Sunday, 10 April, 2011

Haiku (HAWMC Day 5)

Today’s prompt: write a health haiku.

Up early today

Time for site and sensor change
Off to work I go
*for info on Blunt Lancet see here, here, here, and here.

Fun With A Red Pen (HAWMC Day 25)

Today’s Prompt: start by finding an old post of yours from months (or years) ago. Revise it as radically as you can. 

This was the third blog entry I wrote, and my first brutally honest one.  I picked this post to edit because they long and not entirely relevant intro has been bugging me ever since I posted it.  I like the post overall, but it felt good to slash that part!  Whew!  Oh, and you can read the original post here.

Digging My Way Out

Buckle up, kids, this could be a long one.

Ok, so you should probably know that I’m a bibliophile and overall english nerd.  If I’d had time, I would have loved to add an English major in college (as if I didn’t do enough writing with my psychology and theology majors).  I worked in the writing lab, and am a total word nerd.  I get it from my dad–the human dictionary.  Back in college, I used to call him when writing a paper and say, “Dad, I’m thinking of another word for ________,” and he would rattle off a list of synonyms.  I even called him on behalf of a few of my roommates.

I also seem to be developing this (sometimes annoying) habit.  I love words, so I’m going to bore you with some definitions now (thanks  Apathy means absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement; also freedom from emotion of any kind.

Burnout (also means fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.

Huh, wow, I didn’t even realize apathy was in the definition of burnout.  Guess that means I’m on the right track.

So, now you know what I’m talking about.  Apathy and burnout.  Welcome to my life for the last few years.  I know I’m not alone in this.  A number of people have blogged about their burnout (Kelly did and also posted some burnout links here).  And Kerri mentioned apathy in her post.

I am well acquainted with these terms.  As my bio says, I was diagnosed with D at age 10, less than 2 weeks before the start of 4th grade.  I’ll spare you my life story (for now), but all in all, I don’t even remember life before D.

My D care has been ok over the years.  We all know how hard it is to balance the bgs of a kiddo, but thanks to a lot of work on my mom’s part, mine weren’t too bad.  And college brings a host of it’s own challenges.  Still, my A1Cs have remained consistently in the 7s.  At my last endo appointment, it was 8.0, the highest it’s been in my adult life.  Which amazes me.  It really does.  When my endo read the number, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I had been expecting much worse.

I’m not sure when the burnout started, but it was sometime after I got married.  Not that this has anything to do with my wonderful husband–far from it.  I love him more than anything in the world!  He’s always so supportive and encouraging, and strives to understand as much as any Type 3 (non-D loved ones) can.

So who knows why?  But I had it–both apathy and burnout–hardcore.  I still went through all the motions like a good little D patient.  Still checked my sugars at least 4 times a day.  Bolused for my food, changed my sets out when I should have, went to the endo.

But I didn’t care.  Not about any of it.  Not that my A1C was slowly rising.  Not that I was constantly running in the 200-300s.  Not that I only counted carbs when I ate something out of a box with a nutrition label.  Everything else was SWAGing.

I should have been upset.  Looking back, I’m horrified that I did that to myself.  Also not helping my sugars was my emotional eating.  That’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time.  Stuffing my face with empty carbs and calories, SWAG bolusing, and not even knowing why.

Not that I cared why.  Looking at my wedding pictures made me sick.  Good grief, was I ever that thin?  All my emotional eating led to me gaining a good bit of weight, and go through A LOT of insulin.  And then the guilt sets in.  You need to lose weight.  Don’t eat that.  You need to get your bs under control.

But I just couldn’t.  It was easier to stuff my face and not care what the number on the meter said.  It was easier than dealing with it.

But dealing with what?  I didn’t know.  I love my husband.  I live close to my family, who are all nothing but supportive.  I have wonderful friends (even if most of them live out of state).  And I love my job, not that it doesn’t stress me out sometimes.  So what was wrong?

Now, I can see it.  All the emotional eating and D apathy were symptoms of a severe case of D burnout. Serious, hardcore, deep burnout.

Fast forward to November 2010.  I was at the end of my rope.  My endo appointment was coming up.  I’d already cancelled it twice because I was afraid of what my A1C would be.  I knew I needed to go, but I was terrified.  What would the number be?  What would my endo say?

