Category Archives: Diabetes and Blogging

Three

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My kid’s turned three the other day.  We spent the day watching 9 little kids play together in celebration.  They all dealt with obstacles as those obstacles presented themselves (how do I reach that blackberry on the blackberry tree?)  They helped each other.  They weren’t afraid to tell the truth.  Or to cry.  Or laugh.  And when they fell down they just jumped back up and continued on their way.

If we manage our diabetes in the same spirit with which a child lives, I think we can do pretty well.

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The kids planted a tree with dad for their birthday.

A word on my children in case they read this one day.  Aurora is a sensitive and cheerful child.  She likes to act.  In fact, the world is her stage, almost all the time.  She can play alone for hours.  She loves to dance and sing and is very enthusiastic and kind towards others.  She is a bit of a drama queen like me, which entertains me to no end.  She loves being outdoors and discovered that she loves being barefoot outside.  So much so that I now struggle to get her to wear shoes.  Oh, and she’s very stubborn.  But I’m kind of glad about that.  Her favorite food is anything starchy or sweet (ugh).

Henri is really extroverted and friendly.  He is excitable and high energy.  When he stops moving he falls asleep.  He loves to inspect everything new that presents itself, whether that be a bug, a piece of technology, a toy, or a blade of grass.  He can be a handful but I have discovered that if he’s had his fill of social endeavor, he’s calm and happy.  If not, well, look out, that’s all I gotta say.  With all his moving about he is a surprisingly good cuddle bug and is very affectionate and loving.  He is also very decisive and bossy.  He’ll only eat chicken if there are bones attached.

The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes also turns Three!

I had began blogging with one goal in mind: to tell others that going from lowest of low to happy and healthy was possible because that’s my story.  But this blogging thing has turned into a vehicle for being a diabetes advocate and for discovering opportunities for talking to more people about our diabetes than I ever imagined.  My favorite thing is teamwork and camaraderie and working on making a real difference.  Blogging has opened up a world where these things are all possible-much more so than if I had just done what I set out to do initially.

So here’s to going with the flow and letting hard work and one’s heart lead the way.  Fulfillment doesn’t escape us that way.  I foresee blogging forever so watch out!

XOXO

ps:  If you want to guest post, I don’t care who you are, you’re welcome to (provided you’re real).  Contact me at sysy@thegirlsguidetodiabetes.com

The Making of The Girl’s Guide, Part 2 of Interview

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Many of you have heard this story before but if you haven’t and happen to be curious here is part 2 of my interview with Laura Kolodjeski from Sanofi talking about how and why I started the blog and what my future plans are.

The only thing I would like readers to take away from my words is that sometimes having diabetes can be the source of motivation in our lives.  It can provide our route to helping others.  It can be a big part of our lives without being the bane of our existence.  I think to some extent that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  Thrive with diabetes, embrace it and learn from it, and use all that energy to help others who have it.

Luckily for me my path on this blog has led me to immense learning and support from the DOC.  So it’s just another example of how life is always full of pleasant surprises and even our having diabetes can ironically dish good things out.

Click here to read The Making of The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes

As always, thanks so much for reading.

XOXO

Diabetes Blog Week, My Fantasy Diabetes Device

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Click here for the Fantasy Diabetes Device – Thursday 5/17 Link List.
Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by
Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

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The sky is the limit?

My fantasy diabetes device would take over doing what my pancreas used to do and do it just as well.

That’s it.

And ya’ll thought I couldn’t write a short post! Winking smile

Diabetes Blog Week 2012, I’m a Thinker

Click for the One Great Thing – Tuesday 5/15 Link List.
Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

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What do I do well?  Funny you ask, I was just thinking about how I’m not the fastest at anything, I get lost driving in the town I spent my entire life in, I get nervous easily, I get tempted by ice cream really easily, I get swept up by my emotions all too often, I quit tons of things I start like someone with ADD, I’m too sensitive, and I am really messy, but I’m good at thinking.

Maybe this isn’t a special thing but I feel like it’s the best part of me.  I can problem solve well and think about complicated issues in a simple and organized way.  I’ve thought about a lot of things and predicted an outcome based on all the information I gathered and have usually been right-something that freaks my husband out.

