Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Letters for a Celebration

Once again I am reaching out to my readers and diabetic/non diabetics friends to celebrate a full three years of diabetes (on March 13th).    In celebration of also the enormous take off of my pen pal group - I am asking my readers and friends to send me letters!

I can hardly believe that it has almost been three years - in fact I am more so shocked it has ONLY been three years.  I feel like I haven taken diabetes and turned it into something quite glamourous, how many of you non-diabetics envy my fancy purple insulin pump?  Of course, I am kidding - diabetes is a serious disease and as much as I joke and praise it - it can be a struggle and has been on a few occasions.

Diabetes has become a part of who I am and I really enjoy spreading the word about it, but more so connecting with so many people.  I thank the internet for that, I cannot imagine how lonely it would have been for diabetics that were diagnosed before social networking become popular - it seems that their only diabetic therapy fix came from summer camps.

So, I still have a couple weeks before it's official, but I am hoping to receive amazing letters!

Email me at: kaylambrown@hotmail.ca to get the information on where to send your letter!


Monday, February 27, 2012

All That Junk

Is there such thing as a quick site change? When I know I have to change my site, it's like preparing for a battle.  First I have to rummage through the fridge to get my insulin (which I keep in a lunch bag) and then I have to dig through my three drawer diabetes supply cart and find a site, an alcohol swab and then a reservoir.

Now that all the supplies are tossed around the desk, it's time to start unwrapping them.  Pulling apart the reservoir package like a cheese string (the packaging is extremely similar) and then opening up the lunch bag, digging through the few vials I keep hidden in there, then ripping apart the site packaging and the alcohol swab.

Then, I have to decide what I am going to do first - site change or filling the reservoir... if I am feeling brave, I tackle the site change, if I feel like I want to waste some time and not put a needle in - I give myself at least a few minutes to relax while I fill the reservoir with insulin. I always leave in my old site until I have a new one just in case it doesn't go in right and I don't want to tackle it again.  Sometimes, if my site has already fallen off - I have to hope that it works the first time.

After a nice site is in my stomach or back, it's time to prime the pump. Letting the insulin fill the tubing so that when I give myself insulin it is ready to go!   This part is easy, you just stand there, holding the pump in one hand, the end of the tubing in the other and wait until the insulin squirts out.   The smell of fresh insulin fills the air - which signals you that you are DONE with the site change.

The first day of a new site is the best.  You know you at least have a couple days without another needle or low reservoir - the only thing that will catch you off guard now is a low battery alert!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Dreams

I've learned a few things about myself through my journey living with diabetes.  But, more so, I have learned that when I set my mind on something - I set my mind on something.  Since being diagnosed, I have created endless amounts of projects for myself.  I have tried my best to get involved as much as possible and most of all make a difference in the diabetes community.

My dreams are big.  I am always dreaming, thinking and hoping for big things.  I can't help but imagine all the possibilities that can come from dedication.  I know that there are type 1's out there that have no idea that there is support and even if they are aware that there is support - sometimes it is not as easy to access it.

My newest project comes from something I have done on my own - diabetic pen pals!   I was so excited to start writing that I wanted to share the whole concept with the diabetic community - in a few short hours, almost 40 people have decided they like the idea and are ready to start connecting with type 1's their age in all parts of the world.

It's such a great feeling - to know that in some way or another my dreams are taking shape, and forming into bigger and better dreams.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

I gave myself needles for half the amount of time I have had diabetes (1.5 years.)  Every day I would give myself approximately 4 needles a day to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a long lasting insulin to last me for the entire day.  When I decided to switch to the insulin pump diabetes and needles wasn't as correlated as it once was before.  I began seeing less needles and that 'one every three days needle' was a quick reminder, but easily forgotten once it settled in.

I used silhouettes from Medtronic as soon as I started using the insulin pump.  It is a manual site that you insert on an angle.   I soon began hating these sites just as much as the multiple daily injections.  I hated having to put the sites in myself because it hurt and I only felt comfortable putting them in my belly.   I switched to a site that allowed me to just press two buttons and the site would go in by itself - relief!

