My thoughts about diabetes

First, watch the video from Diabetes Canada…because it will figure into this:

So, here is the thing….as you can probably guess…I have diabetes. In the letter I wrote below, along with the stuff on my page about diabetes, I spoke about being diagnosed and about the way that I have lived with it and some of the things that have come from it.

Although I try to put a funny spin on it, this video is often more the truth for pretty much everyone with diabetes – myself included.

Not that long ago, I had a friend question why I was not living in an apartment on my own and I tried to explain to him about the difficulties I see about that…many of them are things that I worry about because of my diabetes. Things like my blood sugar going so low or high that I am not able to treat that situation. Things like being so sick that I can’t move and need to be in the hospital but have no way of contacting people to tell them.

When trying to explain this, I get blank stares. People don’t understand. And I don’t expect them to see things through my eyes – after all, they don’t live with this each and every day. Sure, they may have experience with it in some form or another, but unless you have truly walked around as a diabetic, you will never understand the same way that we do…and as I told them when they said they did, I would not wish it on anyone.

But, at the same time, we need to get the information out there. It can be really scary when you have to go to the emergency room due to your diabetes and the medical staff don’t know anything about it. I have personally had times when I was in the hospital that a nurse on a ward didn’t want to give me my insulin because the doctor hadn’t ordered it. I or my family had to fight with the medical staff to give me a life-sustaining medication! I have even had to put up a fight with my provincial government to get one of my insulin’s declared a life-saving drug. It’s not like I take insulin for the fun of it – I’d much rather never have to see another needed again.

With all of the talk about the Canadian Diabetes Association re-branding itself as Diabetes Canada, the local TV stations have had people on to talk about the new brand. Take a look at the video here before continuing on in this post.

The person interviewed is talking about support systems and I honestly would love to see one started up here. I have mentioned in the past that there does not seem to be anything out there…and as it stands right now, I still have yet to see anything come about to change this. I was on the Diabetes Canada  – Saskatchewan Facebook page and from what I can tell, they had a party to launch the new brand (ok…that is fine) but should they not have tried to inform people that they were doing this? I only found out about it because the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) on Facebook and Twitter posted about it. Otherwise, I would have no idea what was going on. This is something that really amazes me because at one time they were really good at sharing information…I wonder what has happened since then?

As I have been writing this, I have realised that the last time I really even know of someone else with diabetes (specifically, type 1 diabetes) was when I was about 10 years old (over 20 years ago). They talk in the videos about how you often feel like you are the only one out there – well, that is true. Even though I know there are others, I can’t quantify it as true because I have never even had the opportunity to meet them. This seems troubling to me and it should to them as well.

In terms of other thoughts about living with diabetes, I would love to have a full nights sleep and yet I can’t remember the last time that happened. I’ve talked to my doctor about it and no one can figure it out. I personally think it has to do with the constant dealing with diabetes, because it doesn’t take a break and so neither does our mind.

I don’t completely know where I was going with this whole post but I felt like I needed to make it. Maybe it was just to get these thoughts out there? No matter what the reason, I hope somehow that it helps.

A Letter to the Canadian Diabetes Association

To whom it may concern,

Allow me to first introduce myself. My name is Tyler Parker and in March of 1990, I was five years old and had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetes. At the time, I had no idea what diabetes was or how it would eventually affect my everyday live. As time went on, I was taught by the staff at one of the hospitals here how to manage diabetes, how to deal with high and low blood sugars, and how to figure out nutritional values regarding everything that I ate. This was not something that most five-year-old children ever have to go through and something I hope that one day will simply be a memory. As I went through school, I would try to live my life as normally as all the other children. However, I was always aware in the back of my mind that there was something different about me – after all, I had to test my blood sugar levels, have insulin multiple times daily, and ensure I had things like juice with me always to be able to treat fluctuations in my blood sugar levels. The one thing each year which helped me to live a normal childhood was the diabetes camp that was put on each year by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). It was here that I could see that there were others in the province like me and that we were all living the same type of life. It was also here that I first gave myself a solo insulin injection, thus paving the way for me to live a more independent live. When I reached my teenage years, the camp was no longer an option for me to attend as it was for children. I entered high school and hoped I would be able to find something where I could continue spending time with others who had also been diagnosed with diabetes. This, however, was not the case. While I did look for something that would allow me to continue the type of support system I had found at diabetes camp, there was nothing to be found in Saskatchewan. What I did find was a plethora of supports for those with insulin resistant (type 2) diabetes. Even within the last few years, I have continued to find that the same is true. I have attempted to volunteer with the CDA in Regina, and after two attempts to get in touch with someone, I was eventually contacted. However, the first thing I was told was that they do not focus on type 1 diabetes and would be focusing on type 2 instead. This meant that they wanted me to learn how to do the CANRISK questionnaire. While not what I was hoping for, I decided to see how it would work out. Instead of what I had thought I would be doing, I was asked to go to a family camp and speak to parents of children diagnosed with diabetes. This was okay as I felt I would at least be talking to people about something I had lived through. This was a good experience and I hope I could help those parents out. However, after that, I was simply asked to help with a BBQ and did not hear from the CDA office again. I find this quite interesting as I still see constant requests for help from the association, and yet when you try to help, they are extremely difficult to get in touch with.

