Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Am Always Carrying Two Tubes of Glucose Tabs

I am outside with my class on the playground.  The weather is absolutely amazing for the end of January! Suddenly, I hear my name being called, and not by one of my students.

"Jessica!  Jessica!  Can you help her?"

I look over and on the other side of the fence stands a parent I know, with a woman I don't.  There is some urgency in the parent's voice, so I run over.

"Do you have any candy or anything?" the woman asks.  I know immediately what she needs, and start backing towards where I have set my meter bag.

"My husband has diabetes and is crashing," she continues.

"Yes!" I say as I run over to my bag.  I grab it and run back.  "I have diabetes too," I say, digging for the elusive tube of glucose tabs I know is rolling around in there somewhere.

Come on...where are you...

There is is!

"Here," I say, handing her the tube through the fence, "take it.  I have another tube in here."

"I can just take a few out," she says.

"No, please, just take it.  I don't mind."

"Thank you so much!" she says, and runs back to her car, which has been left parked in the road, door open.

By the time I get a chance to look over again, the car is gone.  And I stand there in shock.  Did that really just happen?  Seriously?

What are the odds?  That she would stop when I was outside.  That she would ask a parent who knows I have diabetes for help.  That that parent would think to call me over.  That I happened to have two tubes of glucose with me.


I am stopping at the store on my way home from work tonight, because from now on, I am always carrying two tubes of glucose tabs.

Just to clarify, YES, this really happened to me!  Yesterday!  Crazy, right?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Facing The Sludge

Earlier this week, Kerri wrote a fantastic post about finding her way out of diabetes burnout.  She said she was, "crawling out of the (primordial, most likely caramel-flavored) diabetes burnout sludge."  I absolutely adore that anology.

Burnout is something I am intimately familiar with, though that has not been my issue of late.  As you may know, I have some serious issues with emotional eating.  I met with my wonderful therapist last week, for the first time since before the holidays.  For me, it was much needed.

We talked about a lot of things--my last A1c (yay!), the health of my grandparents (they're doing pretty well), and how much I freaking HATE diabetes during the holiday season.  Also, this was the first appointment where we really started to deal with the food, and the emotions that drive my eating.

As I was reflecting on all of this, I kept coming back to Kerri's post.  And the image of sludge.  It seems fitting for my eating issues as well.  Sticky, messy, and hard to get out of.  Sludge does not make it easy for you to escape.  And just when you've managed to stand up, it doesn't take much to knock you back down into the muck.

photo credit- HeveaFan, Flickr Creative Commons

I was also thinking about some other DOC friends who've been having a hard time lately.  There's been some incredibly emotional and powerful posts in the last few weeks.  My dear friends dealing with their own sludge.

We all have sludge to face in our lives.  The sludge takes different forms for different people, whether it's burnout, eating issues, depression, or any of a myriad of other things.  When I'm in the thick of the sludge, it feels like I'll never get out.  But I have faith that I will. 

Why?  Because I know I am not alone.  I have my wonderful husband, my family, my friends, and the DOC.   You all throw me a rope when I need it, making it a little easier to pull my way out.  And when I can't find the strength to hold onto the rope, you jump into the sludge with me, tell me I can do this, and crawl out of it with me.  Thank you.

We all have sludge.  There are times where we're stuck in the thick of it, and times when we stand triumphantly on dry ground, having escaped this round.

No matter where you are, know that you are never alone.  If you need a lifeline, there are people on dry ground ready to throw you one.  And if you need us to come in after you, consider it done.  No one has to face the sludge alone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making Good

Remember during JDRF Government Day last year, when CEO Jeffrey Brewer said that there was going to be outreach directed towards adults with T1?  The JDRF Kansas City Chapter has done an incredible job turning that vision into a reality.

I did JDRF Kansas City walks as a kid, but had not been involved in the organization for quite a long time.  Sometime last year, after meeting Scott, he invited me to a local JDRF event.  It was an Adult T1 group.  So I went to the meeting.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Major props to our Outreach Coordinator, R.  In addition to just being a lovely person, she organizes some great events and does her best to keep our ragtag bunch on track.  I love R!  I am so grateful for her hard work, as well as all the others at the JDRF KC office.  
Our Adult T1 group meets at least every other month (sometimes more often) and the topic varies from month to month.  We've had a CDE come in and answer questions, and a few weeks ago I had the honor of presenting with Scott and Babs about the Diabetes Online Community and the power of social media.  Thank you, R, for allowing and encouraging us to do that.  It was great!  I sincerely hope that someone who attended the meeting has done a little exploring into the DOC.

