29 Things to Be Happy About Today

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Today I turn 29 years old.  While I’m a little bummed that this marks the beginning of my last year as a twenty-something, I’m going to focus on happy thoughts instead.

1.  Despite my children calling me anything but “mama” (they can say “mama” they just don’t want to) at least they are healthy, kind, and have quite a sense of humor.  That’s all I ever want for them.

2.  My husband is out of state for work, which is hard on us, but at least he’s got work.  Others aren’t so fortunate.  (Alex come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!)

3.  I had a first call with my training coach for A1c Champions the other night and it was awesome.  I’m so excited.

4.  My mom watched the kids on that call from the other night.  I don’t know what I’d do without her.  Or my dad.  Every time I need uplifting, he knows just what to say.

5.  Today, if I have anything diabetes related I want to discuss, I have an entire community of people available who help each other out.  A few years ago I had no clue that existed.

6.  My little brother keeps wowing people with his guitar playing.  I won’t lie.  I’m excited at the prospect of having a famous family member one day!  When he was 3, I knew he was going to be something really special.  As usual, I was right.  Here he is from this past weekend.

7.  I have a husband who feels comfortable enough with me to tell me when I’m being an arrogant know-it-all.  I appreciate that level of honesty.

8.  My sister Ana, who has type 1, is about to start her senior year of college.  She is number 4 of us 5 kids and the first to finish college.  I’m so proud of her and am glad I can call her artwork my favorite (and I love that I don’t have to lie about that).

9.  I have two other siblings who I never mention on the blog but I should.  I have a brother named Alejandro who is a year younger than me.  I’m happy he’s fighting to make his life what he wants it to be.  Growing up with him helped me try harder at everything because he was always so smart and athletic and generally good at everything.  I hope he remembers his immense potential.  I have a younger sister named Sara who also should remember her potential.  I’m amazed at how she handles being a single mom to two young kids.  I have been doing it for a few weeks due to Alex being out of town and I’m just about ready to lose it.  And Sara always looks so cute.  I don’t know how she does it.  I’m happy that they are both close by.

10.  I’m grateful I have health insurance.  It’s a big deal and I wish this for everyone.

11.  My brother-in-law gave us his old TV a few days ago.  It’s huge and in our bedroom and I no longer have to watch movies on the computer screen, from the computer chair.  I feel positively spoiled!

12.  I love blogging.  I spent years aching to write and now I get to do it all the time!

13.  I’m happy it’s not Winter.  lol

14.  I love that last night my kids were mocking me.  They repeated what I said with their hands on their hips.  It was hysterical.

15.  I’m very thankful for Lantus.  I’m a fan of my insulin-aren’t you?!  hehe.

16.  I just discovered the show Frasier.  I was too young to get into it when it was on but now I’m watching it from the beginning and I have to say it’s my all time favorite show!  I totally relate to Frasier and wish I had a brother like Niles.  Is that weird?  Don’t answer that.

17.  Yay for TED Talks on Netflix!

18.  My birthday is on Fabulous Friday.  How nice.

19.  I’m attending the best nutrition school ever.  It’s compassion for people and respect for their differences is awesome.

20.  You really don’t want to read more than 20 right?

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, they made this warm and fuzzy post possible :)

Pin A Personality!

 

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I pinned Hope Warshaw, who is a member of Diabetes Advocates and author of multiple books for people with diabetes.

 

We need people to see the blue circle and immediately think, “DIABETES”.   The more united we are under one symbol, the better outcome we’ll have in our advocacy and awareness efforts.

The International Diabetes Federation is behind this mission and are encouraging us to “Pin a Personality”

Here are the instructions straight from the IDF:

“Take a picture of a personality with the blue circle pin.

How to choose a pinable personality?

Your personality can be anyone who you think would profile our blue circle to a wider audience or contributes to IDF’s mission to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

Your personality could be a local celebrity, a politician, a teacher, a chef, a local councilor or your gym instructor.

Do you have anyone in mind or are you attending an event before November 14? Will you see anyone pinable? Let us know at wdd@idf.org and we will send you some blue circle pins.

Upload your photo to our World Diabetes Day Facebook page or on Twitter using #WDDPin by November 14. Don’t forget a short one liner explaining who your chosen personality is!

Let’s get the blue circle out there and recognized as the global symbol of diabetes!”

