Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Round in the Ring


Trigger warning: disordered eating.

I feel like I just finished a long boxing match. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I LOVE the holiday season. The decorations, the carols, the family time, and the overall joy. But part of me is relieved that it's almost over. The part of me that deals with diabetes and disordered eating.

Since Thanksgiving, holiday goodies have been EVERYWHERE. Cookies, candies, pies, you name it. At work, at home, at family gatherings. And every time I encounter a batch of goodies, it feels like a boxing match. I can hear the bell ding.

Oooh, look at that. Yummy! But I really shouldn't eat any. Hm. Was is my blood sugar right now? If it's "in range," I don't want to ruin it. If I'm already high, I really shouldn't eat any more carbs. But maybe if I just have one...

My opponent is myself, and my flawed thinking. In a perfect world, I'd be able to eat one cookie/candy/whatever and be satisfied. But my thought patterns around food are still totally effed up. The more I think I shouldn't eat it, the more I want it. And the more likely I am to binge. It's usually actually best for me to walk away and not eat any, if I can manage it. I can't eat just one.

I am emotionally and mentally exhausted from all the boxing matches. That's not to say things went horribly all the time. They didn't. Mostly, it was similar to Thanksgiving. Could have been better, but definitely could have been worse.

There were moments I definitely binged. Hi there, chocolate chips cookies. And my blood sugars have been a good bit higher than I would like for the past couple weeks. But there were other moments when I was totally surrounded by yummy treats and was able to resist. I spent a lot of time with family, and that was wonderful. I wouldn't trade a second of that time for anything.

I love the holiday season. And I refuse to let diabetes and disordered eating still that joy from me. But I'm not ready for another round in the ring. I'm ready to hang up my gloves and get back to my regular routine. Bring it, 2014. I'm ready for you.




Thursday, December 19, 2013

Remarkable


Last week, I had one of those days. One of those diabetes days, to be more precise. I was stuck in the 300s all afternoon for no apparent reason. Multiple correction boluses and a set change, and that blood sugar WOULD. NOT. BUDGE.

Making things even more frustrating, I was headed to dinner that evening at my parents' house. I was frustrated beyond words, shedding a few tears in the car on the way over. Thankfully, the yummy dinner my mom had prepared happened to be quite low carb, so at least I still got to eat.

My frustration was fairly obvious, so of course my family noticed. My mom, dad, and brother all gave me a hug and did their best to encourage me. Like they always do. I'm so blessed to have such an understanding and supportive family.

My aunt was at dinner too. She's like my second mom, and has been there since my diagnosis. She's also been a nurse as long as I can remember. A cardiac intensive care nurse, to be more specific. I know she worries about me and my diabetes, because of what's she's seen at work. She's seen people with some of the worst complications I can imagine. So you can see why she worries.

We were discussing the stubborn high, and I was telling her that I try not to get upset about it. But sometimes I can't help it. She looked at me and said, "Well, I think you're remarkable."

Tears instantly sprung to my eyes. Coming from her, that meant more than I can even describe. I hugged her, and tried not to cry.

The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that she's right. Living a life in spite of diabetes or any other chronic health condition is pretty remarkable. WE are remarkable. If you live with or love someone with diabetes or any other condition, YOU are remarkable. You really are!

Just getting out of bed in the morning and making it through the day is a big deal, especially with an attention demanding disease like diabetes. But we do it, day after day. Some days are better than others, but we do what we can to take care of ourselves. That is remarkable.

WE are remarkable.




Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th


Today is Friday, December 13th. I do not like Friday the 13th.

I realize that I am not alone in this. There are a lot of people who don't like Friday the 13th. Superstitions and bad luck and all of that.

But I'm not superstitious. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on Friday, August 13th, 1993. So any time there is a Friday the 13th, I think about that day.

It was the day of my 10 year checkup. My pediatrician is the one that made the diagnosis of T1D. Thankfully, he caught it before I got any sicker. My blood sugar was only in the 500s at diagnosis. I know a lot of people get diagnosed with a much higher blood sugar than that. Thanks, Dr. N.

Since today is Friday the 13th, I've been thinking a lot about my diabetes. Hoping I don't see anything over 300, unlike the last two days. I think I will always dislike Friday the 13th. But the thing is, I know this date doesn't hold any real power. Or mean anything. It's just another day. And today, I choose to focus on the good things this disease has brought me--friends.

Bring it, Friday the 13th. You don't scare me.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Little Encouragement


I couldn't do this without you guys.

Thanks so much for all the support after my last post. It helps more than you can possibly know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

So Friday was my endo appointment. Thursday night, I was due for a set change. Which I did.  Fast forward to 4:30 am. I wake up all sweaty and gross. And my stomach hurts. I immediately reach for my Dexcom, which shows me north of 300. Apparently the glass coaster didn't make the alarms loud enough that night. A fingerstick confirms a blood sugar of 308. The stomach ache tells me I probably have ketones. 

Into the bathroom I go, and yep, that square turns dark pink. Moderate ketones, and a definitely defunct pump set. And an endo appointment in 4 and a half hours. Of course. Oh well. I change my set, drink some water, and go back to bed.

When I finally manage to get myself out of bed at 8am, my blood sugar is 195 and the ketones are gone. Yay! But I'd better hurry if I want to get to my endo appointment on time!

If you read this blog on a regular basis, then you know how much I love my endo. He's amazing. I apologized to Dr. H for my scatterbrained state, explaining my overnight adventures. He shook his head: "Ketones are no fun."

And then he said, "Everything looks great! Your A1c stayed the same, which is a good thing."

Wait, what? Did he just say my A1c stayed the same? Even after Thanksgiving and my battles with disordered eating? My A1c is still at a place we both agree is fantastic? Wow. Was not expecting that one, but I'll totally take it.

