Monday, April 29, 2013

Sprung a Leak

I sprung a leak at dinner today.  My Aunt, Grandma and Cousin came to London to visit me today and after shopping for about an hour or so we headed for dinner.  I sat down at the table and checked my blood sugar as we waited for our food to come out. I was shocked to see a high number since I hadn't ate anything since lunch around 1 p.m and it was nearly 5 p.m.  I double checked as Grandma asked if something was wrong with my meter and likewise I thought the same.  But nope, a fifteen was flashing  back to me.

So, I gave myself insulin to cover the meal plus the correction guessing that I must have underestimated lunch or something.  Halfway through I realized I could smell insulin. I looked down at my site and sure enough around the site (the white adhesive) was soaking wet and smelt like insulin.  My Aunt was amused that I could smell the insulin, but when I let her smell it...(I know that sounds strange...) she understood how I could smell something so potent.

Luckily I had a site in my car that I could put in to get my blood sugars back in order especially since I was about to enjoy a meal.  If not, we were only about 5 minutes away from my house so I could have gotten a new site after dinner.  I put the site on right in the booth and realized it is a lot of garbage to stuff in my purse...I could have went to the bathroom to dispose of it, but it was easier to just stuff it in my bag to dispose later.

I've had this happen before, but I found it amusing how diabetes seems to time things. Luckily, I didn't let diabetes ruin my dinner.


Friday, April 26, 2013

You & Diabetes

If my life is going to be about checking blood sugars, giving insulin, wearing a pump and treating lows then so be it. There is nothing that I can do to take that away from myself. I have diabetes.  However, if I check daily, give insulin, wear this pump tucked into my bra, and pop glucose tabs every now and then I am opening up so many possibilities for myself by choosing life.

I remember one time in Brantford I went and saw George Canyon, a Canadian country singer who rocks an Animas insulin pump. It was a private show type thing with about twenty people.  I sat at the front with my Mom and Canyon asked a few of us what we wanted to be when we were 'older.' After hearing our responses he then said if we decided not to check our blood sugars, if we decided not to give ourselves insulin we would NEVER be able to be what we wanted to be.  He said something along the lines of, 'if you are a teacher and you never check your blood sugar, and you're past out on the floor because of a low blood cannot help anyone.' His message was very clear, and obviously it has stuck with me, if you choose to take care of your diabetes you will be rewarded with whatever it is you want to achieve. If you neglect your diabetes, achieving those dreams will if not be impossible, will definitely be difficult.

Now, being a diabetic myself I know that as easy as it is to catalogue the life of a diabetic, it isn't always easy to follow through.  A simple blood sugar test takes merely seconds, but multiple times a day at inconvenient times, in between other tasks and responsibilities can seem annoying. However, if I can pass on the message of Canyon it would be to take time for YOU and DIABETES so that you can live a better life and achieve your goals and dreams with DIABETES.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Examinations & Calibrations

I am a little over half way done my exams, with two more to be done in the next five days.  I lucked out in a sense of having a good amount of space between my exams, but was a little unlucky having to go until the second last day of exams.   For the first two exams I was wearing my sensor and I was pretty excited to see what would happen during exams.  I was also nervous because I didn't want it randomly beeping at me or me to check it and get in trouble, so I addressed my professors before hand so that they knew what I was doing.

Overall, having the sensor during exams was amazing because other wise I am having to either bring my meter to my desk or use my senses to detect whether or not I need to have some sugar or not.  Now that I am 'sensorless' I do feel sad that in order for me to know what is happening I have to check, it seemed so easy when I could just pull it out of my pocket and check. But, like previous posts there are things about that sensor that made me feel a little too connected at times.

Anyways, during exams I was lucky it didn't beep. I checked on it a few times just to see what was happening because now that I have been really focusing on my blood sugars I begin to wonder how well my brain is actually functioning at specific blood sugar levels.  I know I saw a photo posted on Facebook of the brain when functioning with high and low blood sugar and honestly, if it is true, it is scary.  