So, now I have been using these and it has been great.  Just a quick shock in the stomach and then it is over, god forbid I have to go back to silhouettes - oh wait, I do. 

I accidentally ordered a box of dang' silhouettes! I never thought it hurt as bad as it did.  The other day I got it prepared and tried my hardest to put the needle, on an angle, into my stomach and all I could do was cry. It hurt so incredibly bad, that I kept pulling the needle back out as it protruded through my skin. It hurt so badly, that I wanted to give up. I instantly hated diabetes. 

I stood there in front of the mirror (so I can get a better idea of where I am putting the site) balling my eyes out, holding the needle against my skin and I just didn't want to do it anymore. I instantly thought about all the other people doing this and closed my eyes, and said a few 'nice' words and shoved the needle into my skin.      

It seems that for me, diabetes is usually sugar and spice and everything nice, but the odd time it just isn't any of those things at all.  Sometimes diabetes is the biggest pain in the butt. It takes time out of my day, it makes me rethink wardrobe choices and it makes me a tad bit different from everyone else around me. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

D-Pen Pals

It seems that my Facebook friend list contains more broken pancreases than working ones. My newsfeed is always flowing with status updates of, Dear Diabetes... and complaints about low or high blood sugar.  Sometimes, I'll even forget who has diabetes and who doesn't and I end up looking at their profile to figure it out only to be like, oh yes, I met them last year.

It's just amazing to me, how many of us are out there, testing our blood sugars, giving ourselves insulin and cursing diabetes every now and then. But, when I had read something on someone's Facebook about having a pen pal, I immediately began Google searching to find a diabetic from another country that was willing to write to me...yes, hand write.

I stumbled upon a girl from the Barbados, to my surprise there were a few people that were looking for the same thing. I don't even remember where I found her, or how long ago she had posted the request, but I decided to email her and see if she was still interested in having a diabetic pen pal.

She answered back fairly fast and we were both equally excited to begin hand writing letters. She then mentioned adding one another to Facebook and so we did, only to find out we have mutual friends. Okay, Canada and Barbados... not close at all right?  But, the diabetes community seems to be close no matter what country or rock you're living under.    It seems that everyone knows someone with diabetes and if we all figured it out I am sure we would all somehow find that we all know each other through someone.

As much as I tried to dig deep reaching out to google instead of one of my online diabetic community groups - I still ended up finding a friend of a friend.   But, the letter will still come and I am excited about it.  I am looking forward to getting to know someone who lives with diabetes in such a different culture than me.

I think this is the exciting thing about diabetes, we all live with it, but we all live so differently.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Barbie's Diabetes

It has crossed my mind before, the idea of having a barbie doll that is suited up to check her blood sugar, give herself some insulin while she enjoys a nice piece of plastic chocolate cake and juice box in case she has a low blood sugar and Ken isn't willing to drive her to the corner store to grab a chocolate bar.

The same idea came to a 7 year old type 1 named Emma, who said she wanted a type 1 barbie, "So kids like me can have a doll just like us and pretend to check her blood sugar when we check check our own. It would be fun to be the same!"

Although all us glamourous girls who may have played with Barbies when we were children never really looked like our perfect, blonde, slim, barbie dolls we always seemed to put our personality into our dolls.  We liked to sing, so we set up concerts for our barbies to sing.   We enjoyed the idea of throwing outrageous parties completed with ballroom dresses and a handsome line up of blonde Ken dolls and driving around in a pink convertible - completely far fetched from anything we really were doing, but it made us feel great knowing that Barbie and her friends were living the dream.

Who didn't want to grow up and be just like Barbie?  A blonde, go-getter.  She was a surfer, dentist, nurse, veterinarian, lifeguard, flight attendant, NASCAR driver and cheerleader.   For many of us, Barbie was our go to toy.   My barbies were all these things, but never did my barbie have some strange disease or illness, because I knew nothing about this!  Although, I do recall having a barbie that came with a wheelchair - but that was the closest thing to showing diversity that I recall.

