Still Alive!

So…I just realized how long it’s been since I made a blog post…oops!  Not to worry folks, I’m still alive and well.  Life took an unexpected and extraordinarily busy (but good!) turn, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down for a while yet.

I left Nova Scotia and moved back to Alberta almost 3 months ago, so between a new job, house hunting, and planning moving my boyfriend out here it’s been crazy in my life!  Plus did I also mention I’m taking a summer night class for 6 weeks?  Clearly I’m insane.

Diabetes wise, I’ve had my ups and downs.  This past year has been a tough one for me.  I wasn’t always taking good care of myself, I had some burnout, and I even stopped a lot of exercising.  Mix it all together and it’s a big ball of boo-hoo poor me.  But I’m working on changing that!  I have a fabulous endo here in Edmonton, and Alberta has an insulin pump program so I’m hoping that soon I’ll be able to join the pumping ranks!  Starting to find new d-peeps to hang out with, already had lunch with Jocelyn at Alberta Diabetic Girl (she’s awesome!) and volunteering at the Edmonton JDRF walk this weekend.  So things are starting to look up and I’m feeling better again.

Now all that’s left is to wait for my boyfriend to finally be here with me (leaving in 2 weeks to go help him move and flying him back here!!) and then hopefully things will start to slow down.  I know, I know, wishful thinking.  But at least it’s getting better, and that’s something to be excited about!

 

PS: Have started squatting again…I missed it!!!

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So…I finally have a chance to sit down, relax, and breathe again!

This has been the most stressful fall of my life, which is why my blogging has fallen by the wayside.  I’m working full time, taking 2 unviersity courses, working part time doing volleyball reffing, and trying to maintain a healthy social and home life (read: not get mad at, attack, or kill my boyfriend).  September and October were insane, so I’m finally getting some down time and feeling a lot of stress come off my shoulders.  It’s been intense.

With all this stress though, comes another issue.  Burnout.  And not just with my mental or social health.  Nope, this includes diabetes.  I haven’t been checking, dosing or even paying as much attention to it as I should have.  Sometimes I just didn’t feel like it, sometimes I felt like I couldn’t spare the time, and others it was just because I knew I wasn’t going to like the numbers that I saw and I didn’t want to deal with that.  As a result, my A1C has gone up.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good number and for that I’m thankful but I still don’t like it.  I know I can do better, but I just haven’t felt like it.  Ignoring it is easier than dealing with it but I need to get out of that mindset in order to keep myself healthy.  It’s just so damn hard sometimes, and the added stress hasn’t helped. 

The moral of the story is it’s time for me to get back on track.  I have the tools and support I need to do it, I just need to get my butt in gear!  After all the Halloween candy is gone.  (Kidding)  (Sort of.  :P )

Dear Iceland: I Love You

I’m back!

Well, truth be told, I’ve been back for a few weeks, but things have been so busy around here that I’m only now getting the time to sit down and tell you all about my trip to Iceland with the Canadian Diabetes Association and Team Diabetes.  Warning, this post is very long and has lots of pictures!!!

I signed up for this fundraising excursion last September for two main reasons.

1.  I had just been diagnosed 4 months prior and was very much in a fuck-you-diabetes-I-can-do-whatever-I-want-you-don’t-control-me phase.  It was very much on a whim, as I could do this amazing adventure, despite having diabetes, while raising money for diabetes research.

2.  One of the options was a 10km race in Reykjavik.  ICELAND.  It’s been on my list of places to go, so when I saw it, plus the fact that I didn’t have to do a full or half marathon (did I mention I don’t really like running?).

I was sold.  Over the past year I’ve been working hard to raise the money required for the trip ($6100) and managed to reach my goal!  So on August 21, I left a warm sunny Halifax for Reykjavik, and another stamp in my passport!

The trip to Reykjavik was long.  I first flew to Boston, where I had a 5 hour layover before continuing on with IcelandAir.  It wasn’t all bad though, as I managed to snag a couple of bags of my favourite US treats!

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Why we don’t have these in Canada is beyond me…so delicious!

We flew overnight to Reykjavik and arrived at 6am.  It was a bit of a shock.  I left Halifax with it’s  warm and sunny weather, and arrived in Reykjavik with cold, wind and rain.  It was I’d been transported to a late Halifax fall, instead of summer.  To be fair, it wasn’t that cold, I just wasn’t acclimatized to it. But I was sure happy I packed my warm clothes!

We met up with a lot of other Team D people in the airport, with most of us coming in from the Boston flight.  We were transported to our hotel, where we weren’t able to check in for another couple of hours.  So I set off with some of the people I met to go out and explore the city!   Reykjavik is a small city, but it’s got a great feel to it and some pretty cool sights!

View of Church from main street

Street signs!
Street signs!

