Monthly Archives: September, 2011

A Sigh of Relief

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I held my breathe for the last week or so because of my annual eye exam.  I’m happy to report that after almost 17 years with type 1 diabetes I’m still hanging on to eye health.  I breathed out a long sigh of relief that literally lifted my headache away.

My pressure decreased in both eyes just as it did last year which tells me to more or less keep doing what I’m doing. There are no signs of the 2 faint blood vessels spotted two and a half years ago during my twin pregnancy which makes me happy but also proves to me how delicate a balance this all is.

A little extra pressure or strain, a little bodily stress and that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling on some damage?  It’s a tough pill to swallow but it makes me that much more aware of how important small daily decisions are.  Of course, the doctor always reminds me that with time I’m likely to meet some obstacles but she has a great point when she says not to worry because worrying is pointless, what matters is what we do with the present.  And currently I’m working hard to maintain good blood sugar management.  That’s the best any of us can do.

On different but related note, I realized I’m probably considered close to being legally blind-vision wise.  I have also realized that no matter how cute my glasses frames are, they can never hide the extreme chunkiness of the lens and as a result I’m extremely grateful for contact lenses.  A sigh of relief there, too.  See?  It’s not always about diabetes. :)

What the DOC is to Me

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So to start with I want to say I tremendously appreciate the connections, sharing, and activities having to do with the DOC.  I wish I had been able to experience this many years ago as a teenager.  I really do.  Since “connecting” with all of you I have learned countless of practical things.  I have learned lots in the realm of philosophy and have broadened my ideas having to do with diabetes.  I have felt more validated and whole.  I have also been tested and challenged as a result of coming into contact with so many different thoughts and opinions.  It’s all good, albeit sometimes complicated and twisty.

Relationships are challenging, we all know that.  They help us grow.  Growth isn’t easy but it’s very useful because it is assumed we become better human beings in the process and it also provides a sense of fulfillment in life. I think that growth is a big part of being human.

The DOC is like any other relationship.  Have you ever read something on a blog that inspired you to be a better person?  I have.  Have you ever read something on a blog that reached out and poured salt on a wound?   Was it on purpose?  Probably not.  Most likely, a vulnerable area was stirred in you and a challenge to face a truth or face a fear was moved in you and what you experienced was your reaction.

When these reactions happen to me I have tried to learn to think about them.  Instead of come to assumptions, I have to reflect first.  Why did something affect me so?  Why was I touchy or emotional?  Why did those words make me cry?  Why do I agree with someone?  Why do I disagree?  Where is that person coming from?

To me, the DOC is a relationship that is constantly encouraging me to grow.  This is often painful as much as it is exhilarating.  When it gets frustrating, I ask myself why something is having that affect on me.  When it is helpful, I’m simply appreciative.  When it’s overwhelming, I step back for a moment and get some air.  When I come back, the support from others reminds me what it’s all about.

So whether you lurk occasionally or hang out often, do what’s comfortable to you and know that your participation is priceless to others.  Remember that our differing opinions come from our differing circumstances and personalities.  Remember that differing opinions are a thing of value because they reflect a real way of thinking for other people and demonstrate courage to speak up.  This leads to discussions that lead to effective communication which leads to powerful community breakthroughs if people are humble, honest, sincere, and brave.

A powerful force for growth, change, and a better way of life for people with diabetes, that’s what the DOC is to me.

Diabetes Advocacy- A Call for Unity

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I’ve heard many times that people have concerns over type 1 diabetes support dwindling.  At first I thought, can this be?  After all, there is more awareness now and more type 1 cases are being diagnosed each year.  This train of thought lead me to recount to my husband about the JDRF Walks that my family and I participated in over a decade ago.  I remember the walks being huge.  There were tons of people, over 6 miles of walking, police aid to escort walkers around the downtown of the city, ambulances available for low blood sugar crashes, snack and drink stops along the way, press cameras all over the place-in other words, I got the feeling there was A LOT of support for Type 1 Diabetes.  There was even a stage with a podium and the press would make a statement about what they saw.  My little brother was once interviewed for the news for being one of the youngest walkers.

