Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful


Thanksgiving is over.  Back to the real world we go.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!  Mine was kind of a mixed bag.

Thanksgiving means family.  Which is wonderful!  But Thanksgiving also means food.  Lots of food.  Lots of junk food around.  Which is not a good thing for Jess.

Since things have been going so well, I was determined to have a wonderful holiday.  I was able to spend the long weekend with my grandparents and other extended family.  And that was good for my soul.

I ADORE my grandparents.  They are my heroes.  I am blessed enough to still have all four grandparents, though I was only able to see one set of them over Thanksgiving.  Poppa is 94 and Grandma is 91, but you'd never know it from how they act.  I love spending time with them.



Poppa is a WWII vet.  He was on a bomber plane.  After watching Memphis Belle on TV, we broke out his old photos and flight logs.  I love looking at those pictures and hearing about his missions.  It always reminds me how blessed my family is he ever came home.

Pop's picture is actually in this book with the rest of his crew.  I think it's simultaneously amazing and hilarious!



And grandma?  She's a firecracker.  I get my sense of humor from her.  And I hope I have half her determination if I live to her age.  Grandma still bakes her famous chocolate chip cookies.  She refuses to hand the reigns over to someone else.  I tried to help and she wouldn't let me!

Spending time with my grandparents and other extended family was so refreshing and so needed.  I don't get to see them as much as I'd like to.  But the food.  Oh, how I was dreading dealing with the food.

Did things go perfectly?  No.  Could it have been worse?  Most definitely!  Diabetes decided to be a royal pain in the ass all weekend.  I was high no matter what I did or didn't eat.  It was so frustrating!  Did I cave and binge eat some?  Yes.  Did I binge as much as I tend to do at holidays?  No.

While I could have done better, I'm kind of proud of myself.  Because when my bgs are high for no apparent reason is when I'm most likely to binge.  Yes, I ate too much.  I let the frustration get to me.

But still.  I could have eaten a lot more crap than I did.  And to me, that shows progress.

Having people around who understand helps tremendously.  Josh and my mom support me no matter what, and I'm so grateful to them for listening and putting up with my grumpiness.  And to my DOC friends on twitter.

And I'm thankful for these people:



I am so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family.  For the unending support, encouragement, and patience.  Thank you.

"I'm in repair.  I'm not together but I'm getting there." - John Mayer



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Much Richer


One of the most magical things about the Diabetes Online Community is when online friends turn into offline friends.  When you can get together in real life.

Colleen is in town for a few days, so last night, a group of us got together for barbecue!

Photo courtesy of Jon

I'm down there at the end next to Charli.  Bob was also there, and Scott, as well as Barb and Jon.  And a few other friends and family members.  We ate good food, swapped stories, and laughed.  We tend to get a bit rowdy when we get together.  Shocking, right?


Charli and I

Meetups like this are good for the soul.  I can feel it deep down in my heart.  I love these people.  These strangers who have become friends.  As Thanksgiving approaches, I am so thankful for the friends I have made in the DOC over the last two years. I have found love, support, and acceptance.

Thank you, DOC.  You make my life so much richer.  Happy Thanksgiving.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Real, Tangible Hope


I'm almost afraid to say anything.  I don't want to jinx it.

But here we go anyway.

YOU GUYS!  I can honestly say, for the first time in a long time, that things are going really well!

Just typing that sentence makes me want to cry.  I've wanted to be able to say that for a long time, and now I actually can.  Not that everything is perfect, but definitely better.  The plan my psychologist came up with is really helping.  I feel like I've turned a corner.  There is no magic fix for my myriad of issues, but something has changed. 

The good days are outnumbering the bad days.  I have more energy.  Most days, I'm able to come home from work and actually do something, rather than immediately collapse on the couch.  It's a nice feeling.

And the binge eating?  It's not gone, but I no longer feel completely powerless against food.  I'm feeling so much better overall that I'm mostly able to cope without turning to food.  My therapist was right.  The feelings of depression and anxiety are what causes me to binge eat.  So treating those feelings treats the binging.

But I still can't help feeling like I'm walking on a tightrope.  As well as things are going right now, I still feel like at any moment I could slip.  That the darkness still lingers, one step behind me.  And it scares me.  My issues haven't disappeared.  They're still there, lying in wait.  I know I will struggle again.  Like I said, there is no magic here.

But still.

Hope.  That's what I have.  Real, tangible hope.  And I want to say thank you.  For the never ending support and encouragement.  For always reminding me that I can do this.  For never giving up on me.  My husband, my family, my friends, and the Diabetes Online Community.  Without all of you, I NEVER would be here.  You have carried me when I couldn't find the strength to stand.


