Wednesday, February 26, 2014

That Could Have Been Me

Recently I stumbled across a story of a young girl who passed away due to diabetes complications. She was eighteen years old.

Eighteen years old.

I don't know her diabetes history nor her story. Simply just know the information that was sent on Facebook and through other google searches as I faced the reality that type one diabetes, while it isn't a death sentence, it can be deadly.

My heart goes out to her family and friends.

I couldn't help but think out loud, 'That could have been me."  No one wants to think about complications due to diabetes, no one wants to think of the possibility of death. However, each and every single day I am in charge of managing my diabetes, I am responsible for my diabetes and I admit that at times I do not think of the consequences of my laziness to inject at the correct time or the times I have just 'guessed' my bolus rate.  

It hurts me to know that I was diagnosed with something that is livable but at the same time can easily turn fatal. It breaks my heart that babies, children, teens, and adults are dying from a  disease that has outstanding technological backings and treatment. How can a disease be so haunting but at the same time provide so much life that otherwise would have no been possible if insulin was not invented.

I hope that with time we can find better ways to manage diabetes to truly risk complications, as well as improve our social programs so that no child, teen or adult feels alone in the disease. I am MAD at diabetes for taking away the lives of the young. I am MAD at diabetes for keeping mothers, fathers, caregivers and those that have diabetes awake at night.  I am MAD at diabetes for making us worry.


R.I.P Miss Clancy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


It's incredibly easy for diabetes to become entangled with who you are as a person. It's hard sometimes to separate yourself from 'diabetes.' Whether that is talking about diabetes constantly or connecting it with who you are.  I notice myself doing this a lot of the time, I find that my go-to chats are about diabetes or what I've done with diabetes and sometimes I get tired of it.

The truth is, it is healthy to be aware of your diabetes and it is O.K to talk about diabetes, but I think that there are times when talking about diabetes isn't needed or maybe would be considered unhealthy.  It's hard to go from not feeling 'unique' to feeling 'diabetically-unique' where you feel like your life revolves around your diabetes rather than other good/bad traits, characteristics, experiences, stories, memories, that are unrelated to your diabetes.

With such a 24/7 disease of course as a diabetic you're going to have diabetes in your vocabulary often but I think that it can also lead to a burn out, which I think a lot of type one's face over their course of life with diabetes.

Either way, I think that it is important to remember to take a breathe in a different space sometimes and let your mind rest from diabetes.  Don't let diabetes define you, instead make it a part of you.  This is something I am learning to do.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

It's a Shame

I've never been really shy about my diabetes.  If someone has questions I am always willing to ask and often times I am O.K with speaking up if something happens to conflict with my diabetes - which isn't often.  However, there are times when speaking up about diabetes is awkward or for some reason   something that I don't want to do.

Often times if I need assistance I am around people that know my diabetes and it is really easy to ask for help. To be honest, there aren't a lot of times that that is needed. I am pretty on the ball with my diabetes and I try hard to pay close attention to what my body needs by basic tell-tale signs I give myself. For example, if I find myself feeling lost in thought, or 'blank' in thought I know that I need to check as I am likely heading into a low if not already there.

But there are times in my life when asking for help doesn't come with instinct, instead a process of whether or not I am being an inconvenience to someone or will it embarrass me.  I KNOW, I KNOW. This isn't right. Never should diabetes be considered an inconvenience nor embarrasing but when you're low, if you know the feeling, your not thinking straight. You're either going to do all you can, stand up, shout, dance, sing or you're going to slump into your chair, holding you hands on your forehead, focusing on whatever will get you through the next five minutes.

This was me, my class Friday was going fine. It was Valentine's Day and my prof. had brought chocolate for the class.  She passed them around, she did it twice. I grabbed a chocolate each time.  The second round they ended up on the desk infront of me. How taunting to the only diabetic student in the class.

I gave myself the needed insulin as I could clearly see the label and thought, I really should give insulin.  Big mistake. You know those times you bolus for something without really thinking about your life. I mean without thinking about when you ate last, when you're going to eat next? If you've done any physical activity? What your mood is like at the moment.  Well, I didn't think about all those things I just took a half unit of insulin and carried on with it.

But, as my prof. went on about  the novel, 'As I Lay Here Dying..'  now that I think about it, all sirens should have went off.   I realized I wasn't paying attention. I was staring at the chains holding the projector screen up.  I felt extremely warm.  I checked my blood sugar and a lovely 3 flashed before me.   I looked at the box of chocolates infront of me, funny enough the box read, "BIG BOX OF CHOCOLATES" my prof. had made a comment about it earlier.

