Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Own It!

Yesterday at the gym a busy mother passed me by and even though she had three children running circles around her, I did notice that she had an insulin pump clipped to her hip. I didn't tap on her shoulder telling her about my blog, as per usual, I acknowledged that was super busy and although she probably would have appreciated me talking to her, I just let that one be.  However, that made me wish I had my insulin pump clipped to my shorts for her to spot mine as well. I began wondering if I always had my pump clipped to my hip would more diabetics come up to me?

Most of the time I keep my pump stuck in my bra or clipped to my underwear (if I am wearing a dress that comes out around that area).    No one really sees my insulin pump unless I am giving myself insulin or if it is tucked in my pocket - which is becoming less popular than when I first got my pump.  I feel like the majority of the population probably doesn't know what it is, and therefore when I don't want to 'look' diabetic I shove it in my bra.   I guess I just feel like sometimes it is an accessory that doesn't always go with my outfit.

However, as soon as you're around other diabetics with pumps you begin to want to pull yours out or wear it proudly.  You feel like wearing a pump is just accepted as wearing glasses or braces. It is something that is there to help you, but it is also something normal.   Since insulin pumps are rare to the general community - it is easy to feel different when it is hanging off your hip or the back of your shorts.

Today, just before I was about to leave for the grocery store I decided I was going to go out wearing my insulin pump proud. I clipped it to my pants and didn't cover it with my shirt.  I decided it was sort of like a social experiment - and yes I have worn my insulin pump visibly before, but I had never worn it with the intention of paying attention to what others did in response. When I first got out of my car and started to walk into the store, a couple guys sitting outside on their break seemed to glance at the pump, but other than that I was surprised to notice that no one else really made a big deal about checking it out.  At least I didn't notice.   Now, it doesn't matter what other people think, but I was curious to see if wearing an insulin pump openly draws curious eyes - of course people experience this all the time with all kinds of things, but to my surprise wearing an insulin pump wasn't a big neon sign screaming, "I HAVE DIABETES."

I was pretty aware that my pump was on when I had it on my hip.  Frankly, I enjoy wearing it in my bra because it doesn't get hit, tangled or dropped on anything.  I find when I wear it on my hip or pocket, more sites get ripped out and I feel more aware that I am wearing it. Whereas when it is tucked in my bra I hardly notice it is there until it vibrates.

But, it's all about how you feel and what you're comfortable with.  I don't care if people know I have diabetes or that I wear an insulin pump - in fact I enjoy telling the stories about diabetes and the insulin pump. I am proud of my accomplishments and proud to give diabetes credit for them. However, just because I am proud doesn't mean that I always feel comfortable displaying my insulin pump.  If I have to wear it 24/7 then I will wear it how I want!


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Now, this message isn't coming from anywhere but myself and judging by the name of the blog post, I think we all know what I am about to dive into - volunteering!  Something I have touched base on a few times, but never really dived into.  The truth is, I never really thought of volunteering as a big deal - I mean I did it, but I didn't really think about why I decided to volunteer in the first place.   I guess we all volunteer for different reasons and if you pick the 'wrong' place to volunteer you're going to know you're volunteering whereas, if you choose a place that you love, you'll never know the difference!

When I was younger I didn't do much volunteering till about grade nine when it was forced upon us in the Ontario curriculum - forty hours I believe was needed to graduate high school.  It was then I decided I was going to volunteer at the Wayne Gretzky Centre (way to be a Brantfordian!)   I volunteered as an assistant swimming instructor and it was  A LOT of fun!  I was able to feel like I had some kind of status at 14 years old and truthfully I didn't care that I wasn't getting paid.

I exceded my required hours in the first year and while other students were scrambling for more hours before the graduation date, I had already tackled them all in grade 9 (Good advice to give to those starting high school soon!)   After that, I didn't do too much volunteering until I was diagnosed with type 1.  I don't know where it came from, I guess a little flashback of how much I enjoyed volunteering in high-school - either way I began getting involved with the diabetes groups around my area and from then on, I haven't stopped wanting to be apart of the volunteer experience.

