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DiabeticallyYours

Living life as a Type 1 Diabetic.

Archive for the tag “stress”

Crazy busy, crazy BG.

OH dear gods.

Hi! It’s me again! I’m… Back! Somehow! It’s been one crazy ride through the gaming community on my part.

All this started with me starting a blog about a game I really love, Guild Wars 2. It’s actually a fan site and, after ArenaNet promoted it on their Facebook page, it boomed. I got really busy managing this community and, well, I was in the process of moving, too! So, creating a new community, moving to a new city, packing, unpacking, then new plans about Chronicles of Tyria (The community) with a brand new podcast, contests, holy gee I’m extremely busy. Being with Aaden, alone at home (My husband got another contract in another province!) I’m managing a community, a podcast, a toddler, a house and, most importantly, diabetes.

How hard is it to manage diabetes when you’ve got crazy events going on? Well, I’m really not good at it, to be honest. I need to setup a routine. I need to start working out again. (Oh yeah, don’t get me started on my weight loss journey, because that went down the Drain!) Good news is; Aaden is starting daycare at the end of August. So I’ll be able to work during the day on the community (Right now I ‘work’ until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and during Aaden’s naps) and I’ll get some more sleep.

The upside of working so hard is that the community is blooming. We’ve hit more than 80 subscribers in 2 weeks for our podcast, more than 2.5k views! Super stoked about it!

Downside; I’m not testing my BG as often as I could. Sometimes I end up having hypos during the podcast recordings, so I have to set my mic on mute and drink a juice box. Not the best diabetes management. Sometimes I test before meals and I’m at 15. What was that about? Oh, right… I didn’t test before breakfast because I was answering emails, keeping  up with Facebook and twitter, scheduling meet ups… And the list goes on.

Also, I’d like to point out something to people who say that “Being a stay at home mom give you all the time in the world to do everything you need to do”.

Having a baby/toddler/kid at home is like being at work. But work lasts around, oh, ALL DAY, you get no break and you have to cook meals for your boss on top of it. It’s all fun and games when we go to the park, when we cuddle after we played for a while, but you’re always busy non the less. You pick up toys; constantly. You do groceries but really, you have to hurry up so you can get home before lunch, prepare lunch, undo bags, feed your kid, put him to bed for his nap and then, you get to sit down for about 15 minutes. Afterwhich you need to do the dishes, clean whatever mess you left in the kitchen and all the food your son threw on the ground because it looked like the best thing to do at the time… And then, you prepare things for diner and work a little if you can.

I’m not sure I want to list all the things you need to do, but having to manage diabetes on TOP of it all, I find extremely difficult.  Sometimes I don’t test before bed anymore. I’m so extremely tired that I flop in bed, sometimes still dressed, just to get up in the morning and since, lather, repeat.

Here’s a little look see at my very bad diabetes management. Don’t be scared!

Courtesy of my super duper iBGStar which is neglected!

 

When I went to see my endo last april… She said my control was excellent. I wonder how disappointed she would be right now.

And somehow, I wish more people would understand what it feels like to live with diabetes. Maybe they would give me a break sometimes!

I will be updating my blog more often, that’s for sure. I won’t be rambling much on the community, but more about diabetes and about being a mom, you know, things I used to be blogging about Haha!

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Children’s mighty strength, parent’s broken heart.

When I went for blood tests last friday, the hospital was jammed pack. Mostly with old people and pregnant women as usual. I don’t stay very long or wait for my name to be called because of type 1 diabetes. When I am fasting for 12 hours, I get the privilege of cutting through the line and have my blood drawn as quickly as possible. I do get mean looks though. “Why is she going through? Isn’t she going to pick a number? They let her in and I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes!” I know that’s what they are thinking because if I wasn’t type 1 diabetic and know about my condition, I would probably think the same if I would see someone “healthy” cutting through the line.

“Sorry, my pancreas is busted. For life. I get priority.”