Each year after the first walk, I couldn’t help but notice how the miles of the walk decreased.  When the walk eventually came down to under 3 miles, I thought it was “wimpy” and longed for the days where the walk was so long, one would actually have the appetite for the loads of hamburgers and hot dogs and side dishes provided post walk.  I was a teenager and began feeling like the walks were no longer being taken seriously.  Or maybe people were losing hope with every year.  I didn’t know what it was.

Yesterday, the city where I live held it’s JDRF Walk for the Cure.  I couldn’t make it.  It hit me yesterday morning like a lightening bolt that all of my strange symptoms from the last several weeks all point to a kidney infection so I am taking it easy, trying to down about 4 liters of water a day, and already left a urine sample at the doctor’s this morning.  Yesterday, my husband took the kids to the park before their nap and curiosity lead him to drive past the walk just as it was about to start.  We have a few areas in our downtown where large banner announcements often hang to announce a festival or walk for a cause.  He was surprised to see no banner about the JDRF Walk .  There is always a banner for the Cancer walks, the Strawberry and Peach Festivals, even the Greek Festival.  Those huge banners, strung between buildings are up for weeks and let everyone know about the event.  I consider it very effective marketing because of how small our downtown area is-everyone goes down that street sometime each month.

For the past two years I’ve been participating with the Diabetes Online Community.  I’ve been exposed to the the opinions of many with diabetes.  One idea that many have become concerned about is that the type 2 diabetes epidemic and the negative associations involved with that disease has leaked into the type 1 diabetes awareness arena.  Type 1 diabetes gets confused with type 2 and a lack of support ensues.  I’m sure there are other reasons for the dwindling support but I have heard plenty of negative things about type 2 and can easily imagine the negativity hurting the type 1 as well as the type 2 diabetics.

I’ve heard type 1 and 2 may require different cures and if that’s the case, you can see why this entire subject is an extremely complicated and emotional one.  Those with type 1 want acknowledgement that their life balance is a delicate one and one only successfully managed by an extremely exhausting way of living.  Those with type 2 are saying, “hey! This is really hard, too!”  And everyone is right.  And diabetes is a global issue, affecting everyone whether they have diabetes or not.  It’s just not seen that way, yet.

I have noticed many people only support one type of diabetes.  My concern however, is not about if this is wrong or right but rather, is this effective?  Is this in all of our best interests?  It worries me that type 1 not supporting type 2 will make type 2 look like a disease that is easy to deal with and easy to get rid of (when that isn’t the case at all).  It also worries me that type 2 not supporting type 1 will decrease funding and support for a much less prevalent disease.  Both scenarios lead to the same outcome-inadequate support for both types of diabetes.

It has become clear to me that helping dissipate inaccurate information about type 2 diabetes is not only the just and friendly thing to do, but one that will positively impact type 1 diabetes as well.  The type 1 community needs the backing of the type 2 community and vice versa.

Unity, in this case, as in so many others, is our best hope.  So although the two writers on this site, my sister Ana and I have type 1 diabetes, we support all people with diabetes (all 11 kinds!) and the causes that help any of them.  It’s always been this way but now we’re officially on the record.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Getting to the Bottom of This

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Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.

-Glenn Turner

 

“This” is whatever issue(s) I have going on which have been causing me to feel a lot less than great the last few months.  In the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with some stronger symptoms like frequent headaches and nausea and water retention.  I visited an allergist and we have ruled out Celiac disease but I’m still going to omit gluten to see if it helps in any way.  (Omitting gluten is a small price to pay if I just so happen to feel better!)  I had lots of other allergy testing done and we found I’m not allergic to any new things so that’s a plus.   Although I am allergic to about 30 different things.  No, my immune system is not confused at all. (Dry humor helps, try it!)

