Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: a new low treatment

I found a new low treatment. No additives, no chemicals, 5g carb a piece and portable. Dried honey made on Prince Edward Island. I rather the taste of this than tabs, and I feel better about using them.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today has resembled this. Sometimes all this afford and math and counting feels like its worth it, I guess?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

House Hunt

Alright, this sort of isn't about diabetes but more of a life update.

T and I have been thinking for around 6 months that we were ready to buy a house. I know it's not the norm to make such a huge investment before marriage, but we haven't exactly followed the social norms in our 3+ years.

We have been talking and saving, and getting our ducks in a row for months and months. We are now officially on the market. We were both feeling lost and unsure, then we met our mortgage specialist who helped guide us and ease our anxious minds. He guided us through the pre-approval and what our lives may look like after the house purchase (hint it's going to look pretty much the same since we are already paying out the ass for such a nice rental property.)

Then I tweeted that I wanted a non-shitty agent to work with. I interviewed 3 of them. 2 of them fed me bullshit, and they both said "they go the extra mile" which to me is a massive cliche statement and makes me want to vomir in their shoes. Then I got a tweet back from our current agent, Jeremiah He said something something something PUPPIES* and I was sold. (He donates to rescue does. Which naturally had me since my furball is a rescue)

T and I met him for our first appt and he put us at ease. He seems more like a friend than someone trying to sell us one of the biggest purchases of our lives. He puts things into perspective, helps us see past the horrifying decor of some homes, and helps us see past the shitty upgrades that can hide poor structure.

We commented on the way home that Jeremiah genuinely feels like someone we look at houses with and then should be going for wings and beer with after. I guess that is why he is successful.

Anyway, we found pretty much the ideal home for us on Sunday. We put an offer on it Monday and the offer was rejected due to another offer. It made me realize how difficult this process is going to be. I really fell for that house, so did T. We even imagined where our things were going to fit in. Anyway, the deal can still fall through on the inspection or funding but I definitely won't be holding my breath.

So yeah no diabetes in this post. More of an update on what has been consuming me. I am completely exhausted.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Experience with Diabetes Burnout

I have been writing this piece for awhile. It's been hard to write, sometimes I get embarrassed about my experience with burning out and I don't want to let others know that I had a moment, a year..maybe two years of living with a mental illness that nobody recognized as a mental illness....not even therapists.

So I will give you a bit of a run down of what I feel led up to my diabetes burnout.

As a child I was very happy, athletic and did well in school. I never let diabetes get in the way, I took my insulin in the morning and at night and that was it for me. I don't remember often when it was n issue. Maybe a sleepover here and there, or a class trip where my parents had to be educators on my behalf, but all in all it was a non-issue for me. I didn't feel sad or depressed as a kid. I pass a lot of this on to my parents.They never let it show that they were sad or frustrated by diabetes. There were a few lectures about em sneaking treats and how important it was for me to disclose, but their lives didn't revolve around illness. Their lives revolved around our happiness and our strengths. I had a wonderful childhood, I know it's not common for people these days as there are so many struggles people can go through but my parents were and are fabulous parents. I am lucky that I now call them two of my closest friends. I think that a lot of how I developed rests in their hands and overall I am happy with me.

I always try and pinpoint the moment where I started to fizzle, burn out and just lose interest in my future me. I went through a very difficult time with an ex-boyfriend that involved cheating, and overall being emotionally and financially drained. I kind of lean towards that time when I started to burn out because every ounce of my mental strength was being used in holding myself up from crashing and feeling sorry for myself.

My self care and awareness in diabetes started to slip. I went from checking my blood sugar 4x a day to...maybe 4x a week to 4x a month if I was lucky. I wore my pump, but sometimes I would go to school with just my basal insulin running and I wouldn't remember to bolus or check...for days.

This is really hard to admit. As an advocate for living well and happily with diabetes, putting on the Internet that you were, for a lack of better terms a fuckup in your diabetes care is so hard. We always try and project these images that life with diabetes isn't as bad as the media makes it out to be. And usually it isn't. Usually we live happy and normal lives with a few extra steps.

There needs to be more discussion about burning out because of diabetes, and that is why I am sharing with you my story.

So during these days and months I floated through, I never had lows, and I didn't feel highs really. I worked out at the gym a lot, and on the outside I looked like normal old me. What was happening inside...I really don't know. My body was churning mentally due to my outside stresses and my internal stresses were just starting to make me break. I sought comfort through food, and constantly being surrounded by friends and people. I was always trying to meet new people, date new men and do everything and anything to get my mind off my past and what diabetes was doing to me.

