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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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.

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!!

Adventures Ahoy!

So I’ve made mention in the past on this blog that I’ve been involved in a fundraising initiative with the Canadian Diabetes Associan, called Team Diabetes.  What it involves is an individual fundraising on behalf of the organization, and if you reach the goals they set out, you  are sent to an exotic locale to compete in a race of varying distances.  It’s an awesome idea, and one that’s used by a few different charities as well.

Well guess what…

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Between September 2012 and July 2013 (approximately 10 months), I met my goal and raised just over $6100 for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Holy shit!

Me!  I did that!  With the help and support of my amazing friends and family, both here in Nova Scotia and back in Alberta.   The really amazing part? of that $6100, only about $1500 came from organized fundraising events.  Meaning that the rest, around $4600, was entirely personal donations.  I’m literally blown away.  To everyone who helped me out, I can’t thank you enough, and I love you all.  I couldn’t have done it without your support and I am so grateful.

And now for the big question…where am I going?

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Reykjavik, Iceland!!

I’m so excited it’s not even funny.  Iceland has been on my list of places to go for a few years now, and I’m stoked!  Especially to do it now, with diabetes, while raising money for diabetes.  I’ll probably be one of those people who cry crossing the finish line.  Not even kidding.

While I’m not doing the full marathon (my body was NOT built for 42km thankyouverymuch), I’ll be doing the 10k distance of the Reykjavik marathon.  The only running I’ve been doing lately is for rugby so I have to start putting on some miles.  I did 7k on Saturday, even though I only meant to do 5…apparently my route planning skills are a big fail.  Things to work on.  I have to do it soon though, I leave in 6 weeks! 

Holy shit…I’m going to Iceland in 6 weeks.  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheating

Back from vacation!!  I spent two gloriously stress free weeks back home in Alberta, enjoying the weather (all the rain seemed to miss us when we were there), eating whatever I wanted (there was camping involved…need I say more?) and catching up with all of my family in friends.  Needless to say it was a great time, and updates will be provided in the next post.

Today, I want to talk about cheating.  I didn’t cheat on my diet (becasue I don’t follow one!  Winning!), a test or on my boyfriend.

No, I cheated on my endo.

*GASP*  THE HORROR!!!

I know right?  I’m a monster!  Here’s the story.  When I moved to Halifax from Edmonton I left behind a GP who had been my doctor for 20 years.  He’s amazing and if I could I’d refer everyone I know to him.  I got a new doc here in Halifax, who is also very good, and he’s the one who diagnosed me with diabetes almost 2 years after my move.  I also have a fabulous endo here who I really like, and who works for me.  So no complaints about my team here, they are really awesome.

However, when I was home last Christmas I went to see my amazing GP, Dr. S.  I actually called him the day after I was diagnosed when I went to emergency and he called me back.  Did I mention he’s unreal?  Anyways, while there he said he wanted to send me to an endo in Edmonton and after I gave him my vacation dates, I got a referral notice for July 4.

So during our vacation, I went to see a doctor.  Fun right?  Got to the clinic, got in right away and sat down to have a chat with him.  Oh my God, this man was amazing.  Very smart, to the point and no bullshit.  I’d seriously consider moving just to see him.  We sat down in his office and the very first thing he says is “What can I do for you?”.  That threw me for a loop.  Isn’t he supposed to tell me what he’s going to do?  Weird…  And get this…he didn’t look at my logbook.  He actually took my meter and downloaded the info onto his computer to look at the graphs and other info.  That was awesome, because as I’ve mentioned before, I hate logging.  This way he got to see all my info, not just the time slots the books ask for so he got a better picture.  My bloodsugars have been wonky lately, waking up with numbers in the 8’s, 9’s and 10s (and that was before all of the vacation food started happening) so it was perfect timing seeing him.  When it came to changing my insulin, the first thing he asked me “What do you think you should do?”  A doctor is asking for my suggestions?  Weird weird weird!!  I said I thought we needed to change my Levemir, and he said I was right.  His suggestion was to increase it by one unit every night until I had two mornings in a row with blood sugars below 8.  I started at 3 units…and so far I’m up to 11…eeek!  My sugars have been much, much better which I’m very happy with. 

So that’s my story of cheating on my endo.  Although I really value my team here, I was very grateful as well for the chance to have a second opinion.  I really really liked this endo, but I figured I would when Dr. S recommended him.  When you trust your GP, you can trust his referrals.  I wish I lived closer so I could visit them more often, but until the next time I still have a strong team here I can rely on.  I’m a lucky girl! 

Cyborg Seminar

So yesterday, I had an appointment at the endocrinology department here in Halifax.  It was a seminar about how to become a cyborg!

Ok…slight exaggeration…not a cyborg seminar…a pump seminar!  Close enough though right? 

When I firsrt got diagnosed, I wanted nothing to do with the pump.  I think the first words I told my CDE nurse was “I don’t have to get a pump do I?  I don’t want a pump!”.  Granted I had just gotten out of emergency very early that morning and was ridiculously tired and stressed, but still I didn’t want one.  Partially because at that time, I thought it was a a surgical procedure.  Silly, I know, but at that point I knew almost nothing about diabetes management.

