Friday, April 29, 2011

Ouch!


Putting in a site has got to be one of the most annoying things out there next to checking your blood sugar. For many diabetics this has become so routine that you would think we wouldn't think twice about stabbing ourselves in the stomach, legs or butt every three days, but for the most part we are going with the motion until this part comes along.

This is when our language gets creative and our face tightens up, our toes curl and we count to three or yell profusely at the stubborn needle. Some days are good days for putting a new site in - the days when you don't feel a thing, and the needle goes in without getting 'stuck' or sending feelings of pain throughout your entire body, but some days are bad days.  The days when you go to stick the needle in and it is tough or goes in roughly and half way through you decide to pull it back out.

I hate putting sites in and I hate changing them every three days.  If only there was a way to never take them out unless you had to.  The needles can be so painful and just looking at them sometimes makes you want to throw the pump out the window and quit your diabetes management.

However, something inside all of us gives us the strength to do what most people deem impossible. How many times have people told you, "I could never give myself a needle."  What we do as diabetics is something that we never would have thought we could do, but do anyways in the name of our health and desire to live a happy and long life.

So despite that pain that comes with giving ourselves needles, we just do it.  We swear, we scream, we cry, we wiggle around, but most of all we give ourself a needle because we want to live.

Kayla

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Proof!


Diabetes being a 24/7 disease, you would think that a diabetic wouldn't have time for anything else or that they would be scared to take on their aspirations or any type of adventure - but this is far from right.  Despite diabetics all around the world who see carb numbers all over food items, see finger poking as a dinner ritual and can give themselves insulin without even making eye contact with their pump - diabetics have a lot of to offer and are in no way scared to take on the world.

For me, I am constantly thinking of things to do.  I don't just pursue one thing, I pursue many.  Sometimes my mom says that I take on too much, but if at any time I have absolutely nothing to do, I am absolutely bored.  This could explain why I always have something on the go or at least am always thinking of something to do.

More recently I started a photography business.  At first I had no idea how it was going to go, but it has been amazing. Photography has always been a passion of mine. I always used to line up my beanie babies organize them (using a wash cloth as a backdrop) and then take photos of them with my mom's film camera.   Of course they were horrible, but I would like to say that I have improved!

Despite being diabetic, I can manage many different things - not everything is about diabetes.  Diabetics can dream big and achieve whatever they set their minds too let me be living proof, and if you need more check out the connected in motion website! {www.connectedinmotion.ca} There's your proof!

Kayla

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Diabetes Roadtrip!


On May 6th I will be heading up to Dtreat in Ottawa!  I am looking forward to the whole weekend, but one of the best parts is that it's going to be a diabetic girls only road trip! Or should I say a road trip for sweeties with diabetes (sorry, I read that in an ad once...)

There is nothing more exciting than getting together with a bunch of diabetic girls around the same age making our way to a diabetic event talking about diabetes!  I am sure everyone else cannot imagine the fun that is wrapped in that sentence, but really, I am looking forward to this!

I think that getting together with other diabetics is the best therapy there is (besides this blog).  I know that they actually know how I feel and we can give each other advice that no 'professional' has even mentioned before!

I am really looking forward to this weekend in general because for one, I have never been to Ottawa and second, I am interested to see what this weekend has to offer.  I know that I will meet amazing new friends as well as reunite with some good friends I met a slipstream and other CIM events!

It will definitely be blog worthy when I can get back!

Kayla

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You know & I know

As a diabetic we learn so much about ourselves and most of all we can all relate to each others frustrations. I often am reminded at times of high blood sugar that I can guarantee that at least three of my diabetic friends are probably feeling the same way right now.   We all share this common knowledge that not even doctors or nurses can describe or prepare us for when we are about to leave the hospital and enter the real world as a diabetic.

Every now and then I write a list of things that many diabetics can relate too, here are some new additions they may or may not have been covered before:

I don't like the taste of blood - however, some diabetics do.  When I see other diabetics put their finger in their mouths to clean their fingers after a blood test - I feel sick.  Personally I use the used strip put it on it's side and scrap my finger to get off the excess blood. If there is still some left on my finger (I won't lie)  I wipe it on my tester case (you can faintly see the dried blood all over the case!)

