Sunday, May 22, 2016

DBW: Let's Get Physical

Let's just start off with this photo:

Diabetes isn't just about what you eat.   You can avoid sugar, you can cut out carbohydrates and still deal with high blood sugar. Likewise, you can eat extra food, take less of a bolus, set a temp basal, and still end up low.   I find exercise and diabetes one of the most annoying combinations in the history of combos.   The issue is that no day is the same, I could eat the exact same thing [which I do] every morning and do the same amount of fitness [which I do] and have completely different numbers.  I think that when it comes down to it, it's about being prepared for whatever diabetes throws at you. If you're going to the gym, keep your tester near by and your low supplies close.  As much as we try to pre-plan it can be extremely difficult.

Personally, I do not go to the gym. I used to go all the time, but then I realized it wasn't practical for me and I wanted to find something that didn't stress me out, yet also kept me active. I work with children so I am constantly running around whether that is playing at the park, walking around the neighbourhood or jumping on a trampoline.  To me, this is fun, and also keeps me active, which is good enough for me.

The difficult part is that when I am active is when I am working, and since I mentioned I work with children it's so important that I make sure I am not going low and if I do go low [which happens] I make sure that I have the proper things I need to bring me back up.   If I am going for a long walk, I bring my supplies, a snack, low treatment and my debit card just in case I need to further purchase more food.

Since my exercise is based around/during my work schedule, there really is no need for added motivation. I have made it apart of my routine and it has worked out well for me.  Almost every day at work I reach over 15,000 steps before noon. It's the weekends that I slack, I do run a lot errands but not enough to classify as exercise I don't think.

All and all I have learned how important it is to find something that works for your schedule and also something that doesn't stress you out. When I had a gym membership I would stress that I didn't go often enough or that I was spending too much money on the membership.   I found that once I withdrew from that and began walking with the children and with my friends and partner, I felt much better overall and was still getting a workout in.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

DBW: My Day In Food

I actually always track my food, well at least I have been since December.  It's not some strange obsessive thing, but it is more to keep myself accountable for what I eat and how much I am eating.  I have always struggled with weight, nothing extreme, but just chasing that 'ideal' self for as long as I understood what my 'ideal' self was.

Here is a page out of the wonderful food journal, which is an old notebook from IDF Melbourne I got.

The book I am using to track my food.
May 9th 2015 

Breakfast: All Bran [2 cups]
                  Skim Milk [1/2 cup]
                  1 Banana

Snack: Popcorn [2 cups]

Lunch:  Grain Bread [2 slices]
              Black Forest Ham slices
              Greek Yogurt

Snack: Granola Bar
             Baby Bell Cheese

Dinner:  Quinoa Chicken Fingers [3]
                Beets [1 cup]
                Apple Sauce [1/2 cup]

I often try to stick to 1200 calories and under and frankly, lately I have been a bit more off because I have had so many lows, but dealing with diabetes and food can be difficult. It is hard to find balance between eating healthy, not being obsessed, and making sure that you are also giving yourself a break.


Friday, May 20, 2016

DBW: Tips and Tricks

Living with diabetes for over seven years now, I have found some ways to easily navigate my life and diabetes without totally having a mental breakdown. Working full time, having a decent social life and living with diabetes is a lot of work.  If we spend too much time focusing on our diabetes we may miss out on a lot, so having tips and tricks to make life easier is always great.

Diabetes comes with a lot of STUFF. I literally two clear plastic drawer stands that are filled with diabetes supplies.  I keep these in my closet and it keeps everything organized and together.  This makes site changes a lot easier because I know where everything is and how to access it. Also, if anyone else needs to get something for me, it's pretty laid out as to where everything is.