I was reminded that I have an asthma diagnosis from about 15 years ago.  It seems I have mild exercise induced asthma and have forgotten over all these years OR was initially misdiagnosed.  Perhaps when I’ve had my “panic attacks” I’m really just panicking over my breathing?  Could be.  I will get a breathing test soon.  In the meantime I’m just glad those symptoms are mild and I don’t require an inhaler.  Although I do get laryngeal spasms from time to time but although those can cause a person to pass out, the good thing there is that if I do, my throat will relax and air will pass once again.  Phew, what a relief.

Next I go get my hormones and ovaries checked.  Before having my kids, when my PCOS was causing more pain and ovarian cysts were growing all over the place, I remember having nausea and water retention-like I am now.  So hormonal imbalance issues may be the root of this.  It wouldn’t surprise me you know?  Lately, my blood sugars have been higher than they have been in a long time and that definitely affects hormones in the body.  My worry about that is how do I fix the problem?  I don’t feel well on birth control.  What else can I do?  Keep perfect blood sugars?  What else can I do?  Sometimes I dislike being a girl.

I also go to the eye doctor soon.  I’m sure my prescription has changed (everything is a tiny bit blurry) and although that is a bad sign of something diabetes eye related…I’m used to my prescription increasing every single year since age 14, so maybe that’s what the headaches are about.

Some of my symptoms could be tied to anxiety so I’m seeing a psychiatrist soon.  I know I said I would do this over a month ago but I have procrastinated.  But no more, I’ve just made an appointment.

I don’t necessarily want to share all of this with the world (Hello! Look at me! I’m broken!) but here is why I do:  Many of you out there are going through similar scenarios where you have multiple health issues going on and you can’t figure out what’s the cause of what and you feel really overwhelmed and as a result don’t do anything about it.

My advice is to just stop.  Breathe.  Write down your symptoms.  Make doctor appointments.  Visit one doctor at a time.  Get tests done.  Get to the bottom of this.  Ruling out different things will be strangely comforting as you move closer to what is making you feel ill.  Symptoms are our body’s way of saying “help!”   We need to listen and play detective and then tweak our lifestyle until we feel better.   We deserve it.

I should not have waited so long.  I’m already feeling better knowing I’m being proactive.

Any of you out there go through something similar?  Did it help?

Changing the Norm Starts with Us and Our Children

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The kids eating kale chips.

 

If we think of “normal” as what we usually do and a “treat” as something we really enjoy but don’t have as often as other things, then I consider healthy eating normal and fresh tilapia a treat.

I think too many of us get caught up in other people’s description of “normal” and “treat”.  But we can make the definition anything we want for ourselves.  We can do this for our kids, too.

I want my kids to think that their healthy way of eating is normal even though it’s not the norm.  I want them to feel that a bowl of fruit or a salad with tons of different vegetables is a treat, even though in our culture, it’s more of a “should do” than a “want to do”.  I want them to think that feeling good after eating is a treat, instead of accepting feeling sluggish or hyper.  I want them to be picky and really care about what they’re putting into their bodies.  If something doesn’t make them feel good after eating it, I want them to love themselves enough to avoid that food.  Just like if someone doesn’t treat them right, I’d want my kids to avoid that person.

I still give my kids ice cream a few times a month.  It’s not about making foods the enemy.  It’s about supporting their learning of how to make distinctions between different types of foods.  It doesn’t help to let children hear that first we suffer through this healthy meal and then we get to the ice cream treat for relief.  That’s probably not teaching them something helpful.  Neither is being forceful though and I’ll be the first to admit, it’s really hard to get kids to eat healthy in this world we live in.

Here is my formula so to speak, which has worked really well so far: (keep in mind we still have days where I am an exasperated mom of two little arms crossed, head shaking toddlers)

I’ll use the example of a salad because many young children look at raw vegetables like inedible toys to play with.