On a whim, I decided to join Juvenation, an online community for t1s and their families.  Juvenation has been my saving grace.  I didn’t even realize how alone I felt until I started poking around the site and reading some of the threads, posts, and blogs.  I had an epiphany.

I.  Am.  Not.  Alone.  I AM NOT ALONE!!! I found support.  I found a name for what I was struggling with–burnout.  Naming my struggle gave me power over it.  I knew I was going to be ok when I read this post by my now-friend C (thanks for that one, by the way).

Through Juvenation, I was introduced to the DOC (Diabetic Online Community).  I started reading every d-blog I could find.  I got a Twitter account.  I am engaged and involved in my life again–the apathy is gone.

This is the part where I thank all my fellow DOCers.  Without all of you, I know I would still be entrenched in that burnout.  You are helping me dig my way out, one day at a time.  I owe you all so much.  More than words can say.

That’s why I started this blog.  If the hell I have been through can help just one person, then it all will have been worth it.  I know it sounds cheesy and corny, but it’s true.  I know how you feel.  I have been there.  And thanks to my family, friends, new CGM, and the DOC, I am digging my way out.

Epic Fail (HAWMC Day 9)

Today’s prompt: Health Activist Choice. Today’s blog post can be about anything you like. Free write! 

Well, I’m happy the HAWMC prompt today is a free-write!  It saves me from writing two posts in one day!

Here’s the latest on the Reader’s Digest drama.  None of us who emailed have heard back, except for Kelly, who has been calling and harassing them.  She finally got a response from Karen Reynolds, which is sorely disappointing!  You can read all about it here.  Warning: it will likely make your blood boil!

So I shot off another email to RD, including Karen Reynolds.  Here it is:

To Whom It May Concern-

I am quite livid right now.  I have seen the comment your publication put on my friend Kelly Kunik’s blog, and it is infuriating! I have also read her additional post about her correspondence with you, Karen, and I have to agree with Kelly.
I understand you are trying to help people, really I do.  I also realize that you are not the only ones who use the “reversing diabetes” terminology.  But your rhetoric is dangerous.  Any publication or person who talks about how diabetes can be reversed or cured is recklessly spreading misinformation.  THIS IS NOT OK! 
I stick by what I said in my previous email (which I never received an answer to).  I personally know people with Type 2.  They have changed their eating habits.  They exercise.  They’ve lost weight.  And yet, they still have Type 2.  They still have insulin resistance and cannot get off of their meds.  How do you think that magazine will make them feel?
I second Kelly’s concerns about this kind of rhetoric affecting research.  Both Type 1 and Type 2 need a cure!!!!  Karen, I realize you don’t think this is a valid concern, but I do.  People are not going to want to fund research for any kind of diabetes if they think it can be reversed.  For example, Arizona is thinking charging people with diabetes an additional fee for their Medicaid!  Seriously!
How can you sit there and claim that language like this has no impact?
I DO expect to hear back from someone this time!

Ok, people.  Below is Karen’s contact info (also listed on Kelly’s post).  Please email and call her!  Make your voice heard!

Karen Reynolds
Publicity Curator
Reader’s Digest Media
750 Third Avenue, 4th fl.
New York, N.Y. 10017

Dear Reader’s Digest

This post is not part of the HAWMC posts.  But I was too steamed not to write it.  The following is an email I just sent, word for word, to Reader’s Digest.  Why, you ask? 

