Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Do you ever wonder if you hadn't walked into the bar would you have met the love of your life? If you hadn't left the house two minutes early would you have avoided that car crash?  Everyone wonders what if? But, as always we have to remind ourselves that life moves along in a crazy way and personally I believe everything happens for a reason.

There are many things in my life that I am grateful for and when I think about the different people in my life it's amazing to think how they came about.  Lately, I have been thinking about all the wonderful people with type 1 diabetes that have become my friends.  I have met amazing people along my journey with diabetes that if become very close friends of mine.

There is something about spending time with someone who knows exactly what you are going though. A couple weeks ago I went for a walk with my type 1 friend Michelle, and unlike any other time I go for a walk with someone else, we were both pulling out our meters, packing sugar in our pockets and we spent the entire walk talking about diabetes, talking about our diagnosis, funny things that have happened and some tips and tricks to dealing with diabetes.

Life just becomes a little simpler when you can talk to someone who is living with type 1. Even if it is just for an hour, its a little bit of a relief not having to worry about a single thing and knowing that that person is just like you.


Monday, July 30, 2012

No Thinking

Sometimes I have those moments, when I am lying in bed, tossing my insulin pump from one side of mu body to another, realizing - only three years ago I didn't have to worry about sleeping with an insulin pump on, in fact I didn't even know what an insulin pump was then nor anything about type 1 diabetes.

It seems most times I don't think much about living with diabetes.  The positives that have come from it make me forget all of the annoying parts that also come along with it.  I do have those odd moments; however, where I look at my insulin pump and think...I can't believe I just wear this without thinking twice.  Of course, there isn't much choice, in some way or another I need to take insulin whether that is through injections on the pump - but really, the pump just becomes an external organ for me, in which I hardly notice it is there.

To me, it's amazing how well my friends and family have adapted to my diagnosis. They seem to just 'get' it without thinking twice. Vince once asked what we did when a group of type 1's got together, and my response was something like, we sit around, talk, you know, tell diabetes jokes.. at that time he just laughed at me. I guess it does sound silly, but the sarcasm that comes from a group of type 1's often involves something about an beeping insulin pump or about someone being too sweet. Now, almost a year later, Vince throws out the odd joke or two, and when I reminded him of how silly he thought I was before - he tells me, "Well now I get it!"  

That's where it comes from I guess... accepting diabetes takes two stages, accepting it yourself and having others around you accept it.  No one can tell someone is diabetic just looking at them; however, it is always important that the people around you know since diabetes works quick - as in lows and highs can come fast and the symptoms of both of those are intense at times.

I think it's a good thing - not always thinking about the fact you have diabetes, not thinking about what your friends and family think about your insulin pump or daily injections.  When you can just let diabetes be apart of your life and not have to 'worry' about being different - that's when you know you're on the right track.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Adaptability has such a strong link to diabetes. No one imagines having to give themselves needles or wear a medical device; however, each and every day people with diabetes are lifting up their sleeves, untucking their shirts or pulling their pumps out of their pockets in order to give themselves insulin. Those with fears of needles have overcome those fears, still not being able to look at others give themselves needles, yet being able to do it to themselves.   Five, twelve, fifteen year olds are finding the courage to adapt to their circumstances. 

But that's just it.  With diabetes there are two options, live a healthy life or suffer the consequences.  In the back of the minds of everyone living with diabetes or their caregivers this message digs deep.  How important that little vial of insulin is that is kept next to the bottle of ketchup and left over pizza. As parents of children with diabetes I can only imagine how much they had to adapt when their child was diagnosed.   Learning new terms, new techniques, a new train of thought ... all of this cannot be found in a parenting book or magazines, it is a lesson that is learned quickly through experience.

I almost lived nineteen years of my life diabetes-free.  It was March of 2009 that I was told I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and at that moment I had to adapt to the changes.  Right away, changes begin, I had never been in the hospital, so that experience was new, I had to adapt as a patient when I hardly felt sick at all.  The doctor's would tell me that I shouldn't walk around in fear that my blood sugars that were already high would rise from stress, so having to stay put in a hospital bed was strange.