As Hemingway said, I am "strong at the broken places."


Friday, November 16, 2012

No Fanfare Or Glory


Every few days.  Like clockwork.  I go through the motions, but don't really think about what I'm doing.

Filling another reservoir for my insulin pump.  With the substance that keeps me alive.

Insulin.  It's such a simple thing, so much a part of my life I don't even really think about it.

Except on Wednesday.  Wednesday was World Diabetes Day.  And the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, the man who discovered insulin.

I don't think of myself as a sick person.  As a person with a disease.  But as I stood there, drawing the insulin from the glass bottle down into my pump reservior, I was reminded that I am.

As much as I don't like to think about it, Type 1 Diabetes is a disease.  And prior to 1922, it was a death sentence.  The work of Banting, Best, and the other men involved have saved so many lives.  They saved my life.  The lives of so many of my friends.

A bottle of insulin is such a tiny little thing.  Not much fanfare, not much glory.  But when you think about it, it's kind of miraculous to stand there and hold a bottle of the substance that keeps you alive in your hands.  And to think about all the people who died before insulin was discovered.  And the people still dying today for lack of access. 



Without this tiny bottle of insulin, I would have died at age 10.  The last 20 years of my life--poof!--gone.  I am so thankful and grateful for everyone involved in the discovery of insulin.  I quite like being alive.

If you've not read the book Breakthrough, I highly recommend it.  It changed the way I look at insulin.  It's a lengthy and emotionally intense read, but completely worth it.  Dr. Banting and Elizabeth Hughes are forever etched in my memory.

So Happy (Belated) Birthday, Dr. Banting.  Thank you for being so doggedly determined, and refusing to give up despite the odds.  What you discovered keeps me alive each and every day.



Thank you.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NHBPM Day 6: I Might Have Glared

This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November. 

For more information or to sign up, see here.



Day 6 Topic: "Write about the time you had to take the high road."

I was in high school, walking to class, my insulin pump in my pocket.  Actually I may have had it out to bolus or something, I can't remember.  This was over 10 years ago.

"Hey!" I hear a loud voice shout.  I turn around, and standing there is a teacher I recognize but don't know (it was a big school).  She does not look pleased.

She hold out her hand: "Give it to me."

"What?" I said.

"Your phone," she yells.  "You are NOT allowed to have a phone at school!"

This shook me up quite a bit.  I hate getting in trouble.  But I was able to muster enough courage to respond.

"It's not a phone, it's an insulin pump.  See, it's attached to me," I say, holding the pump up so she can see the tubing.

The look on her face is a mix of shock and embarrassment.

"Oh, well, get to class then," she mumbles.

And I did.  Despite being mortified and humiliated, I didn't say anything unkind to her.  I didn't report her to the principal.  I just walked away.

Though I might have glared whenever I saw her in the hallway from then on.


Monday, November 5, 2012

NHBPM Day 5: #ListOf3

This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November. 

For more information or to sign up, see here.



Day 5 Topic: "Write a #ListOf3 things you're thankful for/excited about/inspired by."

1. I've been sitting here for a while looking through old blog posts.  And in doing so, I've realized just how far I've come.  Things are by no means perfect, but so much better.  And I'm so thankful.


2. I'm excited about the holidays!  Though the food can be a challenge, Thanksgiving and Christmas mean upcoming time with family.  I am blessed to still have both sets of my grandparents.  And as each holiday passes, I'm aware it could be their last.  So I treasure the time I get to spend with them.


3. You.  Yes, YOU.  I am inspired by you, my DOC friends.  Because on days when I feel like I can't do this, knowing you are out there doing this restores my hope.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

NHBPM Day 4: (Over)Sharing

This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November.  I've been sick and gotten behind, so I'll be posting three times today to catch up!

For more information or to sign up, see here.



Day 4 Topic: "Disclosure post.  How did you decide what to share?  What do/don't you share?"

Disclosure is a very personal topic.  We all have things we don't mind sharing with other people, and things we'd rather keep to ourselves.  The only person who can dictate what I chose to share is me.  And likewise, I have no control over what other people chose to share.

Like I said on day one, I probably overshare.  There's stuff I'll talk about here on my blog that are quite difficult to discuss in person.  I've always been better at communication how I really feel through written word, rather than chatting face to face.  Easily intimidated in person, I guess.

I do share a lot here, but certainly not everything.  This is the internet, after all.  All of this is out there for anyone to see.  There's information I may choose not to share, either to protect myself or people I care about.  And even when it comes to my health, there are things I choose to keep private.  It really just depends.

