Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not a cure...

Often people ask if insulin is like a cure for diabetes and when in reality it isn't a cure, it does come close, right? Let's think back before insulin was discovered in 1922, before then the life of a diabetic was limited and short. Could you imagine when everyone found out that insulin was available? Of course, we can read about it and the stories are really neat - but if that was you pre 1922, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, then given a batch of insulin - would you think, "wow, I'm cured." 

Even though we laugh when the general public asks us if insulin means we are cured, in reality it is a close start to a cure - I'd like to believe.  If insulin had not been discovered, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of diabetics wouldn't be around doing the awesome things they are doing today. Just like we say Tylenol can cure a headache or Tums can cure a belly ache - insulin sort-of-cures diabetes.   Now, I realize many will disagree with me, because as we know sometimes we take insulin and our blood sugars are still out of whack or we take too much insulin and we know how that story goes - but this is true for most drugs. Yes, it is true that insulin will not make your diabetes go away; however, insulin allows diabetics to live a full life - complication free - if used correctly.

While many other diseases provide treatment that in no way stops the disease only helps with the symptoms, I see insulin as something different all together. Insulin is in everyone, including the diabetics that are taking insulin via injection or insulin pump.   Insulin can prevent high blood sugars and is in no way a 'drug' that prevents you from doing anything. A real cure for diabetes will be some way of making the body produce insulin itself, yes insulin... the very thing we are pumping or injecting - I think the fact that insulin was discovered not even 100 years ago and it has been saving lives every single day since - we can call that a close step to a cure.

I may not have convinced you that the discovery of insulin is a close cure, but I am sure we all can admit that insulin is a lifesaver, something that if it had not been discovered, me nor any other type 1 diabetic in this world would be alive today.  Even though we get mad at diabetes for all the late-nights, no sleep, frustration etc. it causes, we do need to think about what it would have been like pre-1922. We need to be thankful that Sir Fredrick Banting and colleagues did what they did.  Really think about not even 100 years ago no one had insulin.   Now we are grateful to have more than insulin, we have insulin pumps, fancy injection pens and meters that hook up to your computer.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


So, when I mentioned let's not talk about complications - I really did mean it; however, remember how I mentioned don't tell us twice because we heard the first time - well that is very true as well.  In fact the moment you told that newly diabetic that the complications were amputation, loss of eye sight, neuropathy  and the list goes on - that diabetic started examining his or her toes every now and then covering one eye trying to see if his or her vision changed. Of course we know the complications and of course we don't ever, ever, ever, want to run into them.

Yesterday I went for a eye exam, mostly because I wanted to get contacts ordered A.S.A.P  my last pair ripped and I was losing my mind having to wear glasses all the time. You see, I have had glasses since I was in grade seven and while I didn't wear them as often until say, grade 9 - I still found myself hating having to throw them on  - in fact my mother would even admit that I am super awkward with handling my glasses, hence why they were missing the cushion nose pieces, super loose and incredibly dirty - I hardly ever wear glasses because I really, really enjoy wearing contacts.

There has been some talk about diabetics and contacts; however, my eye doctor has never brought it up to me.  The only thing mentioned was that contacts shouldn't be worn too long for anyone - diabetic or not (that's what I like to hear, it's not just diabetics it's everyone!)  I put mine in shortly after I shower, and take them out around 11 pm or close to bed time - since I do not need them to read and that is what I do most nights in bed.    Of course at times, I end up taking them out because of high blood sugar - that feeling of rocks in my eyes drives me nuts and while I still have it when I wear glasses, I can at least rub my eyes until it goes away or the blood sugar goes down.

Either way, I think the 'rock in the eye' feeling is normal during high blood sugars.   So, back to the appointment!  I had a doctor that I don't normally see because I was just taking a dropped appointment. She was really nice and had to write in my medical history since the optometrists just went digital apparently.  It seems that as soon as they know you're diabetic the whole appointment becomes about your diabetes.  I insisted even though she had my records - that I have had bad vision since grade 7 and I was diagnosed after high school with type 1 diabetes.

Either way, the only change was a little bit in my left eye I believe...maybe it is the right... I'll find out when they send me my contacts.   It wasn't by much, but the best news was when she used the microscope and told me that she sees no damage, no signs of glaucoma or cataracts - which are all linked to complications within type 1 diabetes.   That was all I needed to hear to know that I was doing a good job *pat on the back*  She also gave me a pair of contacts to throw on in the meantime!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Create It

"If it's not there create it" and that's exactly what I did and will continue to do. Of course, we could always wait around for something to happen, someone to think about the idea that crossed your mind years ago; however, why are we waiting?  Often I will get emails of type 1's wishing that there was a club like that one I started in their area and my first response is, "Well create it then!"

