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My Diabetes Personified

Go figure: Friday came along, I blinked, and Diabetes Blog Week was over.  I want to thank Karen Graffeo of www.bittersweetdiabetes.com for organizing this and bringing me back to blogging.  It really is something that I enjoy and I hope those of you who read Cut the BS…I mean Blood Sugar can tell.  

I was in the process of writing this post and I still would love to share it with you, so here it is:

Today’s post was supposed to be about food.  I’ve posted about food before and I will post about food again so I decided to write about one of the wildcard topics.  It asks me to personify my diabetes.  

As much as I’d like to call my Diabetes every horrible name in the book, I recall  referring to myself as a D-Toddler at the Diabetes unConference in Las Vegas this year.  The more I think about it the more  I find that is a better personification of my Diabetes.  For me, it’s like having an additional child.  

I’m a mother of two young women, both under the age of ten, and I find that in being a parent, my husband and I have to take the lead and make decisions for them.  I can’t expect my diabetes to take care of itself.  I have to keep a watchful eye on my diabetes, just like my girls.  It is my responsiblity if my girls hurt themselves because I did not set boudaries or check in with them soon enough.  It is my responsibility if one of my girls end up with her head between the stair railings or my blood sugars get too high and it is my responsibilty to get her head out of there or get my blood sugar back to a healthy range.  Luckily, no one’s ever gotten her head stuck between the railings at our house. 

Similarly to having a child, having diabetes takes some getting used to.  With time, I’ve gotten the hang of it and can roll with the punches.  Diabetes has it’s routines just like babies and toddlers have their routines and by the time I get used to the routines, the children and the diabetes change on me and I have to adapt.  There are fears and frustrations upon being a parent, but there are also little joys and victories like the first time all of us slept through the night or the times I make changes in my treatment and it happens to work.  Both have resulted in funky victory dance.

Differences?

The difference is my children will eventually grow up and make decisions of thier own based on their experiences in life.  My diabetes will always depend on me to make decisions to keep both of us in line.  I know that there are devices and surgical procedures in the works that might make decisions for me in the future, but my body will never correct itself or appologize when we are not in agreement.  My daughters and I have already corrected ourselvs and appologized to each other countless times in my tenure as a mother.  Diabetes will always be a part of me just like my girls are, but I will probably never love my Diabetes and I doubt that I will ever be proud of my Diabetes.  Needless to say, but I will, I very much love my girls and my husband and am very proud of every accomplishment they make along the way. 

My relationship with my diabetes has evolved, just like my relationship with my girls.  And through the years, it will continue to evolve.  But some things will always remain: I will always be Mom and I will always be a Person with Diabetes.

  

Click for the Diabetes Personified Wildcard Link List.

If you could personify your diabetes or that of your loved one, what would it be like?  What would it look like, what would it say, what kind of personality would it have?  Use your imagination and feel free to use images, drawings, words, music, etc. to describe it.  (Thank you Reva of Type ONEderful for this topic suggestion.) 

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Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day 4: Got any change???

I found myself running low on time today, but I seeing as I have recieved a surprising amount of feedback from friends, aquaintances, and people I don’t even know, I thought I’d keep the momentum going.  I even began a post for other blogs that I work on that don’t have anything to do with Diabetes. Yay blogging!

Anyhow, today’s subject is change.

What would I most like to see change about diabetes?  Hmmmm let’s see, besides its exsistence?  I’m gonna go with yesterday’s theme…less pricks in my life, please!

At my last appointment, my endo and I were talking and in her opinion, if checking blood sugars was not so uncomforatable, we’d do it more often.  I agree.  If you asked anyone to choose between checking their blood sugar or their blood pressure, I’m sure more people would pick a tight little hug in the arm than a poke in the finger.  Anyone interested in checking their BS by using a Google Contact Lense? I know I am! 

The same goes for taking insulin.  I am pretty much at a point where I’m fine with MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) over the use of an insulin pump.  But with with the growing popularity of Afrezza® and longer lasting long acting insulins, I’m optimistic that this is only the beinning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other phamaceutical companies coming out with their own versions non-injecting insulin, maybe to the point of making generic versions, bringing down price. Ok, now I’m just getting too excited…need to “simmer down now.”

For those of your who won’t be blogging this week, I’d still love to hear your thoughts on this, maybe in comments?

    Today’s Prompt:

    Click for the Changes – Thursday 5/14 Link List.

    Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

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    Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day 3: Clean it Out, Girl!

