Friday, December 29, 2017

Saying Hello to 2018

In a few short days we welcome a new year.  The greatest thing is that it falls on a Monday. A new week, a new month and a new year all bundled into one!  

This is the time of the year where we make resolutions that we stick to for thirty days, we promise ourselves this year is "our" year and we begin to work on ourselves more than ever whether that is clearing the clutter in our desks, eating more vegetables, attempting to floss more or the all mighty resolution, losing weight.  

For me, I have set resolutions every year in the back of my mind and rarely do I ever follow through, instead I end up just setting new goals along the way as opportunities pop up. I don't think that's a sign of me failing at my set intentions, but rather adapting to the ever changing life ahead of me.   For 2018, we will be getting married, which opens up a whole new chapter in itself!  I also will be embarking on a small part time position at the local college as an instructor; which is a very new and exciting adventure! 

Saying Hello to 2018 feels good! I know that while good things are ahead I am sure challenges hide among them. I am open to change, adaptation, new experiences and adventures that take bravery, hope or drive.  I am welcoming 2018 with the idea that my life is for ever changing, but my support through it all has remained stable. 

I wish everyone else the same excitement for their 2018 ahead.  The open mind to accept new experiences, the open heart to love those that surround us and the open door to let others in.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Draining Battery

During holidays, or stressful times, living with a chronic illness can feel like a draining car battery.  Enough juice to make an attempt, but not enough to go anywhere.  You may feel a heavy sense of guilt, not doing enough as others or falling short on your to-do list.  While this isn't just an occurrence for people living with an illness, seeing the direct correlation of stress and your bodies response (blood sugars) is a tell tale sign.

For me this year has been full of excitement, planning, and of course a lot of stress.  Having been planning a wedding for the past seven months, maintaining a couple jobs, and the recent loss of my grandfather, dealing with diabetes and stress has been an open tab for quite some time. Fluctuating blood sugars, constant lows or constant highs, I've been riding a rollercoaster of unpredictable blood sugars for months now.

Often times in diabetes education appointments, they will speak about how to deal with diabetes when you're sick, but often the mental health aspect of diabetes is overlooked.  While I may not be coming down with flu like symptoms, my mind is busy, overworked and I am tired - now what do I do? 

There really is no one-size fits all answer. While, during sick days you're taught to keep a close eye on blood sugars, drink plenty of fluids and change your insulin ratios - it seems stress doesn't always play such a predictable game.  My best advice that I've tried to focus on for myself is taking time to enjoy those moments where my heart feels content, whether that is playing with my niece, spending time with my friends or family or just being in a space where I feel calm.  

Blood sugars will rise and fall, I haven't come across anyone whose blood sugars remain the same. Stress will come and go in many different forms and life will keep on passing by.  Maintaining the charge in your battery will always be hard, but never impossible. 


Friday, December 15, 2017


There are two times in life that you realize life moves too fast.  The times when it seems you blink your eye and the day is over, the good party wraps up, or the vacation is finished, those times.  Then, there are the times when you lose someone you love and realize that the time we get to spend with one another is much too short.

I lost someone very special to me and my while my heart feels heavy, it does feel full.   As I sit and reflect, I write....

Dear Grandpa,

If only we had more time. More time to tell your stories about the cars you drove, the places you went and the people you knew.  If only we had more time to discuss the wedding I was planning, the home I would buy and the children I want to have. If only we had more time.

But, when I think of the time that we did have, it was quite a bit and I am so thankful for that time although it seems it went by too fast. Not everyone gets to spend twenty-seven years with their grandparent, and for that, I am happy.

While our time to make memories on earth has ended, I feel you in my heart.

You live in us all now. How special is that.



Friday, December 8, 2017

Reminder for Self Care

This time of year can be incredibly exciting and fun, but at the same time it can be very stressful.  As I get older I find myself shying away from the crowds at the mall and resorting to ordering online when I can (unless it's HomeSense, I always have time for that!)  I find myself wanting to just spend time with people and give back more then I receive because as you get older the 'stuff' turns into clutter quick and the days go by too quickly to waste spending in lines up.

This month has been incredibly stressful having both my grandparents in and out of hospital and trying to be there as much as I can, but being the only one who lives out of city, the stress of not being able to be there as much haunts me. While trying to practice self care, I find myself trying to also remind others maintain self care. I firmly believe we must be in the right space for ourselves in order to help others properly.

My blood sugars have been all over the place the past month and I can only imagine that is a direct product of the season we are in.  

When we break down this season there is high chances of: 

  • High stress
  • More goodies in the house than normal
  • More parties/social gatherings to commit to attending 
  • Financial strain
  • High anxiety situations (being around strangers, unfamiliar places etc.)
  • Lack of sunlight, weather change.

All of these things that everyone can experience, it really can throw a wrench in a person with diabetes' care. It is so incredibly important to prioritize what needs to be done and to hone in on how you are feeling.  We can easily get caught up in the season and forget the self care portion that is so important. 

Ways we can prioritize our self care: 

  • Set aside all electronics/social media
  • Create time to do something you enjoy or want (i.e pedicure, shopping, reading)
  • Take pauses in your day or try and slow down your task

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Mother's Story

There is a special place in my heart for those that spend countless nights awake tending to their children with type 1 diabetes.  I see the posts of those warrior Diabetes Moms or Diabetes Dads and recognize that often times this group is missed and under appreciated by health care teams, their family or their friends because it is simply hard to grasp how many hours these caregivers put in, and how many tears they shed behind closed doors.

Recently, a post by a Diabetes Mom, Kathy, really stuck with me.  She stated that, 

"I know I say this every three months but today will be the worst diabetes clinic. Her numbers have been so high over the last three months and I haven't been able to get them under control." 

I read this and thought to myself, she is taking the blame. She is taking this disease, that I know first hand does its own thing most of the time and she is placing that blame on herself. That isn't fair. I couldn't help but think about how many other caregivers are feeling this blame. I reached out this mom and decided to ask her a few questions to shed some light on what a diagnosis means for a parent of a child with diabetes. 

