Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!


07/07/2020 14:43

Truths vs Myths

Myths vs Truths

How has each one of us been raised?  Each generation may share some similar stories yet as individuals we answer the question with our unique response.  The story begins officially for us perhaps once we establish what our first memories are.  Like any great story, our lives continue & evolve & we have forks along the way.   Undoubtedly there are circumstances along the way that we did not have any influence over.  These are the situations that we would not have chosen for ourselves.  These are struggles…real struggles.  Every single person has struggles.  That is the truth.  It has been my own philosophy that providing a storyline to others that is the myth that a bubble can be put around ourselves or those that we love is detrimental in indescribable ways. 

Do you enjoy marketing trickery?  Does anyone?  I know I don’t.  That is great news therefore to realize early on that the human spirit is not fragile.  It is strong beyond measure.    When I was growing up there were no “safe spaces” in university, etc & I was therefore exposed to a spectrum of ideas.  There was the welcome environment for respectful debate.  We do after all live in Canada which is an amazing land of democracy which was the gift of both my grandfathers…one who fought in WWI & the other in WW2.  It is my responsibility to remain thankful for this gift of freedom.  It is also my chosen responsibility to remember my roots.  With this comes the knowledge that every one of us can do difficult things.  My husband & I have not raised our sons to believe that life is a fairy tale & that struggles will be outside their bubble of safety.  We have gone counterculture to tell our kids that life is filled with joys & struggles in full 3 dimensions.  The message we have shared is that the bad news is that everyone that lives will face struggles.  The great news is that we can do hard things.  We are stronger than each one of us gives ourselves credit for. 

Truths are life giving in my experience.  Facing reality is a part of being a mature individual.  An obvious example is the experience of life with type 1 diabetes.  It never made sense to me to put my head in the sand like an ostrich & become diminished by the unwelcome diagnosis.  Instead, my position was to fight for the best possible life despite type 1.  I have not done that perfectly.  Of course there have been some of the most terrifying moments with this disease…close calls & the reality of living with 24-7 reminders of my own mortality.  What the hell do you do with that?  Here comes the decision point…chose myth or truth…fragility vs strength.

The choices in my experience make all the difference.  It is the difference between me throwing in the towel (which feisty me will never do!) or falling down & getting back up.  This is not meant to be an empty motivational b.s. session.  Life with type 1 sometimes sucks with the weight of the moment to moment health responsibilities that we have & when things go wrong.  It is brutally difficult.  I don’t wake up to greet an overjoyed unicorn.  But, I have been one grateful rascal to wake up every morning since November 29, 2007.  On the days that I had to really fight the beast of type 1 I felt beaten down, beaten up but not defeated.  My swear jar has swelled to well…2 jars!  When we get through those especially hellish days we are reminded that while we may have felt weak, we were in fact fighting the strongest.

We are strong & we need to be strong.

What if I told you that these lessons in strength & the fact that we are strong prepares us potentially for other shitstorms that happen through no fault of our own.  (This is not to say that I have not caused some of my own struggles from time to time through my own less than stellar choices) (That is another story) I only include the 2 brackets to say that I am no f’ing victim ever!  Okay, back to specifically shit that happens to each one of us through no fault of our own.  Type 1 diabetes is at the top of the list!  You may have noticed that I have not shared a story in many months.  It is not because of Covid 19.  It is because I have & continue to fight an additional battle & it is difficult to express how raw these feelings are to me.  The last time I posted, it was brief on purpose.  I was typing with one hand & was in profound physical pain.  I will share the story behind that in all its truth because I can do hard things.

This is difficult.  On January 20, 2020 I was running errands on a cold, brilliantly sunny day & then planning to go directly to pick up our youngest son from school.  I am a cautious driver by nature.  Accordingly, I tend to choose routes that have traffic lights if possible versus stops signs, etc.  After completing the grocery shopping, I slowly approached a green light to go straight through.  I was driving a tiny Toyota Echo which was instantly totaled when a huge silver GM suburban hit me on the driver’s side just above the door.  The huge suv dragged the car (my husband’s then car) around the right corner & then the car came finally to a stop.  Many people have said things to me about how I must have been in shock & shit like that.  No, there was no going into shock.  Instead the gratitude immediately for this miracle to still be alive through the grace of God.  Literally a hit 2 seconds later would have resulted in well let’s say me not sitting here typing this.  No, I did not go into shock.  If you live long enough with the truth, hopefully it is there exactly when you need it…in a life & death situation most especially.  All those times I wrung my hands about being taken down by type 1 & for heaven’s sake I was hit by a car!  The very first thing that went through my mind was “thank you God, Mother Mary & my Guardian Angel!”  The second was, “I forgive the other driver.”  The third was, “call my husband quickly to pick up our son from school.”  First I had the sense to put the car into park even though it was obviously not going anywhere.  It was beside the curb somehow in what I would call a perfect parallel park which I have never done like that on my own.  I make no apologies for my faith.  I am thankful for the gift of faith that somehow this rascal received as a free gift. 

 I called my husband & he made it in time to pick our youngest son up from school.  Once I knew that our son would have a ride the physical pain on the left side of my body hit like a massive wave.  I called 911 & made sure that I told them that I have type 1 diabetes.  The ems ambulance heroes were a blessing. They thankfully had a thorough understanding of type 1 & noticed I was independantly continuing to monitor my own glucose.   While I waited for ems, I checked my sensor readings & noticed that my blood sugars were in range until 30 minutes after the car accident.  Then my blood sugars kept rising even with corrections.  My body had been traumatized so it made sense but it was like looking after a toddler (the toddler of type 1 high blood sugars) while waiting in emergency. 

 As I sat in the waiting room feeling quite shaken up, I noticed the tv above with the headlines that kept scrolling…that day was “blue Monday” the day the news stated was the day people tended to feel  the most down in the dumps.  Perhaps that could be a reason that I had the misfortune to come in contact with  health care workers at the hospital that were nasty & uncompassinate.(who I usually sing the praises of) .  There was simply no empathy whatsoever & that sucked.  The xray tech was beyond cruel when she became angry with me for having my glucose sensor on the arm she needed to xray!  She told me off about me needing to learn not to wear tech in xray.  Wow, as if I could have planned to have peeled the sensor off prior to being hit by a car!  

Thankfully my husband arrived about an hour after I was in the hospital.  Unfortunately for me the doctor misdiagnosed me with muscle pull on my left shoulder.  I went home & sat in a chair all night in excruciating pain.  At noon the next day, the hospital called & said that the radiologist had taken a look at my x ray & said that I should come back into the hospital & get another x ray as on the corner of the scan it looked like a broken bone.  No shit Sherlock!  (my thoughts as it seemed like bullshit that a muscle pull would hurt like that).  Back in through the waiting room in triage, then into x ray after about an hour, then another 4 hour wait to see a doctor I went.  Yes, my swear jar was full although I did not say any of what I was thinking out loud at the hospital.  Thankfully, the day after “blue Monday” had more compassionate team of health professionals on shift at the hospital.  I was & am thankful for that.  Sure enough, my left shoulder bone was broken so I got a sling & an appointment for the following week to see an orthopedic surgeon.  To make a long story short, thankfully at least I did not need surgery but my shoulder is still not up to par & hurts some days worse than others.  It is a work in progress & that is life.  It was cool to hear from the specialist that once the break healed the bone would be stronger than before.  That was great to know.  So you can go through trauma & come out stronger.  Yes, that sounds right for me at least.

Here’s the other part that is in progress & that is the emotional piece of healing from the inescapable knowledge that I need to continue to be grateful to be alive.  Every morning since the accident it has been easy to say with total gratitude, “thank you Lord, Mother Mary & Guardian Angel.”  I hope I never neglect to say this short but fervent prayer each & every day that I have the gift of waking up.  The truth is that life can be really difficult yet indescribably embraced as a gift.  I don’t mean that I embrace the difficulty.  Instead, I am grateful that strength can mean receiving the grace to face whatever comes my way.  I am strong yet not because of me.  I receive the grace for strength & I have needed a lot of strength.  Currently, I am reading 2 books in the attempt to jump over the hurdle of the extreme panic & fear that surrounds me when I even open up our garage door let alone approach the car.

I will get in though in time behind the driver’s seat again.  That time is not yet here i have learned over & over again.  Just reading the books causes me to have panic attacks, shortness of breath, clammy hands & a feeling like I am going to pass out.  I read it in small snippets however I will continue to get through this shitstorm.  I will not allow this car accident to define me or defeat me…I am struggling emotionally with it without a doubt but I can do hard things.  I will do hard things.  We all do hard things.  The truth is that the story continues.  My story started long before I was born.  My roots teach me that I come from a profoundly strong family.  That make me one thankful rascal.  Both of my grandfathers fought in the hell of the world wars & so often I think of this as I keep my feet planted in truth.  They & other brave soldiers fought the truly hellish wars to give us strength and freedom to choose to grow in strength from our struggles.  Roots matter, truth matters, strength matters.  These are all gifts that I embrace.

