Category Archives: Just For Women

Zoloft Killed that Loving Feeling

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I’m weaning myself off Zoloft.

I’ve been on it for about a year and a half now.  It has one major side effect for women-a sharp decrease in libido.  Others say it completely wipes it out.  I guess it depends on the person and how much they are taking.  Zoloft is an extremely popular drug in the US for anxiety and depression.  I started taking it for anxiety and a PMS disorder that I have and have been getting myself off because that one side effect is just too much.  I mean, I didn’t marry my husband so that we could just be best buds who partner up to raise children together, ya know?

But, getting off Zoloft takes time because withdrawal symptoms are harsh.  The times I’ve missed a dose or two I’ve felt like a squirrel on crack (I dunno, just picture what that must be like) and had major nausea on top of that.  A friend of mine recently pointed out the brilliance of this drug’s natural marketing ability.  Stopping it causes anxiety and depression which is what it treats in the first place.  There doesn’t seem to be any major health risks associated with taking it so it’s easier in the short term to just keep taking it.  Except if you’re a female, of course, and not a nun.

I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to write publicly about this.  I do so because I think it’s possible that this drug has been responsible for some divorces or major relationship woes out there.  Because if you’re not aware of this side effect, you really might think you no longer love the person you’re with.  I mean, this is what separates us from our friends!  Seriously, without the awareness of Zoloft’s side effects your physical symptoms which manifest as “don’t touch me” might tell your logic (and that of your partner’s) that “I’ve lost that loving feeling, time to move on”.  I’ve always been one to research whatever medication I take to be aware of side effects so luckily for me it was more a matter of working around the issue with a patient and understanding husband.

Honestly, the way I’m working around the issue now is getting off this darn pill.  I’m down to 35mg and while I do this, I am finding it harder to cook, clean, and get out of bed in the morning (in other words, doing things I dislike).  I also worry about my anxiety raising my blood pressure, which has been high in the past and therefore a problem I realistically foresee having “any day now”.  But, I feel more like myself (I’m a naturally moody person, perhaps I should embrace that fact and just go with it) and I’m finding that exercising to the point of dripping with sweat is the best remedy for my negative tendencies.  Exhaustion from working out is calming so, it works as long as I just do it.

I’m all for a holistic lifestyle but also getting help when it’s needed.  Right now I need off this and if shoving my behind out the door every other day for a 5k run is going to help, then I will just have to suck it up.  So far so good!

One more thing, do I regret taking Zoloft in the first place?  Um, not really.  I was having panic attacks and not parenting my young children as well as I could because I was paranoid of what might happen to them.  Taking this for a while helped me not feel so afraid and live life without so much hesitation.  My whole family benefited from this.  But I think I’m ready to live without it.

Anyone else have experience with this?

DOC Brides Infographic!

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Allison, April, Kerri, and myself are featured in a DOC Brides Infographic with tips and suggestions that we learned through trial and error.

This was put together by Sanofi and is shown on the Discuss Diabetes blog.  Click here to check it out!

Also see my guest post, “Diabetes on Your Wedding Day” for more things I wish I’d known before walking down the isle.

Happy Wednesday!

No D Day Post-My Top 10 Beauty Products List

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You might hate me for this.  I might hate me for this.  But you know what?  I think most of us like beauty products.  It’s a billion dollar industry in the US alone and I’m not the only one buying ;)  So today for No D Day, where we don’t talk about our chronic condition, I’m going to stroll down vanity lane.  Don’t forget, I’m from Venezuela-land of what I like to call “Beauty Effort”.  In other words, people aren’t more attractive there-they just spend more time and effort making the most of what they’ve got.

So here is a list of my top 10 beauty products put together through countless, shameless hours of testing:  (share yours in the comments please I’m always on the lookout and ready to learn more!)

10.  Round boar bristle brush.  I don’t care so much about the brand name I just care that it’s boar bristle and easy to hold.  Works like a charm and is gentle on the scalp and distributes oils to the rest of the hair for maximum shine and hair health.  The round aspect is great for volume while blow drying hair.

9.  Lip Stain- Revlon makes a great one.  It’s a nice way to perk up lip color and make it look natural-looks like you just ate some strawberries!  It also feels like it’s not there which is a great plus.  I also like the natural, matte look of it.  Sometimes the shininess of gloss is tiring.

