Thursday, November 29, 2012

Carb Season

It's that time of year again, well it's still November, but go into any Mall and you're bound to see Santa sitting in the middle and Christmas music playing throughout the stores.  Not only is our budgets going down the drain, but most of us are going to be pumping more than usual amounts of insulin into our bellies. I find Christmas to be a time where carb counting gets thrown out the window and it because a huge guessing game instead.  No one knows what Aunt Annie puts in the pudding, but let's say it's 40 grams.  You know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you!

Unless you have a parent that is willing to follow you around with a calculator and a salter scale, I highly doubt that most of us are being perfect diabetics - Thankfully Santa only decides on gifts judged on your personality and kindness not your blood sugars!  This year, like the past three Christmases that I have been diabetic, I am going to just go with the flow.  It's like vacation, you try your hardest to keep up with food and insulin ratios, but in the end it's really only a week or so out of your life that you aren't  'doing it' right.

I feel bad for those that have to attend endocrinologist appointments around this time of year. I would hope that most of them would be a little easier on their patients realizing that cookies are being thrown at them non stop and will power is usually absent.  Either way, for anyone that is tackling Christmas for the first time as a diabetic, don't let diabetes discourage you from enjoying this time of the year.  Have the cookies and cakes you desired when you were non diabetic and attempt to stay on top of them - much easier said than done I realize.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Voice

Have you ever been lying in bed when all of a sudden your subconscious starts talking to you?  Maybe it's reminding you to do something or is stressing you out to say that you have things to get done soon, or maybe for most diabetics it is telling you that you need to take action. I don't know how many times I have been tossing in bed when a voice tells me that I should check my blood sugar.  Sometimes it takes all I can to talk myself out of it, am I hungry? no.  Am I shaking? no.  Am I sweating? no.   But, still the persistent voice is telling me that I should check my blood sugar.

It's that voice that gets me up and checking, untucking myself, pricking my finger in the light of my pump or meter and testing.  Often praying that I am not low because I DON'T WANT TO EAT! Often times the voice is masked by a desire to eat or to want to go to a store to get food or order food despite it being the middle of the night.  Often at that time there is a voice thinking it's possible to just order something or if only I could go to the bulk barn to stock up on some candy.  That diabetic subconscious is full of wonderful ideas when you're low.

It's crazy to think that some people don't notice their lows especially when sleeping. A crazy and scary thought that diabetics are sleeping through lows or doing other activities while not realizing that they need to act on their blood sugars.  I am thankful that I feel my lows under five.  Although, I dislike getting lows like every other diabetic, it's nice to know that I can still act on them without going too low to the point where I need assistance.

That voice has saved me a few times I like to think.  Begging me to check my blood sugar while I am asleep, forcing me to get up despite feeling sleepy or comfy and walking me through the steps of getting better.


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Explaining diabetes can be quite the task and to be honest after doing it so many times you basically leave out most of the details and stick to the, "type 1 kids, young adults, insulin injections no cure/ type 2, old, overweight, pills, diet and exercise."  Obviously there is much more to diabetes than those things and yes I know, these are a little bit of stereotypes, but when you've explained diabetes one thousand and one times - you just need to get to the basics with the those that are asking and if they seem extra intrigued you can go back a little and start explaining some more.

My mom and I went to a party this evening and some of the people I hadn't seen since I was kid and to be honest I did not recognize most.  Of course somehow or another the topic that I was diagnosed with diabetes came up and I was prepared to give the definition as people nodded their head at me saying, "well you look great..."  ah - I know what they're thinking:  'she's not fat? how did she get it? Did she loose weight and now she's cured?     Mom was pretty good at explaining and then I would just jump in to answer a few of the questions like, "will it fade away over time?"  It's truly hard not to start laughing       if only it were true... simply fade away.

I actually enjoy talking about diabetes, but when it's a quick thing it can be a little hard because on one hand I feel like giving them an encyclopedia of information about diabetes and what I am up too, but on the other hand I know that most people are asking because that's the polite thing to do.  It's just hard not to take it as a moment for education and being November and all, it's hard not to shout at them, 'I like your moustache for Movember, but did you know it's diabetes awareness month too!'   

There is so much education to be given about diabetes, and the questions that we have all encountered along the way is what keeps my Type 1 Diabetes Meme page going I think.  It's incredible the amount of misconceptions there are about a disease that truly is simple in context of what isn't working properly.   Sometimes I wish that diabetes really was what the public thought, a disease that kids grow out of, or a disease where you don't need the needles unless you're REALLY bad.    If that were the case I know thousands of us type 1's would be on treadmills daily eating well if it meant no more needles.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Surrender!

