Thursday, April 17, 2014

Exams & Blood Sugars...

I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! 

I have my third exam tonight and then after that just two more to go before I can say goodbye to scan-trons and confusing questions like:

a. true
b. false
c. true & false
d. neither true nor false...

Ha! 

I am really excited to start this new chapter of my life as I wrap up the schooling part. Even though something inside me tells me I will be back, but after five years and a diploma & degree later, I think I need some space.  I have been doing a bit of job hunting, but find it a bit overwhelming knowing that I have to get my butt out of this apartment and settled into a new one all in a matter of weeks while studying for finals...so I only have been applying to jobs if they seem to jump out at me.

As far as my hives, they're still there, but either they're getting better or I am becoming used to them. I have some days that they're hardly there,  but others where they are clearly taking over.. like this morning.  I went to the gym anyways, and wore shorts so that it wouldn't be so irritating on my legs.. spandex and hives.. not a good mix.

I find exam time the worst time to control diabetes. As much as I try to not focus on my blood sugars before exams because I tend to act my blood sugar.. I have to obviously check and make sure I am not going in with a low or extreme high. It's hard though! I will hardly have any carbs and it skyrockets, most likely from stress of taking the exam. However, I don't want to take too much insulin because then I risk going low during the exam or just before it. AND, I don't want to feel like crap going from one extreme to another - there really is no winning.

I often wonder if I would do better at tests if I didn't have diabetes. Obviously I don't blame marks on diabetes, but I am curious if I would have done better on some things had I had better blood sugars at the time. There are just some times that diabetes is hard to handle.. okay most of the time.  

I'd be curious to know if people have tips for exam days and diabetes. For me, nothing really works, I mean, this morning I woke up at one pack of oatmeal, took correct amount of insulin, went to the gym for an hour, took a shower and by lunch I was 22 ... umm?  

Either way, I am hoping that by tonight I am at a good range and can finish off this History course with a decent grade.

Kayla 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm Working on It

I am continuing on with finding happiness and getting rid of stress.  I have kept up my gratitude journal for the past week, and I am not 100% sure if it's helping with stress immediately, but I think it will be a great thing to look back on. Overall, it does make me stop and think about what I am grateful for and it truly has made me realize what types of things I value and I am surprised it isn't: my Macbook, or my iPhone.

I have tried to stay away from technology in little gradual steps because to be honest, it truly is hard to step away.  I have tried to not take my phone to bed.  A bad habit of turning the lights off, only to grab my iPhone from the side of my bed and check Facebook or my emails.  I know that it is bad for my sleep habits plus I don't want to WANT to look on the internet before falling asleep...

The third thing I was trying was to be grateful towards people around me.  I truly am trying to be an awesome listener and to acknowledge awesome people in my life.  I think that overall I do an O.K job of this and when I told V about my three things I wanted to do, he told me I am already too grateful to him, but honestly, can someone be to grateful? I don't think so!

I want to continue this happiness trend and hopefully work my way to not be so caught up in the less important things.  A couple things I want to continue to do is de-clutter - I will be moving soon and I know that moving junk from one place to another is pointless and redundant. I have managed to collect quite the collection of clothes in the past few years, so I went through them all and sent them off to my roommates. I know I don't wear them ever, so hoarding them is pointless.

A second thing I want to do is check more often!  I try really hard to check when I remember. Which sounds crazy because how could I forget. But, it's the little things that I assume I know how I feel and to be honest if I guess and then check, I am usually close, but of course there are times that I am waaay off.   So, for this week, I am going to try and test more often.  I find leaving my meter lying around near me, so for example, on the desk I am working on or the coffee table by the t.v. I tend to check more.

So, to work on:

1. Continue Gratitude Journal, possibly invest in another journal for Brain Dump

2. Continue trying to cut back on internet time

3. Continue showing gratefulness to others

4. De-Clutter, and de-clutter some more

5. Check B/G more often!

Kayla


Monday, April 7, 2014

Undo Diabetes

Last week I went to Chatham to speak at a Medtronic/Bayer event. I was pretty excited as I was getting the opportunity to speak to some kids with type one diabetes and hang out with them.  Since I was diagnosed at age eighteen, I never experienced life as a child with type one diabetes. Of course I can imagine what it is like, applying the struggles that I have with type one and placing them in settings such as elementary school or birthday parties. But truly, hanging out with children with diabetes reminds me that what I am going through is a fight that is being fought by people less than half my age.

Photo taken from I Challenge Diabetes FB Page 
I spent about an hour with the children in the gymnasium of the YMCA.  We chatted beforehand about diabetes related issues, but it was done in a manner that made it seem less about what is right and what is wrong with diabetes, and more so, how to do you make diabetes yours... or at least that is how I perceived it.  This conversation was lead by Chris Jarvis. I noticed that the children were timid at first, but looking around seeing other type ones amongst them, seem to relax them a bit.  There was a wide range of ages, and that in itself was interesting to see knowing that we were all battling with type one diabetes, but were in totally different stages of our lives.

