Monthly Archives: November, 2011

We’re in Diabetes Forecast Magazine!

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I’m supposed to be all cool and say “hey everyone, why not check us out, we’re in Diabetes Forecast”, but I can’t!

In truth, I’m flipping out because I remember thinking “wow…” to all the inspiring stories I read in each issue as a child with diabetes.  So to be in it…is kind of totally amazing!

We’re in an article talking about teamwork in this December 2011 issue and we’d be so honored if you read it:

Teamwork:  Banding Together to Tackle Diabetes

By the way, thank you for reading.  Without you this blog is an awfully lonely place!

What 1000 Glucose Strips Buy You

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My husband is a man of few words.  So when he does speak up, my reaction is often “genius!” or “that’s hysterical!”  And sometimes I’m just bewildered.  Anyway, out of the blue the other day, Alex said, “You know, for what they cost, 1000 strips easily buy you a cow”.

“Huh…?”

I should mention that Alex grew up in the country.  Not Tim McGraw’s country, I mean, use candles for light, eventually eat your pet goat, play in the cornfields, walk a few miles to school, no indoor water or plumbing, country.

Thanks to his comment, I thought it would be fun to make a list of things that 1000 strips can buy.  I use 1000 strips every 4 months.  I have insurance but many people with diabetes don’t and that’s worth noting when you realize what that money could be used for.  Let’s cure diabetes so we can all go shopping!  Just kidding!  Or not…

What 1000 Glucose Strips Buy You:

200 fast food lunches

A new TV and a Blue Ray/DVD player

A Blackberry for you and all your friends (and not the edible kind)

A weekend vacation

A nice set of golf clubs

A small used fishing boat and fishing gear

A nice pay down on credit card debt

A box full of Oprah’s favorite things

A Garmin Navigator GPS system for each of your two vehicles

Not one, but two good sized Dooney and Bourke bags

A few cans of excellent caviar (yeah…not worth it…)

A long and steep fall into the Gap

Five months of food for a homeless person

A super nifty digital camera

Two or three Dyson Vacuums (all you’d need in a lifetime!)

One troy ounce of 24k gold

Really sharp and fancy kitchen knives

A beautiful watch

A used clunker that can still get you from point A to point B (there’s a value in that!)

A kick start for an entrepreneur

 

Taking care of one’s diabetes doesn’t come cheap.  Tell everyone about it.

Find Your Place

By “place” I mean, the spot in town that makes you relax, that sort of calms your nerves.  You know, the book shop, the park, the café, the edge with a view, Tiffany’s (lol), whatever it may be.  For me it’s anywhere near the woods.  I don’t go and have in mind, “this place is going to make me feel better”.  I just go for the sake of going somewhere different with the family and every single time, it hits me that I feel so much better.  I can take really deep breaths, my heart rate is slowed, my mind stops racing, and I feel a sense of peace.  For the first time in weeks I feel centered.  Who knew some old trees could do that?  Or maybe it was the fresh air.

Anyway, if you have a place like that, and haven’t been in a while, this is probably a good time of year to make the time.

Yesterday on Thanksgiving Day we went to a place called Peaks of Otter.  Here’s one of the peaks (called Sharp Top, I believe):

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There is a lake: (and me being weighed down by my chock-full-of-diabetes-stuff purse)

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The kids wondered why no one answered the door at an inn built in the early 1800’s:

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We walked over bridges:

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We found out Henri loves to jog.  He kept this up for 20 minutes at a really steady pace for a two year old.  I know, because I got winded jogging alongside of him.

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Aurora found a rock she really liked:

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And a stick:

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We got really close to a beautiful blue heron:

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Proof that we did:

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you have a relaxing weekend.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself :)

XOXO

The Book of Better, Book Review

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Chuck Eichten has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years.  He has written a book called, The Book of Better targeted at anyone with diabetes.  The book’s all encompassing message to you: that perfect isn’t possible but improvement always is so why not strive for that?.  Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

The book is written in an extremely straight forward style, suitable to those who respond to that and perhaps, most any man.  It’s a really witty book, includes fun visual art and a lot of aesthetic appeal (with exception of some white font on yellow background-well at least it’s large white font).  This comes as no surprise since Chuck Eichten is Nike’s creative director.  In fact, Nike’s timeless “Just Do It” slogan totally relates to this book, which admittedly delighted me to no end.

