The First Time I Went Out to Eat With Diabetes

The First Time I Went Out to Eat With Diabetes


Actually, I went out to eat with my husband, Diabetes came along uninvited, the schmuck!

My husband and I have gone on mini-honeymoons for our anniversary every year since we got married.  Every year, we take turns surprising each other by picking the destination.  He took the odd years, I took the even years.  The year of my diagnosis, was an even year, and about 2 weeks after my diagnosis.   As apprehensive as I was to go, and as apprehensive as everyone else probably was, I had already booked our mini staycation. We were going.

We packed our bag.  That was the first time I experienced this feeling:

Big-Backpack_fb_31071.jpg

We checked and double checked for everything I would be needing. Insulin, pen needles, test strips, my meter, sharps container, alcohol pads, and one lancet. (Just kidding, that was when I changed the lancet every time, so I brought many lancets-I know better now!)  In hindsight, I highly recommend doing a staycation after diagnosis before your first huge trip-it gives you some peace of mind the second time around.

We kiss the girls goodbye and head to our hotel.  We check in and go to dinner.  Johnny Rockets and my mind starts to wander and get sad. “No, milkshake for me.” Sadface.  I was under the impression that I couldn’t have any carbs or the Diabetes Police would send me to Diabetes jail…oh wait, I’m already in Diabetes Jail not being about to eat any carbs. (Please excuse the sarcasm.).

We order, I probably got something along the lines of a burger, no bun, no cheese, a salad, and an unsweetened iced tea.  My husband promises me a few fries off of his plate.  I excuse myself to test my blood sugars in the bathroom.  My husband says I should just wash my hands and test at the table.  Really? At the table? What if people are watching me?  What if I gross people out? These are all thoughts that are going through my head.  He assures me that no one will stare.  Ok here goes.

I test my blood sugars and guess what?  No one cared.  No one noticed.  Everyone was so busy at their own tables to even care about what was going on at our BS checking table.  I worried about all that for nothing.  I’ve been testing my BS at the table ever since.

It’s been  years since this has happened, and I now know that I can order that milkshake if I want it as along as I dose myself with enough insulin.

I feel so fortunate that I have someone to champion for me even when it didn’t occur to me to champion for myself.  A huge thanks…about the size of that backpack from earlier to my husband!

Do you remember the first time you ate out with Diabetes?  What thoughts went through your mind? How did it go?

It’s my Diaversary

I felt particularly anxious yesterday and could not quite put my pricked finger on why.  I even tossed and turned until 2:00am before falling asleep and didnt’ know why.  It wasn’t until this morning when I realized the date: June 28th.  It’s my Diaversary, meaning it has been 4 years since I woke up in a hospital bed and was asked, “How long have you known you had diabetes?”  

For months, I was trying to figure out how I was going to celebrate this day.  Life then took over and I shifted my party plans.  I thought I would still want to party it up despite the fact that this day snuck up on me.  It was surprisingly somber for me, though.  Remembering this day 4 years ago took me to a dark, sad, and hopeless place.  I seemed to have been brought back to a place that I have fought so hard to keep behind me.  

That’s when I reached out to my dia-buddies via text message.  Of-course, I true Dia-badass fashion they came through for me.  I received virtual hugs, words of encouragement, and suggestions of our now traditional test strip shot.  Need a visual? Here you go:


After dinner, my husband took the girls swimming and as I watched my beautiful family happily jumping into the pool,  my eyes welled up with tears. “I’m so happy I’m here!!!” I thought to myself.  “I’m delighted I get to watch this and be a part of this, all of this!”  All the reasons why today is a day to celebrate came to me all at once.

  • I get to watch my girls continue to grow into the intelligent, creative, enterprising, and fun young women they are.
  • I get to continue to plan trips and plan a kick ass future with my husband, best friend, and hero.
  • I get to participate in research studies that help diabetes medicine and technologies move forward.
  • I still get to help others with Diabetes or Pre-diabetes by way of this blog, Team Cut the BS’s fundraising efforts, and just by being me.
  • I get to watch more Indycar Races and cheer for Charlie and Conor, so that children with diabetes can follow in their sweet and fast footsteps.
  • And I get the opportunity to experience much, much more!!!

With a new outlook on today, I took my friends up on their suggestions and poured myself a shot for all the insulin shots I’ve taken since June 28, 2012 (A loosely estimated 5,840 shots, probably more.)  Happy Diaversary to me. Cheers.  

One for the Soul

I was working as a greeter/brand ambassador at a tradeshow when I saw their CFO, this slightly older, but extremely glamorous and successful woman walk between the two showrooms drinking a glass of green juice.  This was my second season with them and so I felt a little more comformatble speaking with the higher ups of the company.  She walked by again snacking on something.  

