Thursday, February 28, 2013

Disorders and Issues . . . . .

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and if you asked me if I have an eating disorder my answer would be no.  The theme of NEDA Week this year is “Everybody Knows Someone.”  In high school I had a close friend who ate so few calories and exercised so much that she passed out in class, yet she still thought she was fat.  That’s one “someone” I know.  I’ve read posts this week by others in the DOC (you can find many, if not all, of them linked on this Diabetes Advocates post), and have found a few more “someone's”.  And now, I’m taking a good long look at my own relationship with food.

Along with seeing food as nourishment and fuel, I realize that I also view it as a reward.  After going to the endo and getting a good A1C, I always indulge in an extra special dinner to celebrate.  If I’m going through a rough time, I think nothing of picking up a treat at the grocery store.  When I want to do something extra nice for Pete I’ll often bake one of his favorites, chocolate chip cookies or brownies, to show him just how much I love him.  K.C. loves her wet cat food in gravy, and when I really want to spoil her I’ll give her an extra big scoop.  In my mind, FOOD = LOVE.

I also  realize my food choices often reflect my mood.  Bored?  Lonely?  Feeling blue?  You can trust I’m likely to reach for chips or chocolate . . . . and more than one servings worth.  Or I might cook up some (carb-loaded and creamy) comfort food in an attempt to sooth myself.  Does it fill the hole in my life?  Nope.  Will I try it again next time I’m feeling that hole?  Yup.

And lastly, I find myself thinking about the past.  I look back to my teen years when anything with sugar was off limits, unless I was low.  I’ve written before about my realization that my response to low blood sugars is quite Pavlovian.  I also remember sneaking sweets up to  my room and hiding the empty wrappers under my bed.  This was particularly easy when I worked at the grocery store after school - I smuggled the forbidden foods in after working late and smuggled the wrappers out to be tossed in the store’s trash bins.  It was also easy when I had candy bars to sell for my Color Guard fundraiser - I’m pretty sure my best customer was me.

I also think about the fact that all of those years being denied certain foods has made me unwilling to consider any food off limits today.  I think about how tough it was living on the exchange diet, often being unable to eat when I was hungry or forced to eat when I wasn’t.  I remember the regimented life of certain foods at certain times in certain amounts.  Quite frankly, it sucked, and I have a hard time believing it didn’t have a big part in shaping my relationship with food today.

Even now, I have to constantly count carbs, and think about how many I can eat at without killing a perfectly good blood sugar reading.  I have to determine if I should program a regular bolus or a dual-wave bolus.  I need to wait 20 minutes after bolusing until I can eat.  If I’m full half way through my meal, I need to finish all of the carbs on my plate anyway so I don’t go low.

And now, if you ask me again if I have an eating disorder, I would still say no.  But if you ask me if I have a healthy relationship with food?  If you ask me if I think I’m free of food issues?  Well,  I would also have to say no.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Gov Day Prep

As the volunteer Advocacy Team Chair for one of the local JDRF chapters, I’ll be heading down to Government Day in a few weeks.  Which means setting up my meetings with my government representatives and their staff.  Yay!!

Interested in learning more about JDRF Advocacy?  Okay, just click here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recycling my Pancreas

Last year I tried to knit a new pancreas for Diabetes Art Day.  It didn’t work out so well.

Last month I scored a great deal on a winter coat from the Target clearance rack.  It was only $18, but it was quite open at the neck . . . . which isn’t so great during cold New England winters.  I knew I needed to knit a cowl to help keep me warm, and since the coat was pretty bright I’d need just the right shade of yarn to coordinate with it.  Enter my failed pancreas.  (The yarn one, not the real one.)  I unraveled and rewound my pancreas and cast on for my cowl.  (There’s an odd sentence for you.)  A few days later I was all set.


Of course, Miss. K.C. promptly photo-bombed me and then decided the new coat was really a new bed for her.

I’m so glad I was able to make something useful and pretty out of my failed yarn pancreas.  Now if only I could find a good use for my other failed pancreas!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Mail Call

Beautiful, right???  My dear friend Hilary of Rainie and Me made this mug for me.  That’s right, SHE MADE IT after we talked about my coffee addiction and how I drink it out of a big container that is meant to hold knitting needles.  (Not that exact one, mine has hunter green yarn.)  My new mug is too pretty to use, but I will use it because I hate when people say that about things I’ve knit.  (Oh, and she sent a cat card too . . . . . I love her!!)

I don’t know how I got so lucky to have so many wonderful friends in the DOC.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You Have Arrived?

We had tickets to see Eddie Izzard this weekend at one of the local casinos.  We knew it was going to be a fantastic show.  But first, we had to get gpsthere.  Seems like it would be easy, right?  We searched “Foxwoods Casino” on the GPS and followed the directions.  How hard can it be to spot a huge lighted casino after the sun has gone down?   Apparently pretty hard, because the GPS triumphantly announced “YOU HAVE ARRIVED!!!!” while we were in the middle of a dark desolate street.  No buildings topped with neon.  No happy jingle of slot machines.  No icky haze of cigarette smoke.  Just darkness and trees.  We were lost.  We tried going farther down the road.  We tried turning around and backtracking.  All in all, we had no idea where we were going.

It made me think about the comparison of our meters to a diabetes GPS.  I depend on my meter to guide me down the Blood Sugar Highway that is my life.  It lets me know if I’m headed in the right direction or if I need to make a u-turn.  It helps guide me down out of the mountains of a 300.  It helps me navigate out of the valley of a 40.  And when the information it gives me is wrong, I am lost. 

For example, when I tested before dinner on Valentine’s Day I was surprised that my blood sugar GPS clocked me at 192.  I was sure I hadn’t over-treated the low I had before we left for dinner, and even if I had it was odd to have shot up so quickly.  But I trusted the directions and corrected so I could hopefully get back on course.

