Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guest Post: The Benefits Of Going Bionic.

I'm mixing things up a bit this Tuesday morning - you'll find my post over at Our Diabetic Life (hope you have a great vacation, Meri!) today, and I'm bringing you a guest post here. Laura, a self-professed "tech geek" and blogger at My 3 Ring Circus of a Life, writes about finding something she can enjoy about having type 1 - the "robot parts".  :)

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I’m a tech geek. That’s the honest to goodness truth. I teach the technology classes at a small, private school, I’m attached to my laptop and my smartphone and I love video games. When I was diagnosed with diabetes (adult type 1, thanks so much body for revolting) right before my 34th birthday, I felt like I would have to undo my geek status in relation to my health. All I knew of diabetes was shots. Draw the needle up…stick it in your body somewhere and move on.

Then, I started suffering through crushing highs, rattling lows and all of the mood swings that come with the territory. I didn’t know what to do, as my schedule started not to allow me the time to really do what I needed to do to in some cases, stay vertical. It was, on some days, frightening. Others, it was just plain annoying. Then, there was the fact that I started to react from the needle sticks. Itchy, welty, red bumps were the order of business after every single injection. I was also bruised beyond belief. 

It was then that I visited my Irreverent Endo. I asked him about a pump. Yes, I had done my research. I knew that this would mean going BIONIC! I was bouncing at the prospect. I didn’t know what he would say to me, and frankly, I was prepared for every instance of no with an argument as to why I should be allowed to have this. 

Irreverent Endo said “Pump? Sure! I’m easy, but I’m not cheap. This will cost you.”

Cost?

I paid him in true irreverent fashion. With cookies. 

Yes, the diabetic requesting a pump paid her endo in cookies. Oatmeal raisin cookies at that.

Never said I wasn’t a bit left of center either. 

It was at that point, I discovered the tech geek side of having diabetes. I actually became a bit less resentful of my body revolting against me and decided that this could be fun. I decided that it was high time that I got busy going bionic and stopped complaining about things. 

Having a pump changed my life. It changed the way I looked at being diabetic. It changed the way that I viewed my world. For the longest time, I figured I’d be doomed to a life of nothing good. No fun, no good food, no nothing. Everything was fire and brimstone-don’t touch this, don’t eat that, don’t do this, oh, my, your kidneys, oh, my. 

There wasn’t one good thing about this. 

Except for the pump. 

I get this huge kick out of plugging in a USB drive and downloading my pump. Totally makes me feel a bit like I’m out of one of my favorite Sci Fi stories, Johnny Mnemonic, where the guy has information in his head that he has to download. 

It’s just a perk of going bionic. 

I also have gained so much control-and for me, that’s the huge deal. I don’t hate this whole auto-immune thing anymore. I’ve learned to use the technology available to make my life manageable and easier. 

Having this pump is like having my smartphone or laptop. I’m attached to it, it makes my life easier and it can be just plain fun to own. Ok, it doesn’t play games, run apps or do anything that a lot of people find special, but for me, it has made me peek at things in a new light. Even if I had to go a bit more bionic to do it.

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Thanks again to Laura for sharing her thoughts here. (P.S. How does one get ahold of those cookies? Yum!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stuck on Stick Me.

I've never been a fan of those black zipper bags that glucose meters come with, because... well... they don't really look like anything else. Even a diabetes advocate likes to blend in sometimes! (Plus, I'm a girl and like cute things - which those cases are decidedly NOT.)

So, when Rickina over at Stick Me Designs offered to send one of her deluxe clutch bags over for me to try out last week, I thought, "YAAAY!" (I might have said it out loud, too.) I had never used a diabetes-customized accessory before - I've just repurposed "normal people" items, like makeup bags and media cases.

And when I say that "this was a treat", I'm not kidding. Look at how she packages her bags:

Wrapped in cellophane, just like candy!
The bag is pretty fun to use - lots of zippers, pockets, and elastic holsters. (It seemed like I kept saying, "Oh, there's another pocket!" every five seconds after I opened it up.) It was nice to have everything in its own space - not just all thrown into one big compartment, like I'm used to.


I found it especially useful to have a bag this size when I traveled last weekend - I could fit all you see in the picture above, plus my Dexcom receiver, cell phone, lip balm, Glucose tabs, Humalog pen, pen needles, and everything I needed for a set change (infusion set, cartridge, and insulin vial) in there, and for the most part, everything had its own compartment.