Eating carb/sugar filled foods are okay, but drinking regular pop or a big thing of juice is not. For some reason I can rationalize eating a piece of cake, but god forbid someone doesn't have diet coke in their house and only regular - I can't seem to grasp taking insulin for regular pop!

Changing your site is like doing homework. You know you have to do it eventually, but the longer you can put it off the better.  If that means you have one unit left - you have one unit left - I'll get around to changing it don't worry.....

Sometimes checking your blood sugar is also like homework - really some days it's  not until you feel weak at the knees or have a pounding headache that you are really going to consider checking your sugar when you aren't eating.  Extra finger pokes - no thank you!

The whole concept of finger leakage is real.  One time I tested one of the children I babysits sugar (don't worry his mom was there) and he laughed because two seconds after checking blood was coming out of his finger still when he pressed it.  I then pushed my finger (not having checked it in a few hours) and blood came out. Hey, it's like a really cool magic trick.. right?

The whole phrase, "Yes, I can eat that" is common in almost all conversations.  You have maybe even thought of getting a tattoo of it or writing it on your t-shirt.  I sometimes wonder if people think diabetics don't eat in general - like we just take insulin and cry every time dinner is served.

The opposite of this comes into play sometimes, sometimes you are the one saying, "I cannot eat that, I am diabetic!" to get out of a yucky meal without sounding rude! If you haven't tried this - please feel free too!

You stopped measuring things so precisely or even at all now that you have been diabetic forever or it seems like forever. (Okay, if I am the only one then I feel like a horrible diabetic right now!) But is it not true that we can just know after so much carb counting what a cup of cereal looks like?

Your B/G reminder is just your every two hours after meal annoying alarm. You know it's there, it's vibrating to remind you, but you simply just ACT, ESC and don't bother checking. Sometimes you may think, "wow it was two hours ago I ate? Time flies!"but other than that it's just a stupid alarm.

Every time something diabetes related happens on t.v you feel instantly interested and connected. Anyone watch Grey's lately?  You feel like they are making the pancreas cooler than ever - and you are probably learning something new at the same time - like, um, where your pancreas even is?

Lastly, every diabetic that you have met thus far has been super cool, making you wonder if something about the disease does that to people. Maybe calling people 'diabetic' will be the new slang for cool... who knows!

Kayla

Monday, April 25, 2011

Travel

This coming May is going to be a crazy one for me! I have calculated that I will only be spending 11 days at home! It seems crazy, but I am really looking forward to the adventures and experiences that May will bring. I can hardly wait to see new places, learn new things and most of all spend time with my family and friends.

First in May is Dtreat, which is located in Ottawa. I am driving down with three other girls and it's sure to be a great roadtrip!   I am looking forward to seeing what Dtreat is all about and what it has to offer, but most of all I am looking forward to hanging out with a bunch of diabetics because that is what it is all about and that is the best type of therapy.

Next, a couple days after I get home from Ottawa I will be heading to Aspen, CO with my best friend Michelle and her family. I absolutely cannot wait after looking at some pictures! The place is gorgeous and there seems to be a peaceful 'getaway' look to it all!  I am so happy that she thought of me to tag along on her family vacation!

Then, I will be heading to Mexico and will be bringing Michelle to tag along.  We are staying at a resort so I absolutely cannot wait  for the relaxation and the warm sun! Since the weather here just isn't cooperating!

Overall, all these travels will come with more exciting blogs as well as pictures! I cannot wait to share my adventures and experiences.

Kayla

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Bolusing!


It's Easter time and without a doubt the tables are full of little class bowls of chocolates, plates of fruit and cheese and crackers and an amazing amount of yummy desserts! For a diabetic this can be both a dream and a nightmare at the same time. We all are checking our sugar just a little more often or bolusing an extra 'good luck' unit just in case we don't totally know if the pecan tart had a little more sugar than we could have ever imagined.

This is when the diabetic with the pump should be filmed for an advertisement for a pump - because this is when the advantage of the pump truly comes into play. The simplicity of the pump at times like this is unbelievable compared to injections. Not having to get out your pen, screw on a needle and inject is great - however having a pump, the likelihood of you wanting another piece of pie is extremely high - "Hey it's only a press of a button!"