Later that evening, I was stranded in The Lows.  It took me several low treats to get me cruising back on “Route 100” and the only thing I could figure was that the pre-dinner 192 was incorrect.  Just like the directions to the casino were incorrect.  We needed to cover 8 more miles to reach our destination, and I needed to ingest 15 more carbs to reach my blood sugar destination.

Both stories have happy endings.  The Valentine’s Low was a nasty one, but we didn’t let it ruin our evening.  And on Friday we finally found the casino and had a fantastic night of good food, great entertainment and wonderful friends.  But I still shutter at the memory of driving around in the dark when either GPS mistakenly announces “You Have Arrived!!!!!!”.

Friday, February 15, 2013

And the Blue Friday Knit goes to . . . . .

As promised, I’ve drawn the name of one person who made a Spare a Rose donation and left me a comment to be entered into the give-away.  And the winner of a blue knitted something or other is . . . .

Congratulations, Sarah!!!  Please email me so we can decide what you’d like me to knit for you!!

Thanks to everyone who played along with my little contest, and thanks to all who made Spare a Rose donations.  Don’t forget, you can still make your own donation here, and help save a life!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine’s Day - Yay or Nay??

While reading posts throughout the DOC about Spare a Rose, Save a Child, I realized that there are a lot of strong opinions about Valentine’s Day and it’s traditional gifts.  And that’s just fine - different opinions are part of what makes us each unique and special.  Sometimes diabetes has an influence over these outlooks, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way everyone’s opinions are valid.  I’m certainly not going to try to change anyone’s feeling . . . . . but here's my two cents.  (Spoiler Alert: I’m Yay all the way!!)

Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant?  Why would I ever say no to that??  I love to cook and, at the risk of sounding boastful, I’m a very good cook.  But having someone else do the cooking and clean up?  Yup, that’s quite a luxury too!!  Bolusing for a meal out is more tricky than when I cook myself, but I’m quite okay with that!

Chocolates?  Most definitely yes!!!!  Remember, while I was growing up diabetics couldn’t have sugar, so I spent years being told chocolates and candy were taboo.  (Not that I didn’t sneak them anyway, but that’s a whole other issue.)  I’m thrilled that those days are gone, and that I can choose a reasonable portion (or not . . . ), count the carbs, plan out my bolus and enjoy.  I respect anyone’s choice to pass on treats if that is better for them, but for me?  A little chocolate makes me smile.

These arrived yesterday.  I guess he still loves me!!

Flowers?  Love them!!!!  My grandfather was a florist.  He and my grandmother lived in an apartment beneath their flower shop, and that’s were my Dad and his brothers grew up.  Our whole family gathered there every Saturday.  My cousins and I played in the gardens or the greenhouses while my Dad and uncles helped finish the work and close up the shop.  I loved  the lush green plants, the pansies with their happy faces, the big shiny rows of ribbons in every color, the smells of the shop and the chill of the walk-in fridge.  Flowers are a part of who I am, and the fact that they quickly wither and die makes me appreciate how special they are even  more.  And, putting all sappy sentiment aside, flowers are sugar-, carb- and calorie-free, so even on my worst diabetes day flowers are the perfect pick-me-up!!

Of course, flowers are a little more special this year thanks to the Spare a Rose, Save a Child initiative.  Pete and I made our donation yesterday and it was super quick and easy to give using PayPal.  (There are other options too, if you don’t have PayPal.)  Valentine’s Day fan or not, I hope we are all fans of saving some lives.  Go on and make your donation, and if you’d like a chance to win a blue hand-knit leave a comment on my post from Monday.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!  Or, if you prefer, Happy Thursday!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spare a Rose . . . .

I’m excited to help spread the word about a great initiative happening now to help children around the world who have diabetes.  Kerri, Kelly and Adam from diaTribe, Manny, Bennet, and CWD’s Jeff put their heads together, and with some support from J&J, have come up with the Spare a Rose, Save a Child project.

The idea is simple, but the results can be epic.  As Valentine’s Day approaches, instead of buying a dozen roses for your sweetheart, buy eleven.  Then take the cost of that twelfth rose and donate it to the IDF’s Life For A Child fund.  This fantastic program brings insulin and other essential diabetes care to children around the world who don’t have what they need to survive.

I’ve been known to gripe about insurance companies and co-pay costs, but it’s so easy to take everything we have for granted.  I feel very strongly about helping those who don’t have the things I’m lucky to have in order to live a healthy life.  So I want to do a little bit more to help this initiative.  And one of the ways I show my love is by knitting.

Go over now to the Life For A Child page and make your donation sometime between now and Valentine’s Day.  Then come back here and leave me a comment.  On Friday, I’ll pick one winner, and I will knit you something blue to wear for Blue Fridays!!  Perhaps a hat or a scarf - I’ll consult with the winner to come up with something he or she will love.

Please help spread the word about Spare a Rose, Save a Child on Facebook, Twitter (use #sparearose) and your blog if you have one.  Together the DOC can change lives!

Monday, February 4, 2013

#DArtDay 2013

Today is one of my favorite on-line events, Diabetes Art Day!!  I’ve participated every year, with a voodoo doll in 2010, a  necklace in 2011, and a failed pancreas in 2012.  This morning I was thinking about my weekend in D.C. for the CWD Tech Conference, and I drew my inspiration from opening and closing keynotes by Dr. Moritsugu and Sebastien Sasseville, and from the time I spent with my friends.  I was inspired by the need for balance - all the crap diabetes brings and all of the wonderful things I’d miss out on if I didn’t have diabetes.

Click to enlarge!

I’m thankful for all of the good things that have come my way because of diabetes.  But I’ll be even more thankful when we are all cured.