I do this with my diabetes.  I figured out a lot of diabetes stuff that I later confirmed in diabetes books written by doctors.  And I won’t lie, I felt pretty excited to have reached the conclusion before a doctor gave me the info.  Sometimes I feel like it’s a useless skill because of how dependent life is on action.

Basically, I find that I can think things through and make really accurate decisions.  I think that’s how I manage my diabetes pretty well now.  Of course, it takes discipline, too.  I do envy people who are great with discipline and consistency.  Maybe one day I’ll get there.

Diabetes Blog Week 2012! Find a Friend

It’s Diabetes Blog Week and here is the prompt for today:

“Click for the Find A Friend – Monday 5/14 Link List.
It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends.  With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections.  Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!!  Let’s all find a new friend today!    (Special thanks to Gina, everybody’s Diabetes BFF, for helping me title this post!)”

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I think most people know about Riva Greenberg and her posts on her website Diabetes Stories and the Huffington Post but in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her posts, I’m telling you to check one out today!  Her posts are very intelligent and advocacy centered and I always take away some very useful nugget of information.

Everyone has their style of diabetes blog that they like to read.  I prefer diabetes blogs that aren’t so much therapeutic as they are sharing of information or inspiration that can be useful to me.

My exercise and hardcore athletics blogger friend is Chris Scully at CanadianDGal.  She has helped me so much with keeping up my exercise routine and pushing it further (and I love her dry humor).  I find that I keep up my exercise as long as I read her posts because I think that “surely I can take a walk, Chris runs marathons!”

I also have a really sweet blogger friend, Melissa who blogs at In the Short Rows who has a backyard farm and shares much of what she and her husband are doing there while tying it into her life with diabetes.  I totally love to hear about how she cooks their home grown food, takes care of chickens and bees, and balances that life with managing diabetes.

Edibles…(The Diabetic Edition) by Nathan is my new favorite blog.  He writes about his diabetes management in a way that causes me to question, learn, and think about my diabetes management.  Blogs like this one yield tangible results in my diabetes management and that is priceless!

I love reading about fellow diabetics who live differently from me and have talents that I don’t have.  It makes me feel awe about the world we live in.  It reminds me how there are a million ways to do the same thing and that our differences are fun and exciting and a great way to learn new things.

Peer to Peer Support Reigns

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My type 1 sister Ana’s diabetes themed artwork-you can probably guess what this is, right?

 

I definitely don’t think of myself as an “A1c Champion”.  I just think of myself as someone who finally stumbled upon what works and what doesn’t for myself in the realm of diabetes management because of my being excruciatingly tired of the alternative and unwilling to settle in life.

By keeping healthy and by being rather disciplined with my diabetes management, an opportunity opened up for me to interview for a program called, A1c Champions.  This program sends people with diabetes to lead discussions with other people with diabetes.  Peer to peer support is a brilliant idea and basically my motivation to start this blog in the first place.  So to be able to get out there and talk to people face to face, tell my story, and show them that it’s never too late to turn things around is like a dream come true.  I’m happy to report that I passed my three interviews and will be training later this year.

It’s a dream come true because I wish I had experienced this opportunity as a teenager with uncontrolled diabetes.  I would have loved to see someone with diabetes come talk to me about how they manage to stay healthy and how they too, have struggled.  I did have one experience like this but this woman said she always had taken great care of herself and this made me feel like I couldn’t relate to her.  I also had plenty of people try to cheer me up and motivate me but none of them had diabetes and therefore their words didn’t have the weight attached.  I didn’t feel understood and therefore it was like their words weren’t meant for me.

So to be able to talk to someone who is where I used to be and tell them that I really understand where they’re at and have been there is something I really want to do.  For the little kid inside me.  For the sake of helping others avoid the years of suffering that I recall having.  For those who don’t feel empowered about their diabetes.  For those who feel like hopeless failures.  Before the fabulous “You Can Do This” project came about I wrote one reason on my site for wanting to blog and it was, essentially, to spread the message to others with diabetes that, “You can do this!”  I think that message is extremely powerful and empowering.  And more so when coming from one’s peers.