While there are a few things I would have liked to be different (a liquid-resistant outer fabric, for example, for people like me who tend to not realize their finger is still gushing, and smear blood all over everything they touch after testing), I really do enjoy this bag. The modern print, in one of my favorite colors, is the icing on the cupcake that is this bag. I also have a big ol' crush on the "Hoot" print she's coming out with soon.

Thanks again, Rickina, for the sweet (ha!) bag!

You can check out Stick Me Designs' website here, visit their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure: Stick Me Designs sent me this clutch bag for free, with the understanding that I would share what I thought of it on my blog - good or bad.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vacation.

I spent the last four days in Colorado with Aaron, my parents, and my brother. It was a great opportunity to spend time with some of the people I love the most, and a much needed away-from-normal-things break.

I will most likely not be posting much this week, as I'm putting something together behind the scenes that will require every bit of time I can dedicate to it.

Without giving away too many details up front, I can tell you that I think it will be very worth the wait.

The video project idea I mentioned a few weeks back - "You Can Do This" - is underway. There will be a big announcement on this blog on June 1st, so stay tuned. (This project also has a fledgling Facebook page. Feel free to follow along for announcements/updates.)

In the meantime, here are a couple of the more amusing photos from my trip:

Aaron and Frank the Goose,
contemplating their next moves.
The least fearful deer I've ever met.
(See also: Free Buffet Breakfast For Furry Friends.)

A cosmopolitan, with a side carafe. Yes, I'm serious.

Yum. Also: Yikes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guest Post: Spring Cleaning.

Today, I have the pleasure of bringing you a post from Katie Hodge. A jewelry designer and teacher by trade, Katie is relatively new to both blogging and the diabetes online community, so please help me welcome her! :)

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Hi! I’d like to introduce myself just a little bit, since I’m pretty new to this community, and a little bit shy for a blogger. ;-)

I’m Katie… I’m 23, looking forward to my 2nd wedding anniversary in July, and puppy-momma to a tiny, fuzzy Charlemagne. I was diagnosed with Type 1 September 3, 1999… shortly after turning 12. I use a Minimed pump, and sometimes a Dexcom CGM. Since getting married, I have also discovered that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. I’m kinda infertile (which is heartwrenching) but the insulin resistance is the more medically crummy symptom. It has been quite an adventure assembling a medical team to get me pregnant! Other than medical stuff—I am a jewelry designer. That’s the main focus of my blog. I also love bargains, crafting of ALL sorts, and baking. I’m excited to meet y’all!

What I would love to focus on today is something that I’ve been mulling over since Kim’s post about the Promise Book and a conversation with my Grandma. They really struck something in me, and got me thinking about my heart. Yeah, deep, I know. I’m not usually, but roll with me, please!

I was having a classic Bad Day, and talked to my Grandma on the phone. We were fairly estranged for most of my childhood, and have reconnected mostly since my marriage. Her encouragement, the realization that she and I are so much alike, and her words, “It is good to hear your voice,” are all priceless treasures. There is a verse in the Bible about “treasuring these things in [my] heart,” and while this is a WAY (WAY, WAY!!) different situation, I began to identify with the sentiment.

Picture, as I have been, your heart as a cabinet. I am a notoriously, horrendously, tragically disorganized person… so my cabinet has been pretty messy... but I’m working on straightening it up. Like with a real cabinet, when your heart is cluttered, it is really easy to misplace things and forget what you have. So, here’s a partial inventory of mine:

  1. My faith. Actually, it is kinda more like the shelves in the closet—it helps me make sense and order of chaos.
  2. My husband. Well, duh. Doesn’t get a lot better than this man. <3
  3. Promise book: This is a recent addition, but an important one. I added this after Kim posted about it. This is where I extend grace to people who may not necessarily deserve it! I added this and chucked the book where I “kept a record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) Granted, this was a reasonably small volume—I am a nice person, after all—but any book like this needs purged!
  4. Family: Some of these are a little discouraging at times, but they’re mine. Other times, they are beautiful and fantastic. Kinda analogous to photo albums...
  5. Heritage: I am a descendant on my dad’s side of many of the great kings of Europe—especially France—as well as beautiful strong Appalachian people. I’m finding a lot of identity as I explore what this means to me.
  6. Trinket box: This is where I keep the little keepsakes… like loving words or gestures, smiles from strangers, being stood up for, words of encouragement… the things I can look back on and smile, my small but priceless treasures.

