Tag Archives: life with diabetes

If it Works for Oprah…

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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

Not everyone likes Oprah but most of us agree that she has worked herself to where she is versus being handed everything.  My mom saved an article for me where she talks about gratitude.  I was amazed to read what Oprah considers the most life changing thing she has done.  For many years she has kept a journal and each morning she has written down 5 things she is grateful for.  It forces a person into a habit of looking at what they do have versus what they don’t.  She goes on to talk about gratitude and the unique power it can have on our lives.

I’ve read in many places that gratitude is the single most transformative thing we can use in life.  It begs positivity, streamlines focus away from feelings of inadequacy, and brings with it a healthy rush of feelings to the body that support positive decisions.

I believe that those of us with diabetes who practice gratitude on a consistent basis really benefit.  Not only does having a chronic illness usually cause us to be more aware and sensitive towards the plights of others but couple that with gratitude and you have an amazing potential for a life filled with meaning and depth beyond many people’s reach.

So while I’m not grateful for having diabetes, I am grateful for what I’ve learned and who I am because of it.  And when my blood sugar is 102 and I feel perfectly healthy, I feel like I’m in heaven while others don’t even recognize the beauty and freedom of feeling great.  I could feel jealous of non diabetics but I choose to feel grateful for the advantage of my perspective.  It makes life better.  But it is a choice and a habit.  I think writing down things we’re grateful for is an excellent idea.  Thanks, Oprah.

The Polls in VA Weren’t So Bad

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I went to vote yesterday afternoon after my husband got home.  I was expecting to be in and out like last time around but was pleasantly surprised to see loads of people in front of me leaving me almost outside the entrance to the building.

I knew my blood sugar was around 70-80 and felt confident going in that I’d be fine to go vote and then get something to eat.  But of course when I saw all those people, I gulped thinking, “Can I make it?”  I searched my purse but didn’t have anything thanks to two little munchkins who think glucose tablets are candy.

I thought, “Well, I’m not low yet, I should be fine.”  After an hour and 15 minutes I realized I was too low to think straight and I did the irresponsible thing and argued with myself about whether it was worse to pass out in front of so many people and miss my chance to vote or walk out of the line I stood in for a long time and appear to be giving up on my voting to everyone around me.  I don’t normally care what people think but this election has me emotional and my low had me irrational so those were my thoughts.

Finally, I turned to the two ladies behind me whom I was chit-chatting with and casually mentioned, as if it were amusing, that my blood sugar was low and I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the voting booth still standing.  They looked at me and one said, “Oh, you have hypoglycemia, too?  I get low, too”.  I clarified, “I have type 1 diabetes but yes I get low and eventually go unconscious if I don’t get sugar in me.  The women looked at me with concern and one went over to the volunteer desk where people signed in and asked for some sugar and explained it was for a diabetic who needed it.

The lady at the desk looked at her huge container of juice and said, “That’s mine, we don’t have anything else.”  Another lady said, “Sorry, I don’t have anything.”  And they both went back to business.  I started feeling panicky, reluctant to make a scene and start asking people if they had Halloween candy in their purses.  I live in Virginia in a town that is divided 50/50 in this election and you could seriously feel the tension in the air.  It made me feel the opposite of warm and fuzzy and I didn’t want to ask anything of anyone.

But, I was starting to get really foggy.  All I could think was, “Sysy, you idiot, get sugar!  It’s important!” But what is it about when we’re low?  Suddenly important things become the things we hesitate about the most.

The line moved along and we ended up near the entrance to the church’s kitchen.  The three women behind me gently pushed me in there and helped me get some juice and a man ran over to me and gave me the chocolate chip cookie that he had just retrieved from his car.  I wasn’t even aware others knew about my situation.

Eyes were on me and people encouraged me to “drink and eat!” so that they wouldn’t see me hit the floor.  My blood sugar must have been really low at this point because everything was numb, especially my tongue.

After a few minutes I felt better and nervously laughed and said, “And they say people don’t help each other out anymore…”

Random comments from all around like “That’s right”, “We don’t have to agree to be united”, “People are people”, and “We’re just glad you’re ok” echoed around me and suddenly, the room didn’t feel like such a divided place.

A woman across the line said to me, “We don’t need to agree on what President to have to support each other.”

And I hate to admit it because of my cheese intolerance but that felt real warm and fuzzy.

Being Bad

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Some people are perfectionists.  I have a little of that.  As a result, I beat myself in the head with thoughts having to do with self improvement and practice makes perfect and try again until it’s right and so on.

Because of this tendency I find that I can easily go to extremes.  About losing weight, I have a hard time keeping reasonable thinking like, “I want to lose 5 pounds.”  Instead it’s “I want to be thin like I was at age 10”.  Or instead of thinking “I need to eat more vegetables” I may think, “I’m going to eat nothing but vegetables from now on until the end of time”.

I don’t actually stick to those extremes thank goodness, but it’s a nagging tendency that isn’t healthy and certainly not comfortable.