I let my kids watch the entire preparation of the salad.  They’re two years old so all they can really help me with is getting the vegetables out of the fridge and drying them after I’ve washed them.  Then they watch as I cut them and throw them in a bowl.  I make it a point to look happy while doing this and sometimes make a song out of what I’m preparing.  Two year old’s get into anything:  “carrots and celery, spinach and broccoli, yummy, yummy, yummy!”  Don’t make fun of me.  It gets them dancing.  Anyway, then when my husband and I eat, we ignore the kids.  We enjoy our food, we let out plenty of genuine “mmm’s” and allow the kids to try whatever vegetable they want to try.  They’ve never tried any dressing other than olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice and salt so since that’s all they know, they don’t  complain.

The reason we ignore them during meal time is they stop performing for us.  They tend to be really cute, you know two year olds.  They’re like “look at me, I can make a funny face!”  Or they smile and want you to go “Awww!”  So while we give them plenty of this kind of attention, while we eat, the focus is, at least for now, on enjoying the food.  We also never force them to eat anything because no human being likes being forced to do anything.  And we certainly don’t want them to associate any foods with a negative memory.

They mimic us parents so I’ve found they focus on the food on the plate and with nothing left to do, they start getting curious about it.  After all, mom and dad look happy over it, maybe it’s pretty good?  They usually don’t want to miss out.  Often, they won’t like something but will try it over and over until low and behold, they eat it and find out they like it all of a sudden.  All that was needed was a ton of patience on our part.  To be honest sometimes I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because that’s just how it is with feeding young children.  Sticking with my goals has proved pretty successful and I hope others try to just hang in there.  Your hard work will pay off one day!

The other thing that probably helps us out is my kids only watch kid DVD’s.  They have never seen TV commercials.  In Canada it’s illegal to market to children and I wish it were that way here in the US.  It doesn’t help parents to have their kids subject to happy looking children enjoying junk food and toys that they may not have in their homes.

The problem sometimes with too many junk food treats is not that a few junk food meals a week will do much damage but simply that the salt, sugar, and fat content will mess with a person’s taste buds.  If a child tastes the exaggerated flavors in McDonald’s chicken nuggets and milkshake, how are they going to accept the milder flavors of grilled chicken and a vegetable?  It’s hard and it’s asking a lot of them.  I’ve found that since not having any fast food meals in years, if I have a bite of someone’s fast food meal, I can’t handle the high amount of salt, sugar, and fat.  My tongue can’t.  And I have to spit the food out.  I never thought that would happen to me but it did.  (My exception is ice cream!)  I think we can give kids this advantage.  All it takes is slowly and gradually replacing junk food with whole foods and home cooked meals.  I know that’s not easy but small steps reap great rewards in this area.

It’s up to all of us to change what the norm is.  We can change what we consider a treat.  It doesn’t have to be about replacing a birthday cake.  No, birthday cakes are wonderful!  As my mom would say, It can be about having a tiny slice instead of a huge one.  It can be about more fresh whole foods instead of bagged and boxed items.  It can be about a walk after dinner, instead of a TV show after dinner.  When we change what is considered normal, we change how future generations live.  We give them a better life.  We set them up for more success and less failure.  Right now, we’re in trouble and we all know it.  And there is no room for feeling guilty about it.  Don’t let guilt bring you down, you don’t deserve that.  It’s about taking small steps to awareness and acknowledgement of all of our hands in the matter.  Think about how easy it would be to do this if no one judged.  The reality is what it is but no one needs to be put down over it.  Not when this living and parenting this is SO hard.

If this post upsets someone it’s only because it strikes a chord.  And I’m not on a high horse.  There are moments when I am so tired I give the kids strawberries and dark chocolate for dinner.  I know that is not ideal and I try to find a way to make the next day go better and recognize that I’m a parent and being a parent is hard.  If my kids eat really well on most days, I’m happy with that.

