier as a diabetic kid.  But, then I think to myself as much as I would have probably found the camp fun, in no way would I wish to have been a diabetic kid.

You see, there isn't anything wrong about being diagnosed so young, in fact those people often prefer their early diagnosis since they don't know any different. Me; however, age eighteen was a fine time for me, if there was ever a good time to get diagnosed with diabetes. I did enjoy almost nineteen years of being a non-diabetic and really didn't have any health issues growing up.  My parents weren't chasing me around my backyard wanting to draw blood and if I was called down to the office it was probably to retrieve a bandaid from an accident at recess.

I often get to talk to people that were diagnosed at such young ages like four, six and ten.  At those ages I had no idea that children around the world were having to take needles daily - that would have sounded like a nightmare to me - yet here were thousands doing it, being brave little children while I was dressing my barbies without a care in the world.

A few comments I often here from diabetic kids, who have since become adults - "Wow, it must have sucked being diagnosed so late!" or "You probably got to go on sleepovers!"     Kind of a mixed reaction, yet I don't think any of us really dwell on what age we were diagnosed, instead we live each day with diabetes hoping for good numbers, a clear head and no hassles.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not A Joke

I am going to try my hardest to keep calm and carry on from that experience I just had in the diabetic education centre.   It wasn't that they were awful to me or that they picked on me...(maybe a little) but it was the feeling that I had as they looked through my past two weeks and the comments that they made.  I think all diabetics in some way or another feel this exact why when they meet with their endocrinologist or diabetic education nurses.

In my last blog post I talked about being a good advocate for yourself - this is something I stood by and still do after today's session. I wish so badly I could have recorded the conversation, I wish everyone could take home a nice recording of their visits to let everyone know what the feeling of being on trial in a doctor's office really feels like.

First of all, we are diabetics 24/7 like a Super Walmart or a Variety store.  We don't get time off, we don't put away our pump and meter at 5 pm and pick it back up at 9 am.  Our tools that we work with are on hand all the time, our blood drips from our fingers anytime we want to eat and our body takes a daily beating when we stick needles into it like it is our personal pin cushion.    We are the diabetics that are responsible for our body and yes we know that we slack sometimes, but what have you ever done perfect on?

Today I went into the office really excited to share the news of my upcoming successes. I thought I would be writing down my Youtube link or promising to send them a copy of the newspaper.  Instead, I found myself on the hot seat as they realized I wasn't quiet checking four times a day - always.  Hey, I admit it, sometimes we just don't have time to be the ideal diabetic that is just life.  Unfortunately, despite being a full time diabetic, I am also a full time - a lot of other things.  

The idea of a scare tactic in order to 'smarten' up' is beyond me.  Why would you tell someone, you know we can take your pump away if you don't check four times...    Well although this is the case, and I am sure it happens, my A1C is 7.7 and I am fully taking care of my diabetes to the best I can at this moment.   I haven't ever had D.K.A and I am far more involved in the diabetes community than most.    

You see, threatening to take away an insulin pump is not a joke.  Would you threaten to take away an oxygen tank? Would you threaten to take away an Epi pen?  When you threaten to take away a Wheelchair?  Probably not.     I realize that the pump is government issued in Ontario and that part of the requirement is to check four times, but give me some slack! What you see is my last two weeks, not the three years I have been diabetic.

Going to the diabetic education centre is supposed to be a place of help, not an episode of Judge Judy.  You shouldn't have to defend yourself or remember what you ate twelve days ago. You shouldn't have to feel pressured or threatened. None of this should be happening, because what does a diabetic do that gets pissed off at a doctor's appointment - well this one writes about it!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

What did you do?

Unlike any other doctor appointment, when you have to see your diabetes team or your endocrinologist at the hospital you find yourself thinking a weeks in advance what you need to do or stop doing.  For me, I  think about these things, but don't really do this because I find before I know it, my appointment is in two days and it's too late plus I find it really, really hard to break habits that have formed while not feeling, 'under pressure.'

I enjoy seeing my diabetes team and I know that they aren't judging me too harshly when they upload my pump and check out my numbers.  I just find it a little bit of a strange feeling, as if I asked them to weigh themselves for two week and record what they were eating, then uploaded their scale and pin pointed where they fluctuated and tacking on the end, "hmm, what did you do that day to gain two pounds?"