The next thing was the needles every four hours as the nurses would wake me up in the middle of the night to administer insulin. I hardly remember what I was thinking at those moments, but I am certain I didn't realize that this was something I was going to have to do for the rest of my life (thankfully, not every four hours!)    The hospital stay was a good way to learn adaptability.  I was given so many resources, yet had to focus on how I was going to continue my life beyond the hospital walls.

Life with diabetes is all about adapting to change, making changes, and reminding yourself that tomorrow is a new day. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hand & Hand

Dr. Bernstein's list of what diabetics should not eat
...yeah, okay!
The relation between diabetes and food goes hand in hand.  A couple things reminded me that diabetes is a disease thats focus is more than 50% food.  What we put in our mouths reflects on our meters - there is no sneaking a cookie, have a tiny bite or just having the last piece without consequences.  Yesterday I gave a presentation alongside two of my colleagues about nutrition/diabetes.   I couldn't help but think half of the education that comes along with diabetes is all about what is on our plates.

I am not sure how many people actually follow Canada's food guide - for me, I find it nearly impossible (yet, I know it's not impossible) to follow.  As a student, cooking for one - it's hard to take the time to make a decent meal and cover all bases.   It's much easier sometimes to make something quick which usually doesn't incorporate all of the food groups.   Some may shake their their heads thinking, "but, my oh my, you're diabetic!" but the truth is, we all should be eating healthy, so no one should point blame on diabetics for not eating perfectly all the time...

Later on once I was home I watched an episode of Dr. Phil about bulimia/anorexia two diseases that haunt many teens and young adults.  It was strange, when I turned it on all I heard was, 'low blood sugar' and I assumed it was about diabetes, but realized it was a clip of the girl suffering from anorexia coming out of the E.R because of low blood sugar due to not eating.  As the show went on, I thought more about how teens and bulimia/anorexia is not uncommon within diabetics.

Before I was diagnosed I had the classic symptoms.  The one that made the most impact was weight loss.  I had went from a size 11 to a size 4 in nearly 3 months.  At this time I was working out hard and trying to make healthy food choices, so I was mainly impressed with my rapid weight loss.  I had lost approximately 30 pounds and I was receiving enough compliments to fill my head with air - completely not realizing how sick I truly was.

I loved the attention it brought and I felt good, but deep down I must have known something was up. I was sneaking downstairs at midnight to eat a couple pudding cups and drink juice boxes - hiding the evidence deep down in the garbage.  I wasn't sure what was happening - I was losing weight, but at times I found myself cheating - eating fatty food, craving sugar, drinking juice.    I was confused about food and what it was doing to me. I didn't know that I was sick, how could I have known.

Now that I have been on insulin for three plus years, I have put some of that weight back on.  Rightfully so, I wasn't born to be a skinny girl.  However, of all the symptoms, this weight loss was a blessing - transforming myself from one extreme to another, only to bounce to a comfortable size.  But, we all know that losing weight or trying to cut down doesn't come easy.

Mainly diabetic girls everywhere are finding themselves gaining weight in the regions they put sites or give insulin and finding working out sometimes a pain because of having to eat after because of a low.  The struggle to be a recommended size isn't always a goal easy to maintain; however, the good thing to note is that most people struggle with weight, so when an emphasis is put on diabetics struggle to take off weight, remember how many times your neighbour, friend, Aunt, or co-worker also talked about the struggle of weight loss.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just a Reminder...

I've written before about putting ourselves in the shoes of type 1 diabetics born before the discovery of insulin.  The idea of having no treatment for diabetes,  besides the fatal starvation diet is heartbreaking.  I am sure we all feel every now and then that feeling of - can I get by with one more extra site until my supplies come in? or that horrible feeling when we reach in the fridge for insulin and there is no vials left.  The truth is, in our busy lives sometimes we forget the important stuff - but usually we can get it whether that is from a friend or the pharmacy down the road.