8.  Maybelline Color Tattoo.  Creamy eye shadow that doesn’t budge for over 24 hours.  Comes in the most gorgeous colors.  Perfect for Fall.  (Yes, I sound like a cheesy Allure columnist, oh well).

7.  Lacquer Liner 24 hour L’Oreal Infallible.  Amazing.  Seriously.  It’s the only eye liner that I’ve ever described as “success!”.  No smudging, no leaking into the eye.  And the brush is pure genius.  I’m really lousy with having a steady hand and even I manage this like a pro.  The black is really harsh so don’t be afraid of the slate or bronze-they are very bold and pretty but great for those of us who are no longer 21 years old.

6.  Neutrogena Make Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes.  I’m lazy about washing my face at night (how to keep water from going all over the sink, down one’s neck and elbows is beyond me) so I use these wipes.  They work so well and I think they help exfoliate, too.  I keep one corner of the wipe clear each night to use in the morning when the little remaining eye make up has smeared down under my eyes.  Ya know, just so I stay classy.

5.  Bronzer.  Used correctly, it works miracles.  Figure out how to contour your unique face shape.  This stuff is excellent when you feel pale and sickly, to just bring back some glow.  But don’t over do it.

4.  St. Tropez Self Tanning Mouse.  I don’t use it often so it lasts me well over a year (which is good because it’s the most expensive thing on this list).  It’s awesome though.  It looks great on all skin types-even really dark skinned girls, because it gives a warm and healthy glow.  It’s probably carcinogenic so I don’t recommend using it all the time.  But for example, for an event where there is a dress involved, this stuff makes getting ready seem more effortless.

3.  L’Oreal Ellnet Satin Hairspray.  It’s not cheap, it’s not found in small towns sometimes, but it’s great stuff because you can brush your hair after applying it and have hold with neat looking hair that still moves a plenty!  Or you can do what I do and just use it to hold hair’s volume after a blow dry.  (I’ve lost lots of my hair over the past decade so this makes up for it!)

2.  Mascara.  Ya know, I don’t have a favorite brand.  I suppose I haven’t found it.  But, I don’t go without it very often, it’s just too fun.  In fact, I try a different brand every few months just for kicks.

1.  Lip liner.  If you’re like me, your lips are on the thin side.  Which is fine except mine are also not very defined and tend to just blend into my skin.  SO, nude lip liner it is.  Revlon Colorstay Natural to be exact.  It really makes a difference.  Just be sure not to go outside the lip line.  That look isn’t in and never will be.  And my dear fellow Latinas…please stop the light lipstick and dark liner thing.  Just stop.

Last but not least, a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way:

1.  Don’t over pluck brows.  Magazines constantly reiterate this for a reason-we all need the reminder.  Leave well enough alone!  Brows are most gorgeous when their natural shape is retained because that natural shape was made by nature for your face and your face alone.

2.  If you don’t like wearing make up, don’t wear it!  I say cheers to you, sister and don’t even begin to apologize.  Just do me a favor and be sure to moisturize.

3.  Similarly, if you do love wearing make up, don’t be ashamed.  One of the most calming things for me is to put on make up.  It’s like a creative outlet.  There are so many colors and techniques!

4.  There are a lot of rules out there.  Break em’.  Wear white after labor day, red lipstick to the grocery store, and no make up to a party.  If you’re happy with it, nothing else matters.

5.  A way to save skin from aging is to stay moisturized. And as much as I like to use natural products, unfortunately coconut oil or organic lotions don’t do much for my scaly dry skin so I use Vaseline Intensive Care.  That said, if coconut oil works for you, awesome.

Last comment:  Go out and learn what colors, make up techniques, hair color, and jewelry flatter you.  It’s a great way to love exactly who you are because it’s about supporting what you already have instead of trying to cover it up or completely change it.

My favorite website that has free info on how to figure out your best colors, make up techniques, hair color, jewelry, style, hats, etc, is thechicfashionista.com.  There you can get tons of guidance for free and take some time to appreciate your unique sense of beauty.

This post wasn’t so shallow, was it?

Read more No D Day posts by clicking here!

“Sex and Diabetes” Book Review

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Sex and diabetes can go together, I’ve learned, but I’ll be the first to admit there are unique challenges involved.  These were mostly private ruminations that I assumed were not common or normal until last year when I attended the Diabetes Sisters Conference for Women and was present at a discussion about the topic in a room full of nothing but women.

Then the truth came out.