The two weeks before you go to the doctor/nurses you are thinking about what they are going to look at. You wonder if they will notice you only checked your blood sugar a couple times instead of four.  You are hoping they don't ask you why your blood sugar was high that one day because you couldn't really figure it out either.   The two weeks before your appointment seem to be the snapshot of your whole year - even though you know that isn't fair.

I think my biggest advice for just before you head to the doctors or nurses is just make sure you are prepared to be a good advocate for yourself.  You know what it is like to live with diabetes the best and you know what kind of week, month or year you've had.   You know that you are doing your best to stay healthy and if you need that kick to get started, you'll find it.

I've heard sad stories about nurses or endocrinologist not being available for help; rather, they put their patients down.  I am very lucky to not be in that situation and I am also glad that I know how to stand up for myself when it comes to my diabetes management.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Every now and then we like to pamper ourselves, whether that is getting our hair done, nails done or something as simple as sleeping in.  For me, I am bound to be at the hair salon once a month, but that is because blonde just may not be my natural colour. But, other than that every now and then I like to do something for myself and feel OK about doing it because I am diabetic and I know it is important to look after my feet - this is only reason I am OK with paying $45.00.

The important thing about pedicure is that is gives your feet a break and a good hour of circulation.  Being diabetic, your feet are the last to get taken care of and that is why you hear about the horror stories of amputation and why your doctor may yell at you when you come in for an appointment and you're wearing open toe'd $5.00 flip-flops.    For me, I am always painting my nails, but not really doing the dirty work as far as getting rid of dead skin, filing etc.

Usually I go to the same person to get my nails done because I don't really trust too many places out there.  But, since she wasn't around I tried out someone new.    I knew that this was going to be fine, but I began to think of how to bring up that I was diabetic and most importantly wonder if she would know what that entails. I am not sure what they teach in school; whether or not they talk about 'diabetic feet' or not, but I was prepared to give a mini briefing.

It was pretty simple because she did in fact know what the procedure was and it opened up a nice conversation about diabetes.   She knew that she would have to be careful for any risk of drawing blood etc. All the important things that should be known when a diabetic goes into a beauty salon.

All and all I came out with relaxed feet and most importantly a nice coat of pink nail polish.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Thank You Everyone!

Never in a million years would I think I would be sitting on a comfy chair, hooked up the a microphone, next to a host talking about diabetes.   I think after this week, my dreams have expanded and without a doubt I know that the sky is the limit.

I was lucky enough to go on Inside Brant on Rogers TV today to talk a little bit about type 1 diabetes as well as my blogs. It was a new experience for me, but once I sat down next to the host, I felt quite comfortable talking despite the bright lights and cameras that were around us.   

This week has been full of good news. Next week, I will be in the Londoner as well as the Western Gazette. I am really excited that my blog is being recognized and that more and more type 1s are going to have access to my blog!   I really am thankful for all of the great things that have come in my life and all of the experiences that I have been given in the past couple years.

I am especially thankful for all my readers who have supported me and have been dedicated to reading my blog and giving me great comments and feedback.   I am glad to have created something that can be inspirational and a helpful tool for everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's Your Number?

Throughout the day our blood sugars fluctuates quite a bit. I think the biggest mistake doctors make, is that they assume that we as diabetics are able to maintain a specific target by simply checking our blood sugars (every second) and adjusting insulin (constantly.)  Unfortunately, unless you are a diabetic that has no job, not going through for education and no social life - this is impossible.

So what if we have a sugar of 14 in the afternoon, who cares if we have only a couple perfect readings in the day. Those numbers although important in some way or another, aren't directly going to change the way we go about life. Of course here I will acknowledge that constant high blood sugars lead to complications (you all know the rest of that lecture..) but, let's face it, one bad blood sugar won't spoil the whole day...girl'

It isn't until that very last blood sugar of the day are we really considering taking immediate action - the bed time blood sugar.  This blood sugar is the most important because no one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to snack on a couple marshmallows and weep about the lack of candy apples in your house.      This blood sugar will possibly determine if you're going to get a good nights sleep.