When preparing for exams I like to be at the best blood sugar as possible, of course; however, not verging on the low side. Most of my exams are three hours and even though I am welcomed to eat, I prefer not too. So I eat before heading in and hope for a nice steady line while writing to keep focused, as well as avoid any symptoms of high or blood sugar.  

I bring the meter with me to exams, so that if I am feeling slightly strange I can check. I always have some type of sugar with me when I am writing for those times I can just feel a low.  My professors know that I am diabetic so that base is covered and of course I have my pump readily available if I need to make adjustments etc. 

Afterwards I just hope for the best, knowing that I tried my hardest to keep my blood sugar in check, and I studied hard!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

That Feeling

You know what? Diabetes can be frustrating. But you don't need me to tell you that. It's almost like it's a race, a race that doesn't stop and no matter how steady you are, unlike the tortoise you won't win the race. I am not going off into a negative mood; and by winning the race I don't mean not being able to live a fulfilling life with diabetes, but have you ever thought about how it always seems like diabetes is one step ahead of you.

As it has been made known I have been working out and attempting to eat healthier. I have had amazing days where my diabetes seems to be on my side, but other days when I just feel as though diabetes is purposely making my life as difficult as possible. I get that I am in charge of my diabetes, that it is up to me to give insulin, to check my blood sugar and to make adjustments, but at the same time I didn't apply for the job of a pancreas, yet some how I am having to figure out the tasks on my own without pay, without a degree in medicine and without enough allotted time.

I am writing now because as I was trying to fall asleep, I realized I was low.  LOW.  I honestly, want to go to bed, I have had a pounding headache all day, I wrote a three hour exam which included five essays early this morning and I am just all around feeling as though I have been one step behind diabetes today from lows earlier in the day to a couple highs after dinner.  Now, it's time to put the day behind me and I am lying awake because diabetes wants me to eat and guess what? I am not hungry.

I guess overall I am frustrated. I am frustrated because I am trying really hard to do everything that I can and I know I am doing everything I can.  I think it is impossible to be perfect in the world of diabetes. After wearing a CGM for a week I feel as though I am bound to have wild days that are out of my hands and honestly, today has not been a good day of reflecting upon my disease.

I am still grateful for the wake up call diabetes gave me, the opportunities, the friends, but at the same time I wouldn't wish this on anyone. The feeling of having no control, the feeling of having to leave the gym because you are feeling low, the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night sweating, hungry, confused...that feeling will never go away until there is a cure.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Putting Yourself Out There!

I came across this quote, that reads: "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there's still going to be someone who hates peaches."  - Dita Von Teese and as silly as it sounds, it really stuck with me.  Another thing similar that stuck with me was a quote that Shawn Shepherd said about the fact that some people hate other people's happiness and that if you're going to put yourself out there you have to have tough skin in order to look past those people who make it their job to pick on your happiness.

Overall, I am a happy person and I have found happy aspects of life behind somethings that people would label has being something that would make them unhappy.  When people tell me that they would not be able to give themselves a needle, I often laugh and say, "well if it was your life..." and they say something along the lines as, "I guess..."   It makes me wonder how they would truly handle their disease. Obviously they wouldn't see diabetes as a positive thing, and it isn't. But, if you have no choice but to live with diabetes then why spend every waking hour of it thinking about your own miserable self.

Sometimes I think to myself, what if I didn't put myself out there after being diagnosed?  In a way I think of a life that would be much more private. Is that better? I mean, I wouldn't nearly know as many diabetics as I know today, but would my diabetes just expand to the limits of needles, carb counting and insulin dosages, rather than social aspects.  It's hard to imagine if I took an alternate route upon diagnosis, but I must admit, my exposure into the world sometimes seems insane to me.

When I go on such websites as Instagram or I google diabetes, I may see something that I put out there, whether that is a picture or meme from mine and Meredith's page, Type One Diabetes Meme Page.  It is nice to see how fast things can travel, how much of an impact I can have  but at the same time I understand that I am truly throwing my life out into the world and hoping that everyone in this world is nice - and they aren't always.

