Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
" As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you."
Here are some new blog's I've discovered this week:
Carey at "Diabetsy": Carey is new to the DOC and actually lives in the same city as me, which is pretty cool. Strangely enough, I actually attended the even she organized through the Canadian Diabetes Association that she talks about in her "Accomplishments" post.
Jessica at "Mastering Me": This girl blogs from Australia! Proof that the DOC stretches far and wide!
Reva at "Type ONEderful": I loved her "Accomplishments" post. It's so true that we accomplish so much in terms of diabetes. Reva shares her accomplishments throughout her life.
And I have to share some of my favorite blogs that I follow on a regular basis. They've provided me with a ton of information over the last year and I'm so glad I was able to connect with them. Many of them are fellow Canadians, which is definitely a bonus!
Scully at Canadian D-Gal: Scully lives life to the fullest with diabetes and celiac disease! She's an avid cycler and doesn't let anything hold her back. Her posts are always honest and she says exactly what's on her mind!
Ali at "Insulin and Iron": Ali was diagnosed not too long after I was and is also somewhat new to the DOC. She also lives in Canada and is another great resource for me!
Nikki at "Celiabetes": Nikki writes about her experiences with diabetes, celiac, Grave's disease, and just recently, her recovery from a spinal surgery. She is one tough girl and her posts are honest and brave. She also writes alot about food prepping and budgeting with diabetes, which I love because we all know how it eats away at our money!
I hope you're able to check out some of these great blogs!
"Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?"
This is a tough one for a couple reasons.
First off, I feel like I'm going to jinx myself if I "pick" any other chronic disease than what I already have.
And second, I think any chronic disease comes with challenges, so I was kind of looking for one that would at least be "easier" to manage than diabetes.
This isn't going to be very original, but I honestly think if I could switch diseases, it would be for type 2 diabetes. Obviously already having type 1 would make understanding and dealing with type 2 a lot easier. And I'm not trying to minimize any one's struggles with type 2, but I feel like it would easier due to the possible option of being able to take oral medication to help mange your blood sugars as opposed to injections. I do realise there are some type 2's that take a basal insulin though. I just feel as though it would be nice to "pop a pill" rather than injecting and testing as often as I need to. There also wouldn't be as much math being done when it comes to meal time, which would be awesome. But, I know that nothing is ever as it seems.
Now that I come across people that have a chronic illness, or any illness for that matter, I'm much more compassionate and understanding. I know first hand what it's like to have people make certain assumptions about diabetes, and for that reason alone I no longer assume I have an understanding of what someone else is dealing with. I've noticed the boyfriend is a lot different when the topic of someone else's health comes up too. He's the first in our group of friends to be devil's advocate and to remind people that it's not always as simple and easy as they may think it is. And for that, I love him even more! I feel like he is, in his own way, advocating on my behalf.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
"We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.)."
This was a tougher prompt for me today. I feel like we accomplish things every single day with diabetes. But as I dug deeper, I realised my biggest accomplishment would be acceptance of the disease.
When I was initially diagnosed last year I was in shock for the first month or so. As I blogged here, I took a month long trip to South East Asia one month after diagnosis. Although I had a blast, diabetes definitely made the trip tougher. Plus the fact that I still didn't really know what I was doing in terms of managing things.
When I returned home, I was angry about my diagnosis. I felt as though it had ruined a trip that I had dreamed about for many years, and had been planning for almost a year. I felt like dealing with diabetes everyday took away from my whole experience. It was really starting to sink in for me that this was going to be with me for the rest of my life. It's a tough thing to wrap your head around after living for 30 years with no health issues whatsoever.
I wrestled with thoughts as to how this had happened to me. I worried about how it would limit my life and what things I wouldn't be able to do anymore. And what about having kids? Was I going to end up like Shelby in "Steel Magnolias"!? I worried a lot and it affected me emotionally.
