Category Archives: DSMA

My Ideal Diabetes Support Group

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This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival Topic is: “Describe your ideal diabetes “support group”? What would you discuss?”

Well, I’d be happy to tell you.  My ideal diabetes support group meets once a week.  That’s a tall order isn’t it?  But that’s what I would like.  Frequent “support”.  There would be plenty of members so that if half of the group can’t show, there is still a group to meet and carry on.

Also, I would like any type of diabetic because that way, we could all become friends and defend each other against the media’s war between the diabetics and spread our ideals all over the land, causing no more arguing between the types ever again!  Muahahaha!

Next, I’d like us to all exchange numbers and emails and facebook and twitter handles.  I’d like us all to know we can interact later on the DOC as much or as little as we’d like.

My ideal support group would discuss any and all issues brought up by the members of the group.  Why not?  If we are going to talk about something R rated, we can definitely decide to do so on a pre-established day so those who don’t want to discuss that topic don’t go or meet up at a coffee shop to talk other things.

I think it’s ok to get into groups by “type of diabetic” in order to get down to the technical nitty gritty aspects of living with type 1, 2, and so on.  It’s true that a type 1 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 2 and a type 2 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 1 so it makes sense if people want to divide up in order to discuss particular things.  Maybe people would want to divide up by age as well and that certainly makes sense.  I like the idea of meeting with everyone and then splitting up to talk about certain things like motherhood and diabetes or dating and diabetes and therefore specific groups forming for that.

Overall, we’d be a support group utopia!  How does that sound?

Today is Friday so we’re supposed to talk about something that involves self love.  Getting support is TOTALLY an important part of loving yourself.  If you are able to, check out a local support group!  If there isn’t one, consider starting one!  And if those aren’t options, join the diabetes online community!  Check out DSMA and all the support it offers.  Oh and read more entries like this one.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

I’ve Never Hid My Diabetes and Here is Why

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DSMA Blog Carnival topic for March:

“Does your employer/school/friends know you have diabetes? Why or why not?”

I have never interviewed for a job without disclosing my type 1 diabetes in the first few minutes of the interview.  I thought I’d make them think “Either she’s crazy or she isn’t afraid of what we’ll think about her”.  I’m a fan of bold moves during interviews-makes things more exciting for everyone.  I know it was a risk but out of about 10 job interviews in my life I’ve only once not gotten the job (in that case I totally bombed the interview).  And I’ve been lucky to have never been fired from a job.

I share this to say that I suspect confidence and demeanor probably do more to create an impression on your employer of reliability and ability than one’s having diabetes.  I might be wrong or I might have been lucky but that’s how it’s always been for me.  I imagine it helps to look relatively healthy and happy as well.  Smiling and assuring them that I take care of myself is something that worked for me (even if that wasn’t all true at the time).

People at school have always known of my diabetes because my mom was very adamant about meeting with all my teachers (even when I was in high school) and looking them in the eye and very seriously explaining what the diabetes thing was all about.  She’d insist that whatever I needed to do like test, eat, use the restroom, should not be questioned.  (Yay mom!)  This made it impossible for me to hide my diabetes even if I had wanted to.  Teachers would be very aware of me.  I’d get my little snacks out and they’d discretely ask me how I was doing.  Or they’d make a little note on my homework or test paper reminding me that if I didn’t feel well or needed something I shouldn’t hesitate to let them know.  It was comforting to have them know.  I believe that it’s possible I got more tutoring help from teachers because of having diabetes but that could just be a figment of my imagination.  If that’s true, then being open about having diabetes sent me extra help, understanding, and support my way.

And then because intense diabetes management has a hard time hiding anyway, I was open with everyone in general about it.  I wanted friends to know about my diabetes.  I happened to be friends with really sweet, caring kids who all had great parents.  That helped a lot.  I was never teased or made to feel bad about my diabetes by a peer.  But then again, I don’t recall ever teasing or bothering anyone about anything, ever (though I did punch a few boys who deserved it).  I think that helped, too.  And if someone did say hurtful things, I can’t remember anything about that right now.  Weird huh?

*Side Note: I completely understand someone’s unwillingness to share their diabetes with others readily.  If my life had gone a little differently with other experiences, had people not been as supportive, or had someone poked fun at me…well, I’m sure I’d done different.

To read other awesome submissions for this topic, click here.

DSMA February, Depression in the Winter

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DSMA asked us last month (I know, I’m late!): 

What can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months?

Well, this is a good question indeed.