    I’m trying to think of what I can clean out this week…I find myself a little emotionally raw from yesterday’s post so I’m gonna look for something that I physically hang on to.  I can’t imagine finding something that I phycially hang on to as something that is gonna set me off.

    I decided to look at my supply shelf and realize that I am a sharps container hoarder. There I said it.  I don’t know why this is.  I must have like 5 of them and two on reserve still in the boxes they came in.  None of them are full..well maybe one of them is full.  I don’t know why I accumulate so many or feel the need to have multiple back up containers.  Should I get rid of them? Absolutely, what’s the use in hanging on to these things, well except to collect lancets, syringes, and pen needles?

    Is it me or are these sharps containers like little plastic piggy banks for all my pokey devices?  At least a piggy bank will buy me a beer when its full.  The only thing a sharps container gives me when its full is the problem of disposing of it and the neccessity for a new one.

    Oh little platic boxes that hold my pointy thingys…thank you for being there for me and helping me get rid of the pricks in my life. 🙂

     

    Cut the BS girl talks about what Diabetes thing she's been hanging on to.
    Like my homage to being from the westside?
     


    Today’s Prompt:

    Click for the Clean it Out – Wednesday 5/13 Link List.

    Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

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    Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day 2: Keep it to Yourself

    People who know me know that I am generally a happy person.  Upon meeting people, I am smiling, cracking jokes, even making myself the butt of jokes just to make others feel comfortable around me.  I work on being a sunshiny person with rose colored lenses. (I love pink!) 

    So, it is really a challenge for me to share this next post because it asks me to reflect on the types of stories you may not read from me for one reason or another.  Here goes:

    I have a feeling you will not hear about the times when Diabetes just really gets me down.  I’m not talking about,   “Oh, I had a bad reading on my meter.” or “That last lancet really hurt!” down…more like Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly Golightly describes “The Mean Reds”.  I will probably not write about the times, when my optimism, inspiration and hope run slim.  Why? It is not really what I am about.  I feel no need to bring anyone down with me when I am there.  And most times, there just are no words to describe that place I find myself sometimes-even after only 3 years of diagnosis.  

    Honestly, I believe it is enough to let you know I have those moments of darkness.

    And so onward and upward, I will leave you with something that helps me when I just have no words.  The words of the famous Charlie Chaplin:

    Smile, though your heart is aching
    Smile, even though it’s breaking
    When there are clouds in the sky
    you’ll get by
    If you smile through your fear and sorrow
    Smile and maybe tomorrow
    You’ll see the sun come shining through
    for you
    Light up your face with gladness
    Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
    That’s the time you must keep on trying
    Smile what’s the use of crying
    You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
    If you’ll just
    Smile


    Today’s Prompt:

    Click for the Keep it to Yourself – Tuesday 5/12 Link List.

    Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)

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    Diabetes Blog Week 2015 Day 1: I Can

    Ideas have been floating in my mind about how I was going to start this week’s series of blogs.  This is my first Diabetes Blog Week, and honestly, I’m a little nervous.  How am I going to knock it out of the park?  

    I thought about listing all the things I have been able to do since I was diagnosed.  I thought about the fact that after I got home from a week long stay at the hospital, my muscles had weakend and I couldn’t even get up the stairs without crying. And how with determination, I am now able to run up and down those stairs daily.  I thought about talking about my first time eating out at a restaurant with my husband and diabetes and how his encouragement of not being ashamed to check my blood sugars in public and take my insulin in public has given me the strength to be able to do so many other things with him, our girls, and diabetes.  I thought about all the places we have travelled to since then and the people with diabetes I’ve met along the way.  I thought about talking about my JDRF walk team #teamcuttheBS and how much we’ve raised together and how proud I am of the work we’ve done. 

    Today’s post is meant to talk about something that I am proud of accomplishing.  And as proud as I am of all these things, nothing beats the text, email, or private message from one of my friends online who has been struggling with the notion of even checking his/her blood sugars.  When I get that message from someone after they see a post of my meter that reads 238mg/dl asking me how I responded or the message that says, “I checked mine today too!”  Or “I found my meter, I can start checking again.”  Or the beer someone bought me because she was no longer “pre-diabetic.”  I’d say those are the accomplishments I find most dear.  