The truth is, volunteering allows you to try out things that you wouldn't normally be able to do. If you want to be a teacher - volunteering allows you to get inside a classroom as a high school student. If you want to work with animals, you can volunteering at a local SPCA.  Any business or organizations is always happy and eager to take on volunteers - so why not find something you love and go for it.

Beyond the amazing fact that you can help the community, volunteering also allows you to help yourself. It allows you to grow, learn new things, meet new people, and see what you're good at.  We spend a good chunk of our lives working, so why not get a hold of something you love as a volunteer and grow into it and who knows - that could easily turn into a job.

There are so many volunteer opportunities out there, and after quickly googling it I found tons of opportunities that are awaiting right this second! So whatever your passion may be, animals, gardening, activism, working with youth - just go for it! Spend a couple hours of your time changing lives and most importantly, changing your life!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

One Chance

I have been saying, "Live life to the fullest' as much as I can. To those that are struggling finding inspiration or to those that are asking why?  I always knew that I was given type 1 for a reason and really, it wasn't too hard to search for the reasons; however, I know that search is not easy for all. Diabetes brings people down in more ways than anyone can imagine. It is time consuming, heart breaking, defeating and an endless struggle, but please hear me out on this one message because after hearing it myself I couldn't help but want to share with everyone else out there. 

Today I helped out with the CDA's Golf tournament in Brantford. I volunteered last year as a guest speaker, and this year I came back to volunteer with raffle tickets.  I enjoy volunteering, but really, the best part about it comes from meeting new faces or reconnecting.  At the last tournament I met a dedicated volunteer that is just inspiring in the fact that he bikes from store to store handing out flyers every year for the Brantford CDA.  He really, truly is a hard worker and I love the enthusiasm he has for his hard work.  

I was happy to see him again working hard at the event, but devastated to hear his reply when I asked him how he was doing.  "I have throat cancer, the doctors don't think I will live too long after the surgery..."  he said it softly and without too much fear in his words. I couldn't help but reach out to him, resting my hand on his shoulder not truly knowing what to say.   I instantly put myself in his shoes. Wondering what it would have been like to hear that news. 

He told me how he felt bad for his wife, how he wanted to fix up his house before the operation so that he didn't leave her with chores to be done.  His face wasn't as cheerful as it once was and my heart sank in my chest.  He said that it will be bad for the CDA because then there would be one less volunteer - but I reassured him that he is much more than a volunteer - I also told him to stay positive, keep his chin up, and do what he loves.

After the conversation was over, it was hard to walk away. I had only met him a handful of times, but instantly felt like I didn't want to let him out of my sight. How can someone be there one second, gone another? How is life so fragile? Why do we not do the things we love every day?  Then it hit me - it hit me hard.

I drove back to London tonight thinking about that moment. That moment when I stood still, looking into his eyes as he told me the doctors don't think he will live.  Why did that effect me so much? Why did I instantly think, what if that was me?   Well, at one point diabetes was a fatal sentence.  Children were dying from diabetes and there was nothing anyone could do about it.   Now, diabetics are living a lifetime.   Had I been born a hundred years ago, I would have never been so lucky.

I believe positivity can go along way. But, my cry to everyone is that we don't wait for THAT moment to change your life around.  Why do we spend nights mad at someone? Why do we go through tasks we hate? Why do we make wishes and never follow them?  So it took me diabetes to kick my butt in gear and to really start making a difference and most importantly ENJOYING making a difference.  If I can be the one that makes you think, 'Hey maybe I should do something I love before it's too late...' then I am so incredibly happy for you because truly, we only have one chance.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Work that Out

Working out with type 1 diabetes is probably the most annoying thing. It seems no matter how hard you try, you find yourself raiding the fridge as soon as you get home or later on in the evening.  I thought today that if I worked out right after work, just before dinner, I would be able to time it so, that by the time I got home I could have some dinner and prevent that low by taking less insulin for the meal, but of course, I could feel my legs going and my mind racing as I pulled into my parking lot. I knew I was already low.