As Dr. H shuffled through papers, I could see my Dexcom printouts. And the very high lines that I knew showed Thanksgiving weekend. As he looked at the graphs, I said, "Yeah, Thanksgiving was hard. The highs are my fault."

Dr. H looked straight at me, unfazed by the high numbers. "You really do a good job."

Those words stopped my self-deprecation. Broke through the guilt. He reminded me that rough patches don't undo everything.

I left that appointment with a spring in my step and hope in my soul. A little encouragement makes a huge difference. Thanks Dr. H.

Now to find some coffee...



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Overwhelmed



Thanksgiving was wonderful! I love the holiday season and all the time with family it brings. I spent Thanksgiving as I have as long as I can remember: at my grandparents' house. And I loved it. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family. And everyone survived all the togetherness!

There's another element to the holiday season that is my Achilles heel: food. Lots of food. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, pumpkin pie, apple pie--you get the idea. All this food, in the same house with me. And my diabetes and disordered eating.

If I'm being perfectly honest, things actually went ok. Yes, I ate WAY TOO MANY chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, way too many. It could have gone better. But it could have been worse too. It has been worse. I didn't overindulge much in the other sweets, as I have on previous occasions. My binge eating was limited to the chocolate chip cookies. Though my blood sugars still suffered, despite my attempts to bolus accordingly.

So though things could have been worse, it's the could have gone better part I'm stuck on. My old friend guilt is back with a vengeance. Oh hi there. I didn't miss you. It's been a week since Thanksgiving, and I'm still feeling guilty about my disordered eating patterns rearing their ugly heads. And I hate it.

I hate that I spend time thinking about the food I shouldn't have eaten rather then the amazing time spent with family. I hate that the guilt starts as soon as I finish eating. That part of me dreads the holiday season because of all the food.

Now Christmas is coming, and I'm still feeling guilty over Thanksgiving. More food. More stress. More guilt. And did I mention I see my endo Friday?  I feel so overwhelmed I want to scream!

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That helps a little. Talking about it helps too. That's why I share all of this here. Spilling my guts on this blog helps with the guilt and shame. It takes the power away.

I'm also overdue for a visit with my therapist. Talking with her will help too. Especially with the upcoming stress and food of Christmas.  I mean, it's Christmas, for goodness sake! I want to be able to focus on all the joy of the season, not spend my time obsessing over food. I don't want the disordered eating and anxiety to be in charge. Or diabetes, for that matter.

I want to be in charge. Me, Jess. Those other things will still be present, but not the focus. It's Christmas, and I want to focus on joy.

I'm calling my therapist tomorrow. I can do this. One day at a time.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Extraordinary In the Ordinary



Diabetes never takes a break. Not even during a holiday like Thanksgiving. There are still blood sugars to check, carbs to bolus for, pump sets to change, and insulin reservoirs to refill (maybe a few extra reservoirs over Thanksgiving--pie and cookies, anyone?). These routine diabetes moments don't change much. It's just another day with diabetes.

But sometimes, there are extraordinary moments in that ordinary routine. I spent a lovely Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house. One of those routine moments popped up. I needed to put some Opsite Flexifix tape on my Dexcom sensor. The adhesive starts to peel after a couple days. I needed some scissors to cut said tape. So I rummaged around in my grandparents' kitchen till I found some. And I cut the tape.

Then I noticed something that made me pause.

 
 


The name on the scissors: Zola. That's my great grandma's name. Which means these were her scissors. She died several years before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I remember her, but not very well. Grammy never saw me live with diabetes.

And yet her presence is still here, making this ordinary moment of life with diabetes rather extraordinary.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Exactly the Right Time



Ever feel like you're in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? Like you were supposed to be there at that precise moment?

I had one of those moments today. In the checkout line, I hear a little voice behind me: "He can't have one because he has diabetes, right? Because of his blood sugar?"

I turn around, and there is a little girl standing beside a display of lollipops. "Yes," her dad answers, "because of his blood sugar."

This family is standing right behind me.  Dad, mom, the girl who had spoken, and her little sister and brother. I look at the little boy. I can see the medical ID on his wrist, as he squirms around his dad's legs. He must be the one with diabetes.

I've paid for my purchases. It's now or never. I take a deep breath.

"Sorry, I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. He has Type 1 Diabetes?" I ask, pointing to the boy.

"Yes," mom replies.

"Me too! I've had it for 20 years."

"Oh wow!" she says. "That's so encouraging! We just found out a month ago."

"Whoa! So you guys are new at this."

She nods. "How old were you when you found out?"

"I was 10," I answer.

Mom looks at her little boy, and then back at me. "He's two," she states. And my heart breaks. And I want to give them all a giant hug, but I'm afraid that would be too creepy.

"She has diabetes like you!" dad is saying to the little guy. "Say hi!" But the little man buries his head in dad's leg. I smile, and he peeks out a bit.

Mom nods at her husband, "His job is traveling. So we're on the road all the time. We're learning how to do this on the road."

"Wow! That sounds challenging."

"Yeah, but we're starting to get the hang of it."

I look at this mom. Her face is strong and confident. But her eyes are weary and scared. I know that look. I've seen it on my mom's face. On the faces of friends. On my own face.

"I know it's hard, but you guys can do this. And there's no reason he can't grow up and be whatever he wants."

Mom smiles, "That's what the doctor tells us. But it's nice to meet someone who's had it for a long time."

I walk out of the store with the family. The little guy still won't say anything, but now he looks at me. I give him a big smile, and he smiles back. I tell the parents about the Diabetes Online Community, and give them my email address.

As we reach our cars, mom says, "It was so nice to meet you."

"It was nice to meet you too," I say. "And good luck."