Ah. It feels good to have organized and inventoried some of that… I think I’ll keep working on it for my own benefit. This was something I needed in my life… I hope it has inspired you to clean out your heart’s closet, chuck the garbage, and maybe rediscover some treasures you can be cherishing! Is there anything in your “closet” you’d like to share about?

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What a wonderful idea - to stop, take a minute, and appreciate the good things in life. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Katie!

You can find Katie blogging at Always, Katie and on Twitter as @AlwzKT.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Post: Repeat After Me: Yes, I Can.

Today I'm bringing you a post from Sarah, whose cleverly titled "smartDpants" blog was born just a few weeks ago. Sarah writes today about the power of connecting with others, and the motivation and inspiration that it can bring. Thank you, Sarah!

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I cried at the commercial too: the Google Chrome ad featuring the It Gets Better Project. I've always been passionate about hearing voices of those who aren't usually heard, especially people who experience prejudice and are stereotyped by others based on invisible aspects of their identities--aspects like being (or being perceived as being) lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender...or like having diabetes. Since my identity includes both of those invisible aspects , I get what It Gets Better is about. I also love Kim's idea to create a similar, diabetes-related campaign.

It is amazingly supportive and energizing to find community with others facing the same struggles (Hello, DOC!!). I've felt very supported lately, both by folks in the DOC and in the not-online world--so much so that I started several new, good things all at the same time. I started my own dblog last week, almost on a whim. It's SOOO much fun! I also started getting up early in the morning to do 20 minutes of walking and running. That last one is crazy unbelievable, because in 31 years of type 1 diabetes I've never exercised on my own. Ever. My best experience with exercise was several months of 1.5 hrs. of marching band practice 4 days a week when I was in high school. I didn't have to think about it, someone else told us what to do and where to be, I got to hang out with my friends, make music and cool designs at the same time. Other than that, I've hated exercise my entire life.

In the midst of feeling all kinds of diabetes support, in the middle of my first week of planned, regular exercise, I had one of those times when every song on my playlist seemed to speak to how I was feeling. (As I was running. At 6am. Go figure! All kinds of crazy happening here!) Lyrics from every song could have been talking about my diabetes life:


***About my morning BG the last few days***

Too high, can't come down

It's in the air and it's all around

~Britney Spears, Toxic


***About taking better care of myself/exercising***

Suddenly I see, this is what I wanna be

Suddenly I see why the hell it means so much to me

~KT Tunstall, Suddenly I See


***About the voices of PWD, every one of us***

What if the world was crazy and I was sane? Would it be so strange?

I can't believe that I'm alone in saying the things I'm saying: "I am part of you"

These are universal truths

We're all a part of the light that flows through everything

~Cher, A Different Kind of Love Song


Something about knowing there are other people feeling the same way, and thinking the same things, about shared challenges makes them easier for me to handle. I also like the idea that giving voice to how we get through something--how to manage--how to not just endure but live, better--and sharing examples of how we've done it, makes it seem possible to others as well. I'd much rather hear about how someone deals with an issue I have, complete with the reality about all of the difficulties and barriers in the way, and truth about how they managed. That seems so much more empowering than advising on all things *not* to do (like we don't already know, right?).

So here's to each of us being an integral part of this universal diabetes community. Here's to feeling much-needed support from all of our communities, both offline and on. Finally, here's to helping others feel like they are seen by living our own lives visibly and sharing our stories. I've recently realized (yet again) that I really CAN do this. May all of us with diabetes feel that we can, and hear it in our community's voices.

P.S. Since I just began the smartDpants dblog, volunteering to do a guest post for Kim is both scary and amazing at the same time. Hers was one of the first dblogs I found, and I felt an instant connection with it--and her--through her honesty, her kindness and her hilarious wit. (This girl and her puns!) THANK YOU for inviting me to do this, Kim!

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Sarah is a veteran PWD (diagnosed with type 1 in 1980) who shares my love of dogs, puns, cheese, and Target. You can find her on Twitter and at her blog, smartDpants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Catapult.

I blame the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I had wondered why I was spiking so hard an hour after dinner. True, that's not a typical dinner for me, but it still seemed odd. It should taper off soon, I thought. I put the Dexcom receiver away and went back to real life for a bit.

About 45 minutes go by, and I hear the familiar vibration coming from my purse. I sneak a peek.

