Category Archives: Diabetes

There’s nothing like a break to throw you totally off track.

it’s been a long while since I’ve posted last, and in that time much has happened.  Or not much if you’re relating to bigger, real world issues.  But still.

I have now been successfully, well for the most part anyway, living with diabetes for close to four months.  In that time I have had some firsts – my first cold.  My first bout with the flu (which is still ongoing).  My first A1c test.

I am stupidly proud to say that my A1c is at 5.6.  I am, by all accounts, “normal”.  I’m diabetic, but I’m “normal”.  Even my triglycerides are down.  So somewhere, somehow, I’m doing this “right”.  I would like to say though, that I am far from being a perfect diabetic (there is no such thing) and I am just as prone as the next person to crave things that are on the verboten list and I’ll still eat them anyway.

So in that respect, things are going well.

I’ve also had my “Diabetes for Dummies” class.  Finally.  I celebrated my three month diaversery with that class.  No one likes a know it all though, so much of what was learned were things that I had read on the internet or through many discussions with some fantastic people on WordPress so I kept mostly to myself.  I did, however, learn that a 250ml serving of chocolate milk counts as two carb servings.  A bit of a letdown?  Totally.

Another first:  after much fighting for an appointment with a dietician, I have finally seen one!  She was well impressed that I had gone from cream to skim milk in my coffee, that red meat wasn’t present at every meal (it wasn’t before I was diagnosed either, but I reckon cutting back has helped with cholesterol and some weight issues) and that I actually was open to exploring a more plant based diet.

Which makes me somewhat sad to have forgotten it’s meatless Monday and I’ve had chicken for lunch.

As of today, I’ve lost a total of 25.4 pounds.  I’m well please with the slow, but generally steady progress in this.  I will also admit there’s a fair bit of vanity involved in that statement.  🙂

Today marks day 17 of a cough/sniffles that simply does not want to go away.  It started with a dry cough, went to full blown flu with laryngitis in less than 24 hours, and now I am left with a nasty cough that, when the mood strikes, makes me sound like an angry seal.  It probably didn’t help that, during the week I was off work, I spent my days napping and eating rubbish and totally ignored things like my supplements.

Which brings me to yesterday’s first.

I participated in my first real 5K race.  I wogged.  Well I mostly walked (I’m not going to lie!), but I did actually jog my way to almost half a kilometer.  Doesn’t sound like much, huh?  But I am amazingly proud of myself!  First of all, I am still sick.  I know others who have to be on their deathbeds before they’ll skip a race or a workout or whatever, but I’m not one of those people.  A hangnail is usually enough to stop me in my tracks.

I also didn’t have my race kit.  Lame excuse?  You betcha!  But since this was my first race, I didn’t know that they actually do have race kits near the corrals for runners/walkers/joggers to still pick up.  So even though I slept, at best, 6 hours, I only managed to get a hold of someone at the race office at 6:57 in the morning (“Get to the course!  Your start time is at 8:00!!!  There’s still time!!!”) and still had to have a shower and get in my “running” gear, I was out the door by 7:18 and en route to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  On an empty stomach.  Without water.

Doh!

So I was over dressed (a heavy hoodie and a running jacket and yoga pants does not make for a cool run), sick, hungry, hadn’t trained, but I still did it.  And I did it in 52:09.  No, not a blazing speed… but can you imagine how much better I’ll be if I’m not sick and I actually train?!

This may have been my first but it absolutely won’t be my last.

So the moral of the story is… it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, continue to have “firsts”.  More importantly, find something that you’ll love to do and just do it.  Never, ever let diabetes be something that rules your life, you rule it.

My backwards medal!

My backwards medal!


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. 🙂


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.


The good, the bad, and the ugly.

One thing I love about Monday mornings is when they are part of a long weekend.  Today is one of those Mondays.

I woke up to one of my cats pawing at my nose (lately I seem to be wrapping myself up in my duvet as if I were a burrito) wanting me to feed her.  The day, apart from the duty of feeding my cats, was mine to do as I please.

Walking into my kitchen, there are dirty dishes everywhere, the floor needs to be mopped, the cats bowls haven’t been washed out and I’m dealing with another cat that is suffering from an ailment that will not go away.

I sigh.  The day I have no plans for, is quickly slipping from my grasp.

After feeding the cats, I opted for 45 minutes of meditation.  It didn’t quite clear my head of all the clutter, nor did it centre me completely, but it did put into clarity that there is unbalance in my home.

I am not overly fond of cooking.  I like the clean up even less.  Learning how to be creative with food because of the ‘betes is a challenge.  If I was only cooking for me, then I’d learn to suck it up and deal with the pile of dirty dishes etc., but I cook for two, and knowing that my husband is a picky eater with his own current issues, well part of me just wants to go on strike.

But the dishes will still be dirty.  Food will still not be prepared.  The floor still not mopped.

So right now I will drink my coffee, I will settle my unhappy spirit, and will buckle down to get what needs to be done today, done.  I will also pray that the dh’s eyes will be opened to the unbalance that is taking place in our home and that he’ll start lending that helping hand that he used to.

Until then, just call me Super Woman.  🙂

Battered and bruised, I always come out on top.

Battered and bruised, I always come out on top.


Hope springs eternal.

Today was a good day.

I had a very dear friend of mine, whom I’ve known since I was 15, spend the night at my place last night.  We stayed up late, and while we did chat about old boyfriends and past regrets, the what if’s? we had, the best part of the conversation was talking about the ‘betes.  See, my friend grew up to be a doctor and while it is terribly presumptuous to think she’d dole out free medical advice (wait, I live in Canada – that’s what doctor’s are supposed to do!), she did offer up a little.

Truth is though, I don’t really need a doctor to tell me my BG levels are “normal”, I had sort of gathered that all on my own.  But it was nice to have that confirmation from a professional.

But enough about that.

Right now, I’m riding high on a cloud of nerdiness.  Mama’s going to Fan Expo in a few weeks!

Oh it’s true, it’s true!  I melt at the oft inappropriate humour that is uttered by the Nathan Fillion character Richard Castle.  Now there’s a chance to bear my breast and have him autograph it!  Okay, perhaps I’m not really going to whip out a tit and say, “Sign here!” but I am pretty excited to see on of my favourite Tweeters (and fellow Canadian) live and in the flesh.  Add to that my absolute mad love for Norman Reedus, which the goal there is for a pic of the two of us flippin’ the bird (if you follow Norman anywhere, you know he posts a lot of photo’s of himself flippin’ the bird), and I’m just about to hyperventilate with excitement.

Sadly, I’m having a weird, awkward teenage moment, when I was still underage and couldn’t get into a local nightclub to see Duran Duran play, so instead sang happy birthday to Simon Le Bon in the hopes he’s take pity on those of us who couldn’t get into the show.

Anyway, it’s this little thing in which to look forward to, that is giving me hope and, more importantly, determination.

I don’t “got this” yet, but I’m going to work my butt off in the next few weeks to just build on the feeling I have right now.  Discipline, track, exercise and, my favourite thing, laugh.

 

twd-norman-reedus-22 whiteroom-nathan

 

 

 


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