Personally, I like to be above a 7 at least.   I feel like below a 7 I am bound to wake up looking for something good to eat.   Now, I also know I could lower my basal rate, so that I could go to bed below a 7 and be fine, but I am not really convinced that this is true.  What I am exactly doing as I sleep that makes my sugar drop - is unknown to me and therefore, I am not sure I could really sort it out to be perfect. Plus, let's face it - waking up in the middle of the night to ransack your kitchen is all apart of being diabetic.

But, really, I am curious to know what other people's numbers are? (No, not your phone number...)  I am interested because I find it so fascinating how there could be so many type 1 diabetics that share similar stories of being moody while high or accidentally ripping out sites, yet we are all different in other ways when thinking about how our body works and the different techniques that work for one diabetic, but not so much for another.

Someone may feel comfortable laying down with a blood sugar of 5.5, while others feel much more comfortable at a 10. Despite the doctors telling you that 5.5 is the ideal bed time, morning time, afternoon time, snack time, dinner time, blood sugar - let's face it, that just isn't happening.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things We Say To Our Pumps

Everyone talks to objects that aren't able to talk back. It's our way of expressing how we feel like when the computer randomly shuts down, we stub our toe on the coffee table or our key gets stuck in the front door. Some diabetics have choose to be hooked up to an object 24/7 and therefore there are times that we are talking to our pumps. 

What do we say?

1. Please don't rip out!
2. Shut up!
3. Why are you beeping?
4. What do you want?
5. Seriously, I just want to go to bed!
6. Seriously, I just changed you!
7. Why do you insist on wrapping around door handles?
8. K, you can just hang there for awhile....
9. I'll deal with you later..
10. Low reservoir...
11. Low battery...
12. Really?
13. And where shall I hide you?
14. Stop vibrating ... I know you're there.

and the one thing we really should say, 15. Thanks for saving my life your annoying piece of plastic! 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Who knew that one disease could do so much?  I am not talking about the damage it can do to your pancreas, or the anger it can cause you, or how easily it can wake you up at night.  I am talking about the positives that come from being diabetic.    The things that keep me writing, or keep me checking my blood sugar, the things that bring people together... all this stuff from one little disease called Diabetes.

This week has been crazy.  I got interviewed by the Londoner (A Local Newspaper) and I am all set to go on Rogers TV on Friday for my first TV interview.  All of this comes from one simple thing I did after being diagnosed - I blogged!    Now, being a writer sometimes you can't just sit back and hope that someone sees your work - you need to let the world know and I have been lucky enough to have had many opportunities to share essentially, my life with people all over the world.

But, beyond the media, I am actually overjoyed at how many type 1's I've connected with in the past couple weeks.  Today, I approached the trendsetter I talked about last week and we ended up talking away three hours at my apartment about diabetes and more.  It was nice to have someone right there to talk to and I think she enjoyed it as well.

Diabetes does suck, but there is so much that can come from it. It really shows that you can take  something that is dull and make it shine!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Party Like Your Pancreas is Working'

Being a student, it's kind of hard to balance diabetes and fun.   As much as the two have to go together no matter what, it is fairly easy to put fun before diabetes.   The easiest way to prove this is that I check my sugar less when I am going out with friends than I do if I am just out and about by myself.   I instantly morph into a non-diabetic like my friends.

Although, it is easy to forget - you have to do, what you have to do.   So, here is a little manual to make that balance a little easier!

1.  Pre drink:   This is the time to load up on some of the snacks and take a little less insulin, because it's going to be hard to find food at the bar.    Check your sugar at least twice, once before the pre drink and then just as you're about to jump in the cab.  Personally, I don't mind if my sugar is a little on the high side as I am heading to the bar, because I know I will be dancing!

2.  At the bar:   There is going to be lots of people and it's going to be hard/annoying to check your blood sugar.  Sometimes, I check mine at the bar, but not always.  I go a lot by 'feeling' - if I feel low, I will try and find something (hardly ever happens) and if I feel high I might take a couple units of insulin.

3.  After the bar:  This is when you come storming into your apartment looking for some food. You haven't had snacks until the pre drink and now it's time to have a little snack.  This is a good time to get back into the swing of diabetes and check your sugar before heading to bed.   Have a couple snacks and get settled into your bed - but I can't guarantee you won't wake up in the middle of the night with a low blood sugar!