For these months I wanted to not be diabetic. I wanted to not be tethered to a pump or glucose or to be different. I was already walked all over by my ex boyfriend and at the time i felt walked all over by my professor in school, my family was giving me a hard time because I was slipping and gaining weight again.

This burnout didn't happen at one moment, it happened over time. It happened after 20 years of juice boxes at 2 am, it happened after 20 years of needles, and insulin, and dead batteries and forgotten injections. It happened after 20 years of me asking for a restaurant to make sure I have diet pepsi not regular, 20 years of me saying I'm not diabetic because I am fat, I am fat because of my diabetes.

This burnout happened after 20 years of my endocrine system struggling and grasping for breath.

The thing with burnout, at least in my case: it didn't manifest as depression. In fact, I was so social, had so many friends and was so with it otherwise, I was told by two separate psychologists there wasn't a whole lot they could do for me. Because in the fields they knew: I was happy. I don't deny the rest of my life being happy. I bought my first car, I dated around, I had great times with was by all definitions a normal way for a mid-20s girl to live.

I changed in one day. I remember when everything hit me. It hit me hard. I was starting to check my blood sugar more and I kept running high, my A1C through my endocrinologist was 8.9 and I got lectured, and I always had a yeast infection. I Googled everything and I stumbled on the book Diabetes Burnout by Dr. Polansky. I purchase dthe book and within 1 day of receiving it I felt the world around me melt.

I knew what was happening to me. I knew I wasn't alone, but most importantly I knew there was hope.

That night I jumped on twitter and Google. I stumbled on the #dsma twitter chat and Kim Vlasnik's blog at

In those few days I turned. I re-grasped my diabetes and decided in that moment that I needed to live and advocate for people with diabetes. We need better access to mental health initiatives, and doctors who understand that diabetes has a massive effect on our brains as well as pancreas'.

It's who I am. Diabetes Burnout is part of my story.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Spare a Rose, Save a Child

The power of social media in awareness campaigns, e-patient support and subsiding the psychological effects of diabetes has been documented relatively well, especially over the past year.

This year, for valentines day Diabetes Advocates are doing something extra special.

Kelly Close, Manny Hernandez, Bennet Dunlap, Adam Brown, Kerri Sparling, and Jeff Hitchcock got together with the help of some friends at Johnson and Johnson to create the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign in support of the Life for a Child program sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation.

The theory behind this campaign is that everyone buy one less rose/flower this valentines day, and the savings you make off the smaller purchase can be put towards a donation to the Life for a Child Program. This way your loved ones are still getting flowers and you are helping a great cause.

For those wondering the Life for a Child Program is in place to help children in developing countries have access to basic needs after a diabetes diagnosis: insulin, testing supplies, clinical care, education etc. These are all things that we in developed countries take for granted.

If you are another blogger/member of the diabetes online community and want to take part in this social media blitz here are a few tips:

Also, you can always send me flowers after you donate to this great campaign. Because I like pretty things.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Popcorn and Cotton Candy

I am a strong advocate for people living with diabetes living the lives they choose. They can eat what they want, and treat how they want as long as they don't preach their way as gospel. I feel strongly about this.

I also feel strongly about cotton candy and movie theatre popcorn. Some may say that I feel equally strong about cotton candy and movie theatre popcorn as I do about individual rights and freedoms when it comes to diabetes self-care.

This is sort of what I look like when I am at a movie. What movie? Cotton Candy: get in my face!

So why did I set up this with that ramble?

I went to the movies on Saturday night with my girlfriend. (I have been meaning to write this post all week but have just gotten to it now due to feeling frazzled and disconnected. oh! disconnected irony! will see why my use of that irony is funny.)

So anyway I arrive to the theatres to meet my girlfriend around 30 mins before showtime. I had showered quickly about two hours previous and was REALLY excited to go to a movie. We saw Django Unchained for those who were wondering.

I don't go to the movies often. I had went for a good run with my dog that morning and didn't eat my supper that evening setting myself up for my supper of popcorn and sharing a bag of cotton candy with my friend. When I got to the theatre I noticed I was super thirsty. I chalked it up to having too much dressing on my salad earlier in the day. But to make sure I checked my dexcom and I saw 236 with double up arrows. I squinted my eyes to maybe see if it was 136 with double down arrows so I could sheepishly tell my friend I can't share my bag of cotton candy with her...but alas.