It will be a joy when the day comes for me to sit down at this keyboard again & write that I have taken my first car drive since January 20th.  I will do it.  It will happen only because I know where the strength comes from & have trust that even a rascal like me receives the gift of strength when it is needed most.  Meanwhile, I am okay in not being completely okay.  I am here against the odds.  And all I can merely say is “thank-you!”




My heart’s hope is that you always know the strength and hope that is there for you always.  The truth is that we are strong beyond measure.  We are strong even when we don’t feel like we are. We can be shaken & even experience a myriad of feelings of brokenness.  Like a broken bone we can heal & emerge even stronger.   Stay rooted in that truth.

The next sharing will be after I take the first maiden drive behind the wheel of our one remaining vehicle!  The thought of it causes me to feel scared shitless.  (But I can do difficult shit)  Despite that, yes, I can do another hard thing.  We all can.





31/01/2020 20:51

Today IS the day

Procrastination.  Or is today the day?  For what?  Check what you are wearing on your wrist, neck or a myriad of obvious locations.  Are we all wearing some type of obvious medical id?  Please do not be ashamed of the health cards you have been dealt.  And the same goes for absolutely everyone who has a 365.  Take this exact moment please to check to make sure you are definitely wearing a medic alert on the outside where it can be found...a bracelet, necklace or tattoo to name a few ideas.    And pass the gift of love onto every single person that you know right this moment to always wear a medic alert for any and all health conditions.  It can save a life after all.  I have always worn a medic bracelet. This past week I happened upon a medic id item that will be the bee's knees for me.  I plan to  order this cool item & add it to my smartwatch band.  It is called MyID and if you wear a smartwatch or fitbit it may be appealing to you too.  What sets this id apart is the sleeve that goes over your smartwatch band has a QR code to scan that has 3 areas of info. (access by website, phone number or scanning the QR code)  You can set up a free unlimited medical profile that you can update by the MyID app by inputting your personal info, medical condition, emergency contacts, allergies, medications and doctor contact info.  

This is a brilliant tool.  As always, I am not receiving any renumeration for mentioning this product.  

Whatever you choose as a medical id, please always wear it...always.  And some things truly need to be actioned immediately.  This is one of them.

My heart's hope is that you take the best care of yourself.  Start with having an alert id & always always wear it.

Smiles,  Saundie

My next story will be in 8 weeks.


29/11/2019 18:27

Not Once, Not Twice

Could today bring with it 12 times normal human strength?  Perhaps the number varies from day to day & year to year.  How about 12 times the acceptance?  Good question.  Today is my 12 year diaversary.  Of course I am never celebrating type 1 diabetes ever however I do choose to be indescribably grateful for getting to be here to see the number 12.  It has been a hell of a scary 8-12 months as I have shared.  After 12 years I have not found the magic formula to getting diabetes to frigging cooperate.  That is the only scientific fact I will share today because well, hey, I am no science guru & that is a huge understatement.  (yes, another run on sentence ha! Ha!)  This was the year thankfully that last February I gave myself permission to swear as much as I wanted during those brutal dealings with type 1 that go sideways.  Swearing has helped.  There has been a ton of swearing from this tea drinking character since last February.  For sure the cursing has ramped up greater than 12 times! 

This morning I shared during a coffee outing with my coffee buddies that today marks 12 years since I received that dreaded diagnosis of type 1.  The response was, “wow, it doesn’t seem like 12 years.”  Being a self-professed rascal meant that I immediately naturally responded, “it feels like 40 years to me!”  Then I received a well-meaning, “at least type 1 has never stopped you from doing anything.”  I admitted that in fact it has temporarily.

 Let’s face it, there are occasions that are do-overs thanks no thanks to type 1.  There are those times when shit absolutely happens like a recent complete technology meltdown of my cell phone, sensor and smartwatch thus leaving me with no ongoing blood sugar information for 3 hours.  (other than the fingerstick tests that I did every hour).  It meant that I had to abandon my plans for the rest of the day when I was out last week and instead go home to spend a couple of hours fixing my tech so that I could safely go to bed.  Then there are those days from hell when blood sugars go up up and away & the water level of Lake Ontario goes down as I try to keep ketones away.  And the brute of brutes as far as I am concerned are the lows from nowhere thus stopping me from keeping time commitments.  I detest those suckers.   You know exactly what I mean.  The blood sugar lows while in public are humiliating to me even 12 years later.  As I shared in my last posting, I will tell people from now on if they are staring that I am on my way to rehab.  That is what rascals do to cope sometimes…humor on purpose.   Having plans derailed happens often enough honestly.  Over the years my blood sugars have become more erratic even with my unwavering efforts & problem solving.  The bottom falls out of my blood sugars by some of the weirdest things including sometimes when I am sick which makes no sense.  The other thing that drives my blood sugar down down down is stress or a sudden noise & stuff like that.  Good luck getting the world to cooperate with that.  Okay okay, this is no woe is me.  Thank goodness big time for sensors.  Every type 1 person should have access to sensors period.  The choice of course is each persons to make as to whether they wish to wear sensors or not.  The thing that I am passionate about however is that type 1’s should never need to worry about getting proper access to:  insulin, test strips, sensors!  Although it is no love match with me & the sensors that I have been wearing for 2 years, I know there have been countless times that I literally owe my life to them.  I am excited about trying out the Dexcom G6 very soon.  My order has been placed so it will be an early Christmas gift! 

Over the past several years, many fellow type 1’s have shared their stories of alarm burn out.  I get it man.  Some nights my sensor alarms will go off 10-24 times= nominal sleep.  The great news is that basal IQ is slated to be available after training in February in Canada.  I cannot wait to see if that feature helps with sleep.  I remain hopeful. 

Today, as I briefly reflected on these past 12 years thankfully the moments that stand out with a neon sign are some of most treasured times.  I have gotten to see 2 sons graduate from elementary school.  One of these sons has also graduated from high school & is currently attending the same university as I attended.  I have gotten to hear lots of laughter from our 3 sons.  And, I will share with a smile that our home has oodles of young son art work.  It has been a joy getting to watch our youngest son play baseball year after year & getting to cheer at just the right decibel.  Our sons were 10 months, 3 years old, and 7 years old when I was diagnosed.  A lot has happened in their lives and I got to be here thanks to Dr. Frederick Banting.  Our sons have heard me say many times that life is not perfect for anyone.  Expect struggles.  That is the full spectrum of life.  Expect joy too.  Expect it all.  Prepare to meet up with struggle.  And struggle can make you stronger I have shared with them countless times.  Every time, I tell them that is good news that we each get to be stronger.  The storms will come.  Dozens of times I have run into people who cannot believe that a struggle has come into their lives.  They often say things like, “I just want it to go away & why is this happening.”  I would not invite struggle obviously into anyone’s life.  The struggle will find each one of us though no matter how cautiously we live & how prepared we are.  My experience is to look it right in the eye & deal with it are key for me.  Everyone is a beautiful original & we each find our way.  I know for certain that I am exponentially stronger since November 29,2007.  And my heart’s hope is that you know that you are way stronger too. 

The acceptance of life with type 1 has changed over the years I have found.  It was not a case of going through the stages of grief at least for me.  I skipped over a couple of stages however I stayed stuck in anger for a long time.  Maybe it was “franger.”  (anger mixed with frustration..maybe exasperation).  This is one complicated disease to manage & that is an understatement.  I thought for a long time that if I was a “studious” type 1 diabetic that I would be rewarded with corresponding blood sugar results.  My results for a very long time were beyond disappointing to me.  I got punishing results even though I had worked my guts out on micromanaging the hell out of diabetes.  The game changer for me was getting to wear a sensor…even a sucky sensor.  It was no longer a mystery to me what was happening hour to hour with my blood sugars.  If I had to give up on any components of my technology & had to choose just one it would be to keep the sensors. 

In just over 2 weeks I have my lab and endo appointment.  My diabetes team are amazing.   I am always grateful for this.  My nurse & endo are outstanding.  My A1C is not going to be as good as my last 2 previous ones however it is still in my goal range & my time in range is thanks to sensors within the guidelines.  Would I like my A1C to be totally non diabetic?  Hell yeah!  Is it going to be this time?  Hell no!  My coming to terms with number goals has evolved.  I choose to realize that as long as I have managed with all my abilities that I will accept that I am not competing against my best numbers as far as A1C’s go.  My blood sugars have become way more erratic over the years so it would be difficult to compete with past me when I was still in the honeymoon period of type one when my pancreas was working at least a little.  That was many moons ago & my lazy ass pancreas does exactly no “heavy lifting”…what a slacker! 

