Author Archives: Ana

Learning to Put Diabetes First

I feel like I say this in every post now, but I’m so busy ALL the time. At least that’s what it seems like because I always have things to get done. Balancing so many responsibilities is tough and definitely stressful and my diabetes control is suffering a little because of it. I admit that recently I’ve been letting my diabetes take the back seat. I may need to give insulin, but if I need to catch the bus, I’ll wait until I get to class to give my injection. I eat at random times and my meals are not always wholesome–a consequence of working around classes and meetings (and weather sometimes…). During nights when I have to stay up doing homework, I tend to get hungry and I snack. Only in the morning do I regret doing so, once I see the 250 on my meter. Sometimes I skip lunch and then eat too much for dinner. The list goes on a little further, but I’ll stop before I make myself look worse…

So what I’m trying to say is that we need to learn to put diabetes first. If you think about it, it makes sense to. The way we feel determines whether our day will be productive or not. If you don’t monitor your bloodsugar levels and give your insulin on time and eat nutritious foods at consistent times, it’s going to make you not feel so good later on. And let’s face it, when you don’t feel good, you don’t feel like doing much. At least I don’t. I would rather lay in my bed and watch movies or sleep. Especially if it’s raining, too.

I’m finally getting into more of a routine here at school and learning better time management so now my goal is to get back on track with my diabetes control. The picture above is of a meal I made for myself a few days ago. I was having frequent stomach aches and thought that plainer foods such as a salad and some pita bread and hummus would be good to eat. I made my own vinaigrette as well. That meal was delicious and I felt really good afterwards. The only problem is that it took a fair amount of time to prepare. Time that I don’t always have!  I feel like I rarely have time to make food for myself so I resort to microwaveable food. But again, it’s a matter of prioritizing. I can make time if I really try. If I need to, I’ll wake up a few minutes earlier so I have enough time to give insulin and eat breakfast in the morning. I will pack lunch when I know that I’m going to paint in the studio in between classes. I will finish homework earlier if I can, so I won’t have to stay up late and be tempted to late-night snack. As you can see, the common theme here is planning ahead. Unstable control can be a hugely stressful part of your life. By planning ahead, you can make your life much less stressful. I’m up for anything that will do that!

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 :]

Happy Diabetes Art Day 2011!

By Ana Morales

Over the past two years, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought about my diabetes more than I ever did when I was younger. As I’ve been learning more, I’ve also been getting more scared. However, I’ve heard and read about people with diabetes that inspire me and give me hope. In my piece for diabetes art day this year, I wanted to illustrate part of the silver lining in my own and many others’ situation. Sure it’s no fun sliding needles and tubes into our skin every day and having to count carbs and wait for the insulin to kick in, but for now it’s what keeps us alive and we should be thankful that we have fairly easy access to it. At the same time, we should continue to promote diabetes awareness in hopes that one day every person with diabetes will be able to receive the supplies he or she needs.

So smile because you woke up to another day of possibility. Don’t ever forget how strong you are, even when you mess up. For more inspiration, check out the Diabetes Art Day website and The Butter Compartment, the website of Lee Ann Thill, creator of diabetes art day. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has created! Happy Diabetes Art Day! :]

Here’s what Sysy made: (she asks that you remember she is not an artist :)

It says “You deserve a halo, for jumping through hoops of fire”

And Sysy’s husband, Alex made this drawing from his perspective of things.  To him, what we diabetics do day in and day out looks like…

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