Category Archives: Diabetes and Art

A Diabetes Art Showing

My sister and fellow type 1 diabetic, Ana, had her first art showing recently on campus of her school, James Madison University.

The theme she chose was diabetes so I really wanted to share pictures of it with you all.

One of Ana’s professors expressed worry that this theme of diabetes somehow limited Ana’s potential to perhaps show her range. I would like to respectfully disagree. Diabetes is a 24/7 condition that affects every single cell in our bodies, has no cure, and has mental, social, emotional repercussions. Diabetes has no limits and neither does art.  Art is expressed in many forms and has the potential to teach, inspire, and move us deeply.  I have diabetes and know my sister but was still very surprised and moved from this collection and I know that many people without diabetes were really impacted and informed by this art work.

Ana was extraordinarily brave to open herself up in this way and allow us a chance to learn from and relate to her as a person living with diabetes. What is it they say?  That in showing our vulnerabilities we reveal our strength and courage?  Well, I agree and I’m really proud to call her my sister.

Enjoy :)

 

536055_421620284561774_590477262_n

 

Her showing starts with a setting for visitors including her business cards and a jar of strips which gives a visual for just how many of these things we go through and how many finger pricks we endure.

541243_421619827895153_32323810_n

 

This one is called “ketoacidosis”. Ana has only visited the hospital once in almost 19 years with type 1 diabetes and it was for ketoacidosis as a teenager. It came up fast and seemingly out of nowhere and scared the heck out of us. She recalls that she didn’t really know what ketoacidosis was nor did she realize how dangerous it could be.

422720_421619674561835_1699259675_n

 

Here, Ana says this represents the time between her hospital visit for ketoacidosis and the time she began these paintings.  So activities and events are shown below and collectively demonstrate what is her very “Normal Life”, as the painting is called.

431178_421619687895167_1232166635_n

 

This one stumped me until Ana explained it.  It’s the third in this series of four paintings and is called “Attack”.  During the time of Ana’s “normal life” she read up on ketoacidosis to understand it better.  She read about how serious it was and then went days waking up in the middle of the night with what sounds like anxiety attacks.  She says she felt her heart beating strongly (which is why it’s enlarged in the painting) and felt she was being choked and sick to her stomach with fear at the realization of what diabetes could cause to happen.

381211_421619701228499_1386053586_n

 

Ana ends with a piece called “Thank You” which represents the support and love from family and friends.

282254_421619754561827_1588874621_n

 

“Insulin is Not a Cure”

281840_421619774561825_1678815620_n

 

This one is called “I Can See It Happening” and represents Ana’s fear of diabetes complications, namely, blindness.  This is a strong fear for her because of how she loves to paint and make art and is a generally visually oriented person.  But the squeezing out tears is also indicative of the many frustrations from living with diabetes.

66161_421619787895157_1804266866_n

 

I don’t remember this but days after Ana’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis at age 3, she caught the flu!  Here are two framed sheets of notebook paper where our dad charted out Ana’s blood sugars trying to understand  type 1 diabetes and help take care of a young daughter with the flu all at the same time.  She was still in the honeymoon period at this point.

423664_421620234561779_1197899416_n

381364_421620251228444_1831292019_n

A wall of thoughts and feelings about diabetes…

308134_421620304561772_205837575_n

Ana asked people with and without diabetes a few questions and framed the questions and the responses she received.  Here are a few:

395220_421619997895136_1605582001_n

530514_421620004561802_616757655_n

 

Ana’s answers to those questions:

223164_421619977895138_1637808117_n

 

Our friend Jennifer Brannock’s response:

10299_421620191228450_1194701301_n

 

Our mom’s response:

408449_421619914561811_1323939758_n

 

Our Dad’s:

196555_421619951228474_1058018646_n

 

Our 12 year old brother:

196483_421620204561782_678391208_n

 

From Ana’s boyfriend (ironically, also my husband’s youngest brother):

384184_421619941228475_1771161061_n

 

Here is one girl’s heartbreaking response (let’s leave her some encouraging comments!)