Something I learned at IIN, where I graduated recently, was to sometimes “be bad”.  Not go-to-jail bad, but stop-striving-for-unobtainable-perfection bad.

So I’ve found that when I get wrapped up in thinking that I will never eat another bite of anything unhealthy again, I plan for a night with a little ice cream.

Or recently, I got myself some clove cigars that I really like and have one when I’m feeling like all the “right” choices are kind of stifling me with boredom.

It’s hard to try to be “good” or “compliant” all the time and with pretty well managed diabetes, that’s what it feels like.  I mean, I give insulin to bring down a 130.  To me, that kind of control is worth it, I truly believe so, but to balance all that I sometimes sleep in my makeup, smoke the occasional cigar, skip a shower, or read the Fifty Shades Trilogy (yes, I read that marvelous piece of literary crap.  In three days.  My world stopped for a week.  Don’t worry about me I’ve recovered.  Team Matt Bomer!).

Being “bad” reminds me to chill.  It also makes me realize that if my idea of being bad is sleeping in my makeup, then I think I’m going to be ok.

What about you?  What do you do to be bad?

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Housework

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I buy a quart of juice each week and the kids get a few drops of it in their cup of water so that it’s flavored.  We went to a local university to enjoy the nice fall weather recently and when I realized that I forgot to buy glucose tablets, I just packed that unopened quart of juice in the car for any emergencies.

Earlier that same day, my parents let me know they were stopping by.  I took a look around me and knew  I’d have to speed clean in order to make the house presentable.  So I whipped the kitchen, living room, and guest bathroom into shape in 30 minutes.  This is something that would have normally taken me 2 hours.

I was sweating after it all and almost out of breathe (not sure what that says about me).

And a little after that is when we went out to walk.  And that’s when I was thankful for that entire quart of juice I packed in the car.  I needed every last drop totaling 96 grams of carbs.  Two hours later I was 83 and in desperate need to pee.

I think this was a great reminder for me.  When I ponder choosing between a workout and cleaning the house, why not combine the two?  One and the same if you move quickly and deliberately.

What about you?  Do you get lows during or after housework?

Do Something You’re Afraid Of

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It’s Fabulous Friday where we celebrate ourselves or at least remember to.

When we’re afraid of doing something because of the possibility of failure, we don’t honor the incredible people that we are-capable of just about anything.

So today, I ask you to consider doing something you’re afraid of.  And diabetes will seem a little easier.  At least that’s what I have experienced this summer.

You know that movie with Jim Carrey where he says “yes” to everything and it changes his life?  Well, I kind of did that this summer.  I responded affirmative to everything that came up.  Did I overschedule myself a few times?  Yeah.  Did I freak out over some of what I was attempting?  Oh yeah.

But, it was so worth it.

Of course, I don’t mean trying something dangerous.  For me, it meant public speaking, doing more health coaching, participating in as many diabetes related projects as were offered to me even if they made me uncomfortable or seemed difficult.

Part of my fear was not having much downtime and having to multi-task.  But I learned I could mentally get myself to accomplish routines that would have killed my non-housewifey self a year ago.  I did treat myself to ice cream during times of panic, I’ll admit.  I did watch all 11 seasons of Frasier on Netflix (this was therapy because the incessant laughter the show gave me relaxed me and kept me sane-I swear!)  Yet, I realized by working almost every hour of every day that I had only been afraid of a little discomfort and no more.

Something I’ve also been doing that I’ve been afraid of is getting rid of a lot of my possessions.  The funny thing about that is the thought of doing it is what hurts.  Actually doing it feels totally liberating!

For the first time since I can remember, I’m looking forward to Fall and Winter.  This is a big deal for me because I struggle with cold weather and the emotional and traditional Holidays.  But, now I’m all sunshiny about it and I don’t recognize myself.

Doing something we’re afraid of sparks something really great in our minds.  It gives us a feeling of immense relief, “Oh, it wasn’t that bad!” and a major sense of accomplishment “OMG I did it!” and my favorite part, it gives us a feeling of wanting to push further and raise our personal bars to a new level.  Essentially, doing things that scare us help us dream big.  And if dreaming big turns into actionable steps…well, monumental joys await.

So I encourage you all to try something you’re afraid of.  Even if it seems insignificant.  If you’re afraid of it, it matters.  Try it.  It eases anxiety and paranoia that we people with diabetes tend to have extra amounts of.  And the confidence boost and feeling that anything is possible will lift your spirits.  And maybe you’ll get a renewed strength and motivation about your diabetes management.  I know I did.

What have you done lately that you’re afraid of?  Share in comments!

Diabetes, You’re a Nag

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Photo courtesy of Paul

 

It’s the story of our lives.  The one that never ends…

Sometimes life with diabetes feels like…well this is what comes to mind:  Me, with diabetes’ hands (yes I personified an “invisible” disease) around my neck.  Diabetes is choking me and I’m wailing my arms, struggling to get the hands to loosen their grip, trying to kick the legs out from under diabetes.

