~

"To be strong in the end, you must fight from the beginning."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Asking For Help

I've finally reached a breaking point...

It's been a bit of a whirlwind these past few months since moving overseas for school and I'm starting to feel the affects now more than ever. I'm at that point in the semester when all I can think about are deadlines, assignments and finding enough hours in the day to finish everything I need to. My health has been unintentionally placed on the back burner. I've not maintained a balanced sleep schedule and I often find myself studying into the wee hours of the morning. I get stressed out when my blood sugars are out of range and although I know I can't control everything, I still feel disappointed in myself. Call it a control complex. 

In hindsight, I should have made an appointment to see a GP weeks ago. As a student with type 1, I should really be keeping tabs on their health more than ever, but I often let it take a back seat to my studies. It's taken up until now, when I'm just emotionally and physically exhausted, to actually do something about it. Although it's still nerve wracking, I feel a sense of relief about the fact that I'm seeing a doctor as well as an academic counsellor next week. I don't know what they are going to say, but I'm hoping that I will be able to figure out where my problems areas are and make some much needed changes. 

Diabetes is already a delicate balance, and the added stress of university definitely doesn't help. I know I don't have the same control over my health the way I used to, but I feel better knowing that I'm being pro-active about changing that. My advice to anyone who may be experiencing something similar, would just be to reach out. Be it a doctor/ counsellor/ friend/ family member/ etc., it may help you to gain a new perspective and find direction.

Positive vibes my friends! xx

-Hanna


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Three year "Diaversary", Back Country Skiing, and Keeping Up With The Boys


***Old unpublished post from 04/15/2015***

When April the 15th comes around each year, I usually spend at least part of the day thinking back to where I was at this time in 2012. This is of course the day where I was officially diagnosed with type 1. I'm not a fan of clich├ęs but for lack of better words, life as I knew it changed forever. (I won't go into detail about the events because I already outlined them in my very first post on this blog.  If you're interested in reading about it here: http://hannathepancreaticallychallenged.blogspot.ca/2012/05/diagnosis.html?m=1 )

Despite the fact that diabetes is fairly unpleasant most of the time, I often use April 15th as a time to celebrate and reflect on the years of good health that I've achieved regardless of the obstacles. I am so grateful that I have access to the technology that I do and how it essentially acts as my "life support" on a daily basis.  I consider myself very lucky to be born in a time where insulin exists and type 1 diabetes is no longer considered a death sentence. I'm thankful that I was diagnosed a little bit later than most and that I was able to enjoy a childhood sans diabetes. I'm fortunate enough to have good insurance that covers my supplies, and so very blessed to family that supports me and is always there when I need them. 

This year I spent my "Diaversary" skiing in the Rocky Mountains with a few guy friends. The fellas were all avid skiers/ snowboarders and despite the fact that I am a total snow bunny, I had never tried my hand at back country skiing. I love adventure and am a bit of an adrenaline junkie so when the opportunity arose to tackle Wawa ridge, I eagerly jumped on it. The experience consisted of: 

1.) an hour and a half uphill hike in ski boots whilst carrying my not-so-lightweight ski gear, 

2.) a rather terrifying plummet in two foot powder that skillfully masked rocks of death and destruction, 

and lastly,

3.) a roller coaster ride through a backcountry terrain park from hell in which trees tried to jump out and kill me at ever turn.

I HAD A BLAST!!! 

Also, I'm very proud to report that I didn't face plant once! Girls can do anything boys can do! And we do it while looking fierce, fresh and fabulous..........aaaand sometimes with defunct organs. ;)

Was the experience difficult and way above my level of expertise? Yes. Do I regret it? No. Would I back country ski again? Absolutely. Just maybe an easier route first. ;)

I am planning on writing a post at some point on the logistics of skiing with diabetes as there are some tips and tricks that I've picked up to make the experience more enjoyable.

A Dutchman, a Brit, and a Kiwi walk up a ridge.......doesn't that just sound like the beginning of a bad joke? ;)

Peace and love everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hospitalized....

Diabetes is just one of those conditions in which you can go over and above what you're supposed to do and things can still go wrong....

For example: last week I was sent via ambulance into the city because I went DKA*.