I wish the insulin pump did it all.  You know, it's a big responsibility being an organ, it's not like in high school they taught you what to do if one failed.   Most of us diabetics aren't in the medical field and before being diagnosed with diabetes we likely had no idea what a pancreas was. Now, ten year olds are using vials and syringes, carb counting and finger pricking, something that no one could have ever prepared them for.  

My a1c has gone up a bit from my last one (I'll admit it!)  and I am not happy about it, especially because most days I feel like I am trying my hardest and then there are days when I know that I am not.    Anyways, after getting my a1c results then slapping myself in the face again by doing the a1c Now test and seeing the exact same result, I must admit I felt a little defeated.  So badly I want to scream, "I JUST DON'T HAVE TIME FOR DIABETES!" or "I SURRENDER!" but, unfortunately you just can't do that. No one is going to take care of my diabetes but myself.

It drives me crazy to have to count carbs.  I wish that we had to avoid something like broccoli or garlic - something strange like that instead of sugar . . .  which is the best thing out there.    I hate that every treat I nibble on, every snack I take I have to consider it that it has carbs therefore take insulin for it.  If only my pump knew what I was up too and could do it on its own, you know like a real pancreas!

I know we are all wishing for a cure and that would be fantastic, to say that I had diabetes. But, until then we have to just hope for better technology and I think that the scientists and researchers have proved to us that they are capable of making life with diabetes a little better, at least a little less obvious and prettier, but the technology has also made it easier for diabetics as well.

I know that all diabetics are tired of this routine, tired of having to measure life and live up to an expectation that only a non-diabetic can uphold. It's a lot of work, it's time consuming, it's frustrating, but the reminder that there are others is what keeps me going, knowing that this fight isn't solo and when I  need the support it's there.  Let's all hope for a cure, and if not a cure, let's hope for something easier for us with technology to make living with diabetes a little better.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

How I see Diabetes

I deal with diabetes 24/7 and never does it give me a rest.  There isn't a minute of the day that I am unaware that I have diabetes, there is always a vibration or slight headache that reminds me that I have something to take care of.  Unlike the average 22 year old I see the blood from my finger tips daily, I wake up in the middle of the night feeling confused, sweaty, hungry and need to find food a.s.a.p.  Unlike most people I know what my body is doing, what it feels like to not have insulin and what it feels like to go low.   

I know my body more than anyone else in this world - but there comes a time every three months when you don't know your body or at least it appears this way.  Every diabetic has experienced the diabetes education centre - and don't get me wrong, this place is important to go to, it's important to listen and I know each person at the diabetes education centre is well trained and knows diabetes.   However, non-diabetics - imagine you had to recall what you ate two weeks ago, and not only that, imagine you had to recall what you were exactly doing at that moment.. and imagine despite what you thought felt right, good or correct ... there is always something you can do better....imagine that! 

Diabetes isn't my only job.  Of course, I am thinking and 'doing' diabetes daily; however, I am not perfect nor are my numbers, eating habits or lifestyle going to be either.  To be honest, it's hard to sit in front of professionals and hear what you're doing wrong or what you should be doing when you spent the past two weeks trying hard. It's hard to hear that despite how YOU feel, it's not O.K and things need to be different. 

I have been given lots of great advice from professionals and really, they are the ones that are trained to tell you what you should and shouldn't do when trying to bring your numbers closer to target. But, like I said it can be difficult to hear that things need to be changed especially when you know how much work you had put in in the past couple weeks to get you where you are today. 

I am sure I am not the only one who feels the judgement when heading into a d.e.c no matter where they are going.  Seeing your numbers and life basically scattered on sheets of paper before you - nurses circling highs and lows, asking what you did here and telling you what you should do despite you not personally feeling comfortable about it. It's hard because translating the life of a living, breathing diabetic to textbooks in medicals schools is much different.  As diabetics we are so much more than professional diabetics, we are athletes, teachers, parents, students and social beings.