Strange enough yesterday I gave my friend a site when he reached out on Facebook saying that he had forgot to pack one.  I didn't think much of it, because I have been in that situation before, begging on Facebook for a site.   However, the strange part is that today I read an article about the only known type 1 diabetic survivor of the holocaust [I will post the link below] this article made me think about how easy it was for my friend to reach out for a site, for me to get my prescriptions transferred to a close pharmacy in need, or for me to just go online to order supplies - the thing is, if you're in a deadly situation - you just don't have that luxury. 

In this biography, Ernest Sterzer talks about his experience living in the Nazi concentration camps.  Of course, there are lots of known biographies and literature about the Nazi camps, and personally, I studied Woman in the Holocaust for my history essay; however, I never came across a story like Ernest Sterzer's story.    Ernest was diagnosed before entering the camps, and as he was transferred from one camp to another he managed to fight, literally fight his way to stay alive.  

I instantly began to empathize with him as he talked about having high blood sugars and wanted to drink gallons of the shower water that they bathed in just before switching camps, despite the water being disgusting and hot. As type 1's no matter where you are in the world, how old you are or what year you lived/live with type 1 diabetes we can all recognize those symptoms, feel those symptoms and empathize with those that have to go through them, especially when they are severe. 

This story, which I read in the early morning,  sat with me all day, and still.  I find myself wondering how anyone could have survived type 1 diabetes within a concentration camp.  The definition of strength is not enough for this man and although he would have never remembered a life without diabetes, being that he was diagnosed at age three - that extra chore on top of such hardship would have been unbearable to most. 

Although Ernest talks of giving up because it would have been much easier, plus he notes that he wanted to see his mother again, who had been killed in the camp early on.   He managed to pull through and he thanks prisoners and doctors along the way.   It makes me think how lucky I am to live in a time and place where supplies are a click away, insulin is a 5 minute walk and we don't need to worry where our next vial is coming from.   

I realize that this is not the case for everyone, food is not always available, insulin isn't always paid for and support can be vacant.  But, for those where that is not the case, maybe we can learn something from Ernest, we can learn that giving up in this day and age shouldn't be on your mind.  We have the tools, the research in place, the communities established, diabetes can just be a part of your life not your entire life.   


Link to story:   Ernest Sterzer's Story

Sunday, July 22, 2012


After I printed off my blood sugar readings for my appointment tomorrow, I am giving myself a pat on the back.  My fourteen day average is 7.1 and that makes me happy!  I have been trying hard as you all know to lower my blood sugars and really take ownership and what I do and eat.  The treatment for diabetes seems simple, but as we all know it isn't all about insulin. It isn't as simple as taking a pill to relieve the pain.  It's nothing like that.

So, as I mentioned I began focusing on lowering insulin take - safely and not by just taking less insulin for the heck of it, but being more cautious about what I was eating because that extra squirt of ketchup or that snack that you don't really want... does make a difference.  Another thing was to attend the gym more, and thankfully I enjoy Zumba so that made all the difference in WANTING to go the gym; rather  than forcing myself to go.

It will be interesting as always to see what the endocrinologists and nurses say about my better blood sugars.  Hopefully my hard-work shines through. I am really interested to see what my a1c is, for once I actually got blood work done instead of making them do it quickly in the appointment.  I decided that I needed to take a little more ownership in my health and responsibilities, but as we all know time goes by very quickly and before we know it three months has passed and it's time to see our nurses or doctors again.

So, we will see how the appointment goes tomorrow, and hopefully next I will be writing about how great of a time I had and how my a1c dropped, because if it happens to be higher than I will be scratching my head... that's for sure.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unconscious Counting

If you could see into a diabetic's mind for just a day or even just a meal you would probably be overwhelmed.  The truth is, diabetics have a lot to think about beyond the fact of, "Am I hungry?" or "What do I feel like?" Whether it is a conscious or unconscious process going on, diabetics are converting carbs into insulin units, deciding if certain food is 'worth it' and deciding if an extra 'just for good luck' unit needed for the said meal.