I write this post because the one thing I feel a sense of relief over as a parent is that a meal of broccoli, chicken and brown rice makes my kids happy.  Although they don’t quite understand the connection between how they feel and what they eat, I know they want to feel good.  We all do.  Maybe when they’re older they will eat all the junk food they can get their hands on.  That’s fine with me.  Have a ball!  I have faith that when they start feeling the affects of this, they will think back to the time when they felt better and make the connection to the food they ate and the lifestyle habits we had.  And I think they’ll know their way back.  I trust that because they knew a different norm, they will be able to make better decisions for themselves.  In the meantime it will take longer for them to sustain damage from the food because at least their first few years were full of healthy food.  Anyway, that’s my plan and I’m trying to stick with it.

For support, I hope my kids find other like minded peers to live this way with.  Wouldn’t it be cool if a healthier lifestyle became the norm?  Wouldn’t it be easier for others to join in?  Wouldn’t we all find relief?  I know I would.  I’m tempted by double fudge brownies just as much as the next gal.

Cooking at Home

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“Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.”

~ Dorothy Draper

If I had it my way, I’d be a Princess and there would be no cooking done by me.  I don’t particularly like it and wince a little to always find myself in the kitchen.  And perhaps it’s not the cooking I mind but more the clean up afterwards (I’m very messy).  I think over time I will learn to like it more.  I have no choice.  I’ve found that the healthiest way to eat is to cook my own food.  That way, I know exactly what’s in my food, how it’s been cooked, and how fresh it is.  I can control the salt, the fat, the quality of fat, the quantity of sugar, the freshness of herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables.  I can make sure my family and I consume vegetables and fruits that are washed really well, are not wilted or brown, and haven’t been cross contaminated with germs in a kitchen.

Cooking in your own kitchen ensures all this.

Most people say they don’t have time.  I think we do if we prioritize.  I often have to choose between an outing to a store and staying home to cook dinner.  That’s when I realize I have time but choose to use it in a different way.  Some people really are pressed and I understand that.  There are lots of tips out there to help with that.  The following are what have helped me the most:

-Cook for two days

This means getting large enough pots and pans but I’ve found that this is really nice when you experience every other day as a day off from cooking dinner.  The kitchen is nice on those days, too!

-Clean while cooking

I’ve made things a lot more manageable for myself by learning to clean as I cook.  It leaves only a little to be done afterwards.  Alex would beg to differ but he often doesn’t see what the kitchen looks like during the cooking!

-Get help

I do this two ways.  First, when possible, I recruit my husband’s help in cooking because then the job goes twice as fast.  When my kids are older you can bet they’re going to be helping out, too.  Second, I play fun or relaxing music and light candles.  It makes for a special atmosphere that helps the cooking be more enjoyable.  Seriously, chopping carrots to Adele is priceless.

- Keep breakfast and lunch simple

I’m already cooking a full on dinner so for the other two meals of the day I keep it really simple.  Things like eggs, fruit, oatmeal, are pretty easy to prepare in the morning.  For lunch things like wraps, sandwiches, salads are pretty quick, too.  I actually eat mostly raw food for breakfast and lunch and then have cooked food for dinner.  It helps me to not have to cook so much.  The sight of a dirty pan almost makes me pass out.

If YOU have any tips, share!  I’m trying to get better at this.  By the time I’m 30, I want to be like Ina Garten.  She seems so happy to cook!  Then again someone probably cleans her kitchen for her…

Just keep in mind that in the time it takes you to drive to a fast food restaurant, wait in line, order, pay, and go sit down with your food, you could have cooked a simple meal at home.  Especially with practice.  This is something I’m still working on but have found that I’m much more quick and efficient in the kitchen and most importantly-less apt to burn the meal, than I was a year ago so hey, we’re making progress :)  You can, too.