Despite the fact that I hadn't eaten in over four days and I had all but doubled the basal rate on my insulin pump, my levels just would not drop below 18.0 mmol/L. We later discovered in the hospital that I had an upper respiratory tract infection coupled with a somewhat severe ear infection and those were causing my hormone levels to shoot all over the place.

In retrospect, I should have gone to the ER much earlier than I did. The thing is, I absolutely hate hospitals and of course being a Taurus, I'm about as stubborn as it gets. I had also just started a new job and I wasn't about to come off as a flaky employee so I just tried to grin and bear it.

Bad move.

If you are a type 1 diabetic and are lucky enough to have never experienced diabetic ketoacidosis before, then you are incredibly lucky. All I can compare it to is feeling like my body was made of molasses. Like all the air in the world wouldn't be enough to satisfy my lungs. And the dryness in my mouth that made it near impossible to even talk.

DKA is not just a high blood sugar. It is essentially your body eating itself and turning your blood into acid. Your cells start to eat away at your body fat for energy because they can't use the sugar. I mean, I like the idea of losing body fat as much as the next person, but this is sooo not the way to go about it.

I was feeling disappointed in myself at the beginning for allowing my body to get to such a toxic stage, but I realized that there are aspects of this disease that can wriggle out of your control. It does't mean that you have failed, it just means that you need a hand getting things back on track.

Lots of love to everyone out there! <3

-Hanna

Monday, March 24, 2014

OH THE HORROR!!! Malfunctions galore.

Old post from February......


The old saying "Anything that can go wrong, will." rang very true today. TWICE!!! I woke up for class this morning and as always, went to promptly check my blood sugar.

Strip in the meter. Blank screen.

Held the power button. Nothing.

Changed the batteries. Nada. Zilch. Ditto.

Luckily for me, I am an incredibly intelligent human being with just a dash of OCD, so I always carry a backup. OneTouch UltraMini to the rescue!!! I mean it's probably the most boring, featureless meter out there but in the end, it does what it's supposed to. 

Here's where it gets fun. 

After class I got back to my room and went to call Animas Tech Support. As I was taking the skin off my pump to read the toll free number listed on back, the bottom corner of the keypad pulled away from the pump. Well damn.

My conversation with the Animas rep went a little like this…

Rep: "Hello Animas tech support, how can I help you."

Me: "I swear I'm not abusing my pump but everything is broken!!"

Rep: "……….could you elaborate?"

Long story short, both my meter and my pump are getting replaced within about a week. In the meantime the pump is still functioning and I shall be using my backup meter. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Life as a Robot/ I gots me a Dexcom



Now that I am the proud owner of a Dexcom G4 (THANK YOU HEALTH CANADA!!!), ahem, I have started to feel like a little bit of an automaton (cue steampunk music). This snapshot pretty much sums up my life as a diabetic, although I do not live in a sepia world unfortunately.

I jumped right on the ball as soon as I found out that the Dex was going to be available in Canada. I called my Animas rep immediately and ordered. I am very fortunate to have awesome insurance and it was able to cover the entire startup cost of the CGM as well as the monthly costs. I was like a little kid at Christmastime and I opened the box the second I got my hands on it. After inserting the sensor I waited anxiously through the 2 hours of startup time. I got my very first reading and for the rest of the day, watched the receiver like a hawk.

In conjunction with the pump, I feel like I am able to get the best control possible. I guess it is true when they say that "good things come to those who wait." (and those who petition....and who send multiple letters to Health Canada)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sleep Testing?

Last night may or may not have been one of the strangest nights of my life. This morning I was told that I had been sleep walking around my entire floor in residence. I do have a couple past incidences of sleep walking, it is not a regular occurrence. I wound up going to bed in a friend of mines room because I had managed to lock myself out of my own and conveniently my room mate wasn't home.

This morning I went to add my blood sugars from yesterday into my log book and I noticed that I had tested my blood sugar at 3:37am. Definitely while I was still in zombie mode. Fortunately it happened to be a lovely 6.2 mmol/L. Not quite sure how I managed to do something so fiddly while still asleep though. I get frustrated with all the little bits trying to test during the day.