 It is important to me to be a healthy person, to live beyond what is expected and to be a great role model for those that look up to me.  I want that professional advice, I want to have a place to go with questions to get answers and encouragement, but no matter I end up feeling like the disease I treat every single day is something much different when its scattered on paper and being picked apart, I feel drawn away from it and want to just go back to how I see diabetes.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Among Others

Anytime that I have went to an event with type 1 diabetics, for example Slipstream with Connected in Motion,  I have found myself feeing a sense of belonging in the sense that I am not the only one living with type 1 diabetes.   Obviously, I know that there are thousands upon thousands of us out there, and I can see updates on Facebook that prove this; however, it is a much different experience when you are among other people doing what usually casts you as different from your peers.

Next year I will be living with two type 1 diabetics that I met here in London along with another non diabetic and there is one more room to fill so let's say a surprise tenant at this point.   Last night I was talking to the non diabetic about how funny it is going to feel when I realize that I am not the only diabetic in the house.  I won't be the only one roaming around the kitchen at night looking for a snack, nor will my lunch bag of insulin be alone amongst the ketchup and milk cartons.

I looked at her after going off on a rant about how living with multiple diabetics will be interesting and then said something along the lines of, wait, so YOU will be the one that is different. How strange is that, a house full of students, and diabetics are the majority.  I promised her that I had never met a mean diabetic and that she will still have a great time next year despite the lacking of pancreases.

It's such a strange feeling to know site changes won't be abnormal, feeling low, feeling high, checking blood sugars, and knowing exactly how each other feels. Thinking about it, I think we will all pull off great a1c's next year since we will be constantly reminded to check blood sugars.  The support will be strong in the house and I'm sure I will have lots to blog about next year!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Looking at what diabetics looked like pre-insulin discovery it can really change your entire outlook on life.  It is a reminder of how lucky we are to have what we have in today's society.  The look of those that were suffering from type 1 diabetes was that of those held prisoner in the concentration camps.  Weak, sick and fragile with no hope on surviving.

One story that has stuck with me from when I first visited the Banting House last year was the story of a little boy that was dying due to the fact he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  A picture of this boy is shown on one side of the display case at the Banting House where he looks frail - being held in his mothers arms.  On the other side of the display case, after receiving insulin from Dr. Banting, the same boy is shown plump and healthy.   This story is amazing to me... it is like looking at ghost of a child with no future, later to see how much insulin changed his life. 

I cannot imagine being told I had type 1 diabetes with a final note that I would have to be put on a starvation diet and eventually would die.   Instead, now we are told we have type 1 diabetes, but can manage it with insulin and our diet and then we are asked if we would like a pink, purple or blue meter.  My, times have changed.

It's nice to give yourself a reality check; whether you have diabetes or not.  Look at how far medicine has come, technology, transportation, academia, all of these things that have changed our lives and made things possible.  For me, the discovery of insulin - something three years ago I knew nothing about, is what makes me feel thankful and alive.  


Monday, November 19, 2012

Behind the Wheel

Driving with type 1 diabetes is something your diabetes education centre usually touches on when you're first learning about how diabetes affects every single thing that you do and visa versa. In fact just recently I had to sign a paper on the d.e.c of London saying that they covered the information about driving and diabetes.    It is extremely important to drive above five because we all know how we feel when we have a low now imagine getting behind the wheel.

Personally, I do a lot of driving and luckily I have a good sense if I feel low even when I am just tipping below five.  I have had a few experiences of going low at the wheel and having to stop in somewhere to park, grab something and sit.  Last night when I was heading back to London I had to stop at a truck stop after feeling not like myself, I pulled in, checked my blood sugar and headed into the truck stop to grab Sweetarts.

Sitting at the truck stop, keys in lap, Sweetarts in hand -  I started to realize how much diabetes impacts ones life.  How many extra obstacles a diabetic has to go through in order just to do regular, everyday things like drive home.   A low in your bedroom, is impacting yourself, but a low on the highway can be so much more.  It goes to show how important it can be to check blood sugars often and listen to your 'blood sugar' instincts.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Numbers Game

Every now and then you have to stop and give yourself some credit.   How often do we look at the numbers on our screen and feel this underlying sense of guilt that we did something wrong or that we're a 'bad diabetic.'   As if that number has somehow become a part of our personality - I'm nice, I'm smart and I'm 16.9 mmol/l.    Before being diagnosed we had no idea what those numbers meant, nor did we know that at different parts of the day those numbers were fluctuating (not as much when we weren't diabetic...) and that based on those numbers it determined a whole book of things, like if we were grumpy, if we were hungry, if we needed to eat or if we needed insulin to bring those numbers down.