Unfortunately when you're low - you're low. There really isn't time to do much or think about much. Your first reaction is a million reactions, a million ideas of what would be good to eat, the feeling that you could eat everything in the fridge - then it comes down to it, you have to choose something.  For me, I ran in the door, thinking about a million things, 'do I have time to make dinner?' 'I am so happy I have food in the fridge to eat!' 'ou, trail mix!'  'I want chocolate milk' 'Maybe I should try and make dinner instead...' 'I really should relax and not worry about making dinner until I feel better'  all of this going on at once, not to mention walking around the apartment not really doing anything productive.

I hate the fact that after a workout you drink or eat the calories you burned instantly.  I get that working out lowers blood sugar and that is awesome - but why is it that it just does it so QUICKLY!  Or if you're on the high side it goes even higher.   Even though working out is good for other aspects of my health i.e mental health - being diabetic and trying to loose weight or feel good - can be super difficult and make you feel a little counterproductive sometimes.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exploring Diabetes

Management of diabetes is pretty simple, insulin.  It makes sense that taking insulin lowers blood sugar, via syringe, pen or pump, and for those that aren't insulin dependent, then it makes sense that a pill like Metformin or diet and exercise can manage diabetes as well.  However, all diabetics are laughing at this post right now because the truth is is that insulin is awesome, but diabetes sucks therefore, insulin cannot always defeat diabetes in the way it hypothetically should. 

For me, I have been mindlessly giving insulin for the past 3 years - not thinking too much about specific carbs (as much as I should) or fitness or vitamins, or alternate medicines - I have just been going by the rules of diabetes - take insulin when you eat, which don't get me wrong is good and the correct thing to do. But, I think it is time to focus on some additional ways to tackle the big D. 

I am your typical work out for a week and give up kind of girl. I enjoy getting myself pumped up to work out then deciding I don't want to do it anymore. Today for the first time in awhile I went to the gym (I am going to give myself credit, I had been walking/running for the most part in May and start of June).   Strangely enough I didn't go to the gym to tone, lose weight and all that jazz; rather, I went to alter my mood.   All that read the last blog could probably tell it was one of those crying behind the screen moments, and frankly I was getting tired of just coming home after work and sitting with a book in my hand or the T.V on.  I decided the best way to change your mood is to get out and get active.

But, that little work out, wasn't only a mood pumper, but also helped with my blood sugars - which is obvious I know, but maybe that is something I need to really think about more.  Why don't I just naturally target my blood sugars... of course I am type 1 and need my insulin - but I can also lower my insulin dosages by doing some hard work myself.

Another thing I am looking at trying is coconut oil - after a suggestion from a reader. I think I will try this out, despite hardly ever trying natural type things before.  Saying that, I have started today taking vitamins after talking to the pharmacist about what good vitamins I should be taking. So, we will see how that all goes as well.

I guess at this moment, and it could pass - I have realized that I can take some more control with my diabetes. Not leaning on my insulin pump like a crutch, and just having it assist me without abusing it.  Trust me, it is so easy to abuse an insulin pump and I am starting to feel guilty along with trigger happy.  So, we will see how it goes, exploring diabetes a little more beyond pushing buttons.


Monday, June 18, 2012


Often people comment on how cheerful I am - always smiling even when talking about being diagnosed which is a tragic story to most.  However, I have my days, just like everyone else, when that haunting feeling of not feeling like yourself creeps around you.  As hard as I try to think positive I find myself swallowing back that feeling like I want to just break down. More and more I begin to think that diabetes is playing with my emotions, testing my blood sugar and wondering if a 14 means sadness is lurking with a side of nausea.

I have some much to be excited for, a Rascal Flatts concert to be one, and yet I find myself being so miserable today. Trying to remind myself how loved and lucky I am. But, I guess it is one of those days, those days when diabetes kicks your butt without even having to alter your blood sugars too much.  As much as I wish I wasn't diabetic sometimes, I have to sit back and think of what it has given me.

I can't really imagine dealing with anything else - but that's what people say to diabetics when you explain what you need to do. Sometimes when I am standing infront of the mirror prepping myself to give a needle, I look at myself thinking ' Oh my god.. why do you have to do this? why are you having to shove a needle into your skin and wear this thing all the time? why? ' and for a second I break my own heart - not wanting to be diabetic, getting annoyed at the word, getting mad at the concept, the tools, the medication, the doctors, the lifestyle.