All of this is to say, I have yet to find any sort of support system provided by the Canadian Diabetes Association for people such as myself. I am 32 years old and can say that I have not met another person with diabetes beyond the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) since I was 12 years old. The support systems that you can find on Facebook and Twitter are fantastic, but I feel that there needs to be something done that establishes something that is more personal. As previously stated, I have look but have not found anything yet. If it is out there, then I would like to request that it be made more prominent and easier to access. If not, then I would implore you to do something to rectify this. While there is only approximately 300,000 Canadians living with Type 1 Diabetes[1] as opposed to the approximately 9 million living with Type 2 diabetes[2], type 1 diabetes is current six times as likely to cause heart disease and stroke in patients ages 35-65 with this diagnosis. [3] In a case such as this, established support systems could help to ensure that the millions affected by this (either directly or indirectly) could have accountability to be able to manage their diabetes successfully. When diabetes is managed properly, the person with diabetes can live out a full life and do anything anyone without the diagnosis can do. When mismanaged, there is a large multitude of complications that can arise answerer from loss of vision to loss of life. I feel that this is something that the Canadian Diabetes Association does not seem to be taking seriously enough with their apparent focus mainly on type 2 diabetes while they seem to ignore type 1 diabetes. Both conditions should be given equal considerations instead of the apparent slant that is currently in place.

At the beginning of this letter, I started out by introducing myself to you and giving a small example of my history with type 1 diabetes. This is by no means a complete look at the everyday struggle of living with type 1 diabetes – the struggle of spending a large portion of your life in doctor’s waiting rooms (often surrounded by seniors and you being the youngest there by 40-50 years), spending nights not eating to be able to do a fasting blood test and then having the lab be so behind that you wait an additional hour or more as your blood sugar continues to plummet dangerously low, the nights where you can’t sleep because you are worried about what is going on with your life, trying to decide what kind of medication you can afford because much of the medication used to treat diabetes is either not covered or requires a fight with the provincial government to get it declared life-saving, or trying to explain to others why you do things the way you do and knowing that they can’t understand, and never will unless they are diagnosed with diabetes, something you would not wish on even your worst enemy.

I can only hope that someone will listen and something will be done to help in providing the support needed. Although I do not know if Canada yet considers diabetes an epidemic, I do. As someone living daily with the struggle of managing diabetes, I cannot think of a better word to describe what is going on. While we have made such huge strides in treatment in the past 100 years, there is so much further to go and I hope and pray that we can get there sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you with a response or any follow-up questions.

[1] http://www.jdrf.ca/news-and-media/fact-sheets/about-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes/?gclid=CjwKEAiAq8bEBRDuuOuyspf5oyMSJAAcsEyW6_aNzP0R5oHFZIwv48kaSpeEr6qUKL8JvYDrrtSK_RoCCO_w_wcB

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/Diabetes_e.htm

Hamilton – An American Musical

This has been my latest obsession in musical theatre – it is a cast recording that I can listen to over and over again and not get tired of it. This video is from the Tony Awards where Hamilton won 12 awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Actor in a Musical for Leslie Odom Jr. and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Daveed Diggs