They get in their car and go. And I know that I was supposed to be in that store at that moment to meet that family. Exactly the right place at exactly the right time.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Joy



Things that bring me joy.

Beginning to deck the halls.




Listening to Christmas music (especially this song) on repeat:




But most of all, receiving these in the mail.

World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange 2013

Wishing you and yours a season full of joy.




Friday, November 8, 2013

A Photo Challenge I Will Actually Do


This month is Diabetes Awareness Month.  There's a lot going on. The Big Blue Test. The World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. Blue Fridays. And a photo challenge I will actually complete (hopefully).

Kerri created a Diabetes Month Photo-a-day challenge, and so far I've managed to keep up. See all the prompts here.

Day 1: Past. The past 24 hours.


Day 2: Check. Checking my insulin on board before taking a correction bolus.



Day 3: Snack. No snack for me. Except maybe veggies or cheese.



Day 4: Proud. Keep this stack of A1cs on my fridge. Two years worth. It's not the
numbers, but the progress they show.



Day 5: Advocate. Wearing my You Can Do This Project bracelet every day provides
opportunities to 
advocate. People ask about it.


Day 6: Relationship. My husband is my rock. His support makes every day better.


Day 7: Blue. My favorite Blue Fridays accessory: my blue circle necklace from CCARIA.
Ready for Friday!




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Glamorous Moments



BUZZ! BUZZ!

My Dexcom receiver rattles in the glass coaster on my nightstand (it's home at night to help amplify the alarm sounds). I fumble in the dark and find the button. Yup, high alarm. It's midnight. I check my blood sugar. Dexcom is right, I'm high. Time to take a correction bolus and go back to bed.

4am: Holy crap, I have to pee. Since I'm awake, I check my Dex. Still high. Check bg again, correct again, go back to sleep.

7am:  My alarm goes off.  My first thought: "I'd better not still be high." Drumroll please…

Crap. STILL high. At this point, I probably should change my set. But this set has only been in for two days, and it's been working perfectly. It can't be the set. Another correction bolus, and it's time to get ready for work.

10am: Dex is showing still north of 200. Finger stick confirms this. On the plus side, my blood sugar hasn't gone up since breakfast. But it hasn't gone down either. Maybe it is the set.

12pm: A myriad of corrections has had no real affect. Time to change my set, for sure. In the work bathroom. Praying it doesn't hurt and cause involuntary cursing since there's someone else in another stall. Diabetes makes for some glamorous moments.

3pm: Hallelujah! A down arrow! Dare I check on my meter? I dare. And survey says…198! Under 200! Barely, but I'll take it. Should've just changed that set in the first place.

Some days, I've got this all under control. Other days, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

YOU DID IT!!!



YOU DID IT!!!

YOU GUYS! I can't believe it! Less than a week, people! Five days, to be exact. My heart is exploding with gratitude.



It's been a long time since I've done any major fundraising for diabetes research. Like, since I was a kid long time. I was worried about meeting my goal. But you guys came through in a big way. A BIG way. I am so proud and thankful.

And of course, there's still plenty of time before the walk to raise my goal...hee hee...



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why I Walk



53 years of living with Type 1 Diabetes. That's the total for Team TriSaraTops.  George has been living with T1 for 23 years, Sara for 10, and me for 20.  That's 53 years of T1D. And we are walking together to support a better future for us all.

Why do I walk?






Won't you please help me?  For more info or to donate, see here.  And thanks for being part of our hope.



Monday, October 21, 2013

We Really Can


I'm in two places at once!  This post can also be found on the You Can Do This Project site.  Thanks Kim for having me!


Last Saturday was a magical day.

On October 12th, I spent the day in Omaha at the Taking Control of Your Diabetes Conference.  Well, to be more precise, I spent the day in the exhibit hall, volunteering at the You Can Do This Project booth.


It was me, Kim, and my husband, Josh.  This was my fourth time volunteering for YCDT.  I worked the booth at Friends for Life, at the JDRF Omaha walk, and at TCOYD in Des Moines.  Though each event has been different, there are some things that stay the same.

Each time I work the booth confirms just how much this project is needed.  The response from the people we meet is overwhelmingly positive.  Saturday was no exception.  Not everyone jumps for joy by any means, but most people seem to think it's a great idea.

We passed out a lot of fliers and bracelets, and talked to plenty of people.  But there are moments that stick out in my mind.  While I sincerely hope everyone we talked to will check out the project, there are a few people that I REALLY hope do.  Their diabetes makes them feel so alone, or they are so frustrated by lack of progress.  I want them to know they are not alone.  None of us are.

It wasn't only people with diabetes we talked to.  TCOYD has a track for Diabetes Educators and other healthcare professionals who work with PWDs.  Quite a few of them stopped at our booth.  Know what was awesome about that?  Their reactions.  So many of the CDEs were SO EXCITED when we explained what YCDT was.  It was fantastic!  They took lots of fliers to distribute to patients.  One CDE even asked Kim and I how to encourage her patients to get involved online.  Fist bump!  I have real hope that we'll see some follow-up from these CDEs.  Very cool.

In the sea of adults, we did meet a couple kiddos.  Kennedy is amazing, and was our only video volunteer of the day.  If you haven't seen her video yet, stop and watch it right now.  I'll wait.  We also met Henry, who was so sweet and bright.  It was truly a joy to meet him.  I mean, look at his face!  If he can do this, then I totally can.


For me, the highlight of the day was when a gentleman with a medal came up to our booth.  A 50 year Joslin medal, to be exact.  He's actually been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 63 years.  Which completely takes my breath away.  He graciously spent 15 minutes talking to Kim and I about his life.  I can't even put into words how much hope he gave me.  Seeing him standing there, talking to us, in pretty good shape after living with diabetes for 63 years.  I'm getting teary just thinking about it.  It's a moment that will stay with me.