Sometimes you have to take that chance and know that it is O.K if it doesn't work out. If you plan an event and end up with a poor outcome - that's O.K at least you tried.  Being a leader in this world isn't hard even if you're are shy because if you are dedicated and motivated, you truly can accomplish anything.

One of my friends was laughing at all the type 1 groups I had started on Facebook, she asked why I don't just create one big one.  However, the reason I didn't create one big one, is because I am not looking to collect all the diabetics on Facebook - it's not that simple of an idea.  I wanted to make light of diabetes and make people laugh so I created the type 1 diabetes meme page, I wanted type 1's to be able to connect via snail mail, so I created the pen pal system and I also wanted to showcase what type 1's were doing all around the world, so I created the Faces page.  Yes, it would have been easier to create one page full of type 1's but that wasn't my dream - there was a need for these pages (even if the type 1 community didn't know it until I created it) and that is what I created because it just wasn't there.

Anyone can make a change or start something new. There is no reason to sit and wait for the next person to take action, one small move from someone can make a huge difference as long as you have the courage to push it forward. For example, Emma, who dreams of a type 1 Barbie doll. I recall some people making judgements on the page thinking it was an impossible dream and that Mattel would never pick it up, but who knows, keep dreaming Emma because when you create something and share it with the world, there is no limits to where it can go.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Prom Time ...Well Not Mine.

Abby with her friends! 
Yesterday was my sister's prom, and of course that scares me. It's funny how all your life you run into people that say to you, "Aw I remember when you were just a baby, now look at you!"and then all of a sudden you start saying that to people you think of as forever young.  As Abby, my sister lined up with her friends to get photos then piled into a limo, I kept thinking, wow it's been fours years since I was off to prom - imagine that!

My prom was in 2008 the year before I was diagnosed with type 1.  So, prom was like any other thing, it didn't matter what I ate or when I ate, what I did or what I didn't do - I was just an average teenager going to prom.  However, the year I was diagnosed with type 1, 2009, I went to prom with a boy I was dating who was a year younger than me (and yes, there is a blog about this way back)  but, that prom was much different from my first prom. I remember being so annoyed that the dinner was unexpected, served one course at a time, I had no idea what I was going to do. However, that prom ended up being much more fun, I remember than my original - I danced a lot more.

Either way, to make me feel even older I was the photographer at my sister's prom and all of her friends and even people I used to BABYSIT were coming to get their picture taken - all dolled up.  It was a reminder that I am not that young anymore - well  I am young, but time flies I guess is a better way of putting it.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Share Some

We always hear about the horror stories when it comes to talking about diabetes and complications. Of course, there isn't too many pretty rainbow, uplifting tales about people getting complications, but couldn't we begin to showcase those living with type 1 diabetes that are living life complication-free.  Those are the stories that need to be shared with everyone, those are the stories that will prevent one diabetic from thinking, if this is where it leads than I don't want to be here.

Over the three years that I have lived with type 1 I have heard countless stories from both ends. Stories of people going blind, yet stories of people living a long happy life with type 1.  I don't know why people do it, but it seems some people love to share the horror stories, in hopes that it will make you take your disease more seriously, but really that approach is so outdated and doesn't work - trust me.

It's good of course to know the complications, but trust me, a diabetic doesn't forget that high blood sugars can lead to blindness, so tell us, then never tell us again - thanks.   It's hard work being diabetic and of course we did not do anything to deserve such a thing; however, we use our strength and motivation to get through each and every day, carb counting, finger pricking and injecting (or pumping...)  The extra chores of being diabetic is tiring and can bring someone down fast, faster than insulin can bring down blood sugar.

What is inspiring is hearing stories of survivors, hearing stories of great success or funny stories that are not serious, but relatable. I see it in the way people react to the type 1 diabetes meme page or in the Diabetic Mothers' Facebook groups.  I see that sharing those little bits of inspiration is what keeps diabetics and/or their caregivers going every morning. Could you imagine getting up every morning hearing about how so-and-so lost their leg. NO!  Negative comments about diabetes are disturbing and spirit-breaking - no one wants to hear it.

So this movement is something that everyone can take into their lives - being so attached to social media it is easy to bring a whole bunch of people down with you.  But, why?  When you can make yourself smile (try it, just force a smile and you will feel that tiny bit of happiness run through you...) and write something uplifting.   So, I had bad blood sugars today, but guess what I realized how lucky I am to have the tools to try and make it even better!   Don't let the bad bits of diabetes take over all the good things that come from it - yes, good things from diabetes - imagine that!

Share some inspiration.


