Friday, July 30, 2010

Upside Down

We all dream - some of our biggest dreams are formed when we are young and with time we either make or break those dreams. Some dreams change while others never fade - most of us can remember what we said we wanted to be in kindergarten whether that was Cinderella or a Mommy either way we had a dream.

My dream was always to become a teacher. A few times I had some different ideas, but I have wanted my own classroom full of desks and students for many, many, many years. That has been the biggest dream of mine and without a doubt I am trying my hardest to make that dream come true.

Without a doubt I have had a few obstacles thrown at me. My world has been turned upside down a few times. I have been through heartache and change more than anyone can imagine. I have cried more tears and felt more pain than I ever thought possible. Yes, I know so many worse things could have happened to me, but the unexpected hurts.

Being diagnosed with diabetes was one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. I went from eating whenever I want and whatever I want to carb counting and taking shots when I eat. I would have never thought that diabetes was such a pain until being diagnosed.

In a way diabetes has taken away from my freedom. Yes I praise my diabetes in having a huge part in the turn around of my life, but diabetes has seriously done some damage. When I look at my pump - I see diabetes clinging to my waist. My pump is on me 24 hours of the day and 7 days of the week and at this point the only time I feel like me is when I take it off to have a 10 minute shower.

Although I choose to have the pump - I didn't choose to have diabetes. Diabetes found me all on it`s own and decided that it was going to stick around for the long run. I don`t know why diabetes choose me, but even if it turned my world upside down I will fight as long as I can and as hard as I can to turn it right side up!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rewind, Prime, Pump!

The process of getting an insulin pump took many, many months. I had decided on getting an insulin pump in January and finally received one in July. I had to do pump classes and also be approved from my doctor. The process may have taken 7 months, but it was worth the wait.

Being on an insulin pump means a lot to me because no longer do I have to give myself four needles a day. I don't have to get my blue pouch out, screw on a needle, dial the amount of insulin I need and then give myself the needle. All I have to do now is check my sugar, count the carbs and punch in the number of carbs I am eating and then I am done!

The site I have which is located on my stomach has to be changed every three days. That means that for two days I go absolutely needle free! I can only imagine how amazing this insulin pump must have been for those who were on needles for many, many years. Luckily for me I only had to have approximately 2060 needles before I was given the insulin pump!

The only process that I go through now is when I have to change my site. So the site is the white patch that is seen on my stomach. The tubing runs from inside my stomach into the insulin pump. When I have to change my site I have to fill up the reservoir with the appropriate amount of insulin. For me I am using 100 units of insulin - that way I am not throwing away a lot of insulin. I found out through trial and error that daily I use about 25 units of insulin.

I have to then put in a brand new tube. So in order to do this I have to give myself a needle on an angle and then pull out the needle - this will leave the tubing inside my stomach in order to deliever the insulin for the next three days. Once this is done I simply have to rewind and prime the pump and then I can attach the pump to myself and fix prime it.

Once this process is done I should bolus (give myself insulin for a meal) to ensure that I have put the pump on correctly. Right now the process is a little slow going for me because I am trying to remember to do everything. The first time I had to change my site Mitch came over to help me. Today I did it all by myself!

Soon enough I will be doing it in no time! It seems like a big process, but it beats giving myself four needles a day - that's for sure!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Package for Kayla Brown

My first order of supplies had been delivered to my house! I am glad that I successfully ordered online and that it was shipped to my house without difficulties since I had a hard time getting my pump delivered to my house. I decided to try ordering from Medtronic's website directly rather than my pharmacy for two reasons first was that they gave me a 300 dollar credit towards my first months supplies and also you receive 15% off when you order from Medtronic directly.

One problem I may find with ordering from Medtronic is that it is delivered by FedEx and if I happen to miss them I would have to travel to Kitchener since that's the nearest FedEx. But, I did discover that I can get a sticker to put in my door so that even if no one is home to sign it can be dropped off.