I have to say, I felt like boxing with the author a couple times.  He says insulin pumps are “the Best Available Treatment”.  I agree on the condition that it is actually what works best for someone.  And someone isn’t equivalent to everyone.  I haven’t had an A1c over 6.0% in over 5 years and I’ve never had a seizure or passed out from a low and I don’t use a pump.  I did for seven years and it did not work for me.  In Eichten’s opinion, you’re crazy if you have access to a pump but don’t have one.  He talks about how pumps allow a person the flexibility to sleep in late, to skip meals or snack in between them, and to be more sexy on dates because it’s probably more of a turn on to be on a first date and hit some buttons on a gadget that’s mysteriously connected to you by tubing than to inject a needle at the table.  I use Lantus and Humalog insulin and between the two I can sleep in and skip meals and frankly, I feel sexier when I’m not connected to the pump.  It’s just easier to move around and wear dresses and door knobs don’t yank me back by two feet of tubing.  And also, Chuck, how do you test your blood sugar?  Because the only way I can do it is by bleeding.  And I don’t know anyone who finds bleeding sexy.  But I know of someone, who find me sexy whether I’m connected to a pump or injecting a shot or pricking my finger.  So for me, the human element is the key.  Though, many might agree with you and that’s the beauty of it I suppose.  It would just be nice to have the other option properly acknowledged because it can and does work for some people.

I can’t help but wonder if this hailing of the pump is partly one person’s way of supporting technology to continue advancing for our benefit.  If that’s the case, then great and thank you.  But I worry about those who can’t get access to a pump, who hear that they are the best thing, and then lose all hope in their MDI.  And we all know how important it is that people have hope, right?  In all essence it’s like we’re in the same league, playing on different teams, but with the same end goal of winning in mind.

Enough about pumps!  The book, for me, is an awesome dose of perspective.  At least once every chapter I exclaimed, “YES!” out loud, prompting my husband to ask me what the commotion was all about.  The author does a fantastic job of confronting the root issues that people have with certain aspects of life with diabetes and then he explains them in a way that makes a person realize he is right and our excuses are absolutely useless.

For example, I have long been in an internal battle over the “Yes I can eat that” campaign.  I feel like “yes…I can…but, I want to be healthy so often, no I can’t…”  You know what I mean?  Well, the author reminds us that there are two conditions to the “yes I can eat that”.  We’re empowered patients, after all.  People with type 1 can eat anything but if they’re smart, they are going to be picky about when and how much they eat, not because they are strict and deny themselves pleasure, but because they know they deserve to take care of themselves.  This is a really powerful message and there are many like this in the book regarding diet and exercise and one’s attitude.  By the way, Chuck eats a totally unhealthy breakfast every day and impressively balances it out in real life way you will want to read about.

This book does another fine thing by reasoning with our emotions and appealing to our genuine worries.  For example he says, “You are not boring, you are consistent”.  People think it’s fun and attractive to be spontaneous and diabetes tries to challenge us on that.  And the author is reminding us that the fact of the matter is diabetes likes consistency and if we try to keep some things consistent, we’ll be better off.

He also heavily promotes that all people with diabetes move each day.  Instead of sounding like a doctor “you’ll be healthier, your risk for heart disease will be lower”, the author actually goes to the true places in all of us and mentions how, for example, if we move more, we’ll spark a chain of events that will ultimately get us more of what we want and less of what we don’t want.  Finally, someone who knows how to motivate.

I have been gathering information regarding lifestyle habits of long time type 1 diabetics who are very healthy and this book just so happens to discuss many of those consistencies.  If you want to live a long and healthy life with diabetes, this book won’t steer you wrong. You might actually go for a pump after reading the book. And that’s ok because it may work for you.  Winking smile

You want an excellent dose of reality, perspective, hope, and humor?  Read this book.

You can buy it here.

Two Must Read Posts

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On the subject of diabetes advocacy and the above ad, I’ve read two tremendous posts that encapsulate my feelings on the subject and many other people’s feelings.

Sometimes there is no use writing when others have said it best.

I highly recommend Jessica Apple’s post:

This Diabetes Awareness Month Tell the World You Aren’t Equal

And Riva Greenberg’s post:

Diabetes’ JDRF Tries Shock Ad to Push the FDA


What do you think?  Should we tell the world about our real vulnerabilities with diabetes?  Do you think it would help gather more support?

Natural Glucose Tablets! The Glucolift Review

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You probably already know I’m into “natural”, “healthy”, blah blah blah.  You may be, too.  If you’re not and wondering why a natural glucose tablet may be worthwhile, this here is especially for you.

First of all, I know many of you treat lows with candy and fruit juice.  Sometimes I have no choice but to use something like that, as well.  However, when we’re low the fastest thing we can use to bring up our sugar is glucose and that’s why glucose tablets are a smart choice.  The problem is they contain artificial flavors, colors, and genetically modified ingredients which over the course of time is not going to support our health.

