Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day, eh!

July 1st is Canada's 145th Birthday!!

Every Canada day makes me appreciate the fact that I'm Canadian! I absolutely LOVE being Canadian and I love travelling as a Canadian even more. During my recent trip to South East Asia I was always given a warm welcome when people would find out that I was from Canada. I also love the quiet patriotism that Canadians have....we adore our country and everything it stands for, but we're not over the top with it.

Canada has had many proud moments in its rich 145 years of are a few that stand out in my mind...


First has to go to none other than Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of Insulin. Fred, I literally owe you my life! Without your amazing discovery I, and so many others around the world, would not be here today. Thank you.

Next, is the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games! What an awesome time to be a Canadian! We truly came together as a country and even if you weren't in Vancouver during the games, the whole country felt electric!

Hockey, hockey and more hockey! It truly is Canada's game and we are always so proud of the accomplishments of our Canadian players! I wasn't always as big of a hockey fan as I am now but when you have spent the last 3 years with a man that eats, sleeps and breathes hockey, then you definitely start to appreciate the game! Plus, Winnipeg finally got their precious Jets back and we managed to score our very own season tickets so I really paid attention last year!

And lastly, the Canadian Military. My Dad served in the Canadian Air Force for 43 years. He joined when he was just a young man living in Moose Jaw, AB and retired in Winnipeg in 2007. I am very proud of my Dad's career and the career of so many other Canadian men and women serving our country every single day. Whenever I see an Air Force logo or someone in uniform, it makes my heart smile and reminds me of home!

My little family at my Dad's retirement ceremony

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Money, Money, Money!!

It's no lie that having diabetes is expensive.

Since I was diagnosed 4 short months ago, I can't even believe how much the supplies can cost! Who would have thought test strips would cost $0.75 per strip? And that I would need to test at least 4 times a day? Most days I am testing up to 8 times....that's $6 a day just on the testing. Add in your insulin, needles, pump supplies, and glucose tabs and the bills very quickly start to add up. And if you're like me: you have a good job (Government job, no less) but your insurance coverage is horrible, then you really start to notice the hit that diabetes can make to your pay cheque. And diabetes is not something you can cut back on! My life depends on all of these supplies. Every. Single. Day.

These are all things I had no idea about before I was diagnosed. I was blissfully unaware of the lack of funding in most parts of Canada for insulin pumps and diabetes supplies in general. And even though my insurance coverage is horrible, I'm still one of the lucky ones. Many people are living with this disease and have no insurance coverage at all. This whole issue of the financial cost of having diabetes has really weighed on my mind since my diagnosis. It's left me tossing and turning at night trying to come up with solutions and "loop holes" to this problem. I have literally spent days on end researching this issue.

I very quickly found out that until Manitoba has better funding for insulin pumps or until my employer increases their insurance coverage, there would be no "loop holes". Many people before me had already tried.

The one solution I did however come up with is: A Budget.

Novel idea, isn't it??

I have been living without a structured budget for most of my twenties. Ok, all of my twenties. Up until recently, I had always been healthy and felt that I never truly had to worry about something happening to me. I was, after all, invincible...right?

 I have now learned very quickly that things can and will happen to me. These unforeseeable events will most often cost money. I never fully understood how to make a budget work out right. The numbers just never seemed to add up right for me. I have however gotten back into watching the show "Till Debt Do Us Part", hosted by the financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

The show follows a different couple in financial trouble during each episode, but the basis of the show is always the same. Gail shows people how to come up with "a budget that works for you". Her system is based on the "Magic Jars". Once you have come up with your budget, you stick strictly to cash only and you place cash in separate jars for each of your variable expenses. The part I loved the most is that Gail's website and blog is packed full of interactive worksheets to come up with a great budget. There are also lots of resources and advice available when it comes to your finances and she provides alot of insider information in terms of your credit and making smart financial choices for your future.

I started this budget only a short week ago, and I love it. Ok, maybe my love is a bit pre-mature, but I can't believe the satisfaction I have already received from sticking to my budget! I already feel like I have more money and I finally have a plan that is realistic. This budget has helped me to feel more confident in terms of meeting my financial goals and it has already helped reduce my stress of paying for my diabetes supplies. And we all know that stress only makes our diabetes more difficult to manage. With my insurance coverage running out in about another two months, I am confident I will be able to make all ends meet as well as be able to put money away for that next "rainy day".

Which there will be many more. Of that I am certain.

Click here to go directly to Gail's home page.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Funnies

Because sometimes we just need to laugh about it!

This is by far the greatest t-shirt ever!!

Yes, yes I do!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"The Big C"

Don't worry... There's no spoilers in this post if you're currently following the show!

This past week I got the opportunity to catch up on season 3 of "The Big C". The Big C is described as a comedy/drama and the premise behind the show is that the main character, Cathy Jamison aka. Mrs. J (played perfectly by Laura Linney ),  is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to live her life on her terms. And boy does she ever! Considering the dark topic covered in the show, it's surprisingly light hearted and I laugh my way through every episode! There are so many great characters in the show and they all bring something very unique to the story lines. There is never a dull moment and I highly recommend it!

While watching the show last week, it got me thinking about the ups and downs of life and how we handle them. Let me first say that I am in NO WAY comparing diabetes and cancer. They are vastly different diseases. Each disease though comes with very different challenges and obstacles to over come. When I first started watching The Big C last year, I did not have diabetes so as I was watching the show last week it really made me think of the way we handle the crappy hands we can be dealt. I realise that Cathy Jamison is not real, but I'm sure there's a bit of Mrs. J in all of us! If you've ever looked on the bright side, or taken the approach that "Life's too short!" then you have a bit of her in you! I truly feel that it's important to have a positive outlook as much as possible. Sure, we all have really rough days that can feel like we're never going to get through them, but we do! And as Mrs. J would say....