I think first we need to make sure we are getting sufficient Vitamin D.  Next time you get blood work done, have your doctor test your levels.  If they are not in optimum range, get a supplement (or sunlight if that’s possible where you live).  Do not take Vitamin D2.  Take Vitamin D3.  This is really important.  Don’t count on the Vitamin D in your soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk-it’s all D2 and this form does not raise your levels.  So be sure to get D3.  Have your levels checked again in a few months to make sure you’re not under or over supplementing.

Secondly, I find that if I am dealing with a little depression before or during the Holidays, by the time January rolls around, I kind of fall apart.  So I think being proactive is important.  Getting Vitamin D levels at optimal levels by September, exercising a little each day or at least each week through the Holiday season, and making plenty of time to slow down and rest.

For people with diabetes, we tend to go, go, go during December and eat the goodies we want, resulting in higher blood sugars.  Higher blood sugars for a few weeks predisposes us to depression because it really alters our moods.  If you feel sick for a few weeks, it’s naturally going to take a toll and this isn’t limited to your body as your mind also gets affected.  So I think that trying to sustain blood sugar management during this time of year is crucial.

By January, I am tired of working out when it’s cold and then I run into problems with my blood sugars.  I think that finding creative ways to work out indoors is also important because the reality is that I’m not the only one who doesn’t make it out due to the weather.

Being focused on gratitude and possibilities is helpful, too.  Keeping perspective.

Lastly, putting off feelings of depression often makes them worse.  Get help.  See a therapist or counselor, tackle the issues mostly fueling depression, and if needed take something to help you get out of the cycle of lowly feelings.

I’ve struggled with depression in the Winter since I can remember.  This year is the first year I’ve taken Vitamin D year round and I feel much better.  I’m also taking something for anxiety and depression and that has helped immensely as well.  If you’re struggling, tackle the problem and work on healthy lifestyle habits.  You can feel better.

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To read other entries, click here!

DSMA Blog Carnival January 2012

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I’m barely squeezing in DSMA’s Blog Carnival entry for this month which asks the question:

What is the one thing you are looking forward to this year?

My formal answer is…my health coaching business!  It fits into my life and personality perfectly.  And though I love being with my kids, I do think I’m one of those moms that needs a part time thing to stay sane.  Not to mention, the way the economy is these days…I can totally get why both parents often work to make ends meet.  We are no different.

Now for my secret, locked away answer. My kids will be turning three in June and I look forward to them talking.  By now, yes, they are technically behind.  But, luckily, that’s the only set back that can be observed AND…I feel like it’s right around the corner.  My son talks all the time only you really can’t make out much of what he says.  It’s time for him to stop using “twin gibberish” or “twinspeak” and start using English or Spanish.  He knows both.  Son, just pick one.  I beg you.

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My daughter on the other hand doesn’t say much.  She likes to make a lot of noises.  She can imitate any noise (or action for that matter, she could be a very talented mime).  She can do any animal sound, even an elephant (an advanced one, in my opinion) and the other day I heard her repeating her leaptop’s alphabet sounds.  She can pronounce the sound for every letter in the alphabet.  I’ve heard her say well over 50 words by now.  But she doesn’t like repeating them.  It’s like she doesn’t want to talk, yet.  Weird, because mom is such a blabbermouth and clearly, it’s so much fun.  Anyway, I think she has a pretty wild sense of  humor.  Yesterday for example, Alex encouraged her to say “mama” instead of “papa” when calling out to me.  She can say “mama” and she does say it, but she thinks it’s funny to say “papa” because I’m like, “No! I’m mama!”  We asked her to say “mama” quite a bit and you know what she did?  She spent the rest of the evening calling me “Sysy”, instead.  You see what silliness I’m dealing with here?

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Anyway, the reason that this is something I’m really looking forward to is not just because it’s convenient and fun to have them talk but mostly because deep…deep down I sometimes wonder if my kids don’t talk yet because of my having diabetes or not breast feeding them long enough or not feeding them the right stuff or just doing something wrong.  I usually understand that this happens to plenty of kids and I know it’s common in twins, but on certain days, I find myself scared that somehow I’ve ruined them.  Perhaps with toddler TV shows or by somehow being an inadequate mom.

It’s often an asset to be the type that analyzes situations to death but when it comes to parenting I think it drives a person nuts.  Surprisingly, it’s been helpful to write this post out.  It has helped me realize I just want to focus on making the most of this year by doing things with them like finger painting, howling at the moon, running in the grandparent’s yard, playing with cousins, dancing on the balcony when it rains, and hopefully, when they are ready, having long conversations…about anything.