Glucolift glucose tablets are created by a fellow diabetic.  They don’t have anything artificial and they don’t have a yucky chalky taste to them.  We received some bottles to try out and Ana and I really loved them.  What struck me though, was just how much I missed them when I ran out and went back to my old glucose tablets.  I almost gagged.  So perhaps at first taste Glucolift tablets don’t taste very different-after all they still have the same 4 grams of glucose per tablet, but once you go from these to the regular artificially flavored tablets, oh you’ll know the difference.

Let’s face it, when we’re low, we sometimes want to make the experience a little less crappy so we dig into ice cream or candy.  The truth is that we do best by relying on what our body is in immediate need of and that is glucose.  We also do best to enjoy the way our glucose tablets taste so the experience isn’t a complete drag.

So we love the taste:  I love the cherry the most, Ana loves the wildberry flavor the most, and others have reported that they are head over heels for the orange cream flavor.  We love the easy flip lid that allows easy access while trembly and low.  And we love that someone acted to fill a diabetic consumer void.

We’re happy to give this product a big thumbs up.

If you’re interested, you can order at Amazon!  I’m going to get my cherry tablets right now.

Locked Out

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My kid’s are almost two and a half now.  They’re more mischievous every day.  For the most part I like that fact because since we stay home all day, most days, well, we need some entertainment.  That’s why we dance around to this and this, move the mattresses from their beds to the living room to do “gymnastics”, and have messy tea parties will real milk and cookies.  Sometimes though, things happen and I’m once again reminded of how people with diabetes really need to be extra prepared than the rest of the population.

Saturday, I was changing Aurora in the kid’s bedroom while Henri was busy in the living room with a Lego tower.  I finish up and head out when I realize the door is locked.  Henri has pushed the lock on the other side of the door and locked his sister and I in their bedroom.  I have just given insulin for breakfast, am in a nightgown, the apartment maintenance crew is out for the day, and Alex is at work.  I don’t have my phone or usual glucose tablets on me, either.

I start knocking on the door, praying Henri hasn’t gotten into trouble when I hear him giggling on the other side.  “Henriii…unlock this door please!  Push the button, baby, please!”  More giggling.  He knocks on the door playfully and runs away.  Then he comes back and knocks again, giggles, and runs away.  I hear him jumping on the couch, having all kinds of fun.  Aurora figures out what’s going on and the drama queen falls on the floor crying, her hand over her forehead like a damsel in distress.  Oh no, she’s like her mom.  “Aurora, it’s ok, your brother is going to open the door-Henriiii open the door! Push the button, Henri, push the button!”

This goes on for thirty minutes and finally, Henri unlocks the door.  I rush out and chug 16 ounces of apple juice.  Aurora and Henri embrace.  They don’t like to be separated.  I don’t like that I was so vulnerable.  The lock has been switched out and Alex has shown me how to pick it.  Next time, I’ll be prepared.  Because I’m sure there will be a next time.

 

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Exercise with Blood Sugar Over 250?

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Yep, that’s me.  I grew up being told not to exercise with blood sugar over 250 because it would put me into ketone making mode.  Nowadays, I don’t exercise over 160 just because it doesn’t feel good on my feet and I don’t want to suffer through exercise since that might encourage me to not keep up with it the next day.  In other words, I don’t want a bad experience to ruin my motivation.

Lately, I can’t help but notice that I hear of a lot of kids with type 1 exercising well over 250.  I immediately assumed that the information had changed and that what I grew up knowing was outdated.  Wil, a type 1 and certified diabetes educator answered my question at Diabetes Mine today.  Go on over there and check it out.  I think it’s important we know what to do in order to minimize serious complications like ketones, which can lead to ketoacidosis.  I remember sitting out soccer matches and basketball games but it was for the best.  I remember lying to my parents about my blood sugars and playing in some of those games and feeling really acidic and weak and like I was going to die for a week afterwards.  It really wasn’t worth it.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Stay safe!

Book Review: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes

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Today for Fabulous Friday where we celebrate and encourage self love and respect, I want to review a book I read recently.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes is written by Amy Stockwell Mercer, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting earlier this year at the Diabetes Sisters Conference.  Upon meeting her, I was struck by what a great listener and empathetic person she was.  Then I found out she was coming out with this book and got the opportunity to read it.  Here is my honest review:

Aside from great advice on many aspects of life with diabetes, this book is often a compilation of different voices, gathered and arranged by Amy, into topics such as Eating and Motherhood and Exercise.  The result, I found, was a chicken soup for the diabetic woman’s soul.  Amy talks a lot about her own experience with type 1 diabetes all throughout the book and adds the separate perspectives of many other women with diabetes from all walks of life.