Enjoy your new obsession 🙂

The Battle of Yorktown – TonyAwards

The Schuyler Sisters – Tony Awards

One Last Time- White House

Alexander Hamilton – White House

The Schuyler Sisters = White House

I just can’t even…

I know, this is kind of old news….but it still makes me shake my head…

Oh my God! Don’t talk to me like I’m some kind of normal person! (Lindsay Lohan, 7th Ave & 9th St, New York City)

For someone who usually has a lot to say, I just don’t even know where to begin with this one. Its just so…so..I don’t even know. Like really..don’t talk to me like I’m some kind of a normal person? What the heck is she thinking? Okay, granted, she might be a member of ACTRA/Equity, she may have a CD of her own, and she may have had starring roles in films since she was about 10 (including playing her own identical twin) but that does not make her non-normal. I suppose that if having done something not everyone has done makes you a non-normal person, than I could say that because I have, oh I don’t know, been to..Russell, Manitoba that makes me a non-standard, therefore more important person that everyone else. Nothing against Russell. They have a very nice community center. And a..Saan store. There was also a large pile of snow there when I was there and we climbed it.

But still, I cant even begin to figure out what made Lindsay Lohan think that she had the right to claim that she is superior to others just because of a little fame. In context, her own production assistant was telling her that she was needed on set. Wow. An actor being needed on set. Man. That’s unthinkable. Totally unthinkable. As an actor myself, I wish I had my own PA who would tell me when I was needed somewhere. It would make life so much easier.

Magic Boobs? Maybe….

Katy Perry has a body to die for and a few years back she commissioned a plaster cast of her ample assets. But rather than mount her moulded mounds above her mantelpiece, Katy had them auctioned off for a breast cancer charity. Before seemingly shooting cancer-curing lighting out of her jugs in the video for Firework. – Source

Well, that is just…different. Sure, it goes to a charity, and kudos for that. But….what was going on in Firework? That’s a little…bizarre.

 

Cold Weather

Well, it is January in Saskatchewan and that means one thing (well, more than one, but I am focusing on only one right now)….cold weather.

This morming, we woke up to a wonderful temperate with a windchill of -48 C (-54 F). That wasn’t fun. We have had an extreme cold warning since last night (those are getting popular lately) and a lot of school bus service was cancelled for today (first time this has happened since around 2006) which means you know it is cold. Of course, we don’t cancel school up here – but if you can’t get there, well I guess it is a snow day for you.

The news paper here even decided to have a story all about the extreme cold warning we are experiencing:

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for Regina.

An arctic high-pressure ridge brought temperatures down to near -30 C overnight, which combined with winds to produce wind chills of -40 C or colder.

Regina’s temperature is currently at -45 C this morning with the windchill. These conditions are expected to let up over Wednesday morning.

According to Environment Canada, a fast-moving system will bring milder air into the area on Wednesday afternoon and evening, but it will be accompanied by light snow and blowing snow.

More extreme cold is expected on Thursday morning.

In extremely cold conditions there is a heightened risk of hypothermia and frostbite, with infants, seniors, and those with certain medical conditions at greater risk.

The crazy thing about all of this is….this is normal for us. And we all keep asking ourselves why we live in in the winter.

My personal thought is that Turks and Caicos wants to join Canada – I say we let them become a part of the province. That way, a flight is domestic and hey…Caribbean island as part of the province seems like a good deal to me 🙂

This weather works for me…..

I guess what I am trying to say is….

 

Living With Diabetes – TKO!

No I am not saying that I a boxer or a knockout…although I guess if you want to go with that…all the more power to you?

In reality, this is a story about something that happened to me in grade 3. So a long time ago. A bit of background for those who don’t know…I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 5 (so still in preschool). I had been dealing with it for a while now…but still it was in its infancy (so to speak).

Anyways, this was still in my days of taking multiple injections of NPH daily along with some Humulin R (so prior before Humalog was really even a thing). I was in class as normal and I guess I started to feel kind of odd because I got up to tell the teacher that I was not feeling right (so I am told…I don’t remember a thing about this day other than what others have told me). However, when I got close to the teachers desk…down I went like a sack of potatoes (that’s an odd expression…) and it seems on the way down, I hit my head on another students desk. No blood that I am aware of but I guess it sort of shocked her. I really can’t say I blame her for being shocked though.

