Tag Archives: diabetic women

Eternal optimism for diabetics

 

Some readers have asked me, “How do you stay so positive about diabetes all the time?”  This is a really interesting question for me because I’m a notoriously moody gal and while I wouldn’t say I’m negative I would say I’m definitely not the happy go lucky type.

I have worried about my parents dying, getting old, how my hair looks, and starving kids in Africa since I was 5 years old. To be honest with you I’ve become quite tired of all the worry. In recent years I’ve learned the power of thoughts. I have learned that when you think you can’t-well, you’re probably right. So I’ve been retraining my brain.

Doing so has helped my diabetes immensely. This in turn has helped every other area of my life. The key, I have found, is to allow normal emotions to spill as needed and simply not linger on those emotions.

So here are a few tips and ideas for maintaining an “eternal optimism” meanwhile still allowing room for natural human emotions.

 

Instead of striving to “never fail”, strive to always “bounce back”

This is one of the most important traits found in people who manage to achieve a lot in life. Even children are well known for having this ability. It is the reason they are so resilient and manage to be so happy and energetic in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.

When you encounter a 300 blood sugar reading, don’t wallow and agonize about it. Instead, do what you need to do to get it down. You can make yourself comfortable in the process, find something productive or enjoyable to do while you are coming down, and test again soon.

Don’t forget you are human

We literally need to fail. It is how we grow. It is how we come to life changing realizations. It is why we are able to appreciate the moments that do go our way. If we never failed wouldn’t we just be arrogant, bored, and uninteresting people?

What you do want is to be able to react positively and proactively. Remember, when you skip a couple of work outs, don’t beat yourself up. Go and work out the first chance you get. Like a former boss of mine used to say every time someone began a bad habit, just “hurry and nip it in the bud!”

Carefully monitor your self-talk

This is what you say to yourself in your head (although possibly out loud when no one is around). If you are saying negative things to yourself, try turning that around and saying only positive and hopeful things. Example: Don’t say “I’m never going to get my A1c down”, say, “My A1c is going to improve”.

My self-talk used to be really positive. I am told by family that when I was about 4 years old I would walk around saying “Sysy is pretty” and “Sysy is smart”. By the time I was 11 years old I said very different things to myself. I put myself down all of the time. I told myself I was too shy or too ugly for school and what happened? I could barely talk in front of the class. This frustrated me to no end so I began saying instead, “I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m a great person”. Soon I was being myself and making new friends every day. I was amazed by how powerful self-talk was. It either motivated me to better myself or dragged me into the ground. All I had to do was choose to be positive towards myself.

Cry me a river

Anytime you feel sad, frustrated, or upset with your diabetes (or anything) let those emotions out. Nike says “Just do it”. I say, “Just feel it”. It’s natural to feel these strong emotions when you deal with something so ongoing as diabetes. Next time you get frustrated go ahead and stomp, grunt, whine. Get it out and move on. Don’t take things out on others, just let your emotions out. 

Cry as needed. Maybe not at work but, at home when you get a moment alone. Just let it out for a few minutes. It helps release the stressful energy inside of you and helps restore mental clarity.

Use the power of humor

Something that helps me is to poke fun at myself.  In theory it doesn’t make me feel better but, in reality it does!  Try it.  Laughter really is good medicine.

Talk to someone

We women are all about talking about our feelings. Find a friend who lets you vent and once you are done, change the subject to something positive. Don’t vent forever or your friend will catch the blues from you. You just want to let feelings out so you can regain your strength and confidence quickly and move on.

So remember, laugh, cry, rant, talk as needed and then pick yourself up and smile. You can have eternal optimism and this strength will carry you gracefully through all of life’s ups and downs with diabetes.

Now what about you?  What helps you stay positive in light of diabetes?  Share with us in the comments!

New Year’s Resolutions for July and August

 

The last two months (May/June) my goal was to get back into an exercise routine of some sort.  I was going to try to do regular yoga each day. 