Women were saying things like, “I know I’m low when 20 minutes has passed and I’m not getting anywhere” and “I’m tired of the monthly infections!” and “How can I increase…ya know, moisture?”  All the while, many other women nodded their heads in solemn agreement.

So I thought, “Oh, it’s the diabetes”.

Now this does not mean that if someone has diabetes that sex will be any different than if they didn’t have diabetes.  It just means that it’s likely that having diabetes will present a few tricky challenges in this department.

I’m not going to go on making some of you squeamishly uncomfortable but I will say that there is no shame in learning more about this subject.  In fact, it’s commendable because we know that in a relationship, sex IS important and the quality aspect absolutely matters.

So, I’d like to recommend the book, Sex and Diabetes, by Janis Rozler, RD, CDE, LDN and Donna Rice, MBA, BSN, RN, CDE.  All those random letters means they are professionals ;)

I actually got to hear Janis Rozler speak a few months ago.  She was awesome.  She understands what worries are going on in our heads and her attitude is a very empowered one that is infectious and encourages us to work on our issues with sex in relation to diabetes because it’s worth it!

Anyway, the book pleasantly surprised me.  It made me laugh, it touched on emotional intimacy, it shared interesting historic romance tidbits such as Cleopatra and Anthony’s relationship. (Talk about a power couple!)

The book gives a lot of practical information and tips such as how to talk to your doctor about issues and how to keep your body healthy.  It even shares information on supplements such as which are helpful and which are scams. The book also dives into some awesome relationship communication techniques that I really appreciated.

Sex and Diabetes goes into topics for women and for men and with an open, friendly tone and makes the point that there are many ways to work to make sex and intimacy better.  On that note, I love how sex and intimacy are not separated in this book.  The authors focus on sex in a meaningful relationship because only then can two people really work around any diabetes related challenges they may encounter.  And while there are challenges, there are solutions.  Indeed there are, and this book covers them all.

Great job, ladies.

You can buy the book here.

DiabetesSisters 2012 Conference Recap

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With the lovely Kyra of Myabetic (my favorite diabetes cases).

 

I had a great time at this event and so did my husband, Alex.  My post talking about the conference is up today over at DiabetesMine, check it out!

2012 Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk

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Built into the DiabetesSisters Conference is the Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk taking place on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM in front of the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh,  NC.

Taken from the website where you can register and learn more:

“What is ORANGE:WILL?

The orange:will campaign was started by DiabetesSisters in 2010 to raise awareness of the unique issues faced by women with diabetes and to establish orange as the official color of women’s diabetes.  Most people are unaware of how different diabetes is for women, so this campaign is our way of acknowledging those differences and educating the public about them.

You can help by joining us for the walk, bringing friends/family members/co-workers to the Walk, forming a team, or raising funds to support our cause.  Everyone who raises at least $40 will receive a souvenir Walk t-shirt to wear at the event.  The top three individual fundraisers and the top team will receive special prizes – such as an iPad, custom-fitted tennis shoes, designer sunglasses, etc.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about prizes.

**LOCAL & NATIONAL VENDORS WILL BE ON SITE FROM 7:30am-10:00am on MAY 20th.”

If you’re going to the Diabetes Sisters Conference in Raleigh next week, please make sure to register so they have a proper head count!

If you’re going to be in the Raleigh area next week…join us for the walk!  The more, the better as media will be there taking note of the event!  Again, click here to register!

My husband, Alex and I will be there, we hope to see ya!

Confessions From a Stay-At-Home Mom

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Yes, that’s my son wearing his sister’s hair bow.

 

Lately I’ve had some breakthroughs in honesty with myself (sounds funny and sad all at once doesn’t it?)  I’ve come to an interesting conclusion…

During my twin pregnancy I imagined being the kind of mom that cooks organic food, takes the kids out to the park and on play dates, reads books and plays games and sings songs all day, and enjoys it all thoroughly.

HA.

I’ve slowly but surely arrived at the understanding with myself that I suck as a stay at home mom.  There.  I said it.  Just to catch a break I let my kids color on the walls (which takes HOURS of scrubbing with baking soda and vinegar to remove).  I allow them to leap over the high end of the couch (yeah, kinda dangerous-but they’re so skillful!).  And sometimes they eat pop tarts for breakfast (which leads me to deal with the subsequent sugar overload and extremely agitated behavior).  Now don’t get me wrong.  I know that’s not that bad.  Overall, my kids eat healthy and get treated really well.