I say what I feel I must say.  Sometimes that's a lot.  Sometimes it's only a little.  And that's ok.

For me, honesty is essential.  Being true to who you are and what you feel.  The most powerful posts and stories I have ever read all start there.  And you can be honest without sharing every nitty gritty detail.  We all have secrets we keep.

But I am a big fan of oversharing.


NHBPM Day 3: Which Doctor?

This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November.  I've been sick and gotten behind, so I'll be posting three times today to catch up!

For more information or to sign up, see here.



Day 3 Topic: "A post about a conversation with your doctor."

My first thought when I read this topic was, "Which doctor?"

My primary care physician?

My endocrinologist?

My OB/GYN?

My Certified Diabetes Educator?

My psychologist?

My ophthalmologist?

My dentist?

Sometimes it feels like all I do is go to the doctor.  But I know that's not true.  And I know there are people who deal with illnesses that cause them to see way more doctors than I do.  Which is why doctors are so important.

Thanks to my involvement in the Diabetes Online Community, and in the patient community online in general, I've really learned to be picky when it comes to my health.  I've learned a lot from my mom too.  Growing up, she was the one to advocate for me.  And she would not shut up until they listened.  I'm so thankful to have learned that from her.

All the doctors I listed above are people I trust.  I choose to continue to see them because of their support, understanding, and expertise.  They listen to me.  They never make me feel like an idiot, no matter how stupid the question.

They want to see me succeed.  That's what a doctor should be.


NHBPM Day 2: Sing From My Soul


This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November.  I've been sick and gotten behind, so I'll be posting three times today to catch up!

For more information or to sign up, see here.


Today's Topic: "Find a quote and use it as inspiration."

This is an easy topic for me.  When someone asks what my favorite quote is, I know the answer right away.  I even have a keychain with the quote on it:



"If you sing from your soul, you're never wrong."

The writing is quite faded after being on my keys for more than 10 years.  This quote is something my high school choir director said to us all the time.  My senior year, he presented these keychains at graduation to all graduating choir members.  And it's something that has stuck with me all this time.

Choir was my life in high school.  Sure I had some friends, but I was by no means popular.  Choir was where I belonged.  We worked hard, and as a result, were one of the top choirs in the state.  I travelled to Italy my junior year with my choir family.  I got to sing in the Pantheon.  THE PANTHEON, PEOPLE!

What made us work so hard?  What made us want to be so good?  Our director.  It wasn't enough that we sing all the notes correctly.  When we started a new piece, we would look at the words.  Talk about what they meant.  Why the composer chose those words or that melody. What emotions the song was expressing.

"If you sing from your soul, you're never wrong."

I heard those words almost every day for four years.  And to me, that idea applies to more than singing. I'm not in any choirs anymore.  I don't sing anymore.  But those words still ring true.

Be true to yourself.  Be true to who you are.  Share your passion and what you love.  That's what I try to do in my life.  It's why I am so honest in my writing here.

I try to sing from my soul.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

NHBPM Day 1: Why I Write


This month, I'm participating in WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM).  Which means I'm attempting to post every day during the month of November.  I'm hoping their prompts will be just what I need to get myself out of a blogging rut.

For more information or to sign up, see here.

Topic for Day 1: "Why I write about my health."

Why do I write about my health?

I write about my health for two reasons: to help myself and hopefully help other people.

When I first stumbled onto the Diabetes Online Community almost two years ago, I was completely and utterly lost.  Burnout had me tight in its grip, and I felt so alone.  I wasn't taking care of myself, and didn't know how to turn that around.

But then I started reading some blogs.  Joined Twitter.  And it completely changed my life.  That's not an exaggeration.  Reading other people's posts made me realize that I wasn't alone.  That living with diabetes is difficult for everyone.  That we all have our own struggles and triumphs.

Through the words and friendships of other people with diabetes, I was able to change.  One step at a time.  Today, I am in such a better place than I was two years ago.  Not only with my diabetes, but with my mental health.

Again, my friends online inspired me to seek help for my binge eating.  I don't think I would have had the courage to find a psychologist without reading stories from other people.  Their stories took the shame and fear away.

I started writing this blog to help myself.  This is a place where I can vent and share what's going on, and that helps me process things that are going on in my life.  But that's not why I keep writing.

I keep writing in the hopes that I might be able to help someone else as I have been helped.  That's why I share so much.  Not only about my diabetes, but also about my binge eating, and feelings of depression and anxiety.

Do I overshare?  Probably.  But I wouldn't be where I am today without the stories of other people.  No matter how we feel, we are never alone.