Plans changed however, and I had an opportunity to go to the gym.  I really enjoy the gym and so I began either doing yoga at home or going to the gym and spending about 30-45 minutes there. 

My weight is the same because as I adjusted to more exercise I found myself hungry and snacked more often.  My weight didn’t change for another reason: I replaced fat loss with muscle gain and so although the scale didn’t move, I now fit into my clothes better.  A huge plus when visiting the pool and getting back into summer dresses!

Now I just have to keep it up!

For July and August my resolution was to be more social.

I had a really tough pregnancy and have elected to stay home with my 1 year old twins.  This has completely changed my social life.  So now that life with the twins has settled into some sort of routine I want to connect with the outside world again. 

I guess I’ll try calling old friends and invite them over to visit. 

I’ll reach out more to the great online diabetic community.

And I’ll…I don’t know what else! 

Anybody have any suggestions as to how to get back out there?  Help!

Oh and incase you are wondering, I am  following Leo Babauta’s The 6 Changes Method.  Try it!  It is a great way to accomplish some of your goals this year.  It isn’t too late :)

Interview with parents of two diabetic children

My parents
My parents

 

I know these people very well-they’re my own mom and dad.

The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes is focused on women (although many men do read).  It occurred to me a while back that diabetic women aren’t the only ones who look for helpful articles to read.  Parents with diabetic children do as well. 

My heart goes out to parents out there who have children with the disease and doubly so to those who, like my parents, have more than one child with the disease. 

In 1984, my family moved to the United States from Venezuela to live in the land of opportunity.  Everything went as planned until 1994 when my youngest sister Ana, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3.  I was hit very hard by this.  I was only 10 years old at the time but, I researched all about the disease and became well acquainted with the basic information about diabetes.  A few months later I was 11 years old and 2 months into 6th grade.  I sat in science class and thought about how I had been feeling the past few days.  Since I was well aware what the symptoms of diabetes were I thought to myself, “I have diabetes, too”.  I went home and had my mother test my sugar and it was 401.  This was after having ate tons of Halloween candy so it seems I caught my own diabetes very early.

My parents experienced raising one child with a peaceful, cooperative nature who only knew of life with the disease and another (myself) who everyday thought back to the days without the disease when life was good and continuously rebelled against reality.

Ana testing her blood sugar at age 6 

Ana at age 6, testing her blood sugar

They also dealt with 3 other non-diabetic children, whom I fear received a little less attention because of Ana and I requiring so much.  It isn’t easy for anyone, being in a diabetic family.  I hope all of you dealing with a child with diabetes hang in there and work together to support each other.

I want to do more interviews with parents-specifically mothers of diabetic children so If you are interested please contact me via email or in the comments and I will definitely get back to you.

Below is an interview with my own parents German and Maria Elizabeth.  M is for Mom, D is for Dad, and C is for their collective answer.

Please let us know what you think in the comments!

What was your initial reaction to the news about Ana and I? 

C- Let us tell you the story of how things started. Ana was diagnosed on February 28, 1994. Her signs started two months earlier when your Dad noticed that she seemed to be losing weight. I called the pediatrician and he told us to check her weight and let him know if there were changes in the range of 1-2 lbs. We went and got a scale and weighed her every day and for two months we saw no difference. However, even though she was almost potty trained, she wet her bed sometimes at night. I (mom) thought that she was not ready yet. Still your dad was noticing that at every meal Ana would finish everyone’s cup of whatever beverage we had. When we were out she always needed to go to the bathroom, she was always drinking, and therefore, she needed to pee. I remembered at yours and your brother Alejandro’s basketball games how I would miss some of your plays because I had to take her to the bathroom. I would be upset for all these trips to pee, and it never crossed my mind of the possibility of something wrong with her, much less diabetes, after all nobody in the family had it. So on February 27, your dad decided to put a 5lb bag of sugar to check the scale and it did not move, so no wonder we could not see a couple pounds difference, he also noticed her skin between her legs was very flabby so we decided to make a sick appointment the next day. After the doctor heard our concerns he did a blood test to find her glucose was in the 400s. We then had to take her right away to the hospital.