Thursday, May 24, 2012


Currently I am reading, Eckhart Tolle's book called, A New Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.  The reason I picked this book up in the first place was because I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and after that, like I am sure many, many other people I was instantly on a happiness kick and if you're going to be on any kind of kick at all, I'd say that is a good one to be on.

So, like I mentioned in my happiness blog, there were a few things that I wanted to do to make myself feel extra happy - extra because I do consider myself a happy person the majority of the time, and those times I am not happy, I blame that on a little thing called diabetes.  So, I have been trying hard to keep up my goals and sadly the hardest one, as noted by Gretchen is to not gossip and not even just gossiping, but saying things about others.  I tried to stop my train of thought when I pass by someone on the street etc. and make a quick judgement - now try and not do that... I feel like I would make a quick judgment..."ah that HAT looks crazy!....well I guess it's not that bad...everyone has different style"  this internal argument in my head to try not to critique everyone.

Anyways, now that I have turned to Tolle's book I am learning a new way of being... I wouldn't call it a happiness book more so a book about ....well I am still figuring it all out.  You see, this book is not made for something to read while waiting in line at the bank or that summer book you can tote around in your beach bag, I find this book a "everyone be quiet, lock myself in my room, stop and ponder, take some notes...type of book"   However, I am finding hidden gems in his writing that really do make me think about happiness and how we go about life.  So thumbs up Tolle for confusing me, yet making me feel good.

So, I am about half way through the book and I have been typing in my iPhone a few concepts that made me think and of course instantly relate to diabetes.  So to dive into the first one it is all about the roles we play in society.  Now, I probably could write a whole paper on this, but I will save that for when I need some good marks, but in particular I am thinking about what makes people so dissatisfied with their endocrinologist? Of course, not everyone is dissatisfied with their endocrinologist, in fact mine right now is great - but saying that, I have switched endocrinologists.

What made me think of this was when Tolle talks about how we look at one another in the roles we are in....(trust me, he didn't say it as complicated as I just did...) Basically, when we go to our doctor's appointments, we see them as endocrinologists or nurses, we don't see them as Betty Jane who has two children, enjoys traveling and collecting coins.  We go in there knowing that they are going to tell us what to do with our blood sugars, what we can improve on, and then send us on our way.   So, we treat them like doctors, we don't think of them behind their job.  Just like when you were little and saw a teacher at the mall and totally freaked out.

So, the same works for the doctor, if they haven't taken the time to know you for who you are and not just their patient that comes in every three months saying that they forgot to do their blood work, and didn't log for the past three weeks.... then that is how you will be treated, just like a patient.   So, when I thought about this in relation to people with diabetes and their doctors, I began to it true that if a doctor or nurse takes the time to get to know you, asks you a few questions about your final exams, writes down a couple notes about your personal life, just for the sake of knowing you - does that make a good relationship between the two of you?

My nurses and endocrinologist knows all about me. I think we may even talk more about my personal endeavours; rather than my blood sugars.  Either way, I like them for that.  They treat me like Kayla Brown, not that diabetic that writes a blog.   When I met my new endocrinologist she asked me about my schooling, what I was taking, what I wanted to do etc. and instantly I liked her.   Now, of course this doesn't change the fact that you see them as the people that set you straight, and I don't think many endocrinologists will be willing to divulge into their personal lives with you - but maybe if they could take the hint to spend a few questions on you and by you I don't mean your blood sugars... just maybe that would be the key to enjoying those visits. I'm assuming there is a saying in the doctor's office like, a happy diabetic makes a happy endocrinologist because I can't imagine dealing with an angry diabetic is pleasurable...


Please visit this link below to sign the pledge for diabetic barbie!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Top Ten

Today I met with Alexa, a 12 year old diabetic, who I have mentioned before.  I met with her and her father to talk about the insulin pump and of course topics surrounding diabetes came up.  Of course, my life with diabetes is similar to hers, yet in a completely different world, while she is bolusing for dunker-roos and having to manage diabetes in gym class, I am bolusing for a bowl of chips and managing diabetes for a night on the town.   As I shared my experience with diabetes with her and more particularly with an insulin pump, I started to think of the top ten things that I have learned about diabetes in the past three years.   So, here the list goes - and yes I was also inspired by David Letterman's top 10 lists.

1.  Expect the unexpected.  You may think you are fine with the site you're wearing, so why pack an extra - but no, if you don't prepare for the unexpected then everything will go wrong.   

2.  A number doesn't describe you.  If you have a high number , you're not a bad diabetic...and if you're low, you're not doing a good job.    Diabetes isn't stable, your numbers will go all over the place, but that doesn't make you who you are.

3.  Leave your meter, strips and poker out in the open.  If it is in your bag you're not going to go looking for it to get it out and check.  It's already annoying to have to test in the first place, so don't force yourself to play a game of hide and go prick.

