Monday, September 28, 2015

Sneakers and Purses . . . .

Yesterday I made a quick stop at Marshall’s.  They are selling JDRF Sneakers and I wanted to support the fundraiser.  Of course, I needed to bring something up to the register in order to buy my sneaker, right??

This isn’t the best picture.  The main body of the purse is actually a gorgeous forest green, with tan sides and black handles, and it kind of reminds me of a cute little Italian sports car.  I had to have it.  I should’ve gotten a better picture, but I loved that my cat photobombed so I had to use this one.

Anyway, the cashier asked me right away if I wanted to buy a donation sneaker, and I told her “absolutely” and then I told her why.  I thanked her and told her we discussed the Marshall’s sneaker sales at our JDRF board meeting on Thursday and that we appreciate the support they give and fundraising they do every year.  I really am grateful when people with no diabetes connection pitch in to help our causes, and it was wonderful to get to thank her.

And getting a new purse wasn’t too bad either.

Friday, September 25, 2015

That Loaf of Bread . . . .

As I made my way down one of the last few grocery store aisles, I started to feel that familiar fuzzy feeling.  A glance at my continuous glucose monitor showed that my blood sugar was indeed trending downward.  (Stupid grocery shopping, why do you almost always make me low??)  I gobbled a packet of fruit snacks from my purse and pressed on.  If it all worked out as I hoped, I could grab the last few things on my list and check out while the fruit snacks brought up my blood sugar.  I’d be back in a safe range just as I was ready to drive home.

But then again, diabetes often has a way of not working out as I hoped.

breadI suddenly realized I had been loitering in the bakery section.  Then I noticed how sweaty I was.  Then I looked down at my phone.  My grocery store has this cool app that allows me to scan my groceries with my phone as I shop, and bag them right in the shopping cart.  My phone showed that two loaves of wheat bread had been scanned.  How weird, I didn’t buy any bread yet.  And I was looking for sourdough, not wheat.  (I bake my own wheat bread from scratch these days.)

And then I looked in the bag in my shopping cart, and there was a loaf of wheat bread staring back at me.  I had no recollection of taking it off the shelf, scanning it (twice!!) and putting it in  my bag.  That?  That really freaked me out.

I took a deep breath.  I deleted the bread from my phone and put it back on the shelf.  I then found the sourdough,  grabbed and scanned one loaf, and added it to my bag.  I also took a look through the rest of the charges on my phone and the items in my bag, to make sure they matched.  They did.  But what would have happened if they didn’t?  What if my hazy low found  me putting something in my bag without scanning it, and I happened to be chosen for a random audit that day?

These thoughts really freak me out too.  Since that day, I won’t go to the store unless my blood sugar is nearing 200.

And I really hate that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day of Diabetes . . .

Have you heard of #dayofdiabetes?  It’s a day when the Diabetes Online Community documents our day of diabetes together by tweeting using that hashtag.  I have to admit, I usually forget to participate but this time I marked it in my calendar so I’d remember.  It worked!!

So yeah, I tweeted a lot yesterday. (I've even left a few out because this post is already way too long. But perhaps my most important tweet yesterday was . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sad Banana . . . .

I typed “depressed” into the search bar of the free clip art site I use and this image came up.  It’s called “Sad Banana”.  I actually think the banana looks more scared than sad, but overall it was ridiculous enough to make me smile.  So I had to use it.  And if this opening paragraph isn’t a huge spoiler to my post today, I don’t know what is.

I’ve felt off all summer long.  I thought I just needed a break.  I thought I was in a bit of a summer slump, trading motivation for vacation.  And not just from blogging and DOC stuff.  From life in general.  I’ve just felt so blah about absolutely everything these days.  I thought I was lonely.  I thought Pete’s new job (after another promotion) was taking a toll on both of us.  I thought it was a million things, but not depression.

Guess what?  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Isn’t it funny how when you’re deep down in depression, it can sometimes be hard to see it for what it is?  I’m not tired.  I’m not unmotivated.  I’m not stressed.  I'm not lonely.  Actually, I AM all those things . . . .but so much more.  I’m just one sad banana.  Yup, I'm depressed.