Recently I re-watched “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”  That is a movie that has provided many years of entertainment.  Definitely, it has been a movie that never gets old.  Partway into the movie, John Candy (Canadian actor) says to Steve Martin, “Have you ever ridden the bus?”  Steve Martin replies, “no.” John Candy responds with, “your mood is not going to improve!”  Some days with diabetes can be like that, right?  There are too many days to count where I have done everything right diabetes wise & my blood sugars go to shit.  Swearing has helped.  Swearing has actually improved my mood because somehow without realizing it I find myself laughing at myself.  There are no promises that on any given day blood sugars will cooperate.  Swearing has helped this past year.  I “prescribed” this to myself.  I am not going to give you some sort of cumbia horse shit…just, swearing has helped & it has helped a lot!  Honesty about type 1 is also helpful.  It was a work in progress to stop hiding that I was having some pretty punishing days.  It was simply a balance of how to share this without being a downer, complainer.  Again, swearing has helped.  It is a dynamic duo of finding humor on purpose & swearing that has gotten me through 2019 aka year 12 of type 1.  Hey, the other big factor has been gratitude.  My guardian angel has listened to some choice language & still helped keep me alive so that I can keep swearing, drinking strong coffee and oceans of tea & finding things to laugh about on purpose.  Maybe it is the strong coffee that is making me stronger ha ha!  It can be cool to look back & realize that we are perhaps against the odds incredibly strong…way stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  Now that is something to celebrate. 

How cool that this year just before World Diabetes Day, Max Domi, who I believe is also on year 12 of living with type 1, released his book, “No Days Off.”  I had pre-ordered that book.  That will not come as any surprise as I am one huge fan of Max Domi fondly referred to in our home as “the little scrapper.”  Our youngest son, Alex & I are huge fans of the Montreal Canadians.  Max Domi has been playing for the Habs for almost a year and a half.  Some proceeds of Max’s book are going to JDRF.  He is one outstanding young man.  His book is one of those gems that you cannot put down.  I will happily say that I gave up sleep not to diabetes but instead to reading this book for 4 evenings.  It was all I could do not to ball my eyes out truthfully.  If you have read it you will know exactly what I mean.  It is beyond impactful for a person of influence like Max Domi to share in educating others and giving others a snapshot (not slapshot ha ha) into life with type 1 diabetes.  It is a very misunderstood disease.  I feel very grateful that he wrote this book.  It is sure to help so many people including families of people living with diabetes, children with type 1 and others.  I love that he did not sugar coat his experiences yet he remains an inspiring young man.  Thank-you , “little scrapper.”  Shine on Max Domi.  We make no bones about it in our home, the loudest cheers are for Max when he scores or assists or makes a great play or really every time he has a shift on the ice. 

If 12 years feels like 40 years then I choose to accept the strength of fighting “40 years” worth of the type 1 fight.  Day in day out, some days are punishing & other days are a hit out of the park.  Struggle & strength…12 years that feels like 40.  The strength is a gift.  Diabetes is not something I celebrate today or any day.  Strength however I get to celebrate bigger today & then every day…some days while swearing. 

It has not been once or twice.  It has been 12 years of life with type 1.  Stronger, more tired, more caffeinated, laughing more, swearing more, fighting.  Fighting fiercely the beast of 12 years of type 1…losing some battles knowing they are not the war…never raising the white flag.  Swearing yes.  Giving up, no.  Stronger.  Eff you 12 years of type 1.  Stronger.

My heart’s hope for you is that you find what works for you on the good days & the bad days leading you to the strength that you have & are continuing to build.  The strongest people I know have been through a lot of shit.  Some of the very strongest people I am fortunate enough to know have type 1 diabetes.  And I include our families.  They are living a huge part along side us.  Thank-you to my family for accepting this extra swearing this past year.  As a funny aside, last month I said to my husband that I had given myself permission to swear more on punishing type 1 days.  He smiled & simply said, “I noticed.”  Thanks for accepting the rascal that is me.  12 years.  Still here.  Sometimes swearing.  More often laughing.  Thanks fellow Canadian Dr. Banting! 



Merry Christmas, happy holidays & blessings this month.  Thanks for noticing the swearing but enduring it anyhow.  I know you get it.  Me too ;)

The next sharing will be at the end of January.


29/10/2019 12:34

Because Shit Happened


Hello Fall, crispy leaves under 4 plus 2 feet moving almost in unison.  Almost.  That is the picture of our 9 year old goldie & I enjoying the beauty in our wee corner of the world.  My walk has always been naturally a speed walk so it is more like a jog.  Beddy attempts to keep up but half way through the walk she needs a  sit down break in order to walk back home.  She is not much of an athlete but neither am I.  Still, I love walking…fast!  How about you?  What is your exercise bliss? Last summer I got to play lots of catch with our resident baseball addict aka our youngest son.  It was kid fun that’s for sure.  Being outside is pretty spectacular especially this time of year. 


How was your summer?  How was it in every facet of your life?  How about the beast of diabetes?  How tame was that particular beast?  It is no exaggeration to share that I am one fortunate rascal to be sitting at this keyboard today.  Last summer there were 2  days right at the end of August that I totally overdid it.  You know those times when you are determined to cram 3 days into one.   I let my alarms babysit diabetes yet unfortunately in these cases I did not factor in the fact that extended exercise has lasting effects on future productivity of insulin.  Those couple of days in particular I was on my feet moving in one form or another from sunrise to after dark.  I had reduced my basal by 50% & thought, “I am all set!”  No, I was not.  One of those days I was at Canada’s Wonderland with my family.  I treated 2 predicted lows & had one more fast acting treatment left.  It was one of the rare days that I brought along those chalky dex tabs.  I kind of detest those.  And it bugs me big time having to eat sugar but you get it if you have type 1.  The alternative is well, you know what it is.  My blood sugars kept plummeting despite the 6 dex tabs I had eaten.  3 more dex left.  Come on blood sugar, get back up.  You know positive mindset and words and hoping don’t make blood sugar come up.  That dirty rotten blood sugar kept going down so I finished up the last of the dex.  Then I did the responsible thing & purchased some more fast acting sugars just in case.  I thought to myself that there was no way that I would need anymore sugar though.  I did.  It felt like days trying to get my blood sugars up but it was 45 minutes.  I am sure I looked like a junkie coming off of something shaking like a freak, sweating , slurring words & being disoriented.  There is no such thing as a good low as we know but there are worse ones.  There are the lows that freak you out because you know you are on the verge of needing emergency services.  I especially hate big time being in public with low blood sugars.  People misunderstand & why wouldn’t they.  The thing is though that you have to choose to live your life out loud anyhow high blood sugars and low blood sugars. Thankfully after 45 minutes my blood sugar finally came out of the low.  It meant of course my liver freaking out all night as I slept releasing extra sugars which meant alarms, alarms alarms from high blood sugars thus 1 hour of sleep.  Few times have I really felt like I was going to need emergency services.  I will share with you that at the very end of summer I was very close to asking my husband to call 911.  The kids and I had packed in a lot of activities during the day & were determined to then go to the movies right after dinner.  We did that but my husband & I ended up seeing about the first 10 minutes of the movie.  It was the scariest diabetes moment so far & most of us can name several of those.  The bottom fell out of my blood sugars & although I kept inhaling sugar my blood sugar kept going lower and lower & lower for an hour.  The nausea, the shakes, the sweats, the helplessness was beyond anything I have experienced.  Correction, the helplessness specifically was beyond anything I have ever experienced.  I was moments away from asking for the 911 call.  I did not have a glucagon kit with me.  Carrying a to go bag with extra diabetes shit like that is a priority now even with the extra bulk.  Finally after an hour of my brain starving & repeating silently thinking to myself, “help me, help me, help me” mercifully my blood sugars finally skyrocketed out of the low.  That was precisely a shitstorm since that meant the whole night long my blood sugars went up up up & the levels of Lake Ontario went down that night as I kept ketones away.  I should have simply pulled up a straw & drank directly from the Lake because as you know you have to drink a lot of water during high blood sugars.  So I got a whole 30 minutes in total of sleep that night.  You know all about the robber of type 1…robs us of hundreds of hours of sleep.  Shit happens.  Yes it does.  Shit happens way too often right.  So for sure without being a complete downer, I get it, I am lucky to be here for Fall 2019 seriously.  Eff you diabetes!!  Thank you guardian angel day & night & thanks for coming with me to Canada’s Wonderland & to the movies.  Incidentally, the movie that some of my family saw that night on classic movie night was “Napoleon Dynamite.”  I have seen it before & it is funny especially the scene with “Napoleon” eating the cold tator tots from his pockets during school.  Okay, so yes, we will have a do over!  Diabetes may attempt to rob my family time but I will reschedule.  I will reschedule because despite shit happening I am still here.  Still fighting.  Still loving.  Still feisty.  Still laughing.  Still drinking oceans of tea.  Still drinking double espresso at 2pm.  Still hopeful.  Still here.  Still grateful.  Still exactly me.  Still planning adventures…next time with a glucagon kit.  One more thing to carry…yes…one more thing more importantly to stay alive to still fight, love, feist, laugh, drink tea, espresso myself…choosing to learn a little and a lot more.  Still here. 