I corrected and ordered my popcorn, cotton candy..and damn I was still so thirsty so I upsized my already-too-big diet coke. We settled into our seats and I promptly dropped my entire bag of popcorn on the floor. This is of no shock to me or her, since she has been my best friend since we were 7. I sheepishly looked at her we exchanged a shrug and I went back to get it filled up again. As I rounded the corner I felt an INTENSE urge to go to the bathroom. Like....if I didn't pee within 3 minutes I would go in my pants.

My diabetes-bells were ringing now. My diet-coke-too-big-to-hold-with-one-hand was too far away and the bathroom couldn't be farther. I knew I was in trouble...THIS means I am high.
Approximate size of diet coke at movie theatres.

I went to the bathroom, and washed up. I checked my blood as i washed my hands and it read back the highest number I have seen in almost a year! 26.4 (475) My Dexcom now read 329 with double up arrows.

Charming. The red light on my ping meter started flashing as if to say "in case you weren't aware THIS IS BAD."

So I immediately felt my infusion site for wetness, and sure enough I was not plugged in. I had my pump on, but the set was completely disconnected. I fumbled a bit and gave a rage bolus of almost 3 times what the pump was telling me I needed.

I walked back to the treat counter and got my popcorn filled and looked at it longingly. I knew in that moment that I wouldn't be enjoying it until probably the next day.

So I got back in, leaned in and told my friend what was going on. She frowned at/for me and nudged my diet coke a bit closer. At least I had that. And boy did I ever. Usually I get a kids size pop and I am satisfied but this time I went through what must have been 2L in less than an hour. And I wanted more. I obsessively checked my Dexcom and had a few handfuls of popcorn as it told me I was 250 and had a down arrow almost 2 hours later (P.S that movie is LONG.) I didn't eat my portion of cotton candy until Sunday and Monday.

So yeah. People with diabetes can eat anything they want. Most of the time. Maybe some people would carry on and eat as they please and that's ok for them. But not me. I needed my insulin to have only one task and that was to take care of the glucose already in my system.

It totally sucked that night. Diabetes totally sucked.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lip-Smaki Bolus-Worthy

I have a confession.

I love sushi. Specifically I love maki rolls. You could roll up pencil shavings in rice and nori and I would sploosh it in salty soy sauce mixed with wasabi and enjoy it. I love the texture, the saltiness, the feeling of full I get from this type of fresh food. I just...I just love it ok?


But....that damn white rice. The carbs, oh the carbs. You think it's super healthy because it's not deep fried (What a world we live in that we assume if it is not fried/has veggies it is healthy?!) but friends....sushi is a carb load and a half.

My favourite roll happens to be the sweet potato roll. yeah...potatoes rolled in white rice...I will let you think about that one for a second.......ok done? yeah that's carbs. One day I, was at my favourite take out place, realizing I was going to have sushi and I asked if I could watch my sweet potato roll get made. the chef cheerfully agreed and I gazed in amazement as his fingers danced swiftly across the seaweed, ENTIRE fried sweet potato and approximate full cup of sticky rice.

I got dizzy for a second. For what I was once bolusing for maybe 30g of carbs (and ALWAYS spiking) was probably closer to 75g of carb.

So ever since that day it has been a struggle. For some reason white rice spikes me quickly and continues to spike me for about 5-6 hours after I eat it. I don't know if it's because of the slower digestion, the fact that there's usually avocado giving me a higher fat content or what...but it's just one of those foods that we as people with diabetes have to think: IS THIS BOLUS-WORTHY?

For me it is. It's my favourite. So yesterday I did a new test.

I got a california roll and an avocado roll. I bolused 1:7 for 90 carbs (since my avocado roll was seaweed out and that uses less rice). So I had 12.9 units to play with and a BG of 3.4 (61)

i do wish this was actually in front of me this second.
I decided to eat my avocado roll before starting my bolus to give my sugar time to stabilize and then it began. A 30:70 split bolus over 4.5 hours.

And it worked (kind of)!! At supper time last night (approximately 5 hours after I started this test) I was 6.4 (115).

I ate my supper and bolused regularly for that....but it may have stacked a bit since two hours after my supper I crashed and had a 3 hour resistant low which tool honey, 8 tabs, 1 juice box and two cookies slathered in peanut butter to correct. And naturally in the middle of the night I woke up and was 13.4 (241).

So It is not perfected, I have to remember to trust my IOB when I go to bolus so I don't stack my boluses. I guess I will try to do this again tonight....

Yes, I said tonight. I have dinner date with a friend and we are going for sushi.