Mentally overcoming the diabetes stigma. Q&A with Psychological associate Michelle Sorensen

This answer (which I heard a part of when I saw Michelle speak) really changed things for me. Big time.

I can’t even begin to describe to you how freeing her response is. Here we go, the next Q&A with Michelle 🙂

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Michelle Sorensen, M.Ed., Clinical Psychological Associate Member of the College of Psychologist

How to deal with acceptance of the stigma and the fact some people will say things that are not true?

Michelle: There are many layers of difficulty in living with Type 1 diabetes and this is a tough one to address. I have learned a few things that have helped me with this issue since being diagnosed at age 24.  A lot of my learning comes from the privilege of counselling other people with Type 1.  My patients have taught me so much and I often see some of myself in their stories.

Having a disability or disease that is associated with stigma presents us with the challenge of focusing on what we know to be true, versus the thoughts of others.  Sometimes we are up against not just misconceptions or stereotypes from others, but what they WANT to be true. 

Why would they want to blame people with diabetes or believe people caused their own disease?  Well, because then they can tell themselves they are safe, that this kind of life changing diagnosis couldn’t happen to them. It’s the same reason many of us want to know if someone smokes when we hear they are diagnosed with cancer.  It’s scary to hear about a peer being diagnosed with something out of the blue, and especially if they seem to be doing the right things and living a healthy life.  It makes us feel vulnerable and we don’t like that. 

Brene Brown, in her wonderful book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” writes about how she became more comfortable in her own skin, which is key to being more resilient against judgment from others: “I learned how to worry more about how I felt and less about ‘what people might think’. I was setting new boundaries and began to let go of my need to please, perform, and perfect”.

I can really relate to what Brene writes about.  I think diabetes forced me, in my twenties, to realize how much time and anxiety went into pleasing others.  I remember feeling stressed when I was newly diagnosed and recovering from the ordeal … but about things like not returning a phone call to a friend, or saying no when someone wanted to make plans.  Those things caused me more stress than many of the priorities I needed to focus on, like my schoolwork and my diabetes care.  But no one other than me was responsible for that stress.  It was all pressure I put on myself. 

People with Type 1 can and do accomplish great things.  However, it should always be about what makes us happy and creates moments of joy, not what impresses or pleases others.  if we please ourselves we will be far more tolerant when we perceive judgment or stigma from others.  If we are trying to please or impress others, then we will be very disappointed when they appear unkind. 

Thank You Michelle Sorensen

We all have a lot on the go, so a big huge thank you to Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and provide support 😀

Xo,

J

Check out my first Q&A with Michelle about being diagnosed with t1d as an adult here.

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Let’s get physical: working out with a CGM

IMG_8456-1I’m off the market.

Officially attached… at the abdomen?

2015 is going to be filled with lots of races but with the added bonus of a continuous glucose monitor.

I did a summary of the Dexcom after a week trial last year in April. Read it here. Now I’ve got one- and am ready to train this season.

Any workout tips for a newbie to the CGM world?

 

New year. New season. New CGM. Let’s get started.

Xo,

J

Animas Canada has decided to support me in my athletic journey with a CGM. 

I believe in full transparency so I’ve made a disclosures page on my site which clearly states this sponsorship.

 

 

 

50 sec video: Connected in Motion’s Skate Night

Am I going back in time to the roaring 20’s? Yes, yes I am. Enjoy the video.

Location: Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Hot food never tasted so good! It was pretty cold out yesterday but a bunch of us type 1’s laced up and skated through the night. Lots of laughs, lots of fun-always the way with Connected in Motion!

XOXO,

J

Losing all my strips, water source & the finish line! My first marathon recap at Disney

 

Walt Disney Marathon 2015
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Point form 400 word summary here. Detailed race recap below.

  • 2:15 a.m. wakeup, wait in line for over an 1.5 hrs to start (in the last corral). Ate breakfast normally (coffee and toast with PB), tested, all good.
  • Carrying: Hydration backpack with 2L bladder filled with water-electrolyte powder mix, granola bars, LEVEL gels, passport, cash, insulin, meter, strips (50 in its original container), pricker.