One of the questions was, "Which finger do you hate poking the most!" Some said thumbs, while other said pinkies, but when it came down to a little six year old girl, her answer was simple, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "I don't like poking any!" That's when it hit me.  Diabetes SUCKS!  I know diabetes sucks because I hate pricking my finger, and giving myself insulin and feeling responsible for everything I do and eat because when I check my blood sugar my meter screams back at me, "YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG!"  But, for this kind of torment to happen to someone so young, that at only six years old she knows that it sucks and knows that she hates having to do it. Why?

It is so frustrating that I cannot undo diabetes from any child; however, it inspires me to do all that I can to at least make it easier, to be there for them to talk to, to help them get through it.  I know that I need to make this happen and I will do everything I can to make sure I am there for those that need someone.

Kayla

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Different & Good

So, I visited a Naturopath and really enjoyed my time there. The approach to treatment was so much different than anything I had experienced before.  I knew the doctor, so that made it a bit different in the first place I am sure, but truly, her approach to my hives was unlike what any other doctor had done before. She did something that I find rare ... listened to me!  She asked questions about what I WANT and what I THINK! I truly felt like I had a part in what was going on and really it was nice to just vent and discover more about what was happening in my mind, but wasn't coming out of my mouth.

I don't know if my hives are stress induced, but stress management isn't a bad thing either way. So, we focused a lot on that.  I think what I got from it was that I need to be able to give myself time.  I know that I have a hard time staying away from the internet. I step away from my lap top only to be on my phone five seconds later.. sometimes I am on Facebook on my phone and my laptop without even realizing, going back and forth between the two... It doesn't make sense.

I have a lot to focus on in the next couple weeks, but I really need to remind myself of what I can do to keep everything in tack including my sanity.  She suggested a gratitude journal or a 'brain dump' journal that allows me to shed off what is on my mind OR remind me of what I am grateful for.  I haven't really decided what I am going to do yet, but by coincidence I was given a journal from the JDRF for my recent presentation, so it's perfect.  I think I would keep my gratitude journal separate from my brain dump, so it doesn't seem like I am thankful for dirty dishes.

Overall, I have a few different remedies to try and if not, I can always go back to speak with her or at least apply what I took away from the appointment and hope that it changes the way I perceive myself, my life, my chores and the people around me.  I laughed at the appointment because when she asked me my stressors, not one of them was diabetes. You'd think that would be my biggest stressor, but I said to her, that I know no matter what my diabetes is going to be there for the long run, it's really not changing and it's manageable; however, when someone changes plans or my printer stops working, hello unmanageable stress.  Strange eh!

So, here are some of my goals for the next little bit:

1. Attempt to take time AWAY from technology

2. Write in a journal either gratitude or brain dump

3. Express thankfulness to people around me

Kayla

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Irrelevant Things

Yesterday I had my Endocrinologist appointment. I must admit I was a bit nervous going to the clinic but not for the completely obvious reasons. I already knew my A1C because my family doctor's office had called me two days prior and I knew what my blood sugars were, obviously because I check them... they were a bit elevated due to the hives, so I knew that would be easy for my Endo. to understand.

I was stressed out about two things that seems so irrelevant now that the day has past..  This has made me realize that I stress out about irrelevant things.  I guess I probably could have realized this prior to yesterday, but truly yesterday pointed out to me, that oh my god, I stress about irrelevant things, that do not matter or usually do not make a difference.

I was nervous that the receptionist was going to tell me once again to get my health card updated.  I rock the old white/red one that are non-existent now, but still valid if you have yours.  Now they want you to have the new shiny one with the photo, that you have to update every so often because it is a picture I.D.   However, I always get mixed views on whether I should update my card to a new one or keep rocking the old one, as it is one less thing to update.  As I explain this, I am thinking to myself, how irrelevant I am even WRITING this, let alone stressing about it.

I was stressed out that the receptionist was going to tell me again, that I needed to get a new one and give me a lecture about why and then hand me the papers that tell me where to get it done. You see, she tells me this every year and every year I nod and accept the papers and throw them out on my way back to my car because when I go to other receptionist they tell me to 'hold on to that red & white card!' And if holding on to it means one less thing to update/do, I am going to hold on to it.  So, here I am stressing about the stupidest thing, and I arrive and it's a different receptionist, who does not even ASK for my health card.  She just says, "Same red & white health card?" and I reply with, "Yes.." and she says, "go have a seat."

Seriously.

Sometimes I think God or whoever we believe to determine our fate, puts these little antidotes in our life to remind us that we need to chill out. That was mine.

