Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Heart Goes Out

I have spend the past couple weeks really thinking about my diabetes.  Half because I am meeting new people and having the conversation of, "I have diabetes" which comes out because I feel like every single thing that I do in my life has been a result of diabetes or some weird connection. Diabetes has become a huge part of my life, but that's what diabetes is all about - taking over.

Cruise 2009
Recently I have had two people in my life pass away that had type 1 diabetes, one being my Uncle Bill and the other being a friend I met in Australia at the diabetes conference. I must say, that my Uncle didn't pass away from diabetes, but my friend Reg did, and it really hit home.  Firstly, my uncle was the one that taught me a lot about type 1 diabetes when I was first diagnosed.  Only a couple weeks into my diagnosis we went on a cruise and he guided me through the mess of carbs I had on my plate from buffets and even my very first low in Mexico on the way to the Mayan Ruins.  It's hard to lose someone, but I found it difficult to process the fact that he was a fellow type 1 diabetic. I felt as though I was the only one left with type 1 diabetes in the family (my Dad's cousin had always passed away due to type 1 diabetes complications/situational related).   It made me think about diabetes in a light I had never thought about it before, deadly.

When I found out Reg had passed away as well from diabetes complication, I was in shock and found myself once again pondering how diabetes can just take over like that. I mean, I don't need to ponder to hard to know that it is easy to lose grip of diabetes.  It's exhausting being diabetic and I am not even exaggerating. It's not easy and when you hear of the horror stories, as much as we attempt to screen them out, we know them.  We hear about them, we feel the effects, we may have brushed up against them.

My heart goes out to my family and Reg's family as well.  I use their lives as motivation to keep doing what I do, and try harder with my diabetes management.  Checking more often, being conscious of what I am doing, i.e giving myself insulin, carb counting better.  I've admittedly earned a lot this summer, and they're not lessons that come easy.

Kayla

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stolen Patience

Diabetes stole my patience.

Well, maybe I never had patience.  I am not really sure. I guess we all have some level of patience whether that is the fact we can wait until payday before attempting to borrow money or we wait to text someone until after noon. Either way, my level of patience decreases immensely as my blood sugar rises and slowly I feel myself losing my control.

 I know I am losing my patience and have attempted to breath. Like, yoga breaths the ones they make you do before and after you begin and end...well I think you have to do that breathing throughout the whole process, but I only remember to do so when they tell me.  Either way, I am attempting to recognize the fact that when my blood sugar is high my tolerance for people, things, animals, sounds, and just about anything you can think of is low.

I'd like to think that before diabetes I could have handled anything, but obviously that isn't the case. I can't completely blame diabetes for this lack of patience, although as one with diabetes might be aware, it's super easy to blame diabetes for personal flaws.  I just know that this particular 'impatient' feeling is from diabetes. I see it in other diabetics, I see it in E, I see it in my friends with diabetes, I feel it.

It's incredibly hard not to let diabetes define my personality. As I am not diabetes, but an individual living with type 1 diabetes. But, when it grabs a hold of you in every which way, it's hard not to let diabetes boss you around, because let's face it, it isn't me bossing you around it's my high blood sugar or maybe it's not even my blood sugar, maybe it's frustration with diabetes itself.

Regardless more and more I am realizing this impatient truth that diabetes has marked me with.  This frustration to get things done now, or not at all. This phase of giving up before I should, this gut feeling like I am losing control of my diabetes or
of myself.

Kayla

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.