Friday, February 28, 2014

A Beautiful(?) Day in the Neighborhood . . . .

About an hour ago I was on the phone with Pete when suddenly we got disconnected.  My t.v. and internet were down too, so I assumed it was a cable provider outage due to sun spots.  (I know, sounds crazy but it’s a real thing.  I used to work for a cable company and I swear it’s true!!)  I decided to go dry my hair but the blow dryer wouldn’t work.  Crap, it wasn’t a cable outage, it was a power outage!

I saw my neighbor outside so I went (into the 20 degree weather with my hair in a wet towel) to ask if he’d lost power too.  He had, and another neighbor came out to say he had just reported the outage. 

And then the first neighbor said “Hey, I have another question for you.  You have diabetes, right?  My wife has diabetes too and she brought all her diabetes levels down with okra.”

Me: “Good for her.  But she had Type 2, which means her body doesn’t properly use the insulin she makes.  (An oversimplification, I know, but I was trying to start somewhere.)  I have Type 1, which means I don’t make any insulin at all.”

Neighbor:  “Type 1, Type 2, it doesn’t matter.  Do you know what okra is?”

Me:  “Yes.  I like it fried.  Although that isn’t very healthy.”

Neighbor:  “Well, she brought all her diabetes levels down with okra.  Just chop it up and put it in water for eight hours and then drink it.”

Me:  “I'm glad for her, but I don’t think okra will work for me.  I have Type 1, my body doesn't make any insulin.”

Neighbor:  “It doesn’t matter.  She has friends with diabetes and she turned them on to the okra.  A few of them have that pump thing, so that means their diabetes is really bad.  And the okra brought all of their diabetes levels down too.  You just have to drink it twice a day.”

I know he doesn’t know a lot about diabetes.  And I know he’s one of those people who always thinks he knows everything, on every subject.  So today, as I stood out there freezing, I decided it wasn’t worth the advocacy effort to attempt any more explanations.  And just then, the second neighbor yelled from his house the the power was back.  I thanked the first neighbor and told him I'd look into the okra thing (yes, I flat out lied) and came back inside.

I feel bad that I didn’t do a better job of explaining to him.  I feel scared for him and his wife, because I don’t think they really understand diabetes.  And I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t try harder.  But some days, I just don’t have it in me.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Kernel of Truth

I really think that the things that are most upsetting have a small kernel of truth to them.  So while I’m sure my opinion will be wildly unpopular and set me up for a blizzard of hatred, I have to say I think Miss Manners was a teeny bit right.

bloodBlood is kind of gross.  It’s not normal to puncture my finger and bleed in public.  Does that mean I’ll stop doing it?  No, it doesn’t.  Unfortunately it is what I need to do to take care of myself.  But does that mean it isn’t valid for people to feel uncomfortable at the sight of blood?  Nope.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly won’t go to the restroom to check my blood sugar.  But I can be more “surreptitious” or discreet with my blood, especial while dining or in close confines.  Not because I think it means I should be ashamed of my chronic illness.  But because I think it’s right to be considerate of those around me, just as I would hope they’d be considerate of me.

I’m not angry at Miss Manners.  I’m angry at diabetes for desensitizing me to my own public bloodletting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Blue Friday - Pump Style!!

If you’re a Medtronic pumper you might be interested to know they have added a new accessory - a line of silicone pump skins.  As a member of a new MiniMed Ambassador program that’s in the works I received a coupon for a free silicone skin.  Of course, I chose blue so  my pump can participate in Blue Fridays!

I really love my purple pump, but it’s fun to have the option to dress it up in blue every Friday.  Unfortunately the skins aren’t meant to offer any extra protection to clumsy cyborgs like me who have to work really hard not to drop my robot organs - but they sure are fun!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Breakfast Hates Me . . . .

Lately I’m seeing a huge post-breakfast spike every day.