I was particularly surprised by how emotional I became while reading this book.  I wasn’t expecting this at all.  This book portrays the honest and open feelings and thoughts of women struggling with diabetes and since I’m struggling with diabetes, I couldn’t help but relate and find comfort in the fact that I certainly am not alone.

I also became very aware of some repressed emotions about my experience with diabetes.  For example, I read about women who have struggled with eating disorders and realized that although I have never skipped insulin or thrown up, I have had a very intense and harsh internal battle with myself about the weight gain I experienced after my diabetes diagnosis.  I realized that even now, I still have some unhealthy tendencies that I need to work on.  There is advice found throughout the book that is gentle and practical and truly helpful in the area of eating and all the other topics the book covers.  I imagine that for other women with diabetes, this book could help surface some emotions that need to be properly acknowledged and dealt with.  Don’t be afraid of this, it’s a natural step forward towards healing and feeling better.

I saw someone on Facebook ask why a book would focus on women with diabetes.  I think the answer is obvious.  We menstruate, can get pregnant, go through menopause, and society puts unique pressures on us as women.  This book speaks to us individually through the candid and often funny perspectives of different women with diabetes.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book and appreciate Amy’s hard work, honesty, and willingness to wear her heart on her sleeve.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to recognize some truths in me and another solid truth:  that I’m NOT alone with diabetes.  While our experiences are our own, it doesn’t mean someone out there doesn’t get it.  I curled up on the couch with this book, sipped tea, and felt like I was totally understood by girlfriends.  It was really nice :)

You can get the book here.

Confronting My Anxiety

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So we’re continuing the “Sysy Freak Show”!  (I’m trying to laugh as much as I can, forgive me)

My doctor prescribed me something for my anxiety, just to get me back on my feet while I continue to treat my anxiety via healthy lifestyle habits.  Why after so many years of au naturel treatments have I succumbed to medication?  Because right now I think I need a little boost.  I don’t necessarily love sharing this info but I feel like I need to be honest with you all, all the time.  I don’t know most of you out there but I know you’re out there…

My whole life I’ve needed a chill pill.  Only now it’s really affecting my health.  Lately, I get really anxious when I have to go out in public.  Even when I’m excited and happy about something I feel too overwhelmed, like my heart is going to beat out of my chest and I have trouble taking a deep breathe.  I can sleep 10 hours a day if you let me and I have a really hard time getting out of bed.  And my thoughts go to dark places.  For example, I will randomly imagine the worst case scenario for everything imaginable and my thoughts will keep unfolding worse and worse events.  I did that 10 years ago when I was at my lowest.  I conquered those thoughts before and I am working on doing it again.

I think my current place in life is sort of fueling these feelings.

Alex is gone 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for work.  Besides my natural inclination to anxiety, having twin two year olds is pretty stressful.  I have to take them out by myself a few times a week and it’s hard to keep my insides from turning because they like to run into the road and in separate directions and so I physically task myself holding them so they don’t go running out in front of a car.  And in those moments I’m not without worry because I fear a low blood sugar.  I know I shouldn’t worry that one of them will get hit by a car or choke to death on something but the reality is that Henri has scared me by getting away from me in the parking lot and hello? People don’t drive slowly in parking lots near kids anymore and he has run right in front of a car, almost giving me a heart attack.  Henri (why is it always him?) has also choked on a glucose tablet that I accidentally dropped while low and I had to totally pound his little back with my hand to pop it out as he turned blue.  Aurora has peanut and egg allergies and the peanut one is classified as severe.  So everywhere we go I’m obsessing over what she is touching and wiping her tiny hands clean because even though it’s annoying to live this way, I WILL NOT let anything happen to her.  Or her brother.  But these moments of life and death or medical strife are driving me nuts.  This tough time won’t last forever but while it’s here, I’m really on edge.

Something that has made a great negative impact on me is I’ve started reading the news again.  I had stopped completely because let’s face it, I’m not really going to do anything about all those small crimes out there and when it comes to the big news, friends and family will be talking about it, so there is no need to feed my very sensitive self all the cruel and sad news of the world each day.  I can stay properly informed without reading everything.

You know what?  As soon as I started the medicine my mysterious nausea and body aches disappeared and now I’m wondering if that was all related to anxiety/depression.  I thought that was interesting to note.

So anyway here’s the plan: (because I don’t want the side effects of this anxiety medicine, forever, though it is excellent birth control)

-Daily exercise

-Positive affirmations

-Healthy diet

-Media fast

-Give back and be grateful

Anything else I should do that might help?  Suggestions are welcome!

Oh and if YOU are dealing with anything similar, do try and get help, there is no shame in it.  Just work your way back, you, um, we can do it :)

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