When Kathy's daughter was diagnosed the family felt devastation.  She thought that the doctor's made a mistake and she waited for that moment when they told her that her daughter didn't actually have diabetes and they could go home.   Kathy states that, "This moment changed everything." Kathy describes the diagnosis as feeling like a burden, and something that she did not know how to manage. 

"My daughter didn't adjust well to her 'new life.' She would have to be held down to get her blood sugar checked or to get insulin. I remember her begging us not to do this." 

Kathy remarked that it was one of the most heartbreaking thing she has ever had to experience and it really made her scared to leave the house after the diagnosis in fear of what challenges lay ahead beyond her home. Kathy also felt worry of what others would think about how she handled her daughter's diabetes, wondering if they were judging the way she handled her child's behaviour and refusal.

Kathy sees herself primarily as the manager of diabetes in her household, however she states that, 

"I am slowly training her to be my successor. I explain continually why we are doing things a certain way so that she learns as we go." 

But, in the meantime, admits that in managing her daughters' diabetes, Kathy also places a lot of blame on herself on whether or not she did enough to prevent highs, properly carb counted or should have changed insulin ratios sooner.  All thoughts that as a person with diabetes, are very familiar. It was this quote that struck me again,

"Sometimes I feel I give her too much autonomy with her diabetes. I think I just get tired. I work full time, run a household and care for two kids.....sometimes it feels like too much." 

This circled back to that first post I read from Kathy on her social media.  The feeling of blame that presses on the minds of caregivers alike.    Knowing as a person who lives with diabetes myself, that diabetes is unpredictable, and even when we think we understand diabetes, it often can throw obstacles at us.

I urge everyone to reach out to caregivers of children with diabetes and give them praise.  Buy them a coffee, ask if you can help them with anything, or simply listen to them and let them tell their story.   These caregivers are up in the night when most of us are asleep, buying juice-boxes and packing lunches while counting carbs and crossing their fingers that their child will be okay. They deserve some extra love and a big thank you for all the hard work. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Angry at Diabetes

Last night I was angry. I was angry at diabetes and as much as I tried to fight that angry, an impeding low brought it out of me.

"It isn't fair," I said sobbing like a child between the covers in bed.

 "It isn't fair that I have to do all of this."  

For me, I like to bottle things up, but like a carbonated drink, shaken over time, I do explode with grief every now and then.  I carry a lot of the burden of those that also live with diabetes, people who I admire, people who I know are struggling and just deserve a break.  I carry that on my shoulders along with my own grief and sometimes I crumble, like any human.

Earlier in the day after driving home from clinic I had a moment of reflection in the car, thinking about what life would be like if diabetes was no longer.

 What would I do with all that extra brain storage, that right now is plagued by carb counts, blood sugar checks, numbers upon numbers? 

What would it feel like if my guilt of not doing enough went away?

How would it feel to not fear complications, or the worry that I won't live a full life?

Upon arriving home, I left those thoughts in the car and didn't think about it. Until that low, when all those feelings came rushing back and I felt as though I had no feelings at all, yet more feelings I knew what to do with. I felt empty and blank, yet explosive and angry.

I knew I wasn't sad, it wasn't a feeling of being sad. It was pure anger at something I did not ask for, something I did not cause, something that was given to me when I was eighteen that I can not return or justify getting.  I was angry.

After some reassurance from M, telling me that he understands my anger, my frustrations but that I need to be strong and keep on going.  I let my anger leave the room, as I did not want to fall asleep with that anger.  Tears, some choice words, and candy to cure my low, I let that anger free (for now) and fell asleep.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Note to self: Don't Forget

"I can't believe you forgot that!" 

How many times have you heard this? I don't mean forgetting your keys or your wallet, but rather, those diabetes things that we as people with diabetes are supposed to remember but time after time forget.  

I decided to compile a list of the things that I personally always forget and hopefully in turn you can let me know, that I'm not the only one!

1.  Extra Sites

You're out for the night and you're up dancing and your partner snags your site and rips it out.  Now, there is no insulin flow and you're already 10 mozzarellas sticks and 5 mixed drinks in. What do you do?   Use an extra site you've packed in your clutch .... but actually no, because you forgot to pack an extra site.

2. More Insulin 

Now you're having dinner at your in laws and you are about to sit down and enjoy the wonderful meal.  There is even delicious cake to enjoy afterwards, but guess what? As you bolus you realize you have 2 units left.  Yeah, that low reservoir warning you heard before you left your house, that was real.   Now, you have to either forgo the mashed potatoes and cake, or pay for the high blood sugar you're about to experience because you forgot to refill your reservoir.

3.  Low Supplies 

Anyone else sweating profusely? Is the ground shaking?  Are these lights exceptionally bright? No, just me? You're shopping with your friends when all of a sudden all the low symptoms come on.   Easy, take a moment to enjoy your low snack in your purse? Oh wait, you never refilled it the last time you used it.  Now you're waiting in a huge line just to buy a bottle of pop to recover from your low because you forgot your low supplies.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Sometimes it Actually Sucks

It's not always sunshine and rainbows.

It doesn't always have a happy ending or life lesson.

"Sometimes it actually just sucks," said one of my teens at my social group.

I am guilty of adding cheerful lessons of life, sentences of thankfulness and wrapping my sometimes sad blog posts with a glittery bow of, "but, it's all okay."  But, that isn't always the case.  In fact, most of the time diabetes isn't okay.

Last night I heard loud and clear that wrapping up blog posts with a happy ending isn't always wanted nor easy to swallow.  As a blogger for over eight years, I can't help but realize I have spent most of my writing career trying to balance the literal highs and lows of diabetes while trying not to complain too much, but also be honest.

As a generally positive person, it can be hard to spill out the frustrations and leave them untangled for everyone to read. I try hard to show how grateful I am by balancing my anger with praise.  While, I won't deny those feelings, after speaking to other people with diabetes I have come to realize sometimes that may come as a disservice to those that are trying to understand diabetes, or those that have diabetes and are trying to relate to me.