At this point I really wish that I had kept a poem that I wrote as a going away gift of sorts for a work colleague many years ago.  We had a saying in our office amongst the caseworkers, “shit happens.”  That was the saying when stuff went wrong.  Stuff goes wrong for everyone.  And a lot more goes right!  Anyhow, that poem really made us all laugh our asses off.  Laughter is necessary because yes shit happens.  Maybe you cannot laugh right when the shit is happening but hopefully at some point time makes a difference.  If a laugh does not naturally come, get yourself some humour on purpose.  Choose a comic or comedy or riddle book or whatever else you can think of.  I am serious.  Shit happens, humour helps.  Thankfully full-fledged shit storms do not usually present themselves.  The shit storms are more difficult to laugh about that’s for sure.  I am so silly though that it occurred to me that during the super low blood sugars when I am sweating and shaking and slurring & confused perhaps I could tell onlookers that I am on my way to rehab.  Okay, so I have been through roughly 6 major shit storms with type 1 over the years yet I choose hope, a better plan, heavier bag of diabetes shit just in case & magnified gratitude.  The gratitude is never of course for diabetes.  Diabetes does remind me big time though about everyone and everything that matters.  The gratitude list is incomparably longer than my list of diabetes woes.  The thing is with gratitude though is that it also does not happen by accident.  I have to have it on purpose.  And yes, of course I choose gratitude even after a complete shit storm.  My swear jar is super heavy these days.  Blood sugar control has been punishing over the 6 weeks.  What the hell diabetes!

 Do you like permeations and combinations?  Maybe you do.  When you live with diabetes on any given day we are faced with solving a myriad of pop up problems and mysteries.  Over the past 6 weeks my otherwise pretty good for the most part in range numbers were decent.  Then bam, everything changed out for exactly no obvious reason.  I have changed out basal profiles yet then my blood sugars flip and I am chasing the invisible 5.5 into the ether.  The 5.5 for me has been an endangered species & the double digits with their agitation have kept on keeping on.  Go through the list.  It is the list you too will be only too familiar with.  Is this problem due to a bolus or basal miscalculation, girl hormones, sickness, stress, inflammation, infusion in blood vessel, exercise, low bouncing to high blood sugars, bent canula in infusion set, insulin or a full moon.  I added the full moon because it is the catch all right but of course I am kidding about just that one.  The list of variables is way longer than this of course but you already know that.

While solving all those real time problems with the variables (physical & physiological) my experience is that I need to big time feed my spirit and emotions.  Diabetes is a marathon as we all know so we may find that we need to replenish our strength reserves for the ongoing fight.  How do you remain hopeful, grateful, open to laughter & more?  You will answer that question in all your own way as you are a beautiful original (always worth more than a copy) so go you.  My answer is one that has worked for me since I was 20 years old.  That is way before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  When life has sent some sort of storm my way that has left me feeling bent (but never broken) my antidote is a specific book.  This book is dog eared & well loved.  I pick this book up & I read it.  It is not a book you just read though.  It gets inside my core.  It has never failed to help to build up my strength reserves.  It is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.  He teaches each one of us that no matter what we choose our attitude in any set of circumstances.  In reading the hell that he lived through he would know.  I do not believe that everything in life happens for a reason like some people will spurt out for some odd reason.  I do however feel that everything in life has meaning.  That is the cross section of hope.  Everything has meaning.  Everything.

My heart’s hope for you is that you have discovered your go to source of hope & strength.  It is a well.  We get to choose to go there.  And then, everything, everything, everything has meaning.  Yes, even diabetes.  What we do and think matters.  In my experience giving meaning to suffering means reaching out to others that are having a difficult time.  Why would we not?  And we know what it feels like to look at real scary events & bloody well do something meaningful with them.  Take someone else out of isolation in their suffering for starters.  There are lots of ways to give suffering meaning.  Shit happens.  Shit storms happen.  The strongest people I know have been through a lot of shit. Shit storms do not get the last word.  Love does!


Feisty Smiles,


On a happy note, I have finally been approved for dexcom G6!  I get to place my first order on World Diabetes Day on November 14th.  This is great news as I have no love match with the Libre.  Mine always reads way lower than my actual blood sugars & goes completely bonkers after day 12.  It is day 13 today with the current Libre & I just got an alarm with a straight down arrow & a 4.5 Canadian measures.  Are you kidding me.  I did a fingerstick test for the zillionth time & sure enough my blood sugar was way higher than that.  Not saving on fingers or fingerstick tests.  Well, welcome Dexcom G6.  That will be something to look forward to.  My next writing sharing will be on November 29th, my 12 year diaversary.   Be gentle with yourself.  Keep getting stronger to prepare for diabetes shit storms.  My swear jar is full!



26/06/2019 14:28

Choosing Neither Approach


Do we sometimes get the impression that we have to choose between one of two options?  Seldom is this truly the case in my experience.  When it comes to diabetes management there are more likely going to be a plethora of potential factors.  Type 1 diabetes is simply one slice of the totality of the persons that each one of us envelop.  The majority of the time for instance no one around me has a clue that I have a busted pancreas & am process engineering my way 24-7 to stay alive.  (with help…a lot of help compliments of technology and old fashioned people support and more).  When it comes to dealing with diabetes and the other aspects of being a human being, I choose moment by moment to neither be a martyr nor a whiner.  What does that mean?  My take on this is to not pretend to be having a golden day when my sensor is screaming a 15 (Canadian measures) or 3.5 or dealing with a defective sensor, insulin problem or literally a hundred other variables that affect hour by hour diabetes life.  It means that when someone who means well says for the zillionth time, “your pump cured your type 1 diabetes” or your “pump does everything for you” I don’t nod my head in a people pleasing fashion even though I am rather preprogrammed to be off the charts agreeable.  Thankfully, none of us are 1 dimensional so another side of me is off the charts intuitive and feisty in the face of b.s.  For sure being a diabetes martyr does not have any pros that work for me in a positive way.  How about spiraling down to the pit of becoming a whiner then?  Hell no!  I do not know of anyone who enjoys listening to someone’s constant complaining & woe is me spiel that begins to sound like a broken record.  So what does that leave?  “Plenty” would be my response since we are complex 3 dimensional, creative & interesting creatures.  We get to thoughtfully choose a non-faker response.  Admittedly, my most natural response tends towards humour.  When my pump or sensor alarms go off and startle people around me, sometimes I will say, “pardon my broken pancreas” or “dramatic pancreas” or “listen to my fancy pancreas, all the cool kids have one” or something like that.   

It has been a while since I have shared a story.  Let’s talk diabetes update stuff first and then move into the miscellaneous musings afterwards. 

If you live with type 1 or love someone who lives with type 1, you will be profoundly aware that there are those hurricane type days as well as the days that you feel so well that you champion your inner energizer bunny & live those “super well” days to the absolute maximum.  (Yes, I know this is a major run on sentence).  Personally, I like to end a story with a happy ending.  Starting with the frustrations about the happenings with type 1 include noisy alarms going off so much at night, some failed sensors, the dizzy thing back, Canadian postal code, and silly me moments with new infusions & new “bladders”.   Hormones have been mixing things up big time meaning that some nights I need nearly no basal and other nights, I need a considerable amount of basal and things change out without any logic.  That has resulted in so much lost sleep due to some nights getting over a dozen low blood sugar alarms.  It is a girl thing in this case that I am told will eventually level out.  A definition of time as it relates to the word “eventually” would be helpful.  I remain grateful however for the noisy alarms as of course it beats the alternative.  My plan is to switch to Dexcom 6 sensors hopefully if we receive them in Canada near the end of 2019 as long as we also receive the new insulin pump download with the IQ predictor that would likely make sleeping so much more doable.  We have neither of these tools in Canada currently so meanwhile I have the hit and miss sensors these days which are fantastic when they are accurate and working properly & a bloody nuisance when they are failing.  Statistically, I am shocked at the failure rate of my current sensors however they are better than nothing.  Additionally, I refuse to behave like an entitled diva since I remind myself often that there are people around the world that do not have access to affordable insulin let alone any type of sensor and an insulin pump.  I count myself fortunate.  I am really looking forward to the future of switching to Dex & the predictive feature of my new pump that will allow for sleep, sleep, sleep…yay yay yay! 