Emma is looking for a Barbie that is just like her.  Maybe she wants to have Barbie wake up at night, disrupting Ken from his sleep to grab a juice box from her fridge, only to hear Kelly awake in her crib. Or maybe she wants to have Barbie pulling out her insulin pump at the ballroom dinner she is hosting.  Either way, I can see where Emma and most likely many, many other girls her age can go with this diabetic Barbie.

I realize that getting Mattel to even consider this would be a challenge and a half, but why bother with Mattel when the diabetic community is so close knit anyways, let's just start making these Barbie accessories for Barbie and her diabesties, we can stock her fridge with juice boxes and her drawers with Dex Tabs.   Give her a nice site to stick to her stomach and get her insulin pump running. Let's just hope she has benefits, so she can still afford that pink convertible.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Friends with Benefits

Never have I had the need to worry about where I will get my insulin from. I never have to worry about if I have enough money to afford blood strips. On a daily basis I don't think about how much my medication costs me because I don't have to pay. But, what happens when I am not a student anymore? and I am over 25 years old?

We are lucky in Canada to have all that we do.  So much that I wish everyone could be so lucky to not have to worry about the cost of insulin.   However, there comes a point when I won't be covered under my mother anymore, I will have to get a job with benefits or, find a 'friend' with benefits!

I thought of it as a online dating ad, where I would list all the qualities I want: " a man that likes long walks on the beach, romantic movies, oh and has great benefits at work that includes insulin, blood strips etc."  Of course, all my fingers are crossed to land a great job after University and once again never have to worry about the cost of insulin or if I have enough money to buy strips - but this issue is all to familiar for many people.

It's kind of scary thought - not having the protection that you need and feeling like diabetes is a true burden.   I have heard stories of people sharing insulin with family members (that are also diabetic) or rationing the amount of supplies that they are using to get the most for their money. It is all too complicated for an already tiring disease.

So, if you are approaching the age of 25 or graduating soon - this must be something that is on your mind.  Should we start storing our insulin like squirrels store their nuts? You just never know when insulin can start looking more like a rare jewel than something that we just knew as always being there for us.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Other Halves

Living with diabetes isn't a one woman/man job.  Like a child, it takes a village to keep the diabetic going.   It's funny because we all seem to have stories about how non diabetics approach our diabetes or have taken on the role of being the other half of our broken pancreas. 

We need our second half to be our go-getter, go get some sugar, go get my meter, go get my insulin.  We need them to understand our diabetes and know that asking us if we can eat things is the fastest way to get a high blood sugar reaction minus the actual high blood sugar.  Most of all we need them to give us the support that we need.

Of course, our other halves also need to feel the support and every now and then we can share our low snack with them or let them have a high blood sugar reaction minus the high blood sugar.  It's funny because with time diabetes easily becomes apart of their life just as much as it is yours. They become advocates for diabetes when a person in a coffee shop accidently mixes up type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They also begin to have diabetes related dreams, and then give you advice based on what happened in their dream.  i.e Vince telling me to take my site out before we went for massages.

Our other halves didn't ask for diabetes, heck, we didn't ask for diabetes either, but it's important for us to let them know just how much we appreciate them and we can do that by buying two chocolate bars, so that when you're low, and don't want to share, you can give them a chocolate bar and let them enjoy the perks that come with living with a diabetic.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Power & Strength

Vince & I on Valentine's Day

It's hard to imagine where I would be had I not been diagnosed with diabetes.  Would I be at Western University? Would I be the person that I am today?  It's hard to say, it seems that diabetes gave me more than a lazy pancreas.  It gave me a voice, courage, strength and a ton of amazing friends. I've really come into my own and the whole idea of the sky is the limit has become a day to day realization.  I have realized that I can achieve more than I had ever given myself credit for, and the more that I achieve, the more I want to push the limits and get out there.