Dear Editor-

Hi, mine name is Jess. I’ve had Type 1 diabetes since 1993.  Today, I was made aware that there will soon be a special issue of RD called Reverse Diabetes.
I find this extremely offensive and insulting.
First of all, you are not differentiating between the different types of diabetes.  There are 3 types: Type 1, Type 2, and LADA.  Your magazine does not mention which type of diabetes the special edition is speaking of.
THERE IS NO CURE FOR DIABETES OF ANY KIND!!!!  It is completely irresponsible to suggest otherwise.  
I have Type 1 Diabetes because my body no longer produces insulin.  There is no “reversing” this.  I will have this disease for the rest of my life.  Or until I cure is found, which I can only hope I see in my lifetime.
I have friends with Type 2 diabetes.  I’m sure that they would love to “reverse” it.  Unfortunately, THIS IS COMPLETE AND UTTER CRAP!  People with Type 2 can improve their insulin resistance, but they too will have diabetes for the rest of their lives, until a cure is found.
I am extremely disappointed and offended at this lack of attention and fact-checking.  By publishing this edition, you are spreading misinformation.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for helping people to make better decisions about their health.  I believe it is important for all people, including those with diabetes, to take the necessary steps to take better care of themselves.  
But really.  I do hope you will seriously consider the impact this special edition will have.  There is so much misinformation out there about diabetes, and you will be contributing to it. I encourage you, and plead, that you take another look at the magazine.  You will lose many fans in the diabetes community by going forward with this.  Attached is the link to my blog and the post I wrote yesterday about a similar issue with CNN.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Please let Reader’s Digest know how we feel!  Email, or send mail to React, Reader’s Digest, PO Box 6100, Harlan, Iowa  51593-1600 “Include your full name, address, email, and daytime phone number.”

Thanks to Kim for bringing this to my attention! 

Cure (HAWMC Day 16)

Today’s Prompt: You wake up, it’s some day in the future, and your condition or (any health-related issue) has been cured. You heard right: cured. And you’ve been chosen to cover this breaking news. It’s your big break: write the Press Release, interview the cure-founder, or visit the discovery site where patients everywhere are flocking to get in line. 
This prompt is quite creative, but I’m not sure I can do it.  I must admit that I’m having trouble with this prompt.  When I hear the word “cure,” there’s a lot of emotional baggage that pops up.  Those of us who’ve had D for a long time have been promised a cure for just as long.
And as much as I want a cure, I can’t bring myself to make light of it.  I want it so badly some days it hurts.  Most of the time, I’m ok with the fact that eating is complicated for me.  Sometimes though, it hits me hard.
Like last night, as we were watching TV, my husband sat there eating a giant bowl of ice cream.  Could I go have some?  Sure.  But full-sugar, full-fat ice cream is not good for the bgs, no matter how precisely I measure.
I don’t remember what that feels like anymore.  To be able to sit and eat whatever I want, and not worry about what it might do to my blood sugars.  Today, that is hitting me especially hard.  I don’t know why. Poor J.  He was sitting there, eating his ice cream, and his wife bursts into tears.  And he was wonderful and supportive as always.
I do want a cure.  Desperately.  But I try not to think about it too much, because honestly, I get upset when I do.
Now, the Artificial Pancreas Project?  I can talk about that all day.  To me, that seems much more realistic.  Something tangible that I can see happening in my lifetime.
So, sorry everyone, there will be no witty press release from me today.
If I do see a cure in my lifetime?  Then there had better be D-prom, with glitter and the DOC mascot, Sprinkles the unicorn.  Blunt Lancet will play, and there will be cupcakes galore.  And I will dance the night away with my DOC friends.
Until then, I try to hold onto hope…

Cliche (HAWMC Day 29)

Today’s Prompt: Start out by thinking of a health cliche that really bugs you. What are you tired of people asking you or saying to you again and again about your health or health condition? Write it down. Then, instead of critiquing it (as we often do) – today, reclaim it!
Cliche- Type 1 Diabetics cannot eat sugar.
Type 1 Diabetics CAN eat sugar.  Here are some things I love to eat sometimes, including, but not limited to:
  • cupcakes
  • Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
  • grandma’s chocolate chip cookies
  • mom’s strawberry shortcake
  • frozen custard
  • grandma’s red velvet cake with buttercream frosting

Do I eat this stuff all the time?  No.

But I can and do when I want to! 

Can You Eat That? (HAWMC Day 3)

Today’s prompt sounds nice and easy: “write a health question and answer it.”

Easy enough, right?  Maybe not though.  People with Type 1 Diabetes (as with most other health conditions) field questions on a regular basis.  Some are thoughtful questions, asked by people who are genuinely interested in understanding.  Others questions, however, are just plain stupid.  Sigh.

So what do I pick?  Hmm, let me think….

Ok, the most common question I get is….drumroll please…

Can you eat that?