4.  Get involved.  Not everyone is open about their diabetes - but trust me, helping one diabetic a day will make you feel good.  Join a group on Facebook for type 1 diabetics and give a tip or even just words of encouragement to someone who is in need.  It will make you feel like a professional diabetic as well as feel like you did a good deed.

5.  If your site rips out - keep calm and give yourself a break.   Don't fret when your site rips out even though it is a pain!  Give yourself some time pump free for a few minutes, then get ready to assemble the supplies.  Maybe your insulin pump really just wanted a break and that's why it took the plunge. 

6.  Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do just because you have diabetes.  You know your own limits and know your diabetes, so when someone tells you you shouldn't or you can't  - PROVE THEM WRONG!

7. Eat what you love, just remember to bolus!   As we know people think that diabetics have to limit what they eat, but thankfully that train of thought is so pre 1922'    So, enjoy life, eat that piece of cake, just remember that one extra step before you indulge.

8.  Stock up your supplies - there is nothing like realizing you have one site left and a few units of insulin in a vial.  Having a decent supply of diabetes supplies gives you peace of mind!

9.  Have fun with your diabetes - think about pink sites, purple pumps, zebra skins and fun ways to keep your diabetes stylish, after all this isn't your grandparents diabetes.

10.  Give yourself credit for what you do every single day.  Reward yourself, smile at your achievements and kick diabetes butt! 

I'd love to hear everyone top 10! So what have you learned over the years of your diagnosis?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Absolutely Thankful

Photo I captured at the Toronto Zoo! 
It seems like summer takes forever to get here, but rushes by quickly as soon as it does arrive.  This summer unlike the past three summers I have decided to stay in London, hoping that this would be the summer of opportunities. I have turned my life into something unique and this summer I realized, what a great opportunity to see what I can truly do.

Thankfully, I have many people in the London community that are great to me.  Second families all over the place that make me feel at home. I have met great families and individuals that are always cheering me on and helping me out. The feeling of having support from people is great. I credit them for giving me the strength and big smile to carry on and strive for the best.

So, for the summer, I hope to report a lot of exciting news and shares amazing photos of what I have been striving for.  Diabetes has changed my life for the best, as crazy as it seems. I will check my blood sugar four + times a day and give myself a needle every three days as long as I can keep this life that I have been given - amazing, amazing, amazing opportunities that I am absolutely thankful for.


Monday, May 21, 2012


Me at the Toronto Zoo today!
I feel bad for not doing the last topic of the challenge, but since it is the long weekend - time went by quickly and before I knew it, I was lying in bed thinking, it's now Monday and I forgot to do the last topic.   So, to be fair, I will do this last topic even though the challenge is over with!  The last topic is my diabetes hero.

I think that is a tough question because as much as I want to have a diabetes hero, I don't really have a particular diabetic hero; however, I have A LOT of diabetics that I admire and look up too. So this post isn't about one particular person, but a bunch that have taught me a lot about diabetes and living life with diabetes in the past three years.

I think from time to time, had I not been diagnosed with diabetes, I would have never known some of these amazing people that have come into my life.  Truly amazing people.    Not only are these women and men living life with diabetes 24/7 - but they have accomplished many wonderful things that give inspiration to everyone living with diabetes and even those living without diabetes.  Everyone living with diabetes and maintaining a healthy, happy life is a hero of mine.  I am inspired by those diabetics who become inspirations in the community, as well as in their own homes.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


With the Diabetes Blog Week challenge ending tomorrow, the second last topic is all about showcasing diabetes with pictures - something that I have been doing since I was diagnosed.   Being an amateur photographer and scrapbooker (although I haven't done it in awhile...) this challenge is exciting.  Throughout my blog, I always use a photo that I took - rather than finding ones on the internet.  I think showcasing diabetes with photography is excellent because it really gives the public an idea of what type 1 diabetes is all about.

I have also showcased my first year of diabetes through a scrapbook including photos of my hospital stay including the meal menus as well!  So let's begin this journey - of course I have a million photos to showcase diabetes, but I will pick some key ones that I think showcase type 1 diabetes the best for me.

