Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Dating Game

I've written about diabetes and dating before. When I was first diagnosed with type 1 I was seeing someone, so they got to learn with me as I learned how to give myself injections, check my blood sugar and carb count.  After that relationship ended and I started dating again, I began to strategize how I was going to tell people that I had diabetes.  Now that I am back in the 'dating world' I once again am wondering how I am going to approach the situation.

I am very open about my diabetes (obviously) and if anyone goes googling my name to find out more about me, they're going to find endless pages of "Kayla & Diabetes" from my blogs, to the meme page, as well media outputs. So, 'hiding' my diabetes isn't an option and frankly, I obviously don't want to hide something that is such a huge aspect of my life.

I have talked about dating with the teens I meet with a bit, actually, I learned that it is called 'wheeling' now.  So while we have discussed 'wheeling' it is a bit of a different game from high-school to post university.  You're dealing with a different type of people (hopefully) so you have to assume that the people you may be going on dates with or getting to know have some understanding of diabetes even if they're not sure what type of diabetes you have.

I have found that my approach is to be upfront about my diabetes from the get go because if you think about, if the person can't handle you talking about diabetes or the fact that you're living with diabetes, they're not worth your time. And you move on from there.

I have made my life around diabetes, but that is not what I am all about. It's funny; however, how much make or break qualifications have to do with diabetes such as if you're going to ask if I can eat that every 5 seconds, than no.

Diabetes has made me who I am today and has given me more than half of my best stories, if you're going to date me, you're going to date diabetes too...

Kayla

Sunday, July 13, 2014

We All Need Somebody To Lean On

It can be hard to figure out what you're supposed to do. I mean, we pick something to study in college, but that doesn't really mean anything when it comes to afterwards.  I have a beautiful framed diploma that hangs above my desk but other than that, I am left wondering what's next.  And while I've vowed not to plan as much anymore, I can't help but know that in some extent I need to plan enough to make sure that I am O.K, mentally, physically, financially.

I have been debating going back to school in the near future. I'd like to give myself at least a year to gather my thoughts, do some things I've wanted to do and really give myself a well deserved break from essays and deadlines.  I have also been trying to find my place in the diabetes world. Which I guess isn't something most people do, but I know that I have a place and I was given type 1 for a reason (so cliche) but truly, I want to make sure that with this 'sweet gift' I am doing something good and giving back to the community.

What this meant for me was beyond my blog or climbing Kilimanjaro, it was actually meeting with people with diabetes and listening. I often tell my story at symposiums or conferences, but when it comes down to it each person living with diabetes has a story to tell and sometimes those people that don't get to tell their story too often are left feeling without a doubt alone.  I wanted to create a safe place to talk about diabetes. A place without parents, without associations, without judgement, fear, or interruption.

While I'd like to meet with all the diabetics, I decided to concentrate my time and efforts on one group in particular.  Teens, teen girls to be exact. I wasn't a teenager with type 1 diabetes but I was a teenager and while it was a few years ago that I left teenage-hood I feel like I can still remember the stresses of grade 8, high-school - the bullies, the boys, the girls, the grades, the pressure, the body image issues... all of that.  Now living with type 1 diabetes, I can be empathetic to the teens that are not only dealing with all the issues I listed above but also diabetes.

I have hosted two free sessions thus far and while we are a small group, I can feel the support that connects us and I truly hope we can grow. As my dream would to have a close knit group of teen girls that can laugh, cry and share together and for me to be a person they can tell ask questions, feel safe around and most importantly know that they can count on.

Because let's face it, 'we all need somebody to lean on'

Kayla

For more information please visit: T1 Empowerment on Facebook or email t1empowerment@outlook.com

For a recent news article on the group please check out:

http://www.thelondoner.ca/2014/07/07/living-with-type-1-diabetes-opens-doors-for-london-woman

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reflections

Taking some time to do Yoga! Which is a great way
to force yourself to reflect without distraction.
It is good to set time aside in your day to reflect and while most of us do this in bed which can often lead to restless nights due to us suddenly remembering that we have to pick up a parcel or pay a bill, I purpose that we spend more time during the day reflecting to avoid this issue.

