Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not Really About The Food

I don't even know what to say.  Thank you doesn't seem like enough.

I kept tearing up all day on Friday every time my phone beeped with an email, tweet, text or Facebook notification.  Once again, I am overwhelmed by the support of this community.  Thank you.

Reading through the comments on Friday's post, something struck me.  Part of all the encouragement included a fair bit of "me too."

When it comes to diabetes, I know I am never alone.  But when it comes to my food issues, I still feel alone quite a bit.  Hearing from other people who also deal with food issues means more to me than words can say.

Diabetes really effs with our relationship with food.  Totally and completely screws it up.  Honestly, sometimes I'm amazed all PWD don't have eating disorders.  Lee Ann wrote a fantastic and moving post about her journey with body image and diabetes.  Stop and go read it now.

This article was floating around on the internet quite a lot about a month ago (NOTE: the info it gives on life expectancy for PWD is incorrect. See here for more information).  I think I've read it about ten times.  And each time I look at it, there's a heaviness in my heart.

We all have our own struggles linked to our diabetes.  For some of us, that includes food issues and eating disorders.

There's shame that comes with having such problems.  I've felt it myself.  I don't want to admit to other people that my first reaction when I feel stressed or anxious is urge to eat ridiculous amounts of food.  It's hard for a lot of people to understand.  Why I just can't stop eating, or turn the urge off.  Why it's something I have to deal with every single day.

It doesn't work that way, because it's not really about the food.  It's about me learning healthier ways to cope with my emotions.  And I am.  Making the decision to start seeing a therapist who specializes in diabetes and eating disorders was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  Things have gotten better.

When I was struggling over the weekend, I opened up Friday's post and read them comments over and over.  Thank you for reminding me that I am never alone.

Which is why I'm sharing this.  If you're dealing with any kind of food issues or an eating disorder, please know that you are not alone.  That there's no reason to feel ashamed.  It's not your fault.  We are here for you.  You can do this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spilling My Guts

You may have noticed I've been rather quiet lately.

Things have been a bit rough, lately.  And I know I'm not the only one who's been having a hard time.  The February DSMA Blog Carnival topic is "What can we do to stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months?"

I've need to write this post for a while, but I've been putting it off.  Ignoring the problem makes it go away, right?  Yeah, I know it doesn't.

I have an endo appointment next week, and I'm dreading it.  I was so happy about my last A1c.  But a lot has happened between then and now, and I know this one will be higher.  I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for that reality.  I feel like I'm letting my endo and CDE down (though this is all inside my head and they've done nothing to make me feel this way).  I'm just so disappointed in myself.  No one is harder on me than I am on myself.  I am my own worst enemy.  I believe it's important to be honest.  So here we go.

There are a many reasons the past few months have been hard.  First of all, we had the holidays.  Don't get me wrong, I love the holiday season, but for me, it's the most difficult time of year to have diabetes.  I feel like a total Grinch some days.  All the food, everywhere you look, reminding me that yes, my pancreas is still broken.  And I had the CGM graphs to prove it.

Additionally, due to circumstances beyond my control, I've only seen my therapist twice since Thanksgiving.  Twice. In four months.  And it's not because I don't want to.  She's just difficult to get into, which is a testament to her awesomeness.  I don't want to switch to someone else, but seeing her regularly was helping SO MUCH.  So my food issues are rearing their ugly heads again.  Not every day.  But some days.  Enough over the course of the past few months to show me that I still have a long way to go.

Here, we enter TMI territory.  Boys, you may want to skip this part if it makes you uncomfortable.  Adding to the diabetes madness is the fact that I never know what to expect month to month.  Some months, my blood sugars are quite stable and I need no additional insulin.  Other months, the week before my period it's like I'm pumping water.  150% basal, doubled correction factor, insulin:carb ratio increased by 50%.  All just to stay under 200.  

Makes me want to pull my hair out.

And finally, I've been sick what feels like a lot.  I know it's more than I typically am during the winter.  And we all know what that does for blood sugars.

I'm sorry for all the venting and whining, but I needed to get this stuff off my chest.  I want to quit.  I really, really do.  Every day, I have to make the decision not to quit.  That I can do this.  That I am determined to do my best to take care of myself, no matter how uncooperative diabetes is.

There were years where I did quit.  I went through the motions, checking my blood sugars, taking my insulin, but not caring about any of it.  All of that has been on my mind a lot lately.  Apathy is easier.  Living a shadow of a life, devoid of emotions, is easier.

But not better.  Some days, it certainly looks better.  And the temptation to close myself off and embrace the apathy is there.  But I am determined not to give in.

So here I am, spilling my guts to the entire internet, because I never want to go back to that place.  I don't want the apathy.  As my grandma always says, this too shall pass.  And I know it will.

Do you know what helps me?  Constant reminders that I am never alone.  My family and my husband have been amazing.  I lean on them so much.  And I lean on you, DOC.  I know other people are having a hard time too.  And we will get through this together.  None of us are alone.

No matter how you're feeling, it's ok.  Know that you are never alone.  Please tell someone.  There are so many people in the DOC willing to lend an ear, or shoulder to cry on.  Please tweet, facebook, blog, email, text- do something.  Bottling our feelings up inside isn't healthy.

I don't think that we can stop depression from hitting the community.  But we can be there to help each other through it, and that's what counts.