It isn't easy being diabetic, no one said that, and the more complicated the food is, the more time that person is putting into something as simple as lunch.   For me, counting carbs isn't something I feel like I do consciously. I think it has come to be natural to just know what I need to cover specific meals, that I hardly ever pick up a product and look at the label, unless I am in the mood for being exact, and even then I find I am better off guessing by my gut feeling.

Of course doctor's don't go by gut feelings and I highly doubt they would be on my side on this one, but for me, I feel like sometimes I know a specific amount of insulin isn't going to cut it, or based on what I have done earlier, I know that it will be too much.  It is all about knowing your body and accepting when you fail.

I was really interested when I had the job of helping a young boy out for  his lunch time insulin. He was on a sliding scale, which basically means, based on his blood sugar he was given a specific amount of insulin.  I guess this is similar to pump settings when you think about corrections etc. however, it interested me that he was not himself carb counting - that I know of.   I was taught carb counting, more so a point system, being that every 15 grabs of carbs equaled on unit of insulin. But, as I slipped out of the honeymoon phase I needed more insulin to cover the carbs and those ratios changed.

In a way it is frustrating because as we all know food isn't what causes high blood sugars always. Of course if you're going to indulge in a doughnut than you have to take credit for the high blood sugar, but stress, weather all of those extras that we can't control nor predict also alters the blood sugars.  Carb counting is simple to learn, simple to use, but a lot of work.  For most diabetics it comes natural after awhile, while others don't carb count at all and stick to routines.  Whatever you do, make sure you're giving yourself a break letting your unconscious count the carbs while you enjoy the taste of your meal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Snapshot

Every three months we get to sit in front of a panel of diabetes judges and learn about what we have done right and wrong over the past three months. There is always a Simon Cowell in the crowd and a nice Jennifer Lopez, but most of all most of us spend the hour in the hot seat wondering if we are going to make it through to the next round.  However, for most of us we also manage to get through it, knowing that next time we can do better, or sometimes we come out proud with better averages and a nice pat on the back from one of the judges, er'...I mean nurses.

The big number of the session always comes down to the A1C which most professionals describe as a snapshot of your blood sugars over a three month period.  That snapshot may stay the same for a year with no adjustments, but sometimes A1C results can jump and vary every time you get it done and that is a simple reflection of how you've been dealing with your diabetes.  When I was first diagnosed my A1C was around the range of 13 - which of course is not good, but keep in mind it was my first A1C, so prior to this test I had not known I was diabetic.

On average my A1C is between 7.4-7.6  and I realize that that seems to be common. It isn't anything to be worried about, however, it could be improved upon.  Ideally the goal should be under 7%.    I would love to be in the 6% range; however, often it is said that the more lows you have the better A1C you have, but achieving a large amount of lows is not something any diabetic wants.  It is a balancing act to get a great A1C result, yet keep stable blood sugars.

This week I am going to get blood work done since my appointment is on Monday  I am crossing my fingers for good blood sugars, but there is not telling for me.  I am actually shocked sometimes that my A1C is as good as it is.  However, lately I have been trying extremely hard to keep an eye on my blood sugars, so I am hoping that work pays off.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Edge

Sometime it's hard to know what blood sugar is the 'perfect' blood sugar.  The running joke is that a 5.5 is perfect... and the reason I say joke is because everyone including myself takes a photo of their meter with a nice 5.5, but most likely finds themselves dipping below that in as little to an hour.   It's hard to stay stable and especially if you're about to walk into a fitness class or go out for the evening.

I have been watching my blood sugars like a hawk lately - still taking the vitamin D religiously and I even tried coconut oil in tea today - let me tell you that it was odd and I didn't finish my cup that contained 2 tablespoons of it.  I have also  been keeping up with going to the gym and making better food choices; however, I find it hard to stay stable when doing all of these things at once.