Loud and clear, diabetes is hard.  Living with diabetes is incredibly frustrating and at times feels like a giant black cloud that follows our every thought.  I worry about my future with diabetes, I worry that I am not doing enough or that one day I will look back and blame myself to an unbearable degree if I get complications or diabetes prevents me from being able to do something such as have a family. I worry about the people my diabetes effects, my fiance, my future children or my own personal well-being.  I also continuously worry about what I can do to give back to the community, to alleviate the frustrations of others.

As the positive person that I am, I still struggle a lot with balancing diabetes and my life. I brush off a lot of things and play down how much diabetes gets in the way.  I am not a 'perfect' diabetic, not even close and I want all those that read my blog or speak to others with diabetes to know that we are fighting a battle every single day.

As hard as it is to not wrap this up with that glittery bow, I want to be honest and I want to be clear, that diabetes....sometimes it actually sucks.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sleepless, Restless, but Alive.

Sleeping. Just imagine a sound sleep without getting up, a sound sleep with no beeps or buzzes.  It doesn't happen as much as I wish it would, but I've learned to appreciate those nights when my blood sugar stays steady enough that I do not have to visit the bathroom, every hour, or chug water by my bedside as if I hadn't drank in weeks.  I appreciate not having to slowly and quietly unwrap candies and eat them with my eyes half open and my thoughts still unconscious.

A full sleep without disruptions of my insulin pump going off or CGM warnings.  I am fortunate enough to work from home where my start time for work depends on me and on those nights that I spent half the night tending to my diabetes, I do not have to rush to my car in the morning.  I think of the people that are barely functioning as their alarm goes off because they're surround by crushed juice boxes that they had to down in the middle of the night. 

It just isn't a great sleep having that constant worry even if your blood sugars are fine. What if I go low? Am I low right now? I hope I am not high all night. Then there is that internal battle between yourself and well, yourself to get up and check, or get up and treat your low blood sugars. Fighting between the warmth of your bed and having to tend to diabetes. 

I think about all my great new-mom friends with type 1 diabetes who are tending to their newborns and also having to tend to their diabetes, they deserve gold stars for their ability to wake up human every single day. 

However, each morning we do get up and we do go on with our days because doing both, manaing our diabetes and living out our lives is equally important to us.  Not allowing diabetes to take away all of our energy, despite feeling drained some mornings.   

We just do it, sleepless, restless, but alive.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Additions & Subtractions

Sometimes I think to myself, What is diabetes adding? What is diabetes subtracting?

This may seem like an odd thing to think about, but when it comes down to it, living with type 1 diabetes it both a mental and physical marathon.  You wake up each morning, sometimes having spent the night getting up and out of bed to use the bathroom, or having to treat lows, or maybe you had a great night sleep with zero disturbances and you wonder what life would be like if diabetes was not in your life. 

While I don't think it's healthy to spend too much time wondering 'what if' I think there are moments for all of us where we think about what diabetes has added to our lives.  As much as we don't wish to have diabetes, for some of us we have found friendships or experiences that we other wise may not have ever come across.   I pull from those 'additions' when I struggle to accept that cards I've been dealt.  The times that I have had to leave a party because my site ripped out, or had to embarrassingly ask for a glass of juice from someone I had just met.  

Then there are the 'subtractions' and for me those aren't the ripped sites, or time spent checking my blood sugar, but the future what ifs that linger across my mind every now and then.   Sometimes, those things I thought would be subtractions turn out to be okay and I am reminded that living life alongside diabetes is not a marker for disappointment. I can achieve my goals similar to my non-diabetic peers. It is my hopes that the subtractions stay distant, and are dissolved by the time they arrive. I am not naive to think I will never be let down because of my diabetes; however, I am confident that with the additions, I can stay encouraged and push forward. 

For all those that have walked before me with type 1 diabetes, and have documented their additions and subtractions, I thank you.  It is not easy to share our lives so openly and courageously, but in doing so, it gives those who follow your footsteps a string to hold onto.  


Friday, November 3, 2017

Diabetes Awareness Month: What is my role?

The fall is flying by and I hardly noticed that it was November i.e Diabetes Awareness Month until I saw all the posts online.  I find myself in a bit of a withdraw from blogging, reading up on diabetes related news/blogs and find myself immersed in life outside of the internet.  However, I am missing blogging and catching up with all the amazing things my fellow online diabetes community members are up to.

I find it interesting how time slowly changes us, the messages that stream across our social media begin to resonate with ourselves a bit differently and our drive of what to put energy into changes.  I remember when I was first diagnosed I was greatly involved in spreading awareness and advocacy, each year preparing for the diabetes walk in the spring and constantly finding opportunities to let my peers and community know about type 1 diabetes.  While I still have those goals and desires, I have found ways to put energy into that without losing energy for other things in my life beyond diabetes.  Some may say that's balance.

November is important to note as Diabetes Awareness Month, but part of me wonders what my role can be in this month.  Is my role posting on social media about my diabetes? Is my role correcting those in public that push stereotypes about diabetes?  Is my role to raise money, awareness, create new projects?

I feel that some may feel pressure to push out awareness, when most of us are tired, most of us have been in the diabetes world for awhile now and are running out of steam or inspiration. I think the important thing to remember is that everyone with diabetes deals with diabetes differently. We all find what's comfortable within ourselves and anytime we share our experiences, stories, words of education or wisdom, it comes from a vulnerable place that we are sharing because we want to be heard. That is our part of spreading awareness whether it is November, December, June or July.

For me, this month I will continue to do what I have been doing for awhile now.  I will spend every Thursday evening speaking to teen girls with type 1 diabetes.  I will blog when I have the time and inspiration and I will continue my work that I do on other diabetes platforms. Nothing extra, nothing different, but what I have the energy, comfort and inspiration in doing.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Diabetes on the Internet

Does the internet really help those living with diabetes?  Beyond googling what the carbs are in a milkshake, beyond sending a email to your nurse asking if you should change your basal rates, and beyond responding to your mom via Facebook about how your blood sugars are doing.  Is the internet hurting our understanding of both diabetes and ourselves?

This is a hard question because most of what I do for diabetes is via the internet.   For instance, this very blog, or the type 1 diabetes meme page I started years ago.  I believe that so much good can come from connecting via the internet, because firstly you can reach more people and secondly you can keep connect to those that don't live close to you.  The internet has become our way of dealing with issues and chances are those cute journal books we used to write in, are long gone.