M- So I was in shock and pain but also I felt remorse for the times I got upset because she kept wanting to go to the bathroom. I cried when Ana was diagnosed because she was only three years old and I did not know much about diabetes. With you it was more painful, I knew all the health risks and most of all the control and care you needed and I knew it was going to be very hard for an 11 year old girl.

D- For me the shock came later, the more I learned about the reality of diabetes, the damage that it would or could cause to our daughters and their dependency on man-made insulin- which is not a cure.

Were you more frightened for Ana since she was so young at diagnosis?

M- Definitely, yes! But also because all of the pricking and shots she would have to endure, since I had no idea of how Ana was going to react. It was painful. But then again, God only gives you what you can handle and Ana was so calm and sweet about all the control she needed, never to complain. Then with you it was different, because you knew more and you seemed to accept it as something that you had to take care of.

D- For both of you, it was more like to subdue to faith and to knowledge- following the doctor’s instructions (the most immediate knowledge), and learn at a faster pace.

What do you know now which you believe might have have helped you to know back then?

M- That any illness can hit your family, even if nobody had it before. That this “diet” that you girls had to follow should had been the norm for all of us. That anything you eat becomes sugar, some foods faster than others, that portions are VERY important, variety of foods are a must, most of all balance between diet, medicine and exercise is a key factor for anyone. There is no such thing as a diabetic diet, just a healthy diet.

D- That a lot of things can trigger diabetes, not only genetic makeup. That food can have an impact as well.

Did you ever think of us as a “diabetic family”? 

M- No, I did not think of us as a diabetic family, you and Ana were the diabetics, the rest of us could continue the way we were; a mistake because the chance for diabetes lurks in the family still today.

D- Not then, now I do. I still think that we are a Type I diabetic family and we could even become a type II because we have not adjusted our diet as we should.

What advice would each of you give to a new parent of a diabetic child?

M- Learn as much as you can, knowledge is power. View the situation as a chance for the whole family to develop better dietetic and exercise habits that all can do. Do not panic, but neither get too complacent about your child’s diabetes care, depending on their age, you may have more or less involvement, still, be always involved, let them know that here is a person that understands and cares about them more than anyone. 

D- Read as much as you can about diabetes. To accept the diabetes and not to have it as an enemy, but to accept the dependency on insulin and to make them understand how import good control is. We should give them more support by assuming their healthy diet and exercise habits, not to have separate foods.

C- Look for a physician who you really trust and that shows a deep concern for your child. Our pediatrician at that time gave us his house number and cell number and on one occasion we had a concern over the weekend and called his house; he was out on a lake with his brother, but his wife called him and he called us back from the boat! We were never calling all the time, but we knew that we could call him day or night and he was always pleasant and concerned for us.

Do you worry less now that Ana and I are adults than when we were children?

C- No and yes.

No, because as you are experiencing now, we never stop worrying about our children; also because we know we do not have the control like when you were a child and that makes us nervous, yet, we pray to God and keep checking on you girls to see how things are. Also, because we know we all can fall back on our old habits. For example, Ana is in college- in the middle of a system that does not support a healthy style: like the meal plan that she “has to” buy because she lives on campus. The eating places that have all you can eat. It does require a lot of will power to stay on track.

And yes, because we know you girls are well educated about diabetes and maintain a constant check on the things you need to do.

Who was more difficult to raise as a diabetic and why?

C- You Sysy, because you were at an age where you pretty much did all the checking and shots, you went out with friends, had more extracurricular activities, and had known how it felt living WITHOUT diabetes. We could not be with you all the time, and also because you have a more stubborn character that says “This is what I want to do”. We also found out later all the sneaky things you did (daughter, you can leave this out, if you want..haha).

Personally, looking back I feel you both worked well as a team.  For example, Mom, you are very action oriented and don’t worry nearly as much as many people which enabled you to take care of us without letting stress stop you.  When it came to carrying diabetes supplies and remembering insulin doses and making doctors appointments you were the one in charge.  Dad, you do more deep thinking and take your time observing details and always watched us carefully.  This meant you brought up concerns to mom and she moved on them.  You were also the one to always acknowledge the emotional aspect of diabetes with a lot of empathy.