As a plus, just think how great it would be if fast food restaurants died out and were replaced by healthier alternatives?  That can’t be a bad thing!  When I worked outside of the home I longed for a drive by restaurant that would just give me something fresh and healthy while I was on the run.  We can change the paradigm, one home cooked meal at a time!

If We Don’t, Who Will?

Thanks to Idea Go for the picture

If you don’t fight for your condition or plight in life, who will?

Everyone has their “something” going on and their own cause to fight for.

If you have diabetes, I encourage you to speak up.  We need your voice.  More importantly, YOU need your voice.

You may not find it today.  You may not use it tomorrow.  But, soon, when you’re ready, join us.  We’ll be here.

Because seriously, if we don’t, who will?

September DSMA Blog Carnival Entry

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To read more entries in this blog carnival, click here.

If I didn’t laugh about life with diabetes and twins, then I would be like a chicken with her head cut off.

Seriously!  I grew up surrounded by four younger siblings.  So I’m used to dodging toys on the floor, building tents out of blankets, child versions of recipes that for some reason include grass, “cologne” made of pine needles, my stuff “magically” disappearing, the house rarely quiet, and of course, the sense that in my own home, I could never be alone.  But, having siblings and having kids that rely on me are two VERY different things.

Today, I step over the Legos to prepare breakfast for the kids as they were carrying out a tug of war with a blanket.  Eventually one let go and the other is sent flying into the wall.  That was Henri and he is what I like to call compact and strappy because he falls, flips, rolls, and nothing ever seems to slow him down.  He bounces really well.  Henri doesn’t like being thrown into the wall and takes off running and in a move that would impress any NFL player, he soars through the air to tackle his sister, his little arms ready to get around her.  Really?  We’re tackling now?  Not in my house!  I intercept this and put my arms around Henri until he stops squirming and the aggression dissipates.  Aurora looks at him as if to say, “haha, mommy stopped you!” and then she prances along her way, as usual.

I’m explaining to Henri that we don’t tackle one another when Aurora happily pops out of the kitchen with the sharp cooking shears.  She points them forward while closing and opening them and smiling.  It almost looks like a scene from a horror movie.  I run and intercept that disaster and hide the shears out of reach.  I didn’t know they could reach those drawers.  I am suddenly well aware of all the “weapons”  the kitchen is equipped with.

I look over at the kids to find them side by side with their arms around each other, smiling.  “Awww you guys that’s more like it!”  Then I look over on the floor and see a few of my favorite books from the bookcase, with shreds of paper all around.  “Ughhh”.  Henri jumps into action and helps me pick up the pieces of paper.  I wonder if this may be a sign of guilt…  “Thank you, son”.  Aurora surprises me and picks a few pieces up, too but then, while spinning around, throws them up into the air and laughs.   I go on about how we treat books carefully and gently when I notice Henri grabbing the large wooden table top cover that belongs to their play table and resting it against the couch.  Then he slides down.  And guess who wants to join him?  Only, their combined weight of over 60 pounds is too much for this table top so I try to take it away before it snaps.  This results in me having a child wrapped around each one of my legs in protest.

Then I remember how I gave insulin for breakfast 20 minutes ago.  This is when I feel a low coming on.  This is when I laugh to myself as I walk like a lead footed zombie while dragging two heavy toddlers over to the kitchen where I grab some glucose tablets.  A little later the house is quiet and they’re playing with Legos.  I laugh again because this peaceful moment and my blood sugar holding steady at 98 will probably last all of five more minutes.