But it is more than just taking time throughout the day to pause and think, "Did I do everything I wanted to do today."  "What can wait until tomorrow."  "Is there any new things to add to my to-do list?" "Of course there is!"  We also need to take the time to reflect on what we've accomplished in the day and not constantly focus on what did not get done.

I am a go-go-go-go type person. I don't really like sitting around and if I am sitting I am doing ten other things as well.  As a nanny I am constantly on-the-go too as keeping a four year old entertained takes a lot of energy and creativity. Perfect, because that's what I am all about. However, once I arrive home, I don't seem to turn off. I will plan to watch a show or movie, but end up windexing while watching, or rearranging my desk. Sitting and watching T.V while doing nothing at all, what is that?

I want to try and take more time out of my day to reflect on what I have accomplished and remember that I am doing this all while managing my diabetes. Which, being a nanny, and a caregiver to two pancreas's that's a lot of work!  I need to appreciate my own efforts and the energy that I put in each day. I need to remember that when it is time to go to bed, the things that need to get done will get done and the things that got done, well they got done!

It's important to listen to our bodies and our minds when you need those reflection breaks. Like a puppy (trust me I know!) we need to reward ourselves when we do good, remind ourselves that we are 'good' and doing 'good' and be a bit more carefree with what gets done and what can be tomorrow's task.

Kayla

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Inner Happiness

My mom recently sent me an article about relationships/loving yourself. It had a great point, you can't expect to find happiness in other people, not until you find happiness in yourself. And by happiness, I don't mean that day you found a ten dollar bill rolling across the parking lot, or the day your hair actually looked half decent for more than a few hours. Happiness that is within so deep, and so bright that it radiates throughout you and sparkles in your eyes.

Meet Cola! 
I've been working on a lot of things recently. While I feel as though I have landed an amazing job, nannying, and my apartment is looking and feeling like home, there is much work to be done in finding all what makes me one hundred percent happy with what I have, where I am and who I am. Digging for happiness within can be difficult, because it is much easier to go buy a dress and feel happy than to sit down with yourself and find 'happiness' in your mind.

The article my mom had passed along talked about inner happiness and loving oneself, and truly it makes sense; how can we love others without first knowing that we are perfectly fine with ourselves? And we must know that by adding to us, isn't to fulfill a void. While this post isn't about diabetes really; it does come into effect because learning to love myself comes with learning to love my diabetes & loving diabetes as much as I want it to be an add on, it is totally apart of me and I cannot neglect nor deny that.

My summer began a bit off, but with strength, determination, friends and well, a new puppy in my life; I am beginning to realize that spending time with yourself isn't a sign of loneliness nor sadness, but rather the gateway to personal happiness, knowing yourself, and the first step to accepting the things we cannot change, and improving on the things we can.

P.s while it may appear that way, Cola did not fulfill any kind of void, he added to my happiness.

Kayla

If anyone is interested in reading the article my mom sent:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14353/this-is-the-biggest-relationship-mistake-you-can-make.html

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stop Planning!

The other day during a conversation, I began to wander in my thoughts. Because this person was going on about their plans. Their plans for their life, what they were going to do, and not what they were going to do tomorrow, but in years. Unpredictable years. Years that this person knew were going to involve change and movement, yet still planning for the future, every detail.

Now, this usually is me. Planning what meals I am going to make for the next 365 days, planning how many kids I want and when I want to have them, planning for where I want my wedding to be, that wasn't even a thing. Planning for a future that I had no concept of, because no one knows their future, and every day our plans change like the weather. Yet we still log onto pinterest and plan for these life moments that may or may not happen, and if they do, maybe we won't want pink bridesmaids dresses or five little girls, maybe we will want to skip the wedding and travel around the world.

I am not mad at the planners in the world because deep down inside I have to know there is a bit of a planner inside me. However, I have come to realize that life is unpredictable. Had I known I was going to get diabetes in my future, my life and perspective may have been much different. Learning to roll with the punches isn't always easy in life, but we have to understand that with change comes new experiences, new people and a new perspective; which isn't such a bad thing.

So next time you go fretting about plans or the future remember that things don't always go to plan, and that's the fun of it all, you never know what's next and if you haven't tried to predict it, you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's Worse....