Sometimes I want to delete myself from diabetes related conversations via the internet. I want to shut it all out and focus on what I am dealing with at the moment.  It's hard to take on the burden of others struggles, and then in turn compare them with your own.  Am I worthy of feeling frustrated that they don't understand my point of view? Am I worthy of feeling stressed about my current situation, when theirs seems worse off?  Comparing, consulting, confusing.

A few months ago, I left A LOT of diabetes groups online because I couldn't take it anymore. I felt myself comparing myself to others, I felt myself trying to consult those that I felt were struggling and I was confused at what my place was.  We are all living our own lives, yet rely so much on how others perceive us, good or bad.

I think about my local empowerment group, where we meet in person weekly, interact, share our frustrations and opinions and can't help but think of much of a breath of air that is. Connecting, face to face, and getting to know one another in more ways that what we post via social media.  I want those deep rooted connections, yet I also want to have the platform to express how diabetes has played out in my life.

It's a tug of war trying to find that balance between being an advocate, having a platform, but still stepping back and realizing when this isn't fulfilling my time and I am going to let it go.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It Takes a Village

"I checked to see if you were breathing twice in the night. Once before I had fallen asleep, and the second I woke myself up to check. I looked over and watched the covers raise up and down and I knew you were alright. " 

This isn't something you want your loved one to have to say, but knowing that they did, is both heartwarming and tragic at the same time.

K.S Photography
This past weekend something was in the air, my blood sugars were ridiculously high for a ridiculously long time. Despite a complete change of my site, insulin and the whole shebang, I still was trudging through the brutal highs, feeling less than human with zero patiences and zero ambition. While this is awful for the person dealing with the highs, I'd argue is it pretty brutal for those around the said, high person.   I am sure we, as type 1's with high blood sugar, are nearly impossible to reason with or even speak to without getting us all riled up (for what appears to be no good reason).

The first night of high blood sugars, I must have gotten 5 complete minutes of sleep. I had to visit the bathroom so frequently, I was considering moving my blanket and pillow in there.  I woke up feeling like garbage, and had a breakdown at the grocery store because I couldn't find macaroni salad for a party we were going to.  I literally had zero energy and felt like I was walking in a weird fog.  I was checking my blood sugars and watching them barely budge, it would go down a few and then up another couple a few hours later. Like an awful teeter-totter that I just couldn't get off.

I once again changed my site, and new insulin and checked frequently until it was time to go to sleep.  Mike asked if I should stay up, but I knew that that meant staying up for awhile, there was no way insulin was going to drop my 28 mmol/L blood sugar within the next 30 minutes. For anyone that has had a long period of high blood sugars,  knows that your 'care' begins to slowly float away. I just wanted to sleep, I was pissed off at my diabetes and I was done dealing with it.

Thankfully, Mike was not done with dealing with it. He was worried, and checked on me in the night.  It hit me in the morning (when Mike said he had checked if I was breathing) that it takes a village to take care of one person's diabetes.  When we feel like we literally cannot, someone can and most importantly, someone will.


Monday, September 18, 2017


It’s always a good thing when you realize that your diabetes supplies simply fit into your lifestyle as though someone had kept that in mind (which I am sure they do!). For those that live with type 1 diabetes, the battle of having to remember, carry and use your diabetes supplies can be hard when you’re the type of person that is busy or just never stays in one spot!

Having a meter that is small, yet packs powerful technology is not only convenient but in my opinion an absolute must. The CONTOUR® NEXT ONE by Ascensia proves that you can have it all. A meter small enough to stick in your pocket to avoid feeling like you have to lug around extra weight. It is also a meter that connects to your smart phone so you can easily view your results in a hurry and later analyze them to understand your blood sugar trends. How impressive would that be to bring to your doctor's appointment or better yet, to email to your doctor in advance? Finally, it is also a meter that uses smart light technology, which alerts you through the flash of a coloured light whether your blood sugar in in range.

For those like me that are constantly running around, this meter is the perfect way to keep yourself on track with testing your blood sugar and to be able to later review your blood sugar results via an app on your smart phone.

Learn more about the Ascensia CONTOUR® NEXT ONE at

This post was sponsored by Ascensia Diabetes Care Canada Inc., but the thoughts are my own.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cheers to the Best Friend Who Has Seen it All!

A good friend knows all your best stories. A best friend has lived them with you! 

Girard Photography

For those of us that find a best friend in life, we know the value of having that special person. As we get older, we grow more and more appreciation for this person as you realize just how much of an important role they've played in your life and continue to play, through not only the good, but also the painful moments.

I am lucky. I am lucky that I found my best friend in my late teens, just a couple years before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, before the really, really bad breakups and before the more positive things in my life, graduating, moving into my own home, getting my puppy and of course now as I embark on the next chapter of my life, marriage!  I am happy because this person has gotten me through all these moments, good and bad, she has been there right beside me. 

For those that have followed my blog since the beginning, you will recognize the name, Michelle.  That is because she literally has embraced every moment of this journey I am on.  She walked the diabetes walks,  she sat in the audience during my speeches, she's carried glucose tabs in her purse and she's fed me while I was on the floor in a really bad low.  She was there when I was first diagnosed and she continues to be supportive in all that I do.  I know, as my maid of honour, she will likely being bolusing, treating and checking in on me on my wedding day. 

For those of us with any kind of illness, we know that it can be hard sometimes to find the time for friends, or to keep up friendships. Showing your appreciation for those that have seen it all, is so incredibly important.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Diabetes & The Dress

My Wedding Dress Shopping Entourage at Sophie's (KW)
I always envisioned where this blog would follow me.  I knew that eventually I would be blogging about diabetes and getting married, but it feels so wild to be here, right now in this moment talking about it all. It's really happening! I'm getting married!

My stress levels have been fairly minimal, the odd thing I will get caught up in, and stress about, but eventually it rolls off my back and I am feeling O.K.  My blood sugars react to stress like glue to paper so, I know that once my stress begins, managing my diabetes becomes even harder.  And, to be honest, sometimes I have neglected to even worry about my blood sugars because I am so caught up in my other things to do. Finding balance has always been hard for me. I have a hard time evenly spacing my attention on diabetes and all else that goes on.

