Monthly Archives: August 2013

.deeeeeep breaths. go!.

.erin gets gone. is one of my favourite, non-diabetic blogs to follow. There’s just something in the way she writes, the way she presents her thoughts and ideas that constantly keeps me coming back for more.
This week, I’ve been stressing myself out. I’m thinking of all the bills. I’m thinking of school starting back up in a couple of weeks and the complete and utter lack of desire and preparation I’ve put into that. In short, I’ve been building a mountain out of a mole-hill.
Some posts speak to you. This one screamed at me. There may have even been a slap to my head.


I’m Diabetic! What the Hell Can I Eat?!?!

Melissa is awesome.
What I particularly liked in her post was that it wasn’t just focused on a specific type, but on diabetes in general.
I’m still learning what I can and can’t eat. It’s a bit of a crap shoot, but I really wish I had seen something like this when I was first diagnosed.

Letter To A Diabetic

I remember the days following my diagnosis. I sat on my living room floor, pouring over articles and books and websites and pamphlets trying to figure out what in the world I could eat that would be safe. It was so frustrating to be hungry with a fridge and pantry full of food but feel like EVERYTHING was off limits. I found advice like “celery and peanut butter is a safe and healthy snack”. Okay? How much peanut butter? How many celery stalks, damn it?!

The answer to that question is:

two stalks celery (2 grams of carbs)

1 serving of peanut butter (2 leveled tablespoons – which is usually 6-8 grams of carbs)

Ta-da! A hydrating, protein-containing, tasty snack with 8-10 grams of carbs. So, go get that if you’re starving to death (no pun intended).

The first thing to remember is that you can eat. There is plenty…

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I am not a number.

I’ve been trying to write something for days now.  I have lots on my mind, so there’s no shortage of ideas, but trying to articulate them is another story all together.

For those of you with diabetes, regardless of type, I am not about to say anything new or revolutionary.  For those of you who don’t, some of these statistics may shock you.  If they don’t, they should.

An estimated 285 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes. With a further 7 million people developing diabetes each year, this number is expected to hit 438 million by 2030.

Today, more than 9 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.

Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically due to a number of factors:

  • The population is aging.
  • Obesity rates are rising.
  • Canadian lifestyles are increasingly sedentary.
  • Aboriginal people are three to five times more likely than the general population to develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Almost 80% of new Canadians come from populations that are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. These include people of Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent.

The personal costs of diabetes may include a reduced quality of life and the increased likelihood of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and erectile dysfunction.

  • Approximately 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is a contributing factor in the deaths of approximately 41,500 Canadians each year.
  • Canadian adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die prematurely, compared to people without diabetes.
  • Life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes may be shortened by as much as 15 years. Life expectancy for people with type 2 diabetes may be shortened by 5 to 10 years.

The financial burden of diabetes and its complications is enormous.

  • People with diabetes incur medical costs that are two to three times higher than those without diabetes. A person with diabetes can face direct costs for medication and supplies ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 a year.
  • By 2020, it’s estimated that diabetes will cost the Canadian healthcare system $16.9 billion a year.¹

When I was diagnosed, a whole seven weeks ago, this was the information I was reading.  It comes as no surprise to me that 25% of all diabetics are also dealing with depression.  These numbers go well beyond the, “No more pedicures!” and “Eat less, move more!” information that was supplied to me by the medical professionals.  Reading all of this made me depressed.  It also made me angry.

I read on a blog, the other day, that an individual who had been diagnosed had gone through this horrible period of adjustment that his medical team had equated to mourning a loss.  That’s exactly what I had been thinking and, I must confess, that it was nice to see validation from someone else.

For the newly diagnosed, there has to be time allowed to mourn the loss of the spontaneity in life, especially when it comes to food and drink.  There also needs to be a degree of understanding, or compassion, that we’re not all mourning that we’ll never be able to eat poutine again, or that we’ll have to give up whatever sinful food you want to come up with.  For me, and I’ve mentioned this before, it’s hard to grasp that, seemingly healthy foods are messing with my blood sugar.  Bananas and pineapple should not be seen as evil, and yet, I know I shouldn’t really be partaking in them.