I have decided that even though I will be living in London in September I will still have my supplies delivered to my house unless there was an absolutely emergency. I am usually prepared unless it comes to Lantus - that's one thing I forgot a couple times - but I don't even use Lantus anymore, so I should be fine!

Among the $205.00 box of sites and the $43.00 box of reservoirs I also order a leg strap and a stomach strap. The leg strap is black and can fit anywhere on my leg to hide my pump. Beyond it's secret agent look I decided to get it in case I wear a dress. The stomach pouch is white and I decided to get it just in case I want to wear it on my stomach but not clip it to my pants. You never know!

I also ordered skin prep which cleans and helps the site stick better to the skin. However, I was just using alcohol swabs and when it was time to peel of the site it was sticking to me like glue! I was having such a hard time getting it off!

My first site has left a little bit of a pink dot which I have applied Polysporin to - to help it heal better. It isn't sensitive, but the red dot is still there. It's not like I didn't have many, many dots and bruises on my stomach before from needles!

Anyways, so far being on the pump has been a great thing and really has made my day a lot easier. Tomorrow I change my site! Two days without needles has been great!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That's the Spot!

This is my fourth day on the insulin pump and I can hardly believe that it's even been that long. It still feels a little unreal to me at this point and when people ask me if it's just temporary and I say well it's kind of for forever - it hits me that, yes I could wear an insulin pump for many, many years.

As far as wearing it daily it hasn't been a problem. At the daycare, one of the little boys says "K'na and Pump" which really reminds me that I am no longer just "K'na" I also come with a pump - kind of like Barbie with all her accessories - oh and I do require 1 AAA battery.

I think I have also figured out the whole going to bed with the insulin pump. I clipped it to the front of my pajamas. Last night it worked out well and I actually got a good night sleep between blood sugar checks. I went low at 3:00 a.m and had to have a juice box, but I have adjusted my basal rate even more so hopefully tonight there will be no emergency juice at 3:00 a.m.

I am looking forward to the end of the week, so that I can at least relax a little bit more since this week has been pretty hectic between figuring out the pump and working. I don't mind at all working while being on the pump and I am glad that I didn't take any time off because it hasn't been a problem at all.

This weekend Clinton and I are visiting the Maheu's for a BBQ which will be nice. I know that the boys will probably be very excited to check out my new pump! If they thought the needles and meter was cool wait till they check out the pump and the meter that can send messages to the pump through the air!


Monday, July 26, 2010


So today is my third day with the insulin pump and so far it has really helped my blood sugars as far as staying lower than at least 11. The pump has been really nice for not having to give myself a needle while eating and that is one of the biggest positive changes I have noticed.

One change that I am not liking at all is sleeping with the insulin pump. The first night I let it roll around with me and I woke up a few times with it tangled either around my back/stomach or around my arms. I know that I move around a lot so I am not sure about this option. Last night I started off that way, but I was getting beyond frustrated so I clipped it to the front of my pajama pants. I knew that there was a good chance that I wouldn't be sleeping on my stomach, so this method worked quite well.

As far as checking my sugar so much, that is also the MOST annoying thing. My fingertips are sore just typing this note. I am approx. checking my sugar 14 times a day which includes the check-ups in the night. At night I am getting up at 12 a.m, 3 a.m, 6 a.m and then 7:25 a.m for work.

I realize that all of this has to be done to make sure that I am getting the full benefits of my insulin pump, so the biggest thing I keep reminded myself right now is that I am strong and can do this. It sounds strange because I know there are a lot of worse things I could be going through right now, but I only have so much energy.

Strength is a big thing for me right now. I could so easily give up and don't get me wrong it has crossed my mind, but I am going to stick through this because I know once this part is over living with the pump will work. I have had several lows since going on the pump, but soon that will all be adjusted, so that unlike last night at 3:00 a.m I don't have to sip on a juice box.