It wasn't until we were diagnosed that we realized those numbers were constantly changing, coming from 'out of nowhere' and 'ruining our day!'   These numbers that sometimes confuse others, 'does that mean you need sugar or you need insulin?'  and these numbers that make us feel good or bad about the way we handle our diabetes.  I think it all begins with the first doctors appointment to be honest, when they give you the targets and then send you home - talk about an impossible task to be able to stay in range always.

I remember after leaving the hospital, I was counting out 44 shoe string french fries, cutting baked potatoes in half and filling my milk up to the cats boots on the Shrek glass. I was doing all of these things that I was told to do and still was seeing high blood sugars.  After a few weeks in, I was getting concerned that my blood sugars were going over 7 frequently.  I felt like I was doing something wrong - I didn't think Chloe Steepe (Connected in Motion) was ever going over 7 or famous Nick Jonas would ever see double digit blood sugars - boy was I mislead!

I don't think I've met a diabetic that has said their blood sugars have never been high because they do everything perfect - and if you're that one diabetic - I'm sorry about I would double check if you're actually diabetic.  To never, ever, go over 7 was something I thought would happen once I was instructed on how to be diabetic, what insulin was and how to carb count.   To my surprise those days where I don't go over 7 are difficult and I often go low trying to attempt such a process.

I mean, it would be nice if I had nothing else to do, but to check my blood sugar every hour and keep adjusting insulin, but in reality I feel like that would be more traumatizing to my health then the blood sugars over 7 that I have every now and then. I think that we should really give ourselves a pat on the back when we get those blood sugars, even if we feel like it wasn't 'US' who did that it was just 'LUCKY' that we happened to have a good blood sugar.  We also need to start letting go of that high blood sugar guilt - just check, give insulin and move on - instead of feeling defeated or like a 'bad' diabetic.

It's important to talk to other diabetics because you can soon realize that they aren't a perfect 5-7 mmol/l  always. Everyone has lows and highs, days they don't want to check, days they don't want to bolus.  Nights where they're awake in bed wishing for gummy bears and mornings where they realize they forgot to attach their pump.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Student Groceries

As a university student grocery shopping is a much different pursuit than that of your mother's grocery shopping adventure.  You see, most go shopping once a week, stock up on key items, mainly healthy dishes that are planned out for each weeknight then the odd bag of chips or box of cookies for treats.  This is the typical grocery list for a mom or anyone BUT a student. You see, students have a much different approach to grocery shopping. We shop when we think we have nothing possibly left or we have a craving for something, likely something unhealthy at that.     Students go into a grocery store looking for something quick and cheap or unhealthy, but worth it.  

When I first met with my dietician here in London and she looked at my meal list I had written down for the past three days she smiled back at me and said, "I can tell you're a student..."  Of course, with 'cereal' scribbled into the supper section and 'cheese and crackers' in the lunch section, anyone could guess that either a child or a student was eating this and calling it a real meal.  She didn't really seem to worried only that some days I was eating less than 100 grams of carbs - other than that she empathized with me - being a recent student as well. 

It's not hard to eat healthy logistically.  I mean, vegetables aren't that expensive and you can shop for ONE fairly cheaply. However, the point is that when you are cooking for one you don't want to spend an hour preparing something.   I don't have the motivation to prepare anything when it is just myself, I am content with pouring a bowl of cereal or having a bowl of soup.    So many people tell me that I should be making proper meals because I have diabetes and once again I think to myself, 'well of course! everyone should be eating proper meals...not just me!' but realistically, I obviously know that I should take the time to hit all the food groups, make something that actually tastes good and sit down, count carbs, check blood and give insulin for a delicious meal, not one that came in a cardboard box with a maze on the back of it.   

But, this is college living.  Students are doing this because it's cheap and quick, not because we wouldn't enjoy a nice roast beef meal.    I am doing this because I am cheap and want to eat when I'm hungry - I am not doing it to be a 'bad' diabetic or doing it because I don't care about my own personal health.     Of course it sucks having to write down the past three days worth of food I ate and have it looked at, picked over and examined, but that's what being a student is all about and as a diabetic student unless someone wants to purchase wonderful meals for me, I will be rocking the cereal, cheese and crackers and kraft dinner for at least another year!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Complicated

I've heard horror stories about getting old with diabetes or not making it to live old with diabetes.  I think every diabetic can nod in agreement when I say we've all heard a story or two from people telling us how their friend, uncle, brother, second aunt twice removed, died because of diabetes.  It makes us feel so good hearing those stories - not!  When I was first diagnosed I heard a few stories or two about people that lost limbs, went blind or died young, and despite hearing those stories I somehow stored them in the back of mind and forgot about how fragile the life of a diabetic can truly be.