My blood sugars have been MUCH better than ever before, of course I get the odd whacky number, but really, I haven't noticed too much swinging from highs and lows.  Today, I went into the gym with a 5.6 and I was nervous about it, because I knew that working out was going to lower it, and as a snack before the gym I just had two boiled eggs.  I brought some sugar tablets just in case - and I ended up snacking on them (just four of them...) while working out because unexpectedly I decided after already being at the gym for 40 minutes that I was going to do a step class.

I wasn't sure how hardcore this workout was going to be, but I didn't feel symptoms of a  low so I walked in feeling O.K about where my blood sugars were.  However, as the hour class went on, I felt like I was either going to drop into a low real fast at any moment or after we stopped to breathe.  Luckily, I talked myself into believing I was O.K.  I did a quick check, I wasn't shaking, I wasn't disoriented, I wasn't feeling completely weak....therefore I must be O.K. To be honest, I wanted to give up so bad, like so bad! I hated the class because I couldn't keep up, follow direction and I was bored of it - but I pushed through to complete it.

It was a good workout, however, I doubt I will do it again - at least not at the Y. I did do step at Western's Gym and it wasn't as bad as this - not that the teachers were bad, it was just a little too fast paced for me.     Either way, by the time I got home from the gym my blood sugar was 4.6 which wasn't too bad.  I also had decreased my basal 50% for a two hour duration - so I think had I not done that it would have been much lower.

I returned home to have about 10 apples slices with yogurt dip and hopefully I can stay afloat (above 5.0) for the rest of the night.  I am hoping to decrease my basal rate over time, to cut down on insulin usage.  I am really taking my health into a major makeover - not expecting to become a skinny 10 units a day diabetic - but a healthy one with good endurance, positive energy and a great smile!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vitamin D...iabetes?

Recently, like I said I started looking at other ways to lower blood sugar instead of leaning on my insulin pump. I was hoping to reduce the amount of insulin I use in a day which is usually 60 units (including basal/bolus) and now, in the past week it has been reduced to approx. 40 units (including basal/bolus). I am pretty excited that it is almost down to half the amount I was using before, mind you my basal rate is pretty high.

So, what am I doing? Well first of all I have been making better choices with food. Avoiding bread and pasta - although a few times I have broken that rule because I was on the road or needed a quick lunch and therefore I grabbed a sandwich from Tim Hortons.  Other than that, I have done well in picking foods that I know I can burn fast like fruits & veggies and food that I know will keep me full like trail mix and mini wheats - however, I think I need to stop eating mini wheats because I am getting major stomach pain from them even if I eat the slightest bit.

The second thing is that I am trying hard to work out. Focusing on both cardio and weights.  I am attempting to go to the gym for an hour for at least a minimum of 2-3 times a week (just for a starter!) I also started taking Zumba every Tuesday-Thursday and I find that it is a class that goes fast, makes me smile and gives me a good workout.  

The third thing is that I am taking vitamins! A few people had suggested I take Vitamin D and I totally forgot the last time I was looking and when I asked the pharmacist what she suggested she wasn't very clear - I should have known to just ask the diabetes community.   I bought Vitamin B for stress/energy and I believe that it works well, however, when I suddenly remembered that a few of my type 1 friends had suggested Vitamin D, I headed back to the store to buy that as well.

Turns out this Vitamin D is doing something right! Or at least, I am really proving the concept of the placebo effect.  I have gone a few days with having blood sugars no higher than 12 and trust me, that's a good accomplishment - also note that I am taking less insulin.  I am finding that it in combination with the other two things are keeping me relatively in target, with a couple lows here and there.

Either way, it appears that Vitamin D is for Diabetes and I am pretty happy with what it has done for me thus far!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Lead the Way

Sometimes it is unfortunate information on diabetes is lacking. Many people have no idea what they are dealing with even when they are diagnosed with diabetes not to mention the lack of knowledge within the community itself. Diabetes seems to be a 'big deal' however, many are confused when it comes down to what diabetes entails.