So, first thing I remember (sort of) from that day is waking up in the secretaries office (and not knowing why I am there or how I got there – still don’t know how I got there actually). They tell me I should stay seated and my parents are on their way. Okay….

Someone from my class had realized my sugar must have been low and gone into my locker and got some of the apple juice out of my stash. So I sucked that juice down as fast as I could. I remember thinking that I just needed sugar.

When my parents got there, the teacher spoke to them and must have told them what happened because next thing I knew I was getting up and going home for the rest of the day. I guess passing out means an automatic day off school. Who knew?

The next few days people started telling me what had happened (and that is why I know I hit my head on the way down). One of the other students in my class decided that it would be fun to run around the school with my juice when they were trying to bring it to me….so I guess he did so and had a few people in the class chasing him up and down the halls. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I didn’t find it funny at all. It still isn’t funny…but if you can’t laugh at yourself….

I have not passed out again since them (although I have come close a couple times – both with DKA and low glucose). Hopefully I keep that up.

The meet and greet – Blog Edition

I found this while randomly wandering around the internet, and so decided that I would do it as well. Because it is always interesting to see other peoples blogs and learn more about them, right?

This blog is sort of new. I have actually owned www.tylerparker.ca for  a few years, and have blogged in the past, but decided one day that I should actually do something with it and thought that blogging would be a fun way to do that. It really is a random hodgepodge of information and includes blogs, vlogs, pictures, and links to things I find online (and often make fun of).

10 things you don’t know about me

  1. When I was 5, I was in the hospital because I had been diagnosed as a diabetic. While there, one of the other kids thought that it would be fun to try and strangle me with the headphones for their TV. I called for a nurses help, and was told they would get there when they had a chance. I had to keep bugging them for a long time until they finally came and helped me. After that, my dad had to sit in a chair in the room until everyone was asleep to make sure it didn’t happen again.
  2. Another time, I was in a pool at a birthday party and one of the other kids there decided to try and drown me by holding me under the water.
  3. I can pull off a pretty good British accent, a passable Irish accent (somewhat), and can also sound like a valley girl. I have no use for these skills, but I can do it.
  4. Although I technically sing as a tenor, I can thrown my voice and drop it to a bass when needed. Again, I have not been able to find a use for this.
  5. I have been told I look anywhere from 16-30. It all seems to depend on the time of day and the lighting. Of course, the time I was told I looked 30, I was working in healthcare and we were into hour 10 out of 12 and on day 3 or 4, so that could have had something to do with it.
  6. I work for a place that provides AV services to hotels in the city. The best way to describe what we do is hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror….or black magic. Seriously…I once stared at a cable that wasn’t working until it did..no one can explain why…it just…did.
  7. I once had a friend yell at me that I was allergic to sugar. We were at our exhibition (fair) and I was fairly certain that me and her were going to get arrested. We didn’t.
  8. I once saw MC Hammer live. I seriously wish that I could take that back.
  9. I once became a Strafleet Cadet and was asked by a Vulcan if  I was hiding a tribble in my backpack. I wasn’t.
  10. I once sang through the entire musical RENT between classes in school with a friend of mine because we were bored and had four hours between classes.

The thing about these ten facts is, no matter how bizarre they may be, they are all true. Although there more that likely isn’t photographic evidence of much of it (thankfully, I might add), there is probably much more to the story that I put on here.

A final story

When I was in Bible College, we had something called brother and sister dorms. Now, my sister dorm and my dorm got along really well (usually – one time they stole our bear skull). Anyways, we decided that it would be kinda funny to kidnap them all and invite them on a dorm date during open dorms (the guys can either go and visit the girls dorms or vice versa – it changed each month). So, we loaded them all up into cars, took them out into a field, and surrounded them and then shone headlights at them. Which, sounds creepy – but Bible College culture is…different. We then read a declaration that had wording like “Since the beginning of time, there has existed the sacred institution of the dorm date”. So, we invited them on this date. For a couple days, we didn’t hear anything, but eventually, we came out of our dorm and found a rubber chicken head (where they got one..I have no idea) with a small note attached to it that read “We accept. Love, LA”. The dorms name was Lewis Apartments, so that is why it was shortened to LA. Anyways, this was typical of the way that dorm date invitations went. Until we started to attack other dorms, because we had declared ourselves an independent country – but that is a story for another time…if the general lets us tell it.