If I always worried about going blind, I would go crazy.  To be honest, I want to forget about what can happen as much as it is some people's motivation to keep blood checking and taking insulin.   It scares me to think I may not live a full life like those that don't have diabetes. I realize my pancreas failed me at an early age, took an early retirement without permission and the thought of a body part just quitting worries me.

Recently someone emailed me that has lived with type one for 57 years.  She seems like such a go-getter, active and healthy and after hearing her story and thinking to myself, I don't do half the things this lady is doing and yet she still has ran into a complication or two. I do realize that 57 years ago, the management for diabetes was much different, but still the fact that she is living such a healthy life and still ran into complications - makes me wonder, are complications inevitable?

For me, I just hope that I get a good run at life, I know I don't eat the best nor exercise as much as I should, but I am a happy person and I think that goes a long way. I've heard so many people say that as a diabetic I should do this and not do that, and honestly all of the things people point fingers at diabetics for, NO ONE should do or EVERYONE should do.    Should I eat that brownie because I have diabetes? well, should you eat that brownie because you don't?

I hate that diabetes is not just about checking blood sugar, carb counting and taking insulin - I hate that it is many things like the complications. But, like I said before, if I dwell on it, I will probably bring all the complications on much earlier and faster than if I remain positive and be the person that has gotten me this far.    It's not easy living with diabetes, it's not easy hearing the horror stories, and it isn't easy to stay positive, but you just have to try.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Diabetes Day

Imagine being told you weren't going to survive?  That the only way you could stay alive for just a little, would be to starve yourself?  Can you believe that it wasn't that long ago that this was the life of a diabetic?

I was diagnosed March 13th 2009 in Canada.  I was hospitalized for five days and sent to the pharmacy afterwards to gather all of the supplies I needed to keep myself alive.  I wasn't told that I would have to starve to survive nor was I told I had only a certain time to live.  Instead, I was sent home without defeat, more so optimism that it was a treatable disease and it wasn't going to be that bad.  Of course I had and still have my days when I wish diabetes wasn't given to me.  I'd wish it on my worst enemies, but then again, they don't deserve the disease that makes you realize how strong of a person you are - that is what diabetes did for me.    

When I tell people I have diabetes, they often let out that sympathetic 'awe' which usually ends up in me explaining how diabetes has in some way changed my life for the better and made me a better person.  Then the response is a strange, 'oh?'  I realized quickly that diabetes was not going to go away, so I needed to do something about it in the meantime.  Yes, I could have done something like became an amazing athlete or turned onto a vegan diet, instead I just began writing my pancreas away and expressing how diabetes has changed me as a person in all ways imaginable.

Things that would have been foreign before like what a good blood sugar number is or what an insulin pump is, is now my honours specialization you could say.   I know everything about my diabetes and what diabetes means to me.   It has given me something to talk about that is for sure, and really has given me incredible opportunities.  I wish that somehow I would have realized how amazing life can be, how much I can achieve and how unique I truly am without being diagnosed with diabetes, but then I think to myself, diabetes was my gift or kick in the pants to teach me that life lesson, and now it's my turn to kick other people in the pants to believe in themselves through my blog and speaking.

Despite the positive things diabetes has given me, I'd love not to know how many carbs are in random food items or what insulin smells like.  I'd love to not have to give myself needles, refill my insulin pump, explain what I am doing when I check my blood sugar and never have to worry about what that doughnut is going to do to my blood sugar.  Wouldn't it be nice to live so carefree?

Instead, on World Diabetes Day (a day I knew nothing about 4 years ago) I am wearing blue, heading to Banting's House (the man that saved my life) and eating cake with other diabetics and friends. I will be checking my blood sugar, giving myself insulin and worrying about blood sugars the entire day, just like any other day.   Diabetes may be in the blue spotlight tomorrow, but for those living with diabetes, it's a constant celebration that we're alive, not starving, but planning out futures and doing amazing things.

