June 28th, 2006
Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s not a fun thing to learn you have an uncurable disease that will stay with you for the rest of your life. However, I’ve learned a lot in the past weeks, and I’ve realized that while my life has changed dramatically, having diabetes is not going to prevent me from doing the things I want to do. It will definitely change the way I live my life, but it’s more of an adjustment than anything else.
For those unfamiliar with type 1 diabetes, it is an auto-immune disease, in which your immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a very important hormone that is needed by cells in the body in order to use glucose, which is the body’s main source of energy. Without insulin, the cells can’t get energy, and therefore they keep signalling the body for more food. This leads to increased hunger and thirst, but no matter how much you eat or drink, the cells are still unable to use the nutrients because insulin is not present. Since you cannot use the sugars that are present in the blood, the body will act like it’s starving and will start breaking down fat (and eventually muscle and organs) for fuel.
It all started just over a month ago when I suddenly started losing weight. I was actually trying to put on a few pounds during this time, so it was a bit surprising to see the scale going down week after week. During this time I was also really tired all the time, super thirsty and peeing a lot. These are all classic symptoms of diabetes. My dad also has Type 1 Diabetes, and after talking to him about it, he suggested I check my blood sugar with his glucometer. My reading was quite high – much higher than a ‘normal’ person’s blood sugar should ever get. This concerned my dad, so off to the hospital we went.
At the hospital, they checked a few things and took a bunch of blood samples. Fortunately, there was not a long wait, and they gave me my own bed in the emergency ward almost immediately. They put me on an IV and gave me insulin to bring my blood sugar down. It was a really weird experience, but the nurses at Oshawa General Hospital made it much more bearable. They were super friendly and took really great care of me while I was there. They were going to keep me overnight, but after my symptoms improved, they released me at about 3:30am so I could go home to sleep in my own bed.
The next day I went to see my doctor and I was referred to the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby by one of my wonderful co-workers. I cannot say enough good things about the staff at the centre. Finding out I am diabetic was difficult, and it brought a lot of questions and uncertainty with it. Everyone at the Best Centre is very supportive, extremely knowledgeable and will do their best to help out in any way that they can. They really made adjusting to this new life easier for me.
At this point, I am taking insulin injections four times per day. It’s really not as bad as I thought. The first injection is the worst one, and after that they all get easier. So far the worst part is pricking my fingers several times a day to get a drop of blood so I can test my blood sugar. I met with a dietician at the Best Centre, and I was delighted to learn I can eat almost anything I want. Things aren’t so restrictive like they used to be, so I can still eat sweets (in moderation). As long as I eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and take my insulin, I should be as healthy as any ‘normal’ person, if not healthier.
That’s all about diabetes for now. For more info, check out some of the links below:
http://www.charleshbestcentre.com – The diabetes centre in Whitby
http://www.ianblumer.com – Dr. Blumer specializes in diabetes and works with the Best Centre. He has written a couple of books on diabetes and his website is a wealth of info.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes – An encylopedia-like explanation of diabetes, with more scientific details than most people would probably want
June 9th, 2006
I finally got around to upgrading to WordPress 2.0, as suggested by my friend Chris. (WordPress is the software that runs this blog). For the past few months, I’ve been having some ongoing problems with blog spam, and WordPress 2.0 has some new features that seem to be doing extremely well in helping me combat this spam problem.
This upgraded version looks the same to anyone visiting robmaeder.com, but behind the scenes, there are some nice changes. The admin dashboard is revamped, giving it a much cooler look, and making it easier to use.
The best part about this new version is the integrated Akismet plugin which is a tool that checks blog comments and trackbacks and then filters out the spam from the legitimate entries. Since I host my blog on my own server and not on wordpress.com, I had to register with WordPress to get an API key in order to use Akismet. This was a simple process which took about two minutes. Then I went in to the admin dashboard and activated the Akismet plugin with my API key. Everything else was handled automatically, and so far it’s been working very well. Before upgrading to 2.0, I would receive anywhere from 1 to 50 blog comment spams per day, and I would have to manually go in and delete them all. With Akismet, it automatically flags the spam comments without any human intervention. Comments are held for 15 days so they can be reviewed, and after that they are deleted automatically.
I’d highly recommend upgrading to WordPress 2.0 if you are using a prior version. It’s been working well for me so far, so I have to give it two thumbs up.
June 8th, 2006
I quickly got accustomed to the unemployed lifestyle after that fateful day in January. Staying up late, sleeping in and not having to answer to anybody day after day was fantastic. I could party any day of the week, eat whenever I wanted and I could do nothing all day if I so desired.
Luckily, I managed to stay somewhat productive, doing work around the house, cooking dinners and hanging out with fellow unemployed friends. However, after three months, being unemployed started to take its toll. While I was staying busy day-to-day, I wasn’t really accomplishing much. Sure, daily chores were getting done, and I managed to help clean up the house and do some repairs/maintenance, but overall, I wasn’t doing much to further my career or life goals. I wasn’t gaining experience in my field and I wasn’t making money either.
I had been applying for a few jobs here and there over the course of my unemployment, but I didn’t really step up my job search until about the middle of April. In a matter of about two weeks, I had three interviews scheduled.
The first interview was at a small webhosting company in Pickering and it didn’t go very well at all. To be honest, the owner was a dick, and in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get that job. However, it was still a learning experience.
The second interview went incredibly well. The position was a technical support role at a telecommunications company in Oshawa that develops phone call tracking software. I had no trouble answering the technical questions, I developed good rapport with the interviewer and I walked out of the interview knowing they would offer me the position. The only problem was the pay… For a semi-skilled technical position, they just barely broke the double digit per hour mark.
Despite the pay, everything else about the job was decent. It would be fairly interesting work, it offered some travel, it was close to home and it was a standard 9-5 schedule. I decided that if nothing else came up, and assuming they offered it to me, I would accept this position for the time being.
Interview number three came on Wednesday May 10th. Right from the start I knew things would be different. The interview was rather enjoyable and lasted almost an hour and a half. By the end, I was offered a software developer position on the spot. I gladly accepted.
Interestingly, while I was at interview number three, the telecommunications company called my house offering me the job. Had they called earlier in the day, I may not have even attended the last interview. At the least, it would have complicated matters, so it’s a good thing they waited so long to call with their offer. Plus it’s kinda nice to be in demand.
I’ve been at this company for just three weeks, but I am already considering this the best job I’ve ever had. There is a great group of people here, they have a strong focus on health and wellness and the work I’ve been doing is interesting. (On a more nerdy note, the software here is extremely well-written and it really is a pleasure to work with).
Overall, I’m happy to be back in the workforce. I’m still getting used to the schedule and the lifestyle, but I feel more productive and I am earning a regular paycheque.