I am not a diabetic.

When I first watched this amazing piece by Prince EA, I thought to myself- I haven’t really admitted to all the nasty things I believe when I label myself. Trust that I can be extremely harsh and abusive.

Sometimes it’s this:

It’s about that label of being a diabetic. Living with diabetes. However you call it.

What have I started and continue to believe about myself with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, a neurological disorder, hearing impairment?

How do I break this down, shatter these assumptions holding me back? I think it’s first by getting over the fear and starting to share my thoughts.

Here I go.

XO,

J

 

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My favourite diabetes blog week entries!

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My memory is fuzzy, but work with me.

I THINK I tried to participate in Diabetes Blog Week before but this year around, I know I definitely did NOT.

I’ve been really working on a digital cleanse and re-organization as of late (more on that later!). Be that as it may, Diabetes Blog Week is such a fun way for us all to bond.

Although I did not take part, I DID read and here are a few of my favourite entries from the past week (whether you participated officially or not).

3 of my favourite #DBLOGWEEK

Learned a fantastic tip about how to remember to change lancets + an honest look into her views on the online diabetes world. Scully’s Diabetes Blog Week day 4 entry on changes. 

Ironman-in-training Anne Marie, another type 1 athlete, talks about the reality of the upcoming big race and the sacrifices that need to be made. Cheer her on! Read it here.

Scott had me in near tears with this entry. Scott, your posts have helped me so much throughout the years. Please know that. Whatever you do, know that you are so respected.

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Check out Karen at BitterSweetDiabetes. She’s got all the info and deets on #DBlogWeek.

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories.

XO,

J

My first infusion site! Pump & CGM Shopping continues…

A constant game of catchup.

As an adult diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 29, I feel like I’m behind.

The majority of people I know with t1d have been living with it since they were children or teens. Pros.

Is it second nature to them? Do they remember life before this?

I’m still utterly confused and overwhelmed.

Example: Before I go to a d-related event, I often hop online and go through the same routine.

…the list goes on. You’d think by now I’d have it down pat. The fact of the matter is my brain has been super fried since diagnosis. Information doesn’t stick well and I get a deer-in-the-headlights look and feeling.

My new t1d friends have shown me nothing short of complete understanding, yet I still have a need to sound like I know what they’re talking about (or at the very least, sound a little less like an idiot).

Is this what it’s like to be diagnosed so late in life? As an independent, fully self-sufficient person maybe there’s this pressure  inside myself to “know it all” since I have the resources and mind to.

I don’t though. Not even close.

Meet the pumps & cgm’s

Choosing to pump is a big decision, as is what pump you’ll use. To make the process less daunting, I’m slowly trying to familiarize myself with the technology.

I got around to meeting with Omnipod and Animas last year to get a feel for their products. See my blog post on that here.

This time around, I contacted all four, adding Accu-Chek and Metronic to the list.

Sheldon Smith from Metronic came over to my house yesterday and I tried on my VERY FIRST infusion set.

On me right now is the Metronic Silhouette infusion set (I did manual insertion) as well as the Quick Set on the other side of my abdomen. Both were far less painful than I had imagined.

Luckily I had ballet class last night, the perfect place to start testing out these bad boys. All that bending, twisting and jumping. Here’s my Instagram post.

 

I’m going to beat up all these demos and give them a taste of my active lifestyle.

Trying to appreciating the process,

Jess

I’ve walked through a colon. Seriously. Colon Cancer Awareness Month

I was reading my usual t1d blog favourites and came across (Probably) Rachel’s new post about colon cancer. Her father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at 46. He fought for four years before he passed away at age 50.
It got me thinking, “What do I know about colon cancer?”

Answer: Nothing really.

Then a lightbulb. I actually walked through a GIANT INFLATABLE colon before.

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada tours an enormous blow-up colon in malls, health centres, anywhere really. People can actually see, touch and walk through the inside of a colon and learn more about how this part of the body works.

Giant Colon Tour features Dr. Preventino, a fun loving puppet doctor that’s featured on TV screens inside. For photos, click here.

Here’s a short, great video on ANOTHER giant inflatable colon by Growing Bolder.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some great information on National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month here.