HIGH.

What? How can...  oooh.  Crap.

I had tested at 75 mg/dL before eating that stupid sandwich, and convinced myself that bolusing after eating was the best option. Except that I never remembered to program that bolus.

Humalog pen to the rescue! Being mad at myself for forgetting, and knowing that the pump site I had in was over 3 days old, I opted for an injection. A rage bolus, to be more specific. There was no math involved in what I dialed up; a simple "Yep, sounds good" from myself acknowledged that this would be the dose I'd go with.

Life went on. My CGM showed me dropping, dropping. Good, I thought. 102 looked like a great number to be settling at.

Then I realized I hadn't done an actual blood test in a couple of hours - I had been relying on CGM data - and it might be a good idea to change that.

Zip, pop, beep, swipe, shunk, beep, beep.


Shit.

No symptoms. No indication that anything was out of the ordinary. I shoved some glucose tabs in my mouth, and hopped on Twitter.

Chew, chew. Type-ity type.

Then the symptoms hit.

I decided to test again.

Pop, beep, shunk, beep, beep.


You have got to be...  ugh.

Juice box. Banana. Banana with chocolate syrup. My vision started to get blurry.

My brain was rationally thinking, "This is exactly what over-treating looks like. I know I don't need all of this."

My body was on auto-pilot. Survival mode kicked in. "Yeah, I know. But you're going to keep eating."

I tested again. 106.

Wow, that was... way too quick.

That's the thing about these types of lows. They get just alarming enough that eating the entire kitchen doesn't sound all that crazy. And when you do what I did - eat enough to cover the low blood sugars of three people, not just one - you set yourself up to be catapulted to Hyperglycemia Land in no time.

It's just how the game is played sometimes. Bump, set, spike. Move on.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I Learned.

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I'm a couple of days late with this post - mostly because when I sat down to write in on Sunday evening, I couldn't find the right combination of words to express what I'm feeling.

I'm still not certain that I can find those words - but I'll try.

Here was the prompt: What have you learned from other blogs - either this week or since finding the D-OC? What has your experience of blogging the DBlog Week topics with other participants been like? What has finding the D-OC done for you? If you'd like, you can even look ahead and tell us what you think the future holds!

I tend to talk about the DOC a lot. (Um... you may have noticed.) I've talked about that moment when I first realized that I wasn't alone after all; how reading my experiences through someone else's words feels validating and depressing all at once; how being connected can make me feel supported, yet guilty somehow.

I guess what's why I couldn't find the words the other night - because I've already spoken many of them.

But Diabetes Blog Week did provide some amplification - more voices, focused and more frequent writing, and a heightened sense of community. The amount of participants (times 7 posts each, equals...  brain aneurysm) was astounding to me. (On a related note... Hallie put together what must have been a very time-consuming video with just about everybody listed on there. Wow!) And the imaginations, creativity, and just plain guts this community possesses was so fun to see.

I think Diabetes Blog Week strengthens the bonds we have in this community, with each other. We may not all agree on many things (or anything at all, necessarily) - but we can still respect and support one another. We can agree to disagree. We can empathize and reassure, even when we can't endorse or affirm.

We're family, and that's what families do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thank You.

Diabetes Blog Week 2011 has come to a close, and this video put together by Mike of What Some Would Call Lies illustrates just how awesome our community (and DBlog Week's organizer, Karen) is.

Thank you Karen!! It was a great week, and I can't wait until next year.

(And thanks to Mike for putting together such a great "thank you"! This video makes me grin. A lot.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Snapshot.

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Today's prompt: Inspired by the Diabetes 365 project, let’s snap a few more d-related pictures and share them again. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Be creative! Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures. Or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.


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A sure sign that 23 days is far too long to wear a Dexcom sensor.
(But it was a new record!)



Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome.

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Today's prompt: In February the #dsma blog carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we’d done DESPITE diabetes. Today let’s put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things diabetes has brought us. What awesome thing have you (or your child) done BECAUSE of diabetes? After all, like my blog header says, life with diabetes isn’t all bad!

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I'm having a bit of trouble with today's prompt topic - even though "awesome" is one of my favorite words. (And right now, "Blogger" definitely isn't - but that's another story.) I'm totally comfortable admitting my faults, bloopers, nerd cred... but "the awesome"? Not so comfortable.