This is my third Easter with diabetes and I can't really imagine what parents must go through with diabetic children. With all the treats the Easter bunny brings and all the treats that get passed around at family dinners - I give all the diabetic mothers and fathers credit right now!

For me, it's like any other day with my pump except my daily totals will be a little higher than normal. But, it's all worth the fun socializing and catching up that occurs at Easter! Hope everyone has had a great Easter weekend so far!

Kayla


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Canadian Diabetes Association

This morning I headed over to St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre to meet with Lorraine from the Canadian Diabetes Association. I decided to bring along my first year diabetes scrapbook because I knew that it basically summed up my first year of diabetes with pictures and writing - much like my blog does. When I got there I was excited and eager to share my story and most of all get updated on what events are coming up.

I was surprised to already see my name typed up on the schedule for an event happening at the Best Western in Brantford on May 2nd. Lorraine told me that there should be almost 500 people there and that the majority of people would be type 2's. Although I don't write too much about type 2 diabetes - since I am type 1, I am still just as willing and eager to speak to this group. Although there are so many bad contentions with type 2 diabetes - they are still regular people and some are in fact our grandma's and grandpa's or uncles and aunts. Everyone deserves to be educated about diabetes no matter what type they are because either way it can lead us down a terrible path or a positive one.

Another event I might be speaking at is a Golf Tournament for raising money for Camp Huronda. This would be a younger crowd - except for the actual golfers, but Lorraine said it also is important for them to know about the people they are raising money for! Education and awareness is key!

I am looking forward to these speaking engagements and can hardly wait! Hopefully this will lead to bigger and better things for my future! I cannot wait to share them!

On another note, I want to start introducing video blogs to my blog site. They won't be a frequent, but I do think it's another way to get the word out there, just in a different form! I hope they are enjoyable!

Kayla

video

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Graduated!

I have retired my psychology and sociology textbooks for the summer after finishing my last exam this morning around 10 a.m. I had walked the halls of Fanshawe college for two years and with a great two years behind me I am ready to move on. It is really hard to believe that I am now graduating from Fanshawe with a Diploma in Liberal Studies - for one, I was only planning on staying one year and for another - am I really old enough to have a Diploma other than highschool! Time sure flies, and before I know it I hope I am walking the halls of an elementary or high school one day - as the teacher instead.

Just before entering College I was handed a bigger life task - diabetes. For me, diabetes never really seemed like a negative disaster; rather a positive challenge. I clearly didn't allow diabetes to take over my life and effect me. I am living proof that diabetes is not a roadblock. I have had a great time in College and have experienced what College has to offer - and have not once let diabetes get in the way - it's just not like that.

For me, I am glad that I have documented the past two years of my life, so I can look at all the triumphs I have had in the past two years and let every diabetic out there know that college, residence, partying - all that stuff is possible! Although some things may seem a bit tough and stress can get to you - you can come out alive and most of all graduate knowing that the past couple or few years of your life were worth every penny spent!

I am ready to take on new challenges - I am ready to challenge myself and find new opportunities. I know that my life has so many great things to offer and each day I learn something new about myself and gain just a little more confidence to get out there and make a difference. I am so happy with where I am in life now and wouldn't rewrite my story if I could. Each day is a new adventure that I am willing to ride out.

Some exciting news that isn't exactly diabetes related - but, I love to think that diabetes has given me the confidence to be who I am today. I have had two speaking opportunities at Fanshawe College as a student panel to discuss important issues at Fanshawe. It seems like I will get more opportunities such as that in the future - which I am incredibly excited for! I am glad to be a part of Fanshawe and to be able to share my success at Fanshawe.

Another thing - which is diabetes related, is that I will be meeting with Canadian Diabetes Association tomorrow about possible speaking opportunities regarding this very blog! I am ecstatic! I know that so many people can benefit from reading my blog and that is my goal - to not let any diabetic ever feel alone in the disease. I am like the diabetes manual that actually is true, understandable and not written by someone that doesn't have diabetes.

Kayla

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Confusion


The problem with having diabetes is that you instantly relate anything that happens to you - to your diabetes. Your headache - that just once was a headache is now because your sugars are out of whack, that crazy laughter you cannot control - that was just once called 'hyper' now it's a high sugar.