But more importantly, at least in my humble opinion, the medical profession needs to look at each new case of diabetes and treat them equally and not making the assumption that dropping a diagnosis on someone and providing the sage medical advice of “Diet and exercise” will suffice.

I am eternally grateful, at least right now, that my diabetes isn’t being controlled with oral medications and / or insulin.  I do take low dosage meds for high blood pressure and cholesterol, but they are low dosage.  Would this not be an excellent time, as a medical professional, to talk to me and see what I’m feeling about all of this and how I can become one less statistic?

I have no intention of adding myself to the litany of statistics posted by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

I do have every intention of utilizing all the resources that are supposed to be made available to me – ophthalmologist, dietician, CDE, anyone else who wishes to participate in my health – so that I am not the burden to society that diabetics are made to feel.  So that I am not the poster child of the middle aged, obese diabetic.  Nor will I be the depressed diabetic in need of meds just to get happy.

I can’t do this alone.  I do need help, and resources, and I’m not afraid to admit that, but I am not prepared to be set adrift to figure this out on my own and hope for the best.

I want to write a piece that gives hope to newly diagnosed diabetics.  I want to be a person that can show someone else that it’s not all doom and gloom and that there are really good people out there that are trained to help diabetics adapt to a new lifestyle.

I want to be the sort of person that I came across on other blogs, the diabetics, regardless of type, who told me that it is a difficult adjustment but that it does get easier.  That shared what knowledge they had and have been so patient in listening to me rant.

So now to plan for the next steps.  Buckle up kids, this could get messy!

 

Character - by Helen Keller

¹ Canadian Diabetes Association – The prevalence and cost of diabetes.

 

 


Get to know your disease

Perhaps it’s because it’s still early days for me, or perhaps it’s because I don’t feel I have enough to do already, but I thought I’d share something with all of you.

If you haven’t heard of Coursera, it is this fantastic resource for post secondary education from some of the world’s top universities (see? Told you I was a bit of a nerd). Coming up October 28th, a five week course on Diabetes: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Opportunities.  This is being presented by the University of California San Francisco.

Whether you’re a veteran to being diabetic (both Type 1 and 2 are discussed over the course of five weeks), a newbie, such as myself, or you care about someone who has been diagnosed with the “D”, this may prove to be of interest.  And since it’s free, why not take a look?

Or if that’s too heavy of a subject, The University of Rochester is bringing back its course on the History of Rock, Part 1 starting September 2nd!  🙂


Sometimes, you’re just too tired to come up with a clever post title.

The last week and a half has been something of a holding pattern for me.

Through it, I’ve been reading other people’s blogs, making the odd comment here and there and generally have been feeling sorry for myself.

But today, something happened.  I can’t say it changed the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been feeling, but it put things to perspective, at least for the moment.

The last few days have been spent dealing with a horrific bout of lethargy and exhaustion.  I think it can be attributed to my not having done much walking lately, plus I’ve been feeling a wee bit under the weather.  I also think it’s because of this oh woe is me thing that I’ve been wallowing in.  So along with the lethargy and being totally zapped of any energy, I’m forgetting everything.  Monday, it was forgetting to leave out a back up laptop for a co-worker.  Tuesday I couldn’t remember to get half of the tasks I needed to get done a work completed.  Today though… I forgot supplements and my glucometer at home.  Doh!

I knew full well that I wasn’t getting enough food into my system.  I could sense my BS dipping.  I had that horrible light-headed feeling that comes right before the room starts to spin and the floor sways under your feet and that’s when it hit me.  All of those blogs that I read, ones that focus on a life diabetic and are predominantly Type 1, that talk about the struggles with maintaining that balance, getting that perfect reading, counting carbs and the like.  The ones that women are trying so hard to get their BG and A1c levels to a “normal” level so they can try and make perfect little babies.  Those folks?  They can’t forget their glucometers at home.  I realised that, even though I have this amazingly captacular disease, there are those that have it worse than me.