DSMA October Entry Post

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The question is: What types of decisions and frequency of diabetes related decisions do you make in any given day?

My initial reaction to this question is, “Ugh, where do I begin?”

You see…because my type 1 diabetes involves so many decisions each day, many of them are kind of innate.

I feel this is a good time to share something.  You may think I’m nuts or a liar or both (or maybe you do this, too!) but for example, I never consciously carb count.

Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time I “carb counted”.

Before you think I’m psycho…have you ever driven to work or someplace usual and realized as you parked, “I don’t remember driving here”.  In other words, you were not fully present in the act of driving some place because you do it all the time and just go through the motions.  Ever done that?

That’s what I do with carb counting.  When I realized this today, I checked out my meter.  This past week I’ve tested about 8 times a day, averaged 130 on my meter for the past week, and had 3 lows (62, 53, and 58).  So I’d say that my insulin has been approximately on target for what I eat.  This tells me that I’m aware enough to do a pretty decent carb count, just not aware enough to remember the steps.  It’s a dangerous place to be because that’s how I’ve also given 20 units of fast acting insulin instead of Lantus.  On um, two occasions in the past.  I’m on autopilot so much and in those instances I grabbed my insulin and just dialed the units, without giving much thought to how many units or which insulin I had. I’ve also tested, walked away from my meter and 20 minutes later said, “Omg, I don’t recall looking at my blood sugar result” and have had to check the memory on the meter for the last result.  Suffice to say I’m working on being more mindful when I test and give insulin and prepare to know how many carbs I’m going to have.

If you have diabetes you already know all of the decisions I make and how often I make them.  Because you make them, too.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a personal phenomenon of mine, one I’m trying to break.  After 17 years of looking at food and automatically scanning it for carbs, it’s a difficult change to make.  However, I’m pretty sure it’s a habit that needs to be adjusted.

Any of you do this?  Just look at a plate of food and subconsciously add up the carb count, translate that to insulin units, and give the insulin?  If you do and if it’s any consolation, it’s like we diabetics are a new breed of human.  Kind of magical, even.  Now if only I could clean the house without even being aware I’m doing it.  THAT would be magical.

Check out more DSMA October carnival posts here!

My Dream Improvement to Current Diabetes Technology

This needs a serious upgrade! Courtesy of Suat Eman

 

This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival prompt is as follows:

Over the years diabetes technology has come a very long way from the days when syringes were boiled and sharpened, and sugar was checked using droplets of urine and fizzy tablets in test tubes. Today we can choose from an array of blood sugar meters, insulin pumps, carb counting apps, data uploading programs – technology is woven into our diabetes lives. But although technology has come a long way there is always room for improvement, right? So this month give us your complaints, your ideas and your technological wishes and tell us:

What improvements or adjustments would you make to current [diabetes] technology?

My weakness is dealing with technology.  I love what it does for me but hate how it complicates things for me.  I’m more into words and ideas than I am stuff so as nifty as technology is, I get lost in it.  I can’t even work a dvd player without hard concentration.  It’s not that I’m dumb, it’s that I don’t have motivation to learn these things.  Someone nearby always knows for me anyway :)

Therefore this is what I would like:

I would like a nifty little watch that looks like this and tells me what my glucose is at all times including up and down arrows to show trending, like the CGM does.  I would like it to be 99.9% accurate, 99.9% of the time.  It would also, of course, show me the time.

This one thing would take away the need for a meter and the CGM.  I wouldn’t have to spend money on those darn test strips, the only expense would be the watch and batteries.  I would love a device that functioned like the CGM receiver to come with this watch so that parents or other caretakers can receive alarm notices and all data.  The watch can be connected to the computer to upload the blood sugar information so people don’t have to log numbers. 

I also want this gadget to help pump me up through the day.  If I’m low I want it to send my cell phone a text that says, “Get out your glucose tabs!  Everything is going to be ok”.  When I’m high I want a text saying, “oops, lol”  or “you’ll get it next time” or “take a deep breathe”.  When my blood sugar is on target without any up or down arrows I want a text that says “Yes!  Keep up the great work!”  If I’m on target and trending upward I want a text that says “Whoa, what’s going on here?”  If I’m trending downward I want a text that says “Lookout!”

I want the ability to turn off those texts at any time.  They’d probably get annoying after the first day…

That’s my dream thing aside from a cure and aside from the closed loop system that we’re all hoping might work as good as intended…

Oh and if I couldn’t have that I suppose I’d settle for reusable test strips.  At least then I’d have a bigger bank account with which to buy more diabetes technology!

What improvements or adjustments would you make to current diabetes technology?

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