My new insulin pump arrived!  Every person is a beautiful original & will make his or her own choice when it comes to determining which insulin pump will work best.  After investigating the 3 choices we have available in Canada, I chose the Tandem.  I absolutely love it!  I love choices and this pump provides this in spades in my opinion.  I love the option of either using the bolus entered in doing math in my head or using the bolus calculator.  Lately, I have been using the bolus calculator as it has been working so well with getting the correction nicely in the ballpark.  I can sure tell that people with diabetes were consulted as the features are so user friendly & I could go on & on.  It has only been 2 ½ weeks yet I am loving my Tandem.  A lot of people have mentioned disliking the clip that comes attached to the pump case however so far I have found it ok.  Some folks in type 1 groups that I belong to have recommended a case by a U.S. company called “Type 1 Tactical.”  I tried ordering however their website does not support Canadian postal codes/our provinces/addresses currently.  In contacting the company they suggested that I wait and try again as they are attempting to solve this problem with their website.   I am hopeful that my clip won’t break in the meanwhile however the pump is so compact that I know I could tuck it into my pockets anyhow.  (pockets are a best friend!)  There are some cool diabetes wear that you can order with pockets.  I have a tank top that is especially useful when I want to tuck my pump away.  (Feel free to email me if you want the name of any diabetes clothing and gadget retailers that I have ordered from).  Also, it is fun to dress up our gadgets (pumps & sensors, etc) with cool stickers too.  I ordered a custom sticker for my Tandem pump that I did up with tea cups and saucers.  That was from a website called “Pumppeelz.”  They are fantastic to deal with.  The site that I love for sensor stickers is a Canadian company called “Pimpmydiabetes.”  Their products are awesome & the shipping is speedy.  Last Spring I ordered a backpack purse (my favourite purse style) from “Myabetic.”  It is a cool configuration with nooks and crannies designed for our diabetes “shit”.  (meters, extra insulin, cartridges, infusions, snacks & even a pocket for used test strips).  It is the bee’s knees. 

While my new insulin pump has been intuitive to use, my learning curve for the new infusion sets and insulin cartridges has been almost a belly laugh.  The first week with the new infusion sets I was averaging messing up every other infusion set.  Lately I have become better with them.  My husband told me I would look back & laugh at this once I become badass at the new infusions.  I kind of break out currently in a cool sweat every 3 days at 4 pm when I change out my infusion sets hoping not to mess one up.  My training nurse for the new pump told me with a laugh that the insulin cartridge for this pump is called a “bladder.”  So filling the bladder is a work in progress for me as well.  Although I am not messing up the process, I may as well be a sloth as the changing out process is currently taking me 57 minutes.  One day I will laugh about that as well. 

A brief movie reference will complete type 1 updates for this month.  Last month I went enthusiastically to see the movie, “Tolkien.”  IMHO, this film is absolutely a hit out of the park.  Okay, Saundie, what the heck does the movie have to do with type 1 diabetes exactly?  It turns out that you would not know the answer to that question unfortunately from watching the movie.  Spoiler alert (if you have not seen the movie & still plan on watching it), Tolkien’s mom dies at the age of 34.  They provide no explanation for her death in the movie.  The answer is that she had type 1 diabetes & unfortunately it was before insulin was created.  That still brings a lump to my throat to think of this “death sentence” & I remain eternally grateful to Canadians Banting & Best! 

Reading is a passion of mine.  I have lost track of the books that I enjoyed during April & May.  January & February was dedicated reading to type 1 books.  I ended up reading 5-6 type 1 books over the winter.  June has been a turn in a whole different direction.  I have been reading “The Gulag Archipelago” this month & am on track to finish it this weekend.  What a difference it would make if it were required reading for high school history in my opinion.  I could not do it justice by describing it.  It encompasses so much both from a history perspective yet also from a psychology, sociology & human nature standpoint.  It is not an easy read & nor ought it be.  Ironically this week in a segue I discovered the 5 part series on “Chernobyl” which is also not easy to watch yet it is outstanding in a myriad of ways.  I realized this month that at best I had perhaps not even a 1 percent education on Russia’s history.  It just was not taught in school at my high school.  It turns out it is really still not being taught for the most part.  That is inexcusable to my way of thinking.  Life is not all balloons and banners & learning about the vast history in all its malevolent human failings teaches us today to never repeat these horrors towards one another.  Perhaps it teaches us as well potentially to check our “entitlement.”  The internet going down in our home briefly or even for the entire day is truly not the hardship that the panic on so many young faces would allude to for example! 

Last month I mentioned that there is a cool quiz that is available online that I chose to take.  It is on a website called, “ understandmyself.com”.  Essentially it provides an overview of personal personality traits and then it can be a choice in determining what to do with the information.  I was unsurprised by my own results for the most part.  The thing that was especially useful & revealing to me were the attached stats.  It was the percentage value attached to each trait that I find helpful to do something with.  (By the way, none of the websites that I have mentioned have provided any incentive whatsoever to me to promote them & that is exactly the way I like it…pure enthusiasm for promoting only).  I will share a couple of categories of my results with you.  Both my agreeableness and politeness are off the charts (high 90 percentile).  It was of great value to me as I now realize that countless times I have expected other people to be as polite & agreeable or I have become a doormat around dominant, aggressive individuals & wondered what the hell happened.  The knowledge with the percentiles assists me in choosing to be less surprised with interchanges & also reminds me that my perspective is just that & not shared to that level at times.  It reminds me to not expect others to see things as I see them.  It reminds me that I have a long way to go in becoming more assertive.  Life is a work in progress however & having information to use in a meaningful way has been significant to this process.

Do you like to save your favourites until last?  I do!  In April, my youngest son & I finally went to our first Habs game!  We are both huge Montreal Canadiens’ fans.  We took the Via train for the first time.  That was part of the adventure.  The trip there was seamless.  The trip back resulted in our train arriving 4 hours late as our train had to tow another Via train back to Toronto when it had been hit by a deer.  My son & I had an absolute blast the whole time we were away.  We toured the Bell Centre and only did hockey related things the whole 48 hours.  It is a treasured memory.  Oh and the piece de resistance was that Montreal won in overtime and a shoot out!!   It is proof positive that I remain a huge fan of the Habs as I am still talking about what a fabulous turn around season they had last year.  For sure most Canadians have moved on (long ago) & all the talk is about “We the North.”  Hockey remains in the forefront of my mind through it all ha ha!  (Yes, it is very cool for Canada as well that the Raps won!)

Have an outstanding summer & my heart’s hope is that you especially celebrate the cooperative type 1 days big time…like an energizer bunny or a beach bunny or any kind of bunny ha ha!



The next story sharing will be in October.




28/05/2019 18:23

Next Posting

The next story posting will be mid to late June as I am currently "in line" for my new insulin pump.  It will be fun to share my first impressions of a brand new pump as I have been using the same pump brand for the past 10 years & this next one is totally new in every way.  It feels like New Year's eve awaiting that delivery box of the "friend" that will be attached to me next.  Man, it will be exciting to enjoy the new technology that of course makes things better although hey, all of us within the type 1 community are vividly aware that we are always the brains behind our management.  There will be lots to share with you in June including authors I am reading (mostly non diabetes stuff), developmental gains (hopefully), curious personality self test I enjoyed,  what has worked & what has been a bust in day to day life, book reviews, diabetes hits and fails, real life moments, pumping learning curve, the plethora of over alarming of sensor alarms especially at night, recent movie released that could have referenced type 1 but did not for some weird reason and miscellaneous musings. 





30/01/2019 12:47

I Know I Don't Know and Other Stand on Your Head Stuff


How do you know if you really know something or anything?  Perhaps the best starting point is to clothe oneself in humility.   I have learned over the years that the opposite of pride is humility.  Humility is my aim.  With pride, can one really even believe that they can or even want to learn anything new?  The answer for me at least is that it is obvious that my aim is from the starting position of humility.  That is not the same by the way as a wuss or a door mat person.  Humility as well is not some sort of false self or faker who wants to be perceived as perpetually “nice.”  As a humourous aside, in our home we describe a personality style that is entitled “sweet and spicy.”  Really that is just meant to say that one may remain a sweet or thoughtful, genuine person yet have a spicy (feisty) side that means that no one in our home believes that everything is relative.  None of us buy into the bill of goods that is being sold so prevalent in Western societies of “blind tolerance.”  Principles are timeless and that means that even when the wind direction changes within society’s mantra, our family belief is that one must stand for what is right even when it is difficult to do so.  Okay, so for sure I approach my diabetes management from a sweet and spicy perspective as well.

If you have lived with type 1 diabetes for a decade or more, do you at times feel as though there is not much utility in reading anything new about diabetes care?  I will be frank in saying that I am not one iota interested in attending a rah rah meeting pertaining diabetes.  I am however saying that concrete, value added information is welcome.  That is quite a different thing.  One thing that I have discovered thankfully over the past several months is that there is a lot of information available in various forms of substance that is not being presented in a “dumbed down” fashion.  I am appalled if I find myself in an environment where a topic has been advertised as offering advanced ideas only to get there and find out that the information is basically kindergarten diabetes level content.  I am not one bit interested in hearing the stuff I learned during the first week living with type 1 diabetes.  My eyeballs will roll & they will make a pronounced noise!  That does not mean that for one second that I think that I am some sort of hot shot when it comes to diabetes management.  It means however that I am going to discern between content of value and nonsense because well…free will.