And that's what YCDT is all about.  Hope.  Hope because you aren't alone.   Hope because mistakes don't mean you've failed.  Hope, because we can do this.  Together.  We really can.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Acronyms In Omaha

I love the You Can Do This Project.  With all my heart.  I really do.  I wear my YCDT bracelet every single day, as I have done since Friends For Life 2012.


This coming Saturday will mark my fourth time volunteering for YCDT at a diabetes event.  I'll be joining Kim at the Taking Control of Your Diabetes event in Omaha, NE this coming Saturday, October 12th.  And I can't wait!

I love volunteering at the booth.  I've met some amazing people, and heard some incredible stories.  Spend some time talking to people at the YCDT booth, and you'll learn just how isolated most people feel with their diabetes.  There are so many people out there with different types of diabetes, and yet the disease still feels so isolating to so many.  That's why I love this project.  It's a way to show people that they are never alone.

YCDT booth at TCOYD Des Moines
September 2012

If you're anywhere near Omaha, please consider coming to TCOYD, and be sure to stop by the YCDT booth and say hi.  We'd love to see you!  For more info about TCOYD, see here.

Another reason I'm excited for this event?  I'm hoping to catch a rabbit. :)



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oversized Lancet


An almost picture perfect set change.  A nice squishy spot.  Needle went right in, and I didn't even feel it.  

I use the spaceship-like Mio sets.  I always put the lid back on to cover the needle before disposal.  Always.  With every set change.  This is not a new thing.

Yet somehow I managed to stab myself in the thumb with said needle while recapping.  Um, OUCH!  Just a slightly larger needle than my lancet.






Adding insult to injury, I didn't even get a free blood sugar check.  I'd just checked it five minutes before and didn't want to waste another strip.

I would not recommend using an infusion set needle as a lancet. 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Not About the Weight


Trigger warning: disordered eating, body image issues, depression.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional of any kind.  These are my personal thoughts, opinions, and experiences only.  Not medical advice.

It's not about the weight.  More specifically, it's not about MY weight.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

This is the lesson I am currently trying to learn.  I've been working on it for a while.  Dr. P was working on it with me, and J is helping me continue that work.

It is work.  Trying to unlearn years and years of behavior is difficult.  I've been overweight most of my adult life.  Actually, even before that.  My heaviest was in high school.  In college, I participated in a weight loss program.  At the time, it worked great for me.  I lost weight, changed my eating habits, and felt great.

But it didn't last.  In the years following my college graduation, my disordered eating became worse and worse, as did my (unrecognized and untreated) depression and anxiety.  All this led to a lot of weight gain.  And really high blood sugars.  And guilt.  And shame.

Then I found the DOC.  And for about six months, things were great.  I was high on the joy of finding my community.  Of no longer feeling alone.  Truly inspired to take care of myself and my diabetes, I reigned in my eating, improved my A1c, and lost weight.  Can you see the pattern emerging?  Because guess what?  It didn't last.

The binge eating was not going to just disappear.  Thanks to tremendous amounts of support from my family and DOC friends, I found the courage to ask for help--one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I've been in treatment for a couple years now.  There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, but treatment has changed my life.  I still struggle, but have come so far.

Which brings me back to my point.  It's not about the weight.  It can't be.  I focused on weight for years.  It doesn't work for me.  So I am trying to unlearn all that behavior.

It's not about my weight.  It's about being healthy.  Focusing on taking care of myself for the long term.  This is what I'm trying to do.  For me, that encompasses several things.  I try to eat healthy most of the time.  Packing and taking my lunch to work.  Eating fruits and/or vegetables with most meals.  Stocking my house with healthy foods and snacks.  Exercising at least three times a week.  And doing the best I can to care for my diabetes and all the challenges that come with it.

It seems like a tall order.  But I know it's doable.  Because here's the kicker: I don't always eat healthy.  I can't.  An all or nothing, very restrictive diet doesn't work for me.  When I restrict like that, I will binge and get stuck in that cycle all over again.  I know this from plenty of experience.

For me, being healthy sometimes means having a giant cheeseburger and fries.  Or pizza.  Or a doughnut.  Or my aunt's FANTASTIC apple pie.  Because if I indulge in those things I love sometimes, then I am much more successful at making healthier choices other times.  And the urge to binge remains mostly quiet.

It's about moderation.  Finding a balance between making healthy choices, while still indulging in not so healthy choices sometimes.  Because it's not about my weight.  It's about my health.  And I'll keep saying it until I believe it.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Is My Favorite


Today is No D Day, so I won't be mentioning diabetes in today's post.  See Mr. Ninjabetic's blog for more info.



Fall is my favorite season.  Hands down.  I love this time of year.  From the top of my head to the tips of my toes.  Every part of me loves autumn.

It's time for cute boots and scarves.  For mums and acorns.  For pumpkin flavored everything.  For amazing pumpkins and gourds of every imaginable size, color, and texture.  For crisp air and crackling fires.  Fresh apples and my mom's homemade applesauce.

And the color.  Oh the color!  The leaves on the trees are the absolute best thing about fall.  While I don't enjoy raking them, it's worth it to see them in all their glory.  My alma mater has a campus full of maple trees.  And in autumn, those trees are spectacular.  It's one of the things that made me fall in love with the school.

The leaves are slow to change this year.  But I am on the hunt, and have seen a few starting to change.  I can't wait!  All those brilliant reds, oranges, yellows, and golds.  I don't think there's much that compares to that display.

Yes, it's been unseasonably warm here.  But it's still fall.  I wore cute boots and a scarf today, despite the 80 degree temps.  It's October 1st, dammit!  I know the cooler weather is coming.  And I can't wait.