Here are some facts from their website:

  • Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
  • Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer include blood in or on the stool (bowel movement), stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away and losing weight and you don’t know why.
  • You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then keep getting screened regularly until the age of 75. Ask your doctor if you should be screened if you’re older than 75.
Please spread the word and ask your friends and family if they have been screened.
Background photo courtesy of Rachel Kerstetter.

Background photo courtesy of Rachel Kerstetter.

My DSMA Blue Fridays Photoshoot-Spanish Style

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone,

It’s the second installment of my thrift store dresses in blue.

We wear blue every friday to support those affected by diabetes.

I’m not sure the origin of this dress but I feel like it has a Spanish flare to it. Spain is known for its passionate, romantic and ultra-sexy dance styles so for Valentine’s Day, I think this fits well.
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Remember to use the hashtag #BlueFridays when you participate.

And since it’s love day, don’t forget about the Spare a Rose, Save a Child initiative. Help save a diabetic child’s life by donating, which will provide funds for much needed supplies like insulin, strips and access to doctors.

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How are you wearing blue today?

J

Photo Essay: Spare a Rose, Save a Child (Life for a Child Program)

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How many of us stare at our meter, then cringe and complain at our blood glucose reading?

We feel our hard fingertips and needle stings, grunt at error messages and faulty sites.

Although our frustrations shouldn’t be dismissed, they are definitely #firstworldproblems. Many in developing countries don’t have access to insulin, meters, strips or even doctors.

You can make a difference for someone living with diabetes. The difference between life and death.

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This Valentine’s Day, consider donating to the International Diabetes Federation Life for a Child program. Spare a rose in your bouquet on love day and give hope to a child who needs it.

See the faces of those you are helping.

A full list of blogs and sites helping to promote Spare A Rose, Save a Child via Kerri Sparling’s Six Until Me

Sending love to diabetic children and their families around the world,

J

Canadian Diabetes Association’s Stress, Depression and Type 1 Diabetes Talk

Hey, I know you!

Towards the end of Leah Drazek’s presentation on mental health and type 1 diabetes, I happened to spot someone I had met at the JDRF type 1 adult support group in November.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone and know they are type 1 as well, I get this surge of excitement and happiness. My face changes. I smile. And I feel 100 times better. Does that feeling ever go away?

We updated each other on how we were doing with our diabetes management, what’s been happening since we last saw each other and offered words of support. It was short and sweet, and although I didn’t know it at the time, it was something I really needed.

It’s just like being in a room filled with other type 1’s out there. The room was packed at the ING Direct Cafe in downtown Toronto, and I saw people of all ages and cultures. It was the first time I saw such diversity. If you read my previous post titled What it’s like to be the only Chinese type 1 diabetic you know, I think you’d understand how much this meant to me.

And from the audience to the speaker, that feeling continued on. As Drazek went through her slides listing stats and symptoms of mental health and type 1 diabetes, I started giving myself internal head nods and inside saying, “Yes! I’ve felt that. Oh! I can relate completely. I’ve been there!”

My note highlights

  • People with type 1 diabetes are over 3x risk of developing depression
  • Risk factors for developing depression with type 1 diabetes: female, poverty, few social support, stressful event, longer duration of diabetes, poor glycemic control, presence long term complications, physical inactivity
  • Symptoms: sadness, lack of pleasure in almost all activities, significant weight loss/gain, sleeping longer than normal, loss of energy, agitation, impaired concentration
  • How to deal: use supports such as family/friends, counselors, family doctors
  • Drink more water, less coffee, listen to music, exercise, spend time with people you like, positive self talk, antidepressant/anxiety medications, drink more h20
  • Be open and honest with your diabetes health care provider, they can better guide and provide resources

My live tweets: Canadian Diabetes Association’s Stress, Depression and Type 1 diabetes

Drazek shared personal stories about having a panic attack, how family changes impacted her stress levels and even what her blood glucose levels were before and after a recent car accident.

What made the experience worthwhile was having a fellow type 1 diabetic speaking right in front of me, being vulnerable and sharing her life in a very raw and honest way.

I walked away with more confidence, feeling less alone, and after exchanging numbers with my support group buddy, possibly a new friend.

J

Links:

Canadian Diabetes Association

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Contact List

American Diabetes Association Depression Information