Now if you combine the ingredients of sweet & spicy, humility and discernment, what do you get?  For me the answer is a lifelong proclivity towards pursuing what is meaningful in terms of learning.  We are not going to get to the end of the internet in terms of information.  The great news is that we likely don’t need to.  We can choose to swim through the plethora of available information & discern what we need to learn more about.  That is the humble part that admits that I don’t know what I don’t know even after 11 years living with type 1 diabetes.  The very cool thing as well is that there are many on line and in person diabetes communities that we can join and learn additional things about diabetes management as well.  It simply does not matter if someone is the age of any of my sons…that person may (and I have found does ) have some excellent information to share about emerging technology and other diabetes management tips.  I decided to get over myself a long time ago when I had previously thought that Youtube was not for me.  I was wrong.   It turns out that it is also all about discernment.  There is a ton of educative content on Youtube.  I have found a few diabetes Youtubers that I really enjoy listening to.  (Nerdabetic, Michelle Lords and Nicky Ghaleb to name a few.)  Outside of diabetes, I love listening to Dr. Jordan Peterson, Bishop Robert Barron and the Habs.  You will have your favorites too.  I love that I can listen to podcasts while making dinner or during other activities and learn at the same time.  That is a good way to leverage one’s time.  My husband travels a lot so I download lots of content in the form of podcasts for him to listen to while he is at the airport or on the plane.  He loves it now that he has gotten into that habit.

In my experience keeping up as much as possible on technology and tips regarding diabetes is of huge benefit.  Type 1 diabetes is probably never going to be easy in my lifetime but anything that contributes to easier is a win as far as I am concerned.  My next diabetes centre appointment is at the beginning of March and my current insulin pump “expires or retires” in mid May.  I need to prepare as well as possible for my March appointment as it will be my last appointment before making and obtaining my next insulin pump.  We lost 2 pumps from our Canadian market over the last 18 months & one of them is the company/pump that I currently have attached to me.  We have 3 insulin pump choices available in Canada.  I am researching all 3 yet I am certainly leaning towards one more heavily than the others after preliminary information gathering.  Thank goodness we have these 3 choices.  I am excited about the significant new features that have come to market in these new pumps within the last 3 to 12 months.  Predictive alarms for one is brilliant.  I have this capability currently and I love it.  I have only been wearing sensors for just over a year yet I am amazed at what a game changer that is.  You can see in real time what the heck is going on when carbs hit or illness or stress or one of the other dozens of factors that affect blood sugars occurs.  When my technology is good quality it is absolutely my lifeline.  During the times when I have had defective sensors I feel like I am stumbling in the dark with my diabetes management.  Thankfully the majority of the time my technology is working pretty well.  Of course our blood sugars can have what would seem like a mind of their own. The sensor helps me to think through a potential solution to the blood sugar difficulty.  I am not always successful naturally but I try to learn something a little bit more for my decision making the next time.  And for sure I contribute to the metaphorical swear jar when I have a blood sugar that does not respond to my diabetes management decision.  I have found that when my blood sugar goes above 16 I will swear period.  I hate those high blood sugars that drain the energy out of me, zap my patience, give headaches and more.  (Well what would there be to like about that right.) 

An additional commitment that I decided to make in the theme of I don’t know what I don’t know is to dedicate all my February reading to diabetes management books.  I realized that I have not read anything approximating a diabetes management book since reading “Smart Pumping” & “Think Like a Pancreas” 11 years ago when I was first diagnosed.  I got a jump on my February reading last week & read & finished “Bright Spots & Landmines” by Adam Brown.  My diabetes centre nurse had recommended it during my last appointment in the Fall.  The book is excellent.  I picked up several nuggets that I am running with.  I purchased it for a nominal price from kindle books.  I have 3 additional diabetes related books downloaded on my kindle & ready for reading.  Last night I stayed up way too late as I started the next book, “Beyond Fingersticks, The Art of Control with Continuous Glucose Monitoring” by Lee Dubois.  It is a no b.s. book & I love that style.  It is not a bunch of motivational mumbo jumbo that is long forgotten at the speed of light.  It is a tell like it is style book kind of warts and all approach.  For sure it is enjoyable yet not light reading.  I found it difficult to turn off the light last night as the material in the book is fascinating.  I learned about this book from a diabetes online group that I joined that is hosted in the UK.  The other 2 books I have slated for February reading are “The Born Again Diabetic” by Lee Dubois and “Sugar Surfing”  by Dr. Stephen Ponder.  I will not beat myself up if I don’t get all 4 read by the end of February but at least setting this goal gives me a positive commitment to aim for.  The goal is great & if need be, the date of completion can be modified. 

Whether you are sweet, spicy, or a combination of both, my heart’s hope is that you find the valuable information both on line and within books and more that aids you in finding ways to have those energizing in range blood sugars.  Those are the sugars that I find I feel my absolute best.  And you & I are aiming always for the best!



The next story sharing will be at the end of May. 


29/11/2018 11:02

#13, Counter Intuitive, Paradoxes


Can you guide something, anything at all to be better by sheer will power alone?  Maybe looking at the tiny, microscopic details can help a little bit at a time.  I am not referring to anything big like solving any disease or large scale suffering within our world.  What though if even our moments, days, weeks, months, lives can improve even a little.  If you agree that better is better than perhaps we are on to something small, simple, not easy yet helpful.  One thing is as certain as daylight coming each morning & darkness at night & that is that there are going to be struggles for every single human being.  That is the bad news or reality check.  The good news is that you can handle it like a boss.  We are at our very core a hell of a lot stronger than we realize. 

Over the past couple of months I have tried to change up my routine, thinking, activities & most importantly clarify what it is that is truly important.  That was the start of a workout for the mind because crappy thinking can creep in even when you have been trained to know about these things.  We each have specific values, principles & beliefs that if we adhere to will help us to look ourselves in the mirror.   My experience though is that when I let too much garbage into my mind that I can certainly expect garbage thinking to result.  It is easy to let less than stellar stuff into our lives.  Maybe for some people it is a habit that does not serve his or her health well.  Or maybe you share this thing called “people pleasing.”  That I find can really get in the way of many moments, days, weeks, months & can come in between what I want my day, week, life to look like & what it turns into.  It is still a work in progress.  It is bad news for me I get intellectually to have a phobia (hyperbole) of the word “no.”  There were primarily 3 things kind of crappily percolating in my mind.  Type 1 has been robbing me of sleep, peace of mind and making me feel especially vulnerable as I have had 9 defective sensors since the beginning of August.  So doing the math, it has been months of exasperation.  Secondly, I realized that I was not really reading much let alone anything that would feed my starving brain.  And finally, the sick feeling at the pit of my stomach was there yet again thinking about the holidays while juggling diabetes roller coasters, having to manage while feeling like I was being hit by a tank.  In order to participate in things fully I would like to say that I have learned that I have to voice those moments when I need 15 minutes to recover from a low blood sugar.  At the core though, I revert to being a people pleaser to the point where I can be really sick but at the front of my mind I am thinking, “don’t inconvenience anyone or bum anyone out.”  Recently, though I started getting feisty with myself about that because I know that is bad advice denying physiological & emotional realities.  Sometimes in life you just have to get so sick & tired of the current paradigm that you decide that you have to make changes.  That is a start I have found. 

To combat the 3 pet peeves to put it mildly, a game plan was formulated in my brain.  In relation to diabetes I gave myself some credit for being a strong and capable individual.  There have been several things that I have not sat back & waited for anyone to solve as far as making my days with diabetes the best that they can be.  Technology has been embraced & I have a commitment to always keeping current on what is available to help make days the best that they can be.  When there are problems with our technology we don’t have the luxury of hoping someone will look after us.  If we were standing in a crowded room chances are that few people would know much or anything at all about type 1.  The sensor difficulties I could hazard a guess were either a bad batch or problems with overheating during delivery from the lab to my home via courier since it was hot beyond usual last summer.  My responsibility though is to make full use of technology yet remain the brains in my diabetes management.  That for me means I am still having to do finger stick tests.  I have seen the danger of not double checking with glucose tests.  I would prefer to blissfully insert a sensor and then trust it but that would have been a dangerous decision for me over the past several months.  Let’s hope this was a one off bad batch.  The answer at least for me to stay on top of diabetes management meant getting stronger.  While the quote by Dallin H. Oaks is so true that “you really can’t get enough of what you really don’t need”, there could be an addition to the thought.  Counter intuitively, my thought is that “and you really can’t get enough of what you really do need.”  I mean this specifically in relation to positives in life like love, strength, wisdom, truth, conscience, discernment, humility & all the virtues.  That brings me to the second thing that had been troubling me.  I have been a committed, lifelong learner because I don’t know what I don’t know.  I love reading.  That brought me to the realization that I needed to take personal responsibility for developing a habit of reading every single day for at least 15 minutes a day. As a funny aside, one of the things that I have tried to tone down is my swearing.  The ironic part is that one of the books that I gleaned a ton of wisdom from was basting in profanity.  It was not difficult to look beyond it though.  Far be it for me to judge the author’s style in writing as I myself have been an owner of a swear jar over the years.  Don’t you find that as you are reading, there are some thoughts that feel like they are coming to you at the perfect time?  Even if there is only 1 sentence in a whole book that provides a learning gem, I feel fed.  I always read nonfiction.  I think I read about 4 or 5 books over 6 weeks yet I will admit that I am fortunate to be a speed reader.  I really enjoy those moments while reading something that makes you stand on your head.  (This is a reference to a quote by GK Chesterson of “if you want to make sense of the world, you need to stand on your head.”)  A philosophy book that I enjoyed by Peter Kreeft had many stand on your head moments for me yet the biggest one was that although in our culture we are taught that “knowledge is power” that actually it was historically “truth is power.”   From an author that swore like a sailor to a philosophy professor to several social science books my mind feels fed but not full.  I am excited to keep reading & getting my stack of books looking well loved by turning the pages even 15 minutes at a time some days.  As I read, I felt stronger.  I really cannot get enough strength in all the ways that it comes into my life since let’s face it, the struggles will come so the paradox is that one needs acknowledgement of the struggle &then the action required to build strength reserves.  When life’s battles come at us hard, we have to have a reservoir of strength.  I have come to learn (often enough the hard way) that I need to keep filling my reservoir of strengths just to combat the extra brutal type 1 diabetes days.