Do you both agree? 

C- Yes, you know us well!

Do you have any thoughts on this? 

M- Yes, we are a working team, me with the do it all attitude and Dad with the reflective thinking and searching looking for the underlying causes behind one of you not feeling well or not acting as you normally do.

Do you think it might help parents to use each other’s strengths for the wellbeing of their diabetic child in this way?  After all, no parent is perfect, but a pair can be pretty darn great!

C- Yes! As a marriage we work together in every aspect of our relationship and that includes our children, no matter how old they are.

Anything else either of you have to add?

D- If your child has diabetes, you have diabetes as well.

C- We believe that we have a duty to let others know what we have learned all these years (and we keep learning)

And so thank you so much for reaching into some sad memories to give us your thoughts.  Looking back now as a parent myself, I appreciate more than ever the way you took care of Ana and I.  Truth is, under your care we never had any scary incidents or hospital visits and I believe it was mostly due to your diligence and involvement with our diabetes management. 

Thank you :)

Halle Berry doesn’t let diabetes age her

43 years vs 36 years old (looks the same to me)

 

I just saw an “ageless stars” feature on yahoo.  It has old pictures of Hollywood stars like Jennifer Aniston and Tom Cruise paired against recent photos of them and yeah…they look pretty much the same despite 8-10 years or so passing by.  Pretty amazing.  (Of course they have all of the resources for this…) 

Anyway, the reason I clicked on the link in the first place was because it features Halle Berry.  She has had type 2 diabetes for a very long time.  Yet, haven’t we all heard how diabetes is a degenerative disease meaning it ages you prematurely?

Forget about all of the accessibility this woman has to personal trainers and chefs, Botox, and plastic surgery (I’ve never heard of her using the two latter by the way).  You can’t hide a healthy look.  What I mean is you can’t take an overweight and unhealthy person and make them look as healthy as she does.  Sure, Halle Berry has great genes.  Yet, 2 decades of uncontrolled diabetes would have most certainly shown up on her by now.  I can literally see that she takes care of her diabetes.

The times I’ve read interviews with her have always revealed something consistent.  She is very strict with her diabetes management.  She supposedly tests several times a day, exercises every day, and maintains a very strict diet low in sugar and starchy foods.  She used to take insulin and gradually worked her way out of that need. 

I always worry that because of being diabetic I’ll end up looking a decade older than I really am.  After all, that’s what doctors used to say.  And I’ve already got about 20 grey hairs (thats right, I counted them) and although going grey early simply runs in my family, I can’t help but wonder if I wasn’t a diabetic would I have any at all?  Maybe it is just paranoia.  The other day while buying wine a lady cards me and proclaims, “Uh uh honey, you can’t be 27!  You look 18!”  She has a few others look at my ID and while everyone is determining whether or not my ID is a fake I think to myself, “Maybe I am just paranoid…”

So my inspiration will continue to be people who manage to beat negative stereotypes about diabetes-like aging very quickly.

We should all strive to keep our insides looking good.  The outside will fall in line.  So remember, focus on keeping those glucose numbers in check!  Even Halle Berry has to do it.

Interview with Cheryl Alkon, author of a great new book for diabetic women

book_cherylalkon

Cheryl Alkon has worked a long time in journalism.  She has also had type 1 diabetes for over 3 decades.  This combination seems to have produced an inquisitive diabetes researcher.  Willing to share one of the biggest issues in her life, Cheryl has blogged about infertility, pregnancy, and other diabetes related themes on her blog, Managing the Sweetness Within.  This has led her to write the new book, Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.  I just highly recommended this book in a review you can read here.

Check out this interview with Cheryl below:

Cheryl Alkon
Cheryl Alkon

 

Cheryl, in a few words, how would you best describe yourself?

 

A writer who asks a million questions and writes pretty much the same way I talk.