And that's that!  It is pretty simple, but if you know your body well, you shouldn't have to fret if you haven't checked your sugar at the bar because let's face it sometimes fun gets in the way.  As long as your friends around you know that you're the diabetic in the room, chances are they won't let you down.


Saturday, January 14, 2012


As a diabetic you must rely on things to work, like your pump or your meter. You just assume that your pump is working 24/7 and that your meter is giving you correct readings.  We just assume that all is in order because if we worried about it all the time we wouldn't be leaving the house quite as often.  Lately, I have had some trouble with my Mio inserts from Medtronic.

On a few occasions I have inserted them and when I pulled the needle out, the site did not stick! Now, changing your site is probably one of the biggest hassles of being a pump wearer, so after you've already taken the time to unwrap the product, get it ready, get up the courage to push the button, only to find your pulling the whole thing back out - you get a little angry.

After the fourth time (on different occasions) I decided that I needed to contact them.  I emailed them at first, but after getting some advice from another diabetic, I decided that calling would be best.   Right away I was transferred to a Medtronic worker in the U.S. He was incredibly nice and after talking a bit about what was wrong with the sites, he said he would send me a new box, no problem! 

I was surprised at how fast I got to talk to a real person and how on the ball he was about sending me more Mio sites!

I guess it pays off to call!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Behind it All

A lot of people are interested in raising money for causes; whether that be for cancer, heart and stroke or diabetes.  I know a lot of my own peers that are involved with various walks, pledges etc. for different groups even groups that have nothing to do with diseases such as groups that work with children.  

Before being diagnosed I didn't do too much work with organizations; although I knew that it was something I could possibly be interested in. It wasn't until  I was diagnosed that I realized how much is out there for us to do and that it isn't just about raising money and scribbling down pledges in order to win a prize.  There are actually faces behind these diseases or organizations.

I haven written about this before, but this has a little bit of a different tone to it.   A couple days ago I went to my first Diabetes Club meeting at Western University.   I wasn't sure what to expect after finding out there wasn't that many diabetics in the club.   I guess my first question when I got there was, "So, if there aren't many diabetics what is everyone else's relation to the group?"    his response was that they were just looking to help out with an organization so they decided on diabetes.

That's totally cool, people just wanting to help out with an organization! I understand their drive and want to get involved whether it is heart and stroke or diabetes.   However, there was one moment in that group that really made me think.   In about a group of fifteen or so, I stood up to talk about what some of my ideas were in making a second chapter with type 1s.   The first question in front of the group I asked was who was diabetic and one girl raised her hand.

Now, I have given speeches to people that aren't diabetic before, actually both speeches I have given were in front of non-diabetics or type 2's - so this wasn't anything different. However, I picked up a weird tone from the group and I am not sure if that was purpose or not.  I wondered if they had ever heard a type 1 diabetic talk? Did they know what it was like to live with diabetes or did they just know the facts.

You see, it is so easy to pick up a pledge form or think of a creative idea to raise money, even awareness; however, without having the insight of another diabetic are they truly getting the real experience of it all. I think  hearing stories of diabetics or cancer patients, someone that has suffered a heart attack or a child from a third world country...hearing these stories can truly change the motivation of the group.  

We know how many people in the world are living with diabetes. We know the symptoms of diabetes and the complications, but do we know the faces behind it all?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ten Thousand

Well it's official I have reached over 10 000 individual views on my blog in less than three years.  It seems that in the past year my blog has really taken off with over a thousand views a month.    I can hardly believe that I have reached the 10 000 mark, but when I hear such positive feedback I know at least I have done something right.

I started this blog in March of 2009 and had no idea where it could really take me.  I didn't know much about blogging, but I knew that I was interested in writing.  I'm glad I had decided to take the wonderful public on a journey with me through the life of a diabetic.  I think it has given some people a new perspective on life unlike no other.

Living with diabetes is normal for me.  I know that my roommates aren't taking insulin injections or checking their blood sugar, but I do know that I have a bunch of friends that are.  I know that despite being the only diabetic in the room most days, there are always diabetics just around the corner, in the next town or just a click away.