It was clear I needed answers to some of these burning questions. I went to see a counsellor at the diabetes health centre where I'm a patient. We discussed some of the things that were upsetting me and were able to narrow down where the main source of my anxiety was coming from. A big part of it seemed to revolve around the fear of having a bad low and either being alone or with people that wouldn't understand what was going on. I worried about going to sleep at night for fear that I would have a low in the middle of the night and not wake up. We made a plan together and completed some tasks that would help me to feel more safe and more prepared. This is when I began telling more people about diabetes. I also started wearing a medical alert bracelet, which eased my mind considerably and opened the door for discussion with people. I learned to carry glucose with me absolutely everywhere, even in my pocket at work in case I can't get to the glucose in my bag because I'm tied up with something.
Now that I've had diabetes for 15 months, I've learned so much about the disease which really eases my mind. I understand better how MY body works and what to expect from it during different activities and stressful events in my life. The unexpected can definitely happen, but overall I know I can still handle a lot. I've also tested diabetes limits, and it's not as tough I thought.
I'm much stronger, so it's going to have to learn how to deal with me!
"Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share."
My most memorable diabetes day would definitely have to be the day I learned how to inject insulin. Hands down. I can still remember being in a whirlwind meeting, alone, trying to absorb as much information as I could so that I could go home and try and get my health back on track. I also remember very clearly as my amazing CDE stood next to me as I sat and got ready to inject a needle into my stomach for the very first time. I was super scared. And very tense which made my initial poke really hurt. "Ow!" I said as I pulled back quickly. I was told I needed to take a deep breath, and relax my shoulders. Once I did that, the needle seemed to slip into my skin without feeling a thing. I couldn't believe I had actually done it! My CDE told me she's sat in this exact office and waited up to 45 minutes for some of the biggest, strongest men to take their initial injection. I laughed at the thought of this.
That whole scene plays out for me quite vividly when I first think of my diagnosis. I'm very grateful I had a very warm and patient CDE that day. The whole experience could've been remembered much differently had this not been the case!
I hate needles with a passion and they have been one of my biggest fears. Having blood drawn was always a huge production which required my mother at my side even in my twenties. But now as I look back, I'm amazed at what I overcame. I mean, I really had no choice, but still. It's a big deal people!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
"Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?"
The petition that I would love to get going would definitely be to my insurance company.
- You coverage amount sucks. Plain and simple. $1000/year for prescriptions is not nearly enough. This covers only a third of my supplies and my costs will likely continue to rise. The rest comes out of pocket for something that I require to stay alive every single day.
- Your $250/lifetime towards an insulin pump is an absolute slap in the face. One insulin pump will cost me $7000, plus about $250/month for supplies. I'll likely have to buy 2-3 insulin pumps in the remainder of my lifetime, but thanks for that $250 bucks!
- You need to cover every kind of insulin. I should not have to pay 100% out of pocket for my Lantus insulin. It is the most stable insulin for my needs and helps to keep my blood sugars stable even when I work nights.
And to disability, life, travel, and mortgage insurance companies:
- I hate that I can no longer apply for additional life insurance to protect those that I may leave behind.
- I hate that when I travel, I am no longer covered for any issues I may have that relate to my diabetes.
- I hate that I can't get term insurance on our new mortgage to protect us in the event I can't work for a period of time. I also find your "Rating Guide" highly inaccurate. I am already considered a "moderate risk" client and in 4 years I will be a "severe risk" client. I can't afford to pay your rates to protect us, which leaves me feeling vulnerable.
Please. It's time to get your act together.
We, the undersigned.
Monday, May 13, 2013
It's D Blog week and I'm excited to be able to participate! D Blog week was created by Karen at Bitter Sweet Diabetes and it encourages participants to post everyday for the week of May 13 -19. There are prompts provided for us to discuss and a list is compiled on her blog so that people can get in touch with new bloggers and get varying ideas on a single topic.
I'm already a day behind so I need to catch up. This won't surprise the people that know me well.
Day 1's topic is "Share and Don't Share":
"Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?"
I would have to say that overall, I'm pretty lucky with the health care team that I have. I've only had type 1 diabetes for a little over a year so I've really only seen my Endo and CDE a handful of times.