When I say I suck as a stay at home mom, what I mean is I don’t like it (I can’t believe I just said that).

I do like being in my robe all morning if I so please.  I like knowing how my kids are doing at all times of the day.  I like seeing the fun and funny and crazy things they do.  I know I’m fortunate to be able to stay home with them.  But, I feel like I lose my mind.  Even when I was a kid, I preferred to hang around adults.  Now that I am one, this is all too true for me.  One never gets used to diapers, in my case.  I can only sing but so many kid songs during the day before I feel my brain wanting to explode.  And when my kids scream in unison, I want to run down the street to the liquor store.

My anxiousness to work in my field of passion, health and nutrition for people with diabetes, as a health coach, has me raring to go like a hungry bull or race horse.  I am torn between wanting so badly to dedicate time on this and yet I am full of guilt because I know my kids deserve better.  They deserve my undivided attention.  I’d hire a nanny but I can’t afford one or daycare.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do until they were born but that’s precisely when I got really busy so I haven’t been able to dedicate time to my newfound “thing”.  It’s pretty frustrating, as wonderful a blessing as they are.

I will say that my kids do get the best of me.  My blog and other online work gets my scraps, late at night or during naptime.  It’s just that the best of me is feeling so forced?  I can totally understand women who have their kids and return to work a few months later.  We are not all the same personality type and cannot possibly all do the same parenting styles.  The thing is, since I can’t get my kids another care taker, it is my responsibility to not work 10 other jobs while parenting them all day.  I can’t burn out and I can’t let my health slip.  And if I don’t give them 100%, problems will arise that could have been prevented.

So I resolve to hold back a little on the blog.  Maybe write once a week?  One quality post is better than three hurried ones, I’m sure.  I think it’s great I’m feeling really motivated for my work (first time EVER!).  But, I’m trying to remember there is a time for everything.  I checked my blood sugar 20 times a day to make them, surely I can parent them the way I feel is best even though it’s not my favorite thing?  (Kids, if you read this one day, YOU are both my favorite things but I am no Mary Poppins)

Does anyone else feel torn, selfish, or anxious about life as a mom?  I think we need to talk about this more openly.  I don’t want to be ashamed for feeling torn between what I need to do and what I want to do.  It does help to get this all out.

2012 Diabetes Sisters Conference, See You There?

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The 2012 Diabetes Sisters Conference is taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina this May 18-20.

I wrote about my experience last year.  But that post can’t do it justice because in the past year since the conference, I’ve kept in touch with a handful of the women I met and have been SO thankful for the friendships that have resulted.  I would not know these women if it weren’t for this conference and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to bond with women whose struggle is similar to my own.

This year I’m excited to make this a bit of a family affair.  My husband, Alex has been helping Brandy’s husband Chris (along with Diabetes Daily’s David Edelman) to plan the first ever, Partner’s Perspective Program.  And Alex will definitely be attending the program.  It should be great.  I mean, we know our partners deal with a lot and perhaps aren’t too comfortable with telling us for fear of making us feel bad so I think it’s wonderful that there will be a place for them to meet, relate, and discuss the unique aspects of being with someone who has diabetes and all the issues that arise as a result.  I hope these partners also gain some insight into what we would like from them in certain situations.  I also think it will be a great opportunity for all us women to give our partners a big collective, “thank you!”

I happen to literally have a diabetes sister, my type 1 sister Ana, who will also be attending the conference this year.  She used to be a lot more involved with diabetes stuff, even attending the Children’s Congress in Washington D.C. as a Delegate the same year Diabetes Mine’s, Allison Nimlos went.  (Allison and her husband will be at the conference, by the way.)  Ana also loved her Diabetes Camp experiences as a younger kid and I’m so excited she’ll get to experience this event.

Something I really like about this conference is women with any type of diabetes are welcome.  So though I can obviously relate more to someone who has type 1 when it comes to certain things, I find it really wonderful to learn from a woman with type 2 about what it’s like for her.  I always end up realizing that we are all really in the same boat.  We struggle day to day with making a multitude of choices, choices which impact our health and our lives.  We all have to worry about food and pay a little too much attention to it.  We all check our blood sugar.  We all feel the threat of diabetes complications and we all want to live the best life possible with our diabetes.

