Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Check Ups

Today I woke up feeling like crap.  While at first I thought it was just sleepiness since Cola was up almost every 2 hours for some unknown reason - I soon realized it was more than just sleepiness.   My blood sugar was 18 mmol/L after nearly fasting for 10 hours and I felt sick to my stomach.  While I hate calling in sick to work I knew I had to stay home in order to sort this all out. Plus, when you work with children you don't really want to be passing on any type of sickness (even though they often pass things on to you.)

I began to trace back my steps as to what could have gone wrong but I am totally unsure.  I went to bed with a blood sugar of 7 mmol/L and even bolused for the couple cups of popcorn I had before bed. My tubing isn't kinked, I just changed my site, reservoir and insulin yesterday afternoon and for the most part my blood sugars were pretty awesome yesterday.

After going through the check-list of checks, I am marking this one down as unknown - possibly getting sick.  That's okay, I will sort it all out and hopefully be back within range by lunch time.  But, I did want to stress to myself how important it is to check frequently.  It's easy to get busy within our days and especially in a job where we are looking after others, whether that's a teacher, a nanny, a nurse etc.  We often put ourselves aside and neglect some of the basics of taking care of ourselves.

I need to test more and focus on what my body is telling me.  If my body says it's time to take a break it's time to take a break.  I will often work all day, come home and do chores and not physically sit down or rest until bed time.  My weekends are often packed full of things to do and I simply do not check when I should out of trying to pack everything in and not worry about myself - but that's bad!

I have my meter close by and my goal today is to check as often as I can.  Focus on myself this morning and get back to feeling 100% by this afternoon.  I don't do sick days well - I don't like to sit here and do nothing but I need to remember that it isn't just me that needs myself healthy - it's many others.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

I'm Not Alone

There are days when I get incredibly frustrated that I have diabetes. I will look at my insulin pump and think, "I can't believe this happened to me." While I know wearing an insulin pump is truly not a hassle at all, I mean if my biggest complaint is getting hooked on the occasional door handle, then I think I am O.K.  However, somedays I get sad that this is what has been written in my life story.

I think because I am such a busy person I don't take enough time for self reflection or decompression. I am a go-go person.  I like to be busy and I like to work on projects and help as many people as possible (that being said, I hardly ever say no to lending a hand, whether that's physically or emotionally).  In saying that, I think I lack a full grasp on life events that are life changing, and what they mean. For instance when my uncle passed away I don't feel like I fully processed it, I mean, it's a thought that will always be there, but I don't believe I fully took the time to grieve or cope, instead I tried to be strong for my father & family. What does this have to do with diabetes?  Well, when I was diagnosed with diabetes I instantly thought, 'Okay, I need to be strong, I need to be a role model, I need to do something." I never really allowed myself to get pissed off - for lack of a better word.  I never processed it - which I think sometimes effects the way I look at my diabetes or my uncle's passing.   It hits me hard when I take the time to reflect.

There are times when it 'hits me hard' and I feel as if I have entered a different state of mind.   I think about the consequences of diabetes, and when people say things like, "my uncle lost his leg, or I'm slowly losing my sight" it scares me.  In this state of mind, I picture it all happening to me. I wonder why I was diagnosed with something that has such an awful  track record with those that have it, I think about scary things like, life expectancy, not having a successful pregnancy, going blind, losing limbs, all of those things no one likes to talk about, hear or think about.  It all comes at once.

How I pull myself out of that - makes me think that these thoughts are likely normal and not something to be concerned about.  Everyone has bad days I assume, diabetes or not.  When I find myself alone, thinking about these things I often think about the others living with type 1 diabetes.  I remember that while some of these things are true, the consequences of high blood sugars or lows, all type 1's have those things on their minds or at least they're aware of it.   We (all type 1's) are on a similar ride together, we may not all make the same pit stops or get off at the same time, but that's life.  Together we are on this ride, we have each other to lean on and to keep us going.

