Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It's funny how much trust we put into technology when dealing with our diabetes.  We trust that our meters are going to give us the right numbers and we trust that our pumps will deliver our insulin. We even trust it when we are sleeping - a time when we have no control and sometimes no reactions to blood sugars. We trust that it is doing it's job and when it fails us we get that realization, or reminder that it is just technology and it's not going to be perfect.

This morning when I woke up, I did my usual routine of heating the kettle to boil water for my oatmeal, while I checked my blood sugar and gave myself insulin via pump.  By the time the water boils, my pump is usually done administering insulin and I begin enjoying my morning before I have to actually do anything too productive. However, the kettle was already boiled this morning, so making oatmeal was quick, therefore I was still eating oatmeal as the insulin seeped into my belly.

This is fine, however, then I felt a vibration and not the single vibration to tell me my bolus is finished,  but that longer vibration that tells you bad news. My first thought was that the reservoir was almost empty and I needed to change it.  Then, I was surprised to see no delivery, mind you I had downed half my oatmeal at this point.  So, I tried again... not too worried about how much was actually administered because I have the food in the house anyways. Second time around, no delivery.  So, at this point I am freaking out a little bit because I had just changed my site the day before because it ripped out in bed. I did notice that my blood sugars were a little higher than usual when I woke up (not super high, but 9/162) and as I was debating on pulling out the brand new site (more financially painful then physically) my pump vibrated again.


So, before freaking out even more, I pulled the site and put in a new one. A new location, a new site...and I attempted again to bolus for this oatmeal I had almost finished.  Then, it worked and I was prepared all day had it decided to fail again, but nothing happened.  I researched online if others had encountered this issue and most said when they called, they were told if it happens within the next month to call.  Maybe I should have called, but after playing around with it, and still not finishing my breakfast, I had wasted about a half an hour and I carried on with my day.

It made me realize though how we have taken technology for granted in the sense of relying on it. We just believe that it is going to be right or that we can trust it. Like good cars we trust to be safe on highways and good laptops we trust with our thesis papers.  It's not surprising that we trust machines with our lives.  However, I think that even though we run into these hiccups along the road it isn't a reason to fear technology. We just have to be prepared for when it decides to do it's own thing.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stress & Rewards

Now that school is back on after a week off for reading week, I have began to realize just how much I have to do before this year is finished with. To even think that it is close to the end of the school year is crazy. It seems as if this semester has been my hardest semester yet, I am feeling a bit like I am losing control of it all when I know in reality I will be able to handle it all.

However, despite having essays upon essays due and tests to study for, I am sticking to going to the gym or going for a walk every single day. Even though my days are packed with classes and meetings and I need allocate time school work, I am finding attending the gym to be a great stress reliever - and this isn't news I know.  There is lots of research that shows this, and I am glad that I have taken the time to find out.

I also don't want to lose focus even though climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is quite the motivation. However, stress does seem to leak its way into our lives no matter what doesn't it? Managing diabetes is whole other full time job to handle as well and I have been very keen on checking my blood sugar and remembering to bolus whenever I am putting something in my mouth - but we also know it's not just diligence that makes the job - there is a lot of overtime needed for dealing with lows and highs that have nothing to do with what we put in our bodies. Stressful!

I am going to attempt to manage it all these next two months (March & April) to know that my summer will be my reward. Which reminds me, in my weight lifting class the instructor put a box of chocolates at the front of the room for us to have one after we were done...she kept saying things like, "for dessert!" as we were sweating and drooling over the chocolates before us. After the class was done, I forgot to even take a chocolate, which made me think how I often forget to reward myself for jobs that I do on a daily basis.

So, for the next two months which are guaranteed to be two stressful ones  - I will keep my eye on the prize and not forget to take it in the end.


Monday, February 25, 2013


If you think you can't do something...think again. You may feel like you are have no impact because you are from a small town, you're shy, or you just don't know where to start but think again. Had I started writing this blog many years before being diagnosed you would have read about how simple of a life I lived with little ambitions and belief in myself. You would have realized that more than ever I was an average teenager and the thought of doing anything extraordinary was beyond my comprehension.

I know I am not the only one that felt that way as a teenager. I know how easy it was to get lost in the crowded classrooms, be forgotten about or not feel smart enough. Those peers in your class that seemed to get invited to everything while you felt like no one even noticed you and if they did it wasn't for things you wished they would notice you for.  Being a teenager was hard and is hard for those teenagers out there today.