I will admit, I do not measure my food. It takes up a lot of time and I am very much a 'right now' type of person.  However, for things that I eat often, I use the same bowls/cups so that I know where to fill it.  This is super easy, because most people have a full dinnerware set with all the same bowls, plates etc. So once you measure your cereal once, and know where in the bowl it lines up to, then you know approximately the serving size.   This obviously isn't as accurate as actually measuring out your food, but it's just something that has made my meal times a bit less annoying.

I recently wrote about travel and diabetes. In the post I mention a couple tips and tricks for traveling and diabetes such as I always keep my diabetes bag packed.  It has everything in it I need (minus insulin) and I just restock it once I return from a trip. I always pack double, perhaps triple the amount that I need. This travel bag keeps it all together and one less thing to worry about when packing my other things. 

Overall I wouldn't say I have discovered anything miraculous, but I do think that individually we find life hacks that make dealing with diabetes easier. Some work for others while others are a complete fail. We are all different, living different lifestyles and how great is it when we find something that works perfectly for us while making life that much easier! 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

DBW: The Healthcare Experience

Healthcare in Canada is a bit different versus the United States for example. It also varies province to province in Canada, so I will specifically speak to where I am from, Ontario, Canada.

In Ontario, those living with type 1 diabetes can be eligible for an insulin pump + supplies which are fully funded by the government.  Depending on what pump you choose, you may have to fork some money out of pocket for extra costs, but regardless, you have the funds of $200.00 a month to buy your supplies.  We have four different pumps available in Canada, Medtronic, Animas, Omnipod and Accuchek. This program is called Assistive Device Program (ADP) I am on this program, so my insulin pump, and supplies are fully covered by the Ontario Government as long as I meet all the requirements at my appointments, things such as checking blood sugar 4x a day etc.

What I do not have coverage for is insulin and test strips. This is because I do not have a job with benefits [I am self employed] so, those expenses are out of pocket for me. Thankfully, insulin is relatively affordable approximately $36.00 a vial [which from talking to my American friends, this is much cheaper] the tests strips vary but are usually just under $1.00 a piece.  There are programs out there to help with the cost of insulin and strips for those that need the help.

Overall, I am thankful for the care that I receive in Ontario.  I have attended two Young Leaders in Diabetes programs and have talked to many people who live in countries that do not have access to insulin. It has given me a much bigger appreciation for access.  Yes, it's $40 out of my pocket every two weeks or so, but I cannot imagine not having the option to purchase insulin.

My healthcare team in my city is great. My nurse also has type 1, so that makes my appointments less stressful than when I had a non-type 1 nurse. I have had my fair share of diabetes clinic experiences. I feel that where I am at now is a great guiding experiences and I am very thankful for them.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DBW: Language and Diabetes

Tester, Poker, & Strips
I have always called myself a diabetic.  There are times when I have said person with diabetes, but not about myself, usually in situations where I know the person I am with prefers that term. I understand why people do not like calling themselves 'diabetics' but at the same time, to me, I am diabetic. I am also a girl, and a Canadian and a sister and a daughter.  These are all tags that are associated with me. Does it mean that I am ALL Canadian that's it eh? No. But, everyone has their preferences, and I get for professional reasons, 'a person with diabetes' is probably the most PC way to go about addressing someone living with diabetes.

There is a ton of lingo that those living or caring for someone with diabetes use. It even variates in the diabetes community. For instance when I need to take insulin for my food, I say 'bolus'  example, "I need to bolus for that ice cream!" But, that's pump talk, most people who are on injections wouldn't likely say 'bolus.'  For other things such as when I check my blood sugar, I use the word 'check' versus 'test' although I think sometimes I switch it up.  

I call my meter my 'meter,' or 'tester' the lancet, a poker and the test strips,' test strips'  If I am low, I say that I am 'treating a low' and if I need something when I am low, I say, 'I need sugar!' 