To my Endo, I would like to thank you for being understanding and realistic in terms of the goals we set when trying to manage my diabetes. I'm often harder on myself that anyone else, so I appreciate that you help me to keep my goals realistic when it comes to my A1C. I also appreciate that you've never pressured me to try and get off nights shifts at work. I love my job and being successful is important to me. You've helped me to find ways to do the things in life that I love, without letting diabetes run my life. I do my best with testing and staying on top of my diabetes, but some days I'm lazy with it. I would hate for you to see me not testing before some meals, or eating that bag of peanut M&M's knowing I probably didn't bolus enough for it.
When I got the diagnosis that I was officially a type 1, it was over the phone with my Endo on a saturday afternoon. The oral medications we were trying were not working and it was now imperative that I start on insulin immediately. That following Tuesday I met my CDE who walked me through absolutely everything there was to know about being insulin dependent. It was a long meeting and there was a whirlwind of information. I cried during that meeting with her, as I faced the reality that this was now going to be how I lived for the rest of my life. There was alot that scared me about being diabetic. I want to thank my CDE for being extremely understanding and open with me. For the first few months after my diagnosis I was in constant contact with her through email and phone calls and she has never made me feels rushed or like I was a bother to her.
I think I have it pretty good. I'm lucky to have a health care team that, although they don't live what I live everyday, they are very compassionate, and I appreciate that.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Wow. Have I ever been a bad blogger.
You may (or may not) have noticed that I've kind of fallen off the face of the earth for the last little bit. Life has been a little hectic lately and I put blogging on the backseat.
The boyfriend and I have been saving for the last year or so for a down payment for a house. We started looking at houses for fun back in the fall. On a whim in early February, we went to look at a place close by. It had all the important renovations already done (i.e.: new windows, remodeled kitchens and baths, newer heating and cooling systems) and was in a really nice area. As soon as we started to make our way through the home, we could tell that this was definitely a place we could call home.
Long story short, offers were made and we are now living in our very own home!
The last 2 months have been an absolute blur! It didn't leave us much time to sublet our apartment and get everything packed up. It was amazing how much stuff we accumulated in such a short amount of time!
But it's all over now, and we are getting settled slowly.
Life is slowing down again so you will be hearing from me more often!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
This post is my January entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/january-dsma-blog-carnival-2/“
New Year with Diabetes: Striving for __________ in 2013!
What I'm striving for this year is not directly related to diabetes but I've been thinking about this prompt for the better part of the month and have been wanting to touch on it.
I'm striving for more positivity in my life.
Ever feel like society has forgotten its manners?
Or people in general aren't as courteous towards each other?
I've really started noticing it more and more this past year. It's as though no one has time to say "excuse me" or give a friendly wave in traffic when some one's let you into a long line. People can be so quick to argue and be rude. It's the little things that I notice. I'm a firm believer of "what goes around, comes around". I've always believed that if I treat people the way I would want to be treated, that I would get the same treatment in return. It just doesn't feel like that's the case anymore. And because I feel like few people care to be pleasant, I find myself not caring any more either. It feels like a lost cause.
I work in fairly negative work environment also but I love my job. It's the kind of job that can test your faith in humanity and it's easy to have the negativity of the world rub off on you.
I'm tired of all the negativity and I have let it get the better of me.
I want to find a way not to worry about whether some one else is having a bad day, or let their moods affect my day or life. It can be tough to stay positive and upbeat sometimes, but I'm determined to find a way. Sometimes we don't have a choice in choosing who we spend our days with, so simply avoiding negative people is not a solution. I have to find a way to make the best of it, for my own sanity.
So, like I said, this is not directly related to diabetes. But let's be honest, overall well-being can't hurt anything.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I met with my Endo today for my 4 month appointment and review. My latest A1C has come back at 6.5, which is down from 7.1 when I last saw her in late September.
Don't get too excited for me yet. I made that mistake already today. Looks fantastic on paper, I know. But like everything else related to diabetes, everything isn't always as it seems.