I do credit my diabetes for my change in heart and mind, but I do wonder sometimes if being in my twenties would have also kick started my confidence and enthusiasm for achieving what once I felt was impossible.  Either way, however this all came about, the entire mindset I have taken on in the past four years has truly made me see things in a much brighter light.

A couple weeks ago when I was asked to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with other type one diabetics -  beyond being scared of the adventure, I sat back and thought about how lucky I am. Then, I thought about it some isn't luck that got me invited to that trip - it was the mere fact that for the past four years I have been chasing opportunities, working hard at making a difference and reaching out whenever I could.

We tend to hear about the success stories without really thinking about the process. It's easy to write ourselves off and say that we will never achieve something or that we aren't 'lucky' enough for anything like that to happen.  However, I am just Kayla Brown from a fairly small town in Ontario, Canada, that was given opportunities because I decided to believe in myself and at least TRY to take every opportunity given to me.

So trust me when I say that that you CAN do something and you CAN make an impact.


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Currently I have benefits to cover the costs of my diabetes supplies. In Ontario we receive funding for our insulin pump - the pump is paid for and we are given a cheque every three months to cover the costs of  pump supplies i.e the tubing and sites.  The reason I have benefits is because my mom's benefits pay for me as long as I am in school and under the age of 25. When I graduate in 2014 I will no longer be covered and paying for my insulin and test strips will be my own responsibility.

Last night I was being interviewed for a project and one of the questions was ''if diabetes supplies were priced more fairly, do you think people with diabetes would be more willing to take better care of their diabetes?' I had thought about this before, but not in the context of myself since a test strip doesn't glow dollar signs when I take it out of the canister. I thought about the stories I have heard of people not having enough money to buy more strips or insulin therefore not checking as often as recommended or taking less insulin than required. However, I didn't think that was the answer I should give because there are always two sides of every story.

I don't think that the reason people aren't taking care of their diabetes comes down to money - yes there are likely a lot of cases of people who aren't taking care of themselves because of money. But, I can think of plenty of cases where type one diabetics and type two diabetics that are not managing their diabetes and it has nothing to do with how expensive one strip is or five units of insulin to make a correction. It comes down to the emotional relationship a person has with their diabetes. For myself, I tend to check more when I know I have been 'good' compared to when I know I have been 'bad' with eating foods that don't work well with my body or I have been neglecting to take insulin for snacks.

We create a positive or negative relationship with our diabetes and often times money isn't a factor. Diabetes is a financial burden to everyone - even those with benefits are having an extra cost per month in dispensing fees and low food supplies.  But, when it comes to the 'willing' to take care of oneself, I believe that a lot of that comes within.

Saying that, lowering the cost of diabetes supplies should happen. In fact, insulin should be free because without it none of us would be here, alive and thriving today.


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Yesterday I had my diabetes education appointment.  I find all of my diabetes life (four years...) I have had hit and miss experiences with the centres. I think part of it has been my own attitude on diabetes - yes I am a positive person, but I am not super woman when it comes to diabetes and part of it I think is just a misunderstanding or lack of connection between myself and the team. Unlike your family doctor who you may only seen once every three years for a physical or what have you. You see your diabetes team quite often and you are likely in contact with them between the visits a well via email or phone calls.  

At my appointment yesterday I was surprised to be greeted by someone else.  I am fairly new to the clinic, so my first assumption was that we don't always have the same nurse.  However, she told me that my original nurse was just away and that she would be filling in for her today.  I knew it was going to be a great appointment before I even entered her office when she said, "I read your blog! Tell me all about your climb to Mount Kilimanjaro!"  It's funny because I was wondering before my appointment what my nurse was going to say about the climb, and then I get a nurse who already knows all about it!

It wasn't until we were in her office that I realized she had an insulin pump on her hip. As soon as I saw that, it all came together and I felt super comfortable sitting in that chair across from her.  Honestly, it was such a refreshing experience being in there talking to someone who totally gets it.  Thankfully, I have been doing well with my diabetes management anyways, but there was something just so light about the entire appointment that left me feeling great.

I realize that not everyone can be diabetic and be a nurse - although that would be a wonderful qualification, but I believe that all nurses and doctors that are looking to work in the diabetes field should deeply emerge themselves into the community because there is a lot you can learn from the diabetes community itself.  My diabetic nurse said something very similar, saying that she likes to read comments and blogs to see what the community wants in their nurses and doctors.