So if you’re interested in becoming an A1c Champion, check out their website here.

And if you haven’t already participated in the “You Can Do This” Project that Kim Vlasnik launched last year, then I highly encourage you to do it now.  Do it for someone who sees themselves in you.  Or if you need the therapy, watch videos and take comfort in knowing you are definitely NOT alone.

My Experience at the DTC Conference

 

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Days after many of my fellow diabetes advocates and bloggers were at the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum giving their valuable input, I was in Washington D.C. attending the National DTC (Direct to Consumer) Conference for the thought leaders in the healthcare marketing industry.

On Wednesday I met one of DTC’s 25 Top Marketers of 2012 and the Discuss Diabetes blog community manager, Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski.  She interviewed me about my diabetes and blog (and more!) and we spent the day chatting about our unique perspectives on Pharma’s role in social media and in patient communities.

The 36 hours before meeting Laura, I was so nervous and full of adrenaline and struggling with blood sugars between 250 and 300 because of my anxiety issues with public speaking and social situations in general.  But for the 36 hours after initially meeting Laura, my blood sugars hovered much closer to normal and didn’t go higher than 175.  And I have to say this is because she was so genuinely kind, humble, and interested in what I had to say.  She totally put me at ease with her friendly self.  I listened to her carefully as well and It’s my impression that she is very much aligned to the role I believe a healthcare marketer should have-and that is to listen and work to serve the needs and desires of the patient, or as she prefers to say, “healthcare consumer”.

It really was such a pleasure to meet Laura as well as her colleagues Sean Nicholson and Jeff Risley.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Ann Bartlett, whose posts I’ve been reading on Healthcare Central for some time now.  She owns a Wellness Center and has had type 1 diabetes for a long time (and though I didn’t pry into her health status, I must say, she looks fabulously healthy).

I found we all agreed that there should be a healthy integration between healthy lifestyle habits and the use of what Pharma provides.  We can work together for the benefit of all.  Is this a tough task?  You betcha.  Are there people in Pharma who don’t get this?  Loads of them.  But I was so inspired to meet a few individuals who work for the common good and for communication and understanding between both parties.  I agree with Ann Bartlett, I could never say that I will shun pharmaceuticals for they keep me alive.  But I will always do my best to rely as little on them as necessary.  And I’m proud of that.

What I went to do in D.C. was to take part on a 3 person panel alongside Laura Kolodjeski and sikcell.com’s Ade Adeyokunnu.  We were to talk about what we thought about 3 start up companies that WEGO Health’s Bob Brooks gathered to the conference to showcase their products.  Then the DTC crowd voted for the one they thought provided the most value.  Interestingly, It was a three way tie.  Also, I’m happy to report Bob Brooks is a really energetic, fun guy.  This showcase event was his great idea.

I will be telling you about the three start up’s in coming posts because they are genuinely awesome, awesome products that have no side effects-just side benefits-you’ll see :)

I was nervous before speaking (you all know my history with anxiety!) and yet I was shocked to discover that as soon as I sat down in front of the mic, I felt the weight of the opportunity hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wanted to speak up.  I was ready.  Laura and Bob reminded me that Ade and I had special perspectives to offer which had never really been heard before at one of these conferences and that people were seriously going to be listening.  They made the point that it was important that we represent our communities by speaking up and just being honest.

And so we did.

I went to the conference intimidated by who I was surrounded by.  Top thought leaders in Pharma.  Then I got to know a few, networked with a few others, and suddenly didn’t feel intimidated anymore.  I remembered that we’re all people.  I stand for a great varied number of specific things.  And so does Pharma.  I hope they don’t judge me on a generalization, and I’ll try not to judge them as if they were one single unit.  We should just talk about specifics and continue talking to each other.  The battle of “good vs. evil” doesn’t belong here.  And everyone agrees there is a lot of work to be done in our country’s healthcare system.  Communication is an essential part of that work.