There are things I am sure I say that the average public has no idea what I am talking about, but that's part of the inclusive diabetes club, we come with a whole slew of different words and variations and while we may not all agree on some, at least we usually know what one another are talking about.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DBW: The Other Half of Diabetes

This topic screams out to me unlike no other.  Kind of like my mind when I am completely acting like a fool because of uncontrolled blood sugars.  I must admit right from the beginning of diagnosis I can recall 'rage' like moments where I totally lost control of my emotions and threw them at the people that I love.  Still, I have those same moments, all the while my mind {the part that has common sense} is shouting, "YOU'RE BEING UNREASONABLE."

I have gotten angry over someone asking me a basic question. I have slammed chairs, I have name called and I have completely shut out the people that love me.   I hate blaming diabetes for things, I really do, but the more I talk to others about these issues, the more I realize, I am not alone. I can only assume because this was a chosen topic for Diabetes Blog Week, that many others are dealing with mental stress.
Barbados 2015 - In my happy place 

I think that my family, friends and partner know that diabetes comes with the good, bad and ugly in regards to moods. But, I think that it is extremely difficult for them to understand why, especially for my partner M, who I have only been with for just shy of two years.  It's hard for me to explain my emotions, and when I am feeling defeated with it all, I tend to shut him out completely, making things uncomfortable for both him and I.   Diabetes doesn't always make sense to me, so how could it possibly make sense for someone who doesn't have diabetes, and has only known someone for two years with diabetes.

Recently M sent me a great article about managing anxiety/stress. While I feel like I may dip into those things every once and awhile, especially in relation to weather. [I need to live on a beach full of sunshine].  The article was pretty straight forward, and the gesture alone with great. Sometime it isn't as easy as taking a deep breath, but at this point, I'd try it all.   Deep breath, downward dog, glass of water, extra sleep, big smile and a hug.   Whatever it takes to keep my mood in balance just as well as my blood sugars.

I have recently tried, self talk. Simply asking myself, 'what is wrong?' 'what is bugging you?' 'what do you need right now?' 'is this urgent?' 'can you not say anything?' 'do you need to say those mean things and make everyone mad at you?' It doesn't always work. Sometimes I end up saying the things regardless or doing the actions I just told myself not to do, but there are times when it does work and I am much more pleasant to be around. I still think the best way to deal with it would to be live on a sunny beach, but that isn't as affordable as self talk.

My hope is that not only can I better control my mental stress due to my diabetes but also help my partner and family and friends better understand what I am dealing with and how hard I am trying to make things better.


Monday, May 16, 2016

DBW: Message Monday

After I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009, I started writing 'notes' on Facebook. A feature that I am not sure Facebook even offers anymore. Regardless, I wrote these notes as a way to communicate with my friends and family what I had been going though the past little while.  I was learning just as much as they were, and I needed a place to put it.   I realized that people were responding well to my notes and the journey that I had unwillingly entered. I was told that I should turn my notes into a blog and it was by far one of the best advice I have ever been given.

October 13th - Brantford Expositor

The blog to me is my diabetic therapy, it gives me a place to put down my experiences and raw
emotions and in return get the feedback or comfort I need.  Sometimes it isn't about the audience, and really just a place to clear my head. Regardless, I knew that having started a blog more than seven years ago has taught me a lot about who I am and has also given me a very real timeline of how I have handled diabetes up until now.

Today is about the message, what message do I want send out? What do I want to accomplish with the blog?   I want to give those living with diabetes peace of mind. There is way too much worry in this world.  We worry about our health, our safety and our finances and we worry about our children, our parents and our country.  But, what pulls us out of that worry is sharing, talking, and really connecting with those around us.  Community is huge and to be apart of such an amazing community, the diabetes online community, has helped me deal with my worry in so many ways.  

I also feel that in the diabetes blogging community we play a huge role in education.  We may not be qualified dieticians or endocrinologists, but we are living with diabetes 24/7.  Having a blog gives us an opportunity to open the window inside the life of diabetes and show people who may not live with diabetes, what life is like.   Having a diabetes blog to me, allows me to share apart of my life that many people do not see or realize.