When Shawn mentioned having tough skin, I immediately knew that was something I had to work on. I am not a mean person what so ever, in fact one time a person cut me off while driving, honestly my first reaction was to give him the finger (something that I almost have to think about before doing because it's not a natural habit of mine!)  upon doing it, we awkwardly sat at the red light beside each other, windows down and he said, "Hey! I am so sorry I cut you off, but why did you give me the middle finger!"  

I felt so really bad.  He almost killed me mind you, but turning in front of me, causing me to slam on breaks. But, I apologized to him and thought about it for the rest of the day and still...because doing something like that was out of character for me.  So, needless to say, my skin isn't very tough and I am not very mean!  So when I am faced with criticism, I don't do so well.

Dealing with diabetes is second nature to me, what I have done with diabetes is something that isn't necessarily unique, but it's not the norm.  To think of what I can do with diabetes, makes me excited for a happy, successful future and as long as I keep in mind that not everyone is going to be on my party ship along the way - I should be O.K.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Live Out Loud with Purpose

"Live Out Loud with Purpose" he said and I typed it into my notes on my iPhone.  Those simple five words have stuck with me since I heard 'Sugar Free Shawn' - Shawn Shepheard speak in Woodstock on Thursday night.  I knew that I was in for something inspiring when I was invited to represent CDA at the health fair, but I had no idea I would be leaving with a decent sized note on my phone to examine and read aloud to people trying to spread the wisdom.

If there is something that diabetes has taught me it is to take every opportunity that is given to me. I say that because if you don't do something, if you say no, if you decide that you just don't have the time then you are missing something. You may be missing a life lesson, you may be missing a new friend, new experience and you never know where it could then have taken you.   Shawn cleared this up for me even more when he talked about first being diagnosed and being in a room full of type two diabetics. He already felt uncomfortable and like he didn't want to be there, and the first exercise, and it's always this way, they had to go around and introduce themselves.  Shawn said that he went first, and about half way down the line a woman stood up and asked why they were even here when they are just going to have complications and die.  Shawn said he never looked up he just kept scribbling, 'not me, not me, not me, not me, not me' and that lady was his life lesson.  He went on to say that everyone we meet is on purpose and has some impact on our life.  I believe in this. I believe that every person that has walked into my life has walked in for a reason and those that have walked out are those people that taught me as many lessons as they could and their last lesson was the moment they left.

So back to that first quote.  First of all, I think taking the opportunities that are given to you, or that you've chased down is an example of living life out loud.  Doing something with the opportunities gives it purpose. There is so much to learn out there from life, lessons beyond lessons. It's amazing what can be accomplished with just a few creative ideas and the willingness to get out there.  Shawn inspired me to keep doing what I am doing plus more. I want to do more, be more, try harder and really succeed.

I appreciate all that he said, and recommend anyone who gets the opportunity to hear him speak to do so.  I am sure you will all feel the same as I did.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Skyline of Mountains

Wearing the CGM I have noticed something. I have noticed how much diabetes sucks. You see, when you check your blood sugar four, even ten times a day you can paint yourself a picture of what kind of day you had. You stayed below 10 (180) and you only went low once.  Or somedays, you laugh and say you're cured because you never went over a 7 (126). However, when you have this fancy machine called a CGM, you begin to realize that those days that you thought you were cured, you actually likely went high at 2:05 p.m or low at 4:16 a.m and if you were to draw out the picture of your blood sugars, like a CGM does on your insulin pump you would see what resembles a skyline of mountains.

I must admit, I love having the CGM to look at what my blood sugar is doing. In fact sometimes I get excited just to check it and wonder if I am obsessing over it too much. But,  I also think knowing too much isn't always a good thing.  I mean, it is good, don't get me wrong to be able to correct these hidden lows, make changes to basal rates, bolus ratios and to get an idea of what is going on when you are sleeping, working out or writing a stressful exam.  