I know people can do some pretty strange things while sleep walking. It makes me wonder if this has happened to anyone else? I guess it's good to know that my subconscious is still concerned about my health even at all hours of the day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

And They Say You Won't See Changes Immediately...

"It takes 4 weeks for you to start noticing your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends and family, and 12 weeks for everybody else. So keep pushing."


     The above quote is something I see posted all over the fitness board in Pinterest and on all the health blogs I read. While I admit it's a great motivational quote where weight loss is concerned, for me I started seeing results right away.

     I had a little bit of a break in my exams this week so I decided it would be the perfect time to start making use of the free gym membership I have at my university. I have been on a real health kick for the past couple months and I decided that I needed to get back into a regular exercise routine. 

     This week my blood sugars have been almost perfect. I would like to think that if I had a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) that I could be part of the "Flatliners Club".

      I feel absolutely amazing every time I leave the gym. It's an "I feel accomplished"/ "I'm so sore that I want to fall on my face"/ "Tired and refreshed" sort of feeling. And its great!!!!! Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever so I've been a lot less anxious about my midterms. 

So yes. You can see changes immediately.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shaming Myself + Update

You know how you hate those bloggers who go for ages without writing a post? Yeah.....haha......Me too.....

WHOOPS!!!
I realized the other day that, at one point, this blog was a huge part of my life and just how much I miss it now. Writing posts was an outlet in which I could share my feelings, opinions, doubts, and life moments where it concerned diabetes.

Now, a year and a half into my diagnosis, things are a little different. I am not yet a seasoned pro but no longer a newbie either. I have come to terms that life can never go back to the way it was before but I have also learned that changes are natural and inevitable. Is it possible that this roadblock is actually helping me to better deal with other changes that I will have to face later on? I am still learning everyday about what is going on inside my body and how to best deal with this strange condition. Thank the heavens that diabetes fascinates me because I do enjoy being a diabetes nerd. 

UPDATE TIME

1.) As you may have been able to guess from my last post, YES, I finally started on an insulin pump. I chose the pink OneTouch Ping and I couldn't be happier. His name is Otis and he is my soul mate. ❤️ Being on a pump is making life so much easier and carefree. It has allowed me so many freedoms that I wouldn't have using the alternative. I also just caught drift that Dexcom is going to be available in Canada (actually this time) around November or Deceomber. Christmas present maybe??? Mum? Dad?

2.) I started university at the beginning of September and am pursuing a double major in linguistics and drama. I got way too excited after finding out that there is another type 1 who lives on my floor and I'm doing my best not to scare her away hahaha.

3.) I switched to Apidra and am LOVING IT.

4.) I own a fish named Cisco and he is the coolest.

I LOVE YOU ALL! And I promise that you will hear from me soon. xoxox


Monday, May 13, 2013

Oh My Lantus! A Goodbye Letter

Dear Lantus,

We both knew this was coming for awhile now. You'd seen me spend hours on end browsing the Internet and looking at insulin pumps. It was inevitable. Lets skip the tears, I don't want this to be harder than it already is.

Don't get me wrong Lantus, you are a great insulin. You were my rebound after my falling out with NPH, you gave me the freedoms that he never could. You made me feel steady. You never had mood swings where you would suddenly have a peak at an inopportune time, and you made my a1c so much better. Despite the fact that you always burned just a little bit, you are the best long acting insulin I have ever known.

Now hear me when I say that I am not leaving you for Levemir. You don't deserve that. I just feel that  I don't need a long acting insulin in my life right now. It's not you, it's me.

I know we've been in a bit of a love triangle with Humalog in the mix. And you guys always worked so well together. I'm going to miss the three of us. Although don't tell Humalog, but I'm considering leaving him for Apidra. I just need to start fresh I think.

I'm sure we'll meet again Lantus. Ping and I are bound to have fights and not see eye to reservoir. I am going to need a shoulder to cry on or a jab in the stomach, and it will be you I come to. This is not the end Lantus.

All my love,
Hanna

Friday, March 22, 2013

When You Just Can't Count The Carbs + Favorite Salad EVER!

So I'm usually pretty good about counting my carbs. I always carry my Calorie King book around with me to make sure that I know exactly what I'm eating. When dining out, sometimes it can be a little difficult to figure out the carb count when you order not-so-typical dishes.