So now that I realize it, what is next?  Well, I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and move toward that happy fruit bowl.  I think writing this post is a start.  At least, I hope it is.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Share-ing with Shannon . . . .

When I offered to “follow” Shannon's Dexcom Share, I thought I’d simply have her back if she needed someone.  After all, I know she is well equipped to take care of herself.  But I also know there have been times when I’ve been in the throes of a low, sitting with a packet of fruit snacks in my hand and trying to figure out if I should eat them.  Sometimes we just need someone to tell us to “Drink your juice, Shelby”.  If needed, I was happy to do that for Shannon.

Share-ing with Shannon has been what I expected . . . . but it’s also given me something unexpected.  You see, I know what it's like to have a low blood sugar.   I can easily list the vast and varied symptoms that might pop up with any given low.  But I realize I had no idea how it feels when someone you care about is having a low blood sugar.   In this way, Share-ing has given me a peek inside the world of my loved ones.

ShareTo clarify, our Share is one-sided - I don’t use the Dexcom CGM so I can’t Share back with Shannon. (Although soon MiniMed Connect will allow me to do something similar with my 530G with Enlite!)  The only notification I’ve set up is the “Urgent Low” one, because I know she can handle the highs and the slight lows.  But when we fall under 55, sometimes we need some help.  At least, I sometimes do.  (No data in the picture on the left, because I respect Shannon’s privacy.)

Getting a peek inside the “Type 3” world has been interesting.  Although I hope I have a bit more insight coming out of the gate, since I've experienced tons of lows myself.  I’m definitely careful with the words I chose when texting to check in on Shannon.  Usually my texts simply read “Hi!!  You okay?”  Because I don’t want to nag her and I don’t want to interrupt her.  She needs to focus on treating that low - so as long as I know that’s happening I can leave her to it.  I actually feel guilty for bothering her when she’s probably feeling crappy.  But I know that if the low has her too confused to treat, I need to nag her!

IMG_3378The really eye-opening part for me happened about a week ago.  The “Shannon Is Low” alarm buzzed around 4:30 a.m.  I texted . . . and waited . . . and didn’t get a response.  Panic rushed in fierce and quick!  I texted again, and then I thought about how we’d never discussed what I should do if the alarm buzzes and she doesn’t respond.  I was hesitant to call her in the middle of the night knowing she has three small boys in the house that need their sleep.  Just as I was deciding it was safer to just wake up her whole household, she replied and my panic was washed away on a wave of relief.

We talked about it the next day and agreed that yes, I should call her, and that the boys probably wouldn’t hear her cell ringing anyway so no worries there.  But I have to tell you - that moment of panic has made me love and admire our Type 3s even more.  I’m great at complaining about all the diabetes crap I have to deal with.  But the fear and helplessness my husband must feel when I’m in the throes of a bad low?  I hadn’t fully comprehended how that feels until Shannon didn’t answer my text.  And I’m grateful to understand it better now.  It’s made Pete an even bigger hero to me than he already was . . .

You can check out Shannon’s take on “Share”-ing over here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On A Break . . .

In my eyes, Diabetes Social Media (and Social Media in general) is similar to a romantic relationship.  At the start, when it’s shiny and new, I’m completely enamored.  It makes me smile, it’s always on my mind, and when other life things need attention I can’t wait to finish them up so I can get back to my new love.  I’m happily infatuated and everything seems so perfect . . . .

But then the newness starts to wear off, and maybe things start looking a little less perfect.  Flaws start to pop up and reality sets in.  The very things that once seemed so great can start to become a bit annoying.  Conflicts pop up and the shiny begins to dull.  I feel the need for a break . . .

And that is exactly what happened this summer.  I began to grow a bit tired of Diabetes Social Media, finding flaws that maybe aren’t there and finding myself not quite as smitten as I used to be.  And I unofficially took a break.