I think about all the children with diabetes, who will never remember what it was like to not be diabetic. Lucky or unlucky for that - I don't know.  For me, I'd never wish to go on with life without diabetes, because I wouldn't be where I am today and that is what dries my tears away when I am done cursing diabetes and its antics, that is what gives me the kick in the pants to go and inspire someone.

But for right now, let's all just curse a little in our heads at diabetes, and let it know that it isn't going to control anyones lives, it can have an hour or so of my time, even a day where it absolutely kicks my butt, but it will never, ever, take away from my entire life. Never.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Talking Diabetes

It's always a little awkward when you're around people you don't know so well, and the topic of diabetes comes up.  It's like you want to shout, "I'm diabetic too!" but in a way you know they have no idea who you are, you have no idea who they're talking about, and you don't truly want to put yourself in that situation of the awkward diabetic who knows all about diabetes.

Yesterday at a BBQ, a quick topic of diabetes came up that went something along the lines of, "so&so lost the bottom half of his leg..."  *my first thought - diabetes*   "YEAH! he had diabetes...he didn't take care of himself."  Now, this situation is tragic - I have heard it 100x, but I couldn't help but look up at Vince and think, 'Oh my...another story...'    after that the other lady said that this other man forgot to take his insulin before eating - then she called him a dork. Everyone laughed, including me, thinking now Vince will be calling me a dork every time I forgot to take insulin.

It's hard not to pipe in, give some say in it all, tell a funny 'diabetic' story. Instead, I kept my mouth shut, as Vince tried not to laugh at me, instead he just smiled.   He knows me well, so he probably knows it took all my power not to bust out  into conversation - however, I let it go on, like I was just an average joe, who knew nothing much about that disease. But, honestly, for a change it felt kind of nice not saying a single thing. Pretending I haven't built my life around diabetes, pretending I was ignorant to anything to do with diabetes, acting shocked when she said he lost his leg - thinking it was impossible, laughing that that other man forgot to take his insulin - pretending not to even realize what insulin was or how often he had to take it.   I should have just pretended I knew nothing - asking them what exactly diabetes was? what he had to do?  was it common?   - only to laugh inside at their answers.  But, I am not that sneaky! ha!

Sometimes it is nice to step back from diabetes.  To be in an atmosphere where you can just talk about whatever you want, without making side notes about diabetes.  It is nice to just enjoy yourself, doing fast blood sugar checks and pump adjustments, without anyone asking a single thing.  But, don't get me wrong, I love to chat about diabetes - but every now and then it is nice to slip back to being just an average Kayla.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Diabetic Problems

The newest trend - or at least I think, is the twitter hash tag of #_____problems. Some are talking about issues concerning first world problems, others talking about 90's kid's problems and well, the diabetics are talking about diabetic problems.  For examples, those that are complaining about first world problems are making statements like, ' I have tons of music,  but nothing to listen to ' or ' I am so uncomfortably full - that I can't even take a nap '    Clearly these issues are made with humour, we are lucky that we have music in variety and lucky we have enough food to make us full.  This same humour is carried over to diabetics who are on twitter.

I thought of it myself one day, making a tweet that said, 'Back from Dominican, time to see good numbers on the meter ' hinting that the entire time I was on vacation, I didn't see a good number.   This trend is HILARIOUS, I have found many other type 1's laughing at themselves, making comments about their diabetic problems. I decided I was going to come up with my top ten list (yes, I love my lists!) of diabetic problems... average, daily, diabetic problems and I am not talking about the complications that those 'serious' people want to discuss, I am talking about the humorous ones!

1.  your tubing is too short to reach your back pocket for your pump

2. there is no good food in the house during a low blood sugar, so you attempt to 'create' something - usually involving peanut butter

3. you forget to bolus after or before a meal

4. your battery (or reservoir) runs out just as you're about to do something important

5.  after arriving home from the grocery store, you realize you forgot to buy diet coke

6. you prick your finger and blood comes out of various spots

7. you prick your finger and the blood sprays and makes the area look like a mini crime scene

8. you accept that your pump will have to live in your bra and accommodate for that

9. you have told your story of diagnosis 100x to strangers

10. you've been woken up at least one night of the week to pee or to have to eat a snack

What are some diabetic problems that humour you?