“Lane, what healthy thing are you eating now?  I noticed you with your green juice earlier.”

She quietly opened her hand to reveal a colorful and tiny handful of…M&Ms.  She winked at me then graciously and equally glamorously said, 

“That was for the body, these are for the soul.” 

She then strolled into the next room to meet some international contacts of hers.  I almost felt like I was in a White Diamonds commercial with Elizabeth Taylor.  I stood there grinning, feeling like she had imparted some huge secret of the world, in our brief interaction.  I continued welcoming and  scanning in tradeshow attendees with a little more wisdom. 

I just loved that.  Something for the body, something for the soul.  I find that this is a great lesson in life and an even greater lesson in diabetes life.  

When we get newly diagnosed as people with diabetes, we face fears and stigmas of losing our vision, losing our kidney function, losing our limbs.  As a result, it is very easy to shut down, I know I did for a bit.  I don’t blame anyone else for shutting down either.  But if someone told me during those early days of diabetes learning, that I can still have something for the soul, things I like to call “shot worthy,” I wouldn’t have been as scared as I was of the life ahead of me.  I wouldn’t have tried to shield myself so hard from people who stay things like, “Should you be eating that?”  I could have confidently said, “Why yes, sweetheart, it’s for the soul. You should try it sometime.”

What an awesome rule to live by.  I sooooooooo want to to be her when I grow up!

  
What things do you do for the body? I’m more curious about what you do for the soul.  Tell us in the comments!

Indy 500: Charlie Kimball, Driver with T1D, Takes Green Flag with Diabetes Leaders Onboard

I know, the 500 was on Sunday, and what a great race it was!  I was working on this post prior to and during the 500 and so I’ll post it now.

Not sure if you guys saw this, but I accidentally came across this story when one of my friends posted that her name will be featured on Charlie Kimball’s Tresiba car for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.  The story talks about how Charlie would be running the 42 of Kyle Larson, a driver for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR.  The 42 signifies the 42 hours that Tresiba can last in your system after first use and so they will honor 42 leaders in the diabetes community by having them ride with him on that day.

The more imprtant part of this photo was not the back end where Charlie and Kyle are, but closer to the front wheels.
 

As I looked into the story further, I found more names of People with Diabetes that I have met in my relatively short tenure of having diabetes. Needless to say, I was excited and really confirms why I am such a fan of both Charlie Kimball and Novo Nordisk.   

The 42 names that adorned the side fin’s of Charlie’s Indycar include not only people with Diabetes, but organizations and people without diabetes who work tirelessly for our community.

Isn’t that just a sexy car???
 
I’ve actually met some of these people!!!
   

I then began to think of my own heroes in Diabetes.  The cool part is, some of the people on our lists are the same!  For the sake of Charlie’s Temporary Number Change for the 100th running of the Indy 500, here is my list of 42 heroes in my life with Diabetes:

  1. Ryan
  2. Elan
  3. Ella
  4. Arturo
  5. Liwayway
  6. Charlie
  7. JDRF
  8. The Diabetes Unconference
  9. Kimberly 
  10. Tony
  11. Cynthia
  12. Chris
  13. Adriana
  14. Ali
  15. Mike
  16. Stephen
  17. Palm Medical Group
  18. Palm Research Center
  19. Serena
  20. Samer
  21. Danielle
  22. Sara
  23. Alecia
  24. Heather
  25. ADA
  26. Kathleen
  27. The Diabetes Collective
  28. Christel
  29. Diabetes Hands Foundation
  30. Kerri
  31. Karen
  32. Anni
  33. Team Happy
  34. Sonia
  35. Marcy
  36. Norman
  37. Mary
  38. Novo Nordisk
  39. Susan
  40. Kathy
  41. Dexcom
  42. Team Cut The BS…I mean Blood Sugar.

Wow, I feel fortunate to have been able to come up with these names as quickly as I could.  Honestly, I could have probably kept naming people until I reached Charlie’s actual racing number (#83.). Everyday, I am thankful for these heroes. Whether these leaders have diabetes or not, these people/organizations encourage and inspire me to become my best self…a self with diabetes.

Playing with Hot Wheels after the 500 has become a thing for our family!

Who would be the names on your side fins?  Please share your heroes with us!

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 4: Healthcare Bear Stare


I’ve been very lucky since my diagnosis with my healthcare experience.  There are a few things that irk me like not being able to use my preferred insulin because it is excluded from my coverage and having to switch meters back and forth because my insurance changes preferred vendors.  Lastly, I’m annoyed by how much this damn condition costs me and my family.

