Tag Archives: diabetes advocate

American Culture Revolution for Health

Courtesy of Simon Howden

Courtesy of Simon Howden

 

We hear all the time how America needs it’s citizens to undergo lifestyle changes for the better.  And despite how hard that is, I guess it’s true.  I just think that we’re stuck in a slump.  I mean, if my friends and family and I are used to and enjoy certain activities and foods and many others are the same way, then how are we supposed to produce a massive change that sweeps the nation and improves the health of millions? 

When health care professionals say we all need to do be more active and eat healthier, I can’t help but think about how the typical health care professional is educated to really know and understand what to do and they make pretty decent money for a living, too.  That combination is probably an asset.  What about the rest of us?   

I think we need a revolution.  We’re Americans, we know about revolution.  Our future is in jeopardy as they say and yet how are we supposed to get ourselves out of this slump while being so busy just trying to survive?

I sometimes wonder if our situation will progress to a breaking point.  Maybe a mini revolution will take place.  People will hit the streets demanding particular health care reforms.  Mass numbers of citizens will band together and slowly change their customs and traditions to adapt to the new health movement.  They’ll demand better access to quality foods, more health education in classrooms, and encourage the development of lots of sidewalk additions all over the country. 

When we’re proud of our culture, how do we go about altering it?  I genuinely feel giddy inside just thinking about going to a baseball game and having a hotdog and beer.  I know many of us just love watching Glee at night with our favorite snack.  And popcorn and soda at the movies.  Cookies and pastries at social gatherings.  Our favorite Ben and Jerry’s when we’re sad.  Our favorite cupcake when we’re happy.  Barbeque, potato chips, and pie on the Fourth of July.  I think of all of this and my first inclination is to say, “Well…but it’s on special occasions that we eat this way-no biggie!”  And then I think about how all this can add up in the course of a week.  Next thing you know our way of life is to eat inappropriately.  It doesn’t help that it’s still funny to poke fun at the yoga loving, tree hugging, granola munching types out there.  Although, they are growing in numbers.

So when I think about the task that lies ahead of us I must say I feel quite overwhelmed.  I know it’s hard on willpower and expensive and a hassle to keep up.  I can only hope that my neighbors will create awareness with me, fight for our rights with me, contact our policy makers with me, and slowly adapt our culture to one that is just as much ours as ever-only healthier for our children and their children.

I think we need a culture change because living in the present one and expecting people to break from it is unrealistic. 

How do we do this?  I don’t know exactly, but I will leave you with the quote I always remember when I feel like quitting:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”

~Mohandas K. Gandhi

International Diabetes Federation Charter

 

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The international Diabetes Federation has put out a Charter which outlines the fundamental rights of all the world’s people with diabetes.  The IDF’s mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention, and a cure, worldwide.

The press release states:

“The landmark document places the rights of people with diabetes, their parents and carers into three focus areas; the rights to care; information and education and social justice, whilst at the same time acknowledging the responsibilities held by people with diabetes.”

This is a pretty uniting document if you think about it.  There are over 300 million people living with diabetes worldwide and this Charter seeks to represent them all by stating what their basic rights are with this disease.  No matter where you live, you do deserve all of the things stated in this document.

Such as the right to:

“early diagnosis and affordable and equitable access to care and treatment, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and age, including access to psychosocial care and support.”

“advocate, individually and collectively, to health providers and decision makers for improvements in diabetes care and services.”

information and education about diabetes, including how it can be prevented, how early detection in high risk individuals is an advantage, how the disease can be managed effectively and how to access education and clinical resources.”

“be a fully engaged member of society, treated with respect and dignity by all, without feeling the need to conceal the fact they have diabetes.”

They also outline a number of responsibilities held by people with diabetes, such as the responsibility to:

“manage their agreed care and treatment plan”

“show consideration and respect for the rights of other people with diabetes and their healthcare providers.”

The only problem I see is one of the responsibilities is this guideline.  It states that people with diabetes have the responsibility to:

“inform family, school, work and social colleagues they have diabetes so that they can be supportive to the person with diabetes, if and when needed”

That’s only going to happen when people feel safe to do so.  And we will never get to the point where absolutely everyone feels safe to do so.  Not to mention there are strong personal preferences with this sort of thing.  I do believe in being open about diabetes however, I do believe in a person being able to conceal it if it’s what they want. 

These guidelines are considered a “gold standard” meaning, I think, that they are guidelines to aspire to and although we may not reach them, we might get close.  The closer we are to all people being treated properly with diabetes, the healthier we’ll all be.

Those are just a few of the guidelines stated in the Charter and the IDF is asking for all governments worldwide to sign up for and aspire to these guidelines.  According to the IDF, you and I- and anyone else can encourage politicians, educational organizations, employers, and health care professionals to sign it. 

If you are interested in reading the Charter, which by the way is very easy and fast to read, go here and then scroll to the bottom of the page where you can download the pdf of the Charter or read more info.

Overall I thought it concisely covered just about everything.  Check it out and let us know what you think.

#HAWMC Shouting From The Rooftop of This Blog!