Sometimes, there’s a line and I need to wait behind other people while we wait, and I remember one time, clearly. While my mother was still alive, she would go with me every single time. I was old enough to drive and go by myself, but she would insist on driving me and be by my side. And one time as we were waiting in line, there were people talking in front of us saying how “Blood tests every two weeks is soooo much stress” and my mother would say something along the lines of “Well my daughter has at least 5 injections per day. For life.” The people would look at me and turn around, their conversations cut dry. Of course, my mother didn’t want to insult them, or even make it awkward for me to stand there, all eyes on me, wondering why I had to use needles 5 times a day.

And I remember my diagnosis, my mother crying next to me, seeing her as white as snow when they had to draw blood from me for several tests. No, not tiny vials, big jars. I had never seen this much blood drawn from a single person in my life, and while I was fascinated that I could live without that much blood loss, my mother would wait outside my hospital room and cry, comforted by my newly diagnosed with Crohne’s disease roommate’s mother. And I would tell her not to cry, that I was lucky to have been diagnosed on time (With a BG of 42 mmol… or 756mg) and that I would live. You have to know that I lost a sister when I was 17 and so my mother was having a mental break down. Would she lose another child? Would she become childless and go insane?

Now that I am a mother, I know exactly what she was feeling.

So back to the blood tests. I was sitting down, waiting for the nurse to come to me and do her magic, when a mother walks in with what looked like a no more than 2 years old little girl, and about 5 years old little boy. They both look fine, so I assume the woman didn’t have any babysitter and had to get blood tests done. But then she tells the little boy to sit on the chair. And he looks scared. Not petrified, but scared enough that his face goes white really quickly, but he still manages to keep his cool. Then the mother asks him if he wants his little sister sitting next to him, “to help” she says. The mother looks as stressed as she can, but tries to keep cool for her children.

My nurse comes, I extend my arm, she does her magic, but my eyes are on the little boy.

A nurse goes to him and explains the purpose of the instruments she’s using. He knows, I can tell. He’s been there before. And while I’m thinking to myself “It doesn’t hurt, it just pinches a little” I still remember how I felt seeing a big needle and my own blood escaping my body. So my heart goes for him and I feel my eyes fill up with water because I am now imagining my son sitting in that chair.

The little boy starts to cry as the needle goes in and all I want to do is go over there and hug him tightly and tell his sister, his two years old sister, that she’s very brave to want to help her big brother. And I want to hug the mother and tell her she’s strong and that everything is going to be alright.

I hear the nurse tell the little boy “It’s okay to cry sweety, don’t be ashamed, when we’re hurt or scared, we cry, it’s totally normal.” And while she’s drawing blood from him, she’s talking to him telling him that he is strong, that he’s lucky to have a little sister that loves him so much, she helps him.

My blood tests are done, I get up, grab my backpack, put on my sweater, give one last look of empathy to the little boy and walk out the hospital. I don’t know if he was diabetic or if the blood tests were meant for something else, but now tears are falling down my cheeks because I am SO glad it wasn’t my son sitting in that chair.

And a father walks towards me, talking to his little boy, saying “You’re not gonna cry, right? Please promise me you won’t cry.” And my empathy is gone, in an instant, as they come by me and past. I hear the little boy say “I promise.” But I can feel the fear in his voice.

Children cry, it’s totally normal. But as the little boy cried, I felt the mother was even stronger than anyone in the room. And probably even stronger than the father who walked past me.

Weight loss journey: Weight-in #4

One month in the making. Have I made it to my goal of losing 20 pounds? Sadly, no. I found that it was very difficult, especially with diabetes, to keep away from the “points”… The Calories. With a low comes orange juice and snacks. Glucose tablets don’t work fast enough for me and cost much more than a pack of 8 juices in the end. I’m glad to have found out through the last weeks that having my husband around didn’t impact my food choices! When we ate out, I always had something healthy when usually I would be inclined to go to McD’s or have an A&W mama burger. Topped with their onion rings of course. And even though it smells delicious, I want to taste freshness, not grease indulged food. That, and Aaden is a big motivation as I don’t want to share a burger with him, so I pick something healthier like a cajun chicken wrap with two choices of salads.