My pump has been on my mind, as I started looking for outfits for various occasions, engagement party, bridal showers etc.  I always think, Where will my pump go?  How will I get access to it when I need it?

For our engagement photos, I simply just sat my pump aside for the photoshoot because I knew that some way, some how that pump was going to make an appearance and I felt like I didn't want anything of this shoot to remind me of my diabetes (not because I don't like that part of me, but because diabetes IS always there, and I felt like this was an opportunity to have a moment to celebrate myself and Mike) PLUS, we may or may not have gotten a bit wet in the lake, so I didn't want to risk breaking my pump.

The ultimate test of wearability with the pump came with trying on WEDDING DRESSES! First of all, I was so excited that I thought my blood sugar was low and had to test before even going into the store. My nerves were all over, jumping with excitement at a moment every girl dreams of doing.  I sat my pump aside as I pulled on the beautiful dresses one by one, not worrying about where my pump would fit into the equation. Just enjoying every moment of wearing something so beautiful.

It wasn't until I said YES TO THE DRESS  that I acknowledged, I will have to make room for the insulin pump as I see fit.   As much as you don't want to have to worry about diabetes in all these amazing life moments, it has to happen, however,  it doesn't have to take away from the experience!


Friday, July 14, 2017

That Guilt

I can't be the only one who sometimes feels like it's too hard to focus on one thing without neglecting the others.  It seems to come and go, that motivation to perfect a certain aspect of your life whether that's your tidiness around your home or your blood sugars - it truly is hard to do it all.

Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty - I should be checking more, I should be running more often, I should do be better.  That guilt sits on my mind heavy as I embark each day promising myself, I'll check more, I'll sort through my closet, and I will get that task done today.  Each night thinking about what I set out to do and didn't even come close to accomplishing or even worse, what I didn't even TRY to accomplish.

As a person living with a chronic condition, it can be hard to not feel guilty about your own health 24/7.   With diabetes, I am constantly being put on a scale, by myself each time I check my blood sugar and see a number flashing back at me.  While that number represents a moment in time, for me, it sometimes serves as a reminder that I should have made better food choices, I should have checked sooner than later and a reminder that this stuff is hard.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Maybe You Were Having a Bad Month

"Maybe you were just having a bad month..."

Yesterday I had my endocrinologist appointment and I was looking forward to going because my a1c was the best it had been in forever and I had been wearing a CGM for the past couple months, so I knew that when my pump was uploaded, a beautiful graph was going to be printed.  I continue to work hard at managing my diabetes with the idea in mind of future family planning, my own personal health and just feeling GOOD.

As usual, while waiting in the doctor's office I hear the knock followed by, "Hi my name is _______ and I am a resident."  I am used to the whole spiel and even though I want to just see my own doctor and get out of the office and on with my day, I go through the whole process where they ask you a lot of questions, try to wrap their head around type 1's and our desire to get really into our own health matters - and me ultimately wanting to yell I am the CAPTAIN NOW! 

I wanted to bring up my thyroid test because previous blood work showed it was elevated, but the most recent blood work it was back within range. I was curious to ask my own doctor about it but brought it up so that it was written down in the Resident's notes (that I assume she relays to the doctor).  I also wanted to mention that I sometimes feel anxious but haven't for a couple months and was unsure if it was due to the thyroid or not.  I have never brought up that I was anxious to any doctor, frankly, I was anxious about saying I was anxious. 

Then I hear it straight from the residents mouth,

"Maybe you were just having a bad month..."

With a quick sentence the topic of anxiety was brushed off the table like nothing was said. I was back to where I started, why did I even mention it?

In my head I instantly thought, a bad month? 

If I broke my leg could I credit that to a bad month?

If my blood sugars were constantly high, could I credit that to a bad month?

If I had constant headaches, could I credit that to a bad month?

Are heart attacks, asthma attacks, insomnia, seizures, strokes... all due to bad months?

When will this discussion become serious? When will they listen?


Monday, May 29, 2017


Diabetes is about numbers and not always the obvious ones.

It's about the number of juice boxes you wake up to after a night of lows.

The number of minutes it takes away from your day, distracted by numbers of carbs, blood sugars and site changes.

It's about the number of times you've passively said, "I'm Okay" when you feel like screaming inside.

The number of dollars spent on test strips, lancets, and vials of insulin.

It's each number of tears you've cried, pats on the back and the number of times you kept going when you thought you couldn't anymore.

Diabetes is about numbers and not always the obvious ones.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

He Asked, I Answered!

Something I love about this blog is being able to see in words how my life has balanced itself out.  To see those moments when I felt completely defeated, or those moments where I was over the moon with excitement.

I have documented my first week of diagnosis, to my celebrations of diaversaries.  I have detailed my trials and tribulations though College and University and breathed a sense of accomplishment when I completed both my diploma and my degree. I have documented the fears and challenges I faced while training and eventually climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and I have shared my gratitude for those fellow type 1's I have met along the way. I have shared my heartbreak during tough times in my life when relationships ended and family or friends had passed on. I have opened up my life story, one chapter at a time, diabetes related or not.

Today, I add a new chapter by announcing my engagement to my beloved Mike.  He came into my life in 2014 and we decided on forever May 22nd 2017. With this comes so much excitement as planning a wedding and being a bride has been on my mind since I was young.  Mike has been one of my biggest supporters in all of my endeavors, including diabetes.

He has been there through my highs and lows, he has picked up my numerous empty juice boxes, rocket packages and test strips and he knows that while diabetes is not easy on either of us, we both can make it manageable and work along side it along our journey together.

I am ecstatic, and so happy to see this chapter unfold.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Blog Week 2017: More Than Diabetes

More Than Diabetes 

Let's wrap up the week by sharing a little more about ourselves, beyond the chronic illness we or our loved ones live with.  Share an interest, hobby, passion, something that is YOU.  If you want to explore how it relates to or helps with diabetes you can.   Or let it be a part of you that is completely separate from diabetes, because there is more to life than just diabetes! 