Big, huge, super congratulations on publishing your new book! Why did you decide to do it?

Thanks! I wrote the book because when I first thought about having a child years ago, the main message I remember is what terrible complications could happen, and what a downer the whole experience sounded like—if you were able to have a healthy child anyway.

I had a few friends, longtime type 1 women like myself, who I saw had healthy kids, and I knew it was possible. But when I went looking for an insider’s guide of how to do it, I couldn’t find one. I’d always had thoughts about writing a book, and when I realized there was no book like the one I was seeking, I decided I would need to write it myself.

What is the tone of your book?

Definitely down to earth, reassuring, and conversational. In other resources that explain diabetes and pregnancy, the info is straight from the doctor’s office: dry and clinical. I wanted my book to be completely different from that—full of advice and insight and even humor from many other type 1 and type 2 women who have dealt with pregnancy, as well as preconception, delivering, new parenthood, pregnancy loss and infertility—all with diabetes.

Do you talk a lot about your own experience in the book?

Yes—it’s a bit like a memoir at times. I am very up front about what I did to get my blood sugars in relatively tight control, what I ate, how I dealt with insulin reactions and retinopathy, delivering, and my own history with loss and infertility. While I did a ton of research and talked to many people for the book, my own experience helped me figure out what to include in the book.

How have people responded to your book thus far?

I’m thrilled to say it’s all been pretty positive. People have thanked me in reviews and emails for providing a resource that the diabetes community has lacked for so long, and people around the world have bought the book from me and from other booksellers. My own doctors—who co-wrote the forward and reviewed every word before publication—have been really supportive about it, too.

What was the hardest thing for you during pregnancy?

All of it, really. Keeping your blood sugars within the recommended ranges is really tough. I have never had more lows, or freaked out about highs more, when being pregnant. Also, I really like sushi, deli meat, all sorts of smoked meats and fish, and drinking a lot of Diet Coke; none of these foods or habits are recommended during pregnancy, and I missed them.

Raging hormones and having diabetes have the potential to create a lot of emotional havoc. Was the emotional factor a big issue for you during pregnancy? If so, what helped you stay calm?

I am actually 16 weeks pregnant again as I write this. I honestly focus so much on where my blood sugars are at any one time that I’ve barely thought about actually being pregnant except when I’m at the doctor’s office for one of my many checkups. I am lucky in that I have never felt much different while being pregnant than when I am not (except for the obvious weight gain). I’m more annoyed about how my hormones affect my blood sugars for the worse and what I can do to get them down as quickly as possible without going too low a few hours later.

I really wish your book had come out a year earlier to help me through my pregnancy! For a diabetic woman out there considering pregnancy for the first time, what advice would you have for her?

Buy and read my book!

Beyond that, I’d say if you are just thinking about pregnancy, talk to your endocrinologist and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or a high risk obstetrician about what you need to do before you get pregnant, where you blood sugars should be, what health tests (such as a dilated eye exam) you need before getting pregnant, as well as asking how much experience your endo and your obstetrician have with pregnancy and pre-existing diabetes. You want to find doctors who are up to date, who have managed many other pregnant women with diabetes (and in particular, YOUR type of diabetes, not just a bunch of women with gestational diabetes), and how they will work with you before and during your pregnancy so that you will have the healthiest pregnancy and baby possible.

Something particularly shocking for me after giving birth to twins last June was that the hardship wasn’t over once the pregnancy was done. For example, I had a hard time breastfeeding and figuring out how to take naps and still keep on top of my blood sugars.

Is there anything you would advise a new mom about taking care of diabetes, post-partum?

Remember that you still need to take care of yourself as well as your newborn (or newborns!). Test your blood sugar before your meals—and remember to eat those meals.

If you’re breastfeeding, have some juice or some sort of snack or source of glucose nearby because your sugars can drop as you’re nursing or pumping breast milk.

Walking around the block with your newborn, even for just ten or 15 minutes, can help you try to bring down high blood sugars if you’ve been stuck in the house all day or night trying to calm or feed or diaper a baby.

