Sunday, May 19, 2013

D Blog Week: Spread the Love!

" 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!

D Blog Week: Freaky Friday

 "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

D Blog Week: Accomplishments, big and small.

"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!

D Blog Week: Memories

 "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

D Blog Week: "We,The Undersigned"

"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

D Blog Week: "Share and Don't Share"

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.