Thursday, August 27, 2015

To the D-Parents

Okay, wow, a whole summer has basically passed and I didn't write a THING! I mean, I have been writing things, but nothing on this blog.  I feel as though this blog sort of fell to the wayside and I do want to attempt to bring it back and bring myself to write at least a couple times a week again.

So here we go, what made me think about my own personal blog was a new diabetes thought I had today.  You see, I have now had diabetes for six years and while there are a ton of bloggers out there that write on the subject of diabetes, I somewhat felt like I was running out of original thoughts.  While I am constantly talking/doing diabetes, the thoughts and ideas aren't always new... in fact diabetes is so repetitive I cannot believe I have built this much content. But, the truth of the matter is there are always new moments of learning and exploring with diabetes; therefore, the subjects truly are unlimited.

The thought came after spending the night with one of the little girls that I nanny. She also has type 1 diabetes as I have mentioned before.    Now, I spend roughly nine hours a day with her, so looking after her and her diabetes (and mine) has never really been an issue.  While sometimes I feel incredibly sad for her, such as if I have to put a site on her, most of the time, we try to be both upbeat about our diabetes and I don't see her any different that any other child.

When she came over for a sleepover, I knew what I was getting into. She has slept over before, so I am fully aware of alarms, juice-boxes and a bright and a cheery 7 a.m wake up call, "WAKEY, WAKEY" as she says.   But, what I  didn't realize was how exhausting it is to care for both a type 1 child and my type 1 self at the same time - at night. You see, diabetes doesn't really care what time it is.  In fact, I actually think diabetes knows when it's a bad time and that's when it makes sure it rears it's foot at your butt.  

Last night I went low once, and she went low three times. THREE TIMES.  So, no big deal, wake up from the buzzing noise of the Dexcom, grab a juice-box I lined up on the bed side, and she literally does not wake up, but she will sip that juice-box empty, eyes closed, like a champ.   We did this three times, plus, my solo low treatment that unfortunately I cannot remain asleep for.   Looking at her sweet face sipping away at the juice box (three times) made me sad.  It made me realize that millions of children out there will never know what it's like to have to drink three boxes of juice a night, or get pricked at midnight, miss gym class, receive a needle 4+ times a day in the belly...and while that's good that they will never know, I wish she didn't have to know.

Needless to say, with waking up four times from lows, and two times to go the bathroom (#diabeticproblems) I was exhausted in the morning and so was she (despite her WAKEY WAKEY good morning sentiment)  I wanted to tell her mom that she deserved an award.   How in the world does she do it every night?  Yes, I am a type 1 myself and I probably never get a good sleep, but I think it's so different.   Not saying one is worse than the other, they're both hard. But, having to worry about your child 24/7, knowing that there are going to be issues, having to watch their sweet little faces sip mindlessly on juiceboxes at 4 a.m. HOW!

While I have always felt so strongly about how awesome parents of type 1's are...I am going to say, I gained the upmost respect for them as well. So, type 1 parents pat yourself on the back, grab a large cup of coffee, treat yourself to a day at the spa while the kids are back to school, you all deserve it!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Making Changes

I was tired. I was tired and bored.  I had spent countless hours swiping down on my iPhone peeking into the lives of others and feeling awful about my own. But why? I have a beautifully decorated apartment of my own, I have the cutest little shihtzu, an amazing boyfriend who wants to travel the world with me and I have a job that helps me pay the bills. I have many more things that I am thankful for, yet here I am scrolling through feeling awful. Pulling at the fat on my stomach, crying about how I wish my hair looked a certain way and getting angry with myself for missing my workout.  

What I began to realize was that the habits I had gotten into were eating me alive. Seriously, attacking myself.  I was wishing to be like other people, yet wanting to be myself and what I needed to realize was that instagram isn't real life.   People don't take a picture of their crappy days and if they do, they filter it in a way to make it look beautiful. And it's not just instagram that was turning me into a psycho but, a lot of other habits.

I decided for the sanity of both M and myself, I was going to make some changes and make them quick.

So here they are,

For the month of June because committing to forever is asking to fail. Also, it may seem like a lot of changes at once, however, I climbed Kilimanjaro, I think I can handle a few tasks (at least that's what I tell myself)

Limit Phone Use: I will seriously be on Facebook on my phone and on my laptop at the same time. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?   I don't want to be holding my phone all the time. I don't want it near me all the time.   I forgot to bring my phone with me this morning and although I missed the music I have on it when I was at the gym, I loved not having it.   So, while I know it's not safe to not have a phone on me, I am going to attempt to neglect my phone unless it rings, I need to take a picture, or I get a text, if I want to go on Facebook/Instagram, I have to get my laptop.