This photo was taken when I was still in the hospital. Ironically enough I was looking at a scrapbook page my sister made me (not a scrapbooker at all!)   When I look at this picture I want to run up behind myself and give myself a hug because I know that although I didn't show it - I was unsure about where diabetes was going to take me and I was worried about what diabetes would do to me. Little did I know I would be posting this exact photo on a blog that has reached over 27 000 indviduals - little did I know....
This was in July 2010 and I think we can all guess what went on this day! I was finally hooked up to an insulin pump and I guess I shouldn't say finally because it really didn't take me too long to decide to take the plunge and hook myself up.  This picture says a lot, because I can tell by the look on my face that I am still a little unsure about the thing. In fact I remember the day the lady came to put the site on me.  She then left and all of a sudden I realized what I had done. I was no using an insulin pump and had to figure it all out - little did I know how much help was out there, but still! It was a crazy feeling.
And so diabetes gave me something rewarding to do.  I often tell people in speeches that, 'diabetes was the best thing to happen to me' and even when I explain why, people still think I am crazy, but some how believe that I have found that happiness within my diabetes.  I am happy where I am today and I credit diabetes for awakening me. I really am so happy for all the people I have met. Such a rewarding feeling.
This photo was taken this year and believe it or not this is a bunch of type 1's plus Banting! Without Banting we wouldn't be standing there - how amazing is that!  But, this photo represents what I have done with diabetes in the past year.  I love being around other type 1 diabetes and to be able to get together and have such a great support group -around me.


Friday, May 18, 2012

You Know, I Know

Vince & I in Dominican!
One of my biggest supporters - He knows!
No one will ever understand what it is like to live as a diabetic until they are diagnosed - just like anything else in the world, it's really hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes, even if you're the most empathic person out there.  The thing about diabetes; however, is that there are a bunch of misconceptions, but saying that, how many stereotypes do we use on a daily basis about things we are ignorant towards?  As much as we try to avoid labelling - it just happens.

Today's topic is to talk about something we as diabetics wish that people without diabetes knew.  Well, first of all, if we are talking about the general public my answer would be different compared to the people that I love and are close to me.   For the general public, I wish they knew that diabetes isn't something that we can grow out of, it makes me really sad when people state, "it will go away right? like, it's not forever..."  it makes me sad because I know that I have to sadly reply with, "yes, it's forever..."   I don't blame anyone for being ignorant towards diabetes because I was before I was diagnosed only three years ago.  Truth is, before I was diagnosed in grade twelve we had a practice project not worth marks, that was on diabetes and I decided not to do it... it was in math and if it wasn't for marks, I didn't find much point in doing it.   I didn't care at that point to learn about diabetes stats.

For the people that I love and that I am close to, my answer is very different because it is more of an apology than a lesson on diabetes.  I would want them to know and I hope they DO know this - but, when my blood sugars are crazy and my mood strikes - I hope you know that that is diabetes talking. Unfortunately, diabetes has more power than anyone can imagine, it determines when you want to go for a run, if you are going to have a good night sleep and of course if you're going to get moody.

As much as we don't want diabetes to be the focus of our lives, it just so happens it sneaks its way into life's occasions.  We live with type 1 diabetes every single day, every hour and every second, but at the same time the people around us do too.  Of course non diabetics will never truly know what it is like to check their blood sugars daily, take insulin, give themselves needles or have to get up and grab snacks, but they will learn quick for you and we can only give them the biggest smiles and hugs for all that they do.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dream a Little

As I read ahead in the topic list I saw that one of the topics was a diabetes dream device. I spent this week thinking of what I could have that would make diabetes 10x easier, even 1x easier would be great.  So, now that it is time to write about this diabetes dream device, Bayer, Medtronic, anyone? start taking notes.  

If only we had an insulin pump that was mini like those mini iPods.  Sometimes I get so frustrated having to shove the insulin 'box' into my bra.  Although, at times I forget it is even there, when I do know it's there, a.k.a when  it starts vibrating or digging into my chest, that is when I wish that they would just make something tiny, so that hiding the pump felt better at least.

Okay, I understand the tubeless pump that is out now, but that is too big for my liking to be attached to my arm/leg/belly. I much rather have my tubing, but with something tiny on the end of that tubing; rather than the clunker that it is.  Like cell phones I am sure pumps will get smaller, thinner, better - but right now the device that I want just isn't out there.

There are so many dream devices I could wish for, like something that checks my blood sugar for me, but better than a CGM, I don't want to EVER see blood from my finger tips EVER again.  I also wish that carb counts flashed in front of the food, so I didn't have to take the time to look or guess.  Just see the apple flashing 32 grams.   All of these devices would be wonderful, but the more I thought about my diabetes management I realized that I am okay with having to carb guess, or test my blood sugar at the moment, I just want to wear something a little smaller, after all bras were not meant for three....

But, with all that said, all the diabetes devices out there started with a dream or at least an idea. Someone looking to give diabetics a hand, an easier way of managing their diabetes.  Yes, these companies make millions and millions of dollars, but think about what they have created for us, amazing USB meters, tubeless insulin pumps and of course INSULIN!