Thursday, June 14, 2012


I am in awe of the type 1 diabetes community - it truly is strong considering we represent approximately 10% of the entire population of diabetics (In Canada at least...)  I am happy that someone out there took the original plunge to go online and say, 'Hey! I have a type 1 diabetic child' or 'Hey! I am a type 1 diabetic'  and decided to reach out to others, share stories, ask questions and answer questions - I just think that is amazing.

Now, there are many, many diabetic communities online and offline.  People are meeting one another interacting, and getting involved. You may not personally think you're an inspiration, but you would be surprised at whose life you can change.  Personally, I have taken the leap in the London, Ontario community to bring type 1 young adults together and thus far it has been successful.  (So, if you're in the area send me an email!)    I enjoy having that support and believe that we all can do that and if that isn't our cup of tea there is always a close diabetic community available.

I have found the 'job' of being a diabetic rewarding. I see the friends I have made as reminders what this disease was given to me for a reason.  When I read the messages from diabetics all around the world - I realize that had I not been given diabetes I would not know any of them, I would not be in the position I am today.  I am thankful for those communities because it has given me the best of friends, a support system and a guarantee that someone will always be there when I need that shoulder.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fitting In

I have heard it come from the mouths of diabetic youth - the fear and true feelings of not fitting in with their peers.  As much as I would like to think this is a youth problem not anyone elses' that is not true.  In fact I think we never stop wanting to fit in, somewhere in all of us whether we want to admit it or not, we want to be the norm and when we aren't the norm we want those little exceptions to be outstanding, ones that make people like us more, want to be our friends or give us praise.

Another one of my biggest supporters (Michelle).
 Finding a friend that appreciates your diabetes is the best feeling
 in the world.
It's already hard enough to be a teenager. I remember being a teenager - of course it wasn't even that long ago, and to this day, I'd never wish to go back. Being a teenager is awkward, but it is a time in your life that does have good moments, but most of all it gives you a whole slew of teachable moments as well that at first you label as bad, but then come to realize it was all leading to something else.   So, if it is already hard to keep up with teenage life, imagine slapping on an insulin pump to your teenage hip, throwing a meter in your cute clutch or backpack and having to carry juice boxes or snacks like your younger kindergarten sister.  Not exactly an easy breezy time.

Many teens have asked me about this issue and I can't give them advice about navigating high school, as much as I can with navigating college and beyond.  But, I do know that what I have learned since high school diabetes related or not, is that kids that bully go no where, and if they do, it is when they have reached out and found forgiveness.  I have people on my face book that bullied me at a time in elementary school, horrible bulling, and yet I still 'friended' this person.  If someone does not take the time to appreciate you, appreciate what you do, and appreciate your diabetes in particular than you do not need to make time to appreciate them.    Be yourself, be honest, be happy, and never slump down to their level. It is always good to have one good friend then 300 sometimes-friends who do not appreciate you for you.

I do feel that sometimes I am unlike my peers. I often feel bad for Vince for having to have a diabetic girlfriend - this is just a moment in time sympathy I feel, but honestly, sometimes I think, ' I can't believe he doesn't care that I have a pump...'  but when he says thinks like, 'I love your eyes, I love your smile, I love your site..' I know that I have found the one that appreciates me for me, for what I do and he appreciates my diabetes.

Fitting in isn't an easy job for anyone whether you have a pump or not. The truth is is that everyone has that little thing that makes them feel like they aren't 'normal' or won't be accepted, sometimes it is as simple as a birth mark, or as complicated as a disease.  But truth is, there are millions upon millions of people out there, and you have the right to pick to who you want to bring into your life.   Don't let anyone lead you to believe you aren't worth that.

