Monday, March 31, 2014


Today I had a scary low. I have been debriefing it in my head but I just need to write about it so it is out of my head.

I had skipped breakfast because I wanted to do some morning basal testing.

6.3 was my sugar-basals are looking ok.
Then my printer called and my order was ready.
Then while I was at the printer, someone called for a last minute meeting. I glanced at the lunch I had picked up that was on my passenger seat and decided I would eat at my meeting. Thankfully the man I was meeting with has a kid with T1D so he was very accommodating.
As we chatted, I ate. I was dizzy, my heart was racing, but I just focused on eating my salad with hummous and chicken and getting my work done.
I finished my meal and realised I was getting seriously nauseated. This is a new and awful symptom of a plummeting sugar for me. I checked and I was 1.8. Dangerous. Dangerously low. I had just polished off around 65g carbs and had also bolused about 20 mins previous.

I was in the weeds.

I opened two of my portable honey packs and slurped them down while taking notes. I find if I am low that trying to focus on something will help me not panic. Massive bouts of anxiety are also a new low symptom for me. So I methodically swished the honey around my mouth while nodding and taking notes.

The nausea was getting worse, but thankfully the meeting had ended. We chatted for a few minutes and we parted ways.

I checked my sugar again before driving and I was 4.2, which meant I was ok and rising. I drove back to my office and the nausea at this point was almost making me pull my car over to vomit. I took small sips of the can of regular root beer I had purchased between my meeting and my walk to my car just in case the honey wasn't enough. I knew my sugar was going to be ok, but the nausea.

The nausea was almost unbearable.

I got back to my office and excused myself to the washroom. My lunch, honey and root beer and I parted ways.

My sugar at this point was 7.4. I was worried I might plummet again, without all the carbs I had bolused for, so I reduced my basal and drank a lot of water.

I came around after a litre of water. Mys ugar has crept up to 11.9, but I feel awful. Not high awful, awful like my body saved me.

Awful like my body took a beating that I never meant to give it.
Awful like my brain was in starvation mode and my body wanted to shut down.
Awful like my hormones tanked. Something unusual happened with my body today during that low. I have never vomited from a low blood sugar. I have recently been nauseated with lows but never this bad.

Something happened and I didn't like it.

Note to self: no more basal testing for awhile.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Woes of Fundraising

So I am almost a full week in to my new job at JDRF.

I am getting my flow going and really loving my duties, as many and varied as they are.

But here's the thing...I am struggling with fundraising as an individual. Last year and in years previous I had no problem. People were open and honest with me with donations.

But's a lot of promises but no commitments. I think it has something to do with a shift in our society. There are so many causes that are totally worthy, and every time someone turns around they are being asked for money. I get that, I get asked for money a lot. I have three organizations that I donate to: JDRF, Young Adult Cancer Canada, and Feed Nova Scotia. If we don't set limits like this on ourselves, we will be overwhelmed. do I boost my personal fundraising while fundraising as a career without suffering burnout from asking?

It's a question that has been reeling in my mind all week. I haven't had the "bites" I normally do on my events, my designs (my tshirt took a lot of time!) or my online donations. Do I resort to walking around the neighbourhood I have lived in less than a year? Am I a failure at public relations? Also, why don't people answer my emails?

All of these things are leading me to sit down and do a true shift in my game plan. I don't have answers to any of my questions, and maybe I never will.

SO, I am now at this: PLEASE BUY MY T-SHIRT design. I want to prove myself again. I want to send this money so people like me, you or your loved ones CAN wear an artificial pancreas, so people in the future CAN have a cure.

Here is the link:

You order it. Once it hits my goal of committed buyers, the shirt goes to print. Simple. Cheap shipping. Cool shirt. Dollars for JDRF.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Dexcom Graveyard

I have written about my love for the CGM technology I have. I have been SO LUCKY that I have had supportive and fabulous friends in the DOC to keep me CGM connected when the option to buy 1) wasn't there and now 2) is not affordable for me.