I've written, erased, and rewritten this post a few times today... but it never quite sounds right. I've decided I just need to write, and quit over-thinking it (HAHAHAHA not possible but it sounds good).

Despite, but mostly because of, diabetes...

...I feel a sense of purpose.

Prior to finding the DOC, I felt a little bit lost. I'm not just talking about "lost" in the sense of living with diabetes - I actually just felt that way in general. My life was "good", but I didn't feel like I was headed anywhere particularly special or significant. I wasn't doing or contributing to much that was bigger than my own personal life bubble.

Diabetes, and the online community, as provided ways for me to feel more self-worth. It's given me empathy to hundreds of scenarios that diabetes can bring. It's opened my eyes to causes that need attention. It's helped me crawl out of my shell; forced me (in the best way) to extend myself socially in ways I might not have before.

Did you know that I'm actually kind of shy? At least I feel that I am. I often make myself blurt something out to appear otherwise, in situations I don't feel completely confident in.

But things like that have gotten easier for me in the last couple of years. I think I have my relationship with diabetes (and others who have it) to thank for that, at least in part. And with all of the ridiculously nice comments you guys leave here (really - I am known to tear up over them at times (shocker!), and really appreciate every one of them), you've helped boost my confidence, too.

That confidence has helped me extend myself more, which (I hope) does some good for others, which makes me feel better about the person I am.

I get to do things that matter to people. That's pretty much the definition of "awesome", to me.

What I'm saying is that any semblence of awesome I may appear to have can be traced directly back to all of the awesomeness that is YOU, the DOC.

Thank you for that.


P.S. A prayer to the Blogger Gods - please give me back the comments on my post yesterday, and all of the comments that have been left on other posts in the last 24ish hours. Seriously. Not okay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ten Things.

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Today's prompt: Having a positive attitude is important . . . but let’s face it, diabetes isn’t all sunshine and roses (or glitter and unicorns, for that matter). So today let’s vent by listing ten things about diabetes that we hate. Make them funny, make them sarcastic, make them serious, make them anything you want them to be!!

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The Top Ten Reasons I'd Like To Break Up With Diabetes.
  1. Partners should pull their own weight in a relationship, but I'm the one doing all of the heavy lifting, every day. Rude.
  2. You are the most expensive date ever. You're all about wearing the top labels - but that stuff's expensive, dude. An ATM, I am not.
  3. You give me chills; they're multiplying. And sometimes, I lose control. (And not in a good way.)
  4. Wicked, rapid mood swings. Up, down. Back up again. Crashing down. Seriously? Get your crap together.
  5. I can never get a straight answer from you about the future. I mean, you put a ring on it; sure. We've been together for 25 years, so we've got some stability and experience on our side. But I've heard about your other relationships, and you've done some pretty rotten things to people. I can't help but wonder if we'll follow the same road.
  6. When was the last time we cuddled?
  7. I'm always carrying your accessories around for you, and these ginormous purses hurt my shoulders. Gift cards for massages welcome on my next birthday.
  8. Much like Kanye West, you're attention-starved and never seem to stop talking.
  9. You're always like, "Oh, let's try Mexican food again! I love that stuff! I can totally handle it!". And then you're yelling at me about how horrible it was for hours afterwards.
  10. And finally, Diabetes, you hurt me all the time. You're a prick. There. I said it.

My Dress For #DProm.

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Today's prompt is "Diabetes Bloopers", but since that's what I tend to write about any other time, I'm using one of the "wild card" topics: Today let's PROVE some fun d-myths like #dprom (the prom for diabetics around the world), Sprinkles (the glittery unicorn of advocacy), or Blünt Lancet (the diabetic heroes of rock)! Choose one of these “d-myths” (or create one yourself) and take it someplace creative! Write about any "myth" or story-line you can dream up! Let’s bring those “myths” to life!

* * * * *
I'd like to introduce...
My D-Prom Dress.


A. It's blue and glittery, for obvious reasons. It is also swingy, as I plan to do a LOT of dancing with my fellow PWDs.
B. "Sensible" shoes I can party all night in.
C. A purse just large enough to carry all of my d-gear, but small enough to feel fancy. And you can bet your BeDazzler that it's got a rhinestone cupcake on it.
D. Diet Coke martini, garnished with bacon. (Don't ask.)
E. Insulin pump, clipped to my dress and worn proudly as a corsage.
F. Huge goofy grin - because I can't imagine having any other expression at an event like this.
G. Horribly drawn kneecaps, and limbs that are much more skinny than in real life - brought to you by the magic that is Paintbrush!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Letter To Myself.