The second thing was my weight. Okay, this concern is like, everyones concern. But here was mine... my last Endo appointment was almost a year ago. Therefore, that was during the time I was training hard for Kilimanjaro. So, I was really in great shape and had just lost a lot of weight. Going into this appointment, overall I have not gained a ton of weight, but due to my hives/swelling I have put on some weight due to tension/bloating. I know this because I have not changed my diet drastically and the weight put on has been in a short period of time and can fluctuate a lot due to how many hives/swelling parts I have going on...

So, I was nervous that once I was weighed, they would say, OH MY GOD! What's wrong with you? How do you just gain that much weight? I was even contemplating not going on the scale and telling them that I rather not be weighed. But once I got my blood pressure taken, before I knew it I was standing on a scale being weighed.  I was what I imagined it would be, and the only comment she said was, "you don't look your weight."   I wanted to make a joke about going on the scales at the fair where they guess your weight, but I resisted.

It wasn't THAT bad after all.  No one was too concerned about my health card nor my weight and really my appointment was about my diabetes, which there was no concerns there as well.  I truly realized that I need to 'chill'.  Vince is always telling me to relax, as I get uptight about the smallest things, and he is right. I really need to stop worrying about the strangest things...


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Diabetes Witchery

It's hard to believe that this is my last week of post secondary. It has been a loonngg five years and I am ready to finish.  After this week I will have five exams to study and write and after that, well, I am free.  However, as lovely as it sounds to be free, clearly I am freaking out.  I have no assignments left to do nor essays to write.  You'd think I would be dancing around chanting; however, with these hives and swelling, I am far from chanting or dancing, I am annoyed.

Today I go and see my endocrinologist.  I know they usually upload my insulin pump, but to make it easier I wrote down my blood sugars from the past five weeks using my meter to look back on.  I didn't make up any numbers as much as I was tempted when I realized some days I hardly check my blood sugar. I am going in honest. However, I noticed that I have been having high blood sugars, a lot.  I mean, of course I notice when I get them in the moment, however, after writing them down I have A LOT of high numbers and higher numbers in the morning that I ever had before. I am blaming the hives.

But, I am also blaming stress.  I know I should say, oh but I am the one responsible for my health, but no. Whoever says that is wrong because diabetes isn't about you always. It isn't always about the choices that you make, it is about what diabetes wants to do.  So when I wake up high after not eating 10 hours + previous, that is not because of my control over my health. That's diabetes witchery.

Tomorrow, I have booked myself at a Naturopath in London. I am hoping that she may be able to give me some ideas as to how to get rid of the hives, manage stress etc.  I am seriously considering every option out there at this point because it's been over a month and sleeping with what feels like 1000 mosquito bites needs to end.  

On my own time I am attempting to eliminate stress.  I have asked my professor for my mark on my final essay early, which she agreed to do. I have began reading the happiness project again, I have cleaned and purged my diabetes drawers and another box of random things, I have written a list of things that need to get done, allowing myself to check each thing off when I finish and I have a few other projects in mind to keep me focused.

Once these hives go away then I will dance and chant, but for now, I will wait and attempt to be patient and work on my personal happiness in hopes that that is all the magic I need to turn my health back around.

Monday, March 31, 2014

We are an Army

Finding support while living with type one diabetes has been easy for me. It isn't easy for everyone though. For me, it's hard to imagine a world where you believe you're the only type one, or you know they're out there, but just can't seem to run into one.  You scan the pockets of people on the bus, only to mistake headphone cords for insulin pump cords. You hear the word 'basal' and your ears perk up only to see someone reaching for the spice rack.

I have met people along the way that have never met another type one, or at least another type one their age. Their excitement for just being around the presence of another person 'just like them' glows. They want to tell their diabetes story knowing that the conversation is going to be a constant flow of 'ME TOO!'  We want this because it is comforting knowing that this battle we face isn't a solo combat; rather, there is a whole army of us out there trying to get through each day living with diabetes.

We are an army. We are strong, we are tough and we have reason to fight.  We spend time preparing our action plans and we have to be prepared for the unexpected.  We fight twenty-four-seven. Even when we are sleeping, at any time we can be woken up by the vibrating of our insulin pumps or the voice in our head, demanding us to wake up and treat.  We are strong and together we are stronger.  Our battles may seem like solo efforts, but truly we are all doing our parts with each other in mind.

For those that feel like they have no army, controlling and accepting diabetes can be incredibly difficult. Imagine running into a combat field alone with fifty people running towards you. Blood sugar checks, lows, highs, insulin ratios, carbohydrate counts, the endo, the nurses, A1c results, frequent urination, insulin pump malfunctions, sore fingertips, parents, and school. Alone, with no one to talk to, a person without the feeling of an army behind them, can feel alone in battle.

I truly believe that social support is just as important as insulin and it hurts to know there are people out there who are hiding their diabetes or cannot seem to find that social support.

Kayla