Anyways, it was an appointment unlike no other. I instantly text Vince how excited I was and called my Mom. So excited to go back in May - who knew I'd say something like that!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World of Diabetes

People often tell me that what I did with my diagnosis is uncommon and by what I did with diabetes, I can only assume they mean turning it into more than finger pokes, carb counts and needle pricks. As much as I agree with them that it was a positive thing to do, it's hard for me to see it as uncommon because I have surrounded myself with amazing type one diabetics that do incredible things each and every day. However, I am not naive. I know that there are diabetics out there that aren't taking their diagnosis positively and may have given up. I want to dedicate this post to those people that are on the verge of giving up or may have already stopped checking, stopped caring or even stopped believing in themselves.
When I was diagnosed in 2009 I had no idea what kind of world I was getting into. A world of needles and finger pokes yes. A world that is unpredictable and full of mistakes, annoyances and fears.  Before this diagnosis I was an average teenager - I had recently lost weight (hello diabetes symptoms!) got a new boyfriend and for the first time in a long time I was feeling amazing about myself.   Then the D-bomb got dropped on me and I was lying in a hospital bed - I am sure everyone can relate.  

When I entered the world of diabetes - I did enter it with a smile. And that's weird, I get it.  It's strange that I became more positive than I had ever been before, I wasn't feeling amazing about myself like previously because I had too many things going on to even think about how emotionally I was feeling about my appearance - but I was starting to learn a valuable lesson about life that would have never hit me otherwise.

In the past four years I have gone through life with diabetes. Either I was dragging it along with me or it was dragging me behind it.  Yes, I have felt the highs, the lows, the disappointment on endo's faces. But, honestly, there is so much you can learn from having to deal with something like diabetes. Those that are living with diabetes are fighters because every single day we wake up knowing that if we don't take care ourselves today there will be no tomorrow. 

Let diabetes show you not that you are different, but that you are unique. Let diabetes take you places, let diabetes be the reason you take on challenges, adventures and explorations - prove that diabetes isn't the thing that is holding you back, prove that it is the thing that drives you to be better. Yes, needles and  blood checks are annoying, but it can be all worth it.  It truly can.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Not My Worry

Last night as I laid down in bed I thought about what was making me so nervous about this adventure in August.  I kept picturing myself snuggled up in a sleeping bag in a tent on Mount Kilimanjaro thinking, "WHAT AM I DOING HERE!" I kept fearing that I wasn't going to be able to breath or that I would be sick because of the altitude or strenuous physical activity. I began to think about it more then it stopped. I thought to myself, how is it that I am terrified of all of these things and none of them have to do with my diabetes.

So many people in my life talk about my diabetes in terms of challenges. Like, 'it must be so hard to do this' or 'do you have to be careful because your diabetes?' Yet, here I am signed up to climb the fourth tallest mountain in the world not thinking twice about my diabetes. I began to think about it, mentally noting to write about it the following day.  It's so funny to think that not once have I thought of fears regarding my diabetes on this trip, like if I were to go severely low or not have enough supplies.

I think it boils down to two major things among many.  The first thing is that I am travelling with six other type one diabetics. Diabetics tend to pack enough things always as if they were travelling for a year. I believe that because I am surrounded by people just like myself, in the same boat, or same mountain if you'd like...I feel a sense of security. Not to mention there will be a doctor and a nurse. The second major thing is that the fears that I have are rational. I am scared there will be scary animals along the way, because that is possible and animals can be scary. I am scared about sleeping in a tent because I don't camp often. I am scared about not being able to make it up the mountain, and that makes sense because it's going to be a lot of work. However, I know my diabetes. I am comfortable with my diabetes and even though it's a roller coaster of a disease I am confident that I can handle it.

My project for the next six months is not only to physically get in shape for the climb, but to mentally as well. I need to get to a point like I am with my diabetes. Confident and strong.


Saturday, February 16, 2013


It's great to see the sunshine outside today. It's funny how living in Canada (and I am sure a few other places) how winter can be such a daunting time.  I mean, don't get me wrong the snow if beautiful but after a few dark and gloomy days it starts to bring you down.  Now that the sun is coming out (even though it is still cool out) I can sense myself getting to itch to get things done and let's be honest I have  a lot to get done.
I got a call this past week about an appointment to see my nurses this coming week.  Of course, I didn't write it down thinking I would remember, but now I have to dig through my stuff to find when it is.  I totally forgot that it was coming up and now I am worried that I haven't logged my numbers into my pump as much.  You see, I use the USB meter which isn't linked to my pump, so often times if I am just checking and not taking insulin I don't put that number into my meter (because it's an extra unnecessary step, that is unless you're seeing your nurse. 

I am feeling like my a1c should be much better than the last, but I don't want to completely get my hopes up because diabetes has its way of letting you down sometimes. But, I have been paying close attention to carbs and I have been working out and taking care of myself, so fingers crossed for that! I am also excited to tell them about my adventure, of course! Even though I think they will think I am crazy.