So far at the daycare only one toddler has noticed and really didn't say much, he just poked it a few times! I am really surprised because I thought that would be something that would have zoomed in on.

Anyways, tonight I am changing my site with the help of my diabetic friend Mitch, who lives a couple blocks away. I want to make sure that I do it right and that I know how to do it. I am looking forward to a new site because this one is starting to get itchy!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Here we go!

The wait has finally come to an end as I am now wearing an insulin pump! I could hardly wait for this day, yet at the same time I was grasping on for dear life to my old treatment of diabetes. I can say as of now I am really, really enjoying wearing my insulin pump.

It seems like its disadvantages were played up a lot more as far as wearing it around. I know that at pump therapy they insisted that at first you won't know what to do with it when you're changing or when you have to go the bathroom, but truth is I instantly knew what to do. Maybe it's just me, but I just thought - why not clip it to my bra while changing my pants? And as far as going the bathroom it really doesn't need to move it can stay clipped to my pants!

I honestly barely noticed it today and at times forgot all about it! The best part about it so far is that I never had to give myself a needle after putting it in and 10:30 p.m is approaching and I don't have to worry about giving myself insulin!

As soon as the trainer left I had to give myself bolus (fast acting insulin) for lunch and I had no problems what so ever. I like that my meter talks to my pump, so then the pump does all the math for me and even includes the fact that my sugars are high or low, so therefore I need more and less insulin.

The only thing is that today I went low twice - below 4.0. As I type now I have just treated a low with a juice box and still feel a little shaky - but I am able to write this note! I also spent the day shopping in Cambridge, so that could be in relation to the lows.

So far the pump has been a pleasure to have. I am interested to see how my sleep will be. I am sure I will be fine - I am not nervous wearing the pump.

This is the start to an interesting ride and I am glad I can share it with all of you.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Hooked Up!

Tomorrow, July 24th 2010 will be a day to remember much like the day I was diagnosed with diabetes. I will start my insulin pump tomorrow once the Medtronic lady, Nancy arrives at my house. Of course we will have to go through various things, but once she leaves I will be all hooked up and ready to go.

A lot of people have asked about how nervous I am. Honestly, I am nervous and scared. I keep thinking, "ah this thing is going to be attached to me." I know that I should be more worried about the whole fact that it's keeping me alive, but honestly it's going to be a big obstacle having to figure out where to put this pump.

My mom has already asked if I can go shopping that day and I know that my sugar always goes low during shopping, so I joked and said I am going to have to get the shopping setting in - since you have different ratios/patterns programmed into your pump.

I know that I am going to be a grumpy, grumpy girl in the next few weeks because of having to get up every two hours to deal with the insulin pump, but I am fully prepared to do this while balancing my life.

So, this is the last post before I go on the pump. I know that a lot of people will be looking forward to tomorrow's post and honestly I am quite looking forward to it as well!

Talk to you tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Age of Technology

I pretty much grew up in the age of technology. At first for me, it was VHS then DVDs and now 3D Blue Ray. I know that technology was around before the 90's, but I also know that in the past twenty years technology has rapidly grown.

I have a GPS, iPhone, laptop and more and all of these things benefit me in different ways. But nothing can measure up to how much the technology of the insulin pump can benefit me. I can hardly explain how amazing it must have been when they first put insulin pumps on the market. Children who had been living with diabetes for years and years were now given a chance to ditch the four needles a day lifestyle.

If we have the technology to almost mimic the human pancreas - I am proud to say I own one. We all want the new cellphone on the market or the new 70 inch t.v, so why wouldn't we want new technology that can potentially add years to our lives.

I know several people that tried the pump, but hated it for various reasons. I know that they have had issues with the tubing, gaining weight or plain old didn't want to wear it at all. I know that no technology is perfect and eventually there will always be something better. I am just very excited that I am taking the opportunity to at least give it a try. After all, I am always willing to try out a new cell phone or iPod.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Okay so there are thre more days until I start my insulin pump and I am already having mixed feelings. So, okay I have had mixed feelings about this pump since day one, but it was very important to me to just go with it and enjoy the experience.