If you have an insulin pump or a continuous glucose monitor, definitely use them. Test your blood sugar frequently.

And finally, ask for help: friends or relatives can come by and bring you healthy groceries, or a stash of juice boxes to help battle lows, or can even just watch the baby while you nap and take a shower. People are often happy to help you if you can let them know what will help you best.

In the end, you and your son are healthy. You should be proud. How do you feel when you think back on the journey of pregnancy and pre-existing diabetes?

Frankly, it’s been (and continues to be) a very long and potentially stressful haul. To me, pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes is something you have to endure to be able to hopefully have a happy and healthy baby. It was not, nor is it now, a magical time where I can just eat whatever and just plan what my kid’s nursery is going to look like. I think and thought constantly about my blood sugars, what I ate, and how it was affecting my kid-to-be. I hope my book will help others realize that pregnancy with pre-existing diabetes is tough, but it can be done.

Bottom line: my son is fabulous, and I am doing everything I possibly can and hope that my next child will be as well.

Thanks for being so candid Cheryl, I know your hard work will pay off :)

Must read book for diabetic women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy

Aurora gives the book two thumbs up

Two good reasons to buy this book              Henri does, too!

                           
 
                                                     

 

The following is a review of Cheryl Alkon’s new book, Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.

Before continuing please know I choose to only give unbiased reviews.

I was very blessed with my pregnancy last year.  All three of us ended up just fine (I had twins).  So even though this book was published just after my pregnancy I was still extremely interested in checking it out.  “How helpful would it have been?”, I thought to myself. 

If you’re reading this you are most likely a diabetic and know what it is like to worry about your health. 

Well, as you might imagine a pregnancy adds loads of worry!  I told a friend recently that I wasn’t kidding when I said I got tons of grey hairs during my pregnancy.  I was a total mess!

I would seek out information about other diabetic women having babies and wouldn’t find anything except the generic “It can be done but, pregnancy in diabetics carries many risks…blah blah blah”.  I wanted to ask women who had been there some questions but, I couldn’t find anyone to ask.  I can’t tell you how many women with gestational diabetes told me, “Oh you’ll be fine, its no biggie!”  Yet, pre-existing diabetes is a biggie and pregnancy on top of that is a biggie, too. 

I felt very alone and my 8 months of pregnancy were quite miserable-albeit spotted with a few miraculous and joyful moments like when my babies swam in my belly.

Cheryl’s book is generously filled with different women’s accounts on their pregnancies with pre-existing diabetes and after reading it, I wanted to cry.  I realized I wasn’t alone last year.  Here were all of these women feeling the same things I was and experiencing the same things and struggling with the same things. 

Had I known then about this book (and had it been published then), I would have paid many times the cost of the book.  The relief I would have experienced from all of the information in this book would have been priceless. 

So I wholeheartedly and firmly recommend this book to any diabetic woman (even with type 2 diabetes) who is considering pregnancy, trying to get pregnant, or even 6 months pregnant.  Why?  Because of mainly 2 reasons:

1.  This book is a result of a lot of well done research.  I do tons of research myself and still managed to learn a lot from this book.  I would have taken this book along to every doctor visit as a companion and reminder of things I might want to discuss with the doctor. This would have been ideal because believe me if you haven’t experienced “pregnancy brain” yet, you will and you’ll know how great it is to have a reference book to guide your concerns, questions, and issues.  Other books are helpful but, not catered to the uniqueness of a pregnancy of someone with pre-existing diabetes, be it type 1 or 2.

2.  For me this second reason is as valuable as the first.  This book will give you inspiration by knowing many other women have had successful pregnancies despite being diabetic.  You will definitely be relieved by the accounts and details bared.  Many people in today’s medical field do not place a lot of attention on a patient’s emotional and psychological state.  I think it makes an enormous difference for mom to feel assured and baby to sense that peace and calmness.  Dad will benefit from this too, I’m pretty sure ;)

I’m grateful this book is out there for women to purchase and would make a great gift for a female family member or friend.  (It would be awesome if medical facilities could distribute the book to diabetic women, as well.)

