Kim Haylor on Changing Her Diabetes Management

Kim Haylor was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was just a kid. While she says her Diabetes management wasn't the best when she was younger, Kim has gone to great lengths to change that. Check out Kim's blog and read about her Diabetes journey.

Can you tell us more about your diagnosis story?

I was diagnosed way back in 1974, just days after my 12th birthday.   I had been losing weight and was constantly thirsty and peeing buckets.  I can remember actually drinking glassfuls of water at the same time as peeing!  My uncle mentioned to my mother that he didn’t think I looked well, and suggested she take me to the doctor.  The first doctor said I was just a “skinny kid”.   After losing more weight but eating everything in sight, and being extremely tired, we went to another Doctor who listened to my mother, did some lab work, and voila!  Type 1 Diabetes! My blood sugar was a whopping 528! I spent 2 weeks in hospital, learning to inject myself.  I practiced on an orange.  We took classes about food, learning the “exchange system”.  By today’s standards, that is archaic! I gained back 23 pounds in those 2 weeks!  Back then it was 1 shot a day, and testing glucose with urine.   At first things were pretty good, mainly because my mother was in charge.  I remember her calling me in to “test” while I was outside playing with friends, or telling me it was time to snack.  Once I got older and started doing more for myself, my care slipped.  As a teenager, I didn’t always eat what I should have.  I would eat chocolate and candies, things that, back then, were forbidden for a diabetic.  For years I just sort of went along, not really caring.  Even during my pregnancies, my care was not the greatest.  Luckily my 3 children did not suffer because of it.

Do any of your other family members have diabetes?

No one else in my family has Type 1 Diabetes. My grandmother developed Type 2 in her later years, but other than that, I’m it!  I didn’t know anyone else with Diabetes.

When did you first begin blogging and what was your motivation behind starting to blog?

I started blogging last year, on May 8th.   In January 2011, I had triple bypass surgery and I knew things had to change.  I was looking at getting an insulin pump because I knew I had to get a hold of my Diabetes. I had been searching for information on insulin pumps, and came across a blog and started reading it.  That led me to more blogs!  I had been feeling very alone with my disease, and even though my husband and family were always there for me, they really didn’t understand the emotional side of it.  After finding and reading several D-blogs, I decided that I may have something to offer.  I realized that I was not alone with this, and if I wrote about my experience with Diabetes, perhaps someone would read it and realized that they weren’t alone either! I thought I may be able to help someone avoid the complications that I have because of Diabetes.    Blogging allows me to express myself, my ups and downs, the things that make me laugh,  and hopefully I can bring a smile to someone ‘s face,  and the knowledge that they are not alone either!

We noticed that you have a tattoo on your wrist. What does this tattoo mean to you? When did you first get it?

I got my tattoo on September 1, 2011.   I used to have a medic alert necklace, but the chain broke and I never bothered to get it replaced.  It was a nice piece of jewellery, but I didn’t always want to wear it.   I had been thinking about a tattoo for quite a while, and so I designed this one.  I used to keep my Diabetes quiet.  By that I mean I wouldn’t talk about it, or tell people.  I hid it in the background.  Since I had open heart surgery, mainly as a result of my lack of control in my younger years, I decided to take ownership of my disease, and let people in.  I talk about it whenever someone notices my tattoo.  It has become a great conversation starter!!

What are some essentials in your diabetes management and care? Can you name any of your favorite diabetes resources?

I used to be very lazy in my care. There was a time when I wouldn’t test for days, and for a long time I didn’t use my Levemir at night because it scared me.   Since I decided to take ownership of my Diabetes, I test at least 6 times a day, sometimes more.  I count carbs like a pro!   I try to walk every day, and I ALWAYS bolus. My Animas Ping is my best friend.    I do the best I can and I try not to stress over the numbers anymore.  As far as Diabetes resources go, I LOVE reading other D-blogs.    They let me know I’m not alone, and since the people writing them are from all over (US, Canada, England, and Australia), it allows me to get different perspectives.  The Canadian Diabetes Association has some good information and updates on their website.  DiabetesMine was one of the first resources I came across when I googled “Diabetes Resources”.

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

  1. Find an Endo that you trust.  One that listens and doesn’t judge.   You need to feel comfortable discussing everything with him/her.   If you can’t be honest with them, they can’t help you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be honest about your Diabetes.  Take care of yourself.  It is important.  We diabetics can live a very full and long life.  But if you don’t take care of yourself, you WILL end up with complications.  Believe me,  if I had taken control of this beast many years ago, I likely would not have had to undergo heart surgery, I would likely still have feeling in  my feet, and I probably wouldn’t have had to have laser surgery on my eyes numerous times.  These things are avoidable, but you have to work at it.
  3. Try to exercise every day.  Even just going for a walk around the block gets your blood moving.  It helps with circulation, which for a diabetic is important.  Exercise helps lower blood sugars, and that helps stave off complications.  Find something you like to do, whether its bike riding, dancing, jogging, or whatever, just do it!!!!  Your Diabetes will love you for it!

Tags: exercise,type 1,diabetes,top tips,dblog

Category: Interviews