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!

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.

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!

You’re Always Somewhere You’re Not

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Bad genes or no bad genes, excellent lifestyle habits or not, many are missing the point.  The issue isn’t “some people didn’t give themselves type 2 diabetes-it was their genes!”  I mean when we focus on that, what are we saying, that some people deserve to be judged and some don’t?  I don’t care if someone only ate McDonald’s from their couch their entire life and got type 2 diabetes, they didn’t mean (at least not consciously) to attract harm into their lives.

How about we focus instead on educating everyone to respect each other and to support each other with whatever step of their journey in life they are on.  Some people are just not “there” yet.  Some people aren’t ready to change their diet.  Some people are not ready to listen to recommendations from peers or experts.  Some people are.  Judging someone because they are somewhere you’re not is not a good idea.

Because wherever you are, I can guarantee there is somewhere you’re not and therefore, you’re just as vulnerable to the judging that goes around.

So what I’ve been pushing on myself lately is:

A:  Recognize that just because someone is not in the same place in life you are, doesn’t mean they aren’t trying or that they mean harm or that they won’t succeed in the end.  Can you read a person’s mind?  Maybe they are mentally getting to a place where they might begin to make big, lasting changes.  Your criticism doesn’t speed things up for them-your kindness, patience, and encouragement might, though.

B:  Next time you ask yourself why someone does or doesn’t do something, think about what you do or don’t do.  You’re not exempt of faults and shortcomings so try not to make a fool of yourself.

C:  Support people wherever they are.  Do they want to start training for a marathon?  Cheer them on.  Do they want to get outside once a week for a walk?  Cheer them on and think of that feat in the same way you think of a marathon completion.

People firing back and forth over how others see them as responsible for their disease are not getting anywhere.  Educate people through your actions and your goodness and honesty.  Take responsibility for what you can do for yourself.  Admit what you feel you’re not doing well or right.  You’ll be surprised how everyone will appreciate your openness and feel they can safely admit to their challenges as well.

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.

A Great Diabetes Blog to Follow

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Many of you have heard of Richard Vaughn, longtime type 1 diabetic and author of a wonderful book which talks about his journey with type 1.  He’s very active in the DOC and has provided tons of people with hope by reminding us that for many years (due to lack of modern technology and information) he had consistently high blood sugars but is healthy and still going strong.

Richard is so active via email and discussion boards that maybe some of you aren’t aware that he has a blog!  So I just want to broadcast to you all that one of the treasures of the DOC has a blog we can follow at Richard’s Rambling Review.

Every time I feel panic that somehow my diabetes is going to kill me or leave me covered in complications, I remember Richard and his many decades with type 1 and the way he is happy and healthy and always giving back.  We all could use a blog buddy like that Smile

Sanofi iBGStar® Blood Glucose Monitoring System in the U.S!

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Do you live in the U.S. and want to check your blood sugar with your iPhone or iPod Touch?

Now you can.

Today, Sanofi launched the iBGStar Blood Glucose Monitoring System in the U.S.  It’s a glucose meter than connects directly to your iPhone or iPod touch.  You can get the iBGStar at Apple Retail Stores and at all Walgreens stores nationwide, online at Apple.com, Walgreens.com, and through Diabetic Care Services.  Check with your insurance about test strips being covered by your insurance.

From the press release:

About iBGStar®
When iBGStar® is directly connected to an iPhone® or iPod touch® and used with the iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App, blood glucose results are presented on the Multi-Touch display quickly after monitoring.

iBGStar® can also be used independently to measure blood glucose levels; results can be synchronized later to an iPhone® or iPod touch®. iBGStar® and BGStar® Blood Glucose Test Strips, which are used with iBGStar®, are available at all Walgreens stores nationwide and online at Walgreens.com and through Diabetic Care Services. These test strips may be covered under certain health insurance plans so individuals should check directly with their provider.

The iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App has a range of features and multiple views for analyzing glucose patterns on-the-go. Visual graphs and statistics can help people record and track their readings, carbohydrate intake, insulin doses (if taking insulin) and more. Color-coded scorecards show individual monitoring results for easy identification of high or low blood glucose levels. A ‘share’ function allows specific data to be sent via e-mail to caregivers and/or healthcare teams. The iBGStar® Diabetes Manager App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone® and iPod touch® or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

How did the iBGStar come to be?

Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski wrote a really interesting blog post talking about the players that made this possible  I’m impressed with the insight of these people and grateful that they looked at our lives and found a way to integrate our daily tasks of making phone calls and checking email with our daily task of testing our blood sugar.

Are the strips covered?

I just called my insurance company and they had to call a pharmacist who had to look up this device online and then report back that they can’t give me pricing info on the strips, yet.  I’m to check back in a month.  I will be checking back and if my strips are covered…what a wonderful thing that will be!

 

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