All in all, these things don’t happen to affect my treatment and how I lead my life with diabetes.  The key word here is “lead.”  When we lead, we have to plan and make decisions.  

The first decision I made to was listen to the releasing doctor at the hospital and go to an endocrinologist.  Since I had no experience looking for this type of specialist, I went with woman and nearby.  You’d think I would have gone to Yelp, but nope.  Just went with girl and a close drive.  Those things are important to me 1) females have my same plumbing and hormones, chances are they might have a little more insight into what I’m going through in addition to the diabetes. 2) nearby: I didn’t want an excuse for not to go to my appointments.  Little did I know that after picking my endo office, they ended up being the best endo office I could have hoped for.  The owners were even the walk chairs for our recent JDRF OneWalk! So delighted with my office!!!  

Remember: Select a medical team that you respect and are in line with your medical needs.  They only get paid if you continue to go to them.  Your primary care or family doctor might not have the experience and expertise to help you dose insulin or know when to draw the line that your Metformin is not working.  It may be time to see a specialist.  In addition, there are also Certified Diabetic Educators (CDE) out there who might be able to help with nutritional needs and correction factors.  I found that I was fine with my endo and I no longer have a CDE. I have friends who swear by their CDE.  The point is: there is a choice in the matter and it is yours.

When seeing my endocrinologist: I write everything down.  Why? Because I’m gonna forget.  I have 10-15 minutes tops and I’m gonna make each minute count and worth my time.  I write down her instructions like new bolusing/dosing instructions and questions I’ve got about everything!  I wanna know about the new pill/pen/gadget on the market and if it is a cost effective option for me.  I wanna know about new research studies that I might be able to qualify for.  Did you know you can get free supplies and test drugs during the course of a study by doing things that you might already be doing?  I will save that for another post.  I also bring up news that is buzzing around in the diabetes online community that’s been bugging me or has got me excited.  There are times when some of the things I tell her is news to her and I get her riled up on a subject.  And no, I don’t expect her to know everything that is going on in the DOC-I assume she would like to enjoy some time away from diabetes and other metabolic conditions when she leaves work.  Anyway, this interaction with my doctor lets her know that I know what’s up and that I value  her as a partner in my wellbeing.  

Remember: You have to make your time count with your medical team.  Make sure you get what you need out of those 10-15 minutes by having a checklist written down of topics to cover.  You’ll feel much more empowered when your time is up.

Insurance companies:  I don’t even know where to begin there except there is a lot I don’t know about insurance and what is covered and what isn’t and at what percentages and after how much in premiums are met.  I have a hard enough time doing the math for my dosing!  So I have to read and find out or I have to ask and make decisions or a game plan based on what I’m told. Your doctor might also be able to help you with getting around obstacles which is why it is so important to ask them anything and everything.  If your insurance doesn’t cover a drug but the alternate preferred drug doesn’t help you-your Doctor might know what to in terms of contacting your insurance to say the preferred doesn’t work.  

Remember: learn the system so you can navigate through it better.  It seems what aggrevatese the most is when unexpected things occur. Unfortunately, I think things with insurance and limiting our options will become more and more evident.  Prepare yourself my friends. 

My healthcare wish list: 1) a cure.  We could all be helping other needy people right now if Diabetes wasn’t sitting right smack dab in the middle of our plates.  2) less painful options for care. I think my friends and I might take better care of ourselves if we didn’t deal with “pricks” all the time by way of lancets, needles, and insertion sets.  3)more affordable treatments and care…if my bottle of insulin  was cheap enough that I could buy it over the counter with my bottle of wine, then I would only bother my insurance company with big things like hospitalizations.  Luckily for me, I’ve only been in the hospital once for diabetes and that was at diagnosis.  

What have been your experiences in healthcare

Wanna read other blogs on The Healthcare Experience? Click Here.

Today’s Prompt:  Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What’s your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 3:  Who’s Down with PWD?

Today’s prompt asks us on our view on language and the power it has over us and the use of certain phrases over others.  As of today, I am going on 4 years with Diabetes and I’ve only learned about some of the politically correct terminology within the diabetes community in the last year.  Really, there has got to be a whole diabetes dictionary out there that I don’t know about.  I even have an unpublished page on this blog of diabetes terms or my “Diaglossary” that I’ve been adding phrases to as I learn them.  I didn’t even know there was such thing as a DOC-Diabetes Online Community until last year (thanks Diabetes Unconference!)