I trained this week more than I did last week. Bob Harper killed my arms this week. And my knees have become weaker but that’s another problem that goes along the lines of my carpal tunnel syndrome waking me in the middle of the night despite the wrist brace. And sharp pains in my joints that I associate with possible arthritis. At 30. Awesome. Who wants to meet a girl who didn’t care about her body enough that at 30 she’s got the body of a 70 year old’s? Don’t look too far, you’re reading her blog!

Whoa there nellie, let’s not get -too- negative! Focus on the positive, right? That’s what I tell myself when I step on the scale lately. Last week was zero loss. This week; one pound. 205. Still a loss, I know, but it gets discouraging to see the scale glare at me with it’s digital numbers of hell. Of course it’s 11 pounds gone, and this actually marks 5% body weight, also gone! Something I should be celebrating. Why am I not happy with the number? Why do I keep stressing myself out?

I had a conversation yesterday with my husband as we were eating at our favourite vegetarian restaurant, and one subject became another and lead to him telling me that I am stressed all the time. I don’t enjoy (Or well don’t look like I am enjoying) my days. If something’s not done, like the dishes or laundry, I go into interior rage mode and fume from the inside. And I have to work on that. I want everything done in one day, and sometimes, I don’t realize that it’s at my son’s and husband’s cost. I need to find a moment and relax. Accept the fact that I am not a “supermom” or “super wife” and that I should take things lightly. Well, most things. I need to find a book that will somewhat teach me how to do those things. I need to chill out on several things; cleaning, moving, packing, daily chores, missing my family, losing a long time friend, accept major change… And never -ever- let my husband and son down. Those are the most important people in my life, the ones that matter most.

At least I’m aware of what I need to change, right? Step 1, denial… Step 2…

What is step 2 anyways?

This moment yesterday was one of the few where I just stopped doing everything I was doing and smiled. Enjoyed the fact that my son is the most wonderful thing to happen to me. Ever.

The strength of a non diabetic husband.

I don’t mention my husband a lot in my blog, unless it’s to say that he’s working for my son and I really hard, gone weeks at a time. But I feel the need to take at least one blog post (this one) to brag talk about him.

His name is Aaron and he is Taiwanese. GASP. Interracial couple! No wonder why Aaden is so cute, right? Aaron is actually from the United States, Wisconsin to be exact. Me being from Canada, the french province of Quebec no less, makes you think “Oh, they’ve met online!” and you’re right. But we didn’t meet on a dating site nor FaceBook, we met on an online game called Guild Wars, being in the same guild, doing quests and missions together… Until out relationship grew, decided to meet offline and he bought a plane ticket to come see me. Then I decided to sponsor him as he moved here with me. Long and expensive process, but very worth it.

I want the world to know that I’m head over heels in love with this man. I want to shout how much I’m lucky to have him in my life. Through thick and thin he’s stuck with me; my mother’s cancer, her death, my depression after her passing, the process of getting my new insulin pump, my tough pregnancy with Aaden… Every step of the way, he had a shoulder for me to cry on, a smile to keep me going, a juice box for my lows to be fixed.  And then my father got him a life changing job that would require him to be gone weeks at a time, working on hydro dams, far off into the north in different provinces. He missed Aaden’s birth. He missed Aaden’s first steps, his first birthday… And even though he misses us (and we miss him) he is working his butt off for us. 7 days a week, 77 hours of work per week. To bring in the money for us to live well, for me to be able to enjoy my insulin pump and not go back to the horrid shots. My husband, through everything, has always had a smile for me, good words of encouragement, even when I would cry on Skype and he couldn’t hug me, comfort me, he in his own way would find a way to be able to anyway.