For me I get really confused because I never know what to do. So many times my sugars have been normal and I have felt weird and I start thinking of something I must have - oh no, something else to deal with - when it could just be what it is.

Last night I wrote an exam 4:30-7:30 and it was complete writing for the entire time. The room was small and there was no natural light - brutal! To say that it made me feel sick is an understatement. Despite having a Aero Bar and Starbursts I managed to keep at 7.2 B/G the whole time and even after. I guess that is what stress can do to you and a small room!

As soon as I got up from the exam I felt disoriented and faint. I wasn't sure really what was going on and even forgot my coat in the room. Knowing I was a 7.2 - probably added to the stress that I was already feeling from that Philosophy exam.

I have begun to wonder how University is going to treat my diabetes. As for now, College as been pretty easy for me and not extremely stressful, I guess that will be a new entire chapter of my life as a University Student - but don't think I am scared - I know that I can conquer anything!

Kayla

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diabetes Gave Me


When you are diagnosed with diabetes the doctor will probably sit you down and explain what you are now going to have to do. Unlike before, they will tell you, that needles are a way of life, not just one a day, but four or more. They will explain that having 'tight' control over your blood sugars is the most important thing because diabetes complications can result in loss of limbs, blindness and even death. Doctors everywhere explain that now living as a diabetic you need to be cautious of what you eat, cautious of what shoes you wear and cautious of any physical activities you participate in.

As much as this information is very real there are a lot of positive things you can take from diabetes that no one seems to talk about. I know not every diabetic feels a sense of happiness when they are checking their blood sugar or changing their site; however, I bet each diabetic can say at least one positive thing that happened because they have diabetes.

For me, diabetes gave me so much that I have dedicated this vary blog to just that. Diabetes took away my pancreas, but in return gave me amazing friends, confidence and motivation. I'd say it was good trade. Since being diagnosed my walls have expanded and all doors are open - there is no saying what I will do next.

Most recently I have been asked to speak to UPS/JDRF about the importance of the Walk to Cure Diabetes. As many people know I do this every year (this will be my third) and it is important to me because it's the one time of the year I can get together with all of my supporters and walk for a cure.

Also today I received a call from Canadian Diabetes Association to meet and speak about how I want to get involved as a motivational speaker. The meeting will be next Thursday and I am really looking forward to sharing my story as well as the chance for opportunities to speak at other events.

Diabetes isn't all that bad - you just have to see the positive sides in order to appreciate it.

Kayla


Monday, April 11, 2011

Somewhere Out There


No matter what diabetic you meet you will always have something in common. Whether it's the horror story of having to pee every half hour or the love/hate relationship you have with your pump - you are bound to have something to share and relate too. Over the past two years I have met some outstanding people that share similar stories to me.

Of course everyones story is unique in certain ways and everyone deals with their diabetes differently in some way or another. We all are on insulin, but the way we handle diabetes comes in many different ways. When I am around other diabetics I always wonder if our pancreas' know. As if they some how communicate:

Pancreas 1: "Hey, what's happening?"
Pancreas 2: "Nothing."
Pancreas 1: "Same...."


Diabetics just find each other and we find comfort in each other because let's face it - no one understands. We can spend endless hours talking about our diabetes because for once we have someone who can say, "YEAH I KNOW EH!" We can laugh at the silly things we did when we were low, or the terrible reality of having to check our blood sugar when are feeling too lazy!
The truth is is that we are not alone in our disease there are people out there that are just like us and don't mind your ranting and complaining.

The comforting part of it all is even when you are not around these people - when you are tossing in turning in bed throwing your pump from one side to another or thinking in your head, "I should probably press something so my pump stops vibrating..." someone else there is doing the same thing. Someone else is counting carbs, taking insulin, checking their blood sugar, being asked if they can eat that and most of all someone else out there is feeling exactly how you are feeling. Somewhere out there.

Kayla

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unrealistic Hunger


When a diabetic's sugar goes low a lot of things can occur. It truly varies from one diabetic to another, but I think a lot of diabetic's can relate to me when I explain the unrealistic hunger that comes along with a low blood sugar.

That feeling like you could eat an entire pizza, a box of cookies, a tub of candy and a candy apple. Diabetics everywhere literally raid kitchen cupboards, fridges and freezers in search of food to satisfy their incredible need for food. I guess what really makes you wonder is whether or not that hunger comes from wanting to get rid of the low or if it is simply a symptom of a low. I choose the latter.