Limit Social Media:  This is difficult because I use social media both in a personal and business way. However, I don't need to spend half my day looking on instagram or facebook.  I want to stop checking it when I wake up.  Why do I care what so-and-so uploaded last night?

Check Blood Sugar Way More: I admit, I fall in and out of diabetes care.  I neglect my diabetes when I feel like I have no control over it, which for anyone with diabetes, it's easy to feel that way. However, this is common sense, but we often forget, if we check more, we do better.  Knowing what our blood sugar actually is, is better than any guesstimate. I want to be checking every time I eat.  I told M that if he sees me eating, and I haven't checked, he needs to tell me to check.

Drink Way More Water: Somedays I don't drink any water. WHAT? I know.  So, I am trying to make an effort to drink more water. I am not setting a number out there, but just the idea of drinking more water.  When I am thirsty I am going to drink water, when I am hungry, I am going to drink water, when I am bored, I am going to drink water.  Water.

Only Drink Diet Coke When I Am Out: This one is sad. Considering I named my dog after the popular soft drink, Coca-Cola, giving up some diet coke, isn't easy.  So, the goal is to not buy diet coke...which is also hard because the vending machine in my building has diet coke. But, regardless, the only time I should be sipping diet coke is when I am out.

Eat Mainly Unboxed Foods: Fruits and veggies, anything that isn't in those middle aisles.  I recently started reading the Undiet and I just ordered a copy of my own so I can finish it. I read up to Chapter 4 and I am totally inspired, but have a ton to learn about the food we eat. I honestly, love eating and love bad food - I cannot lie.  However, I also like good food, but rarely choose it. So, the plan is to have only good food lurking around, so I don't sabotage myself. They just build a Farm Boy down the road and I plan to use that as my go-to to buy fresh food for the week.

Don't Waste: I am so bad for this. So BAD! I always fall for the 2 for $6.00 or 5 for $10.00 tricks that supermarkets do.  I don't need 5 bags so why am I buying 5? I actually am the worst for buying things in twos, I do this with clothing as well.  I don't know why?  But I waste a lot of food and money and I am tired of throwing out 20 yogurts at a time.  So, I plan to plan for the week and not overbuy.

Use Affirmations: Somedays, I feel gorgeous, other days I feel like a hot mess.  M is constantly reassuring me how beautiful I am and I fail to see what he sees.  However, I plan to write out some great affirmations on sticky notes and stick them to my mirror. My only concern upon doing this, is that I will get stressed about the way it looks, so I may have to think of another alternative (I am a very particular person, can you tell?)

When In Doubt Go Out: Right now, I spend a lot of time at home because I do not work during the day (this will change come next month) I get pretty bored and usually watch Dr.Phil for hours (that is why Cola's obsessed with Dr. Phil)   However, every time I take Cola down to go the bathroom, I feel better. Fresh air and an escape from the apartment is what I usually need to kick start a better and more clear mind.  So, when I feel bored or stressed I am going to go out, step outside (even if it's on my patio) and clear my mind. I want to visit more libraries and starbucks patios to work on projects I have in mind, and spend less time watching the distress people are having on a talk show.

Focus On One Day at a Time: I am a planner.  My wedding is pretty much planned and I am not engaged.  I am constantly looking at trips online for the future and I stress about things that are months away.  But, I really want to start looking at each day as its own and focus on what I can do to make that day great and not worry about tomorrow, or next Thursday or next winter.  Focus on myself and how I feel today.

So that's that! I am going to really be focusing on these, and if you want to partake in any, feel free!

I am excited to see how things can readjust and focus and maybe these are all actions I can maintain for longer than 31 days!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Just Ask!

The other day I went out for brunch and to skip all the intimate details, I will go straight to the point.  I had gotten french toast, because I hardly ever treat myself and when I asked for sugar-free syrup and the told me that they didn't have any - I didn't fret, I just knew I would bolus for the regular syrup.   After all I am eating french toast...why not add a few more units of insulin to the mix.  One of the people at my table then told me that I shouldn't be eating what I was eating because I have diabetes. While, I smiled politely and explained that I have insulin (crazy right?) and the insulin will cover the food that I am eating; therefore, within reason I can eat whatever I want... similar to ANY OTHER HUMAN.  The rest of the conversation went pretty much downhill because this person knew more about diabetes than I did and isn't that frustrating!