I can eat foods that never spiked me before, and still I spike.  I can pre-bolus earlier than I ever have before, and I still spike.  I can eat less than I usually do, and still I spike.  It’s getting really aggravating.  So I’m looking for your best breakfast tips!  What do you eat for breakfast?  What is your breakfast bolus strategy?  Have your breakfast blood sugars suddenly changed for no obvious reason, and what did you do to fix it?  Help!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flowers and Chocolates and Insulin . . . .

MeowentineValentine’s Day is coming up quick.  I’m definitely a hopeless romantic so I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, even when I was single.  Pete and I usually celebrate with flowers (for me) and chocolates (for both of us) and a fun dinner out.

I really love flowers - my grandparents were florists and flowers make my day.  But honestly, I don’t really NEED flowers.  And as much as I consider chocolate a basic food group, neither Pete nor I really NEED chocolate.  The best part of our dinner out is just sitting down together and spending time with each other.  But what if that wasn’t possible? 

What if Pete and I couldn’t spend time together because I was no longer here?  What if I died because I couldn’t get the insulin that I, as a Type 1 diabetic, needed to stay alive?  It’s almost impossible for me to imagine.  Over the years I’ve had to fight to get the number of test strips I need, and to get a CGM, and a very long time ago I had to fight to get syringes covered by my insurance.  But I never, ever, in 34+ years with diabetes, had to fight to get insulin.  It’s probably something I just take for granted, those little vials of life in my refrigerator.  And that makes me very lucky.

This year I’m giving back to those who aren’t as lucky.  I have my husband and I have insulin . . . . there isn’t much else I need to feel loved.  So Pete and I are putting our Valentine’s money where it is needed - the Spare A Rose campaign. 

For every $5 Pete and I donate, or for the cost of each rose or a few chocolates, we are providing one months worth of insulin for a child who would otherwise probably die.  I can’t think of a better way to spread the love.  And I urge you to join me and #sparearose or two and save a life right now.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Plan vs. The Compromise . . . . .

I'm absolutely great at making a plan.  I can nail it down to the last detail.  The follow-through?  Yeah, that’s the part I need to work on.  Especially where exercise is concerned.

Pete and I have, once again, started training to run some 5Ks.  It’s the first week that's always my hardest.  Exercise hasn't become a habit yet.  It’s too early to see any progress to help spur me on to continue.  The rewards are few and, on top of that, pesky persistent lows which always accompany the start of my exercise plan are a big concern when training alone.

CompromiseMy plan for today was to make a quick stop at the post office and then continue up the street to the gym for Day 3 of my 5K training.  And here I sit, still in my house, willing to do just about anything besides going to the gym.  (Anything includes making a batch of home-made pudding, which is now chilling in my refrigerator.)  Some days, the best I can do is a compromise.  So maybe today, if I do my training on my home treadmill I can put off going to the post office until the weekend.  Is my treadmill as good as the one at the gym?  Nope.  But is it better than skipping the workout all together?  You bet!

Do you sometimes find a compromise is enough to get you headed in the right direction?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Diabetes Monster #DArtDay

I’ve been in kind of a dark place lately - mostly where diabetes is concerned but kind of just in general too.  But I knew I didn’t want my 5th Annual Diabetes Art Day contribution to be too depressing. So I decided not to go with my first #DArtDay vision, which was a drawing of me, very very small and alone surrounded by darkness and blood droplets.  I just didn’t want to put something that dark out there.  This is a great testament of how Diabetes Art Day definitely helps to pull me out of the darkness a bit.

Instead, I thought about how diabetes can just feel like a big monster.  My monster didn’t come out looking quite as fierce as it really feels, but that’s more due the constraints of my art skills.

In a gross confession, I will admit that I inadvertently jabbed my thumb with one of the lancets, so I used my own blood for the red shading of my monster’s eyes.  #gross

It’s not too late to create your own diabetes art and add it to the 2014 Gallery.  You can get all the details, including this year's special dedication to a beloved member of the community who the DOC lost over the weekend, on the Diabetes Art Day 2014 page.