That brings me to another awesome benefit of the conference.  The learning experience.  There are a wide range of speakers on an array of relevant topics to women with diabetes.  The speakers are really professional and invested in the topics at hand.  I appreciated getting away from my children long enough to take notes about things like heart disease last year and sit and think long and hard about why I take care of myself instead of worry about it in fleeting bits while chasing my kids around the living room.

That’s the other thing.  It’s a safe environment.  You can laugh, cry, and check your blood sugar without feeling out of place.  Brandy Barnes calling her organization “Diabetes Sisters” is right on the mark.  It’s rather self-explanatory now that I think of it.  If you want to attend, please register quick before it’s too late.

Click here to register and learn more.

I SO hope I see you there!

Putting My Health First

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I’ve been on a journey the past few years to put my health first.  I’m the type that will neglect myself when in the presence of others and It takes a major toll over time.  I was interviewed by She Knows about my experience with parenting and diabetes and what I’ve learned the hard way through this experience.  I’d be really honored if you read it:

My Mom Story at She Knows

And just as a reminder…do something nice for yourself today, you deserve it!

Have a great weekend!

How Diabetes Affects the Way I Look

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I think I’m an appropriate person to write this post because I’ve always been a little too vain.  I blame that on the fact that as a child when people asked me where I was born and I said “Venezuela” they’d be like, “Oh so you’re supposed to be pretty, right?  Because that’s where all the Miss Universe winners are from.”  And thus began my preoccupation with getting my hair right and freaking out over a few extra pounds so as not to disappoint the general public.  It didn’t help that when I gained five pounds as a teenager, non immediate family from Venezuela was like, “wow, you’re fat!”  Our curvy is their fat, go figure.  Don’t forget, they do call the Brazilian Victoria’s Secret models “curvy”.  Curvy my…

Anyway here goes my list of things that I think can at least be partly attributed to my having type 1 diabetes and having struggled with it.  If I’m being honest and I am:

I’ve got very dry skin.  So dry in fact, that I need lots and lots of lotion and my skin just sort of soaks it up like a lizard.  I soak up Eucerin and Aquaphor for crying out loud.  Oh and high quality lotion is not cheap, mind you.

I have a few extra pounds thanks to insulin which is rather difficult to manage perfectly and thus I use more than a person who doesn’t have to use this type of therapy and it causes a little extra weight gain.  This means I have to be very meticulous in carb counting and I have to exercise a little more than someone else.  It’s a bummer, a real bummer.

I have scars that probably would be invisible had there never been any diabetes.  Of course, it’s true that diabetes that is well controlled doesn’t cause anything, but most of us, at some point, go through a challenging time of not-so-well-managed diabetes and it does cause some things.  I have been fairly active during my life with diabetes and as a result have a good number of ugly scars.  I do like one of them though because it reminds me of a glorious moment during a soccer match.  But there are others like his one on my knee that happened in front of teammates when I ran into a chain I didn’t see in the dark which swung me to the ground causing me to scrape my knee-and confidence on a sharp rock.

My hair is thinner and maybe this has nothing to do with diabetes but I lost a lot during the years of high A1c’s and now that my A1c’s are no longer high, I don’t lose more than the normal amount.  So either it’s a coincidence or it was the diabetes and the not so well managed time I had with it.  I remain suspicious.

I have a lot of broken capillaries but I don’t know if this is diabetes related or not.  However, I’m well aware that diabetes affects the micro vascular and therefore…doesn’t this implicate the capillaries?  This one really bothers me.  My type 1 sister Ana has nothing of the sort and the most beautiful skin and we’ve had type 1 the same number of years so I’ll blame those bad years I had with diabetes and my genes on this one.

Diabetes doesn’t have to affect the way a person looks but, I’ve found that it usually does to some extent.  Dry mouth, chapped lips, fatigue induced slump, the possibilities are endless and can challenge our dignity as fabulous people.  Sometimes when nothing else motivates me to take care of my blood sugars I find I can rely on a persistent nagging vanity.  Hey, I’m only human.

It seems a bit like pouring salt on a wound to talk about this out loud but you know what?  It’s kind of liberating!  And you know that I do this with humor and jest, no?  I find that poking fun at myself makes me relax and not take myself so darn seriously.  Anyway now that I got that out of the way I can think about all the great things I’ve been blessed with.  Like strong legs and freckles and golden brown eyes.

Ultimately, this is my point of all this.  You make sure to do the same next time you’re seeing all the negative.  I know.  It happens.  And it’s ok.  Just move on to the good stuff.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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