People have been asking me if I am ready or excited and it has been a shrug of the shoulder reply. Yes I was extremely excited to have my pump delivered to me, but as far as wearing it all the time that will be the biggest deal breaker of all. I know that SO many people do it and are okay with it.

I will be blogging like crazy for the next little while because I know that every single day with the pump will be eventful. I am extremely interested to see what it is going to be like wearing it at the daycare. I am also curious to see how functional I will be after waking up every two hours to check my blood sugar. Did I mention I work 9 hour days Monday-Friday with 14 toddlers?

I went to the pharmacy today and picked up my Novarapid in a vial as well as my contour strips since I am switching from my Onetouch Mini (which will be extremely missed). Last night I was less than prepared when I ran out of long lasting insulin. I usually take 26 units at 10:30 p.m, but only had 8 units left and no extra pens. Thankfully my mom was working with a diabetic, Michael who gave me a brand new pen of Lantus! He saved the day for sure!

I think that I am ready to begin the new chapter of my life with diabetes. I am ready to show all the diabetics out there that are on the fence about insulin pumps what it is all about. I am prepared to be honest!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Before Insulin

It really intrigues me to know what it was like living with diabetes before insulin. But in all honestly many people did not live with diabetes without insulin because they often died. I like to research this type of thing because even though diabetes was once fatal those people were living with the exact same disease that I have.

Before the 20th century type 1 diabetes was rare and when someone was diagnosed they almost instantly died. Before the 20th century diabetes was determined by a doctor tasting the patients urine. When now they detect it by blood work and urine samples, but do not have to taste a single thing. In a study, 86% of children under 16 died due to ketoacidosis (

If only insulin and care was provided for them to prevent so many deaths of young children living with type 1. However, I do recognize that in many parts of the world today in 2010 type 1's do not have access to insulin or care which can lead to a quick end of their life.

I am beyond lucky to live in Canada and live in a time where insulin is available. Not only is insulin available, but any product I need is there for me whenever I need it and as much as I want. Thankfully with health care I am not paying hundreds of dollars for my medication.

I am also lucky the the Canadian government pays for my insulin pump and supplies. I know that the choice to go on an insulin pump would have been a lot harder if I had to pay out of pocket for the pump (which is around $7000) and supplies (around $300 a month).

I definitely am a lucky girl.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ready Set GO!

There is nothing like a good old challenge. I have definitely had my fair share of challenges this summer. It seems like my summer has been full of them! It now almost feels weird if I am not doing some type of activity or event. Doing absolutely nothing feels strange - when really sometimes that's what I need the most.

On Saturday July 17th Clinton and I filled our backpack with water, the GPS, note pads, and snacks to prepare for our Great Urban Race in Toronto. We knew that we had no idea where anything was in Toronto, but we were both up for the challenge.

It was a great day and although I am sure we came very close to the bottom - I know that the memories from that day will be something to talk about for the rest of our lives. Clinton even said a couple times, "Well next year we can . . ." which lead me to believe he is up for it again - which is always a good thing!

I absolutely love doing these events and they really give you an idea of how much fun life can be! I look at my life as a big scrapbook. The more events I have the more stories and pictures I have to fill the blank pages of tomorrow. I know that when I am a grandma - or great grandma I will have tons of crazy stories to tell!

I know that doing these type of events isn't everyone's thing. We all have different interests, but previous to my very first event (Mud Run 2009) I never would have known how fun it is to get involved and out there.

Just try it! You just might like it or better yet LOVE it!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Big Question

There is just over a week left of my four needles a day. It's hard to believe that soon I won't be giving myself a needle before I eat. I know that I will still have to use needles every 2-3 days, but other than that I am pretty much needle-free.