Lately, it has been a world-wind of events for me.  I have found myself becoming a full time diabetic advocate.  Writing the blog, being my main role, as well as  meeting with other organizations and many, many other type 1 diabetic.   I have found so much strength in what I am doing, I know that I was meant to be diagnosed with diabetes and I feel the power to change the face of diabetes and keep those living with diabetes happy with who they are.

I feel honoured to have met the people I have met in my life thus far.  I am almost sad for those who don't have diabetes because I only wish they knew half the people that I have met through this disease.  Each and every diabetic I have met has given me hope in that I can achieve all of my goals + more.

This disease has also showed me sides of 5.5'ers that I would have never seen before.  I am so grateful to have such positive people in my life because that is what keeps me positive and going on as strong as I have been.  I am powerful and I am strong and that is all I need to continue on!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

How Amazing is That?!

First T1 event @ Jack Astors! 

It's not every day that you are surrounded by people that are just like you.  Sure, we don't all have the same hair colour or the same body shape - we are all unique, but there is one thing that makes us all very similar. That one thing, that people label as being 'bad', that intrudes on the lives of so many children,  teens and adults - well that one thing has brought a bunch of similar people together that would have never met otherwise.  Oh, that one thing, I am sure you've guessed it, is type 1 diabetes.

Tonight, my vision all came together.  Fifteen type 1 diabetics, filed in to Jack Astor's for a nice dinner!  I wasn't sure how it would turn out, well, I knew it would be good, but I was a little nervous about what others would think about my 'brilliant' plan. The table, being rectangle, was not ideal to be able to talk to everyone, but I think all of us managed to become good buddies with the people around us - and now as Facebook promises, we have all managed to add one another and continue our conversations.

I think the importance of this, is equal to insulin.   We can take care of our bodies with insulin, whether that's with pumps or injections, but the power to take the insulin, remember the insulin as well as test our blood sugar isn't always there.     Sometimes being diabetic is a pain in the butt, and doing the daily routine can be boring as well as discouraging.  But, this is where being social with your diabetes come in.  I learned this as soon as I was diagnosed and found many, many other type 1s.

I realized that having people just like you in your life is key to taking care of your diabetes.   The average   diabetic is the solution to the control of your diabetes.  Having that safety net to catch you when you aren't sure what to do next or if you need that encouragement.  I've had a few people tell me already that their management has been better since being connected with other diabetics - HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

Tonight, before I go to bed, I am feeling proud. I am smiling and excited and cannot wait to organize the next event.  I know that this can go far and that is will help people living with diabetes just as much as insulin has.  Diabetes may be a life sentence (until it is dismissed by a cure) but until then let's put our efforts into creating these amazing 'safe' places where diabetics can feel normal, excited and free !


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The 'D' Card

A friend of mine asked me to talk a little bit about using the 'D' card.   The 'D' card refers to using the fact that you are diabetic in order to get something done, something faster or to just get out of something.   I think that this issue is something that can be incredibly debatable and I realize that using a 'disease' as an excuse is not something I go by at all, but sometimes you got to do what you go to do.

Usually when you're about to use the 'D' card you start with either:

"But, I am diabetic..."

"Oh, just to let you know I am diabetic..."

"Or, not sorry, I am diabetic..."

The 'D' card is used widely as just a cop out of eating really gross food.  Someone offers you a brownie and takes back their offer with, "oh sorry, you're diabetic ... you probably shouldn't eat that" and you reply with, "Of course I can eat that! I am diabetic - I can eat anything!" grabbing a yummy hot brownie from their hands.  BUT, as soon as a person hands you a hot steamy plate of anchovy pizza, you tuck your hands in your lap and say, "sorry, I am diabetic, that has too many carbs! I'll just have something else!" Classic 'D' card example.