As I work more and more with the diabetes community both type 1 and type 2 diabetics - I am finding that knowledge isn't as readily available as I thought it was. It could be that my generation always has access to internet therefore, is more likely to research or reach out, but either way, the message that there is support is not as freely expressed to those that need it most.

When you're diagnosed with diabetes I believe you should be given all the right tools.  You should be given a diabetic education team including a dietician and you should have access to all the programs including those that pertain to funding.  I believe that nurses and doctors should talk about online diabetes communities as well as smaller ones that get together locally.  I believe in ensuring that the person living with diabetes is ready to go on living their life with diabetes without having any doubt in themselves.

I used to think it was just the people who had no connection to diabetes that didn't know what diabetes was all about.   That's far from the truth, there are people living with diabetes that do not even know what type of diabetes they have.  There are people living with diabetes that do not know where to get a meter from.  There are people living with diabetes that are struggling daily because they feel like they have no one helping them.

This is saddening because I know that there are resources out there, but after talking to a colleague of mine I realized that they is a lot of resources; however, only in desperate times do people go searching from answers. If you're getting by with a pamphlet of knowledge about your diabetes, then fine.  It is when you're blood sugars start soaring or crashing that you realize that Diabetes Basics 101 isn't good enough anymore.

I enjoy helping others out with their diabetes. Of course I am not a medical professional, but I am sure all could agree that with some good first hand experience of being diabetic, you're a pretty good resource.  Often times I will speak to my grandparents about better management.  Giving your perspective, advice or help can be rewarding not only for yourself, but for another person living with diabetes.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Try Something New

I'm always looking for something to entertain myself - something to work on like a project.  Lately, I have been looking at myself as a project, hoping to cut back on some unnecessary food choices and thinking taking out the garbage as a chance to burn a couple calories; rather than a big chore.   I have fallen off the wagon a couple times, drinking those yummy frozen raspberry lemonade drinks from Tim Hortons and baking a batch of oatmeal cookies only to eat half of them.   However, those things happen and I guess the important thing to do is to not give up, and make your next snack an apple.

I am all game for trying new things.  This all started when I was diagnosed, I put myself in what used to seem as impossible situations and then tried them out. I stood out instead of standing back and I pushed myself.  Heck, I even did a half triathlon and didn't train for it (I wouldn't advise that by the way...)  Pushing myself and trying new things was all the range as the new diabetic Kayla and I continue to do that... even though those things I once thought of as terrifying i.e public speaking has now become one of my most favourite things to do.

Me giving a presentation - something three years ago
 I never thought I would have done!
Today I walked into the YMCA with no intention on doing a class,  I did the machines and then hopped on a bike ready to watch 48 Hours on A&E.... but then I was intrigued as a line formed outside of the gymnasium doors.  I wondered what they were doing, so I shut off the bike and walked over to the wall that had the schedule posted. What I saw was a program that involved yoga and pilates - I didn't think it would be too bad and honestly I wanted to stay at the gym as long as I could since my apartment is 87 degrees.  

When the instructor walked in I instantly knew that this wasn't a yoga class, well before she even walked in I had a feeling this wasn't yoga since no one was grabbing a mat and some girls were wearing outfits that just didn't seem well, yogaish. Well, the instructor came in wearing bright green 'ZUMBA!" pants and as much as my head was saying BAIL!  I stayed because I decided I didn't know anyone and we weren't facing the mirrors anyway.

I have done Zumba a few times, including in Mexico when Michelle would drag me up.. eventually I was excited to be dragged up and Michelle and I became the two and only dancers at the resort.  However, you would think with all that fun in Mexico I would have picked up a few moves, but no, dancers are born not created.. those who can't dance, fake it until they make it and that's me.  I just danced and I was probably doing it wrong, kicking left when it was supposed to be right or clapping 3 seconds after everyone else, but half of the class was just like me, not knowing what they were doing but trying and laughing anyways.

The hour went fast and after a good solid hour and  half work out at the YMCA my sugar dropped from 14 to 5 and I was feeling good about myself and my efforts.  Plus I learned the Bachata which was the name of the resort Vince and I stayed at  in Dominican!  But, don't ask me to do it again, because it was one of those learn it there, forget it when you leave type of things...