At first I was ecstatic to see this number as I had been having a bit of a roller coaster ride for the first 2 months since my last appointment. You may remember me saying here that I was having a lot of high blood sugars between meals and after fasting overnight. I hoped that physical activity might keep these highs in line, but I ended up having to increase my basal insulin. I was given instructions to tweak it bit by bit until I fell within range again. I was previously taking 10 units a day and am now up to 25 units. Apparently this is too much too fast and I got a little trigger happy with my insulin pen. Although it has resolved my between meal highs, I am now running a little too low in other areas. My typical morning bg is around 4.7 - 5.0 or so. At first I knew that for me that may not be a comfortable number as it was a little on the low side, but then I just got used to seeing it and feeling ok so I stuck with it in hopes that I would be able to achieve an A1C under 7.
There I go with striving for a specific number again, rather than doing what is safer for me. So much focus on diabetes control and management is based on that damn A1C. Sometimes I think it would be best to never know what I'm at. I'm a perfectionist so I get a number in my head and do whatever I can to reach that number, even if it means living a little on the edge.
My endo and I have decided that I need to scale back on the basal insulin for the next bit and she is going to review my numbers in about a week and see how I'm doing. I'm dropping down to 20 units and will monitor my pre and post meal bg's.
I'm hoping this trial and error period is relatively short this time around because I love feeling like "I got this!" even though I know diabetes always seems to crush that feeling eventually.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Cherise over at the DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) suggested the DOC get to know each other a little bit better. She posted 48 questions to answer and to blog about. I love doing stuff like this and had also been wanting to include more stuff about me, that doesn't always include diabetes.
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
No, but my middle name is named after my Mom.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Last Thursday night.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Ugh. No. I'm blaming it on the fact that I'm left handed though. People say left handed people have messier writing.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Does a cat count??
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I would hope so! I can be hard to get to know at first, but I would give the shirt off my back.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Yes! I love sarcasm!!
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes, but I wish they were gone. They often cause troubles.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
My life would have to depend on it. And even then I would have a hard time going through with it. I am getting more and more afraid of heights as I get older.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Depends on the situation. I can be a softy.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Chocolate chip cookie dough.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
15. RED OR PINK?
Pink. I'm not a girly girl though. I just prefer it over red.
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
18. WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?
The technique involved in baking something edible for once.
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
I'm not wearing shoes. I'm wearing cozy white sport ankle socks.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Salad with chicken and avocado. Yup, I'm a rebel!!
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The hum of the refrigerator. And also the squeaking of snow under car tires outside; it's a frigid one here today.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Fresh baked bread or clean laundry.
24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?
Not overly important. I care about politics but I don't follow it very closely.
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Hockey (Go Jets Go!!) and baseball.
27. HAIR COLOR?
Just changed it from blonde to red today!! :)
28. EYE COLOR?
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
30. FAVORITE FOOD?
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Promised Land. It was ok.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
A white cozy zip up fleece.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
35. FAVORITE DESSERT?
I'm not a huge dessert eater. I like chocolate cake though.
36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
37. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
TV, but my computer is very slowly becoming my BFF.
38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.
39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don't have a mouse pad.
40. FAVORITE SOUND?
Soft rain falling outside. Especially at night.
41. FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?
90's music. Is that a genre?
42. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I am ridiculously good at never forgetting a face. Sometimes it creeps people out at how well I am able to remember who they are and how I/we know them. Don't ask me their name though!
44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was born in Lahr, Germany. I'm an army brat.
45. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada.
46. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
It's an apartment and its white.
47. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
48. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 48 QUESTIONS?
I thought this would take longer, but it's been fun! Look forward to reading other peoples!!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
This isn't the first time and it definitely won't be the last time I vent my frustration about how expensive diabetes supplies are. Grab a coffee or a snack because this is a long rant....
On Friday, I headed to the pharmacy to stock up on some supplies I was running short on. My test strips were also on sale so I wanted to take advantage and get a little extra while they were a smidge cheaper.
This is what I bought:
- 200 iBGStar test strips
- One month supply of my Hypertension meds
- 5 penfill vials of Novorapid insulin
- 5 pre-filled pens of Lantus
For a grand total of.....drum roll please....
Being that it's finally a new year, my benefits are back into full swing - for now anyway. I have horrible benefits through my employer. I run out of coverage about half way through the year. So of the above mentioned bill, $97 of it I get no reimbursement whatsoever as my Lantus is not covered by my benefits or by our provincial Pharmacare plan. The only way it will be covered is if I have night time lows on NPH which I decided was best not to mess around with especially working shift work. That leaves $238 of which I will get 80% back, so this trip to the pharmacy is really costing me $145.