With all this sunshine and a week off of school I am ecstatic about hopefully crossing things off the to-do list as well as meeting with some friends.  Here is to a week full of sunshine and things getting done, also hope to find a trainer that is perfect for me!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Climbing it

Found on Google Images
There are millions of things in the world to do, see, touch and explore. A million things can be too many for one person to accomplish; however, when the opportunities arise saying 'YES!' is all it takes to begin the journey. After being diagnosed, I took diabetes as an opportunity; rather than a disadvantage. I sought out friendships, careers and adventures with a common denominator being my diabetes.  From this I have taken on many challenges and came out with great stories and experiences that have all been part of my life story, but here is the next adventure.

I was asked to participate in a week long adventure in Tanzania, South Africa. The details, I will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with seven other type one diabetics from all different nationalities. This hike will be video taped for a movie as well.  When first asked to do this I was scared and felt as if I could not even attempt it.  After some convincing from friends and family and a nights sleep I decided that I would be insane not to take this on.  I knew that if I at least didn't try I would always regret it.

This will happen on the last week of August and there will be electricity along the way so I will be able to blog.  Although it is five and a half months away from now, training will be key.  Luckily I have been working out steady for the past month and a half, so the next step is to amp it up.  To be honest, I am incredibly nervous and I am sure as the date gets closer I will become more and more scared of the trek; however, I love that I will be setting an example for many type ones around the world - showing them that anything is possible!


Monday, February 11, 2013

The Advantage

See, some people see having diabetes as a disadvantage. How many times have you been told, you can't eat something because you have diabetes or that your life must suck having to count carbs and take needles. How many people have told you that they could never do what you do? When you so badly want to reply with, "yeah needles are worse than death for sure..." All the time as diabetics we are told what we can and cannot do when in reality we are doing amazing things each and every single day and the biggest one is keeping ourselves alive.

Diabetes can give us some advantages that we apply to life that those living without diabetes don't have.  I mean, there is other ways to get this bonus level filled with life advantages, but speaking from the diabetes experience here are a few things you learned as a diabetic that you can apply to life beyond diabetes.

1. No pockets? No problem.    Today at Yoga the instructor was mad because the clip was missing from her microphone's battery pack.  She was frustrated because she was wearing yoga pants that don't have a pocket and didn't know where to put the pack. The whole time I couldn't resist but feel superior as if I knew all the great spots to put a battery pack.  What she saw as a challenge, I saw as an every day life choice.. "where shall I put my pump today?"

2.  You know not to take life for granted.  I usually say this in most of my motivational speeches. You always hear about the terminally ill cancer patient running a marathon, or the man with prosthetic legs winning the race.  What is it about people being diagnosed with something sometimes life threatening that gives them the drive to live life to the fullest?  I don't know but I feel like a lot of people living with type one diabetes feel this too. We know how fragile our health can be and we grab life by the horns and get things done.

3. You're super aware of carbs.  Maybe hardcore dieters will know this just as well. But think about diabetes and our relation to food around us.  We are like the leaders of carb counting. We know what how many carbs we are eating, we know how many carbs our friends are eating and despite being bad at math we have calculated how much insulin we need.   Diabetics know food, so don't even try and tell us that there is no carbs in milk.

4. If we've had diabetes for awhile, we know how hospital run.  We are so familiar with the hospital that we don't even smell it when we walk in anymore.  Plus, if you're like me and think insulin smells like a hospital, you are comforted by the smell knowing that is the scent of life.  We know the process of checking into E.R's or doctor's offices... knowing to use key words like I AM DIABETIC to cut lines...

5. We always have something to talk about. Leave us in a room at a retirement home, and we are bound to find a friend. Even though though type one and type two diabetes is different, we do share things in common. Even a nine year old could talk about diabetes to a ninety year old.  So, never worry if your Grandmother corners your diabetic boyfriend, chances are they will bond.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Celebration Bolus

Seeing other people with insulin pumps or just people that have diabetes in general has got to be one of the most exciting things for diabetics (in all senses of exciting diabetic things that could happen.)  I feel like as diabetics we are always on the alert for other diabetics.  We hear a tiny noise that sounds like a pump alarm and we are turning our heads around searching for the person with the retired pancreas.  It's funny because most of the time it turns out that the noise is just coming from your own pump.