Plus, if you're diabetic, I can ensure you there is a tight, amazing, wonderful online diabetes community out there that is always willing to be there for you.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The High Life

So, I am feeling completely insulin challenged.  I have spent the past 24+ hours with blood sugars above and beyond or in the words of Buzz Lightyear, 'to infinity and beyond...' and with those high, outrageous blood sugars I have consumed more water than a fish and in return got my exercise by walking back and forth to the bathroom.  At this point, all I want to see is a shining 6.8 looking back at me.... that's all I ask.

For the most part, I expect to have some highs every now and then whether that is throughout the day or just once a day. But, having consistently high blood sugars - and yes I realize it is dangerous as well...is most annoying.  I feel like I am giving myself insulin only to see an even higher number.  I realized I was running into something when we went out of my grandparents 50th Anniversary party. I sat there at the restaurant just drink water, even stealing other people's untouched glasses because the waitress wasn't filling them up fast enough. In a matter of 1.5 hours I had polished off about 6-7 glasses of water and visited the restroom 3 times not to mention on the drive home I was wiggling in my seat waiting to get out of the care to use the bathroom.

My grandma (a type 2 diabetic) was shocked when she saw that my meter said it was unable to read blood sugar because it was too high.   To me, it was alarming, but not as alarming as my family had made it out to me, as they gasped in shock saying things like, "KAYLA!" and "WOW!"    At this point I was glad I just ordered a small caesar salad.  Of course, however, the waitress got wind of what was happening and my Aunt announced that I had high blood sugar.  To her, that probably meant not much, while others gasped, I just pulled out my pump and max bolused - hoping that with all the water, peeing and insulin I would be back to normal in no time.

This wasn't the case, after all that I was still in the twenties.  I had to go back to London because I had to work in the morning.  I couldn't believe that will all the peeing, I was still running so high.  I could have sworn I must have pee'ed out every bit of sugar in my system - or at least it felt that way.   I didn't think much about it before going to bed. I was tired, I was tired of drinking water, I was tired of peeing, I was tired of reading stupid readings on my meter, I just wanted to go to bed.   I slept well, only getting up twice to use the washroom - which seems normal to me.    But, in the morning when my blood sugar was a whopping 19, I knew that I was dealing with something, a virus? a malfunctioning pump? a bad meter?

I made sure to bring water with me to work, today I only worked a half day, so I wasn't too concerned about these mystery readings.  I checked about 2 hours after eating and I was still high.  I drank more water, visited the bathroom.  Thought to myself, BANTING, your invention is just not working today! Once I finished work I ran some errands, but could feel all the symptoms creeping up on me. I just wanted to go home and go to bed or something of that nature.

By the time I got home I was ready to throw the insulin pump out the window along with my meter and anything diabetes related. I was at the point where I felt like insulin was not working and in the back of my mind I was thinking of drastic things like, what if my body is now rejecting this insulin? what if I am allergic to insulin?  Weird high thoughts I guess.  I then just ripped out my site.  Of course it was bent - twisted like twist tie.    Great, I thought.

The next step was to put in a new site.  Something no one likes doing a day early, but no one likes being consistently high either, so sometimes you have to pick your battles.   I put the new site in my stomach, because I knew that was the best spot if I am looking for good absorption. I also can be 100% sure on where I am putting it, because I can see it so easily on my stomach.  It hurt, it really hurt and I used my choice words (as per usual during site changes) and I walked around the apartment, well I marched around the apartment until the stinging subsided.

I got the pump all set up again and gave myself 14 units of insulin.   Hopefully, this was going straight into the body. I was so, so, so annoyed.   I watched t.v for a little bit, realizing I hadn't even had lunch and it was nearly 3 p.m.  I for some reason was craving a egg salad sandwich and well, eggs don't have much carbohydrates, so I pursued my craving.   I was still running high and that is when I decided I was just going to sleep.   I realize this may not be the safest thing to do, but for all that have had high blood sugars, sometimes it seems impossible to just keep your eyes open.