But, damn.

I am where Dexcom receivers go to die.

I am currently on my 4th receiver in just over a year! FOUR.

One fell out of my panier bag on a bike ride.

And the other two that died? They just.....died. Out of nowhere they had some sort of internal failure I got a weird screen and then...death. Bricked. Really fancy paper weights.

The thing is, and some people mentioned this: maybe I just don't need one?

But I do, you see. I need it like I need my insulin pump. Yes, I can manage my diabetes without these tools, but they make my life easier, they make me feel better with less drastic swings in blood sugar. So it's hard when these things brick on me.

I have revived an older receiver I got from a friend and am now wishing and hoping the random "system recovery checks" don't go too fast.

On the bright side I am due for a new pump and I intend to upgrade to the Animas Vibe asap. Hopefully that doesn't brick too.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Advocate for Yourself

Last month there was a lot of talk in the diabetes blogosphere  about what being an advocate means. There were A LOT of really fabulous entries.

I specifically love Christina's post here which speaks about the blurred lines of advocacy and being true to yourself. I really enjoyed Amy's post over at DiabetesMine .

They were all great to read. Our community is deep, complex and international. Reading how people felt all around the globe about their advocacy efforts individually, the advocacy efforts of the organizations such as the Diabetes Hands Foundation, and the advocacy efforts of the online community was truly humbling. Especially since I just made a HUGE career change this week in accepting a Fund Development and Outreach coordinating position at my local JDRF office.

If you would have asked me three years ago if this is the direction my life would be taking, I would have laughed at you. At that time I was fast tracking myself on a career path of design and web development with a sprinkle of inbound marketing. I didn't do a lot of advocacy work, and I certainly didn't do a lot in the world of diabetes. At that point I was pivoting between grasping advocacy and letting it go. That's when I discovered the diabetes online community.

So this is my post about advocacy currently: advocate for yourself.

I think you need to advocate for yourself in many ways in your daily life. You have to stand up for yourself and what you believe in with everything, from your opinions on the big to the little. Being an advocate for yourself can take many forms, and it isn't always writing a big rant online, sometimes advocacy requires action.

Here's a small story on self-advocacy:

In the past few years my faith in my medical team dwindled. Every meeting with my endocrinologist started with me explaining my history to a new intern. I actually went through a 10 minute meeting and at the end the intern explained what having type 2 diabetes does to a body to me. I felt like I was wasting my time in that office. I never got answers, I always had more questions leaving than I did when I went in. And it has been like that for years. The only major changes that were implemented were ideas brought in by me. It made me lose faith in that clinic.

The last straw for me was last year I went to the clinic for my visit to the endocrinologist, dietitian and CDE. My appointment was for 9am. My dietitian was sick that day, nobody told me. My CDE saw me at 9:45, and then I waited. And waited. And waited. The endocrinologist swooped in to the exam room/office at 2:25. That demonstrates her lack of empathy for what I went through that day. She didn't apologize, and to make it worse she barely spoke to me.

I fired her. I thanked her for her previous years work but I informed her that her delay that day was unacceptable. She was not on an emergency (I made sure to clarify that) She was late leaving her last clinic. The lack of respect she showed me was startling. She basically told me I needed to get my sugars under control, refilled my prescriptions and wished me well. She had no interest in working it out. So we were done.

We left and I was so frustrated it took me months to get on the phone and find someone new.

But I learned a lot that day. I learned that standing up for yourself, even to those who are in a presumed position of authority is important. When it comes to my health I will be making all of the decisions from here on out. I will not accept anything but dedication from my team. If it means I will spend years searching for the perfect team, then so be it. But if I want to live the life that I advocate for as a volunteer (and now as my career) then my first step is putting me before the doctors.

It was a struggle trying to get in  with a new endocrinologist, dietitian, CDE and GP. But now, two years later I am very happy with my choices. And this happiness and faith I have in my team shows in my A1C numbers, my food choices and my ability to talk to them in a candid manner.