Diabetes in Art

This semester, I’m taking Intermediate Painting and I love it. It’s nice to have time already set aside to just paint whatever I want. Anyway, I usually paint with acrylics, but I decided to use oils this semester, which I have almost no experience with. I immediately fell in love with them and now I’m not sure if I can ever go back to acrylics! One of the reasons I love this class so much is because we’re free to paint whatever we want, as long as we have at least six paintings done by the end of the semester. However, our paintings need to have a theme that links them all together to some extent. I didn’t have to really think about what I wanted to do, because I already decided over the summer. Ever since Diabetes Art Day last year, I realized that I enjoy using diabetes as a subject for my art work. It’s really relieving and sometimes even empowering. Lately, I’ve been feeling really determined to make paintings that are reflections of my life with Type 1. I explained to my professor that over the past year, I’ve felt dissatisfied with a lot of my painting ideas because I didn’t think they were meaningful enough to create a painting around. I wanted my paintings to get a little deeper and be a little more thought-provoking, so I thought, hey, diabetes is a huge part of my life, and it’s definitely a deep topic because it’s so personal. I know it will be tough, but I decided to do it.

One of the things I’m a little worried about is that I won’t effectively get the message across. I’d really like viewers to have a good idea of what I was feeling when I painted a certain piece. Because it’s so intimate and personal, it’s kind of hard to lay out my thoughts and fears on canvas so openly, knowing that people are going to look at it and critique it. I’ve already been mentally preparing to detach myself from my work, otherwise I know I’ll be offended on the inside if someone doesn’t get it or like it. At the beginning of the semester, I had a discussion with my professor about how direct the paintings should be. We agreed that they should be pretty subtle. I don’t want someone to look at one of the paintings and be like oh, it’s about diabetes. I want them to spend time thinking about what it could mean, and then once they figure out or learn what it’s about, they can reflect on the subject and see what a seemingly simple thing can mean to a diabetic. Individually, it will probably be hard to tell that the painting is about diabetes, but as a whole series, it will be a little clearer once some connections can be made between all the pieces.

Another reason I decided to do this series is that I knew it would help increase diabetes awareness. While I’m working in class, my classmates ask me about what I’m working on, and I explain to them how I want to create reflections of my life with diabetes. Two days ago, one student told me about how his dad also has diabetes and he could see how my painting worked with the theme. Once I finish all the paintings, I really hope to have them displayed in a show somewhere so more people can see them. I will also share them with all of you on here :] So far I’ve finished one piece and have started a second and you can see parts of them here:

If you have any ideas or suggestions for my future paintings, please share!! I would love to hear what you guys think :]

Invisible Illness Week 2011

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

 

I have what is considered an “invisible illness” but I KNOW I’d look different if I didn’t have diabetes.  It’s just that others don’t know that.  Diabetes has had a big hand in whatever other issues I’ve got and that has affected my body, inside and out.  I just wanted to put that out there.  I believe the same for people with other invisible illnesses as well.  If you don’t have energy or something is preventing you to live life just as you’d like, of course it affects how you look, at least to some degree.

I am glad that I can walk around without others thinking “Oh my…what’s wrong with her?”  I don’t want pity to be a big part of life.  However, I want to educate others about diabetes and it’s sometimes hard to bring it up when all looks well and good.

That’s part of the reason I blog each day.  To relate to those who are going through the same things I am and to reach out to those who are curious about us or who love us and let them know what life is like.  I read blogs each day about other conditions and it literally breaks my heart.  We’re definitely not alone.  There are many people suffering with many different ailments each day.  In essence, I blog for all of us with a chronic illness.  The day-to-day grind of living with something others can’t see or feel can be downright exhausting.

Sometimes my husband says to me, “Why didn’t you mention to me earlier that you were not feeling well?”  And my honest answer every time is: “It’s depressing to say it out loud.”

So thank you for reading because you allow me to get it out in the least depressive way I can think of.  When you think about it, what we write lasts so much longer than what we say, it’s probably one of the most empowering ways to say something as it can be so easily passed on and on.

To all of you out there with a chronic illness, cheers to you and may we all feel better rather than worse, each day that passes.  To all of you who advocate for those with a chronic illness, whether you live with it or not, thank you and God Bless you.

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