 

My blogger friend Stacey graciously pinned a few personalities because yours truly is a wee bit shy about these things…

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Dr. Nat Strand and Stacey with DiabetesSister’s Founder Brandy Barnes.

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

Classification of Carbs

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I really believe carb counting alone is insufficient when it comes to my diabetes management.  At least the simple way it’s taught.  It’s just my opinion and I’ll explain why:

I’ve found that for ME, there are adjustments I make for different types of carbs.  These are adjustments beyond just subtracting grams of fiber.  A carb is not a carb.  They vary spectacularly and learning their differences helps me keep my blood sugars in range and helps me decide which carbs to avoid.

I classify my carbs:

-Refined grains

-Sugar/sucrose/plain fructose (no fiber)

-HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

-Chocolate, ice cream, and other high fat desserts

-Poultry/Meat/Seafood

-Fruits and vegetables

Refined Grains

When I eat anything with processed grains like white rice sushi or pizza or cookies, cake, or crackers, I have to watch out for a post meal blood sugar skyrocket.  It doesn’t happen right away which is why it’s often confusing to dose for these kinds of foods.  For example, last time you had pizza you were high afterwards so this time around you give more insulin, only to get low in the middle-towards the end of your meal.

I find that about 30 minutes after eating anything with refined or processed grains, I have to give another dose of insulin.  An insulin pump option on a dual or square wave bolus works well for a lot of people, but from what I gather, people with and without pumps have a hard time keeping blood sugars in range with processed grains.

Sugar

Eating something like candy made from glucose or sugar or drinking plain 100% juice or sugar sweetened beverage is a bit different.  I find that if I’m going to consume this within a reasonably fast amount time (as opposed to snacking over a period of 30 minutes) then I count carbs and using my 1:15 scale, I give just that amount of insulin.  Then I wait 15 minutes for the insulin to start working (more if I’m not in range).  I find that the insulin cancels out the sugar carbs pretty well and there is no shocking aftermath.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This one is interesting.  At least for me (remember, this is just what happens in MY body).  I find that candy or beverages made with HFCS works like when I eat refined grains.  But that makes sense to me when I think about corn being a grain!  It’s easy to forget because people serve it to kids and say “eat your veggies”.

High fat desserts

This gets it’s own category because of the large amount of fat (and because they’re my favorite!)  I try to stick with dark chocolate for a low dose of sugar.  I also make sure to buy desserts that do not have HFCS in it as a sweetener.  I try to get the gourmet kind with minimal ingredients and then I count carbs and give insulin in the middle of eating since the fat content really slows down the absorption of most of these foods.  If there is a lot of sugar I give insulin prior to eating as usual.  I’m referring to a dessert like high fat truffles, mostly.

Poultry/Meat/Seafood

I count carbs and then add a tiny extra amount of insulin to my carb count depending on how much I eat.  I don’t have to do this unless I’m really filling up on this protein source.  I love how these foods fill me up and do very little to my blood sugars.

Vegetables and Fruits

I’m a fan of these, especially in terms of carbs.  As you are well aware, the high antioxidant, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water content of these foods makes them wonderful for our health.  I definitely don’t need as much insulin for these foods.  I count the carbs and then omit for fiber content.  Fruit is something I stick to consuming in it’s natural state and in small quantities.  The sugar in fruit is fructose and too much overloads the liver, causing fatty liver problems.  Oh and it definitely affects blood sugars.  My favorite are cherries, they are very low glycemic.  Have you tried them for a low?  It takes so many!

I know I didn’t talk about legumes or nuts.  I don’t eat legumes anymore.  I think I ate too many as a kid.  I treat legumes like vegetables and I treat nuts like meat.

With any food:  If I eat a lot, I need to give a little extra insulin for the full stomach effect that Dr. Bernstein has talked about in his books.

I adjust for a few other things.  I’ve mentioned them before but here we go again:

-BM status.  Eww, I know.  But being backed up might make a person anticipate a need for more insulin.  The opposite of that issue= less insulin.  So watch out for major lows if you get food poisoning!

-Stress.  If I’m stressed, I have to give a little bit extra insulin to combat the stress hormones and their affects on my blood sugars.

-Exercise.  Different types of exercise require different diabetes management approaches.  Read Ginger Vieira’s book for that info and so much more-even worksheets for getting all these changes right!

-PMS.  Days before I start, I need to up my basal insulin.