Check out Cheryl’s blog, Managing the Sweetness Within where she has chronicled her journey with infertility and a successful pregnancy.  She also just delivered super big news that you may be interested in following-I know I am.

Stay tuned for a great interview with Cheryl coming up in less than 24 hours!

So impressed by this diabetic girl!

 

I just saw this amazing story and interview on Diabetes Mine about Megan Khoury, winner of the Kids’ Category in the 2010 DiabetesMine Design Competition.  So I’m just going to relay you over to the source to read what I found so inspiring. 

She isn’t technically an adult yet but, I consider this 16 year old a fabulous diabetic girl for sure!

Read all about it by clicking here.

5 awesome vacation ideas for diabetics!

 

Question:  Why is the beach the most resorted to vacation spot?  It is NOT the most relaxing place for many diabetics.  I mean, you gotta deal with your pump and wanting to get in the ocean, hoping your supplies stay safe on the sand, keeping your stuff cool AND dry, and so forth.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the beach.  Not the entertainment that surrounds it, but literally and simply, the beach.  I even honeymooned there.  Well, sort of.  I stayed at a 5 star (yet surprisingly cheap) all inclusive resort in Cancun where the beach was 1 minute from our hotel room and where the atmosphere made it much easier to take care of myself and keep all my stuff safely alongside of me.  I didn’t however, go snorkeling or some of the other things my husband would have loved to do.  So that is why for me, the beach is super lovely, but not ideal until I figure out how to really get some kind of gear that facilitates things.  (By the way if you know of any waterproof, cooling, wearable gear, do let me know!)

SO, in light of this I researched all types of popular vacations people in the US take.  I also researched to find unique ones people are more recently popularizing.  As long as you use common sense, these vacations are diabetic friendly and a breathe of fresh air compared to the usual American vacation.  I can’t wait to try one! 

1.  A different city or town

You can often fly to places like Boston, New York, and Chicago for cheap and as long as you stay in the nicer areas you can safely discover a whole new world.  One of the great things about the US is you have so many different places you can go see without ever having to go too far.  You can even drive to a nearby city you haven’t visited before and just go open-eyed for a new adventure. 

Think about what you like and find a place that has it!  Do you love beautiful landscapes and horses?  Go to Lexington, Kentucky.  Do you just love the cool, relaxing, blue, rocky beach house you saw in that movie with Diane Lane?  Go up to Maine or Rhode Island and stay at one!

All you need for this is a reliable bag that has a long comfy strap so you can wear it across your chest and keep everything safe and sound.  Remember to use common sense, avoiding areas that don’t look right, and avoid going anywhere alone.  Keep maps with you and get your hotel to give you tips about what neat places you may want to visit.

This kind of vacation is great for a long weekend when you feel like you “gotta get out of town for a little bit!” or also for a week or two. You’ll come back to work super refreshed and with some seriously interesting stories to share with jealous coworkers.

2.  A road trip

You can carry all of your supplies in your vehicle for this vacation, transferring them to your hotel or motel when you get there.  A great time for a road trip is spring or fall.  Summer is too hot for your stuff to sit in the car all day (unless you get a cooler or something) and winter poses too many snowy risks (depending on where you go). 

Again you will need a sturdy bag for when you depart from your car to check out some neat place you find along the way.  Keep plenty of emergency cash in case you need to buy something at a place that doesn’t take credit cards. 

And remember:  these days with GPS you can’t use your lack of ability to follow a map as an excuse.

Definitely don’t go alone.  In fact, road trips are so much fun with some friends or your guy or gal!  You will probably encounter some kind of challenge along the way which you will overcome together.  By the time you are back home you will be closer than ever.  In fact, I know this to be true so take along someone you need to reconnect with.  And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures!

Oh and just so you are aware, you can rent an RV for short trips.

3.  A culinary trip

Are you a total foodie?  You love gourmet food and you love eating and cooking it?  Do you have someone in your life who does too?