I know this happens on a daily basis to everyone living with any form of diabetes. I don't really let it bother me, although I am sure this is coming off as it is.  I just am more so baffled that there are so many diabetes experts out there that don't bother to get their MD, like come on! If you're an expert, then surely you should be a doctor and a researcher and an author, and please while you're at it, find the cure!

In a way I want to blanket statement it, I AM HUMAN, I DO HUMAN THINGS.  Like the whole Jenner interview and the conversations that come with that, we are all human and while some of us have limitations or prefer something that isn't the 'norm' then who cares? why do we assume things for others? Why can't I just know, yes maple syrup has lots of sugar, but don't worry I have insulin.   It doesn't matter what others are doing unless it's affecting you directly.

The biggest lesson of this is to just ask. If you're curious, just ask.  Don't assume that someone can or can't do something. Don't assume that someone is okay or someone is unhappy. Don't assume that the person needs help or doesn't need help.  It's so easy to ask questions, "How do you count carbs?" "What is an insulin pump?"  "What does high or low blood sugar mean?"   JUST ASK!

And to answer some of the questions I have gotten in my diabetes lifetime here we go:

"Can you eat that?" Yes, I can eat anything that you can eat. I just have to work my pancreas manually, while yours is automatic.

"What do you feel like when you have low blood sugar?" Everyone can feel different and sometimes it varies for me as well. But usually, I feel shaky, hungry, faint, and I sweat a lot.

"Do you take insulin when you're low or high?" I take insulin 24/7 but that is complicated to explain without hand gestures.  However, when I eat or my blood sugar is high, I take insulin. When my blood sugar is low I eat something.

"Were you born with diabetes?" Not that I know of? I wasn't diagnosed until I was eighteen, but I am type 1. I know, I know the 'juvenile diabetes' wording is confusing.

"Do you wear the pump all the time?"  Yes!  Except when I am showering or swimming, or if I take it off to change and forget it on my bed, go to Walmart, do some shopping then realize I forgot it.   But yes, all the time.

"Do you have the bad kind of diabetes?"Okay, this is one of those questions that I believe comes from the heart, but when it exits the mouth it becomes a hot mess.   I have been asked this countless times, and that's okay, at least it's a question and not a statement.  I don't know what kind of diabetes is bad, all of them? I have all kinds of diabetes.

"Have you had a low blood sugar or high blood sugar before?" Nope, never, I'm perfect. KIDDING. Oh my, when I get this question, I can't help but laugh.  Some people will call it an episode, or go real deep and ask if you've ever been in a coma.   I think those who only know of people with type 2 diabetes, or they are of the older, super old generation, they think high blood sugar is insane, like anything over 12.   So, when you say things like, "my blood sugar was 20!" which is ridiculous but, as a type 1, not insane, old people freak out. (Like my Grandma...)

"Did you get surgery for the pump?" One time I was at the dentist, mouth open with tools plucking at my teeth and the dentist was talking about MY diabetes to the dental assistant.  She said that, "Kayla got surgery for her insulin pump." While I couldn't defend myself, re: mouth. I had to give the death stare through those sweet sunglasses they put on you.

While I know there are many other questions, and like I said, I don't mind. So ask away!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Don't Fret

A lot of people ask me what I want to do and while I am twenty-five and thought by now I would have an answer I am still very vague when it comes to answering that specific question.  I feel as though I've got lucky along the way, getting jobs that I enjoyed and helped me network my way into others.  I did my short time in the fast food industry, I worked at a 24/7 Christmas store and I spent almost three summers changing diapers and singing The Wheels on the Bus at a daycare centre. Now, after finishing university I am working as a nanny for two families.  While nannying isn't my dream career; although I do have a lot of fun with it... I keep asking myself, "Why do I need to pick one thing to be?"

I think we put a lot of pressure on our youth.  Since kindergarten we get asked the same question, "What do you want to be when you're older?" While most of us answered things like the tooth fairy, a mommy or a teacher. Often we changed our minds along the years, so regardless our answers were 'of the moment' not a lifetime. Plus, it's not like because you say you want to be a tooth fairy in kindergarten they're going to start gearing your education towards the tooth industry - just doesn't happen.