I am going to actually miss it. I am very used to my needles - losing the pen is going to be a big difference. Half of me is looking forward to the pump while the other half is not counting down the days.

I think that it is going to be one of the biggest adjustments I have ever had to make since being diagnosed. Every day I have moments where I think if I am going to even want it. I know that it is now here and I have brought it to work to show them and showed a few people, but when it is actually on me - will I even want it?

I guess that's the biggest question right now. It may be hard for everyone to understand just how much this is going to change my life, but I know by far that this is going to be a huge accomplishment to take on this challenge.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Along the Way

There are a lot of things that have happened in my life that I wish had not, however; there is no way without those obstacles would I be where I am today. I know every time something goes wrong that it is for a reason. I know people say that all the time and it's marked on key chains, coffee mugs and t-shirts, but I truly believe that without those ruffles in our past we wouldn't have all the successes we have today.

For me I have met a lot of amazing people along the way. I have built up a network of diabetics which is absolutely amazing to have. I really never had a chance to feel alone with diabetes because before I even came out of the hospital I had networked myself with Connected in Motion.

All of the diabetics that I have met have been extremely helpful to me. Without them at times I would have been completely lost. I know that while I am learning how to live with the pump they will be there for me.

I know that diabetes isn't the end of the world and I have never thought that, however; diabetes can be a big pain in the butt. I don't always want to check my sugar and at times giving myself a needle is almost enough to prevent me from eating that cookie.

I think that type 1 diabetes is very misunderstood, but what matters is that diabetics everywhere are connecting with one another. I know there are 300,000 living with type 1 and Canada and I almost feel like I know at least a quarter of them!

So even though diabetes was something that I would never ask for it truly has made me who I am today. Without diabetes I would have never accomplished as much as I can say today and I would never have met such a great amount of amazing people.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


Now that the pump is in my possession I cannot help, but wonder what it is going to be like having it attached to me 24/7. I think that that is the biggest concern I have with having an insulin pump. I honestly have no idea if I am going to enjoy it. I have had sites in me, but they were never attached to a pump.

I have tried to put my pump in various places to get an idea of where I would most feel comfortable wearing it. It is not attached to tubing as of right now, so I cannot 100% know what it is going to be like. I found that it is pretty easy to use the clip and attach it to the center of my bra. Looking at me you would have no idea that I had a pump in my bra; however, I could feel it there.

I also tried clipping it to the side of my shorts. It feels almost too heavy and bulky to sit there, so I am not sure if that is just something I will get used too or if putting it there isn't a good option. Another thing I have tried is just putting it in my pocket. Depending on what shorts/pants I am wearing this is a possibility; however, a lot of the pants/shorts I wear have smaller pockets.

I think that wearing it in my bra will be my best bet. I know that working at the daycare I want to make sure the kids cannot pull on my tubing. It will be interesting to see what it is like working with them and having a site on because the toddlers are constantly jumping on me.

I am going to give the insulin pump a chance. This is why I took the time to do the classes and do online pump school. I have been playing around with the options and I honestly have picked it up faster than I thought. I guess I live on gadgets - laptops, iPods and cellphones.

No matter what I know that I have an awesome team of supporters who are helping me through this - and always have.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Here it is!

It has arrived! My insulin pump has finally arrived today after a long wait! I was supposed to receive it on Wednesday, but instead I received it today. There were a few mix ups with Medtronic and Fedex, but finally after patiently waiting I received my purple pump!

I haven't been able to write for awhile because I have been very busy and stressed! This has been a very stressful week because I have had to make a lot of phone calls and such. With the insulin pump arriving as well, I have been far from bored.

When I received my insulin pump it was almost a shock. Yes, I have seen many pumps, but they were all attached to someone else - it wasn't mine. I had been waiting to receive a pump since January and holding it in my hand was almost surreal. This is my purple pump!