On the other side I find it a little discouraging because I can watch at how 'unnormal' my body is.  How fast it goes up when I have a small piece of chocolate or how fast it plummets as I work out.  I look at the graph on my insulin pump and it is all over the place, not a straight line or something subtle, but all over the place.   At a time in my diabetes life that I feel like I have the most control, I look at my pump and think, what am I doing wrong? can I put any more effort into this? I am exhausted. 

When I think about how much work we, as diabetics have to put into managing our diabetes it makes me realize just how much of a full time job it is. We cannot do anything without consulting diabetes first to give us the go ahead and now with advanced technology such as CGM's are we feeling more freedom or more restriction knowing just how wonky our systems truly are.

For now, I am praising the CGM because I am fascinated by it's precision and ability. However, it does take me back thinking about all the times I wasn't wearing a CGM (pretty much all of my diabetes life) and what exactly was going on on days that I felt I was doing a good job.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Secrets

Since my weight loss, and my toughening up gain...I have had a lot of people message me asking what my secret is and while I would love to tell them all I did was take a magical pill or drink some special tea - I always feel sad when I have to reply with, 'I work out every single day and really have been watching what I eat...'   because I'd love to have a secret weight loss tool!

For me, working out has been something to do. I am a busy girl, but it is always nice to have that time to yourself that you can just get away and work out. To be honest, I also do not have cable, so I enjoy going to the gym to work out and watch t.v - that sounds bad, but it's true and it gets me there...I love Ellen.  Anyways, because I have been working out straight for about 4 months, it has become a routine that I feel bad when I break it. Often times if I am really not feeling the gym or I just don't have the time to get over there, I will do a workout in my room or go for a walk later on.

The food has been probably the worst because I really am not a fan of most healthy foods and because I am also balancing blood sugars I often get frustrated.  Having to treat lows while feeling extremely hungry isn't always the best when you're trying to get fit.  Now that I am wearing a CGM I am so excited to be able to track what my blood sugars are doing. I think I looked at my pump 5x today during my workout just to see what my blood sugars were doing and that is something I wouldn't have been able to do previous.

As far as the food goes, I try my hardest to pick healthy food options. I am more of a grazer than a person that sits down three times a day to eat, so for me, it's just fitting in some fruits, vegetables, and protein when I can.  I am also a huge fan of oatmeal so that has been my breakfast of choice for a long time...and will likely continue that way. It's a good stabilizer for me!

I really want to help others as much as I can along this journey that I am going through. Countless times I read messages on message boards from people wondering how they can lose weight or get fit.  For me, it is all about patience - don't expect results right away, but get excited that at some point you will get there.  Be confident in your progress and let diabetes be that force that motivates you rather than puts you down.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Mapped Out

When my friend Beth messaged me about having a few extra sensors and transmitters and wanted to know if I wanted to use some, I was instantly excited to give it a try. You see, I tried the CGM two times before but only for a weekend at a Slipstream camp, so it wasn't truly long enough to get an idea of what was going on.   On Sunday Beth hooked me up with a sensor and made me put it in myself even though as I was staring down at the needle, pressing it against my belly I was getting intimidated by the size of the needle.  
"I want you to do it yourself!" Beth laughed, as I tried to con her into putting it in for me.

Turned out that after all it didn't even hurt.  It was more of the idea of the needle shooting into my stomach full speed that I didn't like - it was much bigger and thicker than the one of my Mio.  Thankfully, Medtronic just put out another sensor that is much smaller and thinner! Looking forward to also trying that one out once my nurse is trained! 

At first I was being a big critic about the sensor, it seemed to be a little off at first, but now that I have been wearing it for about 40 hours, it has for sure proved to me that it is is pretty accurate. It is incredibly interesting to see what exactly my blood sugar is doing when I wouldn't normally be checking it, for example in the middle of the night.   I could see how it slowly drops as well as when my sister and I went for a walk I could see it also slowly declining.   Things that I sort of knew but didn't exactly ever see it mapped out like that.  