The 'D' card is also used in emergency situations, and I don't mean when you get to skip the line at the Bulk Food Store (that will come later) but, sometimes when you go to the walk-in or emergency room it doesn't hurt to add you're diabetic.  You never know, this broken ankle, could effect my diabetes.... If it doesn't work - at least you've tried and now you can go sit down with all the rest of the people waiting and read some Reader's digest.

This 'D' card is totally legitimate. When you go low, you need to eat. So, taking something off the shelf, having a bite and paying later - should be a good enough excuse to tell the cashier when you hand over your crumpled KitKat bar wrapper.  "Sorry, I am diabetic and needed something to eat..."

We all have cards that we pull out every now and then - it seems to be just apart of life. We take what we are given and we work with it.  Sometimes you have to have a little fun with the little bumps, twists and turns along your life path. So why not every now and then break out the 'D' card - just think you could be eating brownies and not anchovy pizza, in and out of a walk in in 20 minutes, and eating chocolate bars before you reach the check out line.


Friday, February 10, 2012

I am....

It's all a matter of preference, but I never truly thought about it until someone posted in a diabetes group on Facebook that she is upset that her nurses call her a diabetic; rather than, a person with diabetes. This really made me curious.  What is the difference between being a diabetic or being a person with diabetes. Obviously, we both are taking insulin and checking our blood sugar - so what divides the label?

Maybe, it is just that. It is a label - calling yourself a diabetic is just like saying, I am a blonde, I am a female, I am Canadian. Whereas saying you are a person with diabetes is like saying I am a person that owns a dog, I am a person that attends University, I am a person with a car.     Both can be reversed, I am a student/ I am a person that attends University.   Either way, it's all a matter of preference.

However! I don't think that it is quite the same for most people, one person may gladly switch up being a student and attending University, but when it comes to the 'diabetes' issue - there really usually is one preference.

To get a good idea of where people sat on this issue I took a poll on Facebook. I realize it isn't the biggest range of people, but I thought that is better than me trying to guess what people prefer.  I found that out of 22 people 20 of them preferred to be called diabetic, where as only 2 preferred to be called a person with diabetes.

I think that being called diabetic is somehow a way of identifying yourself to a particular thing.  With that, you are accepting all of the other labels attached to it. Of course, if you are a type 1 and like to be called diabetic, you are probably adding that in every single time you say it as well.  "I am diabetic . . . a type 1 diabetic!"

I fully admit that I prefer to be called diabetic, and when I say prefer, I don't mean I would be offended if a person told me I was a person living with diabetes. But, as far as when I explain myself, I always say that I am diabetic.  I think that if I were to write a list of 10 things that I am, diabetic would be high on the list.  It's one of those things that I feel is a huge part of my life and in a way it is apart me.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Little Success

Diabetes can be a tad bit repetitive.  You wake up in the morning, check blood sugar, eat and then you go to class/work, test and then eat lunch. Next, you leave work/school, test and eat dinner, and finally you head to bed, test and go to sleep.   All of this testing, bolusing, carb counting and adjusting is an on going activity for many diabetics and it is incredibly easy to fall off the bandwagon - that is for sure!

For me, only being diagnosed for three years, it is hard to imagine what it has been like for diabetics that have done this for their entire life.   I have fallen off the wagon a couple times as far as keeping up with blood sugars and remembering to bolus - but for the most part I have been able to pick myself up again - thanks to other diabetics and this blog.

I think that the secret may be something not huge, but little.   It's something that anyone can do and it may just be the kick in the pancreas you need!  I realized that the goal of having amazing blood sugars every single day is the equivalent to saying I am going to lose 50 pounds in two weeks.   Instead, setting tiny goals and achieving these tiny goals - will always make you feel good about yourself.

Now, I am sure many of you had a flash back of some high-school class where they make you pull out a sheet of paper and write down your goals - but let's just not write these goals down, if that is not your thing! Instead, when you have an awesome blood sugar, take a picture of it, post it on your wall, or email a friend, yell at your roommates (even if they aren't sure why a 6.5 blood sugar can be so thrilling.)  These little strides will lead you in the right direction.