The fact that he is so in tuned with my diabetes shock me sometimes. I say “Juice.” and he knows I’m low. If I’m low, he knows the confusion and anger I’m projecting isn’t personal. He drops everything he’s doing in an instant and comes to my rescue, my hero in shining armour. When I had highs during my pregnancy and that I would spend sleepless nights, testing every hour to bring it down as quickly as possible, crying over the fact that I didn’t want to hurt Aaden as he was being created in my womb, he would sit next to me and tell me everything was going to be okay. When I cried when I got my pump because I thought my mother would be so proud of me, he held my hand and squeezed it gently, letting me know that he agreed in silence. When I would realize I almost had no insulin left in my vial, he would get dressed and go to the drug store in a heart beat. I would test, I’d see a 2.3mmol (41mg) and I’d tell him the number, he would run to the fridge to grab me a juice box. He’s not diabetic, but he understands the numbers. He learned, to be in tune with me. To understand me, and be part of my diabetic life.

Taken from Type 1 diabetes Meme Facebook page.

Did I mention that my husband is going to turn 23 in june? Young to have all this put on his shoulders, but he stuck with me, all these years. And I’m so very thankful for him.

Oh yeah, he is also coming back TODAY! For a few weeks before the has to go back. But not to worry, I will be blogging just the same.

Our wedding day, October 2008

Weight loss: weight-in #2

What a week! Actually, it’s been pretty boring for the most part, non-dabetic wise; rain, cold, no walks outside unless it’s to go to the car and drive to the grocery store. I think it’s the only outings I’ve done with my son and it showed! He got back at me almost all week, Mr. Grumpy face. Well, the fact that four, yes FOUR teeth are coming out is making him extra grumpy, so it doesn’t help. But no park trip, no walks outside, just plain old inside watching Baby TV when we’re not playing games or I’m not doing house chores or playing Zumba.

Diabetic wise, my body decided to step up and kick my butt. I had to put my basal rate at 75% basically all week and I blame that one two things; weight loss and physical activities. I’m moving. A whole lot than I was before I started this weight loss journey. When I sit on the couch, I remind myself “Isn’t there anything else to do that would require me to actually move?” and then there’s something. There is -always- something to do. Dishes, vacuuming, cleaning, playing with my son, you name it. So I was low more often than I was high. Look see for yourself!

See all the red dots? Those are lows from this week. Eek!

So for all the calories I would spend, I would eat back a lot. Orange juice, followed by bananas or nuts.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And this is how I felt for most of the week...

I wasn’t expecting much change in my weight. I mean, my pants have become slightly looser, but I blamed that on wearing them like three times in a row and them becoming stretched. Although when I looked in the mirror, my “muffin top” looks more like a “bread top”. Love handles that are asking for still too much love. So this morning, I hopped on the scale. And then I remembered; yesterday was a bad day before a weight-in! Went to my uncle’s, ate lasagna, a Tiramisu, drank a glass of wine and had a scoop of maple ice cream… Yup, I busted my Weight Watcher’s points and went into those cheat points. I should have weighted myself beforehand, but oh well. Let’s see…

So as I stepped on the scale, thinking about my week, the orange juice at 90 calories a glass, had about 15 to 20 of those for sure… My night before, where all the good foods crashed in my system… But took in account all the Zumba I’ve danced, the soccer I played with my son, the cleaning I’ve done… And I stared at the scale at what seemed like an eternity before it showed me the numbers.

206.4 Lbs.

Two hundred and six (point four). From last week, I have made it to my goal of losing 5 lbs once again! I’ve lost five pounds! So that means that I’ve lost 10 lbs since the beginning of my weight loss journey! Me! Someone who is blaming everything on the fact that being diabetic is contributing to my weight gain. That being diabetic makes it even harder to lose weight. (It -is- true though…) That for all these years, I’ve blamed it on being diabetic and my crazy insulin intake, the lows, having to drink juice all the time… And I’ve lost more weight in two weeks than I have in about 10 months.

I can do this. Today, I’ve realized that yes, I can do this!

And I’ve got to keep that line going downwards!

5 likes and dislikes about being a diabetic mom!

A fellow blogger suggested I make this post after the 5 likes and dislikes about being a mom. Great idea! And I’m sure other diabetic moms out there will be able to relate! If you’re diabetic and don’t have kids, here’s what you can be expecting later in life about being a mommy!