For me, my blog has allowed me to connect with people all around the world.  Those that are living with diabetes and those who love diabetics.    It has given me amazing opportunities to reach out and take my diagnoses and mould it into something that is unusual, yet positive.  I have given myself a voice and strength to go about my mornings, afternoons and nights feeling O.K about my diabetes.

The best thing is that as I reached 10 000 I knew that there were at least 10 000 people who have given me a chance. Checked out what it is like to live with diabetes in college, go out and party and date.  All the answers that you aren't going to find in your doctor's office.

10 000 isn't the limit, I cannot wait to see it grow and reach new heights much like my life with diabetes is growing and reaching new heights.  

Thank you all to my readers who have supported me thus far.  I can assure you that big things are to come!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This winter's new accessory is a classy insulin pump. It can be worn anywhere you please, in your back pocket, in your front pocket, in your bra, or strapped to your arm or leg.  You can find them in a variety of colours from purple, blue and clear and don't worry you can shop around because there are about at least three brands to choose from.   The best part is that if you're an Ontario citizen your new accessory is paid for or else you'd be forking over thousands of dollars to look this good and that stuff that comes with it - well it's all part of the look.  So, start shopping around and if you've not being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes yet, you may want to work on that.

I went back to classes yesterday, but since I only have one class on Monday it feels like today was my official day back with a whopping 4 hours of class.    Today was the only day of school that I actually had a different class than first semester and to make it even more exciting it was at the Brecia campus (which is nice because it is much closer to my apartment.)

But, either way the real excitement of the class is when I realized that insulin pumps are definitely making a scene in the fashion world, like who doesn't want to sport a nice plastic box with 23 inches of glorious tubing.    In class, there were three pumps (including mine.) Three wonderful diabetics wearing their pumps showing the world that pumps can be the next best thing since Coach made wristlets.

Now, I haven't made my move yet. I haven't approached these (soon-to-be-diabesties) however, I will because while I know that there are diabetics out there that are not interested in talking to other diabetics, there is a good chance that they are. But, these two diabetics were sitting beside each other, so if they haven't made the connection yet, I wouldn't mind being the one that does it.

Either way, these girls made me proud to show off my pump as I pulled it from my back pocket and sat it on my lap (two reasons: just in case this intrigued either of them to approach me and the next, it's not so comfortable sitting on your pump for 2 hours) So, let this be a reminder to all you pump wearers or to those that are looking at getting an insulin pump:  you may not see them all the time, but when you do, know that you're not alone and that your pump really enhance your winter fashion...right?


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sleeping Diabeauty

You've pulled the covers up to your chin, fixed your pillow a couple times and managed to peel off your socks using only your feet - you are off to a good nights sleep. The only thing now that will wake you up is that sudden 'I have to pee' urge or your stupid alarm clock buzzing at 7am. This is the scenario for most when it comes to bedtime routines; however, for diabetics that would only be the beginning.

As a diabetic you check your blood sugar, realize it's a little on the low side so you wander to the kitchen to grab a totally unwanted snack. You finish half of it then climb into bed deciding whether you are going to attempt to sleep with your pump tucked in your pajama pocket or let your pump run free. You decide free.

Next, you pull up the sheets and blankets over your body and adjust your pillow (whoa, your like a normal person) oh wait, you realize your pump just vibrated.. Why did it do that? First terrifying thought "please, oh, please don't tell me the resivior is low...." you look, nope just pressed something I guess.

Finally, your off to dreamland - you think. But, now your rolling finding a good sleep time position. On your side, on your back, front? Either way you've now have been tossing your pump back and forth, up and down, just to get comfortable. Then, either your mind falls asleep or you just don't care that a plastic box has found shelter in your side - you just fall asleep anyways.

Of course, your going to wake up to pee and your all of a sudden feeling like being diabetic has its perks as you glide with ease down the dark hallway with the light of your pump leading the way. Well, hey there has to be something good of it all!


Friday, January 6, 2012


I don't know how many shows I have seen that make jokes about diabetes.   Vince and I were watching a couple episodes of Modern Family and in two of the three we watched they joked about diabetes. Of course I laugh!  I don't take the jokes to heart and if anything I am glad they are in some way acknowledging diabetes despite the jokes often being exaggerated.