I feel very blessed to be diagnosed when I was, the pump was already approved to be funded for adults living with type 1 and I was diagnosed at a time with amazing insulin pump choices as well as meters. I am lucky to have been diagnosed in Canada and to have such a great support system from nurses to family.   So, even though we think we are outrageous for thinking of diabetes dream devices we are actually not to far off - look how far we have come in the diabetes world and with such an avid community let's continue to dream!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now Use Them!

Now that I spent so much time thinking of something I do well with my diabetes management it is time to go the other way.  Today's challenge is to think of something that I could improve on, not much of a challenge, but I'm sure all diabetics can agree diabetes is a challenge unlike no other not to mention the life we have to live and maintain around it.    The main thing I can think about is checking my blood sugar, and to be honest I have been doing a good job this week, but like any diet or knitting project, eventually it goes downhill.
Blood sugar from yesterday morning!
Good way to start the day! 

Insulin is great, insulin is a life saver, however if you are mindlessly pressing buttons or giving injections without knowing where you are at, insulin is being wasted.  Sometimes I feel this way, like I am abusing my insulin, by quickly giving myself two units if I 'feel' like I need it instead of taking the time to check my blood sugar and really see what I am working with.  Even though I strongly believe that diabetics mentally can tell what their blood sugar is most of the time and can predict if they need that extra shot for good luck etc. I know that it is KEY and IMPORTANT to check your blood sugar before giving insulin or adjusting basal rates, suspending your pump etc.

Beyond that, it is also important to check your blood sugar when you're going for a drive or a run etc.  This is what I need to improve on, checking before these important events that can dramatically effect blood sugars, or the opposite: blood sugars can dramatically effect these activities.   It seems like a pretty easy task, but it actually is time consuming and irritating; however, if you can push yourself to do it at least four times a day, than you're on a roll!

So, this is what I am going to work towards, I have learned that if I leave my meter laying around, in a visible location - I am more likely to test my blood sugar, as it stares me down screaming, use me, use me.  I have learned to smile at good blood sugars, and challenge myself to try and stay below certain numbers, but at the same time not get angry when they are higher than normal.      

The important part of it all is for me to constantly remind myself that I am lucky to have the technology and supplies that I do.  So very lucky....NOW USE THEM!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tough Question

The next topic up for grabs is to name something that I do really well regarding diabetes.  How sad is it that I can make up a entire list of things I feel like I do wrong and when it comes to thinking of things I do right, I am pondering around the apartment trying to come up with something worth writing.  It was mentioned in the challenge that it doesn't need to be big and I know I always praise the idea of celebrating the small successes within diabetes; however, when trying to think of something that I do really well always regarding diabetes - now that's a tough question.

It's easy to fall behind on blood sugar checks, it's not like having to take one pill a day, it's something that needs to be done throughout the day, and takes a few seconds, plus draws blood - not exactly a selling point.   So, I wouldn't say I am good at doing that all the time. As far as keeping my blood sugars in range - in the diabetes world we call those people, non-diabetics...

What it comes down to is something that I consider my lifesaver second to insulin and that is my blog, but for this challenge, I am going to call it my diabetic therapy. I am really good at attending my diabetic therapy. My blog has allowed me to open up and keep myself alert about what I am truly going through even beyond diabetes.  I have made it a commitment by logging on almost daily to update my blog.

So, I guess this isn't something that involves good management as far as 4+ finger pricks and good portion or carb control - rather something I find important in my life that I have managed to maintain for three years now.   To me, it is important in my overall health just like 30 minutes of exercise and 8 glasses of water.

I am curious to know what others do well when it comes to diabetes - of course we could list things like, I am really good at lassoing a door knob with my tubing or I am really good at putting a site in with my eyes closed... but beyond those good tricks we have all acquired I am curious to see who has outsmarted their diabetes or at least made it bearable for another few years!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Bloggers Unite

I've decided to be apart of the blog week challenge and the first challenge was to introduce a blog that I enjoy.   Well, as much as I would love to read endless diabetes blogs, I don't have much time to skim through them all as well as keep up with mine, but there is one that from time to time I  indulge in which I find really interesting, mostly because it is from the point of view that I will never be able to experience which is a non-diabetic mother raising a diabetic child.  

This blog is called, " Mom of an Extra Sweet Insulin Challenged Girl " and if you're a mother of a diabetic, I highly suggest you wander over, not because she knows more than anyone else, but because I feel like you will instantly realize that you are not alone and the challenge of raising an insulin challenged child has its rewards as well as its hardships. I find that the author of this blog, Amy, is very honest with a twist of humour, yet sometimes speaks on a very serious, heart throbbing note - and I like that!

I have spoken to Amy a few times via Facebook and get to read lots of inspiring stories that come from her life as a mother of a diabetic girl - in fact the little girl that wants the diabetic barbie doll!   This family is on a role in the diabetic community - and they know the secret of it all - don't give up! and if you're looking for that very message every day to get you out of bed and checking your blood sugar head over to her blog because that is where you will find that push.