Last night at a friend's party I was talking to someone, that I hadn't met before. Somehow the topic came up and I said that I had diabetes and he quickly pulled out a small metformin pill out of his pocket and was like, "I am type two!" Even though our stories were a little different, I couldn't stop laughing at how funny it was that he just pulled out his white pill as if I would pull out my insulin pump. So, at this point I was exciting even though he was type two (as if it is some kind of divider) but then, he points to a guy who was just walking into the room and says, "But, he has type one!" Can you imagine the excitement I was feeling at this moment.

I instantly ran over to the guy whom I had not noticed at all before and asked him if he had a pump.  At this point the others in the room that didn't know about diabetes were probably scratching their heads with confusion as I pulled out my insulin pump from my shirt and he pulled his out of his pocket and we started talking in diabetes lingo.

I instantly had to run upstairs to grab Vince to show him the diabetes club that I started in the basement. It was so sweet to hear him talk so nicely of me and my experience with diabetes.  I guess, I knew that he was super supportive, but hearing him 'brag' about me and my accomplishments made my heart smile.  

Afterwards, John (the type one) said that when he sees others with insulin pumps he makes sure he 'cheers' pumps.  He then joked and said we should do a celebration bolus...after checking my blood sugar I had to do a pretty big celebration bolus.  All in all it was a good night, and Vince had to laugh at me saying that I somehow always find diabetes in every situation.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wait, so you wear it in the shower?

I find that the majority of diabetes related questions that I get from people besides, "do you have the bad kind" and "so, you can't have any sugar, right!" are questions about my insulin pump.  A lot of people find it fascinating wondering how it works and what it does.  It's funny though because instead of asking sometimes the general public tends to assume things about it as well.  So, I decided I would make a list of pump misconceptions:

1. "Did you have surgery for that?"

I did not require surgery for my insulin pump.  I know you will compare this to something like a colostomy; however, no. I put in the site every three days myself with a cute little pink apparatus.

2.  "It must hurt!"

I'd be lying to say it never hurt; however, most of the time it does not hurt. There is the odd time that there is a stringing sensation when you first put it in or it will hurt over the three day span depending on a lot of things, one major one being if you've tugged on it a lot.

3. "How long do you wear it for?"

You are meant to wear it 24/7.  Some pumps are even water proof so you can wear it swimming. I have to wear my insulin pump in bed, the gym, to class, every single day - forever.

4. "Wait, so you wear it in the shower?"

My insulin pump (Medtronic) is not water proof, so no I don't  wear it in the shower. However, even those with water proof pumps, I'd be interested to know where they put it while showing... I would assume they also take theirs off.

"Oh right because you're naked..." 

5. "Do you like wearing that thing?"

It's not a fashion accessory I would have picked out myself; however, it  is a lot better than having to take needles in my own opinion. I have a lot more freedom with it being able to snack and work with different schedules.

6. "My cousin has diabetes, but is just on needles, does that mean he doesn't have your kind of diabetes?"

Not at all!  Diabetics can choose how they manage their diabetes.  While some choose syringes, some choose pens and others decide on the insulin pump.  I used needles for 1.5  years of my diabetes life.

7. "Does the tubing get stuck on things?"

You bet! The tubing gets stuck on a lot of things.  I once lassoed the oven door and opened it.

8. "Where does it go into?"  "Can I see it?"

The tubing leads to what looks like a bandaid with a plastic piece on it.  I put it mainly in my stomach and my lower back.

Usually I let people see the site and I unhook it so they can see what the piece going in looks like.

9. "Oh my gosh, you just unhooked it are you OK?" 

Yes, I am OK. How do you think I take it off to shower! I can unhook it for up to an hour.


Friday, February 8, 2013

What Makes You Happy

Lately I have been on a kick of finding happiness. I guess, after reading The Happiness Project last year I have always had it in the back of my mind about what little things I can do to make myself happier. It's incredibly easy to fall into such a slump when you let the idea of happiness slip away from your train of thought.  First of all, it can be hard to get in a 'happy mood' when it's below zero outside and the snow is up to your knee caps; however, finding sunshine in a snow storm isn't impossible.

I have found going to the gym has been a great mood enhancer. It isn't always easy to get up and go  - once again when you have to brush the snow off your car and wear warm clothes to the gym... it can be daunting. However, once I get to the gym I am always enthusiastic about being there and feel a lot better afterwards.

Another happy pleasure is tanning. Yes, I know it's bad for you.  But, if you can put all judgements aside let me tell you that it makes me feel good. I feel less pale and ghostly and the fake sun makes me feel like I am on a ten minute vacation away from the miserable freezing temperature just outside the door.