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  • While waiting BG’s were lower than I would have liked, assuming because it was chilly. Ate my snacks to bring things up.
  • Race starts, feeling good…before mile 2, a GUSH of liquid starts pouring down my back. I am confused, frazzled. I finally pull over to the side and start emptying out my bag.
  • The water bladder has burst in 2 places. When I took it out of the bag, I managed to soak water ALL OVER whatever was left dry. Too out of it to think to take it out carefully.

Day 8: Met up with some run friends today and we talked about me running my first full marathon!? Is this happening?

  • Gone-water, electrolytes, part of my snacks, cell phone charger. What. The. What.
  • Hydration bag tossed to the side. Reach 45-1hr mark and go to test. All test strips destroyed by moisture. ERROR sign.
  • Panic. Reach first medic tent I could find a few miles later-they didn’t have a meter at this particular station. Errr, panic x 100.
  • It’s time to make a call. I decide to keep running.

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  • Large part of nutrition planning has gone out the window. I eat everything I can get my hands on. Powerade, Clif shot bloks, bananas. I do everything I can to go by feel.

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  • The race itself was amazing. My fear subsided and I enjoyed every moment of being at Disney. Run-wise, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was hard, painful, but oh so worth it (read more about it below).

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  • After I cross the finish line I make my way to the medic tent just to be sure all is well. I sprinted the last leg of the race and was sitting at 10 mmoL (which is around 130 mgdl?)
  • The care I got in the medic tent at the end of the race was superb. I choose to focus on that. Great people.
  • The rest of the day/night my bg’s stayed steady.

The fear of not knowing my bg’s all race was something totally out of the blue. This is where a CGM would be of great benefit!

I couldn’t prepare for it. The water exploding and then further being poured onto my stuff? I’ll never forget. I thought my t1d gear was safe in the water-resistant pocket I had, but it wasn’t.

Lesson? Learn, and move on. Attitude is everything.

 

Extended race summary

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  • Jan. 8-Fly from Toronto to Orlando (with three other runners)
  • Jan. 8-10 the priority was to climatize myself. I found this difficult as it was very chilly here when we first arrived. This messed with my bg’s as mine tend to dip along with the temps. The weather forecast kept changing and I found that a big challenge as to my ever-fluctuating bg’s.
  • Jan 8- short 20 minute jog in the evening after the flight
  • Jan 9- 20 minute swim doing front crawl laps in the pool

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  • Jan 10- 15 minute jog (now the weather was hot so I was sweating and in the sun). Tested out hydration pack-everything working fine.

Nutrition

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  • I didn’t deviate too much from regular eating. I kept pretty much to my diet that I normally have at home. That’s the huge plus of not staying in a hotel and being at a rental home-control!

 

Game plan & goals

  • I wanted to finish feeling strong. My coach helped create a goal of around a 6 hour completion-enough time to test, correct if needed, take pictures with characters and take bathroom breaks.

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Sleep

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  • SLEEP WAS INTEGRAL. I got a fabulous, uninterrupted sleep two nights before the race. Race day I had to get up at 2:15 a.m. and went to bed at around 8:30 p.m. Luckily I was able to get in 5 hours of sleep (with a little tossing and turning due to thunder). This was the best sleep I have gotten the night before a race.
  • I really think my sleep played a big role in having the energy to finish strong. Can I take this bed home with me?

Night before race day:

  • I made sure to pack everything I needed plus a bag to leave in the car. This made the morning less hectic.
  • Car bag included: flip flops, change of clothes, water

Race day:

 

  • Morning routine of coffee, toast with PB, washroom routine, all went smoothly!
  • We got to the park very early with ample time. It was cold (had my rain jacket on and arm sleeves). Went to the washroom 3 times before the race started.IMG_6369
  • In the last corral, it was a long wait. We were in line by 5 a.m. and waiting until about 6:30 a.m. My friend Becky and I were in the same corral so we got to start together which was really nice.
  • Tested while we were waiting and was sitting a little too low for my liking so I ate one of my snacks and tried to keep moving to stay warm and get the legs moving.
  • Check out the start of EACH CORRAL! I’m really happy that every corral got their own fireworks.