So today for World Diabetes Day, wear blue, support diabetes, give a diabetic a hug and remember life is amazing, you can achieve many things and you are truly unique!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Odd Feeling

There is always the odd feeling when you stumble out of bed and feel like you could devour an entire chocolate cake plus some. You see, night cravings aren't uncommon I don't believe - there are many movies or commercials that have characters sneaking down to the kitchen to steal a slice of cake or snack on some cookies - but the difference is that a diabetic isn't just stumbling into the kitchen to satisfy hunger, the diabetic is stumbling into the kitchen to stay alive.

Last night I went to bed at a 5.8 b/g  and I knew that that number was borderline risky to go to bed with.  It seems if I am lower than a 7 I am bound to drop over night.  I wanted to see what would happen hoping that it would be fine.  Of course I woke up in the night, not exactly sure what time - but I woke up with a really bad stomach ache.   I got out of bed thinking I was just going to be sick, I walked to the bathroom, but felt myself growing weak and feeling like I was going to pass out.  Instantly I knew I was low, began thinking about delicious food that I didn't have in the cupboards and stood in front of the fridge not knowing what to do.

I headed to my room to check my blood sugar even though I knew that I had to be at least below a 4.  There is was a 3.3 looking back at me, and I headed for my closet where I keep the odd treat or two.  I had a box of cookies, with two cookies left, so I ate them and then sat in bed hoping my stomach ache would end soon along with the low blood sugar.  I eventually fell back asleep, just after writing in my iPhone "Going low & what it feels like to be the only diabetic in the house."  This is something I do often when good blog ideas pop into my head.

Looking back on it, I know exactly what I was thinking at that point. When I was standing in the kitchen swaying, shaking, confused... my roommates were nestled in their beds sleeping.  They don't have to get up in the middle of the night to eat because the risk of slipping away.  I do this about once a week, wake up feeling low, trek to the kitchen, open cupboard doors, and stare into the fridge blankly.  I am used to being woken up by diabetes and eating random food in my bed.


Monday, November 12, 2012


There is always diabetes mishaps despite trying to be on the ball with everything. It doesn't take much to forget to bring an extra battery or rip a site out of your stomach with a door knob.  But, there are those odd times when diabetes fails you and it just isn't your fault.   For instance, I was sitting at my desk today writing an essay and smelt insulin.   I thought about for a second, but came to the conclusion that it must just be in my head, so I carried on with my writing. Then I started getting that dreadful, 'I'm high headache,' so I checked the blood sugar and was high.   I knew I had taken insulin about 1.5 hours previous, so having a high blood sugar seemed a little odd.  

I looked down at my site and realized the outside of the site (the white material part) was soaking wet.   Instant realization that my site is leaking and it needed to be pulled out, even though I just put it in.  The cannula was bent and leaking into the material rather than into my stomach. Such an annoying feeling having to rip out a brand new site and put in a new one plus deal with a high blood sugar.

I like to think that it wasn't my fault for putting the site in wrong, but then again it's not an easy thought to think the site failed to do its job.  Thankfully, the smell of insulin is a strong one and I was able to recognize that something was up with the site and in turn I needed to take care of a high blood sugar.


Friday, November 9, 2012


I've had the privilege of being a part of a particular diabetes community that is not completely related to my specific experience as a type 1, but nonetheless this community is of the parents of type 1 diabetic children. I was introduced to this whole world after chatting with Amy (creator of diabetic barbie) on Facebook, since then I have seen many conversations, interactions between parents giving support and insight to one another.   I find this incredibly fascinating and inspiring.

My first thought is, I hope their type 1 children get to look back on these conversations and blogs one day and see how much love their parents have for them and how many extra hours they put into the care for them by reaching out online for support, tips and answers.   I love how these mothers and fathers despite literally being half asleep because of the intense care and attention they need to give their children still have the energy to write a blog to help other parents.

You see, I have encountered all kinds of type 1 diabetics writing, messaging, connecting and meeting together to encourage one another and that seems like an obvious thing to do. As a type 1 adult or teen, when our blood sugar goes low in the middle of the night it is us waking up (and maybe our roommates depending on how rowdy we are in the kitchen...)  but when a child goes low in the night, the mother or father is the one who catches it, gently wakes them up, gets out their juice box and stays awake for the rest of the night worrying about them.

I can hardly imagine that constant feeling of worry that a parents of a type 1 has.  I see it in the messages posted on support groups on Facebook or in the blogs of mothers frantically noting a horrible day at school.   I know what it is like to have diabetes as a diabetic, not as a caregiver.  I have a lot of respect for those that have children with type 1 and have given their heart and soul and if they could their pancreas into treating their child.