Fall is my favorite season.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Steps


I still hate exercise.  But I still make myself do it, because I know how much better I feel when I do.  Exercise helps my blood sugars, my mood, and my overall health.  I do it because I know I need to.  Not because I want to.



However, getting exercise in has become easier over the past few weeks.  Josh joined a fitness challenge at work.  He has a steps goal for every day.  So we've both been making a point to get more activity in.

Fun socks make exercise more fun.

Now, instead of immediately sitting down in front of the TV after dinner, we go for a walk first.  Gotta get those steps in!  I still walk with my mom several days a week, but now Josh comes too.  Walking our little legs off! (Not really, but you get the idea).

I am so very proud of him.  And of myself.  We're being active together.  And exercising with someone you love is so much better than doing it by yourself.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Better

Sorry guys, I've been a bit busy.  Still feeling pretty decent overall, just busy.  When I get home in the evening, I'm ready to sit and relax.  Haven't really been feeling like blogging.  But I have a minute here, so we'll go for it.

Following my awesome endo appointment, I had my first appointment with my new therapist.  This is my third therapist since I first asked for help.  The first one didn't have the ability to see me often enough, and my second one left the practice.  So we're on to number three.

The first session was pretty much a get to know you session.  We talked about why I sought help in the first place, what my particular disordered eating looks like, and the things that play into that, including diabetes.  My new therapist, we'll call her J, doesn't appear to have a lot of experience working with people with diabetes, but she seemed to understand the basics and wasn't making assumptions, so that's good.

We also talked about all the work I'd done with Dr. P.  J was saying what tremendous progress I've made.  And she's right.  Compared to where I used to be, I've come so far.  Thanks to treatment from some wonderful mental health professionals, and the support of my family, friends, and the DOC.  I left feeling uplifted, like when I left my endo appointment.  Another affirmation that the rough patches don't undo everything.

Like yesterday.  Yesterday was rough.  It's been a stressful week at work.  Yesterday afternoon, I binged some.  But here's the thing: it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  This is what helps me deal with the guilt and shame I feel.  Did I binge on too many cookies?  Absolutely.  But did I continue to binge the rest of the day?  No.  I binged, I stopped, and I was able to move on.  It didn't ruin my food choices for the rest of the day.

I am better.  Some days, that's incredibly difficult to remember.  Some days, I still get completely overwhelmed and feel like I'm barely hanging on.  But those days happen much less often now.  That is what I try to remember.

No matter what today holds for you, know that it will pass.  And the Diabetes Online Community is here for you.  You're never alone in how you feel.

As with my other therapists, J was amazed when I told her about the DOC.  About the support and understanding I've found.  And when I stop and think about it, it amazes me too.  Thanks, team.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

BINGO!


Why do I get so excited when they match?




Makes me want to jump up and shout "BINGO!" or something.  At least if I like the number.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nice


I made a visit to my endo yesterday.  One week after my 20th diaversary.

On the way, I had the usual pre-endo jitters.  I don't think that will ever go away.  I actually hadn't been to see my endo in about six months, which is a long time for me.  We both had to cancel once, so two reschedules later, I was on the way.

I was a bit extra nervous because I've had a few rough patches in the last month.  My psychologist left the practice months ago, and I had yet to call the recommended replacement.  Four months is definitely too long for me to go without seeing a mental health professional at this point.  The binging was starting to work its way back into my life.

The day before my endo appointment, I finally stopped putting off that phone call.  I have an appointment with my new psychologist set for next week.  Despite the setbacks, I still feel like things are going ok overall.  With the end of summer and start of the new school year, I've been dealing with a lot of change and stress.  And I've still been able to function.  To work and still have energy to do other things in the evenings.  To not be so overwhelmed that I'm reduced to a pile on the sofa every night.

But still.  I was worried about my A1c.  As I always am.  But as soon as my endo walked through the exam room door, I started to feel better.  His reassuring smile and kind heart always make me feel better.  My A1c is about the same as it was six months ago, which is a huge relief.  Dr. H is pleased with my overall trends and settings.  A nice reminder that rough patches don't undo everything.  And a nice way to kick off my 20th year of living with diabetes.  I'll definitely take it.

Also, is 30 too young to have a midlife crisis?  Because I might have cut off my hair.  And I might love it.




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Twenty


Today marks twenty years of living with Type 1 Diabetes.

My 10th birthday, about two weeks before diagnosis.

Twenty years is a long time (see also: holy crap, I'm old).  Twenty years of finger sticks, insulin shots, and pump sets.  Low and high blood sugars.  Quarterly trips to the endo.

It's difficult to describe or quantify.  As today approached, I tried not to think about it too much.  Twenty years with T1D is a milestone, but I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it.  Last night, I had a bit of a pity party.  The never ending-ness of all of it got to me.  Josh was there to encourage me, as he always is.  I texted my mom and she too helped me refocus on the important things.  As did some DOC friends who responded to a tweet.

Yes, twenty years is a long time.  But I'm still here, still alive, living my life.  Between my husband, my family, and the DOC, it was nearly impossible to be in a bad mood today.  You all have helped me focus on the positive.  On the things that matter.  So thanks for that.  I love you all.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Buzzing


My eyes snap open out of a deep sleep.  My Dexcom is buzz, buzz, buzz, buzzing away.  It rattles in the glass coaster on my nightstand, which thankfully makes it louder.

I know the instant my eyes open that I'm low.  A quick finger stick confirms this.




A juice box and granola bar later, I'm on the way up.  But I double check before going back to sleep.




Today, I am especially thankful for my cgm.  Who knows if I would have woken up otherwise?




I hate lows during the night.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

So, Kids?


Subtitle of this post: No, I am NOT pregnant.

"So, when are you guys going to start having kids?"