5 likes:

  1. Healthy lifestyle! Having a baby gave me a great reason to take (better) care of my diabetes. I need to be as healthy as I can to be there for him later in life!;
  2. Are you a couch potato? Not anymore! Running after your toddler will have your BG drop often! At least in -my- case…;
  3. Healthy foods! Watch those carbs, eat more vegetables! Before being diabetic, I would eat anything, really. And Probably would give Aaden a “HappyMeal” much more often. Now that I know what foods can actually do to him, because of what I’ve learned as a diabetic, Aaden has a healthy lifestyle!;
  4. Amazing snacks! Seriously. When I’m low, I tend to look for anything high in carbs. Now, I tend to grab snacks I buy for Aaden, which in turn are pretty delicious and healthier!;
  5. A reason -never- to give up. Sometimes, as most diabetics will feel, I get really bummed out. Angry at life for giving me this disease. Not getting up in the morning sounds like a great idea… But when you hear your child babbling in his crib in the morning, laugh with you during the day and fall asleep in your arms at night, you’ve truly have found a reason to never, ever give up.

5 dislikes:

  1. Hypoglycemias. On their own, they are manageable. With a screaming kid clamped to your leg, it’s extremely infuriating;
  2. Pump users, warning! Aaden thinks the transparent tube that sometimes is dangling out of my pants is an amazing toy and tends to yank on it often;
  3. Dangerous wandering test strips. Sometimes I don’t realize it but I’ve dropped a used test strip on the floor. Aaden likes to taste everything that’s on the floor. Yeah, you know where I’m going with that;
  4. The fear that he might become diabetic. Sure, anyone could become type 1 or type 2. But being diabetic, your child has even more chances. I really wish Aaden to stay healthy, always.
  5. Pregnancy. I hated my pregnancy. The whole thing. Gaining 62 lbs, having to take 50 units for breakfast instead of 6, constantly having to readjust my insulin intake because of continuously raging hormones… Not cool!

What about you? If your a diabetic mom, I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you’re not a mom yet, what are your fears and expectations?

Raspberries on the cheek!

The insulin-less morrow.

Hey there fellow bloggers and trusty readers!

After my post from last night, I wanted to leave you with an update before I leave for the weekend and not lead you into thinking I might have been seriously hurt from the lack of insulin! To my surprise, I actually woke up with a reading of 5.4 mmol! (That’s a 97.2mg). Doesn’t stop the fact that I could have side effects from not having insulin in my body for a long period of time (I suspect the head ache I have is related). But when I woke up I had an e-mail from a concerned follower and blogger. I don’t know if he wants to remain anonymous so I will only be linking back if he allows it! (And he did! Thanks Scott E.!Not so anonymous anymore! Haha!) And, even though I realized some few things that I should have done instead of just going to bed like that, without insulin for most of the night, it made me feel good! To know that there are people out there with and without the same disease and they care enough to send me a warning message, to be safe, tips on how to act during that period… Things I would have followed if I hadn’t read this email this morning but last night, when he sent it!

No, instead of checking my e-mails, I read The hunger games (Almost done the first book) to keep my mind off of the situation. Was I just evading it? Trying to ignore it instead of taking action? I know for a fact that If my husband would be there, he would have run out in the search for a 24 hours drug store! but he’s at work and I’m alone with Aaden and the last thing I wanted to do was to wake him up, dress him and go look for a store, then have to constantly wake him up by going in and out of the car… I should put my health first, I know, but sometimes I don’t think rationally!

Anyways, I’m fine, and yes don’t worry, I’m getting ready to go out and grab that insulin vial before I get ready and leave for the weekend! I’ll be fine though, and I’ll be back!

Read you soon!

~Valerie Anne

Pumping insulin!

I was having a small conversation with fellow blogger Leah and was reminded a few things about being a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. I thought I would share a little of my experiences with this awesome little piece of equipment, a.k.a my mechanical pancreas.

