Kayla Brown on Life as a Type 1 Diabetic

Kayla Brown, from Kayla's Life Notes, is a type 1 diabetic who has taken to the internet to share with the world what living with diabetes is like. She tells us of her experiences and challenges as well as the essential parts of her diabetes management.

Can you tell us about your diagnosis story? When were you first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed on March 13th 2009 in Brantford, Ontario and I was eighteen years old.  I had taken a year off after high school after graduating to work and that was when I was diagnosed (which in hindsight seems like a good thing!). Prior to being diagnosed, I had all the classic symptoms of type 1 diabetes such as weight loss, blurred vision, memory loss, frequent urination, thirst etc.   My mother was picking up on these cues and made me go get my blood sugar checked.

When I got the blood work done, they called me the next day. My blood sugar was 24 mmol/l (432 mg/dl)   The told me to come into the doctor’s office. I had no idea that meant diabetes, so I got in my car and drove myself there.   After they told me I had diabetes I still did not know what that meant –  I kept thinking it was going to be like my Grandma and Grandpa who had type 2 diabetes and didn’t have to do much but take a pill a day. To my surprise I was put on 3 needles of Novarapid and 1 needle of Lantus a day.

When did you begin blogging at Kayla’s Life Notes, and what was your motivation to begin blogging?

After I was diagnosed, I was in the hospital for 4 days, and as soon as I got out everyone was wondering where I was, or if they knew, they wanted to know more about what diabetes was. I was learning too, after all I had only been diabetic for four days.  I started writing on the “notes” section of Facebook about where I had been and what diabetes was.  I started doing this almost every day talking about how frustrated I was, upset, and I would also talk about good days, where I had near perfect blood sugars.

Eventually someone suggested to me that I get an actual blog page to start documenting everything.  This was good advice because here I am now with a huge successful blog.  I use the blog as my diabetic therapy and I really enjoy having it.  But, beyond helping myself, it helps a lot of other people and I hear fascinating feedback and stories from my readers.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced living with diabetes?

The biggest challenge I face with diabetes is remember to be on the ball with everything.  Type 1 Diabetes really isn’t a ‘one pill a day’ sort of deal.  It takes up a lot of time and concentration and it is very easy to lose that focus or organization.   The challenges are things that seem simple like remembering to check blood sugar, bolus (I am on an insulin pump – so basically take insulin after eating) as well as being prepared with snacks.

It was hard to go from never worrying about my health to have to plan out my day based on my health. I have to remember to bring snacks everywhere I go, and if I don’t I better be prepared to buy something or find someone that does have something I can eat for low blood sugar.

How does diabetes affect your daily life?  Do any of your other family members also have diabetes?

Diabetes of course affects my life in many ways. I am a completely different person than I was before diabetes.  It changed my life for the better, but it does make a huge different in my day to day life compared to someone without diabetes. First of all, I have to be on the ball like I said before, I have to make sure my pump is full of batteries and insulin, that I have some sort of snack and that I am paying attention to how I feel.

Diabetes has a huge impact on my mood with both high and low blood sugars.  It can be hard at times to be patient and it makes it hard to deal with other people without letting diabetes take over your mood.

I have an uncle with type 1 diabetes who was diagnosed much later in life as well as a second cousin.  Other than that, I have type 2 in my family, both my grandparents as well as an uncle.

What are some essentials in your diabetes management and care?

Essentials with my type 1 diabetes management are the basics, my Medtronic insulin pump, my meter, strips and insulin.  That is what keeps me alive and happy, however there is something else that I think is the most important thing beyond the basics and that is support.

The social part of diabetes is really important. Having a good team in your hospital, home and online is critical because there is so much to learn and pass on.  As soon as you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you instantly become an expert, and all people’s experiences with diabetes is unique, so being able to share important tips and tricks is a good way to keep your diabetes in check.

Being involved in the community is a way that I keep care of my diabetes. I find the more I am involved the more I want to make sure I have amazing blood sugars.  You don’t feel alone when others are going though what you are, so I really like connecting with others that live with diabetes and I can safely say that, that plays a HUGE role in managing my diabetes successfully.

What are your top three health and fitness tips for other people living with type 1 diabetes?

1. If you’re looking to keep active, but don’t like the gym, find something that you find FUN!  Like going for adventure hikes or rock climbing.

2. Don’t think you can’t have anything because you’re diabetic. It is important to eat healthy, but make sure you’re not depriving yourself.

3. Smile  :)

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Site:  www.kaylaslifenotes.blogspot.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Kaylas-Notes/250807698444

Twitter: @ kaylas_notes

Email: kaylambrown@hotmail.ca

Tags: type 1,diabetes,blood sugar,health,insulin,insulin pump,type 1 diabetes,sugar,blog,diagnosis story,top tips,management,care

Category: Interviews