    Why? Because until I sat in a room where everyone else checked their blood sugars, every time I checked my blood sugar, I felt alone.  I find it impossible that I am the only person to feel this way.  Why did I feel alone? No one else had to do it, no one else really had to react at the number that comes up (unless it’s super low and I’m passed out on the floor,) and no one else around feels the guilt I do when the number is “out of range” high or low. Loneliness sucks and I wish it on no one.

    If I can help someone to find the strength in themselves, to get out that effing meter, prick themselves and brave whatever number flashes on that screen, then I have it it me to do anything.

      

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    Open Letter to my New Friends from the First Ever Diabetes UnConference

    

    Dear newest and best friends a CutTheBSGirl could ask for,

    I sit here in awe of the weekend I just had with you all, attendees, facilitators, and sponsors.  I had no expecatations of the weekend but I cannot believe how much I learned from each of you.  I actually went into this thing, thinking I didn’t belong there because I have only been a PWD for 2 years and 9 months.  I was scared.  I was afraid I was going to hear things like, “Oh, you’re so new.  You can’t possibly need to go to an event like this.” I did not hear that once this weekend.  You were open, candid, funny, frustrated, happy, angry, and most of all, genuine with me.  You also created an atomosphere where I could be open with my own feelings of being a PWD.  My heart is heavy…I can’t figure out if its because we all had to part ways yesterday and I’m sad, or if it is because my heart is overflowing with love, encouragment, and a sense of peace with how I’ve been living my D-life thus far.

    I learned this weekend many things:

    1. Diabetes doesn’t really have a “type” it likes to strike.  We varied greatly in size, shape, color, gender, personality, food preferences, and fashion styles.  One of the few things we had in common were our busted pancreases and that it wasn’t our fault no matter what anyone may say or think.  Another thing was the sense of humor we have about this chronic condition were share.
    2. I’ve been burrying my thoughts and personal feeling on Diabetes deep down by filling my schedule with “stuff” and have just thrown on a happy face.  I learned this weekend that it’s ok to be angry and frustrated about it, but to not let that anger and fustration consume me.  
    3. I miss my Dexcom.  IV3000 here I come!
    4. I’m not alone.  Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “Well, Duh!” But, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a DOC.  I look forwardward to connecting with others online for years to come.  It won’t even compare to meeting you all in person, but it is the next best thing.  Also, who knew I’d find a few “soulmates” on this D-journey. (You know who you are.)
    5. I learned that “My Diabetes May Vary.” (Bennet, where do I send my quarter?)  My Diabetes reacts completely differently from someone else’s, so hearing and trying what works for someone else is totally worth a shot because it might just work!  Or it won’t and that’s OK too.

    I don’t know much about Diabetes…but…Diabetes doesn’t know much about me, dammit.  I declare war, Diabetes.  I’m going to win as many battles as I can.  I am optimistic, inspireD, and hopeful.  With the support and knowledge I was gifted this weekend, I will make every effort never to let Diabetes bully me or anyone else for that matter.  Because of you and others like us, I aspire to be a Dia-advocate, a Dia-nurturer, a Dia-cheerleader, a Dia-bestie, lastly and probably most importantly, a Dia-Badass.  I pledge to make other People with Diabetes feel welcome, respected, and valued beyond the confines of the Red Rock Conference room.  I hope you’ll join me.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, sarcasm, tips, and personal style as a PWD with me.  Most of all, I thank you for being you.  It was more than I could ever have hoped or asked for (seeing as I seem to have a hard time asking for help).  It’s hard but, I will try not to cry beacause it is over.  (This Vegas dust is just getting to me.)  Instead, I will smile, because it happened!

    With much admiration, respect, and love,

    CutTheBSGirl 

    To find out more about the Diabetes UnConference, Click Here.

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    Here she is, Miss Type 1 America

    Just got back from my first Hope and Health Type 1 Diabetes Symposium sponsored by the JDRF.  It was awesome and I was inspired to start blogging again.  I find that writing about my experience today will be too long on one post so I will start with this:

    I jumped at the chance of wearing Miss America 1999-Nicole Johnson's crown.
    I jumped at the chance of wearing Miss America 1999-Nicole Johnson’s crown.

    I’m sorry it’s blurry, I had my Dad take the picture.  He said that his hand was shaking when he took the picture.  Maybe being around such a beautiful celebrity made him nervous, who knows, but bless his heart!

    Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999 is a Type 1 Diabetic.  She spoke at the symposium today and discussed some great topics like making sure to stay on the optimistic side of the street, the importance of  building a strong support system for the days that Type 1 Diabetes gets us down, and coined a term for the loved ones who support and cheer on their Person with Diabetes (PWD).  They are known as  Type 3s.