Something else that has been making my happy is reading for FUN.  I tend to do this in the summer because I am not swamped with lecture material and course chapters to read, but I do miss it during the year. So, I make time to read for my pleasure just before bed or if I am obsessed - like I was with Life Of Pi then I read whenever I have free time.

Lastly, is I have been attempting to blog every single day (for February) because writing is one of my biggest passions and because I have this outlet I don't want a day to pass where I didn't give myself the opportunity to write. Plus, I know when I look back - the more I wrote, the more I will remember and know about exactly the person I was in that time frame.

I think it is important to be happy, so very important.  I know that having a positive outlook on life will truly change how you live your life and how you manage diabetes. Being happy about your life will and always will be the best choice you make.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Think About It

I have written about bullying before in my blog post, but I believe that it is a topic that can be written about in an infinite amount of ways. However, my inspiration for this post doesn't come with a diabetes undertone to it, although I do acknowledge that bullying happens to type one diabetics often. Rather, the inspiration of this post is based off of something that my sister has posted on her Facebook wall today that really irked me and got my creative juices flowing straight to the empty white space where I can write it all down, so here it goes:

I feel as though I don't often talk about my family too much in my blog because I live on my own and spend the majority of my time with my roommates and friends, rather than family.  I do often call my mother almost once a day and talk to my sister, Abby on Facebook, but in connection to my diabetes there isn't that much that goes on therefore it often gets left out of my blog. Anyways, a quick description of my family, I have a mother, Donna and a father, Mike and an eighteen year old sister, Abby and I cannot fail to mention my dog, Max.

My sister Abby, is a lesbian which is something I have never formally written down before so it seems strange to write.  I would say that she told us about two years ago and since then I feel as though my family has been very supportive of her and I am so happy that she has that because I have heard the horror stories. However, having a supportive family does not always mean the world is going to be supportive as well.  

This is like anything, not everyone is going to appreciate the person that you are.  Like the internet trolls will tell you, you're either too fat or too skinny, too blonde or too brunette, too stupid or too nerdy.  We are all human yet we tend to find the things we don't like about each other before we pick out the best qualities of one another.  It's a strange world we live in and from personal experience, I have heard insult after insult, but at the end of the day I have to look in the mirror and tell myself, I am beautiful inside and out.

I guess before Abby told us that she was a lesbian, I had no opinion either way of homosexuality. I was not against it, just like I am not against heterosexuality.  I made no judgements on anyone in that sense knowing that if someone is happy then let them be happy.  After my sister told us, I became a little more sensitive into what others said and man people can be mean!  I guess I was being biased because before I knew about my sister I knew that kids were being bullied - yet I didn't truly feel their pain in my heart, now when I hear things like that it breaks my heart to think that my sister could be going through the same pain.

Abby has told me stories of people at her high school, and recently the status she just put up about a random man that biked past her on her way to work. It only makes me wonder what kind of world we are creating for one another. We are at such an advantage with the education we have, the technology. We all have such the potential to make a big difference in this world, yet there are still people out there that are bullying others for what reason?

I even experienced bullying on this very blog page. A blog that I started for my own diabetes therapy, that now I also use to inspire and help others.

I guess what I am getting at, is if you're reading this now and you really want to use all the good power inside of you then be an anti-bullying advocate today and forever. Don't let others say mean things, don't say mean things yourself, if you see something mean on Facebook speak up.  Positivity is contagious so be a leader and start changing the world today.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


After watching the movie, then reading the book followed by watching the movie again (this time in 3D) I decided that my conclusion for Life Of Pi must be not only in my mind, but on a blog post.  It was by far one of those books that have left me really thinking much like Eat, Pray, Love did. It made me think about so many different things like, survival, religion and just life in general. It seemed that when I was able to crawl into bed and read the book I found myself feeling better about my own situation. Crawled under a few blankets, warm air coming through the vents, food in the cupboards just outside my door - little things like that that most of us take for granted.

This book to me was about many things beyond a kid stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger.  It was about so many things and I feel bad that my grade twelve teacher didn't make us read this book like most of my friends teachers apparently did.  But, being where I am in life now, with my experiences now I think I got much more out of this book than I would have when I was seventeen, rather than now at twenty two.

I won't go into great detail about my self discoveries after reading this book and watching the movie twice. But rather a strange thought that floated in my head just before I was about to fall asleep after reading my nights share of the book.  I am actually surprised that I hadn't had a dream about it considering most nights it was the last thing I thought about.  However, just before bed I would think about what I would do.