Well consider a culinary trip.  Obviously we would all love to go do this in Paris or Italy but, remember all you have without having to cross the ocean.  Research to find a city near you which has a “Little Italy” or an enormous fresh market.  Try the New Orleans cooking experience or visit a cooking school somewhere in the country where you can take lessons!  Or just look up special, unique restaurants and try them out.  Try to persuade the chef to give you pointers or a recipe to your favorite dish. 

Use that reliable bag again and take plenty of supplies with you.  You don’t want to run out of insulin before a great dinner!

Keep a food diary, writing down what you loved and what you didn’t and what you found funny and entertaining along the way.  Then go home and cook something for your family or friends.  Blow their taste buds away with your cooking and give them a delightful story about your trip!

4.  Oh Canada!

If you can get out of the country, consider Canada.  Your English will get you around much better than if you went to another country and hey, its close by.  That is a great thing because I’ve been out of the country and witnessed American travelers pay more just because they didn’t speak the native language.  (Which happens just about everywhere I’m sure.)

If you like walking along beautiful, old places check out Montreal.  It has a lot of gorgeous sights and if you like history-you’ll find lots of it here.  Plus, I hear it’s Parisian-like streets are sooo romantic.

Or maybe you like theater and art and music.  Check out Toronto.  They have so many events going on you won’t know which to attend first.

If you like hanging out with locals and checking out museums and cafes then you might consider Quebec City.

Canada doesn’t get real warm most of the year so if you get overheated easily, this is a big plus for you. 

I’ve heard what you’ve probably heard about Canada being snobbish towards the US and yet the couple of people I know who have visited say Canadians are just as friendly as our Southerners, so don’t let that stop you.

Either way, it isn’t a popular vacation spot but, maybe it should be!

5.  A vacation to fulfill a purpose

Maybe you haven’t visited your dear aunt Jane or grandpa Joe in ages.  Maybe they live far away.  Or maybe when you were a kid you dreamed of going to a Red Sox game. 

Heck, make a trip out of it.  Go visit a family member or friend.  Go to that ball game.  Go see your favorite author at their book signing.  Why not?  You’ll have fun along the way and you’ll scratch off an important and meaningful thing off of your list.  Don’t live with regrets and think about them while lying on the same beach you go to year after year. 

Get all your diabetic stuff together and figure out how to keep them safe and GO SOMEWHERE!

You won’t regret it.

My 100th post!

  Oh the journey…

I began this site less than a year ago 2 weeks after my twins were born.  I exclusively pumped breast milk for them every 3 hours for 4 months.  This resulted in several hours a day of just pumping.  The first few days I sat and stared at the clock on the wall.  This was not working out.  I thought I was going to pull my hair out and since the process was very painful for me due to the c-section and mastitis and nipple infections, I desperately needed a distraction.

I’d considered for some time beginning a blog but, as we often do, I procrastinated.  Now I was getting about 2-3 hours of sleep every 24 hours and I was in tons of pain and overwhelmed by two babies who ate every hour.  Yet, “now” was the time to start the blog.  And I had the time because I wrote only while pumping for my babies.  (It was a sight-me pumping in front of the computer and typing with one hand).

Now, there are thousands of visits per month.

 I can’t believe that what I produced through blood, sweat, and tears (quite literally all three) during the most challenging time of my life has become such an enjoyable way to communicate with fellow diabetics. 

You know, I love being a full time mother to my twins Henri and Aurora, but I’ve always been the type who needs something stimulating for the mind and this blog allows me to remain sane in the midst of diaper duty.

My biggest motivation for the blog is to share what I’ve learned the hard way.  I don’t want you to mess up the way I did and waste precious years of life. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading what I post and for all of the emails and even for the handful of comments.  I know diabetes is a personal subject but, I encourage everyone to post more comments.  It is a great way to have dialogue with others about what you’ve read. 

And I promise I’ll be reading every word you have to say.

Thanks again!  Without you reading, I wouldn’t have the will to write.

Sysy