Courtesy of

Courtesy of Graur Codrin

 

Today’s Health Activist Writer’s Challenge prompt is a post secret. Or something personal we want to share or something we just want to shout from the rooftops.

So officially, I’m proclaiming that…

We deserve a cure for this disease because even though we’re happy, we’re living a crazy weird life full of needles and fear and paranoia. Many of us pay more than a dollar per strip every time we test-which we do many times a day! We count carbohydrates before taking a bite of food. We set alarms in the middle of the night to make sure we stay alive. We deal with mood swings from our changes in blood sugar. Many of us cannot survive without insulin for more than a few days. High blood sugar can kill us and low blood sugar can kill us. At any moment. We get tired but can’t quit fighting. For us, any small activity can be a complicated experiment. We often sacrifice our passions to work where we can get adequate health insurance. We try hard and often, we still don’t win. We deal with intense physical, psychological, and emotional pain without any breaks.

The fact that many of us are very kind, happy and healthy people is only a testament to how strong and soulful people can be. This observation is not to be used as proof that we don’t need or deserve a cure. We do. We need help. We need support. We need technological advancements. We need funding for all of the above.

Please keep that in mind when you see our fabulous selves walking down the street.

HAWMC# I Write About My Health Because…

Courtesy of healingdream
Courtesy of healingdream

 

Today’s prompt is:

“I write about my health because…”

  • I find it overwhelming to live with diabetes and writing about it is a helpful release

 

  • I hope others find it relatable so they don’t feel so alone

 

  • There are times something needs to be broadcasted

 

  • It sometimes makes for more dramatic storytelling than late night TV

 

  • I find it helpful to track the past and compare with the present

 

  • I want to share what I’ve learned and haven’t learned

 

  • I express myself much better in written form than by talking

 

  • I love to write

 

And lastly, I write about my health because you read what I write.

Thank you :)

What “The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes” Means

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The title of my blog/website probably lends itself to confusion and debate.  So I’d like to disclose what exactly I intend for it to mean.

First of all, I came up with the title “The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes” about 8 years ago.  I was daydreaming about finding a book about diabetes that I would find helpful but also enjoyable.  I love “girl’s guide” books because they are written by women specifically for women (and tend to be fun to read).  At some point  I made a list of topics I would like to read about in a resourceful, fun, and soulful diabetes book.

I couldn’t find such a book and on a whim decided I’d write the darn thing.  I wrote several chapters but kept getting stuck because I didn’t feel ready.  I was still in a dark place regarding my life with diabetes.  I still had high A1c’s and I couldn’t discipline myself to even get out of bed most days.  I dropped out of college since all I did there was suffer anxiety attacks.  I couldn’t even test twice a day.  Twice a day was too hard.  I cried all the time and was filled with negative self-talk.  How was I going to encourage others when I couldn’t even encourage myself?

Eventually a series of findings (all of which are chronicled on this site) helped get me back on track and my entire life changed for the better.

Since part of what I want to include in the book is inspiration, I feel like I need to reveal all of my diabetes past.  I want to show how someone could go from very depressed and overweight with unmanaged diabetes to a much happier, healthier person with great blood sugar management. I want to share my journey in case it gives hope to those who find themselves feeling how I once did.  I just want to say, “You can do it.  Your path will be your own but you can improve.”  Because it’s not even about reaching some diabetes success summit.  It’s about getting to a better place than you are now.  Anyway,  I’m now back to work on that book. 

I have invited my sister Ana Morales, also a type 1 diabetic, to contribute to the blog whenever she wants for different reasons.  Firstly, she and I are very different.  She is a role model for me in humility and in the way she “lives and lets live”.  Ana is also about 8 years younger and in a different stage of life.  She is a great creative writer and artist and is following her dreams in studio art at James Madison University and thus offers a fresh perspective on life with diabetes.  Plus, I’m hoping she’ll contribute to and illustrate the book!

More than anything…

I just want to say that where the title of this blog says “guide” I do not mean for you to “do as I do” or to “think as I think”.  I am not trying to give the impression that I’m the diabetic “to follow” or someone with all the answers.  By no means.  I’m writing the book and I just so happened to think matching the title of the book with the blog was a good idea.  And on this website I am doing my best in trying to help our cause and welcome any contributions to that in the form of emails or comments.

What I do…

  • I try to post about topics I find worth mentioning. 
  • I advocate for diabetics everywhere by putting up my most brave and vulnerable thoughts so diabetics can relate and not feel so alone and so non-diabetics will be moved to help our cause or at the very least, understand us better.
  • I post comments every day on as many fellow diabetic blogs as I can in hopes that they will continue feeling supported to keep doing their fantastic writing and sharing and advocating. 
  • I post about issues in dire need of awareness because although my site traffic is not that of a huge website, I still figure it helps to do my small part in spreading word about important diabetes initiatives such as The Big Blue Test, for example. 
  • I interview diabetics who inspire me in hopes they’ll inspire those who read my site. 
  • I constantly try to make it clear when I’m not sure about something or when I’m just testing something out and I don’t have problems with differing opinions. 
  • I advocate strongly for every diabetic (every human being) taking responsibility for their actions.  I am insistent on this because only through taking responsibility for MY actions have I managed to come to a much better place in health and in life. 
  • I am moved easily and feel a great deal of empathy.  This makes me worry about everyone out there but also helps keep me motivated.  I feel at home with advocating for diabetics and I have boundless energy and enthusiasm for it.