I hope one day no parent has to worry about their child getting type 1 and children can go back to just being children and not knowing what its like to be chased around with a lancet device and not know what a pancreas is.  But in the meantime, thank you parents of type 1 children for giving that insight, helping out each other and giving it your all.  You're all amazing in my books!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

If YOU could walk in my shoes...

Blood test strips scattered underneath the bed, hidden under couch pillows and piled in the bottom of a backpack. Empty insulin vials filling up a lunch bag in the fridge among them, half full vials that will be empty within a couple weeks time. An insulin pump tucked in the back pocket, vibrating for attention. Another meal on the table, another calculation and press of buttons before enjoyed.  Can you imagine the life of a diabetic?

For most, this life has become so routine, the sight of blood test strips scattered around has become part of the decor.  The smell of insulin - that potent reminder that that's the stuff that keeps us alive... while this is something as diabetics and supporters/caregivers of diabetics see as 'normal,' from the outside we are viewed in a much different light.   Somehow the picture of a diabetic to the public can be seen as someone who enjoyed too many sweets, never stepped foot in a gym and is on his/her way to a retirement home in Florida.  Meanwhile, three year olds are totting backpacks of supplies, clipping insulin pumps to their overalls and seeing blood not from scraped knees, but from their finger tips 5+ times a day. 

I often wonder what others would do, had they been given the chance to walk in my shoes?  Maybe I make diabetes look easy, like putting lipstick on a pig - when in reality diabetes will be your best friend one hour and then be your worst enemy the next.    There are certain people who won't understand; however, and I think we run into them often despite what the issue may be.  Those unsympathetic people and no I am not speaking about anyone in particular although it may seem that way.   It isn't until you get a taste of it for yourself, that you realize how tough it truly can be.

That is where once again education takes place, and not the kind where you take over the world by making every single person learn a thing or two about diabetes, but in the sense of correcting the misconceptions; rather than rolling your eyes or going along with it.  Not being afraid to check, pump, inject in public in fear of reactions, but embracing the life you were given and using it as a tool to teach.  I don't blame those people that aren't in the mood or frame of mind to start a blog about their diabetes life or give daily updates via Facebook, but for those that are like me, ready to break barriers and reach out to those not only who are uneducated about diabetes yet making judgements about it, but also for the diabetics out there who don't know how or want to speak out to ask questions, learn more and get the resources that they need.

So, if you have a loud and proud diabetes voice don't be afraid to USE it! 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On the Brain

I often have diabetes on the brain, whether it is thinking about my next blog post or what my blood sugar could possibly be... It's funny because I don't tend to often dream about diabetes despite thinking about it so often, but the odd time I do.    The funniest dream was that I was locked in a candy store, with shelves and shelves of candy stacked on top of each other.   I remember whoever I happened to be locked with told me that I could have whatever I wanted from the bins.  My reply was, "No, I can't have all of this, I am diabetic."   Afterwards, I woke up mad. Wishing I indulged like that of a non-diabetic lacking consequences of high blood sugars, instead I was somehow a responsible diabetic even in my sleep.

I think this happens to a lot of people, always having it on the brain...saying diabetes related words when you mean to say something else or typing diabetes into youtube search engines. It's one of those things for diabetics and/or their supporters that they never can get a break from despite knocking themselves into a zombie-like-state sleep.

It's a disease that has taken over our vocabulary, interrupted our schedules and formed our everyday conversations.  Something that we can't just forget about or set aside.  Since this is diabetes awareness month, I have noticed  a lot of my Facebook friends talking more and more about diabetes than usual (yes most of my Facebook friends are diabetic...) and this really has made me think about how much emphasis we have allowed ourselves to take from this disease and no wonder we are dreaming about it or mixing up our words or find us daydreaming about new diabetes inventions or what it would be like if there was a cure.

It's the fact of just going with it, like my post from yesterday, by taking it and being positive about it and not allowing yourself to neglect your responsibility of taking care of yourself and that is why we are talking about it, reaching out about it and in turn accepting that it's going to be on our brains,  written and scribbled out in our essays and in our dreams.


Monday, November 5, 2012

What is it?

Forgetting you have something won't make it go away, but having a positive view about it can change the way you deal with it.   For me, diabetes grew on me like an extra limb, something that I knew was there, constantly thought about and wanted to change.  But, not change in the sense of making it go away, but change the 'typical' view about it because that is what I needed to do in order to deal with it.  So, that is why I started things like this blog and the meme page on Facebook, because I knew that I couldn't forget about it to make it go away, but I could have a positive view on it to be able to deal with it.