Other times I feel like I’m standing on Mount Everest, hands on hips, triumphantly looking down on a tiny spec that is diabetes saying “Ah ha ha ha!”

Then most of the time, I feel somewhere in the middle.  Diabetes is a nag.  Nag when I’m changing a diaper or bathing two little ones.  Nag when I’m making dinner.  Nag when I’m 200 before bed.  Nag when I’m paying for insurance and diabetes supplies.

Just like what is known as a “nagging wife”.  Only, here is what I’ve realized: a wife doesn’t nag-she simply points out the obvious, she repeats things that need to be repeated because they weren’t done in the first place.  So when our diabetes nags us, diabetes is just speaking out saying “Hellooo! I’m here! or in other cases, “I hate to point this out but…it’s just that I deserve better.”

So today when I felt “nagged” by the incessant need to test and give insulin, I thought, oh wait, diabetes is just saying, “I need this and I need that”.  And I know this is a wacky way to personify diabetes but truthfully since it’s so much a part of my body, I feel better thinking of diabetes as a nag rather than an enemy of sorts.  I want diabetes cured, of course, but in the meantime it’s kind of the boss.  And frankly, when I do all that is needed, our home which is my body, runs pretty smoothly and we get along just fine.

28 Things I’ve Learned in My 28 Years

 

 

 

 

 

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Today I turn 28.  Wow.  Last year 27 still seemed quite far from 30 but 28?  I have this thing for even numbers and especially two…and in my mind I’m basically 30 now.  Ha ha.  It’s alright.  I actually thought I’d focus on what living 28 years has given me-and that is, lot’s to learn!

1.  I was pulled out of the birth canal via tongs or whatever that harsh metal tool is called.  Even then I was a little timid, but you can’t let that stop you from getting out there!

2.  My brother was born and for the next 20 years or so I would be bugged every. single. day.  What a lesson in patience. 

3.  My mom accidentally cut my hair into a mullet.  For real.  But that didn’t stop me from happiness.  It probably would today.

4.  My family was still new in the US and I realized that my parents did a big thing bringing me here.

5.  I travelled to Venezuela to visit for the first time since I was a year old and learned that the world is HUGE.  I also went to Disney World that year and when Mickey Mouse blew me a kiss, I learned I was a hopeless romantic.  Sigh.

6.  Riding a bike is awesome fun and also counts as exercise, how great is that?

7.  I moved from an apartment to a house and learned that having a big back yard helps make friends.

8.  I realized that the best way to spend a long, hot summer day was reading a good book.

9  At this point I learned my mom was super woman because when I turned 9, my brother was 7, my sister 2, my other sister 1.  It was little kid crazy town and yet mom still went outside to play tag with us. 

10.  It was around this age when I realized my dad was super man because after my brother leapt for a football on the neighborhood street and busted some part of his face on the asphalt, my dad surprised me by sprinting while carrying my brother who was gushing blood, all the way down the street and to the car like he was a baby.  Off to get stitches.  That same year I fell asleep on the couch while sick and magically awoke on the top of my bunk bed.  How did my parents do it?

11.  I was diagnosed with diabetes and found more strength than I thought I had.

12.  I realized I could make honor roll at school and play three sports year round, despite diabetes.

13.  I went to Miami, where my parents almost moved us and thought, “Wow, look at what I’m missing!  There must be a good reason we ended up where we did instead..”

14.  Note to new parent self:  14 is a confusing time.

15.  When friends and I at school randomly danced around the library during study hall, I learned that loving life is all about the small things.

16.  Note to new parent self:  16 is even worse.

17.  My little brother was two and brought a house full of arguing kids a lot of joy.  I learned that joy comes in interesting packages.

18.  When three friends died, I realized I was not a kid anymore.

19.  I realized college was still like High School and that many adults are like big kids.

20.  I made myself work jobs I was bad at to see if I could push myself.  I learned it’s just best to do what you love when possible.

21.  Going to a club with friends was strangely thrilling.  Something about going out at night instead of getting home.  Hey this getting old thing is fun!

22.  I looked at my longtime friend Alex one day and suddenly it hit me that I was in love with him.  Hey! Maybe this is why I didn’t end up in Miami.

23.  Note to new parent self:  23 can be just as confusing as 14 and 16!

24.  Planning a wedding is what I call hell and I will never do it again.  Alex is ok with that.

25.  But getting married is fun!  I learned I didn’t have to be a princess all the time.  I bought my wedding dress on Ebay for $35 and it was gorgeous.

26.  I learned once again, when my twins were born, that I had much more strength than I ever imagined.  Also, life can surprise you at any moment.

27.  I found the DOC and felt a ton of weight lift off my shoulders.  I learned I don’t have to carry this burden alone.

28.  Overall I look better now than I did at 18.  How cool is that?  Onward with the aging!

Thank you for all the email and facebook birthday wishes, everyone.  It really brightens up my day.  Thank goodness for you all!

XOXO

Sysy

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