Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Break Out the Art Supplies



I love art. As a teacher, I understand how important it is for kids to have access to art supplies and be able to freely express themselves. It's something we as adults tend to forget.

Lee Ann is one of my favorite people. And she's passionate about using art to help people with diabetes and their loved ones. This coming Monday, February 3rd is Diabetes Art Day.

Diabetes Art Day


Won't you please join us? Create something to share. As I tell my students, there is no wrong way to make art. All art is beautiful. Think you can't create something beautiful? That's a lie. You can. And someone will love it. Not only does creative expression help you feel better, but sharing your art might help someone else.

And this year, Lee Ann is conducting research on visual expression and people with diabetes. Help her out by completing a survey both before and after #DArtDay.More information here.

Create, share, and see what others have made. We're all in this together. Might as well have some fun and break out the art supplies!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phantom Pump Sites


There's a lot of things about living with diabetes that can makes us feel alone. Some are big, and some are little. But if there's one thing the Diabetes Online Community has taught me, it's that we are never rarely the only one to experience something.

I was pondering a little thing earlier today. Last week, I had a set on the side of my butt. At least once a day, that spot starts to itch and/or hurt a bit, and I think "Yikes, that set is annoying!" Only to then realize there's no set there. Nor does the skin appear red or irritated at all. Seems like it's all in my head. Phantom set pain, maybe?

It's happened to me before too. I sat there, wondering if I was the only one who ever had this problem. So I decided to take to Twitter.



And my suspicions were confirmed. Phantom pump site pain is totally a thing.


It's a little thing, but that "me too" is an awesome feeling.





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden


I have more to share about the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum, but today, there's something else on my mind.




Sara was kind enough to pack this in her suitcase and bring it to me. Remember when I did the JDRF Las Vegas Walk to Cure Diabetes back in November? And I harassed people with requests for donations?

It paid off. I got the Golden Sneaker Award! This award is given to anyone who raises at least $1,000 for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. My official total was $1,070! Which completely blew me away.

This is the first time I've actively participated in a JDRF walk since I was a teenager. And I've never even come close to raising this much money before. So this silly little sneaker means a lot to me. It means even more to share it with a friend.

And I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you. Seriously, thank you. For putting up with my donation requests. For donating. For spreading the word about the walk. I didn't do this. WE did this.

Thank you.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Together


My brain has been swirling since I returned from California. Trying to figure out what to say about the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum has been difficult. There's so much I want to say, I'm having trouble deciding where to start.

Photo courtesy of Medtronic Twitter stream

Kim, Meri, Sara, Kerri, Christel, CatherineJacquie, Chris, and Heather have all already written about it. Stop now and go read their posts. REALLY. Go do it. I love what they had to say. And if I repeat something they said, I apologize. It's unintentional.

There was so much information presented and discussed, and so many fabulous ideas tossed around that it's impossible for me to recap everything. I was too busy listening and trying to absorb it all to take decent notes. What I do what to tell you is what I've been thinking about. What I carried home in my heart after the forum was over.

This was my second time attending Medtronic DAF. The last one was almost two years ago now. This year, it was sponsored by both Medtronic and Bayer. (Disclosure time: Medtronic and Bayer paid for my flights, hotel, transportation, and food. But not my thoughts. Those are mine. Full disclosure policy here).

Like Kim said in her post, I went into the last event feeling quite intimidated. And nervous. I had never participated in anything like it before. I wasn't even sure I belonged there. What did I really have to offer? But I learned a lot, and had a great experience.

This time around, I went in a different person. I've grown and changed a lot in the last two years. I'm not the same person I used to be. I've found my voice. Not that I have all the answers, but I've learned some things. That my voice matters. What advocacy looks like to me.  I was ready to learn, question, and discuss.

Like I said earlier, I can't even begin to recap everything that happened. There was a lot. But what I keep thinking about is Saturday afternoon. Dr. Francine Kaufman is freaking amazing. I love her. Her talk is what I remember most from the event in 2012. And it's what I remember most from this year as well. There is so much that needs to be done to care for people with diabetes around the world. As I sat there listening to her talk about her trips and the work she does with Medtronic Philanthropy and the International Diabetes Federation, I felt overwhelmed. There is so much need in the world. Where do we even start? The tears stung at my eyes as I looked a slide with a picture of a two year old girl with Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Kaufman told us, "This child died."

I've been thinking a lot about this. And here's what I've learned: we pick a need, and start there. That's what Dr. Kaufman does. She's not trying to save everyone in the whole world. She found a need and dove in. Her work has made a difference in the lives of children with diabetes in Haiti. Has improved the outcomes for thousands of people with diabetes in Kazakhstan. And there's work starting in China too.

We can't save every person with diabetes in the entire world. But we do have the power to enact change. The brainstorming session we had following Dr. Kaufman's talk was nothing short of magical. There are big plans for Spare A Rose, Save A Child this year. An action plan that roomful of people worked to create. It's going to be BIG this year. That's what we can do. Support Life For A Child and raise funds to get insulin and supplies to children with diabetes in need.

That's what I brought home with me from Medtronic DAF. I left feeling inspired and empowered. Yes, there is a lot of need out there for people with diabetes. But we can do something. I cannot wait to see when happens when the entire Diabetes Online Community comes together.

We are ALL advocates in our own way. Imagine what we can do together.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not Packing My Winter Coat!


I'm headed to California! I'm not packing my winter coat! It's warm, there's no snow, and I get to hang out with other people with diabetes. Woot!

From Thursday night until Saturday evening, I'll be participating in the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum. This will be my second time attending the event. (Full disclosure: Medtronic is paying for my travel, hotel, and food).

If you have any input you'd like me to share, please let me know. I'll be sharing my thoughts about the event after I get back. If you have Twitter, please follow the conversation using #MedtronicDAF.

Now if you'll excuse me, back to packing. With my high tech diabetes travel bag…





Forgiving Myself


Trigger warning: disordered eating.

One of the hardest things for me to do is forgive myself. Mostly when it comes to my binge eating. The guilt and shame can be so overwhelming. Sometimes it's impossible to see past those emotions.

But I've been working on it. Forgiving myself is something all three of my therapists have stressed. How important it is to learn how to forgive yourself for binging and move on.

I binged Monday night. I was upset, and I binged. Sat there on the couch and ate most of a bag of granola. Made an effort to bolus for it. Went to bed feeling guilty and fat.




In the morning, I woke up with a blood sugar of 377. Not a great way to start the day. Especially when I know it's my fault. But you know what? Somehow I was able to move on. Yes, I felt guilty. Yes, I binged. It happened, and there's nothing I can do to change it. Time to forgive myself and move on.

So surprisingly, yesterday was an excellent day. Forgiving myself means the guilt doesn't take over. It means starting the day with a clean slate, and doing my best. Progress, not perfection. And learning to forgive myself is part of progress.