After a quick nap I was feeling like I could be sick. However, after waking up I saw my lowest number  which was still a high number, but the lowest of what I had been seeing for the past while.   That made me feel like something was happening, it was just happening super slow, but then again I might have just felt as worse if I had just plummeted to a low.   So hopefully, fingers crossed before bed I will be looking at a nice number, feeling like this high life is over for now because I am so over it.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sidekick

When I was little I wanted glasses, I thought it would be neat to have something like that, well if luck would have it, by grade 7 I was wearing glasses and to my surprise glasses were not all that fun as I dreamed when I was little.   It is funny that children think the littlest and strangest things are the best. I assume just like when a girl finds her favourite pair of shoes, the same excitement occurs with children finding worms in the garden. But, I am not really talking about worms or those little treasures kids find around the yard, I am thinking on a scale that most children would not normally think about, unless his/her sibling had type 1 diabetes.

Today, I met the cutest little girl. At first I hardly noticed, until I was pointed out her little insulin pump that clung to her waist in its very own case.  To my surprise, it wasn't your average pump - in fact, it was made of wood.   The little girl had her very own insulin pump, decorated with legitimate stickers for an insulin pump and in case you were wondering what she did for tubing and a site, unless you're under the age of seven you probably would never guess it, but she drew on the tubing and site with marker.

This made me smile, probably my biggest smile today.  Beside her was her sister, the real diabetic wearing the real pump.  She wears the pump to support her older sister, and I think that is the most beautiful thing I have come across in a long time.  Can you imagine having support like that? I hope we all do have support like that. Not that our boyfriends or girlfriends should be drawing sites with marker on their stomaches, but more so, having people around us that WOULD do that if we asked them too.

I learned something very special today, and that is that courage, support, love and inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, today it just happened to come in the shape of the cutest girl in the world.


Friday, June 8, 2012

I am not Diabetes

It isn't uncommon to instantly identify yourself in regards to diabetes. Of course, we are not all yelling out that we have type 1 diabetes, but I personally can safely say that diabetes has become a part of my identity. As much as I realize that I am not diabetes, diabetes is a disease that has come into my life, sometimes I find it hard to pull that away from myself.  

I feel like the majority of my life experiences (well those that I like to acknowledge) have come from having type 1 diabetes, all of the opportunities just would not have been there had I not been diagnosed. But, at the same time, had I not been diagnosed with diabetes, it is hard to say where I would be today and what other experiences I would have had.  I like to think that I can give some credit to my diagnosis for all that I have accomplished thus far.

I realize once again that I AM NOT DIABETES - there are many faces of diabetes, but no person is just a product of diabetes.  I do have other personality traits, qualities, experiences, stories etc. that have nothing to do with diabetes; however, I have found that the stories that I love to tell, the qualities, traits and experiences I feel good about are those that come from my diagnosis.

So yes, it is hard to pull myself from my disease which sounds strange - why would someone want to be so connected to something that sounds so brutal in nature. In my reality, I do want to pull myself back at times to remember that diabetes has its place just like all other aspects of my life.  But for now, as long as I am enjoying it, why not be Kayla Brown, the type 1 diabetic!  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Purpose

I finished off the Eckhart book and wanted to present my last note that I found fits well with diabetes and how we go about living with diabetes. Like mentioned before, accepting diabetes is crucial, but in the same breath accepting all that goes along with diabetes including getting angry, high and low blood sugar and the extra tasks that diabetes brings.  To finalize what I took from this book and applied to my diabetes life all started with this line which reads, "behind the sometimes seemingly random or even chaotic succession of events in our lives as well as in the world, lies concealed the unfolding of a higher order and purpose." 

To me this makes perfect sense, it is similar to the idea that everything happens for a reason, only I find this statement gives a little bit more hope. Knowing that, yes what just happened seems random (like a diagnosis) however, take that diagnosis and know that behind it all there is a purpose.  This can be applied to anything and of course I know Eckhart may have no predicted that a type 1 diabetic would take that sentence and splatter it on a blog and relate it to a diagnosis, but surely it makes sense to do that.

When I was diagnosed I didn't have time to think why me? It wasn't until later in the diagnosis did I start to ponder the question and honestly, from time to time I still think about it. Why would I get diagnosed with diabetes compared to the other millions of people who do not live with type 1 diabetes?  What makes me so special?  However, the more I go on with life as a diabetic, I have realized that there was some purpose behind the 'random act' of being diagnosed with diabetes. It wouldn't take long to write a list of reasons why diabetes has helped my life improve.