Stepping back from diabetes, what is my passion?  I love to write, which I am sure isn't a surprise.  I love to create.  Whether that involves writing or not, I am passionate about creating something that doesn't exist, or at least taking something that exists and recreating it in my own way or fashion.  Mike laughs at me because anytime I am about to bake, I have the recipe up on my laptop screen, but I rarely ever follow it. "I am going to just figure it out..." I love to see what I can do on my own without having to rely on anything else.  I think that's how a lot of my ideas evolve even within the diabetes community. I am a go-getter. 

I am also passionate about my dog, which I am sure is also a given.  I have so much love for him and other shihtzu's - seriously.  I grew up with a dog from grade 6 onwards, and when I moved out on my own and finished University, after a really crappy breakup, I decided to get my own.  Cola, has been my absolute life-line and stress reliever. 

I love helping in the community and being apart of something.  I am passionate about helping others and going out there to make sure everything is just perfect. I am incredibly detail oriented so party planning, gift giving, all of that stuff, is totally my thing.  My friends and family know that I am the one to go to when looking to organize an event.  I am a planner and I am passionate about planning, and curating things just so.  My brother laughed at me recently because I said, "in my next life I think I will go to school to be a prop/set designer" he responded with, "look she's even planning her afterlife." 

Diabetes is obviously a huge part of my life and of course when people ask my passion I often respond with 'DIABETES ADVOCACY" But when it comes down to it, I do have many passions, loves and hobbies that I incorporate into my diabetes and how I cope and handle with the card I have been dealt. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blog Week 2017: What Brings Me Down

What Brings Me Down 

 May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

Living with diabetes is hard.  It is harder than I ever thought it would be.   When I was diagnosed I tried to just be as brave as I could. I accepted that this was the new normal.  The odd time I would get stressed out or feel defeated, but before I knew it I was picking myself up again and carrying on as if nothing was wrong.  I did this for a long time, a real long time. Forgetting that part of taking care of myself, was mentally and I was failing hard.

I wanted to be the 'inspirational' helper in the diabetes community and I didn't want to have to rely on anyone else to help me be that person.  I didn't want to tell anyone that I was struggling just as much as they were. I wanted to appear calm and collected.  At my diabetes appointments, each time I'd promise myself, this time you're going to tell them that you're stressed out, that you think you have mild anxiety and that the passing of your uncle, who had type 1 really bothered you and effected the way you saw your own diagnosis. But, each time I left the appointment to scared to say a thing. I would think, "this appointment is going too well, I don't want to kill the mood with my problems." 

I have been an advocate for people to seek help, speak to others, share their feelings, join together and be brave, yet I was doing the opposite for myself. I was leaving everything inside and the pot would soon begin to bubble over at the foot of my bed one night, or at my cousins wedding when I had just one too many tequila shots.  This was my reality that I was keeping so quiet just to save face.

But, I have learned that I am not alone in my struggle. That many people with diabetes or not, are overwhelmed and over worked.  We spend so much time trying to please others and make things aesthetically pleasing that we forget about taking care of ourselves. 

Take insulin, carb count, keep your weight stable or lose a few pounds. Lower your a1c, make sure you get your blood work done. Don't forget to log your blood sugars.  Pack some low supplies, don't drive low. Change your site and your battery too. Leave some juice boxes beside your bed. Change your basals, bolus for dinner....

but also breathe.

Just take time to breathe and to find that person, that something, that thing you want to lean on, talk to, take a break with.  Just don't forget about what is inside that needs attention. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Blog Week 2017: The Blame Game

The Blame Game

Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger.  Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!

I have had both good and bad experiences of blame.  I have left appointments feeling empowered and also left appointments in tears.  When a person living with diabetes goes into an appointment, they know that every little thing they have done in the past two weeks to manage their diabetes is going to be combed through. They know that they will have to give explanations, justifications and reasonings.  For someone who has been doing fairly well with management, this isn't as much of a worry. For those that are struggling - which is a reality for most, this appointment can be very difficult. 

I know exactly the moment that I decided I needed to change my care.  I was feeling the 'blame' and was only a couple years into my diagnosis.  I felt as if I was getting feedback but was not getting support.   I felt threatened that if I did not take care of myself, I was going to lose it all. My privilege of having an insulin pump would disappear and it would be up to me to get my act together.

If I could re create the conversation between health care provider and myself I'd make it something like this:

"We understand that you are living a busy life with school, your social life and diabetes. Please let us know if there is any way we can support your in your diabetes management so that we can help you get to a better place both physically and mentally with your diabetes." 

It is only a couple sentences but those couple sentences would have changed my experience.  The number one thing I hear from people living with diabetes is that they wish their health care provided saw them as a whole person and not just diabetes.  We get busy, we struggle, we feel defeated - but that does not mean that we do not care about our diabetes. We need support. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blog Week 2017: The Cost of a Chronic Illness

The Cost of a Chronic Illness - Tuesday 5/16

Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly.  Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage.  So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care.  Do you have advice to share?  For those outside the US, is cost a concern?  Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?

This topic is hard to discuss because as a person who lives outside the U.S my situation is much different than say someone living in the United States or a third world country where insulin, medical care and supplies are a much different situation.  When it comes down to it, people living with diabetes need affordable and accessible medication and care. No if, ands or buts!  I have had the opportunity to speak with many people living in all parts of the world that do not have access to insulin, or proper medical care to deal with their diabetes.  I have met people just across the border that are paying 10x the price I pay for my very same insulin vial.  I have met people who have to walk miles to just get their blood sugar tested.

I am grateful for the care and access I get in Canada, but it is not perfect.  I am still out of pocket for my insulin and test strips, because I am self employed.  However, my expense is not enough for me to feel 'ripped off' or 'unlucky.' I am grateful that I can go to any drug store in my city and purchase insulin, and test strips. Do I think they should be covered by the government? Absolutely. Do I think that everyone living with diabetes despite their location should have this right? Absolutely.   