So it's incredibly frustrating when I talk to young teens who are struggling with deciding what they want to do. The pressure of what college or university to attend or whether or not to work or take a year off to travel.   Of course the choice to do any of these things doesn't always depend on your 'choice' other things like finances and grades have a say as well, but I think as the 'older generation' including parents alike, should really demonstrate that making that ultimate choice isn't something to stress your heart about.

For me, I took a year off, I spent half the year doing a grade 12 math course; in which I barely passed, therefore it was quite useless to me. For the rest of the year I began working at the daycare, you know the changing diapers, wheels on the bus job.  During that time I decided I would go to college. How did I decide? I was at my grade 12 graduation sitting beside someone who I never had met nor seen before. He told me what college and program he was going into, I checked it out briefly (google) and applied.    I know it sounds like a simple choice and truly it was.  I knew I wanted to go to school, but I didn't fret over what I was going to be, because frankly I knew that I was always just going to be me, and the other things that I gained along the way would become apart of me, not the whole me.

My mindset was completely, 'Let's see where this goes!" and frankly, that's still my attitude.

After finishing the year of college, I decided to do another year. Why? Two reasons, doing one year meant a certificate, doing two years meant a diploma, one sounds better than the other.  Second reason, I could apply to go to Australia for school. Because? Australia.  While I was accepted to Australia I decided not to go, mainly because of two things, money and the 'beautiful by the ocean school,' was actually 'hidden in the woods, middle of nowhere school'  and I am deathly afraid of snakes, if that sentence makes sense.

After that I needed to continue to do something. While I wasn't set on becoming anything in particular, I knew that I wanted to keep moving in a forward direction. So moving back home and going back to diapers (for the children/not myself) wasn't what I wanted to do.  I applied to three universities and was accepted to all three. But I secretly wanted to go to the University that was in the same city as my College.  So I was pleased to be accepted and accepted their offer!

In the three years I changed my major twice.  Why?  Because I realized I had to take math for my first selected major and I wasn't willing to do snakes, I am also deathly afraid of math.   So, I began my English major; which I often admit to people with my head down, as if I am telling them I can't sleep with the lights off.  I truly, choose English because I am good at writing and I enjoy reading, although since we're telling the truth, I hardly read any of my course material, but hey, I have a diploma on my wall....

Now, after graduating from both college and university, six years later, here I am.  No, I am not a doctor or a nurse, a teacher or a engineer, I don't really have a title but the ones that I give myself.  While, I can imagine how nice it would be to be lined right into a career, not having to worry about paying for insulin out of pocket... at the same time I can safely say I am doing okay and I am okay.  I managed to not fret about the big "WHAT AM I GOING TO BE?!" and just focus on being.  That's what it is least for me.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

Lately I have been on a 'health kick' - I am trying my hardest to make it a lifestyle because we all know diets end, kicks quit and life happens.  I want to be a healthy person and in saying that I don't want to feel the weight of bad eating habits, on my body or my mind.  I like the feeling of finishing an hour at the gym, the feeling of fitting into a size six or the feeling of empowerment when someone tells me that, "I look good"  - these are things I like, so why do we sometimes quit feeling good?

I think the issue is that for people (like myself) who do enjoy bad food, and enjoy lounging, switching to a lifestyle of kale shakes and chin ups isn't an easy switch. It takes effort even if we feel awesome after doing such things. I have been living this lifestyle since February 2015, so I am in it for about 3 months... I have lost 10 pounds thus far, went from size 9 to size 6, and I have had much more energy (although some days, not so much).    The other challenge for me is putting as much effort into my diabetes - it doesn't always happen.

For me, making this switch is about making it public. I have to find a way to be accountable and for me that is through instagram and myfitnesspal.  Posting my triumphs, posting my food and keeping track of what I am doing/eating.  Some make fun of those that post gym photos or photos of their dinners; however no one is forcing those photos on others, so I don't see any issues.

Sometimes I think to myself how hard of a battle it is, I think, "Oh if I just lost 10 more pounds..." but when I think about how far I have come, I have to remind myself that I am okay the way that I am today.   

