Sunday, October 5, 2014

Feeling Awesome

At first when I got my CGM, my blood sugars were amazing. In fact, I think if I printed it off and handed it to a random diabetes educator, they would assume it was someone without diabetes. I was almost flat lining (in a good way) and was avoiding lows and highs like it was my job . . .  okay, I guess it is my job.

However, routine is a big secret in managing diabetes.  If you have sporadic days, that can lead to sporadic numbers.  Maybe this isn't the case for everyone but I think a lot of people could relate.  I am very much a routine person.  It's really the only way I can get things done.  With my job, as a Nanny it can be easy to get into routine because the girls are pretty structured now that they're in school.  I have free time during the day and if I didn't establish a routine in that time I would be doubling up on my data with Netflix and probably vacuuming so much, my carpet would disappear (I have that tendency when I am bored, weird I know.)

Anyway, I've established a routine that worked for me and I've been successful thus far, dropping 4.5 pounds in nearly a week and a half. For me, it's not about the weight. I mean, I do want to lose weight - who doesn't. But, I am more concerned about feeling good, that's it. Just feel awesome.  

Blood sugars play a HUGE role in feeling awesome, trust me.  Like, it's unbelievable how awesome I felt when I was flat lining (in a good way) on my pump.  I felt like I could run around the block 100 times, and I didn't get frustrated, stressed, angry, annoyed...I just felt good.   However, we know that just because we establish a routine, eat well and exercise that doesn't mean you're going to have good blood sugars. If it was that easy, then we would all be scarfing down the healthiest foods, just to feel awesome.

I pretty much eat the same thing every day. Earlier I wrote a post about what my average day entails as far as food and while I switch it up (not breakfast) with different items in my smoothies, and a different veggies for dinner. Overall, my food intake is fairly similar, every and everyday.  So, you'd expect that your blood sugars would be the same each day, but of course not. We as diabetics, know better. It's not that easy.

I admit this morning, it was on me. I forgot to bolus (take insulin) for my breakfast. Honestly, I got to sleep in for the first time in forever (Frozen song just popped in my head) and it was glorious.  I ate a bit later in the morning and I also woke up with a blood sugar of 10 mmol/L which is abnormal for me (however I went low three times at night, thank you wine.....)   I corrected for the 10 mmol/L but in turn forgot to actually bolus for my food, shooting my blood sugar up to a lovely 20 mmol/L.   Hey, it's hard to remember to be a pancreas sometimes.

Now, that was my mistake, forgetting. However, the day before, I did exactly the same thing as always. I ate the same things, and did the same type of exercise routine, yet, I was literarily 14 mmol/L the entire day. I would admit if I did something wrong, but honestly, everything was the same.   My site was fine, my insulin was O.K.... there was no reason, and I instantly felt defeated because I knew how well I was doing, I knew what awesome felt like, and I wasn't feeling awesome.

It's amazing what blood sugars can do to your mood, your mindset, your ambition, motivation and self esteem.   You instantly blame yourself for a job not done right, when in reality, dealing with diabetes isn't an easy task, no matter how healthy you eat, or how much you go to the gym. It's about taking each day at a time, and accepting the highs and lows of diabetes and not taking the numbers to heart, but not ignoring them (there is a fine line...)  

So, as much as I was putting myself down for awful blood sugars and especially this morning when I wanted to scream at myself for forgetting to bolus, I took a deep breath and told myself, "It's not your fault..." and I forgave myself for making a simple mistake and also reminded myself that diabetes isn't a cake walk...and if it was, how difficult would that be...ugh cake.

Kayla

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CarboHIGHdrates

Based on a comment from my last post I am going to go into more detail in regards to my low carb & CGM experience.  It has been about two weeks of attempting to eat low carbs and I had a sensor on for four of those days. Basically, I have never studied nutrition before (besides having an awesome friend who is a dietician and helps me out every now and then) so everything that I have been doing has been completely based off experience or Pinterest (not going to lie). So, what works for me, may not always work for you, just to keep that in mind!

I didn't change my breakfast routine too much other than instead of regular skim milk, I began using Almond milk, mainly because I use that in my smoothies and didn't want to have to buy two types of milk at the grocery store.  The unsweetened vanilla almond milk has very little carbs, which is helpful with maintaining a low carb lifestyle (I am trying to avoid the word diet...) 

So, breakfast is usually almond milk and multi-grain Cheerios which doesn't spike my blood sugar (and I know this because of my CGM!) It is just enough carbs (approximately 45 grams) to avoid a low at the gym, but also to keep me usually under 7 mmol/L two hours later, which is ideal.  I have been going to the gym about two hours after eating breakfast, so this has been working out perfectly. If my routine is changed a bit, it can be a bit tricky, but that's diabetes and life...