Now?  After being exposed to the DOC, and meeting other diabetics using the pump, I think it would be a really good option for me.  The biggest thing for me would be the ability to adjust insulin delivery around exercise, as well as being able to adjust my basal rate to get rid of my early morning BG increases.  It can be a very useful tool, and as such I’m starting to do my research!

The seminar was hosted by the unit’s CDE nurse and dietician.  The nurse presenter was actually my first CDE when I got diagnosed, so it was good to see her and catch up.  They spent about an hour going over pump basics, and a little bit of nutrition.  The funny thing is, I already knew most it, thanks to all the blogs I’ve been reading!  They kept it very basic, which was good, as I still learned some stuff and had the chance to ask a few questions.

For the second hour, we got to talk to the pump companies.  Here in Canada, we have 3.  Medtronic, Animas and OmniPod.  All three are really good options, and there’s something about all of them that I like.  I wish I could take those parts and combine them into a super pump!  So here’s the rundown:

Animas:  A waterproof pump, and comes with a remote that allows you to dose without pulling it out of wherever you’ve stashed it.  Good for when you’ve got it somewhere like your bra and don’t want to take it out, and allows dosing to be discreet.  There’s talk of their new pump being released in Canada soon with constant glucose monitoring (CGM) technology integrated into it.  That would be really cool!  Until then though, it’s a very solid pump with the only drawback being no CGM.  But they’re working on it!

OmniPod:  The big thing about the OmniPod is that it is a tubeless pump.  Both the Medtronic and Animas pumps have tubing attached to them to infuse insulin.  OmniPod is just a little pod that sticks to your skin and goves insulin right from there.  The fact that it’s tubeless is a huge thing for me.  There’s no worries of  catching your tubing on anything, as well as the potential to keep it attached during a rugby game instead of going without insulin for the duration of the game.  The drawback?  It’s relatively big.  The infusion sets from the other pumps are pretty flush to the skin, whereas these stick out quite a bit.  Their new generation ones are supposed to be a lot smaller but I’d have to see them first.  Until then, they gave me a fake pod to stick to me to see how it feels and how it holds up with my lifestyle.

Medtronic:  Medtronic has something that the other pumps don’t have: a  CGM system.  Where this would be so beneficial for me is during activity.  I teach fitness for a living, so to have something that allows me to track what my blood sugar is doing without testing would be a huge advantage.  For me, it’s definitely the biggest draw for their system.  However, they don’t have a remote like the Animas and OmniPod systems do, so all deliveries have to be made from the pump.  A minor inconveniece, and one that could easily be worked around. 

So the seminar was well run and very informative.  I also liked having the opportunity to talk to the pump reps and ask all the questions I wanted (and there was a lot!).  For now though, I’m sticking with needles.  I had a brief chat with my old CDE and we both came to the conclusion that since I’m still honeymooning and using very little insulin (maybe 10-15 units a day) that now is not the right time to start pumping.  It’s nice to know what my options are and I look forward to the day when I might be able to join the pump club.

Rugby, Take One

I hurt.

I had my first rugby game in 2 years last night.  2 years!  Diabetes struck at the beginning of the season last year so I decided to not play and just try to get my body in line again.  So this year I’m back!  And apparently my body forgot what the sport feels like…it got a nice reminder this morning!

I got to go in just after halftime, so I got about 30 minutes on the pitch (each half is 40 minutes).  I was at prop, in the front row of the scrum (which is basically a rugby faceoff…YouTube it!) so there was a lot of impact on my shoulders and upper back and neck area throughout the game.  That’s where I’m feeling it the most today.  Good thing I’m not driving cause shoulder checking is NOT comfortable right now!

I had a blast though!  I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got on the pitch.  Scrumming felt strong, made a good tackle or two and had a couple of runs.  Definitely some kinks and rust to work out, but that will come as the season progresses!  There’s lot of games to be played!

Diabetes wise, it went ok.  When I got to the pitch I was sitting at 7.9.  A little low for me for that type of exercise (plus I still had some insulin in my system from supper) so I had 2 glucose tabs and an apple sauce.  By the time I went to go on the pitch at half, it was up to 9.2.  Beauty.  I gave my coach my d-bag and told him to bring it out when play stops, which is pretty much only if someone scores or if there’s a nasty injury.  Once I got on, there were no stoppages like that, so I played on for the full 30+ minuites.  After the game, I was sitting at 5.8.  Just over a 3 point drop in 30ish minutes!  So I had 2 granola bars and apple sauce (no bolus) and was at 8.2 when I got home an hour later.  Had another small snack so at 9.5 before bed. A 2am check had me sitting at 6.3 and I woke up around the same as well.  I have to try to find a way to stop it from falling so quickly on the pitch.  Maybe pair it with more protein?  Just eat more?  Have a bottle of Gatorade instead of water?  Lots to consider and experiment with!  

So glad to back playing!  Even with the extra diabetes stuff.  I missed hitting people!  Also, I am loving the post match freedom to eat almost anything I want!  That is never a bad thing!