After a visit with the allergist, my whole view on medicine and doctors changed. I didn't know what to believe, where to turn, what to think. My stupid hives that covered my body, once believed to be that of stress or food, became so much more as he began to go on about how I needed to see a blood doctor (hematologist) due to some abnormal blood work.  This same doctor had mentioned about an under-active thyroid, but after further tests that has been dismissed. So I did have some doubt heading into my appointment today.

I was semi prepared to see the 'C' word around me at some point, as the allergist had mentioned the 'C' word before. I was mad at him for mentioning the 'C' word because no one likes that word and it seemed unnecessary, at least until he had some facts.  I didn't realize that going to this appointment today I would be surrounded by the 'C' word, in fact the building I went into had the word in it, the posters, the booklets, the signs... it was everywhere.

I could feel myself getting sick. My head was burning and tears were welling up in my eyes. I was only there to see the hematologist, yet it seemed like I had something worse... and I hate saying worse because I know that real people deal with the 'C' word everyday and I hope to them, something is worse than the 'C' word, because no one wants the ultimate worst thing... For instance, having diabetes, to cheer myself up I think of what is worse, what could have happened, what I could have had instead... and to be honest my worst was being flashed in front of me.

I walked around the hospital like a chicken without his head, until I found a seat by a fish tank.  It seemed calming and I was trying not to look like an idiot and start crying as I was surrounded by those that actually had the 'C' word.  I was given a booklet about the 'C' word and ultimately became confused as if I had instantly progressed upon arrival.  But no, she let me know, "we give everyone this booklet..."  interesting.

I saw a nurse who was super excited, turns out it was his 51st birthday, so I get that, meanwhile I am trying to keep calm as he asks about any history of 'C' in my family or any history of blood disorders, when I responded with 'not that I know of' to the latter, he said, "so it's just you with little blood disorder."

Pardon?

Little Blood Disorder?  Little? Blood? Disorder?

I was now full on confused how was my state changing with each chair I sat on.

Finally after 3.5 hours I got to see a doctor. All in all, I think it went well, they went from wanting to do a bone marrow test to scratching that and doing a skin biopsy (of my hives).  To be honest, I kept thinking, can you guys just get your S^&t together....

I learned something valuable today. As I don't know my healths state right now. I know that there were lots of people there fighting hard. I saw tears, I saw flowery bandanas covering woman's heads that were bare, and I witnessed a bell ring, people get up and clap and a woman jumping for joy (I am assuming she's 'C' word free or did her last round of Chemo, because yes that clinic was beside mine).  I walked out being positive but keeping a piece of my heart (and skin literally) in that clinic because for a moment I realized that what I thought was 'worse' isn't just a thought, it happens, it happens to the young and old, there are people every day going through the struggle that I just imagined as 'worse'. I saw life and I saw hope, I saw sadness and fear...I saw more than I imagined I would see and felt more than I ever knew I could feel. We need cures, we need hope and we need compassion for those living with what's 'worse'.

Kayla

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Twists & Turns

It's official I have graduated! Which seems strange because as I sat there waiting for my name to be called, I began to wonder where the time had gone.  How it feels like a millions years since high school, yet I feel like the journey to today went by like a speeding bullet. I can hardly remember all that went on in those past few years, or even believe that some how I made it through, got all the essays in on time, or even thought of that many essays topics to write on. It's amazing.

I have been writing a lot about new chapters and how I plan to take on the days of the rest of my life. However, at graduation one of the speakers said something that stuck with me and I feel like I have been trying to remind myself of this, but with her reiterating it, it really hit home.  Don't plan the rest of your life, or set too strong of goals, as you never know when life can change, twist and turn and you'll have to change your plans.  How true is that, and how great is that at the same time. We don't need to plan ahead so far in advance that we know how many children we're going to have, what colour we're going to paint the laundry room of our first home or what age we'd like to retire. We can just live in the now and plan for tomorrow, not for fifty years down the road. Enjoy the moment.

I'm happy for all my peers that have also graduated as we all know that it isn't an easy journey to get through post secondary especially with all those little twists and turns that may have changed our plans along the way. 

Kayla