I think that mothers/fathers blogging is a wonderful thing - I am sure the children will eventually appreciate it all knowing that their parents went through it all with them - of course experiencing it in a different way than diabetics themselves, but boy, can you imagine all the hard work that these parents are doing - and even stopping to blog about it to provide support and a foundation for other parents going through the same thing!

Now, there are tons of great blogs out there, as much as I want to list them all, I know that everyone will shine somewhere out there!  So, since this is specifically about blogging, I'd love to just say that I am glad I am not the only crazy one out there who documents my life with diabetes!  If I am not going to have normal blood sugars, I'd at least like to have normal hobbies!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Artificial Pancreases

All around the world there are mothers taking care of their diabetic children (fathers too, but let's save that for Father's Day).  These mothers are hardworking, carb counting, insulin distributing women, who on a daily basis understand the meaning of life and how fragile it can be.  As a diabetic, I cannot put myself in the shoes of a mother of a diabetic, but I can only imagine how difficult of a job it is.   First off, these mothers do not get paid, in fact countless amounts of money are poured into their diabetic children, but I am sure none of them would complain knowing that the products they buy, whether that be something as direct as insulin or something simple like a chocolate bar - that money that they spend keeps their babies smiling.

Mothers of diabetics don't sleep - okay, I am sure they get some rest, but the more statuses I read I have realized that the work of a mother of a diabetic is endless.  Having to be their child's artificial pancreas, knowing when to check their blood sugar or give them insulin if their child cannot.  Mother's also take all the blame, countless times I have heard children blame their parents for their diabetes, or children get mad at their mothers for denying them cookies or making them prick their fingers - give yourself a pat on the back until your child realizes that all that nagging was well worth it (trust me, eventually they will appreciate every single thing you did for them!)

These mothers are super heros like all mothers, working hard, keeping their children healthy and alive and most of all getting involved in finding a cure or at least support for the meantime.  Let's all give a big smile for those mothers out there who celebrated Mother's Day today, but really had no time off, still having to chase blood sugars and give full alert.   A big, big, big smile.

And for those mothers that are diabetic themselves, a big smile for you too!  I can only imagine how time consuming it all can be mixed together.  All diabetic mothers make young female diabetics smile, knowing that one day we all can celebrate Mother's Day for ourselves. You are all role models and inspirations.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there!


Friday, May 11, 2012


It's hard to believe where my life has gone.  A typical teen from Brantford, Ontario moves to London, Ontario after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, finishes college, attends University and emerges herself in the diabetes community. I would have never thought that would have been my story. Never did I think I would be sitting on television sets, giving radio interviews and speaking to reporters.  Had I known that my life would be such a blessing, I may have not been as surprised as I am today.

As average as I thought I was, I have began to realize average is nobody.  We are all so unique in this world it is unbelievable the stories we have to share with one another. Although some with type 1 decide to keep it to themselves, pricking fingers and giving insulin is enough to keep them occupied.  While others are making airwaves, like Emma who is advocating for a diabetic barbie doll and she has yet to turn ten.  Inspiring diabetics like this are not hard to find, I have personally met iron men, a diabetic that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and many more inspiring people.  

Life moves super fast, we all know this.  I guess that is why I stopped today to think, "wow...I really did do something..."  I mean, I know it's more than something, but I can hardly believe where I am today and how many amazing people I have met along the way.   For me, it is important to stay involved in the diabetes community - this is what keeps me smiling and most important on top of diabetes.  When I know that there are people out there having to check their blood sugar, give themselves insulin and sit up in the middle of the night sipping on a juice box - that makes me smile... I am not alone and neither are you.

I started a page on Facebook called Faces - which will hopefully showcase those living with type 1 diabetes.  This page is meant to give a face behind a disease that many raise money for, but have no idea the face behind the disease and most importantly the story.  I am hoping to gather a good amount of stories, so that anytime someone is having a bad d-day, they can look for inspiration and hope from the page.

If you are interested click here:

Keep smiling for all that you do as a diabetic or a parent of a diabetic - you are inspirational and can make a difference.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bikini Bottoms

Carrying an insulin pump around all day can be irritating, but even more so when you're wearing a bathing suit.  Just before my trip I was contemplating switching to pens for the eight days, but the more I thought about having to give myself multiple needles every single day, the more I convinced myself that I didn't want to switch.  Vince was also worried about the switch, seeing he has never seen me give multiple injections before.