View of Church from main street

Graffiti

Graffiti

Statue of Leif Eriksson in front of the Church

Statue of Leif Eriksson in front of the Church

Engraved doors on the Church

Engraved doors on the Church

Inside, very plain, not as elaborately decorated as most churches I've seen

Inside, very plain, not as elaborately decorated as most churches I’ve seen

View from the Church tower

View from the Church tower

View from the Church tower

View from the Church tower

Inside view of the clock face in the tower

Inside view of the clock face in the tower

Street view!

Street view!

When I was finally able to check into my room, I passed out for a good solid nap!  But not before I booked my tour for the next day…horseback riding!!  I’d heard lots about the Icelandic horse, and hadn’t ridden in about 6 years so I decided to give it a go!  Since my race was going to be the day after, I wisely chose a short ride so my legs didn’t seize up.  It ended up being the perfect amount, as there was no pain or stiffness the next day!  My horse was…how can I put this?  Spunky.  He was not happy to just plod happily along, he had attitude and wanted to be near the front!  Which was ok, he was still well behaved and wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.  As the guide said before handing him over to me, “Not too lazy, not too crazy!”

Look how little they are!!

Look how little they are!!

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My horse!  Skottoplassis (at least I think that's what he said...)

My horse! Skottoplassis (at least I think that’s what he said…)

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Taking a quick break

Taking a quick break

What happens when you try to take a selfie - with your phone- on top of a moving animal...I did it for you Alanna!

What happens when you try to take a selfie – with your phone- on top of a moving animal…I did it for you Alanna!

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With a landscape like this, I can see how trolls and elves play a big part in their folklore

With a landscape like this, I can see how trolls and elves play a big part in their folklore

Loving it and rocking the stylish orange pants

Loving it and rocking the stylish orange pants

The next day was race day.  Since I was running the 10K, I had a 9:30 start time.  So I got up and went for breakfast at 8:30 (on a side note, I had pain au chocolat – basically a chocolate filled croissant – every morning.  And no I’m not sorry).  This is where I made my first mistake.  I gave a normal breakfast bolus, not realizing at the time that my insulin would be peaking right at the time I started the race.  Damnit!  Luckily for me, I started the race at 11.5 so I had a lot of room to work with.  I ran the first half with another lady from Halifax and carried on by myself when she stopped at the 4km water stop.  I stopped to check my blood sugar at 5km (yay bra with pockets!!)  and I had dropped to about 4.4.  So I shoved some Dex in my mouth and carried on.  I made sure to grab some Powerade at the next rest stop, as well as after I crossed the finish line.  I was a little worried going into this race because I still hadn’t run a full 10k before I left and my last training run in Halifax I was dead by 7.5.  However,  in Iceland, it felt fantastic!  I don’t know if it was the race atmosphere, cool weather conditions (only 12 degrees Celcius – perfect) or the fact that I was just having fun with it.  The awesome part was wearing my Team Diabetes shirts and getting cheers from spectators for both being Canadian and for diabetes!  I finished the race with a time of 1:09, which I was really happy with!  I would have done it sooner, but I stopped to change my music so I finished the race with my two favourite songs.  “Feel so Close” by Calvin Harris for all the people I wish I could have had there with me.  My family, my boyfriend, and every single person who donated and helped me to get there.  The second was “Beautiful” by Social Code.  That one was for me.  I had it cranked as I crossed the finish line.  I’m not going to lie, I was bawling.  Between the race atmosphere, having just finished my first race since being diagnosed, and the giant hug I got from another Team D member as I crossed, I was a mess.  But I felt amazing.  I worked hard to get there, I killed it, and I did all while raising money for diabetes.  It was a good day!

Pre-race!  So full of colour (minus my bright purple Nikes I left at home...Sadness!)

Pre-race! So full of colour (minus my bright purple Nikes I left at home…Sadness!)

At the start line.  So many people!

At the start line. So many people!

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Post race and just after I managed to pull myself together

Post race and just after I managed to pull myself together

Oh and did I mention I had to pee for the entire 10K?  Like almost pee-my-pants bad?  I almost stopped and searched for something to hide behind.  Luckily I managed to finish the race and make it back to the hotel without any accidents.  Lesson learned: always go before you go to the start line!!

The next day, I went to one of Iceland’s most famous attractions, the Blue Lagoon hot springs.  I booked my ticket way in advance because this was the number one thing on my list and I was not missing it!  Good thing I did too because when I got there, the line up was HUGE!!  It was incredible though, and so beautiful.  I have never seen water that colour before.  It’s apparently caused by all of the silica in the water and it’s supposed to be amazing for your skin.  There’s even stations around the pools where you can put lagoon’s signature silica mud on you.  Really cool!  It was a fantastic, luxurious way to spend the day after the race.  I could have spent hours there but I had to head back for the Team D celebration dinner!