406510_421620271228442_1148861565_n

 

From Patty Keller:

483217_421620064561796_450949375_n

76506_421620077895128_1598495178_n

 

More people from the DOC responded:

426331_421620264561776_1219884850_n

 

Don’t we know about ketones and strips…

527164_421620044561798_935883219_n

 

The beta cell is quite lovely:

534367_421619964561806_652800321_n

and in color:

548109_421620147895121_1549055056_n

 

I remember taking this picture one summer. Ana and our other sister Sara were in the basement roller blading to music. Our mom called down the stairs, “Ana! Check!” Ana dutifully shoved off her skates and ran upstairs to check. I thought about how our reality was so strange, yet so normal and I took a picture of her while checking her blood sugar. I didn’t tell her to “say cheese”, she did that all on her own. After this photo she went back to roller blading and I was secretly inspired by her ability to carry diabetes so gracefully.  Even though the hardship of diabetes is present, I think this picture reflects the potential we all have as people with or without diabetes.

In other words, we do what we need to do, smile…and carry on with life.

482952_421620021228467_1602368148_n

 

558166_421619841228485_1664660381_n

 

Thank you so much for viewing/reading this post.  It’s the next best thing to having had you all over to the art show in person.

We’re eager to hear what you think in the comments :)

 

XOXO, Sysy and Ana Morales

Diabetes Art Day 2012

Today is Diabetes Art Day!  Did you know art can be a form of healing therapy and that you don’t have to be “good” at it to reap the benefits of it?  Today, artists and non-artists make art about diabetes to express their feelings, make a statement, or just have fun.  You can view the Diabetes Art Day Page and check out all the wonderful submissions here.

My sister Ana, who has type 1 diabetes, is a studio art major in her fourth year at James Madison University.  She made this awesome piece:

DSC00399

Happy Diabetes Art Day!

XOXO

Upcoming Diabetes News

381632_257601917630279_214011462_n

I’ve been so busy lately training for peer mentoring and public speaking, nutrition studies, and listening to my kids finally talk (yayyy!!!)  But there are some awesome diabetes and health related things going on that I really want to report.

Thankfully, my friend Stacey wrote a post encompassing all this news so please, please, go here and check out all the great initiatives going on!

And since today is Fabulous Friday and we focus on self-love, I just want to leave you with this quote:

“Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.”

~Alan Cohen

“The Sweet Arts” Interview

536620_356031191120684_1029180488_n

As you all know my youngest sister Ana has type 1 diabetes (got it the same year I did).  She has been an artist since I’ve known her (and I’ve known her since she was born).  Her personality seems to fit the stereotype for an artist (except she’s really good at math).  She is extremely kind, non-judgmental, very “live and let live”, quiet and observant, and has a wonderful eclectic style.  Her bedroom looks like art, fashion, quotes, and a rainbow all blew up in it.  Every time I go in there my face probably resembles a child’s at Disney World.

She was interviewed for Sanofi’s new diabetes website, thedx.com.  The article is about how people with diabetes, Ana being one of them, are using art to express their emotions and reach out to others.  It’s a great post and we’d be honored if you read it :)

Click here to read the article.

By the way, Diabetes Art Day is fast approaching.  Look out for the upcoming post on how you can participate and support this creative initiative!

Your Help Needed for Diabetes Art Project!

392477_10150616727135547_708455546_9250880_1367267547_n

 

As most of you know, the illustrator of the site is my youngest sister Ana, who has had type 1 diabetes for 18 years now.  She is a Junior at James Madison University studying studio art.  Ana is wondering if we, the DOC could help her out for an art project involving diabetes advocacy.  She needs:

-One statement describing one of the hardest things about living with diabetes.

-One statement describing something positive that diabetes has taught you.

-Years with diabetes or how diabetes affects you (if you don’t have it yourself).

-Indicate if you would like your statements to be anonymous, no last name, etc.

-Handwritten would be great but not required!

Send to:

Ana Morales/  802 Orlando Ct. /   Roanoke VA, 24019

Also, if you don’t want to hand write and mail, then email your statements to:  moraleam@dukes.jmu.edu   so that Ana can print them out and compile.

Let’s help Ana tell the world a little about diabetes through art!

XOXO

Free eBook! How to Start Your Own Diabetes Blog

I wrote this for those of you who want to blog about your diabetes but need a little jumpstart.

Inside I cover these topics:

  • Why Start a Diabetes Blog?
  • What Kind of Blog do you Want?
  • What to Name Your Blog
  • Deciding Whether or Not to Self Host
  • Your Web Hosting Provider
  • Theme Selection
  • Web Analytics
  • How to Hire Help
  • Your First Blog Post and Content
  • Growing Your Blog
  • Beginner SEO Tips
  • and more!