DOCburnoutDay-640x461So Diabetes Social Media Burnout Blog Day could not have come at a better time!  Thank you, Diabetes Daily, for coming up with this and really getting me to ponder my Diabetes Social Media relationship.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the little white print in the image to the right.  “Do you take breaks?  Have you been the target of an attack?  Felt bullied?  Exhausted?  Unappreciated?  How do you heal, endure, recharge, or reconnect to find your own happy balance within this powerful and tremendous community?  Share your tips on your blog, and in the comments section on’s burnout blog on September 1, 2015.  #DOCburnout2015

My summer DSocMed break has been really nice.  I’ve had some time to think about what bothers me and what I love and how to balance all of that.  But the break has also been lonely.  I’ve kept up with some DOC friends but it hasn’t been the same as when I’m blogging and tweeting and reading and commenting.  I feel very out of the loop and I feel like I’ve been a bad friend and supporter.  So I am, hopefully, back from my little DOC break and I’d like to think I’m  a little wiser.  I’ve figured out the following:
  • Personal stories and support is the most important part for me.  This is what first drew me into the DOC.  The connections, the me-too, the knowing I’m not alone and that we all struggle together.  When I’m too overwhelmed to read the hundreds of posts in my feed, the personal stories of bloggers who need support is where I should spend my time.
  • Not every advocacy issues will speak to my heart.  And I need to understand that is okay.  Over the years, advocacy has gone from nearly non-existent in the DOC to a hot topic.  That is a great thing.  But I also find it exhausting at times.  “You need to do this.”  “You should care about that.”  “Why isn’t the DOC doing such and such?”  I feel a mix of guilt, resentment and, ironically, an urge toward inaction.  (I suppose I don’t like to feel bossed around.)  So I’ve decided that the great thing about the DOC being a vast pool of members with many varied issues is that I can put my energy into the ones that speak to my heart and that I’m good at.  I love my volunteer efforts with JDRF Advocacy.  I love providing support as the moderator of DiabetesSisters Virtual PODSSpare A Rose continues to be a must in my book.  When issues and initiatives speak to me, I will work hard to support them.  And when they don’t, that’s okay.
  • It’s all about that one person I reach.  I find myself bristling at terms such as “DOC superstars”.  Does anyone in the DOC feel like this term applies to them?  Does anyone believe they lead the DOC?  In my mind, that’s not what our community is about.  I see us as all equal.  Living our lives with diabetes, doing the best we can, and reaching out to help and to be helped.  It’s not the number of comments and RTs that matters.  It’s the one comment or tweet from someone who says “thank you for this, it helped me”.  I’ll never feel unappreciated if just one person has been reached.
  • Haters gonna hate.  (Do people even use that saying anymore?  Or does it just make me sound old?)  I have never felt bullied or been the target of an attack.  But I am quite sensitive and criticism that isn’t constructive hurts me deeply.  And the truth is, this year was the first Diabetes Blog Week that didn’t find me crying over something critical I stumbled upon.  But I realize I need to learn to let these things roll off me.  I know I can’t please everyone, even though I try really really really hard to do so during DBlog Week.  It’s terrible that I let the criticisms deeper into my heart than the compliments.  That’s totally on me, and it’s going to be something I work on from now on.  I’ll pay attention to constructive criticism, because that is very helpful.  The rest, I will learn to let go.
In the end, the break has done my DSocMed relationship some good.  I see that I am still in love, even if things are a little less shiny and perfect.  And a lot of the time, it isn’t you, it’s me.  But this is definitely a love that is built to last.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