Without fair priced insulin/test strips, people with diabetes may not survive this disease that is otherwise manageable. For anyone thinking that people with diabetes deserve to pay the price of their own lives is ridiculous. You know the phrase, "the cost of an arm & leg?" to someone living with diabetes this could be a reality.  This is not fair. 

I try to avoid politics because that is not where I find my fit in the diabetes community, but following along with blog week, those are my two cents!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Blog Week 2017: Diabetes and The Unexpected

Diabetes and The Unexpected 

Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random.  What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?  Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected? 

Living with diabetes for over eight years now it is amazing to see how habits form and also fade.  Of course when we are first diagnosed we tend to be right on top of things, and we are incredibly prepared for the unexpected because frankly, everything is unexpected at that point.  As we make our way along the path of diabetes,  there still are moments of unexpectedness, and we expect that... if that makes sense.  We know we aren't going to be on the ball 100%, there will be defeat and times where we think, "ugh, I should have known this would happen!" 

I am not always prepared, in fact I say these things a lot:

"I am low and having nothing on me..."

"I forgot my pump..."

and "my site ripped out and I didn't bring an extra one."

Honestly, my tip is to have a friend, whether that is a boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, mother, father, neighbour, whoever, someone that can help remind you of these little things that we sometimes forget to do. Albeit it's annoying sometimes to have someone remind you about these things, we have to appreciate that they're looking out for us, especially if we tell them we need that help. 

This friend can also lend that support when the unexpected happens, they can reassure you, help you, guide you or just be there for you.  This can be via text or in person.   If we forget something, if something happens, it's good to have someone to lean on. 


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Disneyland 10K

In the late summer I started to run. I started to run because I wanted to try something new.  Shortly after realizing that I really did enjoy running, I signed up for a Disneyland 10K run. I had heard about Disney runs before and thought how cool would it be to run in Disneyland, so I added it to my bucket list! Skip forward nine months and here we are, a day after the Disneyland 10K run and already thinking, hmm what Disney run can I sign up for next.

On May 13th at 3:30 a.m we put on our green sparkly tutu's, wings and neon green tank tops and headed into Disneyland with zero idea of what we had signed up for.  I hardly slept, not only because I had to get up so early but I was starting to worry about the run and if I was going to be able to do it (look up the Disney Sweeper Bus). I also was trying to figure out what I should do about my blood sugars.

6 mile mark! 
The run was incredibly exciting. The crowd was excited and dressed up, Lost Boys, Tinker-Bells, Captain Hooks even someone dressed as a giant churro! We were in the second last corral so we watched as the people in front of us dashed through the start line, by the time it got to us, we had a running start and began running through the backside of Disney then throughout both Disney parks, looped back around and finished near the Disney Hotels.

This whole week that we have been on vacation I have been going low, I assume because of a few things, time change, weather, food choices and activity level.  I was running low before bed but knew I'd be up at 3:00 a.m, so I decided to have two Twizzlers without bolusing, hoping that I could prevent a low in the night.

My CGM just after I finished the run!
Of course eating Twizzlers without taking insulin back fired and my blood sugars spiked higher than it had all week. My blood sugars ran high until about half way through my race.  I had set a temp basal at 120% while we waited in the park, then ended up trending low near the end. Once I was alerted my blood sugar was dropping, I suspended my pump to bring it up a bit.  I ate a few rockets along the way just to keep it from going down any further because that was also a huge fear of mine.Thankfully, I finished with a blood sugar of 4.7! I was happy that my blood sugars and cooperated and I was super excited that I had finished the race!


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Packing List

Traveling with diabetes can be nerve wracking, but packing is even worse.  Not only do you have to remember to pack your life-saving medications and 'equipment', you also have to make sure you have enough.  Depending on how long you're going away for, the only way I measure up, is by doubling most of my supplies.  So, if I am going for a week, I'd bring 6-10 sensors rather than 3-5.  This will make up for a site that fails, falls off etc.   When it comes to packing with diabetes it is better safe than sorry!

I've compiled a list of all the things I pack when traveling with diabetes:

+ Insulin

+ Insulin Cold Pack (to keep insulin cool) 

+ Test Strips (double, even triple the amount I use)

+ Insulin Pump 

+ Sites (double, even triple the amount)

+ Syringes

+ Meter (and an extra one)

+ Lancet Device and Lancets (and an extra one)

+ Low Supplies

+ Spare Pump (Travel Loaner Pump)

+ Batteries for Pump

+ CGM Sensors/Transmitter 

+ SkinTac, Adhesives, Remover, Tape & Alcohol Swabs

In the past I have gotten things like doctors notes because depending on where you plan to travel, explaining all your equipment and medications may be difficult and easier presented with a formal note. All of these things are obviously incredibly important to remember to bring along with you because you do not want to get stuck having to try and purchase them in the country or place you're travelling to.  You also want to try and think of different situations that may or may not happen, but there is a possibility they could. I hate to think the worst, but it's better to be over prepared with diabetes.


Friday, May 5, 2017

All the STUFF!

Living with diabetes requires having a lot of STUFF. It isn't a prescription that sits in the cupboard, but a whole slew of things that hide in your fridge, purse, bed side table and your pockets.  I wanted to cover some of the non-medical things that people with diabetes may/may not use and how those things can be unique and catered to you!

* Quick note I was am not sponsored by any of these products in this post so any products listed are just things that I've found along the way, and may or may not own or use *

1.  Medic Alert Bracelet 

Poppy Medical 
This is one of those things across the board that most people living with chronic illnesses or allergies had/have at some point.  When I was first diagnosed we signed up right away and got that standard silver chain bracelet that on the back said, "Type 1 Diabetes" carved into it.  Now though, there are so many pretty bracelets and necklaces out there!  If you wear a medic alert bracelet, you know it's on you 24/7 and finding one that suits you, and that you actually don't mind wearing is so important!  This is yours, this is your style and your life - what kind of bracelet do you want?

2. Diabetes Bag 

Test strips, meter, lancet, candies, alcohol swabs, extra site, syringe, insulin vial .... where do you keep all these things you have to carry on you? Most meters come with a plain black case, and honestly, I almost always ditch it and stick to a bag that I don't mind carrying around with me.  I think this is a fun way to make not-so-fun contents seem fun.   You know this bag is going to make public appearances, you know this bag is going to be on you all the time, so go and find a bag that suits you, that you don't mind flaunting!