 

So in closing…

If my website helps spread diabetes awareness, great.  If my blogging about a helpful initiative gets that cause more support, fantastic.  Most of all, my wish is that this site…

  • inspires you to learn more about your diabetes,
  • encourages you to take responsibility for your actions, and
  • motivates you to follow through with the right actions to reach your goals.

 

I’m learning a great deal through this website and it’s all because of you.

Thanks for reading.

~Sysy

It’s All Relative

 

“We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, not as they are said to be.”

~George Bernard Shaw

 

I had a friend who said she ate really healthy because she ate three salads a week alongside fast food meals.  I had another friend who said she ate, “pretty good” even though she never ate junk food, never overate, and followed a diet that might make a dietitian stand up and cheer. 

This is part of what makes the internet such a confusing place.  Many of us take part based on what we perceive.  Some might think a mile is a tiring run but I have a few friends who might consider that a very brief warm up.  Just as someone might feel that a family of four cannot comfortably live making less than 100,000 a year and someone else’s family of four feel quite cozy on 40,000 a year. 

It’s all relative.  Just something to keep in mind as we read through loads and loads of personalized info. 

A lot of things about diabetes is based upon an individual’s unique perception.  It’s called their opinion and you’re graciously entitled to your own.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Diabetic or Person with Diabetes?

 

I’m still relatively new to the Diabetes Online Community because although my blog is a few months shy of two years old, my entire first year of blogging coincided with my twin babies and their first year so I didn’t have a lot of extra time to read other blogs. 

So since I’ve been reading a lot of different diabetes websites and blogs I’ve noticed some people say “diabetic” and some are very set on saying instead, “person with diabetes”.

I have been accustomed to saying “diabetic” and continue to say it because it’s shorter than “person with diabetes”.  The shortest route is abbreviating “person with diabetes” into “PWD” but I personally don’t like using abbreviations, although I don’t mind reading them.  For some reason I can’t help but think of “POW” when I read “PWD”.  My husband does, too. 

The point of this post is to ask the questions, Which do you say and why?  And Is there a particular reason “person with diabetes” is used in place of “diabetic” or the other way around?  I need to be filled in.  So far I’ve had no problem referring to myself as a diabetic.  The term doesn’t offend me.  I’ve been described as “eclectic”, “Hispanic”, “romantic”, and “chocoholic” and those also don’t bother me.  But maybe there is something I’m not aware of?  Help me my dear “d-peeps”.  I want to understand.

Where You Can Read More Diabetes Blog Posts

 

I’m still going to be doing what I do here at The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes but have been contracted to blog over at Diabetes Care Club a few times a month. 

They are the third largest diabetes supplies provider in the US and are starting a blog community on their website.  You can read more from me and other diabetic bloggers there (Like the fantastic Scott Johnson!).  You can also make a profile and start blogging yourself.  It is really fast and easy to do and can be a great way to see if you like blogging at all or to find out if you prefer reading and commenting or just reading.  It’s all a great way to participate in this Diabetic Online Community of ours. 

So maybe I’ll see you there!

Have a great one!

ps: You can hear about blogging updates for both sites if you friend me on twitter.  I’m @GG2Diabetes.

How to Start a Diabetes Blog Series

 

There are hundreds of personal diabetes blogs out there.  I think it’s fantastic.  The more voices we have, the better.  I’m suspecting some of you diabetes blog readers have a growing itch inside you to start your own personal blog about your life or experience with diabetes.  Honestly, it’s a wonderful outlet for a diabetic.  I have personally found it to be such a positive experience- and empowering, too. 

So for those interested, I’ve decided to help you start your own diabetes blog.  I’ll do this by posting a series of posts aimed at getting you started.  Why am I going to help?  Well, because I’d hate for you to be intimidated by the “how to” of starting a blog and let that stop you from doing it if you really want to.   

I’m not at all technically inclined and my blog took many, many hours of online research to put up.  The trial and error method I used doesn’t have to be yours.  Hopefully my small amount of help and guidance  will help you start a blog (if you’re someone who wants to).  A blog is a wonderful way to chronicle your diabetes experience for a small community or the world to see.  You’ll be surprised how much you learn about yourself, too.

So stay tuned.  The posts will be coming early in the new year.

Favorite my site or sign up for the weekly newsletter so you remember to check back here for the “How to Start a Diabetes Blog Series” :)

10 Thoughts That Run Through Our Heads Way Too Often

 

10.  “Ugh, my blood sugar is high”

9.  “Ugh, my blood sugar is low”

8.  “Where is my meter?”

7.  “Why!?” (referring to number on meter screen)

6.  “I need a diabetes vacation.”

5.  “If only I wasn’t a diabetic…”

4.  “How will my health be in 20 years?”

3.  “Where’s our cure already?”

2.  “They don’t understand”

1.  “Is this <random symptom> caused by my diabetes?”

 

Goshhh, I’d love to have all of this out of my brain :)