 It was not a comfortable feeling to have that awareness that I had traded my free time for things that were not of any value to me.  I stopped watching stuff that was flakey on tv like a zombie who could not think or move for 30 minutes and traded that in on the pile of remarkable books that I already have that have been knocking my socks off.  In the past 5 weeks, I have been feeding my brain big time.  How about screen time?  There is some outstanding content both online and elsewhere but it takes restraint to watch the best material for a better state of mind I find.  It is worth it though in my experience to make that choice.  Humour is a real gift.  T.S. Elliott said, “man cannot handle too much reality.”  That is the awesome power of comedy.  For 60 or so minutes you get to laugh at what is often reality with a funny spin & let yourself just be entertained.  There is such a range of comedy out there & I have always been grateful to take a break from my ultra-sensitive me at least once or twice a week.  It reminds me to laugh at myself.  As an aside, one of the telephone calls to the sensor company was met with quite the belly laugh when I let the rep know that according to my graph from my sensor readings I had been likely clinically dead for 18 hours.  My delivery must have been well received because the rep really laughed & so did I.  Sometimes a graph tells a story & once in a while my graph is complete nonsense.   That’s okay, I have ability to think and not leave that to my gadgets.  It has served me well to be more discerning about what I watch either on tv or online.  To add to that, I found it helpful to leverage my time in the kitchen (which I love) with auditory listening.  I have been listening to a series of lectures from a professor in my little corner of the world.  They are off the charts brilliantly articulated, interesting, informative, fascinating and down to earth.  I look forward to my mini lessons while cooking dinner.  I have noticed by husband listening from time to time & commenting on how interesting even to him the content is.  (He is a mathie so social scientist professor lectures are not usually his bliss).  This professor (Dr. J. Peterson) delivered content on struggle/suffering that really hit home with me.  Please feel free to email me if you would like the names of the books that I have recently read.  The struggle /suffering content though seems pretty freaking universal since that is the human condition.  He brings a real no nonsense approach to the content yet beautifully provides the antidote.  I was hit with the thought that it just made sense.  One of the things that this professor has stated in a number of his lectures is that we are stronger than we could ever imagine yet he does not deliver this with a rah rah sense and leave you with a “now what cheerleader” feeling.  He is practical & relatable yet absolutely an outstanding academic mind. 

Okay, how about the in the valley thinking about the tricky mix of the holidays and diabetes?  It seems that way because I have felt dread about the holidays for the past 11 years.  Today is my diaversary or 11 year anniversary with type 1 diabetes.  Sometimes when you have 3 problems & you work on 2, sometimes 3 nearly gets solved as a result of working on the first 2.  Somehow through working on challenges 1 & 2 it hit me that type 1 diabetes itself must never be a reason to get into a mindset that the holidays are going to be the pits.  I am reminded that we get to live life in real time so some moments with the holidays and type 1 will indeed be brutal yet other moments will be absolutely a beautiful mess.  And I smile to realize that all my favourite moments happen in the beautiful mess.  There is no perfection, just a beautiful, personal messy beautiful.  That is more than fortunate to be reminded of this.  Nothing good comes to me I find when my thoughts are that “I am not looking forward to…because…diabetes.”  So one moment at a time I am not accepting that thought anymore. 

When you hear the number 13, what comes to your mind?  Okay, now stand on your head (thought wise not literally unless you can and want to ha ha).  13 to me is a number that brings a smile to my face & great memories & more to look forward to.  #13 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the same year that I was although we are almost a generation apart.  Last summer I felt elated about #13 being traded to our favourite hockey team, aka a person that our youngest son & myself have nicknamed “the little scrapper.”  That’s right, the Montreal Canadiens aka “The Habs” welcomed Max Domi who had played as #16 (in honour of Bobby Clarke an NHL player who also played hockey with type 1 diabetes) & Max became our celebrated #13 (as 16 is a retired number for Montreal).  If you have followed Max Domi’s goal scoring you will agree that #13 is far from an unlucky number.  I have enjoyed the way that Max Domi advocates for type 1 diabetes.  The fun facts that I learned about our “little scrapper” include that although he has a lot of tattoos, one of his arms has family related tattoos representing each member of his family & his faith.  And on the other arm he has a medic alert type 1 diabetes tattoo.  He is wise far beyond his years & I found his attitude of he is a professional hockey player with diabetes versus a diabetic who plays hockey powerful.  That is standing right side up.  Another fun fact is that he has a therapy dog that has a 99% success rate of determining & warning him when he is going to go into low blood sugar.  Of course he has the gadgets as well that many of us have yet how cool to hear that his dog gets to go to the Bell Centre & is really part of his “team.”  Go Habs!

Life can be tough, confusing, even brutal yet we have a limitless supply of strength.  We have to do some difficult things to build reservoirs of strength and make the effort granted.  It is worth it though I find to do the difficult things because the challenges will come & strength means it does not need to break us.  Strength means we can even find that standing on our head or not we can grab those messy, beautiful moments despite diabetes. 

My heart’s hope for you is that rather than one more rah rah you get what you need to grab your messy beautiful moments no matter what.  We are all strong beyond imagination.  Build strength reservoirs.  Blessings for a beautiful Christmas season.  

And as a quick aside, on this 11th anniversary (many fellow friends with type 1 refer to this as a diaversary) I have decided to enjoy a small divaversary by getting up and having a cupcake for breakfast from my favourite super girly local bakery.  For every vice there is a virtue & for every dark there is light & for every cupcake there is a bolus (that I hope is right on) to allow for a lightness to the day.  Having a good mindset on purpose requires at least for me to kind of celebrate the fact that a part of getting stronger means creating celebrations along the way.  November 29th I get to be here for the 11th year rocking a very fancy cupcake & that is pretty much just right in my little corner of the world.

My next sharing will be in January, the New Year!!

Strong smiles , Saundie



27/09/2018 10:25

Full Moon Tetter Totter Ride

Fall has arrived in my little corner of the world.  You will be able to smell Fall down the road from our home as the smell of the second batch of spice cookies celebrates another season of all things spice, pumpkin & apple.


In many ways Fall represents a blanket of sorts.  It covers up the old and we can look forward to the creation of something new in the Spring.  I love the Fall though with a passion.  I love the smell of freshly baked spice cookies, butter tarts and apple pie.  With our kitchen covered in a tempory film of flour from making pastry with our younger sons to baking sample sized pies that seem to increase in size each year, yes, Fall is a gift.

The months leading up to Fall this year have equated to smiles through tears.  That is the emotional side of events.  Then on top of that is the ever present shadow of type 1 diabetes.  It is the watching out for the invisible undertow of the dangers of type 1 that I have experienced while smiling politely for the zillineth time at a well intentioned person telling me that I look healthy or "you don't look like you have diabetes" (whatever that means, right).   While I find it personally helpful to feel all the emotions surrounding diabetes & its endless list of frustrations I choose not to succumb to the land of becoming a victim to anything or anyone.  Diabetes is a pain in the ass.  I got it by chance yet the life I choose to live is by choice.  Some days suck but most days are messy beautiful.  These days are messy beautiful with or without diabetes because as I have shared countless times I realize I am so much more than a diagnosis.  It is okay to acknowledge a crappy hand however that is just one hand. 


Our oldest son moved away for the next 8 months to go to university for the first time.  Parents may be nodding when I admit that my heart misses him so much.  Bigger than that though I am cheering for him from a distance because I cannot hold onto his wings if he is to fly.  He is thriving and I feel indescribable peace about this.  It is not surprising that I am feeling like a little kid this year counting down the days until Thanksgiving & Christmas when our family will be complete with all our sons sleeping at home.  Autumn puts a blanket around the past season and something new is created that we get to open up in the Spring.  That is life.  We get to choose to embrace the seasons physically and emotionally or fight it.  I choose to embrace it all in its messy & sometimes off balancing parts.  And I realize that these are all my feelings & emotions & I own them & choose not to download them onto someone else.  And I am learning little by little not to accept the dumping of emotions that need to be owned by others onto my plate...with compassion yet boundaries.  This is indeed a work in progress.  Knowing that our oldest son is thriving brings indescribable peace.  It does mean that a part of my heart goes where he goes yet I completely feel joy for him at the same time.  These are all natural feelings that reside in life.  Sometimes the smile through the tears really represents happy tears.  Who knows what each season will bring?  None of us do.  The only thing that I know for sure is that love lasts through every season so whatever happens, love remains.