We are a small but mighty group.  There are only between 10-20 people at most meetings.  But I have high hopes that the group will grow.  I am SO EXCITED about the potential in all of this.

And as if all of that isn't enough to be excited about, I also have the honor of being a part of the JDRF Kansas City Young Leadership Committee!  (We're trying to think of a different name for the committee, so if you have any good ideas, please let me know).  We had our first YLC meeting before the holidays.  A lot of great awareness and fundraising ideas were shared, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Additionally, next Saturday, February 4th, I will be attending the JDRF KC T1D Connections Retreat.  This is an annual event, but this year, they are offering an adult track for the first time.  Woohoo!  I am really looking forward to participating.  There are also tracks for kids, teens, parents, and caregivers.  If you're in or near Kansas City, I encourage you to come!  You have till January 30th to sign up.  More information can be found here.

Thank you R, and everyone else at the JDRF KC chapter.  You are making a difference.  It's really nice to be able to connect with other adults with diabetes in person.  Sitting around eating pizza, joking about what said pizza is going to do to our bgs.  It's that same magic that happens whenever you get together with other PWD.  I love that magic.

So thank you for that.  And for making good on the promise to reach out and provide support for adult PWD.  I am so grateful.  I feel so blessed to have a chapter that is headed in this direction, because I know that not all JDRF chapters are there yet.  I can't wait to see what the future holds! 

*Disclaimer:  No one at JDRF, nationally or locally, asked me to write this post.  These are my own thoughts and feelings about what's been happening in my local JDRF chapter.  I wanted to share my excitement! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The DOC I Love

I love the Diabetes Online Community.  I love it like whoa.

Seriously.  The DOC has changed my life.  You all have shown me so much love, support, compassion, and acceptance.  The DOC is a safe place for me.  I can share what I need to share without fear of judgement or condemnation.

That is the DOC I love.  It doesn't matter the type of diabetes you have.  All are welcome here.  This kind of love and acceptance changes lives.  It inspires people to take charge of their own health.

There's been a lot of nasty things floating around the interwebs about Paula Deen, her revelation that she has type 2, and here partnership with Novo Nordisk.

Everyone is most certainly entitled to his or her own opinion.  I respect that.

Here is my opinion.  Judgement, blame, and spite accomplish nothing.  Regardless how I may feel about any person and their choices, they are still a person.

I choose to put my energy towards compassion, and focus on helping others as I have been helped.  Thank you, DOC, for showing me how to do that.

image credit nyoin- flickr creative commons

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another First

There's been a lot of firsts for me since I found the DOC, especially regarding my diabetes technology.

Wanting and getting a CGM.

Putting a set in my arm.

Putting a sensor in my butt.

Putting a sensor in my arm with Josh's help.

Putting a sensor in my arm all by myself.

A lot of firsts.  This week, there was another one for me.  What is it, you ask?

I put my CGM sensor in my thigh!

It's something I've thought about before, but after reading this post from Karen where she tells of accidentally knocking her sensor in her thigh off (oops), I decided to give it a whirl.

I'd heard from Kerri and Sara about putting their Dexcom sensors in their legs.  I was told to put my hand in my jeans pocket and aim for that area.  So that's what I did.

Before I could talk myself out of it, I wiped a big circle with the alcohol swab, poked around a bit, picked a spot, took a deep breath, and harpooned that sucker in.  And guess what?  It didn't even hurt!  It bled more than most sensors I've put in, but that certainly didn't seem to affect accuracy.

Ignore the peeling icky tape. We're in the home stretch for this one.

I tweeted Karen to tell her of my accomplishment and thank her for the inspiration.  She responded that Cara had inspired her to try the thigh sensor.  And Cara said she found it to be the most accurate location for her.