-Sleep.  If I stay up late (past midnight), I have to give some extra insulin (unless I’m active).

-Sedentary.  If I’m being sedentary more than two days in a row due to sickness or diabetes burnout or whatever, I definitely have to up my basal insulin substantially (by 30-40%).

-Too much artificial sweeteners.  Certain artificial sweeteners in high doses do contain carbs (it’s a small amount per serving so they’re legally allowed to round down to 0) so if you’re binging on diet coke, check your blood sugar and stay alert to a sneaky increase.

That’s all I can think of.  It’s just an example of how you want to be aware of how your body reacts to different types of food and activity.  You can see why I stick with meat/poultry/seafood, vegetables, and fruits.  Much better blood sugar stability and less variability for me.  But when I do splurge, at least being aware of how those foods act differently help me manage them for those occasions.

I write all this out because you can have tighter blood sugar management.  It helps to learn yourself and the foods you’re eating.  Again, get Ginger’s book or ebook and discover how to improve your blood sugars.  I highly recommend it.

Leashes Aren’t Only for Dogs

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Aurora took this picture of “daddy chasing brother”

Alex is going to be away a few weeks working out of state which is leaving me going from cliff hanging to free falling.  Or so it feels.

It’s not just that I’m doing more by myself but also, Alex and I are used to doing everything together so it’s hard to have him away.  And of course, there is the issue of having twin toddlers and how they are at an age where it’s much easier to have a one adult per child ratio happening.

Just the other day at the grocery store, Henri took off running as I was paying.  I left Aurora by the cart and took off sprinting after him.  Henri is the fastest little boy I’ve ever seen and of course, he’s mine.  Just as he was about to pass the last set of doors before getting to the street, an elderly man saw him and his lunatic mom (aka-me) a ways behind him, screaming “STOP Henriiii!”  The man shuffled his feet to the left and then to the right repeatedly while bent over with arms spread to the sides to prevent Henri from getting past.  The man looked exactly like a center on the basketball court.  Henri tried one last attempt through the man’s legs as the stranger whom we’ll call “light on his feet Bob” snatched him up and handed him to me.

I was so embarrassed I apologized and thanked “Bob” and he said while grinning, “Nah, honey, now you see why they say it takes a village?”  A village of kind, nimble footed souls, yes.  Then off I went in search of Aurora who had picked up a few bags of M&M’s, clutching them close to her chocolate loving heart.  It’s funny, she’s never had M&M’s before, doesn’t see TV commercials, and yet her instincts tell her they’re good.

So that’s why we don’t go out often enough.  Let me ask you all a desperate and serious question.  Would it be awful to use those …child leashes-I mean restraints?  I keep cringing at the thought of using them but I cringe even more to think of one of my kids meeting a car while on the run.  They do it a lot.  They think it’s funny to see me freak out.  Did you see one of the latest Modern Family episodes where Cam and Mitchell use one for their daughter while at Disneyland?  Did you see the way the family reacted?  Like it was inappropriate and ridiculous looking?  Like they were treating her like an untrained puppy?  WELL.  That’s what I’m talking about.  And they were two adults for one child.

My mom had five kids and she says that she has learned that twins are uniquely difficult (not more, just uniquely) because of how they’re at the same developmental stage.  And I think that’s what is tough for me.  I can’t go anywhere safely or without tons of stress but almost everyone imagines I should be able to (as I imagined I’d be able to before actually experiencing this wonderful madness).  It’s not that I feel judged.  I just don’t feel quite understood.  Even some of my siblings don’t see what’s so challenging about it.  And then there’s the third baby I have to take care of-my diabetes.  The combination makes me feel like I’m risking the kid’s safety too often and my health, too.

That’s it.  I’m ordering child restraints right away.  Thanks for listening.  And next time we all see a kid-on-a-leash, let’s think about how the parent behind the child is simply scared that their little runaway will run away and get abducted or struck by a car.  Or injure a helpful stranger trying to stop them.

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!

Interview about Bonding with My Sister Over Type 1 Diabetes

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Painting is called “Thank You” by Ana Morales

 

I had a chance to meet Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski in Washington D.C. last month and not only did we so easily hit it off as friends, Laura also interviewed me about what it was like for my family to have two type 1 diabetes diagnosis in the family.  You all know how I can go on and on and so here is Part 1 of that interview.  It’s pretty candid considering how comfortable I was speaking to Laura.  I hope you all enjoy.