Strangely it didn't even cross my mind until a few nights in that - ugh... I am diabetic if I was stuck on a lifeboat I would be in trouble. Then all previous ideas vanished because how could I truly do anything if I was without insulin on a lifeboat.  I mean, I am sure I would survive for awhile, but ultimately I am not really sure.  Note to self: google to see if any diabetics survived ship wrecks and lasted as castaways.

It's one of those things though, getting stranded on an island, surviving a plane crash - freak accidents that we don't think about and if we do, we try not to imagine being without our life supports.  I remember a nurse, that is diabetic, was telling me that she is so scared of the elevator because she feels like something bad will happen to her when she is in the elevator - so she always brings stuff with her.

I guess, at times we think about being without supplies for things that we do a lot, like driving or taking an elevator, but we don't think about those crazy things that don't and won't really happen.  I guess it's for peace of mind.. but still... it's hard to imagine!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Driving Diabetes

Driving with diabetes is something that can be more terrifying the more you think about it.  While the facts are that if you are prepared and keen about checking your blood sugars you should be able to keep peace of mind behind the wheel.  On occasion I have had to pull over to treat sudden lows.  Luckily, I was prepared on all occasions, but sometimes if I pulled into say a truck stop, I would take the opportunity to get something good to treat my low like an over priced chocolate bar.

The key to staying safe is being alert of your blood sugars.  Of course we all know that sometimes lows and highs happen, but if you can try to be alert in the sense of recognizing them or at least checking every now and then (depending on the length of your drive) that can eliminate the surprises along the way.   For me, I keep a bag of candy in my centre console. I keep it there (and thankfully forget about it when I am of normal blood sugar) because if I ever need something quick I know it is there.

I always make sure I bring my meter with me in the car. If it's not in my purse then it is in my backpack.  I haven't really thought about keeping one in the car, but I am curious if the weather (extreme cold and the extreme warm temperatures) would some how effect the meter. Either way, I am sure to bring the trio along. I also make sure that if I feel different for any reason I pull over and check. I have had to pull over on the highway, pull into truck stops and into store parking lots to see if what I was feeling was true.  Sometimes it's false alarms and I can continue to drive, while others I am so grateful that I stopped for.

Accidents happen regardless, but it's important to make sure that diabetes isn't the cause.  If you're not going to check at all during the day at least check before you're heading into a car where you can really do a lot of damage to yourself and others if something were to happen.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Low Blood Sugar, High Anxiety

In the past month or so I have been experiencing severe lows and by experiencing I mean seeing the number on my meter. Other wise I had no idea that I was as low as the number flashing back at me.  Luckily something inside me told me to check, or something externally perhaps.  It seems in all cases of the severe lows I have had a strange anxiety overcome me. 

I would be doing whatever I was doing before checking, like walking to class and I would feel as if everyone was looking at me.  Not in just a passing by way, but as if something was on my face, or I forgot to put on pants! That look like something isn't right.  The first time I experienced that I kept rubbing my face thinking maybe I had something on it. I even brushed down my hair with the palms of my hands in case maybe my hair was sticking up.  It wasn't until I  had enough of people looking at me that I stopped, pulled out my meter and checked. 

After this incident I started thinking about it more. I wondered if maybe I was walking weird and that is why people were looking at me? Or maybe I was pale in the  face or looked confused.  But, then I started to think maybe it was just the low blood sugar playing with my mind.  Making me feel strange just as alcohol would do.  Often times we are told that lows can be a lot like being drunk and my mind was definitely at a strange state all of the times I was really low.

People experience all kinds of different symptoms when they're low however.  For some shaking and sweating is guaranteed while others feel just a strong sensation of hunger. It's really interesting to me to see how different lows feel.  I think I had really gotten used to certain symptoms and for them to change or not even appear as soon is a really interesting concept.  


Sunday, February 3, 2013

You Are Not Your Number

I think it's a common problem among diabetics. Checking blood sugar can be a big hassle even though it can literarily be a five second process.  The facts of the matter are that checking blood sugar can feel time consuming and it can feel like a major interruption of what you're doing. Also, sometimes we can have a fear of checking in case we see a number flashing back at us that is not to our liking.  It is almost like we don't have an angel and devil resting on our shoulders, but rather, a socialite and a endocrinologist.

For me, I am not always on the ball with checking my blood sugars and sometimes it's the mere fact that before I know it the day is over. But, to be honest sometimes it is that fear that I don't want to see what number is flashing back at me.  I find that when I know I have ate healthy all day or I have paid close attention to carb counting that I am more likely to check my blood sugar from when I have been eating junk all day and loosely carb counting.