Upon getting there, Vince said he realized why I wanted to switch, but I still stood by my choice to continue on with the insulin pump, despite it's irritating pull on my bikini bottoms.  There was no real issue with doing this, I took it off and threw it in the beach bag when I jumped in the water, checked when I got out, and re-hooked myself up. Most of the time I was lying down on a beach chair, so it wasn't an issue to have it sitting beside me (until that moment you forget it isn't clipped on your person and you get up and it goes swinging!)

I didn't notice too may looks as I walked around the resort with my pump on my hip - a few here in there, but I knew it was all curious eyes looking.  Like mentioned before, only two people asked me about it, and they had only seen the site at the time.  I managed to keep it dry, even though Vince was paranoid every time I jumped into the water - "WAIT! Did you take your pump off!"  

When we went on the excursion, I had to trust to leave my insulin pump in the beach bag under the hut.  I wasn't worried about it getting stolen, I knew that if I worried, it would ruin my trip and I wasn't going to let diabetes ruin my trip!   It was nice having periodic breaks from wearing it, as much as I understand the benefit of a waterproof pump, I rather take it off for playing around in the pool or ocean.

For anyone travelling with the insulin pump, I would tell you that it is totally up to you whether or not you think you can handle wearing the pump during your vacation, hooking and unhooking and maximum bolusing (haha!)   Just don't let diabetes take over your vacation, as much as we wish we could leave it at the airport, it has to come along with all its baggage.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Back!

I'm back! I enjoyed eight days in Dominican paradise, but it was finally time to return back to Canada. The week away was full of high blood sugars and diet pepsi (boo-hoo) but, I managed to enjoy my vacation despite having to bring Mr. Diabetes along with me for ride and trust me, diabetes is quiet the interesting travel companion.

Unfortunately, I don't have an exciting story about crossing the borders with my insulin pump.  The pump isn't as mysterious as it once was and security guards and custom officers know what is in my pocket and why my backpack is overpacked with supplies.   I got through both the Toronto and Dominican airport without any issues what-so-ever! In fact I didn't even end up mentioning my insulin pump in the Dominican and they didn't even check.  

The first few days of my vacation my blood sugars ran super high, in the twenty range (360ish) and it was driving me crazy.  I was constantly bolusing taking the maximum bolus possible, which was 14 units for me. I felt like I was just pumping insulin and getting no results.  I even thought something was up with my pump until finally one morning I woke up within a normal range, and from there one it started to come down (still on the high side most of the time, but understandable.)   The issue wasn't so much the lack of knowledge about unknown carbs from the food, but more so the drinks.

I was sad to find out that they carried Pepsi products, being a hardcore diet Coke fan - or to Dominican's Coke Light.   The fountain pops were all Pepsi products and I began drinking 7up instead of diet Pepsi which ended up sending my blood sugars sky rocketing out of control.   Then, I started enjoying the lemonade in the morning for breakfast, which also sky rocketed my blood sugars and to conclude the sky rocketing, I was drinking strawberry daiquiris throughout the day at the swim up bar.

I knew going into the trip that high blood sugars were going to become normal blood sugars, and it was something that I had to accept as much as I tried to bolus as much as I could as well as check my blood sugar. It was difficult, but made easier with a pump, as much as I considered going on syringes for my trip (since wearing a pump with a bikini is, well, interesting) I ultimately was happy that I had my insulin pump, so that I could go trigger happy when I was indulging which was 99% of the time.

Over the time there, no one asked me about my site except for two ladies that were local to the Dominican. The first lady was the masseuse, as soon as I said I had diabetes, she insisted I needed a massage, which Vince and I already planned to do.   What a nice way to relax by the way, a massage by the ocean!

The second lady asked me in the pool. Vince had gotten out, and just as I went to follow him, she asked me if I spoke English.  Her english was decent, as she began to ask me what my site was.  She said she thought it was to make me really skinny (clearly, it's not working then...haha!)   but once I told her it was for diabetes, she got even more confused. She was un sure what diabetes was.  When I began to practice my Spanish by saying, "Soy Diabetico"  she still didn't know, then I started to describe it and she shouted, "SUGA"  then all of a sudden she recognized the word, but wanted me to teach her how I say it in Canada - 'dia-bee-tees'  she then told me that her grandmother has 'SUGA' and she said she doesn't think any children have 'SUGA' in Dominican.   After quickly googling now that I am back, I see that diabetes is more common in Dominican than she may have realized, in fact according to the Universidad of Santo Domingo, diabetes is the third cause of death besides heart attack and traffic accidents in the Dominican.

It was interesting to teach her about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and after I showed her my pump once I was out of the water and she was very interested, pushing on my site asking if it hurts.  She smiled as she said, "you can eat whatever you want right..." and I nodded and was happy that she understood my little mini lesson.   Maybe she will take that information and meet a type 1 somewhere out there! You never know what impact you make or what lessons you teach!