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Today's prompt: In February the Wego Blog Carnival asked participants to write letters to their condition. You can write a letter to diabetes if you’d like, but we can also take it one step further. How about writing a letter to a fictional (or not so fictional) endocrinologist telling the doctor what you love (or not) about them. How about a letter to a pretend (or again, not so pretend) meter or pump company telling them of the device of your dreams? Maybe you’d like to write a letter to your child with diabetes. Or a letter from your adult self to the d-child you were. Whomever you choose as a recipient, today is the day to tell them what you are feeling.

* * * * *

Dear Little Kim (not to be confused with Lil' Kim, who has no part in this),

I want to tell you that you can do this.

There are so many parts of life that don't make a lot of sense to you yet. So many unknowns. So many questions that seem unanswerable. So many things that don't quite seem fair. And you probably don't yet know what I mean by "this" - but you will soon.

I can't tell you many specifics about the years ahead, as I'm pretty sure that will somehow unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum, and destroy the entire universe - but I can tell you that no matter how convinced you become that life has it out for you; that the weight of this disease and all that seems to come with it feels so crushing; that the immense pressures in what lies ahead seem more than you can bear - I want you to remember what I'm saying here. I want you to come back to it when it starts to resonate.

I want you to know that you can do this.

You're going to have a lot of happiness in your life, but I need to be real about this when I say: you're going to have to go through a lot of crap to get there. Buckle up.

You will do things you'll later regret - and that's okay. You won't take care of yourself sometimes. You'll get yourself so worked up about what having diabetes might mean for your future that you'll cry yourself to sleep some nights. And that's okay, too. You'll pull through that. And you may be surprised to find out that you aren't the only one who feels that way.

I want you to know you can do this.

And while there will be dark periods in your life, you must believe me when I tell you that there will be plenty of light. Even with all of the diabetes crap - it will be a great life. You will know what fulfillment, pride, and unconditional love feel like. You'll get to travel; you'll be able to use your art for a greater good; you'll push your body to physical limits you can't imagine now; you'll find more friends along the way than you ever thought you would.

You'll do all of that with diabetes - and you'll help others do the same.

Please don't let the worse case scenario allow you to be afraid of what's to come, or how things will turn out - because it's going to be awesome. The odds won't always be against you; the numbers aren't indicative of your worth as a person; and doctors aren't always right. Dream big and don't be afraid to try to make those dreams a Real Life Thing That's Actually Happening.

You can do this. TOTALLY.

Hugs,

Kim

P.S. I know you think it's a good idea to sell those Barbie dolls at a garage sale, but hang onto those. Trust me on this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Admiration.

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Today's prompt: We are all diabetes bloggers, but we come from many different perspectives. Pick a type of blogger who is different from you and tell us why they inspire you - why you admire them - why it’s great that we are all the same but different!


* * * * *

My first thought when sitting down to write this was, "Wait... I only get to pick one type?"

I can't say that I learn the most from any one segment of the diabetes blogging community - heck, I don't even really like calling them "segments". There's a lot to learn from every voice at this party, and I appreciate that so many voices are willing to share and be heard. We're all in the same fight, when it comes down to it.

As a former child who happened to also have diabetes, I'm not sure I ever realized just how much extra work diabetes was for my parents - which is a credit to their ability to apparently shield me from that. I know there were middle-of-the-night blood sugar checks (because I can remember half-waking up for them, but just laying there and pretending to be asleep). I know that meals were altered to fit the exchange diet I had to be on (because back then, you "ate for the insulin", so to speak, instead of the other way around), and food was measured and weighed. And I learned more recently that part of the reason I never saw my mom even have so much as one glass of wine when I was growing up was because she didn't ever want to be impaired, in case my diabetes and I needed her in an emergency. (My dad hardly ever had alcohol, either.)

But it took until very recently for me to gain a deeper appreciation of how particular events of my life must have felt and looked from their side of things.

I have the parent bloggers in the diabetes online community to thank for that.

Posts like this one from Hallie at The Princess and the Pump, or this one from Wendy at Candy Hearts (and there are so many more parent bloggers I read and look up to!) give me a glimpse. My parents had to use glucagon on me twice as a child - the only two times in my life that I've needed it so far. Both times my dad had come in to check on me in the early morning hours, and he found me laying in bed with my eyes open, but unresponsive.