Josh and I get this question ALL THE TIME!  I hate that question.  Personally, I think it's rude, insensitive, and none of your damn business.  But we're at the age where a lot of friends/coworkers/acquaintances are having kids.  So people ask.

Our usual answer?  Not anytime soon.

We're not willing to say we won't ever have kids, but that's definitely not what's right for us right now.  Maybe we'll change our minds in a few years.  Maybe we won't.  Time will tell.  Good grief, I'm not THAT old yet.

The only good thing about people asking this question?  An opportunity to educate, whether I want to or not.  If the people asking know I have Type 1, they often assume that means I can't have kids.  So the question turns into a chance to set the record straight.

Diabetes has absolutely NOTHING to do with my lack of desire for a child.  I really just don't want any kids right now.  That's it, I promise.

I know way too many fantastic, amazing women with diabetes who have children to be afraid.  So many beautiful children and beautiful mommies.  Healthy kids and healthy pregnancies.  Women with diabetes can most definitely have kids.

JacquieHollyKarenRenzaAmyBethanyKerriEmmaKim, Cherise, JenniferSarah, Jenn, Melissa, GinaChristel, Jennifer, Shannon, Lisa.  And those are just the ladies I could think of off the top of my head!  There are many, many more.

So if we decide we are ready for kids, I'll know that I can do it.  Thanks to all the amazing women who have.

But for now, I'm good being an observer.


Monday, July 22, 2013

No Way There'd Be Another


After all the diabetes in the wild encounters on our DC trip, I didn't expect to have any more for a while.  But I was wrong.

A couple weeks ago, I was on a field trip with my class.  Across the room, something caught my eye.  The unmistakable sight of a pump set on the arm of a little girl.  It was a Sure-T or Contact Detach, with the two adhesive circles, making it even easier to spot.  As my students were fully engaged in their activities, I worked my way over towards the little girl.  She was with another girl, and a woman I assumed to be mom was snapping pictures.

Since it worked so well before, I said, "I spy a pump set!"  The girl looked up at me and smiled.  "I have a pump too!" I said.  I was wearing a dress with my pump hidden in my bra, and my set wasn't visible.  Of course.

I turned to the woman with the camera: "What kind of pump does she have?"

"I'm not sure," she said apologetically.  "I'm her aunt.  She's been diabetic since she was two."

I talked to the aunt for a couple more minutes, and then it was time to move on.  "It was nice to meet you," I said to the girl.  She turned around and smiled again, "It was nice to meet you too."

I rejoined the other teacher on the trip with me, and told her about what had just happened.  And things went back to normal.  Or so I thought.

A little bit later, I saw an adorable little girl toddling around.  Around her waist, was a sparkly pink thing that looked an awfully lot like a pump pack.  But no, it couldn't be.  I'd already had one diabetes run-in on this trip.  No way there'd be another.  But as she toddled by again with her dad, I saw pump tubing sticking out the side of the sparkly pink pack.  I couldn't believe it!  That made three PWDs in one rather small space.

As I stood there watching, trying to decide if/what to say, her dad looked my direction and smiled.  I took it as a sign.  "Is that an insulin pump?" I asked, before I could chicken out.

Sure enough, it was.  And dad was perfectly willing to chat.  Turned out that sweet little girl was only diagnosed about six weeks ago.  And she's already pumping?  Dad explained that it was because she needs such tiny amounts of insulin that dosing by syringe was nearly impossible.

I was able to supervise my class quite well from where we were standing, so dad and I chatted for quite a while.  It was a conversation I won't soon forget.  Before leaving, I gave the dad my email address, and suggested he check out some blogs, especially those of D moms and dads.  I don't know if I'll ever hear from him, but I'm so glad we met.  He and his precious daughter were truly a joy.

This happened during the week of FFL.  I was pretty bummed about not being there.  But meeting those two little girls reminded me again that I am never alone.  It was like my own personal FFL in the midst of a workday.  Happy in my heart and soul.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Ka-chunk!


KA-CHUNK!

Ow. Ow. OW!!!

Sometimes when I change my set, it doesn't hurt at all.  Sometimes, it hurts like a sumbitch.

I just changed it a few minutes ago.  Any guesses as to how that went?  Yep.  OW!  So now what?  Do I wait and see if the pain goes away?  Wait and see if the set works, risking that it won't?  I hate to waste a set, but there's something else I hate more: a failed set.

This happened to me last week as well. A holy-crap-that-smarts insertion.  And I decided to wait and see.  The result of that endeavor?  Blood sugars in the upper 300s.  No thank you.

Tonight, I ripped that set right back out.  Thankfully on my second insertion of the night, I didn't feel a thing.  Time to cross my fingers that it works, and move on.





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some Days


Some days, diabetes looks like this:


And honestly, I'd be ok with diabetes looking like this most days.  

But other days, diabetes looks like this:


We dust ourselves off and move on.  Thankfully, tomorrow is a new day.  We can do this.



*The screen captures on the right are from the mySugr app.  I'm a fan.  I was not asked to blog about the app, nor am I connected with it in any way, other than personal use.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Six


As a teenager, I was afraid I'd never have a boyfriend because of my diabetes.  How I wish I could go back to that insecure girl and assure her that everything was going to be ok.

Josh knew about my diabetes before we started dating.  And he never hesitated.

Sunday was our sixth wedding anniversary.  If you read this blog, then you know I'm kind of a hot mess.  Through diabetes, binge eating, depression, and anxiety, Josh's support and faith in me has never wavered.  And there simply aren't enough words to explain what that means to me.



Happy anniversary to my best friend.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Five Favorite Words


Had my annual eye exam yesterday.  And my ophthalmologist uttered five of my most favorite words in the universe: "No signs of diabetic retinopathy."