It always catches my attention when they say something about diabetes or insulin etc.   But, it also catches everyone else's attention around me, as they look at me after it is said to see if I am going to give some kind of reaction.   I often wonder what other people think of it though. I can't imagine that everyone finds it entertaining.

The best way to look at it, if you are offended is that if diabetics got together and made a comedy, chances are we would make jokes about non-diabetics asking silly questions and being extra cautious around us.  I am sure that our version of a show like Family Guy would contain a family with a diabetic child, where the mother is constantly asking her daughter if she has her supplies and the neigbours always bringing over sugar free baked goods for the 'diabetic.'  


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sexy Pump

I think one of the worst things about having an insulin pump is wearing it.  I think that is what took me a year and a bit to even consider looking into one.  Everyone told me how great it would be, you wouldn't have to take needles every single day and with one or two presses of a button you could be giving insulin like no one's business.  

When I decided to go on the insulin pump, I stopped worrying about where I was going to hide it for a second. I realized that I needed to take advantage of new technology like I do with my mac book or iPad.  I mean, if I am willing to carry an iPhone with me 24/7 I think wearing a pump is manageable.  But, what divides your cellphone and my pump is that stupid tubing that hangs about.

The tubing that gets caught on anything it can find, door handles, seat belts, your clothes, in the couch... whatever it wants.   Eventually, you get used to a swinging pump and even yesterday my pump flew from my pocket and hit me right in the knee cap!  It's an aggressive little device.

But, most of the time when you are wearing your pump you've found a good place for it to be comfy (at least to a diabetic's standard.)   But, those times when you want to go out on the town, and wear a nice dress that is when the challenge between looking good and being comfortable divides. Let's face it, a pump in the bra looks good (sometimes) but it is not comfortable.

I slowly got tips from other diabetics when I realized that their pump wasn't always hanging on their pants and their tubing wasn't hula hooping around their waist.   I often wear my pump in my bra (tucked near my armpit) but sometimes you have to experiment with where to place your pump depending on what you're wearing.

You've got your nice black dress on, your black heels, your beautiful flower earrings, a nice long necklace and your sexy pump.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Mingling with Diabetics

Most of the time, diabetics spend their time with non-diabetics. No one really knows exactly what frustrations come with wearing a plastic box attached to 23 inches of tubing, nor do they know what it is like to prick your fingers.   But, as diabetics we don't mind that our love ones don't know exactly what it is like; however, when we get that chance to mingle with another diabetic - we won't turn it down! 

I really enjoy being around other diabetics.  Although we aren't always talking about 'diabetes' things, the topic is never far off.  I enjoy talking about my diabetes with anyone, but when I am talking to someone who knows exactly what they're talking about - it's nice! 

I've made a lot of diabetic friends from all across Canada and the United States.  The best part is knowing that when you're having those days when you can't help, but vent - there is always someone there.  Someone who can say, "I know exactly how you feel."

The weirdest part of it all is when you're with the other diabetics and you realize at that moment when you have to check your sugar, 10 minutes later, they will be checking theirs.  Then, they will pull out your pump, only to remind you to check yours.  It's weird seeing a somewhat similar reflection of yourself - something you don't see often! 


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Check It!

The hardest part about being diabetic is finding the time to be diabetic.  There are times when going to check your blood sugar isn't your first priority as much as it should be.  Sometimes you just want to sit around and have some snacks like everyone else and not have to worry about what your sugar levels are.   I find taking my blood sugar probably the most annoying part about diabetes.

Having an insulin pump, it is pretty easy to administer my medication without difficulty. I can remain sitting with the group and give insulin, but when it comes down to checking my blood sugar, my meter is often tucked away in my purse somewhere, unlike my pump that is tucked away in my bra or back pocket.

When it comes down to it, there is nothing else that can be done.  I have to face the fact that I am going to have to leave the odd time to check my blood sugar.  Most of the time I am with people that are used to seeing my pull out my meter to check and usually they are the ones that are reminding me to do it.

One thing I'd like to do in the New Year is to check my sugar a little more to keep on top of things.  I know that no one else in the room is checking their blood sugar, but that's the job that I have to take on!

Happy New Year!