The first time, the glucagon worked quickly.

The second time, it didn't. They called an ambulance. All I remember about it is that I woke up to see two paramedics standing at the foot of my bed with my parents, and I couldn't figure out why they were there.

The parents of children with diabetes who share their stories with us are awesome; courageous; human. Dedicated and determined. They give me a glimpse of what that role in life must have been like for my parents. They open my eyes to how much hoop-jumping, bending-over-backwards, and juggling the parents of children with diabetes do, all while helping their kids to feel as "normal" as possible. (They're very nimble folks, apparently.) They are, to me, amazing.

They also give me some hope that, if that role in life ever becomes my own, I can handle it - because others before me have done so with such strength and resilience.

So THANK YOU to those parents. I admire all that you do for your children; for us.

*Edit: My mom tells me that I'm remembering the facts a bit incorrectly - glucagon was used the second time, but the first time they used glutose gel. Thanks, Mom! :) 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Of Course.

When I'm feeling especially stressed out or anxious, my left eyelid goes to Twitchy Town.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach will make my heartbeat feel rapid and fluttery, like somehow a hummingbird got trapped in there - and he's being really belligerent about it.

Ice cream? Yes. Always yes.

Flight of the Conchords will make me laugh, guaranteed.

The best ideas seem to come only when I can't write them down: while I'm driving; in the shower; as I'm trying to fall asleep. Also, when I'm "working".

And the universe - or diabetes? - seems to know that as soon as I blog about something, it will change. Streak of fasting numbers in the 200's comes to a screeching halt! (And yeah, I see the additional irony here - just go with it.)



(An additional note: I'm really excited about what I mentioned here on Wednesday, but I'm going to wait until after Diabetes Blog Week is over to share more about it. Thank you so much to everyone who has agreed to participate so far - this is going to be awesome; I just know it!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yeah, About That.

A few people have asked me, "Hey, wasn't your half-marathon last weekend? How did that go?", so this is the post where I have to tell you that...

I didn't do it.

And that I feel like a total loser about it. (I didn't really want to talk about it, but here I go anyway.)

There were a lot of reasons to sit this one out - this almost two-week-old cold I have (Proof: Aaron mistook my breathing last night for insulin pump bolus delivery sounds. You know, that exhaling "wrrrrr" sound? Yeah. Apparently I breathe like that.); the fact that I hardly trained at all; the fact that it was at 7:00 am (that's so early!).

Even though those first two reasons are fairly legit (and the first one definitely is), I can't help but feeling like a total Lamepants about it. (Not to be confused with Lame' pants.) Maybe I could have done it anyway. Maybe I could have pushed through; done at least half the distance instead of not trying at all. But I didn't.

I thought that registering for the marathon again would motivate me to exercise often to prepare for it - instead, I kept trying to rationalize with myself that "I did it last year, and it wasn't so bad - I'll start tomorrow."

And then it became too late. And then I got sick.

Not doing the half-marathon isn't something I'm proud of; in fact, I'm a bit ashamed about the whole thing.

Ugh.

Dammit, Kim...

On the bright side, I did finally get back on the elliptical last night, I've started to cut back on the daily coffee intake (somehow it tripled recently... whoops), and my fasting number this morning was finally below 200 (almost two weeks of that crap each morning), so... small victories.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Gets Better.

Remember how I told you that I cry at commercials?

This one (for Google Chrome, showcasing the "It Gets Better" project) was shown during a commercial break in last night's Glee episode, and it totally had me in tears due to its awesomeness. I love the message - that even when life is really hard, it can get better. I love the hope it provides to those who struggle. And I love that it shows the awesome power that people using social media can wield in making positive changes in the world.


It also got me thinking.

I don't want to steal thunder from this project, because I think what it is intending to accomplish is GREAT. But I couldn't help but feel... inspired.

We all know people who live with diabetes, who struggle. (Heck, WE are some of those people, sometimes.) People who live with deep sadness; hopelessness; depression. We know how hard it is to come to grips with what may be a lifetime of the emotional side of this disease; the looming threat (or current presence) of complications; the fear of what diabetes will "do" to us. 

Do you see where I'm going with this?

What if... we, as a community of People Who Talk let other people with diabetes know that It Can Get Better, so to speak? What if we put voices; faces to those words?