I don't think this is something just pertaining to type one diabetics, for instance I know that my Grandma with type two diabetes only checks on Wednesdays. She doesn't check other times because she feels like it will be a bad number.  Being type two, she isn't advised by her doctor to check as much as say a type one diabetic, so the numbers she does record she attempts to make look close to perfect.

For me, I have been working on getting over that feeling that I am the number that appears on the screen. It's almost like a weight scale. Those who feel like they have been eating bad and not working out tend to not step on a scale compared to those that are working out, eating healthy and have noticed their pants fit a little baggier.

If my blood sugar is high, technically I am high too, but that doesn't mean that I am a 'bad' diabetic.  Unless your endocrinologist appointment is coming up within the next few weeks then you are likely the only one to see those numbers at that time. When you know your number you are more likely to be in control knowing what to do next rather than guessing.

I keep my meter close by. I find if it is laying around by me, such as on my desk while I am working, than I am more likely to check.  If it is hidden in a backpack I am less likely to go searching. Also, even if you're not one to be keen on checking, try to set a goal number (hopefully at least four) and pretend it is like a game. Just get up to your goal number and slowly increase the number to hopefully get that extra control - but always remember that number that you see isn't a reflection of you!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Umbrella

There are so many misconceptions about type one diabetes that we are constantly feeling like we have to defend ourselves when something happens. Countless times movies have loosely defined type one diabetes in a way that has people living with the disease fuming. However, since we are all educated in our own disease we do our best to educate the general public about what type one is and all that goes along with it. But imagine having a disease that people do have a general idea about, yet you still don't fit the picture they have boiled up in their minds?

I am talking about type two diabetes. Although most people don't know that it is even called type two. The majority of the random public knows that there is a thing called diabetes and that it happens to the old and obese. We know that this isn't true about any kind of diabetes.  Yes, type two diabetes can be found in the older population and it has been linked to weight and if we were to jump on the stereotype boat this definition would work.  But, there are people living with type two diabetes that don't look the part that society has so kindly painted for them.

As type one diabetics we get this all the time too.  We all get put into the umbrella of diabetes. Can you imagine if one thought everyone with diabetes was pregnant - in the case of Gestational diabetes.  We would have people telling us, "Well you don't look pregnant?"  The facts are that diabetes comes in so many variations beyond the medical labels and to give out labels, which society tends to do is not a good way of looking at it.

The Vice President of the Western Diabetes Association lives with type two diabetes.  He is athletic, he is smart and he is young.  To be honest even myself was in shock when he told me that he lived with type two.  I guess it truly shows how badly society has framed the disease.  He did admit that as a teen he was overweight, but genetics played a large factor in his diagnosis, just with poor eating habits he sort of triggered it a lot sooner than anyone would have hoped.

At our last general meeting he gave a talk about type two diabetes, which I found interesting.  Of course I have heard all the facts before and after working for the CDA this past summer, everything about nutrition is finely grained into my brain.  However, his personal take on life with type two was an interesting story in itself.

This is what made me think of how many times he must get asked like myself. But, instead of my out where I say, "There is two types of diabetes, I have type one, it can happen to children, youth, young adults..." he has to explain type two including some of the stereotypes that society already has ingrained.

I don't doubt that there will always be misconceptions about diabetes and that forever there will be that umbrella; however, it makes me happy that as a diabetes community we are very alive and full of educators.  We won't conquer the world turning everyone into diabetic lovers - but we will make a difference.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sticking with It!

It's hard to believe that January is over! This whole year seems to be slipping away before us.  Unfortunately it is that time of the year for midterms at school so many of us aren't even realizing where the time is going since our heads are stuck in text books and notebooks.  Thankfully, although I have a midterm for every single class, they are spaced out nicely so, a. I can notice that time is going by and b. I have time to actually do some other things in the process. 

I have been sticking to the gym as much as possible and I know it can be easy for it all the wear off after January, but I am going to attempt to stay on track.  I have been doing the classes at the YMCA finding that they are better for keeping my attention and motivation. I tend to get bored easily when I am walking around the gym on my own.  So I have attempted classes such as Zumba, Weight Lifting, Yoga and Pilates to name a few. 

I have also seemed to stay on track with eating.  I am finding if anything the bad calories I am consuming are due to lows. Well, not necessarily bad calories but extra calories.  It can be such a teeter-totter experience when trying to be fit and manage diabetes. It comes down to being your own doctor and making adjustments to your pump.

As far as my mood as been in relation to all this change is good. At times I feel overwhelmed having to manage a lot on my plate, while others times I find comfort in knowing I am taking care of myself. I have a lot of goals in mind for this year and I am hoping to accomplish each and every one of them.