Thanks to WEGO Health for this opportunity and for providing an honorarium for the trip.  It didn’t even cover half of my expenses but that’s not because it wasn’t generous-instead, Washington D.C. costs several month’s worth of test strips (And ya’ll know that’s a lot!)

This opportunity opened up to me for signing up at WEGO Health for the Speaker’s Bureau.  If you’re interested, do sign up, they actually utilize us health activists and provide us and our communities the platforms with which to be heard!  Awesome stuff.

Thanks for reading!

Why I Blog Meme

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1.  How long have you been blogging?
It will be 3 years in June.  How time flies!

2.  Why did you start blogging?
I was eager to tell others what I had learned the hard way about diabetes and what was working well for me.  I was eager to share that I’d just learned that even after a decade of high blood sugars, a person could still have healthy children with diabetes!  I was so excited to proclaim this to the world that I started my blog right after my twins were born (during the most busy time of my life).  I also wanted to blog because my hospital experience with the twins and a c-section and preeclampsia and type 1 diabetes was so horrific I felt like I needed to bring awareness on the issue.  Supposedly, close to a million deaths a year occur from hospital mistakes in the US and thanks to my experiences, I believe it.

3.  What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?

The connections with others.  The learning.  There is so much to be learned when reading other blogs and articles.  If you enjoy writing, as I do, then blogging is fun whether anyone reads your words or not.

4.  How many times a week do you post an entry?

3 times a week.  I was posting every day but with being in school, taking care of the house and twins, and other side work, I had to cut back.

5.  How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?
I vary the blogs so I get around to more people but I probably read about 20 a day.

6.  Do you comment on other people’s blogs?
I used to comment more but now I’m more pressed for time.  I still comment at least once a day though.  Comments mean a lot to me so I assume they mean a lot to others.

7.  Do you keep track of how many visitors you have?  If so, are you satisfied with your numbers?
I check every now and then to see what topics are the most of interest to people.  I’m definitely satisfied with the numbers.  I’m actually quite humbled and honored that so many people would read my blog each day.  I don’t know how really big bloggers handle their thousands of views a day, there must be a bit of intimidating pressure there!  I suppose that’s a good thing though :)

8.  Do you ever regret a post that you wrote?
No, just the wording of it.  The message I’m always trying to portray is something I never have felt like taking back.  Problem is…if something isn’t worded carefully, the message gets skewed!

9.  Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog?

Yes and no.  I think there is a some of me that’s missing.  When I read my posts I feel like I come off really serious, outspoken, nerdy, and “know-it-all” and that is very much a part of me (I must admit lol).  But there is the other part that is really sensitive, goofy, and introverted.  I think I come off as someone who’d love to live in a city where there are museums and tons of great food options, theaters, and cultural events-and that’s true.  But, there is a part of me that’s very at home in nature, in a rural setting, wearing jeans, watching the sunset, being without any technology (for short spurts of course!).  I’m also very girly but also very tomboyish.  Yes, I think a girl can be both and I hope that comes through because only one side coming through is just not the real me.

10.  Do you blog under your real name?
I do.

11.  Are there topics that you would never blog about?
Well, I could write about just about any topic imaginable.  I have opinions on just about everything (which I’m still learning how to control).  But this is a diabetes blog and so I stay out of religion and politics and stuff that isn’t health or blogging related.  I must admit I’m really tempted though!  If I had all the time in the world I’d also have a politics blog, a religion blog, a foodie blog, a fashion blog, an adventure and travel blog…I mean it’s all so fun and interesting! eeek!  It’s good I don’t have all that time because others do it better than I ever could.

12.  What is the theme/topic of your blog?
Obviously diabetes.  And I write about type 1 a lot because that’s what I have.  But I definitely throw in a lot of discussions about nutrition and general wellness and self love and positive thinking.

13.  Do you have more than one blog?  If so, why?

I don’t but I’m supposed to.  I have a health coach website now and I need to blog for it.  I need to take it all easy though because my children are my priority and I’m running the risk of not giving them enough of my time lately.  Patience, Sysy, patience.

Why do YOU blog?  I’m always interested in knowing!