I think this will really help with me preventing lows since I was having trouble knowing exactly when to lower my pump, when to eat, when to treat etc.  So far it has been awesome and every time I look at the graph I am amazed that we have the technology to do these types of things! Makes me feel lucky to be living with diabetes at this think what advancements will be next.


Friday, April 12, 2013

If there was a cure...

Can you imagine if there was a cure...I mean an actual cure not something like insulin that makes life easier and longer, but something that unhooked us, freed us from tubes, pricks, pokes and needles. Imagine all the posts on Facebook, the blog posts and Youtube videos. People smashing their insulin pumps against the walls, throwing them out windows or putting them in a keep sake box to remember that time when we were attached.

Our testers would become dusty, test strips would expire.  We would go to bed not thinking about what number we are at, we wouldn't wake up feeling hungry, sweaty or confused; rather we would sleep all night.  Mothers, fathers, caregivers everywhere would ditch the headlamps, juice boxes hidden in cupboards and purses and would finally sleep too.  They would send their children off for whole week sleepovers without a worry of a low or high. They would be rested.

You wouldn't have those feelings, those feelings we know 'normal' people don't get.  Our eyes wouldn't get cloudy at night, our heads wouldn't pound, our fingers would sting.  We could proclaim that 'back in the day we had diabetes' but we won that battle. Our cells phones are the only things that are beeping in our pockets, and if we're acting drunk it's not because of a low blood sugar, it is because we are drunk.

Would you still call yourself a diabetic? or does that name release with the insulin pump. Would we discount all that diabetes has given us in - those positive things like close friendships, community, opportunities, strength and inspiration. Would we simply accept those lessons and take them with us despite leaving behind it all.  Or would you still be 'diabetic' at heart?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Emotional Game

I often check out the message boards and Facebook groups that are related to diabetes and wonder to myself, how the individual people view their diagnosis and what about their diagnosis has made them the person that they are today. It is funny to think that we are all living with the exact same disease, but all seem to have taken something different out of it.  I know people are struggling with diabetes, I know people that aren't checking, refilling their pumps or pens - I know people that have given up.

I can admit that in the past four years I have had good and bad diabetes days. Days where I could have cared less about checking my blood sugar, or giving myself insulin.  I had days were I thought having high blood sugar was something that always happened each day. But, on the other side, I have had days where I saw amazing numbers scattered evenly from wake up to bedtime.  I have had days where I see checking my blood sugar as some form of a game, can I get a perfect number?  

I guess that is what it is all about with diabetes a constant high-low emotional game.  Diabetes has the ability to bring us up as fast as it can bring us down.  We see it all the time on those message boards, mature adults begging for hope, peace and stability. The power that diabetes has over an individual is remarkable and in turn the power that it gives us to fight back is outstanding.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Catch Up

This past few weeks have been incredibly busy, with school ending tomorrow and exams starting next week, I have had not a lot of time to dedicate to writing. But, I have been busy in the diabetes world, that is for sure!

I found out this week that I was picked to be a Young Leader for DTreat, a organization that runs camps for young adults with diabetes.  I was selected as one of ten leaders from North America to help run and organize the camps across the two countries. I am very excited to be given the opportunity. I look forward to meeting new people across North America and becoming a more inspired individual throughout the process.

I also found out that I was selected to represent Canada at the International Diabetes Federation in Melbourne, Australia this year in November. This opportunity is amazing. I will be working with other representatives from different countries as well as talking with the World Diabetes Congress.  It couldn't have been a better week.

On another note, I am now wearing a pink insulin pump.  After getting three 'motor errors' on my pump I called Medtronic to get a new one. It seemed to be O.K when I did the rewind and prime; however, I was getting uneasy about wearing a device that was malfunctioning at random times. Medtronic was so awesome and sent me a new pump within 2.5 hours. I decided to switch up the colour and get the pink one. I am really enjoying the pink, but I feel a little sad about letting go of my very first insulin pump.

Well, I am hoping to get back into routine now with writing. I am still working hard at training and looking forward to kicking off summer at the end of this month!