My family and I are currently in Florida on vacation and we went out to a great seafood restaurant called Barnacle Bill's. Now, as a vegetarian I obviously wasn't going to eat any of their fish entrees, so I scouted out the menu for some yummy veggie dishes. I eventually decided on a side of mashed potatoes and a caprese style salad for my main dishes (yes this is the salad that I shall be raving about in a moment). Those were easy enough to calculate. The salad had virtually no carbohydrates while the potatoes were pretty standard. What was not easy to figure out was my appetizer. Black bean hummus! It came topped with bruschetta style tomatoes and served with these yummy sesame crackers, and all shaped like a flower! These guys are really good on presentation. So good.....but so horrible to my brain in terms of carbo-calculations. How many black beans did they use? What the hallelujah was the carb count in those crackers? In the end I wound up guestimating. I wasn't about to go bugging the waitress or the kitchen staff plus my family was already halfway finished their food.

All in all it turned out to be fine in the end. I went a little high after dinner but that might have just been a spike from the potatoes.

Now......salad time. Holyyy gucamoleeee. Heirloom tomatoes, whole milk mozarella, basil, and olive oil, all topped on yummy leafy greens (can you tell I'm a vegetarian yet?) Anyway, I'm geeking out a little bit. Caprese salads are my favorite. I could go on about it forever but I'll just show you a couple photos.....

Sorry. No photo of the hummus. I devoured it before I thought to take a picture.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm soooo good


One potato, two potato, three potato, four.
Yum yum. They put some delicious crispy potato
chip concoction on top. Mmmm.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Intro to Pumping Class on Thursday + Choosing My Pump

        Yes my little sugar free niblets, I am officially on the road to becoming a pumper of insulin. On Thursday I am scheduled in an introduction to pumping class at the children's hospital in my area. It's pretty ridiculous how excited I am. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did a complete turnaround in my stance on insulin pumps. I hated the idea of being connected to something. I quickly got over that though when I saw all the benefits (oh yeah and all the cool kick butt features some of them have). So below I decided to include the pros and cons of the insulin pumps available in Canada right now that I considered and why I'm choosing the one I am.

OMNIPOD

Pros:
-No tubing
-Sophisticated PDM (personal diabetes manager)
-Don't have to see needle
-Cheaper than many other pumps

Cons:
-Wasted insulin if the "pod" fails
-Inability to disconnect
-Stranded if the PDM is lost
-Bulky under tight clothing/ no ability to relocate pump once attached


MEDTRONIC VEO

Pros:
-Integrated CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring)
-Customizable Skins
-Carelink

Cons:
-Not waterproof
-Low Resolution Screen


ANIMAS PING

Pros:
-Waterproof
-Meter-Remote (ability to deliver insulin using glucose meter without needing to remove pump from wherever it is stashed)
-Colour Screen (in Canada there is a high resolution colour screen on both the pump and meter remote)
-Carb database (store foods along with their carb values in the meter. Eliminates guesswork when calculating carbs)
-Customizable alert songs (that's just cool)
-Company will lend you a spare pump if you go on vacation in case something happens to yours

Cons:
-No CGM
-Limited options for skins


So by what I've written you can probably hazard a guess as to which one I've decided on. Animas Ping baby! For a while it was a little bit of a toss up between the Veo and the Ping (Sorry Omnipod, but I knew you weren't going to work for me after about five minutes). I really like the idea of continuous glucose monitoring especially since I will be at university next year. I would love to be able to catch any possible nighttime lows and know my BG and any given time. But in the end, I could just see myself using more of the features on the Ping (e.x I'm a lifeguard/ swimming instructor. The waterproof feature was kind of a no brainer.) I'm still hoping and crossing my fingers too that the stand alone cgm system Dexcom will be made available in Canada soon. Happy pumping everyone!!!


I'm a Slacker, Hate Me if You Will.../ Why I Blog?

So I have been seriously slacking on my blog writing.........It's been months. This is why keeping a diary never worked out for me as a little girl. I always put it off and then never got around to it. I also didn't really have any secrets I needed a diary for haha. I was always sort of an open book.