    She also talked about her D-Day, the day she was diagnosed at the age of 19.  She was urged to drop out of school, to move home with mom and dad, pick a calm and easy career (not journalism like she wanted), and to not even think about becoming a mother. Oh, and by the way, maybe pageant competition isn’t such a good idea.

    So, what has she been doing since that diagnosis day?  A whole lot of, “Oh yea? Watch me!”  She has since earned multiple college degrees including a PhD.  Nicole did have a career in journalism and now she works as a spokesperson and motivational speaker-a carreer I wouldn’t call calm.  She also enjoys being a mother to a healthy 8 year old girl.  Oh, and did I mention, she was crowned Miss America in 1999!

    Knowing what my life has become and all the things I’ve been able to do in just the year and a half that I’ve been a Type 1 Diabetic, I find it silly what this woman was told.  Its bad enough what ends our minds go to when we first get diagnosed without any outside influences.   Total and utter B.S….and I don’t mean blood sugar this time.

    How grateful am I that I had the opportunity to hear this beautiful, brave, and strong woman speak.  I hope to be like her when I grow up.

    Cut the B.S…I mean blood sugar!

    Arlene

    Have you ever been told you couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t do something that you found silly?  What was it and how did you respond?  Leave us a comment.

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    D-rinking Diabetic

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    Ok the girls are in bed…come to Mama!!! It’s a Cut the B.S. appletini powered by Crystal Light and vodka (please don’t ask me which one as it is a cheap one…as in, it comes out of a plastic bottle! Ha!)

    Now I feel I can still be diabetic and sassy! So thankful for these options! Now, if only they can carry these crystal light mixers at the bars!

    In drinking, as well as in life, don’t forget to Cut the B.S.!

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    The Shakes aka Hypoglycemia

    I know, this video is random, but I thought you’d enjoy a little bit of shake humor. On to the blog post:

    Something especially new to me is the idea of hypoglycemia or what I like to call, “the shakes.” Here’s a description of hypoglycemia by the American Diabetes association:

    hypoglycemia (hy-po-gly-SEE-mee-uh) a condition that occurs when one’s blood glucose is lower than normal, usually less than 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia is treated by consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as a glucose tablet or juice. It may also be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable to swallow. Also called an insulin reaction.

    Since I’ve been home, I’ve been hypoglycemic almost daily. It’s confusing to me because I’ve always thought that a diabetic’s problem was blood sugar levels that are too high. I’m learning quickly that it is not so. A diabetic’s problem is that the blood glucose levels vary between the two extremes because the body does not know how to balance it’s own glucose levels. We as diabetics need to work closely with our doctors figure out the right combination of nutrition, physical activity, and insulin dosage.

    I used to pass this feeling off as being tired but if you feel the symptoms listed above, please don’t ignore it. Here are a few tips:

    • Be sure to follow directions provided by your doctor.
    • Be sure to educate people in your household on what to do if you cannot handle things on your own.
    • You may want to purchase a medical identification bracelet for when you’re out and about.
    • Always keep a form of quick acting carbohydrate on you just in case: A juice box, hard candy, glucose tablets -between 15-20 grams of carbs.
    • Carry your blood glucose meter with you.

    Hypoglycemia is serious business and it’s no fun to feel like you have no control of your body.

    Since writing this post, I received a call from my endocrinologist to lower my long-acting insulin dosage by 6 units. I’m so thankful for progress!

    To learn more about hypoglycemia Click here.

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    Last day on the vial!

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    I’m so excited! Today is my last day of using the old school vial and syringe needles. As of tomorrow, I switch over to the pen! Above is a picture of my fast acting insulin, the Novolog FlexPen which is a pre-filled syringe. It is so much easier to carry in my purse as opposed to bringing a vial and syringe or even prefilling the syringe ahead of time. The pen needles seem thinner so I don’t feel them as much. It could be that looking at a regular old school needle just messes with my mind a bit. It just looks like it will hurt and so it does. I barely even feel the pen. Tip to newbies: it helps to exhale when you stick in the needle.

    Maybe I’m also excited about switching to the pen because the Novolog FlexPen’s spokesperson is Charlie Kimball who is an Izod Indycar Series racecar driver who happens to be a diabetic. FYI, I’m a huge fan of his as well as the series. Needless to say I will be blogging more about him soon. Go Charlie!!!