Before the shakes I usually know that I am low based on my thoughts. Sometimes it's strange thoughts or paranoia, but usually it is thoughts about food. Usually strange random cravings like those candy peach rings, cotton candy, Domino's pizza - that kind of stuff.

Last night around 3 a.m I woke up feeling a little odd when I checked my sugar I was 3.3 and as soon as I began walking around I was feeling super light headed, shaky and most of all hungry. Living on my own I have NO food, I have nothing good and nothing that I was craving was in my house. This 'failure to find food you want' can really make a diabetic mad. I searched the house - I mean I live with three other people and knew that they would understand (hopefully) I was climbing the counters, getting out chairs - who knows.

I ended up eating a lot of cookies (that were mine) and Olivia's yogurt. I think that what made the most mad, more mad than having to be woken up in the middle of the night - was that I didn't have the food that I was craving. I didn't have an endless supply of food to just eat.

Kayla

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Diabetes Doesn't Have Me


Last night I was sitting at my lap top and all of a sudden I thought, "I have diabetes, diabetes doesn't have me." I typed it into google to make sure that I actually came up with that on my own and it seems I have. I began to think more about what I meant when I thought this.

Diabetes has become a huge part of my life in every single way. Really the only time that I can ignore my diabetes is when I am sleeping, but that doesn't always happen. Often diabetics are woken up in the night by beeps or vibrations from their pumps or pulling and tugging or even a low that wakes you up with the sweats and shakes.

It's what I write about every day and what I enjoy talking about. It is my drive behind my motivation and success as a person in my community, school and daily life. It is my best friend and worst enemy all at one time.

But, diabetes doesn't have me. My life isn't determined by my disease. I am not limited or turned down by diabetes because I am in control of my life. So, I am diabetic - I have diabetes, but diabetes doesn't have me. It won't knock me down, discourage me or limit me.

Kayla

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pump on the Run


The stories about wearing a pump are endless. Every diabetic that wears an insulin pump has stories of how their pump got in the way, fell, became tangled or was dropped etc. Personally, I have a handful of stories that I tend to break out at any diabetic gathering or if anyone happens to ask me - so what's it like having to wear that thing?

Basically there are two lengths of tubing you can get for the Medtronic pump, which I believe is 23 inches or 43 inches. I personally have the 23 inch tubing because with the 43 inch I can basically walk my pump - WAY to much tubing for me. Having tubing come off your body can be pretty annoying because it tends to get caught on everything.

If I happen to wear my pump in the side of my bra (under my arm pit) this tubing can hide under my shirt and doesn't tend to make an appearance to the outside world; however, if my pump is in my pocket that's when the tubing is bound to show.

A lot of people think that if my tubing is out, that my pump is about to jump, but this isn't always true - 23 inches of tubing can be a lot for my pocket, so sometimes it is just out no matter what. So what does this lead too? Basically if you have pump you are laughing now because you are thinking of just how many times you have had to untangle yourself from door knobs, handles, seat belts and random furniture. It's bound to happen - I even have had my tubing looped in belt holes with my belt or tangled with my purse straps - oh yes, the tubing will find its way to keep you connected to anything it can find.

The pump its self which is attached to the tubing usually ends up going for a ride once your tubing decides it wants you to remain where you are. My pump likes to hide in the couch - seriously I don't think I have ever sat down and not been pulled back down when I am about to get up.

My pump has also been in the toilet. Clean toilet that is - don't worry. I often smack my pump off of the door if it's on my hip and of course it also takes a dive when you forget you took it out of your pocket and sat it on your lap or beside you.

Out of all the times I have dropped, tangled and swung my pump around it has never fell out of my stomach. That is until NOW. Today, after getting up from sitting down on the couch my pump came out of my pocket and took a nice dive down the floor. Okay, it was more like a big swing across the room. This time it decided it wasn't going to leave no man behind and therefore my site went flying out with it.

I couldn't believe it and I had just changed my site that day - so I must have done something wrong. Either way there my pump and site went flying across the living room. Thankfully this does not hurt!

If only diabetes flew away from me that fast!