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.