The test strips will last a little over a month; the hypertension meds are only for a month, the Novorapid tends to last me 2 months depending on how I'm eating and the Lantus only lasts 2 months. Right now that is working out to $70 a month on average for my supplies but when my benefits eventually run out it will be a lovely $170-$200 a month. Ugh.
At this point, I want to say that despite all this, I am grateful that I have benefits at all and even more grateful that I live in Canada where I pay for very little when it comes to getting medical care. I just don't understand how the average person affords this disease. I have a good job and make good money. I also work for the government which you would think would have a much better benefit plan than what it does. $1000 cap off per year for prescription drugs is peanuts when you have a chronic disease, but at least I have a benefits package. Sadly, many people do not. Last year I spent $2500 from February to December. But how does someone working an average paying job cover the costs of managing their diabetes? How can they afford not to?
Proper management of diabetes can reduce the risk of all kinds of complications that further add to the cost of a persons medical bills as well as the cost to the Canadian health care system. Therefore, it would make sense that the Canadian Government and the Manitoba Government provide more assistance to Canadians living with this disease as it is cheaper to assist someone with maintaining proper diabetes management rather than having to pay to treat the complications that will result from not managing it well.
I pulled some information from the Canadian Diabetes Association website:
"Compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes were hospitalized at higher rates for:
- Heart attack
- Chronic kidney disease
- Lower limb amputations.
The strain on outpatient resources or in the primary care setting in Canada means that adults with diabetes have 2 times more visits to their family doctor and specialist for:
• Anxiety • Depression
• Retinopathy • Obesity • Neuropathy • Erectile dysfunction • Foot ulcers
Assuming that the costs of treating diabetes remain constant between 2000 to 2020, the direct costs of the disease, including direct treatment costs, and incremental costs of treating secondary complications associated with diabetes will rise from $1.1 billion annually (already 3.5% of public spending on healthcare) to $3.1 billion by 2020 "These numbers should be a wake up call for our Government. Manitoba has one of the highest rates of diabetes per capita and yet we only just received a juvenile insulin pump program in our province last year. Still no word on an adult insulin pump program. I'm still crossing my fingers because without a program like this, I would most likely not be able to afford to switch to a pump.
I want to be clear, I am not posting about this to make you feel sorry for me. I'm posting because sometimes I need to vent about this kind of thing and I also feel it's important to spread awareness about this issue.
At the end of the day, I can't afford not to spend whatever money is necessary to keep myself as healthy as possible.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Well, 2013 is upon us and, like most people, this is a time that I like to reflect on the year prior, and ponder my plans for the following year.
2012 turned out to be a bigger year than I could have imagined.
In February, I received news that I was now going to be a Type 1 diabetic. Whether I liked it or not, this was going to consume a good majority of the year. I remained optimistic and still do. There were good days and bad days, which will undoubtedly continue for the rest of my life. This diagnosis led to the creation of this blog, which had been something I had wanted to do for the better part of my 20's. In the beginning, blogging was going to be a way to deal with my thoughts and feelings relating to diabetes. It was a way to get things off my chest. I had no idea at the time that it was going to introduce me to the world of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community). I have since started following several blogs by other PWD and gotten to know them via facebook, twitter and email. I realise it can kind of sound like online dating, but when it comes to the challenges that diabetes brings, these people get it and get what I'm dealing with. They live it everyday just like I do. And most of them have been at it for a very long time, so for someone newly diagnosed their knowledge is invaluable to me! Thanks DOC!
Other than learning about diabetes, my year was pretty typical. I did however take a trip to South East Asia for a month which was a trip I had been wanting to take for many years. The boyfriend and I took our usual trips to Thunder Bay, ON to visit family and to Vegas for some time away from it all!
2013 will likely be a big year as well. There are plans in the works to finally purchase our very own home which will be a welcome change for us. Other than that, my year looks pretty quiet.
But we all know that sometimes life has other plans for us!