Whew!  I feel like I can breathe again for another year.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Feeling Adventurous


1998.  That's when I started on my first insulin pump.  August of 1998 to be exact.  That's almost 15 years ago.


Which is a long time.  And a lot of pump sites.  After exclusively using my stomach for years, I can't use that area anymore.  I have insulin pooches there that will probably never go away.  My arms work well, as does my lower back.  But I want to find some new spots.  And avoid wearing out the ones I've got.

Legs?  I've tried thigh sites multiple times over the years, and they just don't work for me.  They always kink up within 24 hours.

And I can't go too low on my lower back, or I get bleeders.  The sites have to be around my love handles.  Any lower, and they turn into a hot mess.

Last week, I was feeling adventurous.  So I decided to try a new spot: my butt.  The side butt, as Jacquie says, to be exact.  I used to wear Medtronic sensors there with good results, so I decided to try my luck with sets.

I'm now on my third butt set, and they're working wonderfully.  A huge sigh of relief for me.  And my arms and lower back are enjoying the break.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Equally Magical


Diabetes follows me everywhere.  It followed me to Washington, D.C., as I knew it would.  But I wasn't expecting three wonderful diabetes in the wild moments on our trip.

The first was at a CVS near our hotel.  Shortly after arriving in D.C., we went to pick up some provisions.  As we walked around, I saw a teenage girl with an Omnipod on her arm.  I grinned and was instantly excited.  Diabetes nerd alert.

Now it's decision time.  Do I say something or not?  I stared at the girl, willing her to look at me.  But no such luck.  So I took a deep breath, and walked towards her.

"I spy an Omnipod!" I said, simultaneously smiling and trying not to look creepy.  The girl looked up, and I pointed at my pump on my hip.

She grinned, threw her hands in the air, and said, "diabetes unite!"  Totally and completely made my day.  It was awesome.

The second diabetes in the wild encounter happened a few days later.  We were at the Library of Congress (sidebar: one of my most FAVORITE buildings in the world!) in the security line.  Metal detector and an x-ray machine for bags.  So I launched into my this-is-a-continuous-glucose-monitor-and-can't-go-through-x-ray spiel.  The security personell were very nice and respectful (as they were everywhere we went).  After inspection by a couple guys, I was given the all clear.

Can I live here? Please?

As I walked out of the metal detector, another guard was standing there.  "What is that?" he asked, gesturing towards my Dexcom.

"It's a continuous glucose monitor," I replied.  "I have Type 1 Diabetes and it graphs my blood sugar."  I pressed the button so he could see the graph.

"Wow, that's amazing!" he said.  "I have Type 2 Diabetes.  I've never seen that before."

I wanted to hug the guy, but decided that might not be the best idea.  Instead, we chatted for a few minutes.  I wish I could have talked to him longer, but there was a line of people behind us.  I just hope I brightened his day a little.  He certainly brightened mine.

The third diabetes encounter was on our way home.  We had a short layover, and were waiting at the terminal for our next flight.  My pump was almost out of insulin and I didn't want to refill on the plane, so I decided to just go ahead and fill a new reservoir.  I just did it right then and there, in the terminal.

A couple people were looking, but it didn't really bother me.  I expected that.  What I didn't expect was the woman sitting across from us to say anything.

My set was in my arm, so switching out the tubing and reservoir was easy enough.  As I clicked the tubing back into the set, she leaned over and said, "So you put your pump site in your arm?"

Turns out her (now adult) son has Type 1 and wears a pump.  He doesn't put sites in his arms, hence her interest.  Her son was diagnosed at 14, and is now grown with kids of his own.  Josh and I spent the next half hour talking to this woman.  It was wonderful!  Thankfully, it sounds like her son has a great support system and is doing quite well.

When it was time for us to go, I told her I was glad she said something so we could chat.  She smiled and said, "You take care, hon," in that way that moms do.  It made my heart happy.

Three very different diabetes in the wild moments, but all equally magical.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sometimes Diabetes Plays Nicely


Diabetes is a fickle beast.  Sometimes it plays nice, and sometimes it doesn't.  Thankfully, diabetes played pretty nicely on our trip to D.C.

Travel usually throws my blood sugars way off, so I came prepared.  Plenty of glucose tabs, as well as extra insulin and syringes.  You never know.

Flying stresses me out and I forgot to sent a temp basal, so I was stuck in the upper 200s for most of our journey to D.C.  Once we arrived and I was no longer stressed (and the corrections FINALLY kicked in) things were looking more normal.

Overall, I am amazed at how on target my blood sugars were during our trip.  I had highs and lows of course, but not really any more than usual.  Which was surprising.  My daily routine was completely out the window.  We were eating out for every meal.  And I was indulging in foods I couldn't get at home, SWAGing my heart out.  I was on vacation, damn it!

So why did things go so well on the diabetes front?  Walking.  I walked my ass off.  We didn't have a rental car.  Our hotel was within a couple miles of most of the monuments and museums.  We did use the Metro, but it can only get you so close.  So we walked.  A lot.  On two of the days, we walked about 28,000 steps.  Thirteen miles!  Yikes!

From our hotel to the Washington Monument, to the World War II Memorial, to the Korean and Vietnam memorials, the Lincoln Memorial, MLK, FDR, and Jefferson.  Not to mention the museums.  Quite a hike, but more than worth every step.

World War II memorial.


Eleanor Roosevelt.  Amazing woman.


Lincoln.  Need I say more?


I was worried about lows, but only had a few.  I bolused quite conservatively and had snacks, and it all seemed to balance out.  A little planning, a whole lotta luck, and I couldn't have been happier.

So thank you diabetes, for playing nicely.  It'd be lovely if you'd do that more often.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Flying With Diabetes Can Be an Adventure



I'm back!