Double sigh.  There are many variations on the question.  Sometimes, it’s asked by someone who’s brought some yummy dessert to an event and they’re apologizing because they don’t think I can eat it.

Sometimes, it’s asked by one of my students as I’m eating something, like candy or cupcakes, at a class party.

Sometimes, it comes up in conversation when I tell someone I have D.

My answer does vary depending on the circumstance.  If it’s a child, or someone who genuinely seems sincerely concerned, I try to correct their misunderstanding as nicely as I can.

Yes, I can eat that.  Everything you eat turns to glucose.  As long as I take insulin for it, I can eat it. Now, some things are harder to figure out than others, and if I don’t know the carb count, then I have to guess.  So do I eat every sweet that passes in front of me?  No.  But I could if I wanted to.

If the person is rude (or completely clueless) I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Yes, I can eat that, thank you very much.

Now, this is not what I REALLY want to say.  I really want to say something like:

  • back off, D-police!
  • should YOU be eating that?
  • No, actually, I’m not allowed to eat anything at all.

Actually, what I truly get the urge to say is, “sure I can eat that.  The only thing I can’t eat are cookies…made with poison.”

*watch the video for explanation.  MY FAVORITE VIDEO EVER!  It’s most definitely worth it!*

The Best Thing (HAWMC Day 24)

Today’s Prompt: What was the best thing that happened to you last week? 

Ok, so the best thing about last week was without a doubt my entire weekend!  And yes, I’m sure that I cannot pick just one thing.  

We went to my husband’s hometown for the weekend.  Here are the highlights of our fabulous trip:

  • spending time with J’s parents (they’re awesome!)
  • having lunch with two of my best friends from college whom I don’t get to see very often. Oh, how I miss those girls!
  • getting to see J’s best friend, his wife, and their beautiful kids.  It was great to catch up, and dye some Easter eggs, of course.
  • Eating a huge Easter meal with J’s family, including my sister and brother-in-law, as well as my nieces and nephew.  Oh, and of course, we had an Easter egg hunt!

So you see why I can’t pick one thing.  And D?  D was on the back burner this weekend.  I SWAGed my way through the massive amount of food consumed, and managed to stay under 300, so I’m pleased overall.

Now, I need to unpack and go to bed.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Apathy Is Easier (HAWMC Day 10)

Today’s Prompt: Post Secret. You know the beloved PostSecret blog? Today’s prompt is to write down a secret that …really isn’t a secret.
Ok, so a secret, huh?  Or non-secret?  Hmmm….
Here’s my secret: apathy is easier.  It’s so much easier when I don’t care what the number on the meter says.  When I eat whatever the hell and want and SWAG rather than counting carbs.
It’s not better, and I feel like crap from being high, but it’s definitely easier…

And Then I Turned Around (HAWMC Day 13)

Today’s Prompt: Open a book to any page. Today is a meditation on naming blog posts. Pick up a book, magazine, newspaper – anything with written prose in it – and choose a phrase or sentence at random. That’s the title of your blog post for today.

So I opened the book laying on the coffee table, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.  This is the line that caught my eye: “And then I turned around.”

Kinda profound.  Would’ve never thought to title a blog post that myself, but I really like it.

Makes me think along similar lines as the picture in my post yesterday.  Sometimes, things happen when we least expect it.

It’s easier to focus on the negative.  It feels like I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  I’ve been having some burnout and apathy issues again, and then I got real people sick, so between the two, my numbers haven’t been great lately.

A lot of my posts lately have been kinda whiny.  As have my tweets.  I’d like to thank everyone, DOCers and real-life friends and family, for all your support.  It means a lot to me to have so many people supporting me and thinking of me when I feel like crap.

But I’m ready to be done complaining, for a little while, at least.

And then I turned around.  I’m ready to turn around, metaphorically speaking.

This beautiful post by my friend Simon really got me to thinking (seriously, stop now and go read it).  It inspired me to really make an effort to focus on the “moments of awesome” in my day today, no matter how temporary or fleeting they may be.

And then I turned around…and the weather was amazing.

And then I turned around…and my husband kissed me on his way out the door.

And then I turned around…and my fasting bg was 88.

And then I turned around…and gave my mom a hug.

And then I turned around…and heard my students laughing.

And then I turned around…

© 2022 Me and D