My struggles are in coming to terms with my having the ‘betes.  Others struggle with not just coming to terms with it, but also with the desire to do things that normal people do – like have babies.

My petulance can sometimes shock even me, and today was one of those days.

So while there will still be moments of petulance, moments of self pity, I truly hope this is a turning point for me.  And while there are many people to thank, there is one in particular that I feel I need to acknowledge.

Sarah Wainwright writes a beautiful blog.  She’s Type 1 and she finds the positive even in the darkest situations.  Her faith sustains her and even though I will never meet her, her kinds words soothed a very ravaged soul this week.  Wise beyond her years, through Sarah’s writing, I know I will learn much.

So Sarah, if you read this, thank you.  I hope you know you have the power to change people for the good. 🙂


And only surrender will help you now…

Music, for me, has always been a sort of salvation.  I am not an eloquent writer, nor am I artistic or talented enough to compose or play an instrument, but thankfully, there are many who are.

At times, I’ve tried to imagine what the soundtrack of my life would be.  It generally changes to what I may be listening to at any one given moment, but I would like to think that I can pick out a few now that would make absolutely no difference how popular or hip or whatever a song may be.

When things are particularly dark for me, this is one of those songs that starts to pull me out of my funk.

Lacey Sturm is the powerhouse belting out the vocals on this track, although she has since left Flyleaf to pursue other opportunities.  Taking a look at her website has given me just a little more hope: No matter who you are, what you believe, what you do or what you have done…God Loves You.

Again – Flyleaf


Onward and upwards.

This has been a weird, difficult week for me.

It’s funny to think that, this time last week, I was in the midst of a long weekend, I was getting laundry together, doing grocery shopping, getting clothing and such together to donate.  I felt good.

Tuesday I said good bye to my little fur ball and that has had my heart repeatedly breaking.

Wednesday, a well meaning friend came over with sugar free ice cream and an attempt to distract me from my broken heart.  Problem is, my well meaning friend is a doctor (I’ll call her Dr. M) and her idea of distraction was to go on and on and on about how I am diabetic.  It was like being diagnosed all over again.  “You can’t be angry about this.”  “You need to get over this.”  “It’s just like, I know I can’t eat item X because I will put on weight.”

I may not have been diabetic for long, but gees, not eating a chocolate bar because it will make you fat is not the same thing as having diabetes.  Knowing that there are foods (bananas are one for me) that you shouldn’t eat because it sends your blood sugar doing stupid things – well it’s harder still because it’s not like a banana is junk food.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever shown Dr. M this post, but I need to articulate how she made me feel on Wednesday.

I had my friend walk in the door to offer support, but I had a doctor take over the day.

My feelings of anger and frustration, feelings of shame and fear, feelings of deprivation, were completed discredited.  My feelings were dismissed.  I was told that, while my BG readings were within the “normal” range, “People without diabetes don’t ever have readings like (mine).” Apparently the medical profession has tested the blood glucose of everyone in the world and us diabetics?  Well the range that associations like American Diabetes or Canadian Diabetes have are just to make us feel better?  Because, were I normal, my two hour post meal BG wouldn’t be that high. It’s really comforting to know that I’m not normal.

I am struggling with the emotions and I’m struggling to understand what’s going on in my body and how I can be the one in control, and not be controlled.  I’m struggling with the title diabetic  and the whole diabetic diet.

I’m feeling really lost right now, a little betrayed.  It’s bad enough my body is doing stupid stuff and depression is hanging around like an unwanted STD, but to have my friend dismissing my feelings on top of it?

I don’t recommend being angry always, but I do believe it is part of a normal grieving process, one of which, I was unaware, there is a time limit on.


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