For the past couple of months type 1 gadgets have been amazing and the absolute pits.  That of course means that my graphs, diabetes management and thirst, high and low blood sugars have been amazing and the absolute pits as well.  At the beginning of August I made the unwelcome discovery that I seem to have a defective lot of sensors.  The last 5 sensors in a row have malfunctioned.  My fingers have gone back to looking like pin cushions as I have had to go back to confirming glucose readings big time.  Some of my sensors have quit after 3 days completely (always while i am sleeping to add extra danger).  Other sensors have given me the wierdest results like going up or down blood sugar levels by 5 or more (Canadian measures) within 5 or 10 minutes.  Then I test with my glucometer and find results that are so far off the sensor that it is truly scary.  I still have 1 sensor left from this lot number and am not eager to insert it.  The frustrating thing is that prior to this lot I had been having A1C levels in my goal target so I had a taste of success for several months as well.  That is the tetter totter ride of type 1.  When gadgets work properly they are priceless but when they fail they can be dangerous.  Thank goodness I always keep a blood tester & strips on hand to test and check the technology.  I am hoping to put the last 5 sensor difficulties behind me as it is almost time to order the next  batch of sensors.  I will say that the sensor company has been very professional about it all.  I have sent all the failed sensors back and the company has replaced them quickly. 


Diabetes & its gadgets can be a lot like a full moon.  Sometimes out of no where high or low blood sugars enter and sometimes gadgets fail.  For the first time in the 10 years that I have had an insulin pump about a month ago my tubing had come mysteriously undone from the infusion.  That too happened in the middle of the night.  When I woke up the next morning my blood sugars were through the roof so I drank what seemed like most of Lake Ontario & gave myself a correction dose.  I would love to say that the correction dose brought the day back into a healthy range.  The full moon experience continued though with me fighting high blood sugars for the enitre day.  I felt like a zombie.  I am not alone.  Every day there is a person living with type 1 diabetes that has faught the fight or missed sleep.  It is the person living with type 1 or a person who loves or cares for someone living with type 1.  Type 1 is a robber...of sleep too many times to count.  Like the full moon though, these especially aggravating problems with diabetes come and go.  Some days are stellar & those are the days that I go, go , go like the energizer bunny and enjoy whatever the day brings.  I know that good days with diabetes should be celebrated.


Happy Thanksgiving.


My heart's hope for you is that you celebrate the big and little in your life.  It is a messy, beautiful life afterall.

Smiles, Saundie

The next story sharing will be at the end of November.


29/05/2018 14:24

The Curve, "D" Zone & Generations


Easier does not mean easy.  How many times have you experienced the well-meaning person that comes up to you & says, “I see you have an insulin pump so that takes care of your diabetes luckily.”  Is that a pain in the neck or another part of your anatomy?  Having lived with the literal pains in the neck for the past several months I choose another reference point when calling anything a pain in whatever.  Some days there is not enough time or patience available to explain that just because someone has a hammer and a saw and they are a carpenter, the hammer and the saw do not build a home all by themselves & the same can be said for diabetes related tools.  Does a hammer and a saw make it easier or even possible to start building a home?  Of course!  Simply having the hammer and saw means nothing otherwise.  That is pretty much in my experience the parallel universe to diabetes & tools used to manage it.  Those of us living with diabetes remain the brains and more behind the management of this disease.  Sometimes our “homes” feel like the leaning tower of Pica and other times the universes are aligned somehow & we have a nice straight in between the lines kind of day.  This disease shifts out of nowhere for an exhaustive list of reasons why.

Lately I have been having success and big time failure with type 1 management.  Previously, I shared with you that I added the Freestyle Libre to my toolbox of diabetes management tools.   It was an instant love match for quite an extended period of time.  I loved having the graphs for the first time & a clue into where my blood sugars were shifting to with foods, exercise, stress, illness and other factors.  I began to trust the numbers on my graph & feel like I was making serious headway with my previous frustrations reaching my A1C goals.  And I went off to the lab with a spring to my step because the math that resulted from my Libre readings indicated that I was about to see a beautiful score of 6.7%!  The next day I went on line to see that result & was met with a 7.5% which was basically the same as the score I had with the multiple finger pricks providing an over simplified 12 readings over a 24 hour period of time.  That result infuriated & baffled me.  I had micromanaged & worked my guts out for 4 months to be met with the same result as if I had changed nothing.  That just sucked.  (insert swear words!) 

Don’t you find that you need to be tenacious & have an attitude of steadfastness with type 1?  Once I realized that I had over trusted the graphs from my Libre readings I reset the timeline I had initially set. That date reset however did not make the goal any less desirable. 

  Have you noticed an increase in various generations bashing one another?  That is unfortunate.  For sure that is divisive.  Some people state that today’s generation have it so much easier than other generations did.  Physical work on the land (farming, etc) for sure is to be respected.  Each type of work needs to be respected including the physical, and cerebral type jobs & talents.  To be humorous, although my generation did not have to walk home from school uphill both ways, we did meet other challenges.  Every generation has a set of challenges as well as benefits.  I am in the sandwich generation of thankfully having parents as well as being a parent myself.  I respect all 3 generations.  Lately, there has been excessive chatter about the millennial generation.  That is the one that my kids are a part of.  For sure their young lives have been & continue to be vastly different from my generation & generations in the past.    Different is not bad though.  Just because someone is from either a generation before or after us does not make them better or worse than ours.  It is great when we can find something to admire about one another.  Recently, I found a great example of how the millennial generation have a skill set that I truly admire and value.  In trying to figure out some solutions to my A1C and gadget woes & seek solutions I went online to see what others are doing to have better luck with diabetes management.  I was wonderfully surprised with the abundance of excellent information available from others having success.  The postings and Youtube videos were all posted in this case by the millennial generation.  They have some terrific & innovative ideas & think outside the box & are so willing to try so many tools in my opinion.  I was delighted with the information.  As always, my motto is to treat information from different sources as a buffet…take what I like & implement it & the stuff that does not make sense for me I simply leave.  I just loved having different ideas that I could consider.  And many of them are looking like they are going to be terrific game changers in my diabetes management.  I will know for sure when I go for lab work next time yet I am again optimistic.

One of the most vital tools in my diabetes management remains a sense of humor.  Diabetes is freakishly tough.  Last week I had the most frightening episode of hypoglycemia that I have had in 10 years & it happened at night when I was totally alone.  I managed to pull myself up into range again but then I got the behemoth hyperglycemic event afterwards because I had to treat with 5 fast acting sugar portions.  That was one of several sleepless nights that I spent trying to nudge my blood sugars off the roller coaster ride from hell.  Afterwards, I made sure that my husband & I watched a stand up comedian that we enjoy because a laugh was definitely needed.  Diabetes is scary as hell.  Humor is the antidote for me at least.  I take nothing for granted and I don’t take the value of a good belly laugh for granted either.  With the help of the millennials that I will never meet I had managed to get  high & low blood sugar alarms for the first time ever & that is priceless.  At first I did not really believe the accuracy of the projected low blood sugars that appeared on my graph however they have been spot on.  I have a great respect for the brain power of our next generation.  I cannot imagine what changes will be in all our futures however I am sure all of us will be wowed.  So for sure I was taught to respect my elders & I do yet I add on that our younger (as well as our own) generations deserve respect as well.

As an aside or segment of “living with engineers”, my husband gave me the ultimate compliment recently.  I had been explaining to him that since my Libre measures interstitial fluid and not blood that I have been moving my treatment of predicted low sugars up by 10 to 15 minutes.  My Libre has to play catch up in other words to a finger prick test by about 10-15 minutes in my case.  My husband told me that was excellent use of process engineering.  He went on to say that what I was describing is called “dead time” in process engineering.  I thought the term was pretty ironic but that is my silly sense of humor.  Living with engineers is just plain amusing I will admit.  I am loving the alarms & predictions & graphs & hope.  It is not easy but is easier when you have adequate, quality information to let your brain work with.  This diabetes is not going to manage itself with or without a pump & sensor & graphs and whatever else is available.  I am open to learning from whatever generation has ideas.  I know that I don’t know what I don’t know.  I am a life long learner.  Sometimes learning new things means a better quality of life.  That is the case with diabetes in my experience.  Diabetes remains a pain in the ass.  Okay, I will have the best damned life despite diabetes.  How about you?

My heart’s hope is that you can find support in a myriad of ways in the form of a banquet of information that best serves you too.  May we all remember that regardless of generation, every generation has something valuable to bring to the banquet.

Have a beautiful summer.  The next story posting will be at the end of September.





The list of tags is empty.