So, try it! Try something new and be excited and proud of yourself.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Leaving an Imprint

Any opportunity to teach someone something new is always a rewarding experience. Since working at the Banting House with the Canadian Diabetes Association, I have become more and more intrigued at the life of Sir Fredrick Banting - the man who discovered insulin and saved my life. I spend 31.5 hours a week in the basement of his house - the exact house he came up with the idea of insulin.  There are times when I stop and think, wow, if it wasn't for this man I wouldn't be here... I wouldn't be in his house.

I have now gone on three tours of the Banting House and it has been awesome all three times. I learn something new each time.  Today I went through the house with my three favourite little boys, Nolan, Josh and Ky and their mom, Shannon.  I was excited to see what they thought of the museum since they know quite a bit about diabetes because of me.

Going through the museum, watching as the boys looked at different artifacts asking questions and taking photos - I realized that there is strong importance in learning about something and passing it on.  History is important as much as I dreaded the full year course I took at Western.  History matters and because of historians the messages of the past are still here and alive.

After the fact, I was happy to hear that the boys really enjoyed the tour and Ky even said that it was the most interesting thing he has ever done.  I am happy to know that they took something from the house and hopefully they learned how important history is, how important pursing your dream is and that anyone is capable of making a difference and leaving an imprint on this world.  I know I am continuing to learn this every single day.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's not Diabetes

It's really easy to point the finger at Mr. Diabetes. He seems to cause a lot of troubles most of the time, but like the class bully, sometimes he's not the one that did it.  Often times our head pain, stomach aches, grumpy-ness, fatigue or hunger is caused by diabetes.  We get these symptoms from highs and lows and despite getting annoyed with diabetes because of those symptoms it does often give us a good idea on how to cure our headaches, grumpy-ness etc. just a little insulin or food will do.

However, sometimes it isn't diabetes causing the troubles. Sometimes we just have a headache because well, people get headaches or we are tired because we stayed up too late or didn't get a good sleep.  After blaming the big D for such a long time, often diabetics have a hard time accepting that they are just not feeling good and it has nothing to do with diabetes.  Of course all of these things in turn effect diabetes, but in the meantime, sometimes a headache is just a headache.

Today, I was feeling pressure in my head and couldn't seem to shake it.  My first though of course was that my blood sugar was off,  but to my surprise I was rocking a nice 6.3.  I then just had to accept that my headache had nothing to with my diabetes and there wasn't much that I could do besides take a Tylenol to stop it from happening. That made me realize that sometimes it is nice when it is due to  high/low blood sugar because then at least you have the answers!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Diabetics Gone Country!

It's not everyday that you get to spend some time with a diabetic - that strange feeling that all of a sudden you're not the only one concerned about carbs or about your pump tubing getting caught.  It's a breath of fresh air to see someone just like you, a small reminder that you're not alone.

This weekend I went to Buffalo, NY. With my friend Shannon and Heather.  Heather is a type 1 diabetic and we met a couple years ago at a Connected in Motion event and ever since then we have been good friends keeping touch through texting or Facebook.  We have also done a couple other events together.   The funny thing is that Heather and I both have purple pumps and not only that,  but often people tell us we look alike.

Before I had even travelled too far, I realized I forgot  my insulin pump at my apartment. A good start to the trip - but it made for a good joke about Heather and I possibly having to share an insulin pump.    I had packed a couple supplies, but I was feeling a little less anxious because I knew that if I forgot something chances are Heather might have it - besides the insulin pump, I'm pretty sure she needs that and cannot share!

It was nice when we sat at the table and both pulled out our meters, I knew both of us were calculating carbs in our heads and then reaching for our pumps to dial insulin.  It's that mutual understanding that makes it great to have someone just like you around.

Later at the concert I made a joke that instead of holding up lighters or our cell phone for the slow songs, we could turn the light on our pumps and wave them in the air.