 

  • Finally our turn. Start off race with my friend but we end up splitting around mile 1.
  • Before mile 2 hits, I feel something leaking on my tutu and down my legs. At first I can’t make sense of it but then all of a sudden a gush of fluid starts coming down. I’m now really confused. It becomes so big that I pull over and put my bag on the ground. I start to take things out and everything is wet. Even then I’m pretty panicked so I can’t make sense of what’s happening. I pull out the bladder and see two big holes. I lift the bag direct over my bag, soaking the entire hydration pack.

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  • My t1d stuff was in a separate section but since I lifted the bladder right above the bag I ended up soaking that part too. My face on my passport which I was carrying is now green on the left and then my skin colour turns into a nice red to the right.
  • Although I’ve drenched everything, I think my strips are safe since they were in the container.
  • Legs felt tired, sore but overall I had no real issues. Continued running and taking photos with characters although mindful of the time I lost from the hydration pack.
  • Around the 45-1hr mark it’s time to test. I take out my meter, which works, but then realize that none of my test strips work. They’ve got too much moisture on them. I start to panic now. I lost my water source, electrolytes, part of my food and now I have no way to test until I hit a medic tent.

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  • After a few miles I believe, I see a medic tent. I go and tell them the situation. I don’t feel any symptoms but want to know my bg level. They can’t find a meter in this tent. They make a call and one is supposed to come from a medic van nearby. The medic comes with a bag but there’s no meter inside. This is when I realize I need to make a decision-do I continue to run without knowing my bg’s? I have trained testing constantly every 45-1hr (when feeling well-no symptoms) and more if feeling off.
  • I decide that I will just go by feel, and push through. I stop at every water station taking 2 Powerade cups and 1 or 2 waters. Anything available to eat I take-bananas, Clif Shot Blocks, chocolate. Whatever was out there, I ate to ensure I was getting as many carbs as possible. My Level gels were still good so I ate those as planned every hour. I also ate 2 granola bars but they were really dry (I thought I would have my hydration pack to sip on to help take it down)
  • GI issue wise-I was very lucky. No issues. There were points where I felt a little sick but that’s to be expected.
  • The lineups to take photos with characters seemed long although when I did line up they moved quickly. I decided to choose just a few that were special to me. I took photos with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Baloo, Baymax! (My favourite, saw the movie twice-no line) and the Genie, Abu.

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  • Things I saw: lots of spectators, live marching bands, live music all around
  • Volunteers were really encouraging and positive. They had that Disney spirit!
  • Highlights: running on the Disney race track speedway…

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  • The big castle of course…

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  • And this awesome DJ..
  • Met a fellow female runner from Mexico. We took each pictures for each other of the Baymax blowup. We saw each other after the race and had a really nice chat and hugged. I love runners!

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  • No blisters, or any kind of blaring pain. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt, but there wasn’t anything that caused me any concern. I was sore though so, and again, not recommended to try new things on race day, I tried BioFreeze. I slathered it on my legs and it felt great. So cool and refreshing. I started putting it on whenever there were stations- everywhere below the knees, above the ankle and on my hips.
  • Lots of weaving in and out. This is the biggest race I’ve done to date so not sure if it was this particular crowd or just a larger race in general but it was really hard to navigate through when you wanted to run steadily.
  • As I looked at my watch throughout the race I realize I was going at a much slower pace than I had wanted. Towards the end, given all the events of the run, I realized that I was cutting it real close to making my first marathon under 6 hours.
  • The markers were off according to my watch, but here is the breakdown via Nike plus.

My official time was 5:58:31.

  • As I was nearing the end I was really losing steam, but I wanted to see if I could make it under 6 hours. I walked, then I would push and run. I tried to sprint. The finish line seemed to take forever. As I was about 400 meters from the finish, I saw the clock at the top and it had turned to 6 hours. Honestly I felt disappointed but then kept pushing to try to get the best time. It wasn’t until I was in the medic tent afterwards that I got a message with a screen shot of my time.  I was so thrilled and celebrated with the staff in there.
  • Nike GPS Watch time 5:49:37-that makes me really happy. All the long hours of treadmill training paid off. I think it really helped build up the mental toughness I needed to do this at this point in time.
  • Luckily my neurological issues (shaking) did not occur during this race. I did carry my seizure pills with me of course.