What if we started a video project (or had a day in particular that everyone blogged about this) for the people with diabetes who need to know it can Get Better? We could let them know that those dark times are something we all face; that we all experience. And that they never, ever have to be alone - because there are many of us out here going through the very same things.

Would anyone be with me on this?

Great things are done by series of small things brought together.   -Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Diabetes Blog Week!

DBlogWeek2011Banner

Next week, I'll be participating in Diabetes Blog Week for the first time! My friend Karen of Bitter~Sweet is the mastermind behind this event. Here are some details straight from her blog:

For those of you who weren’t a part of this event last year, the idea is that bloggers sign up to post about a set topic each day for a week.  This way, readers can jump around the D-Blog Community and get a plethora of different perspectives on a single topic.  Write as much or as little as you like.  There are no right or wrong answers - just read over the topic and start blogging!  I've also included two wild card topics to choose from.  If one day’s topic doesn’t inspire you, feel free to post about one of the wild card topics instead! 
I'm so excited to see all of the people who have signed up so far! (That will be a lot of reading!!) If you already blog about diabetes, or have been thinking of doing so, this week is a great jumpstart. Karen has more information on her blog on where you can post blogs (if you don't already have one set up).

If you'd like to participate, let Karen know by leaving a comment on her blog, or sending her an email at DBlogWeek@bittersweetdiabetes.com.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How Catwoman Provided An Awkward Moment At My Otherwise Stellar Garage Sale.

It was our neighborhood's Garage Sale Weekend, and because Aaron and I had acquired an impressive (or sad?) collection of stuff, we gave it a go. Our first garage sale! New activities are fun!

We borrowed tables from parents and friends and set them up on the driveway; we blew up tiny balloons (because all of the regular-sized balloons seemed to be on strike) and tied them to the low branches of our 60+ foot maple tree in the front yard. We chased after tote bags and fake plants as the ridiculous wind gusts of Friday gave flight to our lightest items. We then crammed those tables into the garage and were once again thankful we bought a house with two stalls.

Most folks who visit garage sales are what you'd consider "normal" people. They're looking for a deal; maybe some cheap baby clothes or an ice cream maker. But then, there are Those Other People.

Those Other People give off the aura that they know a lot about garage sales - probably because they can be found perusing them most summer weekends. They might be wearing a fanny pack. They might be standing in your driveway at 8:29, waiting for you to open your garage door at the advertised time of 8:30. They might make an appearance at your sale four times in one day. And they definitely will spot the young newlyweds who have never done this before, and aren't really sure what the protocols are.

My first clue about one woman in particular was her eyeliner application. It was... well...  crazy.

This comparison doesn't really do it justice,
but the Yelling Face is about right.
At some point, someone must have insinuated that blue liquid eyeliner on a 60-year-old woman is a good idea. She took this a step further by using it not right next to the eyes - because that's boring! - but by drawing cartoonish outlines a good inch or two from where any sane person wears eye makeup.

This, but more feline.

She shall henceforth be known as Catwoman.

Anyway - Catwoman had brought along a... granddaughter? A young girl, anyway. We chatted; they seemed nice. They were interested in the microwave we had; they'd come back for it - if we could just hold it for them?

Well, sure, okay - for an hour.

In 20 minutes, Catwoman and Kitty-in-training were back, and with a third companion. Yes, the microwave looked like what this companion wanted! Fabulous!  We agreed on a price, and then the lady pulled out a checkbook.

....a checkbook?

Maybe this is me being new at garage sale-ing, but writing a check at a garage sale doesn't seem... normal. I mean, I don't know who this person is - and if their check doesn't clear, then what? Then I'm out, that's what! This is a cash-only operation, people!

Catwoman reacted with shock, then angry sass when I informed her that her check would not be accepted. "What do you mean, you don't take checks? Everyone at garage sales takes checks! How can you not take a check? You've got to be kidding me! You won't take a check?" And on, and on.

If the eyeliner wasn't a sufficient enough clue, the relentless attempts at wearing me down/bullying me were all the confirmation I needed: Catwoman be crazy.

After she realized that she wasn't winning this attempt at debate, she left - only to come back later in the day with a fourth companion (with money!). She made sure to say within earshot of me, "Well, I'm still upset...", had her companion pay for her stuff, and the group was gone.

In short - the wind, the long hours, and the manual labor were all worth being able to have this story to share.

And my world view of blue eyeliner is forever altered.