Category Archives: Diabetes and relationships

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The Accidental Diabetes Social Experiment

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Many of us with diabetes try to make a point to others that the social ramifications of living with diabetes are issues in need of attention.  Yesterday, I was thinking about how true this is while travelling back in my mind over the last few years.

Let me explain.

Three years ago I was two months pregnant with twins and starting to deal with major nausea that lasted for 3 months.  It’s hard to go out and socialize when a twin pregnancy causes you to throw up and fight a blood sugar of 30 or 40 every other night.  Then my belly size became an issue along with dislocated vertebrae.  It was hard to walk or stand or sit comfortably.  Worry also plagued me and by the time my kids arrived, I had really lost contact with the outside world.

It’s ok you know, I don’t really regret it.  I was super focused on the tasks at hand:  Choose amongst a boy and a girl list of baby names, keep blood sugars near normal at all times, eat healthy, buy two of everything, stay calm, meditate, pray, wish on every star.

While I don’t regret it because my kids came out great, the reality is that I was living an experiment in isolation.  This obviously continued through one of the hardest times of my life where I was so busy and so weighed down with post partum depression and therefore didn’t see people except once a week at the grocery store.  You should have seen the look on people’s faces as they stood horrified as I chatted them up in the check out line as if we were long lost best friends.  People wondered why I didn’t just have people over to the house.  This was difficult because during the first 4 months after giving birth, I was pumping breast milk round the clock and dealing with painful mastitis and basically wandered around like a topless zombie.  I didn’t want to scar anyone for life, you know?  After that, I was dealing with such a severe exhaustion and crippling carpel tunnel and tendonitis that I couldn’t fathom having anyone except my family, see me in a such a pitiful state.  The last time people saw me I was looking my best at my wedding and honeymoon and to show my new, contorted self was seemingly unbearable.  Looking back, I know that worrying about this was silly and superficial but in the moment, I was suffering and stuck in a fog of sorts.

The socializing has gradually increased as managing two of the same age has become easier and now it’s left me to reflect.

This experience made me feel that managing diabetes was easier.  How?  Don’t we all do better with support?  I had plenty of support I think.  My husband Alex, my parents and siblings.  I even have a type 1 support in my family-my sister Ana.

But here is what I touched on when I reminisced:

-When I tested my sugar in the middle of an important office meeting, the thought would run through my mind, “Are they wondering if I can keep up with the demands of this job?”

-When I drank juice in the middle of class in college, people who had seen me test and give insulin would often exclaim, “OMG are you ok?”

-While eating out at a restaurant, I’d occasionally get strange looks from nearby eaters while I injected my insulin discretely at the table.

-In the middle of fun dancing at a club, I’d think, “I don’t want to put my fun on hold and test…should I test?  How’s my sugar?” sometimes resulting in high blood sugars afterwards and a good self-scolding.

.And so many more…

So while pregnant and spending all my time at home, my parent’s house, and the doctor’s office I realized I could relax more.  I kind of welcomed the break to do all of my diabetes things in private or amongst those who were used to it all.  I didn’t know I had been a little exhausted of feeling self-conscious all these years.  But I was.

I was tired of trying to smile at people when testing my sugar so that they wouldn’t give me the pitiful “awww” look.  I was tired of telling my concerned soccer coach that I needed “a minute” to get my blood sugar up.  I was tired of eating candy in class and wondering if people would think that my weekly candy or glucose tablets were the reason I was a little overweight.  I was tired of volunteering for every teacher who asked for help to prove to everyone that I was capable.  I was tired of being out in a group of people and being a verbal ninja trying to explain why it really was ok that I was eating a cookie.  I was tired of worrying that someone would see signs of my diabetes and suddenly change their opinion of me.

These last 3 years, I have rested.  I feel recouped and re-energized.  I have mostly healed the young child and teenager with diabetes who suffered more psychologically than physically.  I am more mature and have more willingness to advocate for those with my condition than I did as a child, teenager, and younger adult.  I know how to advocate for myself, too.  I am ready to get back out there and mingle again.

I’m a little scared because it’s been a while and diabetes and isolation makes the shy person a little more shy.  But, you know what?  I try to remember there are millions of us out there.  Millions of shy people and millions of people with diabetes.

Most likely, the person taking extra notice of me and my huge purse, medical alert bracelet, and speckled fingers is just curious or possibly thinking, “Oh wow, she has it, too”.

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!

Wednesday Revisit: An interview with my husband

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Wednesday revisit is meant to check the past because things change, we change, and information and opinion always needs reevaluation.  Plus, you may have not read the early posts!

Here I interview my husband after a year of marriage,  The topic is diabetes during the time we dated.  I was curious about his insight and thought I’d post it so that others might relate or get an idea as to what a partner might be thinking about us and our diabetes.

Oh and stay tuned, I’m going to interview him again and this time, tougher questions will be asked!

Originally posted on December 19th 2009,

An Interview with my Husband

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.

What Would We Do Without Them

 

Art by Ana Morales

 

My friend Reyna and parent of a child with type 1 diabetes wrote a short post yesterday about “Teamwork” illustrating how type 1 diabetes is a “family affair”-she is so right, it IS a family affair.  Thank goodness for our “type 3’s” who help carry the load.

The other night I was hit by surprise nausea.  I tested and saw a 95 on the meter.  I started feeling worse and worse by the second and knew that my blood sugar was most likely going to go lower.  Alex brought me 8 oz. of juice and 15 minutes later I was 93.

I felt that this nausea was going to end soon and crawled myself from the bed to in front of the toilet bowl, thankful that I had just cleaned it to a nice white sparkle.  Alex helped me clip my hair up and rubbed my back.  Dinner of salad greens and chicken was revisited.  Alex had the glucagon nearby- just in case and had glucose tablets and my meter ready.  Once I felt better I brushed my teeth, had a few glucose tabs, and got back in bed.