What I took away from this experience: 

  • Running in miles instead of kilometres really throws you off
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Take time to enjoy the race
  • A coach is integral to success (thank you SUEPOO!)
  • Life is short. Have fun and do what you want to do.

I’ll add more later if I can think of anything. Thanks for your support as always. All the messages of love from across the globe have been amazing.

xo

Jess

 

My photos for the taking: Inspirational type 1 diabetes art

Save, share, it’s yours for the taking.

I love taking photos and using all kinds of apps to make type 1 diabetes art on Instagram.

Here’s a few of the latest below.

If you’d like to request a specific phrase, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to create it for you. I have one stipulation- it must be a positive message.

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Happy National Diabetes Awareness Month!

xo

J

Finding peace: Telling 20 strangers at a NTC class I have type 1 diabetes

Hey strangers in this group photo.

You will forever be etched in my memory.

 

 

I attended my first Nike Training Club outdoor class at the Academy of Lions a few weeks ago.

Towards the end of the class I asked NTC trainer Jenny Thomson if I could take a couple of photos. She explained to the group I had a fitness blog. Then a classmate asked me more about it.

I found myself in a situation that was downright liberating.

To the group of 20 strangers, I announced I have type 1 diabetes (t1d), gave a short rundown of type 1 (no way to prevent it, no cure) and my mission to promote physical activity in Canada.

It went something like that. And as it was happening I felt a surge of positive energy that I never felt before.

In a flash it was over. And when I stopped talking, people clapped. Surreal.

Seen on my run after my NTC class.

Seen on my run after NTC class.

Now is the time I’ve got to commend every person who has ever dealt with any type of physical or mental challenge and talked about it openly. I have the utmost respect for those who share their story on any level.

After everything that has happened these past few years, I can appreciate now more than ever those who speak up.

So many people live in hurt and silence, scared that they will be labelled whatever stereotype goes with the illness.

Diabetics are not alone in being misunderstood or incorrectly labelled. It happens to so many people in every which way.

It’s definitely unfair, and it’s not just us, although for me it definitely felt that way.

So thank you strangers. Thank you for listening for the minute or so I spoke, for smiling at me, for clapping, for hearing my story.

In my journey here as a type 1 diabetic, I will never forget this moment.

I’ll take this positive energy and use it as fuel.

Thank you to NTC Trainer Jenny Thomson & everyone who attended that class.

I’ve taken a few steps forward along my journey to peace because of you guys.

Namaste.

Jessica

© t1dactiveliving. All Rights Reserved.

Connect

Jenny Thomson | Twitter | Instagram |

NTC classes are free. You need to reserve a spot in order to attend.

Nike Training Club Canada | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram |

I’ll be reviewing the class from a fitness perspective in a future post. 

 

I signed up for my first marathon! Walt Disney World here I come!

 

 

The above photo was taken right from my subway station bench seat. This was minutes after I signed up for my FIRST MARATHON <–I can’t believe I just wrote that.

The race will be the Walt Disney Marathon 2015.

I’m looking at this marathon as my first and possibly only. Out of all the races I’ve seen and heard about, I knew this would be “the one”.

Most Disney races sell out fast, so when I found out that registration opened, my fingers started frantically pressing the keys on the screen. Then poof. I was in!

My friends and I talked about the idea of Disney but it never went further then that. However come registration day a BBM message “You in?” got me and my friend Rebecca signing up simultaneously.

Side note, Rebecca’s sister is type 1. That automatically makes her an extra special 5.5er.

Later in the week I was heading to a hot yoga class with Rebecca. When I walked into the studio, this was the first sign I saw.

 

Why do you run/walk/exercise? For me it brings me a sense of calm. My brain rests. I feel free. And most of all I feel strong and I…

That hot yoga session had me in such an amazing place. I daydreamed of crossing the finish line all throughout class. Even a low during the first 5 minutes of class didn’t phase me.

Have any of you run Disney? Been a spectator? Would love to hear your experiences.

I’m so excited & happy.