I would hope that parents of type 1 diabetics could also find hope in this statement made by Eckhart.  I hope that they too could realize that although their children were diagnosed - that isn't the end, diabetes doesn't go away, but at the same time, diabetes isn't a life sentence. There is so much good that can come from a diagnosis, you as a type 1 can get involved, meet new people, explore different career paths, start clubs or support groups etc.  or you as a parent of a type 1 can do all these things as well.

Sure, diabetes is a disease we all can get raging mad about, but at the same time, we cannot let diabetes take our every thought and turn it negative. We can work alongside the disease to prove that living with diabetes can give you lots of reasons to shine bright and keep smiling.


Sunday, June 3, 2012


I often question if blood sugar levels can heighten paranoia. Lately, I have found myself driving myself crazy, thinking every little noise is something (as I write this I googled 'paranoia and diabetes' and bitter sweet diabetes blog popped up! So, I don't feel crazy continuing to write this because either we are both crazy or diabetes is causing this!

I have always been a worrier and as much as I try to convince myself to think happy thoughts in scary times, I have a hard time.  I find myself walking around the apartment checking out every noise (now, that I think about it, I guess I am one of those dumb characters on movies where you shout at them, 'GET OUT!')  but, honestly that noise  I hear is the fridge or the sink or the dishwasher.

With current events getting closer and scarier than ever, it makes you wish you were a child again.  Not knowing what was going on beyond your own backyard - but then again was that just sheltered children like myself or all children. It truly scares me that damage that people can do out there and how traumatizing some people can make others' lives. Honestly, I do like to think that the majority of people out there are good people, but when you turn on the t.v it is hard to imagine such a world.

Now, back to diabetes - although my blood sugar has been normal every time I felt a little paranoid,  I am beginning to think this feeling is some what normal for anyone.  After all I am not completely standing still in life because I am afraid. I still go out at night, drive around etc. I just do it with caution, knowing that I am not in a little bubble anymore - or was I ever.

So, now that I have realized via google that other diabetics are feeling paranoid - I know that this topic has been pushed out there.  I am interested to find out more.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Find Acceptance

As I am finishing up the Eckhart book, A New Earth - I am looking back at the notes I jotted down (once again) and one note that I thought would be a good start is about acceptance. Acceptance is a huge subject when it comes to dealing with diabetes, whether that is type 1 or type 2 diabetes. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, no matter what age you have to learn to accept it because your life can come to an enormous halt  if you refuse to accept your diagnosis.

Acceptance doesn't always come right away and it doesn't always stay. You can accept that fact that you have diabetes as a child, but deny and neglect it when you are a teen.  This is when you hear horror stories of parents trying to figure out how to get their teen to take insulin or stories of short lived lives of diabetics who decided they didn't want to treat their diabetes anymore.  Yes, diabetes is connected to mental health, yet most hospitals are not focusing on this connection and making sure that all those living with diabetes are able to accept their diagnosis.

I was lucky, I instantly accepted that I was diabetic. I often tell the story about the doctor asking why I was smiling in the E.R.   I had no idea why I was smiling, but I guess that was my way of saying, 'I accept this'  I haven't had a day that I decided I didn't want to do this anymore. Of course there are days that I do not check my sugar nearly enough, but I always am sure to give insulin when I eat and treat lows and highs.

Accepting is a funny thing because it is not like you have to accept you have diabetes and smile about it every single day.  Accepting diabetes includes accepting that diabetes is going to make you mad, accept that anger and then push through it.  It is okay to have bad days, just don't let those bad days turn into bad weeks.  Accept that living with diabetes is going to be tricky, but 100% manageable. I am a person with goals and dreams, goals and dreams that grew 10x bigger after being diagnosed and I can honestly say that despite being diabetic (as many people may think it holds you back) I have accomplished a lot in the past three years and will continue to do so.

So, whatever you need to do to accept your diabetes, do it. Finding acceptance is what will make you feel good waking up every morning and going to bed at night.  Diabetes doesn't stop anyone from dating, going away to school, creating a family, having a career, bungee jumping, climbing a mountain, or eating your own birthday cake.