And this time I actually went somewhere.  This year, instead of going to Friends For Life, Josh and I decided to take a vacation for just the two of us.  We haven't done that since our honeymoon.  Skipping FFL wasn't an easy decision.  And I know I'll be quite sad during that week when I see all the tweets and pictures of so many friends having fun.

But it was the right decision.  We spent an entire amazing week in Washington, D.C.  And we had SO MUCH FUN!  Josh and I are both big museum people.  We made it to four of the Smithsonian museums, and as many monuments and memorials we could squeeze in.


Thanks Dayle for taking this shot!


Couldn't resist.

I have a number of diabetes related stories to share from the trip.  A cupcake run with Chris and Dayle, the Air and Space Museum with Brian, and several diabetes in the wild encounters.

The stories will be forthcoming.  But I wanted to start with the TSA.  Because of my pump and cgm, I request a pat down when flying rather than going through the scanners.  Usually this is not a big deal.  On the way to D.C., I did have a first.  The nice lady wanted to see my Dexcom sensor.

I usually wear sensors on my thighs.  I have good accuracy luck there.  And I had jeans on.  So in order for her to see it, we had to go into a private screening room with a second female agent.  Both agents were incredibly professional.  They were just doing their jobs.  I however, was completely flustered and embarrassed.  And surprised.  Usually when I have a pat down, I tell the agent, "This bump here is my pump site, and this pump here is my continuous glucose monitor sensor." And usually that's fine.  This time, she felt she needed to see the sensor.

I get it.  I'm not mad.  By the time the flight took off, I'd had time to process and the flustered feelings passed.  From now on when I fly, I'll know that they might ask to see the sensor.

When we flew out of D.C. to come home, I was expecting security to be tight.  I got another pat down from another very professional agent.  She didn't ask to see my sensor.

I did tell the agent by the x-ray machiene that I had insulin and diabetes supplies in my carry on bag.  They were fine with all of that.  The liquids and needles passed the x-ray screening with flying colors.

What did they send through x-ray three times before clearing it?  My flat iron.  For my hair.  I found this incredibly ironic.  And also hilarious.

Flying with diabetes can be an adventure.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Robots


So my church will be having vacation bible school soon.  And they are collecting supplies.  Like you do.

Boxes are being collected for the kids to make robots.



Some lucky kid will make a really kick ass robot with my sensor and set boxes.  This makes me happy.


Friday, May 17, 2013

The Language of Chronic Illness




"Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)"

I can't pretend to know what it's like to live with any chronic condition other than Type 1 Diabetes.  I really can't.

But what I can do is empathize with anyone living with any chronic condition.  As different as it might be from diabetes, there are still some things that are the same.

I've written about this before, especially in regard to a couple books written by Richard M. Cohen.

I have Type 1 Diabetes.  That's the chronic condition I live with.  I know the ins and outs, the frustrations and joys.  The things that it's impossible to know unless you live with T1D.  That's what makes the Diabetes Online Community so magical.  Talking with people who have the same chronic condition is a powerful thing.

In high school, I had the amazing opportunity to serve on the Teen Advisory Board at my local children's hospital.  I will always be grateful for that experience.  It was the first time I learned that chronic illness of any kind has a common language.

There were five or six of us on the board with T1D.  But the board represented the entire hospital.  There were several teenagers living with cancer.  A girl living with Chron's disease.  A boy with Cystic Fibrosis.  And I'm sure there were others--it was a long time ago.

The hospital was a familiar environment for all of us.  That's why we were there.  And I didn't feel alone.  These other kids spoke my language.  The language of chronic illness.

If you live with or love someone with a chronic illness, than you know the language.  The hospital visits and doctor's appointments.  Dealing with health insurance companies.  Trying to figure out how to pay for what insurance doesn't cover.  Finding the right doctor.  Finding the right medications.  Dealing with medication side effects.  Adjusting to new/worsening/changing symptoms.  Worrying about the future.  Worrying about loved ones.  Dealing with the psychological and emotional consequences of chronic illness.  Taking care of a chronic condition day after day, while still having a life.  Trying to hold onto your sanity.

Since high school, I've met other people living with different chronic conditions.  Rheumatoid Arthritis, hypothyroidism, bipolar disorder, clinical depression.  And I'm very close to some amazing people living with Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and chronic migraines.

I cannot know what it's like to live with any of these conditions.  But if you live with any chronic illness, we do share a common language.  There is much that is the same.  And we need one another to make it through.

"The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway


Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Victory





"We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary of Rainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)"

What have I accomplished? Quite a bit.  I made it through a series of low blood sugar seizures.  I got an insulin pump.  Went to Italy with my high school choir.  I transitioned from my pediatric endo to an adult endo.  I went to college.  Spent three weeks in Great BritianGraduated collegeFell in love and got married.  Have a job I love.  Spent years struggling with depression, anxiety, and binge eating.  Was finally able to ask for help and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There are a lot of things I am proud of.  But most of all, I agree with Kim.  The biggest accomplishment for all of us living with any kind of diabetes is to simply live our lives.  To keep putting one foot in front of the other.  To go after what we want in spite of diabetes, and to not let it stop us.




We choose how we live our lives.  Diabetes doesn't.  That in and of itself is a victory.


A Huge Gift




"Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)"

"MEMORY! ALL ALONE IN THE MOONLIGHT...."

Am I the only one singing?  Yes?  Ok, I'll stop then.

There are a lot of memories I have that involve diabetes.  But all of them pale in comparison to a huge gift diabetes has given me.

Friends.  These friends I met only because they all have diabetes.  Nothing this disease throws at me will ever compare to this.











Photo courtesy of C



Photo courtesy of George











Photo courtesy of Kerri










*I know not all these pics are mine. If I owe you a photo credit, please let me know!*