10 Insanely Good (and True) Things About Diabetes

So I hadn't realized that all 10 of my Insane (but True) Things About Diabetes focused on negative aspects until I read the great comment left by Sharon C
Can't tell you how many times I've nearly had to carry my kiddo out of Target. And at least once I put her in the cart (a tiny aged 12 chickie) and pushed her to the car. WTF?!! Sooo true. Don't get me started on IKEA. Glad you put out this post! Next post: 10 insanely good (but true) things that've come from having Diabetes. Can you do it? Are there 10?
Thank you, Sharon C, for really giving me something to think about.  After all, if the tagline of my blog is “life with diabetes isn’t all bad” I guess I’d better be prepared to back that up.  But are there 10?  That many might be tough, but I’m certainly not one to back down from a challenge.  So here we go!
  1. It’s taught me not to back down from a challenge.  What?  I just said that in my intro?  Well, I suppose it bears repeating.  Yes, diabetes can be really hard sometimes.  But giving up isn’t an option.  So we rise to the challenge time and again  and learn to never back down.  And that can carry over to other parts of our lives as well.
  2. Sometimes candy is medicine.  Low blood sugars generally are no fun.  But the bright side is that sometimes they give me an excuse to indulge in a yummy treat.  Jelly beans at Easter time.  Candy corn during Halloween.  Cotton candy at a fair.  I have to, my blood sugar is low.  (Also it can give me an excuse not to share my treats!!)
  3. Playing the D -Card / Sympathy.  Okay, I don’t do this a lot.  And it really isn’t anything to be proud of.  But every so often, I play the Diabetes Card.  I’ve been known to exaggerate low symptoms so my husband will do the dishes while I lay on the couch.  Hey, if I’m stuck with this chronic illness, I might as well reap a few benefits every once and a while.  (But please don’t tell Pete!!)
  4. That moment when I think my sugar is sky high, and I check it and I’m right in range.   This one is really hard to explain if you don’t have diabetes.  But if you do, maybe you know what I mean.  The feeling you get when you think your meter will throw you an icky high  number, and instead it throws you a really great one?  It is wonderful!
  5. Diabetes has helped me find a voice.   I was the shy girl in school who never raised my hand to answer questions.  I had a really hard time making friends.  I still often feel like that shy girl, but diabetes has helped me break out of my shell quite a bit.  I blog about the details of my diabetes life.  I speak up at diabetes conferences.  I go to D.C. every year to meet with our Representatives to lobby for government funding of diabetes research.  Not bad for a shy girl!
  6. Nailing the bolus for Chinese food. Or Mexican food.  Or any food that is tricky to bolus for.  When I indulge and my bolus works out perfectly, it’s a reason to celebrate!
  7. Diabetes makes me strong.  You know those 10 Insane Things?  Dealing with them gives me a strength I never would have found otherwise.
  8. Getting 100 on my meter.  Did you know that when you test your blood sugar and the number is a perfect 100, somebody has to give you $1.00?  It’s true, and you’d better believe I’ve collected $1 from my husband for each and every 100.  (Last night when I checked before bed, the meter flashed a 101.  Damn, so close but yet so far.  Oh, but we’re focusing on the good today . . . )
  9. Diabetes has taught me to be prepared and organized.  Am I OCD because it’s in my  nature?  Or is it because I need to have my shit together if I want to live?  After 35+ years with diabetes, I guess I’ll never know.  But I’ve always got stuff in my purse to treat lows.  I make notes on my calendar to remind me to refill prescriptions and change my sites.  I have spare rolls of test strips in my purse, in my meter case, in my dresser drawer and in a living room drawer.  I have backup syringes and long acting insulin and my pump settings have been uploaded to Carelink.  Well prepared and organized?  I am, because my life could literally depend on it.  (And this OCDedness spills over to life beyond diabetes too, and that generally helps my life run more smoothly.)
  10. The Diabetes Online Community!!  By far the very best thing about having diabetes is the friendships I have made because of it.  I’ve made some of the best friends of my life after finding the DOC and I don’t know what I’d do without the understanding and support I’ve found.  I know someone has always got my back, and I’ve got their backs too.  Most of my DOC friendships have carried over into real life, and have helped me make a bunch of fantastic local diabetes friends as well.  So without a doubt, the friendships I have forged through our shared condition is the very most Insanely Good (and True) Thing About Diabetes!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 Insane (but True) Things About Diabetes . . .

I’ll admit that my blogging mojo seems to be on Summer Vacation.  Try as I might, I can’t come up with anything to write about.  So in a moment of desperation (because OMG if I don’t blog about diabetes they might take it away from me)  (also, wouldn’t that be GREAT???) . . . anyway, in a moment of desperation I turned to Blog Topic Generators.  I didn’t really have high hopes that this would solve my problem but I typed in the word “diabetes” and hit the button.  To my surprise, a few fun ideas popped up!