Thanks, Laura!

Diabetes Blog Week 2012, What You Should Know About Diabetes

Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.

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I’m about to leave for the DiabetesSisters Conference and have spent all morning getting things ready and trying to get my two year olds who have never been without at least one of their parents to understand that mommy and daddy will be back in a few days, “we will be back, we promise”.   I can’t say I’m not nervous about this…good luck with em’ Mom and Dad, Ana and Gabriel!

Anyway, so I didn’t have a lot of time for today’s post but I do have something I want to say to the world about diabetes:

You may think you know a lot about diabetes.  You may think you know the truth about diabetes.  You may think your grandmother’s diabetes is like my diabetes.

This is the worst thing you can do to us people with diabetes.

What we want is for you to understand that diabetes is wildly complex, varies very much between person to person, and therefore you can never know all there is to know about it.  And what you think you know about a person’s diabetes is probably not accurate.

So just be humble and cautious and open to a person with diabetes telling you what their diabetes really is to them.

Then you’ll know.

Sincerely,

A girl with type 1 diabetes.

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, Me and Food Need to Kiss and Make-Up

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Click for the One Thing to Improve – Wednesday 5/16 Link List.
Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

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Well, reading all the posts from yesterday about what people do well gave me a lot to think about.  With just about every other post I thought, “wow, nice, I wish I did that really well…”.

What stuck out the most for me was something I didn’t catch anyone mentioning and I suppose it’s because many of us people with diabetes struggle with this:  Our relationship with food.

I don’t know about yours but even though I eat pretty healthy, my BMI is within healthy range (um, barely), and my blood pressure, lipid profile, thyroid function, and A1c are all within normal healthy ranges, I still feel like the missing piece to my puzzle is predominately my tumultuous relationship with food.  I don’t remember having this problem before my diabetes diagnosis so I will blame this largely on diabetes.  But also on plain old me.  I’ve abused alcohol, painkillers, and food in the past and it’s all partially connected to the way I really long for an easy escape from my feelings about my problems.  I’ve done a lot better in the past 6 years and now feel like if I could just grip my food struggles, man would that be nice!

So what is what I need to improve exactly?  Well, I’d say…anxious over-eating.  You know, the opposite of mindful eating.  I do pretty well all month long and then bam, about 10 days before my period I’m a disaster eater.  Who cares if I eat too much of something healthy?  It’s still going to pack on the pounds, leave me feeling miserable, and negatively impact my blood sugars and health.

So one issue to work on- pms symptoms.  A second issue is we don’t have a dinner table.  Well we do but it’s one of those high ones and the stools that went with the table all broke over the years (They really don’t make furniture the way they used to, sigh.)  Ok, we’ve got one stool left but sitting in it feels like it cuts off my circulation so geez was that a bad purchase or what!?  Alright, so I eat standing up most of the time which really helps me eat too quickly.  Also, my little ones are the perfect excuse for me to feel like I should really hurry and eat.  I ought to just copy exactly how they eat-slow and in the moment.

Let’s not forget diabetes genuinely causes issues in this department.  Low and not hungry?  Too bad, you sad sap, stuff that mouth full of calorie heavy glucose.  High and nauseated because you ate something you were really craving?  Aww…you just can’t win can you?  lol…Next thing you know food is medicine and food is a drug and food is a vice and a form of punishment and relief and pleasure and arrghhh…

Ok, this post has been seriously helpful.  It’s helped me see the light.  What’s the point in complaining if one isn’t going to make a plan of action, right?

I talked with my husband and we’re going to focus on saving towards a new table…seeing the impact on our health and what our kids are picking up as habits, we think it qualifies as a priority.  Eating with the kids, sitting on the floor, on the ottoman is getting cramped and too messy.  Yes, the living room ottoman is our dinner table.  Bet you didn’t know that interesting fact about me?

Also, what emotions do I have hidden under the surface relating to food?  Why such animosity?  Why do I want to simultaneously praise butter in all it’s buttery goodness and strangle it by it’s rectangular, slippery throat?  Why do I feel like throwing away all the cutlery in the kitchen in a desperate attempt to alienate food?  I will think and meditate on that and get back to you.

So what would you like to improve?  Remember there’s no shame!  In fact, take this time to identify your “thing”, whatever it is, and work on making it better.

As our D-friend Ginger always says, we are works in progress!

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