The main question here is where I stand on this diabetes PC spectrum.  As much as I’d like to say I don’t care either way, there are some terms that I have made my mind about:  

  • Testing my blood sugars: The term “testing my blood sugar” infers that I might pass or fail such a test, making me less willing to take such a test.  Who wants to fail at anything?  Not I.  I felt like crap every time I tested my blood sugar.  Even when they were good, I was more likely to be a little sarcastic and say that if I sneeze, that number would shoot straight up.  I’ve learned since that performing the same action and calling it “checking my blood sugars” is less daunting and I am more willing to check on how my body is doing and more willing to take the necessary steps to get back in range.
  • Blood Sugars: Some people don’t like the use of the term because my meter doesn not really measure the amount of sugar in my blood.  It is checking my glucose glucose levels.  Saying that “I’m checking blood sugars” feeds the assumption that sweets are what cause my high glucose levels-that’s false.  The intake of carbohydrates without proper dosing of inulin  is what causes my high glucose levels-sweets just happen to be carbohydrate heavy.  I still use the term Blood Sugars, though..calling my blog, “Cut the BG” doesn’t seem as fun.
  • Diabetic:  This is a big one in the diabetes online community.  There are some who find that being called “diabetic” lumps the individual in with their condition and they are not their condition.  Some see it as a label with a bit of a stigma.  Some prefer being called a Person with Diabetes, or PWD.  I don’t think I’ver ever referred to myself as a Person with Diabetes.  I’ve told people, “I have diabetes.” And before learning of the distinction, I’ve definitely told people I was diabetic.  To me, the term diabetic is the quickest way to identify myself in certain cases.  For example  have you guys checked out the Diabetic Ink Facebook Page?  Rarely have a seen a tattoo that says Person with Diabetes or PWD.  I don’t have a tattoo, but if I did, it would be for medical identification purposes and the quickest way for an Emergency Medical Responder to know I have diabetes is for the tattoo to say, “T1 Diabetic.”  

Language is a very powerful tool.  I find it important to be as fluent as I can be in my diabetes terminology.   I also find that being able to speak the proper dialect  with those who are not familiar with my condition and those who are elbows deep in diabetes has the potential to help more people instead of isolating anyone.  I want to embrace everyone with my giant Diaglossary!  

Today’s Prompt:

Our topic today is Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 Day 2: Diabetes Playing with my Head

 

Getting diagnosed with Diabetes can be an isolating thing.  It is pretty big no matter what type you are dealt.  The moment that D-word gets dropped, ugly visions of life and future versions of your body come to mind.  I spent a week in the hospital learning how to give myself injections, looking at menus with number of “carb choices,” and asking myself what I did wrong.  Clearly, the guilt from diabetes started at day 1.  I was never told in the hospital that this diagnosis is not my fault.  It was not a result of eating too many cookies or too much rice, since I am Filipino.  I was not told in the hospital that with a few tweaks to my lifestyle, I would be ok.  

I came home after a week, and my life began, without my nurses around me to tell me what to do.  It’s a scary thing.  It was bad enough that I had to poke my finger to get a reading, but I found myself looking away when the meter was blinking, analyzing my little blood drop to tell me that I failed. And the guilt that came over me with each reading was heart wrenching. Every number that came up on that screen was either high or it was low and I had to drink juice-about 15 grams of Carbs worth.  This is not the right condition for a perfectionist.  Or is it?

The problem with being a perfectionist is that I tend to set things aside for later or procrastinate for the sake of “doing it right.”  I’m here to tell you first hand that being a perfectionist is not, I repeat not compatible with having diabetes.  I can do everything right and that number will still fall out of range and it drove me nuts.  Living life this way was not be fun at all and I really could not afford to procrastinate in diabetes management.  

Besides the physical implications to staying high and low, I’ve gotten cranky at the people around me when that number is low or high.  As someone’s mom/wife/daughter/friend, I can’t to that to my friends and family.  And so over time, from meeting others like me (online or in person) I’ve learned that the number on that meter is just a number of reference.  From there, I have to react accordingly, immediately.  That mindset has since turned into a habit.  I still have my bad days where that number on the meter just stays high for hours or I’ve eaten the whole kitchen and that number lingers at 65. Those days I try to grin and bear it and when I’ve reached my limit, I text someone who just gets it-btw, thank you to those I’ve texted to keep me sane.

As for positive phrases or mantras, the name of my blog was coined by extremely creative friends who know me well.  ‘Cut the BS’ became my go to phrase when readings were high or those times that I made excuses for my lack of diabetes management.  It encouraged me to be better than the situation I found myself in.  The phrase is short, simple, and it helps hold me accountable to myself, my family, my friends, and the diabetes online community.  

Cut the BS…I mean Blood Sugar!

Today’s Prompt:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)