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Volcanic rocks on the path to the lagoon.  So many colours!

Volcanic rocks on the path to the lagoon. So many colours!

Such a beautiful blue colour!

Such a beautiful blue colour!

You can see the silica build up on the rocks

You can see the silica build up on the rocks

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Sadly, the very next day I was on my way back to Canada.  I didn’t get nearly as much time as I wanted, but I didn’t have the time off or the money to stay longer.  Iceland was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s thinking of going.  I had a fantastic experience, and I’d love to go back.  If you ever do go, bring more money that you think you need (it’s expensive – $10 for a beer!!) warmer clothes than you think you’ll need, and make sure to stop in at the Sea Baron on the water front for a bowl of their lobster soup.  Trust me on that last one.

Old Habits Die Hard

A question I get a lot, from people with and without diabetes, is what it was like to be diagnosed as an adult.  The other diabetics I know here were all diagnosed as kids, so they have a completely different perspective than me.

I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think I’ve finally figured out what it is about it that makes it different.  Being diagnosed as a kid (from what I’ve understood), diabetes is just a part of who you are and what you’ve always known.  The treatment and the habits that come with it are instilled at an early age,

As an adult,  I had 26 years to develop my own habits (both good and bad) and it’s really hard to try to change them now,

I know I’m supposed to test before I drive,

I know I’m supposed to test before and during activity.

I know I’m supposed to pre-bolus 15-30 minutes before a meal.

I know I’m supposed to count every carb I eat and dose appropriately.

While I’m pretty good at doing these most of the time, I also regularly forget.  Particularly the driving one (my bad, and I’m trying to get better I swear!).  I have to break all of my old habits before I can make new ones.  That’s easier said then done.  When you’ve spent 26 years being able to drive or eat whenever you want, it’s very hard to remember the new things you’re supposed to be doing.  For me, this is the biggest difference between an adult and a child diagnosis, and it’s what makes an adult diagnosis hard.  It’s not better or worse than a child diagnosis, it’s just different.  At the end of the day, we’re all in this together, and that’s all that really matters.

 

Good times.

So what happens when a group of Type 1 adults get together to hang out?

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Thanks to Alanna of LifeonT1 for taking the picture for me!

Madness!  So glad I’ve found this amaing group of people!  Also, falling off at 27 hurts more than falling off at 22…or maybe its just the lack of beer! 

Lulu to the Rescue!

One of the things I was struggling with in training for my run (WHICH IS IN 23 DAYS!!) was how in the hell I’m going to carry all of my necessary diabetes supplies.  For a run on any given day, I’m usually carrying a meter, strips, sugar, lancing device, and cellphone (I don’t take insulin with me as I’m generally only gone about an hour).  It’s a lot, especially for someone who didn’t even carry a purse before I got diagnosed.  Needless to say, I hate carrying extra shit around and I hate things bouncing in pockets even more.

I bought a Tummitote from TallyGear, and although it’s a great product it just didn’t work for me.  I’m not sure if I bought it too big or if the material was just too slippy, but it ended up hanging really loose around my waist and driving me nuts.  Lots of bouncing…not cool.  So I’d been trying to search for different options.

Going back to mine and the boyfriend’s trip to Alberta and Edmonton, I found my solution!!  And it came in the most unexpected way.

I was in Lulu Lemon buying my sister her birthday present.  Ordinarily, when shopping for workout clothes, I usually make it a point to avoid going there (for everyone who doesn’t know, it’s a store that specializes in yoga and workout gear).  They have really nice stuff but it is RIDICULOUSLY expensive and I can’t bring myself to spend that much money on their product.  Or so I thought.

Anyways, I was browsing through their stuff waiting for my sister to decide on what she wanted when I discovered this:

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Yes, that’s a sports bra with POCKETS!!!!  POCKETS!!!

I grabbed one and immediately ran to the change room to test it out.  In went the meter, strips, lancer, tube of dex and my cellphone.  Cue lots of jumping and fake running and putting on my shirt to show my sister and boyfriend my lumpy boobs…needless to say it was a pretty good time!  Everything fit and held nice and snug with no bouncing around, and aside from the aforementioned lumpy boobs everything was perfect!  So I paid the exorbitant price and I was on my way!

On another note, you know you have diabetes when you get this excited over something with pockets…true story.

I’ve used it for a few runs and I absolutely love it!!  It keeps everything together and compartmentalized (a tube of dex fits nicely in a small pocket in the cleavage!) and there is absolutely no bouncing around.  And because there’s a barrier between your skin and the items, sweat isn’t as big of an issue.  It’s made going out for runs a whole lot easier and much more convenient.  It’s been a fantastic investment!  And if the bra fits…

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Buy it in every colour!  Thanks Lulu!

*I was not asked to provide a review.  I just bought a product that I love and wanted to share it with all of you!!