So here I was,  slumped in my chair, holding my hands on my forehead and focusing on that BIG BOX OF CHOCOLATES.  But, I was in the second row from the front as the prof. lectured away, she had already called out a student for getting up and leaving, it would look like I was leaving. But I was low.  I thought about raising my hand, I thought about saying, "I know this is random but can you pass the chocolates..."    Now, I get that I should have had some low supplies in my bag but I had used them the day previous and forgot to replace them.   Sometimes it is hard to keep up with being a diabetic.

But then she said it. Class was over.  I grabbed my bag and headed for the caf. and bought a couple bulk candies.  My pump was suspended and I was starting to feel better.   I really thought about why I didn't speak up. Why I didn't lunge over the desk and grab the chocolates. I felt awkward for some reason and didn't speak up.

It's not embrassing to be diabetic. It isn't awkward to be diabetic. But sometimes diabetes can trick your mind, play games with your thoughts and twist the person that you are. It's a shame.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


It's interesting how people quickly can judge your situation. Living with type one diabetes isn't a cookie cutter diagnosis. People living with any form of diabetes are battling things that another type one has never encountered.  I find it amazing how strong the type one diabetes community is along with the supportive helpers that those living with type one diabetes have, including but not limited to parents of type one diabetic children.

But as much as us living with diabetes become defensive when others (non-diabetics) blame us for our disease, make jokes that are OK for us to tell but NOT OK for them to tell.  As much as we write blogs about the horrible neighbour who told you about a cinnamon cure or a new book she saw about eliminating diabetes.  We often hurt one another in our words or 'advice' that we give.

I see it all the time on the diabetes pages on Facebook. People trying to help each other out by giving advice on how to deal with a grumpy type one teen or whether or not to celebrate a dia-versary.  I think people mean well, actually I bet 99% of the people mean well, but we honestly can be damaging our own personal health by asking the community at times I feel.

It is incredibly easy to feel frustrated when dealing with diabetes and it is nice to have a community of people in similiar situations but I feel like the most important thing to remember is that sometimes people just need someone to listen and not to judge them. Heck, sometimes it is better to instead of giving advice just give a simple, "I think you're doing a great job and what worked for me was_____but it may not work for you."

In the past close to five years I have received advice as well as given advice. I admit that some of the 'advice' I received I deemed as trolling or that the person just didn't have the common sense to not press enter/send.  However, I think there are solutions to this to make sure that the parent who is frustrated with their type one child, doesn't become frustrated with the entire community because when a person draws away from something that they once felt was supportive they may never trust to return again.

So, next time you are on a diabetes community blog, Facebook page, forum etc.  please think about what 'advice' you're giving and remember that diabetes may be similiar logistically but in reality it is a different story for every single person.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Questions, Answers, Feelings, Headaches

In a month it will be five years living with type one diabetes. It's one of those things like your age as you get older, you have to carefully calculate just how long it has been. While I feel like a five year old would know exactly how old she is, '5 and a half!' Living with five years of diabetes is or feels so much longer.

I'd like to say that the almost five years that has passed as been great. Great in the sense that I can write a list of over ten things I am grateful for due to my diagnosis. However, being diagnosed with diabetes is not all good times and celebrations. Rather, a majority of the time it sucks.

Despite it only being five years, a veteran diabetic might tell me that I don't know anything or that I am just a baby diabetic. In reality, no matter how long you've lived with type one diabetes, you become this expert of all things diabetes. Your brain changes, your mind changes, your physical state changes.  For me, five years feels like a lifetime.

I don't really remember eating things without consequence. Obviously I can think of times I ate without checking my blood sugar or taking an injection pre diabetes, but I can't truly think of that girl that didn't care, didn't count, didn't have to worry about a goddamn thing.  I don't remember that girl.

Diabetes has taken what a good day could be and turned it into a million questions and answers.  What am I eating for breakfast? I am not hungry. Too bad you have to eat. How many carbs are in oatmeal? Will this spike my blood sugar? I feel like crap already. Will I go low in class? Should I bring a snack? Where is my insulin pump? Do I have time to change the reservoir? What is my blood sugar? Where did I put my meter? Why is it so high? The list goes on.

These past five years, that feel like fifty have been great, but behind each great moment lies a million thoughts, questions, feelings, answers, fears, fights, stressors and headaches that I have fought.