Lately, I have managed to stay below the 13 range and I know that to the doctors 13 is 'bad' but I feel good about this!  In the past I was seeing constant 16's 17's even a few 20's and now in the past two weeks I have seen nothing over 13!  These little success are vital in your mental survival of diabetes.

When you feel good about yourself and your blood sugars - it will rub off on others.  


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Myths and Misconceptions

Tonight Michelle jokingly asked me if anyone has ever thought type 1 diabetes is contagious. However, I wouldn't doubt that it has crossed someones mind before.  Diabetes is full of misconceptions and myths and nothing upsets a type 1 diabetic more than being confused for a type 2.

Although, I admit I was ignorant before I was diagnosed. I don't blame others for not knowing what diabetes is or not knowing the differences. I think the importance that needs to come out of it all is that know that when diabetes becomes apart of your life in some way or another - there is lots of resources so that you don't have to be fooled by the silly misconceptions.

Silly misconceptions/myths like these:

"You have diabetes? My cat has diabetes?"

"You must have eaten a lot of sugar as a kid!"

"You're not fat? or old?"

"It will like, go away right?"

"Can you eat sugar?"

"Do you have the good kind or the bad kind?"

"You just checked your sugar...do you need help?"

We all can think of a dozen more, and when we hear these things on a daily basis and for the most part they have become so common in our daily life that we either have an instant automated response or we just laugh.   We have to let these misconceptions roll off our shoulders because diabetes is enough to keep us busy.

The important thing is to educate when you get the opportunities. At least to those that are around you the most!


Monday, February 6, 2012

When I was Eighteen....

Before diabetes I was eighteen years old.  I had graduated from high-school and planned to go back an extra semester to take math.   I lived with my parents, my sister and my dog. I was a 'normal' teen who enjoyed creative writing and partying.

I only attended three doctors appointments in a one year, dentist, eye doctor and one physical.  I only saw my own blood if I accidentally got a paper cut or while chopping some veggies.  I knew that carbs were something, but I had no idea what carbs did, nor did I know that milk had carbs.

I hardly ever got blood work.  I never talked to so many specialist.  I ate whatever I wanted and when I wanted and I could go for a  run without any concern.  My bras were not packed full of supplies, I didn't wear 23 inches of tubing 24/7.  When I had a headache, I just had a headache and when I wanted pie, I just had pie.

Now I am here, twenty one years old. I am in University and plan to get my masters. I live with 4 other roommates and a dog.  I am a 'normal' diabetic who enjoys creative writing and partying, motivational speaking, and outdoor adventures.

I attend a lot of doctors appointments in one year, dentist, eye doctor, physicals, endocrinologist and D.E.C. I see my own blood at least four times a day. I know exactly what carbs are and what they do to me, and I know that milk has 12 grams of them.

I often have to get blood work. I've talked to a lot of different specialists. I eat whatever I want, and whenever I want and I do have a few concerns when I go for a run. My bras are sometimes packed with glucose tabs, a pump and a meter. I wear 23 inches of tubing 24/7. When I have a headache, I check my sugar and when I want pie, I take insulin.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Walking, Talking, Functioning Pancreas

Sometimes it can be hard to pin point what is causing high or low blood sugar. In the past week I have been trying very hard to becoming a walking, talking, functioning pancreas. Unfortunately, there are no instructions on how to be a pancreas; nor, is there a book, "Being a Pancreas for Dummies."  It's all up to us as diabetics to figure it all out.

For me, I have been attempting to test more (and so far it has been successful!)  I am happy when my sugar is normal; therefore, I am working hard on being in the range of 5-10.    The only difficulties I am running into is going low more often now.  I know that insulin is the solution to high blood sugar, but too much can be, well too much!