And later as I drifted off to sleep, thought about how I felt safe, knowing someone was looking out for me.

Thank goodness for our type 3’s.

To the Guy Dating a Diabetic Girl

What Is Love by Ana Morales


 

I wrote a list of 10 Things We Women with Diabetes Want You to Know over at DiabetesMine.com.  I was very honored to post over there.  Do check it out!

Wednesday Revisit: Diabetes and the Patient-Doctor Disconnect

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Originally posted

September 9th, 2009

I was still reeling from my horrific hospital stay when my twins were born when I wrote this.  Luckily, I was level headed enough to write clearly and respectfully on what I believe is a patient-doctor disconnect.

Diabetes and the Patient-Doctor Disconnect

Camp Too Sweet

 

Photo courtesy of foto76

By Ana Morales

I’ve seen a lot of comments and articles that show how important and helpful an online community can be, the DOC in particular. You can ask each other questions, give and take advice, or just support each other. It reminds me of when I attended a diabetes camp and how great it felt to be there.

I attended Camp Too Sweet, an annual week-long summer camp, for 6 years in a row, starting when I was 8 years old. I was terrified about going the first year because it lasted about 8 hours everyday and it was pretty far away from home for me (about an hour). Fortunately, each camper got to invite a friend or sibling, so my older sister Sara (by 14 months) always came with me. Almost every year the camp was in a different location, but the structure of each day was basically the same. We did crafts, went swimming, ate, played games, and had mini health lessons, which were sometimes incorporated into the games. One year, the camp took place in my hometown at a rock climbing center, so we rock climbed every day and even learned how to tie all the knots and spot someone so that we could do it in pairs without the instructors’ help. Another year, we went hiking and camped in the woods overnight. It was like a regular camp but with one exception. About half of the campers had Type 1 diabetes. We each had a spot around the main room with a basket that had things for checking blood sugar levels and a big chart above it where we could keep track of our levels throughout the day. There were several adults who would help us if we had off target blood sugars or if anything else went wrong.

I remember feeling so comfortable there, among other children my age who were dealing with the same thing as me. I never felt embarrassed about giving insulin before eating or stopping an activity to check my blood sugar because everyone else was doing the same thing. I didn’t have to worry about carrying a juice box or glucose tablets with me everywhere because the adults and helpers always had some with them. Whenever my blood sugar was high, the other campers and adults were sympathetic and made sure I never felt left out. I’m sure my parents also felt more at ease knowing that even though I was an hour away from home 8 hours a day, I was surrounded by dietitians, nurses, and volunteers who knew how to deal with diabetes. I made a lot of great friends, a few whom I’m still in contact with today. Before camp, I didn’t really know anyone else with diabetes (besides my sister) and sometimes it felt like we were the only ones who had it. When I realized it wasn’t true, I sure felt relieved…

Reminiscing about camp reminds me just how awesome it is to not feel ashamed or embarrassed when dealing with this disease. Diabetes is hard to deal with and it makes a world of difference when the people around you understand that. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that even the people you love the most don’t completely get it, but how could they? This is why we have to educate the ones we love (and realize that they do try to understand) and seek out the advice and support of others in our situation.

So for all of you who offer your support, advice, and friendship to others, thank you :]

Wednesday Revisit: Dating and Diabetes; When Do You Tell Someone You Have Type 1 Diabetes?

Courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut

Courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut

 

I wrote about this because I had just gotten married a year before and the experience of dating culminating in a lifelong commitment inspired me to reach out to others in their dating era. One of the top search prompts that leads people over to this blog has to do with dating and diabetes and you’d be surprised how many guys pop over here trying to figure out if they should date a girl with diabetes or if they themselves having diabetes, should tell their prospective dates that they have it. This is my opinion cut from my own experience.  Feel free to disagree.

Originally posted August 3rd, 2009

Dating and Diabetes; When Do You Tell Someone You Have Type 1 Diabetes?

Lessons from the DOC

 
 
Thanks to Michael Marcol for the photo

Thanks to Michael Marcol for the photo

 

Last Day of Diabetes Blog Week

What we’ve learned – Sunday 5/15: Last year, Wendy of Candy Hearts made a suggestion for this year. She commented “I think Day 7 should be a post about stuff we’ve learned from other blogs or the experience of coming together online…” Today, let’s do just that!! What have you learned from other blogs – either this week or since finding the D-OC? What has your experience of blogging the DBlog Week topics with other participants been like? What has finding the D-OC done for you? If you’d like, you can even look ahead and tell us what you think the future holds!

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Through reading many blogs about diabetes I’ve learned the deep and dark feelings many people touched by diabetes endure.  And so I’ve learned I’m not the only one-not even close.  There is a sense of comfort in knowing I’m not alone. 

I’ve learned that because diabetes is complicated it manifests it’s side effects in a multitude of ways.  I’ve learned the human body is complicated and functions and reacts in a multitude of ways.  Therefore we cannot assume that what works for one diabetic works for another or that what happens to one diabetic will happen to another.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at data it just means there are exceptions for EVERYTHING.

Most of all I’ve learned that everyone in the DOC has their joys, passions, moments of excellence, loves of their lives, dreams, etc…and this doesn’t mean they don’t have a desperate need for support, approval, patience, kindness, hope, and a listening ear.  And perhaps this is why the DOC is one of the largest and most close knit communities out there.  We need each other.  We need each other to help celebrate the good times and to support one another through the bad times. 

And I say this despite being the lonely loner I am.  I’m happy to have found you all.  Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading :)

XOXO