Lunch has been the same as well; and there's a coffee thrown in between breakfast and lunch that is just coffee, sweetener and a little splash of almond milk, so I haven't really been bolusing for that at all... even though I think technically it would be like 2 carbs.  For lunch, I have been making smoothies and I have become quite creative with them, just so that I don't get bored.  So I have used coconut, chocolate almond milk, spinach always, carrots, peanut butter, frozen strawberries and even bought some pumpkin to try and make a pumpkin smoothie...'tis the season. Usually on average the carbs for the smoothies are under 30 grams of carbs.  The annoying part is figuring out how many carbs, so I have been just writing down the amounts of things and typing it into my Fitbit App so that it does the nutrition for me. If anything, it's helping me improve my math skills, which are below normal I am sure.  

Snacks usually involve an apple, cheese strings, or baby cookies (if I am feeling like I need cookies...always) and if I am low at anytime I try so, so hard just to have a juice box. A healthy juice box that taste like water, but whatever.  It's about 14 grams of carbs and 60 calories, so I think that method on its own is going to save me about 1000 extra calories a week. 

For dinner, I try to eat the least amount of carbs. I have found it's almost become like a game, what can I make that taste good but has hardly any carbs and thanks to the internet, it's really not that hard. Lately I have been making things like, egg plant pizza, and portobello mushrooms with cheese and sauce.  I have attempted a few other things, but really try to stay under 20 grams of carbs for dinner.  I then have a "dessert" or snack shortly after which is usually apple and peanut butter or greek yogurt. 

Then that's it for carbs/food.  I have been trying to drink 2L of water a day which has really stopped me from wanting to eat as much, it has really cleared up my skin (it wasn't really ever bad, but I feel like I can notice a difference) and it has stopped me from drinking little to no diet coke (I KNOW!) I think that the water drinking is also helping with keeping awesome blood sugars since I am flushing out my body - but I'm not a doctor so I am basing everything I notice off, well what I notice. 

I was asked, "Why I choose to do a low carb lifestyle" and I guess that's because I can now see with CGM what carbs do. And I know it isn't just carbs because the other night for no reason my blood sugar shot up to 14 mmol/L. No idea why.  But, carbs, that is something I can control and if I am eating little carbs I feel as though I have more control over my diabetes; which is a great feeling.  It's hard being a pancreas, so if I can make it easier by doing something that is pretty simple, then you bet I am going to do it. 

I can say that I am sure with a combination of the CGM, working out daily, low carb/healthy eating and the water drinking, I have 10x more energy than before.  I feel like I have control which is amazing.  

I have included some of the graphs from my insulin pump along with a snapshot of my "Fitbit" App, something I recently got and fell in love with. I suggest you look into it! 

So, now to drink some water. Cheers! 

Kayla 








Saturday, September 27, 2014

CGM IS GOING TO SAVE MY LIFE

It's been awhile since I wrote.  I wish I had a super good excuse besides "life gets busy" but that's about all I can come up with at this point. But here I am again and going to attempt to put 'blogging' back into my routine.

The biggest statement I have for today and I want to shout it, so I will do so via CAPS.

CGM IS GOING TO SAVE MY LIFE.

And I mean, that sounds like a big exaggeration like, "this cake is going to save my life.."well I guess that could also be a true statement. But seriously, CGM is going to save my life and prevent a whole lot of complications that people with diabetes are constantly reminded of.  You know, the leg, the eyes, the...list goes on.

CGM for those that do not know, is a continuous glucose monitor.  Basically I am going to copy and paste what Medtronic has to say because I'm an English Major and stopped doing science in Grade 10.

"CGM is a way to measure glucose levels in real-time throughout the day and night. A tiny electrode called a glucose sensor is inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels in tissue fluid. It is connected to a transmitter that sends the information via wireless radio frequency to a monitoring and display device."  Found on Medtronicdiabetes.com

Itt is basically checking my blood sugar throughout the entire day and letting me know what is going on with my body. Because, if you really think about it,  if you check your blood sugar the recommended four times a day (this is what is required by the Ontario government for pump coverage). If you're checking those four times, you're only getting a snapshot of a total of four seconds of your diabetes day.  If you were 10 in the morning, 6 at lunch, 14 in the middle of the afternoon and 9 before bed, how do you know you're not missing undetected highs etc. You really don't! 

The past couple weeks I have been working my butt off (literally)  at the gym every single day, and trying to eat healthy. Doing so, I have reduced significantly the highs that I had been having.  Noticeable changes include my eye sight which is amazing, clear and my eyes are not bothered as much as well as my energy levels.   I have been attempting low carb meals and have been pretty creative via Pinterest in trying new recipes or making up my own. 

I put the sensor (for the CGM) on yesterday and I am in love. Honestly, in love. I have worn sensors before for example, during my climb up Kilimanjaro. However, I am reminded of the benefits that any glucose monitoring can have for a person with diabetes (not to mention their parents or caregivers) Being a Nanny to a type 1 diabetic who was a glucose monitor - I can also state that it is extremely helpful.  

Either way I am feeling good about my diabetes
right now and my overall health and success in finding a routine and balance in my life. Of course not all the pieces of the puzzle have come together, but who has their whole puzzle finished at twenty-four anyways.

Now to find the money to continue using them.... hmmm. 

Kayla 



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