I acquired my pump in the beginning of October 2008, just a few days before my wedding (Half of the pump’s cost was a wedding gift from my father, too!). I have a paradigm 522 from medtronic which I have customized with neat looking covers sold by the company. At first, it was nerve racking. I wanted to experience the simplicity of not having to count my insulin needs for meals, for corrections, etc… I wanted to experience eating whenever I wanted, whatever I wanted, I wanted to feel what it was like to be “normal” again. When the nurse came to my house (Because you need a small class about how to use it and the nurse will set the pump to your needs as well) I was really happy, but also overwhelmed with the amount of supplies she brought with her! Let me give you a small list to make it simple:

Supplies with injection pens:

  • Pens
  • Insulin vials
  • Needles

Supplies for an insulin pump:

  • Pump
  • Battery
  • Insulin vials
  • Reservoirs
  • Infusion sets
  • CGM (Continuous Glucose Reading) set
  • Insertion sets
  • Extras such as Pump clips, customizations…

She came in with so many boxes I got scared and was already reluctant of having to go through that kind of change, but I welcomed her into my kitchen and we got started… We calculated my insulin needs and my husband tagged along, wanting to learn it as well even if he isn’t diabetic. It’s always nice to know what your partner goes through and understand what it takes and how everything works! So the nurse had me enter a bunch of informations in the pump for it to be set to my needs. She then explained to me how to insert the catheter, how to fill up the reservoir, how to rewind the pump and all the neat things about my new style of life. Needless to say I felt overwhelmed once again with the amount of tasks I needed to overcome just to have this pump set and attached to me!

I was shaky at first when I inserted the infusion set because she wouldn’t let me use the insertion tool. She said it would be best If I learned how to insert it myself in case the insertion tool would break, and it was a good idea because I had to do it manually often. Not because it broke, but because I forgot it at home when I was away!

When this was done, she moved unto the CGM set. Biggest. Needle. Ever. But hardly felt anything when it went in! As I got used to the CGM over the days, I realized though that it wasn’t for me. First because my insurance company wouldn’t cover it and second, well, it’s a second injection site, more scars (my skin is VERY sensible!) and I preferred just testing my blood glucose manually than having my pump tell me. The CGM has a lot of benefits though because you can prevent a lot of hypos and hypers with it!

I re-discovered sleeping in over the next days, eating at the times I wanted, learnt how to cope with having something attached to me 24/7 (Unless I was underwater, shower, etc…) but overall I was really impressed on the impact it had made on my life! The only negative thing I found early in development is that since I could eat whenever I wanted, I gained weight fast… but that’s called self-control and is a whole other topic!

Would I recommend the pump? Definitely! Would I go back to my pens? Not one single bit! It made my pregnancy go smoothly and my A1C go as low as 5.4 with little to no hypos!

What’s YOUR story? Pen? Pump? Tried both? Which one did you prefer?

 

Diabetes and Stress: Naughty cocktail

One thing I’ve learned with all these years being diabetic is that this disease and stress don’t mix well.

My husband and I applied for a house but they refused because I am now a Full time stay at home Mom and he hasn’t been working in Canada for more than 4 years. Fun! I’m over it now but it’s frustrating to have to go through all the paperworks, the banks, the sellers, etc… And stress about it since it would have been our first home. Well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. But now what? We have to move soon and that’s two hours away. Traveling with a year old child is not all fun and games and I’d rather not travel a whole lot.

Anyways! With all that said, you can understand a small part of the stress I’m going through these days. Only thing is, instead of waking up with a beautiful reading of 5.2 mmol (96.6mg), I wake up with a not so super 10.0 mmol… (180mg). It’s not that hard to fix a high blood sugar, but it’s annoying to have to deal with all that. I feel like I’m pregnant again! (Pregnancy tends to mess your blood sugar readings. A lot!) And the fact that my blood glucose isn’t regular stresses me! HAH! It’s a never-ending malicious circle.

What do you do to lower your stress level, diabetic or not?

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