Tweaking my sugar/insulin has been almost like a full time job.  Instead of just ordering food, I am ordering food and asking for a nutrition guide.  Instead of just grabbing a snack from the cupboard, I am grabbing a snack and reading the back.   It's all apart of being a diabetic, and sometimes when  no one else is doing it, it's easier to fall into that rut.

I am proud of myself though! My average blood sugar this week is 7.7.  I hope to continue on this way.  It's nice to hear encouragement from others as well. Vince told me that he was proud of me for having such good blood sugars. I guess he likes a happy Kayla too!


Friday, February 3, 2012

via Broken Pancreas

When I was diagnosed I instantly was connected with Type 1's. Although the process was slow at the start, eventually my Facebook list was growing with friend's status updates about high blood sugars and pump malfunctions. I found myself becoming a part of a community, that a few months prior I knew nothing about.  Now, almost three years later I am immersed in it all and it seems natural to know so many people that are just like me in one way or another.

Unfortunately, it isn't as common to just be instantly connected via broken pancreas; rather, a lot of type 1's out there do not know many others living with diabetes and from what I heard, it can be quite daunting. When you think that you're the only one living with a disease in your household or community - the whole framework of living with diabetes is shifted.

For me, I am inspired every single day when I log into Facebook and see all the type 1's that I know are living the diabetes routine, or when my 'diabetic buddies' text me about how they are walking into an exam with a low reservoir.    I know that checking my blood sugar is not always the first thing I want to do when I wake up, but the motivation of knowing others are doing the exact same thing - keeps me going!

Yesterday I came home from a Western Diabetes meeting feeling giddy and well, Michelle could tell you, I was dancing around.   I had an amazing experience - which is going to be hard to fully explain and for anyone else to imagine - I guess!   When I first joined this club, I realized that there wasn't really that many Type 1's in the group and then I learned that many Type 1's weren't joining because they wanted more of a 'support' group than an organized donation drive.    (A combination of both is perfect!)

I decided that there are a bunch of Type 1's that are looking for something that I can provide them. I have no problem gathering us all together and working towards creating those networks. So, I got a taste of what I was getting started at this last meeting when I stood up and said what some of my ideas were, then after meeting with the Type 1's that did join the group.

Now, I know what it is like to be around Type 1's (I just spent a weekend with over 50...)  So, this experience was probably different for every Type 1 that was there.  But, I began to realize that most of them did not really know that many diabetics and hadn't really had the chance to unite!

As we spent a good chunk of time all standing around, talking about who was on what pump and how long we have had diabetes...I felt well, amazing.  I felt like I could really connected a bunch of Type 1's in the London area that at one point felt alone in their disease.  I knew that I was on to something (nothing new, because so many amazing people are doing this in their own areas) But, I knew that taking this initiative was going to be well worth it now.

I'm excited for what is to come in the London Diabetic Community - I wouldn't doubt that it can be amazing.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Steady and Stable

Although diabetes is never stable, we find ourselves finding steady ground to live out our lives while incorporating diabetes. Unfortunately with diabetes, what works one way doesn't always work the next. You can have a great day of blood sugars and the next fail completely.  But, the important aspect of diabetes is to find some steady ground to work with.

I was sort of distracted in class by this idea of being steady and stable with a disease that is neither of those things.  For me, I have fully accepted my diabetes and the fact that in my lifetime, I may not see a cure. I may live my entire life with diabetes.  That is a thought that I am O.K with.  I am O.K with having to deal with diabetes and I think that comes from the also thought I have which is - I am on stable ground.

This was most evident at Slipstream. When 50+ diabetics sat around talking about diabetes as if it was like talking about the weather.   The younger crowd made jokes about one night stands and diabetes and other things were discussed like wanting to just be around Type 1's all the time.  I realized that here, we aren't discussing the facts that the doctors present to us every 3 months, we are just talking about living with diabetes.