What keeps me motivated isn't just the number going down on the scale or my pants fitting looser, it is the idea that I could inspire others, especially others with diabetes. I wasn't completely overweight to begin with, but I wanted to make a change. With the many obstacles that type 1 diabetes brings an individual, it's easy to use it as an excuse to quit. However, if there is anything I can promote more, is the infamous quote by Dori, "Just Keep Swimming."  It's so important to keep going in any pace or motion.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

This isn't 1910

As some people know I work with teens on a weekly basis that live with type 1 diabetes.  A group that I created last July to give back to the diabetes community.  While, the group is small in size, it's large in discussion and passion.  We have spent a great deal of time learning about one another as well as helping one another.

Recently one of the teens brought to my attention an act of discrimination.  After practicing for months for a school play, she has been 'let go' due to her diabetes. Stating that her diabetes (going low) is an issue. I was instantly baffled and wondered a few things, how can a school discriminate in such an obvious manner and since when is diabetes a reason not to do something?

I instantly thought of the numerous diabetics that I know that have accomplished a ton of amazing things while living with diabetes.  I know olympic athletes, dancers, backpackers and actors and not to mention, myself and many others who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. To say that a diabetic cannot participate in a school play is not only ignorant but ridiculous!  What it says to me is that those that made the choice to terminate her position in the play have taken little to no time to understand her diabetes because if they had, I am sure they would reconsider.

This isn't 1910.  We aren't suffering from our diabetes, we are thriving.  Yes, we go low and yes we go high, but that doesn't mean that we are incapable of managing our diabetes. And what happened to helping out one another, if I happened to go low at a party, I would expect a friend to help. But that doesn't mean I am dependent. If you collapsed of heat exhaustion, I would help you out, I wouldn't tell you that you're too much to handle.

This isn't right. Students living with type 1 diabetes shouldn't be criticized, punished nor ignored because of their diabetes. Clearly someone needs to google type 1 diabetics to see just how successful, talented, and independent we are.

Get with the times!


Friday, February 27, 2015

It Is What it Is

Up & out the door early for Dermatologist appointment
So for anyone that knows me, you know that I have hives pretty much every single day and along with that the occasional swelling of half of my lip, my eyes, one finger...etc. I had hives growing up and my mom would try to figure out what it was by taking away certain foods.  I think we first believed it was anything that was red including spaghetti sauce and then we thought it was bananas. Eventually, I started eating those things again and realized it wasn't the trigger.  I haven't had hives every single day of my life, but they do play a pretty prominent role in my health story.

Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had hives for a full year. Basically all of grade twelve I had hives. They were everywhere except for my face. I can remember sometimes they were so itchy it was almost unbearable. I would have to put lots of cream all over my body to prevent myself from itching and at one point I remember the skin being so raw it was disgusting. I hated it. I wore capris when it was warm because the hives on my legs looked awful.   When it went away, I was then getting symptoms of diabetes (I didn't know they were symptoms of diabetes at the time....) I began losing a lot of weight around September 2008 and eventually in March of 2009 I was diagnosed with diabetes and had about every symptom in the book.   No one knows the immediate need to pee unless you've had super high blood sugars - it's awful.

Anyways, I didn't have hives for a couple years and if so, they weren't super memorable.  I got hives in December 2012 because I found out I was allergic to penicillin.  But that doesn't count.   It wasn't until March of last year that I started to get the hives again - full time. The hives were back and not only were hives back but so was my random swelling, something else that I had back in grade 12.

Now, when I had hives before, I was sent to every specialist you can imagine and they mentioned endless amounts of 'diagnosis' ideas, ranging from Rheumatoid Arthritis to Lupus.  So, this time, about a year ago I knew that once I told a medical doctor about my hives I was going to be given the same run around.  Successfully I can say I was right because it's literally been about a year and I still have hives and I have seen another set of specialists including now a haematologist and a dermatologist. They all have different ideas, send me for blood work and come back to tell me I have hives - literarily they say you have urticaria which is a fancy word for 'you have hives.'

I am O.K with this.  I am okay if I just have chronic hives. It's super annoying but after having to go to the haematologist appointment (that scared the crap out of me!) I will make friends with my urticaria. I am lucky because usually my allergy medicine works and I can sense when I am going to get hives or start to swell - I can feel it before it happens.  I also know what triggers hives for me including working out (sometimes) white wine (super sad about that...) and stress (not always).   Even though it's a super vague diagnosis, and after going to a 7:20 a.m appointment (I know right?) only to be told I have hives and then was given a prescription for Reactin (which I already have...) I am going to today just stop worrying about 'what it is' because it just is what it is.