To download this free eBook just click here:

How to Start Your Own Diabetes Blog

Updates and Random Thoughts

381055_254607371263067_254597271264077_762923_387963627_n

Isn’t that the cutest little turtle?

 

Note to Self About Grocery Shopping

Sysy, for the love of God, test before doing groceries.  The other day,  I scratched my head in wonder as I watched the check out lady scan my glucose tablets, ice cream, chocolate, and cookies.  How’d all that sugar jump into my cart?  Then I got in the car and tested 52.  Ahh…survival instincts.

Update on Ana’s Diabetes Art Project

We asked for used strip donations the other day so Ana could put them together into a piece of art that would simultaneously work as a strong piece of diabetes advocacy. But oops, we didn’t realize that used strips are hazardous waste material. It’s unlikely, but still possible, that strips can transmit diseases and such. I forgot because strips are such a constant and casual part of life. We see them all over the place and just pick them up and toss them in the trash. Really, we’re expected to carefully dispose of them in tightly sealed containers along with sharps. I don’t carefully dispose of sharps, either. Oops. Do you?

Anyway, don’t send donations for strips! Those of you who offered to do it-THANK YOU so much for your support, it means SO much that you were willing to help out!  Ana will find another way to create a work of diabetes art. If you have any ideas, she’d love to hear them. I’m excited to see what she comes up with and I know that no matter what she does, it will still be awesome. Now whatever she uses will just be more sanitary to work with. Hehe…

Oh and those of you who offered advice on this project, legal information, and who offered to send strips are all entered in a drawing to win a prize.  We really appreciate all the support.  Stay tuned for that!

It’s Strip Rationing Time

My mail order pharmacy is taking FOREVER to get my strips to me ( like weeks upon weeks) so I’ve been forced to ration strips for 2 weeks. I stopped my initial reaction precisely at “grrrggghhh” and thought about how right now, some kid, somewhere is walking several miles on bare feet to a tiny clinic where they will check their blood sugar and administer one insulin shot for the entire day. It’s grossly insufficient isn’t it?

I like to test around 8 times a day. I have realized that with a lot of discipline, I can get very similar results and test only 4 times a day. And instead of whining about how it isn’t fair, I’m thinking that I’m really lucky to have these 4 tests each day. I try to use them wisely and all my other actions throughout the day are well thought out and planned for blood sugar stability. And when thinking about what others have to go through to barely survive, really, it’s just an honor to attempt to ration my strips in the most graceful way possible (and with the least amount of cursing).

Then when my strips come in I’ll be even more grateful for the flexibility and freedom they provide me.

Oh my gosh, they just arrived to my door!  YES!  I feel like I just won a prize.  It’s crazy how important these little strips are to us, isn’t it?

New Ads

On the right hand column of this blog you will notice a new ad and another one coming soon.  I’m getting a small fee for posting these which I am reinvesting back into the site to make sure it’s fast enough and not a burden to you all and to make sure I can afford to keep the site alive.  I hope the ads aren’t a bother.  I thank you for your readership and fabulous support.

Have a great Wednesday!

XOXO,

Sysy

Your Used Strips are Needed for Art Project!

375213_257577647632706_254597271264077_771463_1338040304_n

Happy Monday, everyone!

As you all probably know by now, the illustrator of the site is my type 1 sister, Ana.  She also writes posts from time to time but mostly she is super busy at James Madison University studying studio art and art education and taking an insane number of credits.

Ana needs our help for a diabetes related art project for school.  She determines that she needs thousands of strips for this project.  We are asking for donations of your used strips (don’t worry she’ll be working with gloves!)

Please, please, please start saving your strips and mail them to her by March 1st.  Please include the amount of time that it took you to use the number of strips you are sending (a week, a month, etc).

This will be SO appreciated and can’t be done without your help.  When you’re ready to mail email me at sysy@thegirlsguidetodiabetes.com and I’ll send you her mailing address.

Once Ana receives your strips we’ll be entering you into a running for a special prize that one lucky winner will get mailed to them :D

Thanks so much in advance!  Hopefully Ana will get enough donations and will be able to do the project.  I’ll be sure to post it when she’s done!

****Update****

Ana’s project idea for this has been cancelled because we’ve realized that used strips are bio hazardous waste and it’s not a good idea to ask others to mail it in.  In fact, mailing it in certain states is considered illegal SO Ana will be choosing another diabetes related idea for her art project, we’ll keep you posted on what it is!  Thank you to everyone who was so kind and willing to help out! :D

XOXO

Copyright © 2014. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.