Back on topic though, I have made it my goal to write AT MINIMUM one blog post a week. Call it my New Years resolution if you will (one of my many).

Blog writing for me is highly beneficial. As soon as I was diagnosed back in April, I found myself spending ridiculous amounts of time researching diabetes, diabetes gadgets, pumps, cgm....see the trend? <-------(my Verio IQ meter does..........yeah haha lame joke). I found myself wishing that that I could find an all in one hub of answers for the questions I had. And whilst I don't claim to have all the answers, or even a handful of them, I hope my blog can help other T1D's out there. I love posting my stories and cool diabetes findings and networking with other pwd. That my dear pancreatically inept friends, is why I blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gluten Free - Diabetic - Vegetarian.....,.oh joy

As mentioned in one of my posts from the beginning of this month, I have been on a mostly gluten free diet. So far, it has actually been quite easy to find substitutes. For example, today I had a burger bun that I didn't know was gluten free until my mum told me. It looked, smelled, and tasted just like real bread. But alas, on top of eating gluten free, I am also a vegetarian. I decided to stop eating meat in the 7th grade. That's about 5 years ago now. I really enjoy it and don't think I will go back to eating meat anytime soon. That's right folks, I am a 17 year who doesn't eat meat or wheat, and has to significantly limit my sugar intake. Believe it or not, it has not been that difficult to find foods that are yummy and nutritious that still fit my dietary needs. I have had amazing pastas, sandwhich's, burgers, pizzas*, bagels, you name it! Natural health food stores are your friends. They house everything you could possibly ask for. But unlike your local grocery mart, they understand that some people have certain restrictions on their diets, and willingly accommodate. They stock their shelves with the foods that you love and give you more options than you ever had before. So can I eat everything that people with "normal" diets eat? No. But I can ge pretty darn close. Happy shopping everyone. :o)

Diabetes Among the Mayhem

So yes.....I have been slacking on the posts. But I do have a valid excuse if it helps. This month has just been absolutely crazy for me between my two jobs and preparing for my grade 8 RCM piano examination. I hardly had time to breathe let alone write blog posts. But now I'm back and today's theme is (surprise, surprise) being busy and managing diabetes. Now I would be lying if I told you that the summer I have been 100% on top of my diabetes 100% of the time. I will admit that I have been a little (just slightly) slack on some of my care. Not to the point where I have had any lows or serious highs, but just some bad habits that I need to fix before they become regulars on the diabetes train (a bit too corny maybe?). Most of these just happen to be giving my bolus injection after a meal, not doing ANY nighttime checks, and testing maybe 3 times a day (even though my doctors only tell me to do it 4 times each day, during the school year I was doing it up to 10 haha). So I made a "back to school resolution" to be more organized in everything I do, but especially in my diabetes maintenance. I feel like I need to curb bad habits early in the game rather than later when they will surely be much harder to stop. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

hannathedrivingdiabetic :)

YESSSSSS!!!! I did it.......Miss Hanna Taylor passed her drivers test. Just like any other teenage girl..... Sure I have to have a medical screening in order to re-class my license, but it's done. Here is my "driving prep" list:

1.) Make sure I know where I'm going, how long I'm going to be gone, and if I plan on eating anything while I'm out. This isn't just so my parent's know what I'm up to, it's so I know in advance what could possibly happen to my blood sugars.

2.) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure I keep fast acting sugar on me. Last thing I need is getting pulled over by a cop who thinks I'm drunk just because I'm having a low.

3.) This builds on the last one: I, without fail, make sure I check my blood sugar before the keys go in the ignition. If it's below 4.4 mmol/L, I eat something.

4.) I stop every so often to check my blood sugar while I'm driving. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

5.) So this hasn't happened yet, but I'm going to get a decal for my car that let's other drivers know that I have diabetes. This is good for two reasons, a.) if my driving is affected in anyway, people may be less like to to "road rage" while around me. b.) in case of emergency, people automatically know what my condition is.

So my last piece of advice to you is to be aware of your body and your blood sugar, but don't become obsessed to the point where you're forgetting about the basic road rules. And please please please, do not try to check your BG while actually driving.

SAFE DRIVING EVERYONE!!!!