I was super excited to get it - I went on Skype with Clinton to share the excitement of my brand new pump! My pump start date is July 24th! So I do have 2 more weeks of 4 needles a day and it actually will be a little sad to leave those pens behind. This is a HUGE lifestyle adjustment, but I am jumping in with two feet and not going to worry or stress. I know that I can do anything I set my mind too.

Among my pump business I also received a scholarship to go to the Friends for Life conference in Vancouver - However, I cannot go because I will be in Panama. I was very upset about this because I really, really wanted to go, but I have already booked to go to Panama. I am very happy that I received the scholarship and very thankful - I am very sad that I will not be able to go. There are always other years!

So, I am back to blogging now that this crazy week has past!


Sunday, July 4, 2010


I had one month to get used to diabetes before I left for my cruise in 2009. In the hospital just after being diagnosed I was very nervous about what it was going to be like to take a vacation with diabetes. Luckily on that trip my uncle - who is also insulin dependent was there to help me.

Once the cruise was done, I had the confidence that diabetes wasn't going to be a huge set back. Since that day I have went through many different obstacles that I have come out of proving to myself and others that diabetes is not excuse or reason to quit.

Soon I will be starting my insulin pump (most likely the week of the 12th of July) and I am assuming that starting a pump will be much like the first time I was diagnosed. There is lots to learn and to experience. Also I will be going away the end of August, so like before I will have about a month to get comfortable with my pump.

I know that it will be a very interesting experience being on an insulin pump, but I cannot wait!


Saturday, July 3, 2010


I am very familiar with change. For me, change has happened multiple times throughout my life. I am not talking small changes that the average person goes through from birth until their 20th birthday - I am talking big changes.

If it wasn't for diabetes none of these changes would have occurred. Not all the changes are good and I give so much praise to my diabetes it is about time I give it a little grief. Diabetes has changed me as a person - not enough that you cannot recognize me, but enough that I no longer feel like the same person I was a year and a half ago.

Yes, I have accomplished things in my life that I would have had no ambition to ever try before like the triathlon. But, there are things that have changed about me that I wish had stayed the same. Things like just enjoying doing nothing and relaxing. I feel like diabetes has taken relax right out of my vocabulary. It's not that I am constantly worrying about my diabetes, but diabetes is always there and I cannot for the life of me have a day off and just relax.

I know that for some reason diabetes has filtered my friends - or something like that. I feel like since being diagnosed the whole dynamic of friends has changed. Yes I still have friends, but at times I wonder how close of friends do I have. I know, I know I have friends that I couldn't live without and that are there for me 100%, but how can sometimes I feel so alone with my disease.

I can't blame everything on diabetes, but diabetes has made me be a person of giving and that is not always a good thing. I try so hard to please everyone and make people happy. I am the type of person that will go that extra mile or at least try too. I am not trying to praise myself, but I honestly am constantly thinking of how I can help someone out. But being nice doesn't always count.

I know that I am trying my hardest in everything that I do and know what I want to accomplish in the end. I do have big dreams and have made diabetes apart of my dreams. I realize that 99% of people do not understand me or what my dreams are, but whether you're beside me or against me I am not letting anything stop me from being who I am as a person.


Friday, July 2, 2010

The Call!

Today I received the call I have been waiting for! Medtronic called me at lunch today to let me know that they had received my papers and were ready to order me a pump. They let me know that it would be delivered on Wednesday!

I cannot wait to actually have it. I will probably wait a week to actually begin using it since I am going away with Clinton on the 10th and don't want to be new to the pump for that trip. It will be so different having it attached to me 24/7 and I am not 100% sure if I will like it, but I am going into it with an open mind.

I will be sure to document it through my blog since it is one of those experiences that can be helpful for others to learn from. I know that I am lucky to have a bunch of pumpers to contact, but I know that a lot of people aren't as fortunate to have people that know exactly what it is like to live with diabetes while using an insulin pump.

I will keep everyone informed!