Today in my Altered States of Consciousness class (which is by far the strangest class I have ever taken) my professor mentioned something along the lines of healing people without actually touching them, or even physically being present...which is interested, but what I got from it was that he began to talk about thinking of the 'disease' as not being something separate from oneself.  This really made me think about how diabetes is just a disease, it is a disease that a lot of people have, humans and animals.  I know that in medicine, diabetes is treated with insulin or pills, diet and exercise and there is scientific reasoning for what goes on in the body etc. However, I have never seen diabetes this way.  Is it possible that instead of seeing diabetes as something separate, I have managed to see it as apart of me?

I think I just got hung up on the idea that diabetes is just a disease just like my professor pointed that out of cancer.  Why have I got myself twisted around this disease like it is apart of my makeup in sense of who I am as a person?  I have taken something that to doctors is a disease that requires insulin, to scientists is a formula, but to me is as important as my interests in school, the way I style myself and the person I am today.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Different Light

Have you ever said a word so many times that it starts to sound weird? I strangely can remember sitting in the basement with my friend probably fifteen years ago laughing at how weird the word 'yellow' sounded like after we repeated it a dozen times each, laughing hysterically at how it began to seem like such a foreign word, yet it wasn't at all.  I don't think we often think about things that we see, say or do everyday.  Instead, all of these things have become apart of us in a way they are so familiar our mind doesn't need to process it. It isn't until we stop and think about it do things really shine in a different light.

The other day I got up and my insulin pump got stuck in the couch - which is a common occurrence for me.   After fishing it out of the crack of the couch I started to think about the insulin pump in a different light despite wearing it for the past 2.5 years. I stopped for a second and realized just what I was wearing and the fact that it has been on me for 2.5 years, on vacations, in bed and at school.   It started to look weird and my mind started thinking of it more as something unusual that how ordinary it actually was to me.

I thought about how strange it is that there is a site in my body always and tubing that delivers my medicine in me.  Syringes seem more logical in the sense that people get needles all of the time, but the pump, well now I was thinking of it as one of the strangest things I had ever decided upon.  Keep in mind I wasn't doubting my choice on picking a pump, nor was I having a moment where I wanted to throw it out the window, instead I was looking at it just as if I had said the word yellow fifteen times in a row.

Of course, it didn't take long to realize, yes, Kayla, you've decided this, yes, it is kind of a weird concept, but it works and it fits my lifestyle.  But, I found it interesting how something that I haven't really 'taken off' in 2.5 years all of a sudden had to be reviewed by myself.  Our minds work in weird ways, or maybe just mine!


Thursday, November 1, 2012


November is diabetes awareness month and while many are growing moustaches for prostate cancer a whole group around the world is digging out their blue clothes and spreading diabetes awareness to their Facebook friends. Diabetes has always gotten slack with misinformation and false misconceptions, countless times I have been asked if I ate too much sugar as a kid or asked why I have diabetes at such a young age.    The knowledge about diabetes just isn't wide spread and although once upon a time I was ignorant about diabetes as well, now that I know I want to make sure those that are around me know about diabetes as well.

For those that have followed my diabetes since day one know what path I have taken in order to get where I am today and for those that haven't it's all catalogued on here, so get yourself a warm cup of tea and a snack and start reading. I didn't choose to have diabetes, it wasn't my lifestyle nor was it something I knew I was going to end up with.   Despite being diagnosed only 3.5 years ago in a way I feel like I have had it all my life because it is such a large aspect of my life, I can hardly remember eating without the consequences of high blood sugar - how horrible is that? 

Although, there is a lot of sad things that come with diabetes that makes people sympathize with those that are living with type 1 or those that take care of someone with type 1, diabetes does bring out an inner strength in some people - me being one of those people.  Many hurtles in life can leave you with bruises, but they also tend to leave you with strength and a bigger understanding of the world around you and that is what it did to me.

By spreading awareness this month I am not going to daunt on how many pokes I must do or how I experience highs and lows every single day, instead I want to focus on how diabetes is a disease that deserves recognition and deserves to not be tagged with false information and connotations because that is what people with diabetes are sick of more than finger pricks, they're sick of being judged for something that wasn't by choice.  

So this November learn some facts, but also pick a diabetic to acknowledge!