I have very close friends with type 1, I have a mini-diabetic best friend, I have amazing support around me physically and online that are type 1 - we are all going through diabetes together and that's what brings me back.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Schedule Changes/Diabetes Changes

As most people with type 1 know, when your schedule changes, your diabetes management has to change. Even minor changes in ones schedule can cause an unexpected low or high throughout the day. While it seems like it would be an easy fix by changing your insulin dosages, it really isn't that easy.

Today I had my dreaded diabetes appointment at the clinic, and to be honest it wasn't as 'dreadful' as I thought. While there is always room for improvement, I think they know I have a level head on my shoulders and know what needs to be change.  I try to be very honest with them when I go to my appointment and I think that pays off instead of trying to make excuses for myself.

I did realize when looking at the printed sheet pump upload they examined, my blood sugars are kind of everywhere.  There really is no pattern to my blood sugars, I may be high one morning but low the next two.  I tried to think of reasons why this may be, as they asked me things like, "What did you eat?" "Did you change your site?"  "Were you sick?" While most of the time I couldn't remember, I did realize that my work schedule has changed quite drastically and that is likely the culprit in my diabetes scramble.

My work schedule is all over the map and I have been eating less and moving more. So, of course any one can assume, I am going low a lot more often.  However, I do spike every now and then which I am still trying to figure out why.  Taking on the new jobs plus working more hours has really affected my diabetes and how I go about managing it. I am still trying to figure out what works best for me and how I can prevent lows and random highs.  This of course is an ongoing battle and I know there isn't going to be a fix-all solution.

The diabetes clinic appointment made me realize that sometimes I need to slow down and look at the big picture.   I sometimes get fixated on the moment, for example, my blood sugar is 6 mmol/L and that's because I took the right amount of insulin for dinner.  I don't look at the day as a whole, where did I go high? when did I go low? How am I feeling? What can I change?    There is a lot going on in a day, a week, a month and in all of that your control of diabetes can easily be affected.

My goal is to put more of a focus into my diabetes management and activity make changes. While it's  important to know the numbers of right now, it's also important to assess your management from a big-picture point of view, and to make those needed changes based on the changes in your life.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Don't Judge

In the diabetes community there is a lot of cheering on, lots of check-ins and advice but there also is a lot of judging that goes on.  This isn't really a surprise since everything on the internet is judged but I don't really want to focus on the internet community as much as I want to focus on the real-time community, that being your friends, family, nurses, doctors and other professionals alike.

I have a diabetes appointment coming up. With that comes some strong anxiety, as it's time to renew for a new insulin pump (woohoo!) That being said, I know that this is likely when they take a hard look at your past years of managing diabetes and make some assumptions, notes and decisions. This is the first time I have had to renew my pump, since I have only been pumping for five years - so I really do not know what to expect. I do expect judging.

While I realize likely 90% of the time when people talk about MY diabetes, they aren't trying to harass, judge or shame me, but at the same time why does it always feel that way? I mean, it's hard enough when I woke up this morning with a blood sugar of TWENTY-FOUR and thought to myself




Knowing that that number is going to make an appearance on the printed sheets of my pump upload next week terrifies me.  I know I didn't attend a midnight buffet, but I do know that I may have underestimated the carbs in my before-bed snack and I also know I changed a site before bed which is on the top 10 bad things to do when you're on a pump (if there was such a list).

Am I failure at diabetes? Maybe this morning. Those that claim to master diabetes are either hiding some secret solutions or are lying.  I vote the latter.   Managing diabetes is a lot of work. It's frustrating and it doesn't always make sense.  No pizza, no stressor, no menstrual cycle, no workout is created equal and in saying that managing diabetes with all the unequalness of the world isn't a small feat.

That being said, in my dream diabetes world, there wouldn't be anxiety over doctors trips, and there wouldn't be judging.  I want to hear more of;

"So you had a bad day, let's try again tomorrow."

"It's not your fault, we will figure it out together."

"Diabetes is whack." 


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!