And based on this sensor, I'd have to agree.  This sensor has been spot-on all week!  I mean, it's not perfect, it's been off a few times.  But overall, spectacular in the accuracy department.

I have to put in a new sensor today.  And guess where it's going?  Yup, the other leg.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Belated Grinchiness

So I know the holidays are all over and done, but there's something I need to get off my chest.  And yes, I realize I sound like the Grinch, so bear with me.

As a person with diabetes and emotional eating issues,  part of me absolutely HATES the holidays!

Whew!  I feel better now.

Don't get me wrong.  As I warned you before, I LOVE Christmas!  I really, really do!  It's the food that comes with it that I don't.

The holidays and their food come around, and I feel like acting like a two year old.  Laying on the ground and having a full-blown kicking, screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!!!" fit.  Diabetes is extra hard around the holidays.

Yes, I know I can eat that.  And I do.  Along with doing my effing best to bolus for it.  But no where is safe.  Cookies, cake, pie, candy, cupcakes--everywhere you go has something.  And if you have the willpower to say no to all of it, I applaud you.  I wish I did.  But I don't.

Even when I don't overdo it and just have one piece or one cookie, that doesn't mean my bgs won't shoot the moon.  It's frustrating.

As much as I wanted to have that meltdown, I refuse to give diabetes that victory.  Overall, I'm please with how I handled the holidays.  Yes, the emotional eating reared its ugly head.  But not as bad as it could have been.  As much as I wanted to rip my CGM out for all the beeping, it helped me keep tabs on things, and do a better job of handling the consequences of said emotional eating.  And the lovely weather helped too.  My therapist suggested going for a walk when I get stressed and/or emotional.  It really did help.

I also got to see so many friends and loved ones this holiday season.  This I treasure and am so thankful for.  Especially my 90 year old grandma and 93 year old grandpa, whom we honestly didn't think would make it to another Christmas.  They are still here.  And I wouldn't trade my time with them for anything.

But I'm also a firm believer in acknowledging the difficult things.  Acknowledge them, face them, and move on from there.  And when I tweeted something Christmas Eve stating my feelings about the holidays at that moment, I got a lot of love and support.  The #DOC never fails.  And those responses, reminding me that I wasn't the only one, helped me face the rest of that weekend and focus on the joy and the things to be thankful for.

So thanks for putting up with my Grinchiness, even if it is a little late.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thank You Doesn't Feel Like Enough

I hardly even know what to say.

One year ago today (with some serious encouragement from Kim and C), I both started this blog and joined Twitter.  I never could have imagined how much my life would change.

I am in such a better place now.  My emotional and mental health is better, and I'm doing my best to take care of my diabetes.  I wasn't doing that before.  All of this is thanks to you, Diabetes Online Community.

Thank you doesn't feel like enough.

You all have completely changed my life forever.  There just aren't words to describe it.  But that's the great thing--I know you understand exactly what I mean.

And I also want to thank my husband (I love you, babe!), my family, and non-DOC friends.  Thank you for supporting me, for putting up with my being overly attached to my smartphone, and for not thinking I'm crazy.  I love you, and thank you.

And that's about all I've got!  For a blogger, I'm running out of words.

And now, a recap of the past year, because I can't think of anything else to say (meme borrowed from Kerri)...

The Best of Intentions...
"So, this is not how I pictured my first D blog post going..."

"Those of us in the DOC have been dealing with the recent loss of six PWDs (people with diabetes) around the world for the last few weeks..."

"I wasn't expecting to feel so emotional about all of this..."

"Once upon a time, there lived a girl who felt alone..."

"I could write a whole book on what I've learned from the DOC since I found you all in November..."

"So I finally did it..."

"There are so, so many things from Friends For Life I want to tell you about..."

"As I posted about last week, Saturday the 13th was my diaversary..."

"I dedicate this post to my friend George..."

"So there was too much going on in my brain to write another post about Simonpalooza, so I decided to vlog it..."

"So yesterday afternoon, I had my second appointment with my mental health professional..."

"So this post has nothing to do with diabetes, and yet everything to do with it..."

Thanks for reading, commenting, tweeting, and being your wonderful supportive selves.  Thank you, DOC.  I love you all! :)