“This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sharps

My coffee can currently has sharps from three different PWDs (other than myself).  This makes me happy for some reason...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My First T1D Connections Retreat

I've mentioned before what a great job the Kansas City Chapter of JDRF has done with embracing the message of outreach for adults with Type 1.

Last Saturday, February 4th (yes, #Febtoberpalooza Saturday) I attended their T1D Connections Retreat.  This year, they featured an adult track for the first time.

Before I continue, I need to take a moment and thank Kim, Brian, Sara, and C for spending part of their vacation attending the event.  I felt the need to go support what my local chapter was doing, but was conflicted about it since my friends were going to be here.  So a huge thanks to them for being such tremendous sports and coming with me.  I love you guys.

The DOC had a good representation at the event, thanks to the four of them and also, of course, Charli, Babs, and Scott.  We had fun roaming the vendor fair.  A bit smaller than the Friends For Life exhibit hall (ha!), but interesting none the less.  Of course there were the booths you'd expect: Animas, Omnipod, and Medtronic.  Talking to reps is always fun.  And the Medtronic booth had a MySentry up and running (see also: I WANT ONE)!!!!  It was neat to see one in action.

The speaker at lunch was Dayton Coles, JDRF International Board Member.  I really liked what he had to say.  His presentation was about the new goals of the JDRF: Cure, Treat, Prevent.  As C mentioned in her post, he talked about how so many people get told the cure is only five years away.  And how that is not true.  It's going to be a lot longer than that, which is why there needs to be a focus on treatment of diabetes as well.  Like C, I really appreciated his honesty.

After lunch, it was time for a few sessions.  For the first one, most of us went to "We've Got An App For That."  The first half was a doctor from Children's Mercy Hospital talking about Glu, a new social networking site for people with Type 1.  It was neat to learn more, and I'm super-excited to try it out when it goes live soon!

The doctor had to leave about halfway though the session time, so Outreach Manager R asked myself, Babs, and Scott to repeat our DOC presentation we'd given a few weeks before.

photo courtesy of Kim

The audience was a little different this time.  This session was targeted for teens, so we had to tweak a few things in the presentation.  There were also some parents present, so we tried to speak to both groups.  I really hope that someone will be encouraged so investigate some of what the DOC has to offer.  Oh, and I totally embarrassed Kim by talking up the You Can Do This Project and pointing her out to everyone (hee hee).  I could spend all day talking about why the DOC is important and how you've all changed my life.  Seriously.

For the second session, most of us went to hear about clinical trials.  It was nice to hear from someone involved in running clinical trials, since it's not something I know much about.  While I wasn't interested in the specific trial they are running right now, it was great to get some more information.  Like a list of questions one should ask before agreeing to participate in a clinical trial anywhere.  I do hope to be able to participate in a trial at some point in time, like Abby did or Sara is considering.

For the final session, we listened to fellow PWD Nan Borchardt, RD, LD, CDE.  I'd had multiple people throughout the day say, "Make sure to listen to Nan.  She's fantastic!"

And she was! Having lived with Type 1 for a long time (I forget the number of years, but it was a long time) Nan is truly an inspiration.  While I didn't agree with everything she had to say, her enthusiasm and energy were so contagious.  I admire her commitment to exercise, and learned a thing or two about balancing carbs with protein to help lessen post-prandial spikes.  Also, Nan is hilarious!  She had our rowdy table rolling on the floor.  And how did she reward our rambunctiousness?  With free glucose tabs for everyone, of course!  (Be sure to ask Kim and Sara how Nan inspired their plan to procure a bicycle built for two.)

All in all, it was a great day.  Huge thanks to everyone at JDRF Kansas City for including adults with T1 in the day.  Next year, I hope to see some more of the workshops targeted specifically at adults, and more adults in attendance.  But it was a great first effort.  Way to go, team!

*I chose to blog about this event because I'm excited about what JDRF Kansas City is doing.  No one from JDRF or any other organization or company asked me to write about it.  I paid all expenses involved in attending the retreat myself.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Diabetes Doesn't Get Credit For That

This week has totally flown by!  It's hard to believe it's been an entire week since some of my best friends were here.

Last weekend was magical, as it always is whenever DOC peeps get together.  A number of those present for #Febtoberpalooza (don't ask me why it's called that- ask Brian).  Kim's written a post about it, as has Sara, Brian, C, and Bob.  But I'm throwing my two cents in anyway.

It was a wonderful weekend.  I laughed harder than I have in a long time.  It didn't matter what we were doing--driving in the car, eating BBQ, going bowling, or getting ice cream (which we might have done three times)--it was all so much fun.

Like Kim, said, it soothes the soul.  And I agree with her and Sara that we're all just friends at this point.

And that's what we are.  I didn't tell people that my diabetes online community friends were coming for the weekend.  I told them my friends were coming.

We may have all met over the internet because of diabetes, but our friendships are so much more than that.  Diabetes may be what brings us together, but it's not what keeps us together.  Diabetes doesn't get credit for that.

photo courtesy of Courtney

I feel so incredibly blessed to call all these people my friends.  And I CANNOT WAIT till I get to see all of them again!  Is it July yet?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Note

This note was waiting for me when I arrived at work yesterday morning.  I never expected to hear from them again.  Made my whole day!