3. Glucose Tabs 

Dex Tabs
How many times did you end up with a flavour you didn't prefer?  For me, that would be orange... but regardless, this is something you have to attempt to eat while already feeling awful.   Some people with diabetes prefer juice boxes over tabs, or candy over tabs, whatever that may be, this is something you can pick with your taste buds in mind, your willingness to grab that grape juice box, or those skittles is important!  Pick something that works and doesn't leave you gagging.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to Negate Diabetes Comments

Everyone has an opinion. When it comes to living with diabetes I have heard it all. These comments may come with positive intentions? Maybe.  Or they may come at you with disapproval.  We cannot change the things people say. People are going to say whatever they THINK they should say and that is how it is. However, we can change the way we perceive these comments and how we decide to either hold onto them or set them free (and on fire).

Let's begin!

You Do Not Need to Prove Yourself 

Once I was at a diner and was enjoying my breakfast which was french toast with maple syrup (totally my favourite, for anyone that wants to make me breakfast.) I was enjoying this breakfast, I was with someone I knew and their friend and as I am taking a bite, the friend looks at me and says, "I don't think you should be eating that with your diabetes."  I finished my bite with anger and began to go ahead and explain why I could eat that french toast and even after that, it was as if she didn't believe my answer. I was mad. Sometimes it isn't worth an explanation.  

YOU do not need to prove yourself. YOU do not need to spend time talking about your health if YOU do not want to.  Testing your blood sugar, giving yourself insulin, eating your food does not invite conversation about your health if you do not want it to. 

Keep it Light 

"I heard this diet really helps lower blood sugars." 

"I heard there is a doctor in China that can cure diabetes."

We have HEARD about it, trust us. We heard about the cinnamon, the shakes, the doctors, we have heard it all.   People by nature want to connect, they want to bring something to the table and honestly, I get that.  The issue is that for people living with diabetes, diabetes is always at our table.  If the topic comes up (it likely will) try not to be offended, but rather accept their 'advice' and move forward. Keep it super light and don't engage in an argument.   All it takes is one snarky remark back on Facebook to begin a chain reaction of negativity that will haunt you all night long. 

Plan Your Out 

Lastly, I want to circle back to what we hold onto and what we let go.   It is easier said than done to walk away from a conversation and think, I am not going to let any of that bother me.  If you're anything like me, you replay conversations in your head. 

"Why did I say that?" 

"Why didn't I say something?" 

"Why did they say that to me?" 

The truth is, we can't turn that off.  But, we can actively try to find ways to get out of those conversations or turn them around.   I do a lot of stuff in the diabetes community, so a lot of my experiences are based on my diabetes and diabetes in general - something I personally don't mind.  It's more so the repetition of explaining myself that can become overwhelming.   Think of situations you've already been in, and think about what fed that conversation.  Think of ways you could have switched gears....

"speaking of food, have you tried that new pizza place!"

"speaking of spells that cure things, have you read the Harry Potter Books?"

"speaking of the witch doctor in India, have you ever travelled there?" 

Okay, maybe those were awful conversation suggestions, but I trust you will find a way to negate those diabetes comments! 


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Don't Compare on Social Media

Note: Don't compare yourself to others on social media.  

That is way easier to write than to actually put forward.  I know that in general I am always trying to compare my life to others, and by others I mean people on instagram that I have literally not even met.  I want to be as thin as them, I want to have a glowing tan like them and I want to have a house that overlooks my boat floating in the ocean, but guess what?  None of this makes sense.  I can take a perfect picture of my life, but I cannot tell you that my life is perfect.

This goes for diabetes.  There are countless instagram accounts for people living with diabetes.  These people are real people, I know a lot of these people in person and guess what? They take amazing photos, they engage my attention and they're all really great people in person and online.  But, the thing is, we only see what they want to share and when I say we, I am including myself.  My perfect CGM graph is a moment in time, it's not always showing the endless highs that resemble mountain peaks or the wrappers beside my bedside table.

That being said, most people living with diabetes on instagram tend to have a great balance of the highs and lows (I went there..) and that is awesome. It shows those that are struggling that it's okay to struggle and it also reminds us to celebrate our successes, such as straight lines on our CGM graphs or a perfect site change.

What's important to remember is that everyone has their battles, everyone has their faults and flaws and we cannot let social media discourage us. Rather, let us embrace social media and remind us that while we are all facing battles we are also celebrating those moments together.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Making Waves

I remember sitting in the hospital, in their common room which was filled with well-loved toys and the sound of cartoons playing on the small t.v in the corner. I was on the Pediatric floor although I would be turning 19 within a few short months. I had visitors come in and out and doctors and nurses popping in to check up, give insulin and draw blood. No one talked about insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors, they just went through the process of teaching me how to give insulin and how to check my blood sugars.

I  do recall my Uncle saying to me while I was in this common room, "one day they will have a watch that tells you what your blood sugar is," and I thought that that was such a weird concept. Wearing something that told me what my blood sugar was? But, this technology was very real, and it was already thought of, it was making waves but the wave just hadn't hit the shore yet.

Now, you can wear a watch to tell you what your blood sugar is, and you can have various devices giving you this information with beautifully lit screens and graphs, all becoming so popular and almost a standard of care eight years after my diagnosis.  I have met two newly diagnosed adults who within a month of diagnosis were put on continuous glucose monitors, a tool that will benefit their management so much.  I imagine what it would have been like to have the opportunity to do the same. Would I have understood what was going on better? Would I have been less disappointed in the random highs and lows because I could have seen them coming? I imagine those that were diagnosed say, 20, 30 years prior to my diagnosis and what they think of the new technology.  I imagine it is like my grandparents when they realized we could communicate via internet.

Now the next step is giving this opportunity to all that would love to have it. It would be great to see continuous glucose monitoring become apart of how we treat diabetes and as someone living in Ontario, I would love to see it covered alongside the insulin pump.  This technology has so much potential in making life easier and for those living with diabetes.