Tango-Crazy-210 Insane (but True) Things” caught my eye right away.  Because really, diabetes is pretty insane, right?   So here are my 10.  Maybe you’ll find yourself nodding along.  Or maybe you’d like to add a few that I missed.  Or maybe you randomly stumbled across my blog, in which case I hope I’ve helped you learn some insane (but true) diabetes facts.

  1. The very medication that saves my life can very easily kill me.  -  What kind of sick joke is this, right?  Without a steady stream of insulin, I will die.  But dosing a bit too much insulin can also be lethal.
  2. Strangers (and  even people I know) seem to think it’s perfectly fine to tell me “diabetes horror stories”. - I really don’t understand what makes it okay to tell me about relatives with limbs chopped off or blindness or failed kidneys.  Sometimes I wonder if people do this for other illnesses too?  “Oh, colon cancer.  My grandmother had that and they removed part of her large intestine and she had to have a colostomy bag!”.  Please tell me people don’t say things like that - and please make them stop doing it about diabetes.
  3. When things go wrong, I get blamed. - The blame.  Oh the blame!!!  It sucks.  Blood sugars out of range?  Diabetes complications?  Must be because you aren’t taking care of yourself.  Again I have to ask if people do this with other illnesses?  “My uncle had skin cancer on his nose and they operated and it destroyed his salivary glands and for the rest of his life he couldn’t eat and was fed protein shakes through a feeding tube.  But, you know, he was a landscaper so he was in the sun all day long, so he really brought it on himself.”  Nobody would ever say that about skin cancer, right?  (Oh I sincerely hope not!!)  But it’s okay to tell a horror story with a side of blame about diabetes?  Come on, can we PLEASE stop doing this??
  4. Even though diabetes is an incurable chronic illness, people will tell me how to cure it. - Let’s hear it for the wonder cures!!  Cinnamon, okra, magic herbs, dancing naked under a full moon.  Once, while buying a JDRF sneaker at a pharmacy, the cashier proceeded to tell me that there is a cure for Type 1 in Europe and why I didn’t just go there?  I shutter to think what a statement like that does to the fundraising efforts . . . .  donate to Sneakers for the Cure?  No, just go to Europe!!
  5. I can be fine, and five minutes later I can be totally incoherent.  - Sometimes it’s scary how fast and severe a low can come on.  Toss in my hypoglycemic unawareness and the chance that I’ll randomly lose my ability to function at any point in the day increases.  Especially if I’m shopping at Target, am I right?
  6. The results often do not equal the effort. - I can do the exact same thing at the exact same time two days in a row, and go way high one day and way low the next.  Or I can have a day when I try really hard and still have crap blood sugars.  And I can totally half-ass diabetes management one day but find myself solidly in range.  Makes no sense!  It can also make motivation really hard to find sometimes.
  7. There is no finish line in diabetes and I can’t EVER have a day off.  - Yes, I know, this is what puts the “chronic” in “chronic illness”.  But think about it.  Since 1979, I’ve dealt with a condition that needs almost constant attention and is affected by a million different factors.  SINCE 1979!!!!  Not a single day off.  I did it yesterday.  I’ll do it today.  I’ll be doing it again tomorrow, and next week, and next year.  Frankly, if I think about this too much, it’s exhausting.
  8. Diabetes is hard on my body.  -  I have callouses on my fingertips from repeatedly lancing them to draw blood to check my glucose.  Every three days I jab the needle of an infusion set into my skin.  Every six days I do the same with my continuous glucose monitor.  For my first 28 years with diabetes, syringes were stabbed into me at least once a day and often almost a dozen times daily.  Bruises and scar tissue and red marks abound.  Medical devices must hang from even the most chic of outfits.  And let's not forget the toll diabetes takes on me internally, to my eyes and my heart and my nerves and every part of me.
  9. Diabetes is even harder on my mind. - The blame from Item 3?  It doesn’t just come from the outside world.  It also come from me.  When things go wrong I’m the first to blame myself.  Now let’s mix in some fear from Items 1 and 5.  Toss in some distorted body image from Item 8.  And let’s not forget some WTFedness from Items 6 and 7.  Mix it all together and it brings me to Item 10 . . . . which is . . . .
  10. Diabetes is just insanely hard.