I have found my stable ground knowing that there are many, many Type 1's walking, running, shopping, dating, driving, flying, swimming, diving, and smiling. They, along with all the supportive 5.5'ers are supporting me and providing me with 'life insurance'  knowing that I am going to be O.K and that despite going from 15.8 to a 6.2 in an hour seems unstable - It's O.K!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Bloopers

Me, Michelle and Paige (My roommates..sometimes I eat their food)

Diabetes doesn't always run as smoothly as we wish. I think more than we realize diabetics everywhere are  laughing at their silly mistakes and mishaps associated with their diabetes, plus they provide some entertainment for the 5.5'ers in the household too.

I complied a list of some diabetes bloopers that come about, and hopefully I am not the only one experiencing these every now and then!

So, here it goes:

Exploding Reservoir:   That moment when you have waited patiently for the vial to fill the reservoir and you pull back the plunger and BAM! insulin all over the kitchen counter and floor.  Just make sure your dog doesn't go licking the insulin... I am not too sure what exactly would happen in that case...needless to say you've just washed the floors and kitchen counter willingly without allowance.

Caught: If you've got an insulin pump you have also got a fear of door knobs.  It seems that the tubing that connects your pump to your body likes to take hold onto anything it can get its hands on. This tendency is probably what also makes you have to prematurely change your pump site...either way it is either humorous or terrifying - you choose!

Old Sites: When you change a site it is easy to forget about the old one.  That 2 a.m panic attack where you feel a site that has nothing attached to it, only to find out it is just an old site... now that's a big blooper!   I even heard of someone who had more than one extra site kicking around on their body.... (Virtue...)

Little Minions: K, test strips are bound to be found everywhere and that is fine if it is in your purse, your house, your backpack etc. But, when you have just scattered them around the houses of others and I don't know how this would happen, but say they are found in someone else purse.. you can't help but laugh.   You have spread your little minions far and wide.

No Blood? Ok...:  You get out your pricker and you're ready to prick your finger, and then nothing. No blood... ok? So now what.   You just went through that whole process only to receive nothing.. now this has got to be just as annoying as reading errors on your meter.

Knotty Diabetes: Wonder why you aren't getting insulin? Maybe your tubing is twisted!  I don't know how many times people have told me my tubing looks like an old telephone cord, all spiralled and such.  When this happens you just have to shrug your shoulder and start untwisting.

Bend Out of Shape: For all the MDI users.  Don't you hate it when the needle has bent before you even got a chance to do anything...but then again, I guess no one wants a bent needle inside of them.  It's just one of those things ...

Forgetful Diabetic: One of the biggest bloopers that comes along with diabetes is forgetting supplies.  "I really would want to sleep over,  but I don't have a site.."  Hopefully, this person knows you are diabetic and understands what you mean, if not, maybe it is a good idea you cannot sleepover....

Pump? Wherefore art thou pump?:  Sometimes you don't know where your pump is.  You take it off to shower and then two hours later you realize you are lacking a pancreas (not a new feeling right?)   Sometimes your pump is found on your desk, in your pocket, but not hooked up or sometimes your pump is attached and you think it isn't...so many possibilities...

Ain't Nothin' but a D-Thang': Maybe it is just as natural as Canadian's saying 'Eh' but, as diabetics we do have some pretty crazy slang.  We don't realize it,  but our  blood glucose levels, has turned into sugar and our lancet device as turned into a pricker. Sometimes when you are talking to 5.5'ers they just don't know what you mean when you say, "Pass me my pricker, I think I am high my sugar is like 17.8 and I am pretty sure if I don't bolus I am going to go into D.K.A!"

Dear Roommate:  Diabetics should carry sticky notes, because how many times have we stumbled into our kitchens looking for a bountiful treat, only to realize that in fact our roommates have that treat we were dreaming of.   Dear Roommate: I ate your chocolate bar, I was low...sorry...

Despite there being a much longer list - I know.  This is a good summary of what most diabetics go through on a daily basis. All the bloopers of living as a diabetic, fortunately there are about a billion other bloopers that happen throughout life to anyone, diabetic or not, so when these things happen, all we can do is laugh and carry on.