Saturday, November 3, 2012

5th Diabetes Anniversary



It's unbelievable to me that five years ago today...I was in the hospital and my life changed forever.  I heard the words, "You have Type 1 Diabetes."  I didn't know what that meant or how much different my life would be today.  These past five years, I've learned something new every single day about myself and diabetes.  I have found ways to cope, stay healthy, and stay happy.  These are five of the most important things I have learned in my five years with diabetes:

1. You're stronger than you think.  I put on an act in front of people...I think sometimes I make this disease look easier than it really is.  But my strength has really kept me going and helped me stay focused.  After all, it takes a lot of strength to have self-control when it comes to sugar, testing 10+ times/day, and sticking needles in my body.

2. You can always start over tomorrow.  I am learning everyday not to be so hard on myself.  If I mess up, that's ok...there's always tomorrow to start fresh.  It's not the end of the world!

3. Having a great support system is essential.  This includes: family/friends, DOC (Diabetes Online Community), & doctors.  Friends and family that ask if you are ok, that will prick your finger and test you if you can't do it yourself, or that carry sugar on them in case you have a low.  These can be people that you open up to about your frustrations or that are willing to give a hug when you need one.  A DOC that can share fears and hopes, and that can relate to you because they are going through the same thing.  Doctors that are willing to fight for you to get the medical needs/equipment that you need and that support you even when you don't think you're doing well.  These people are crucial.

4. Moderation is key.  Ok, I learned this, but I still haven't perfected it.  This is an everyday challenge for me.  But, it doesn't come over night.  Everyday I try a little more at this.  I'll get it soon--the most important thing is that I acknowledge the importance of it!

5.  Share information and allow people to become educated about diabetes.  There are so many misconceptions about diabetes.  There's Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2.  People that aren't familiar with diabetes mix these up and think they are all the same.  Educate people about the differences.  Also, if anything--get across that Type 1 Diabetics CAN eat ANYTHING.  We get tired of hearing, "You can eat that?"

I've learned a lot in the past five years.  I hope over the next five--I gain more knowledge and insight...and still have no major complications.  If I keep on track like I have been--I know achieving those goals won't be a problem.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

On & Off the Track





"Diabetes management is so crucial because if you fail at it, your health will fail.  The problem with health failing is everything else in your life will undoubtedly be affected." -Sysy Morales
The past few months have been a roller coaster for me--including diabetes & life in general.  Once you're off the track...damn! It's hard to get back on. It's crazy how everything in life affects my diabetes. It's my responsibility to take care of myself...get back on track, and forget the excuses. 
Diabetes management has to be on the top of my priority list. If it isn't, then it will ultimately affect not only myself--but the people I love in my life. 
I do love myself enough to put in that sensor even if it drives me nuts, or say no to the extra unnecessary carbs. Or choose an apple over an Oreo (darn, that's tough!), or go to the gym and get on that treadmill! The time is now.
So when is enough..enough? What do you do to get yourself back up when you've fallen off the track? I know I'm taking the right steps by reading diabetes blogs and blogging myself. I'm buying the healthy foods and I have a plan in mind to replace a bad habit (eating unhealthy) with a good habit. It's a great start and I know I'm strong enough to be in charge of my health and make all of the right choices...so I can live a longer and healthier life!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: Diabetes Hero

Prompt: "Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”.  It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3.  It might be a fabulous endo or CDE.  It could be a d-celebrity or role-model.  It could be another DOC member.  It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??" 


I didn't even hesitate after reading this prompt.  My diabetic hero is my husband, Kris.  
Kris is my biggest supporter. He is there cheering me on when I just want to give up on this disease.  When I say, "I can't do this," he's the one reassuring me and saying, "You're not alone; we're in this together." His love gives me the strength to do my best everyday, because that's how much I deal with this disease, everyday.
Kris is my lifeline during the night.  The simple light touch of his hand or arm, just to see if I'm ok--if I'm breathing, because he worries about me that much. Yes, that's love.
When I have those highs and lows that are sometimes like roller coasters---he's the one sitting up with me at night or setting his alarm so it wakes him up--so he can remind me to test and see if I'm ok.
When I'm too low to even function, he's the one who pricks my finger and tests my blood sugar for me.  He's the one who feeds me sugar when I need it and just can't do it myself. And he's the one that sticks that huge sensor needle into my skin--he knows how painful it is, and does it without hesitation so I don't have to. Yes, that's love.
When the world seems chaotic, and I need to sit down from a low, he's by my side.  When people give me looks wondering what's wrong or why I look so "weird," he's right there next to me.  When I need to test in the streets of Spain...he will stand next to me, hold my supplies--and let me lean on him, literally & figuratively.  
When I was diagnosed, he was the strong man by my side who knew that this would be life-altering...but was ready to go through the challenge with me.  He didn't run the other way, when he easily could have--because we weren't even engaged then.  That's love.
This Type 3 diabetic in my life is my confidant--the one I know I can cry to because it's just too difficult, or laugh with over the irony that I'm a type 1 diabetic, yet can't eat enough cupcakes & sweets.  The one who doesn't need to ask everyday or every other day how my diabetes is...because he knows by a look or the way I act.  Yet, he asks anyways because he cares enough to--it's never an inconvenience to him.  
He's the first one to sign up for "Team Joanna Banana" (JDRF Walks), and the first to read my blogs.  He's the first one to buy me that Reese's Peanut butter cup because I earned it after days of excellent blood sugar.  He's the one to bring me that glass of water because I am so dehydrated from high blood sugars. 
It takes a lot of work to be a diabetic--but credit should also be given to the type 3's in our lives! I may not be lucky to have diabetes, but I feel amazingly fortunate to have Kris by my side--fighting with me, everyday.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: Snapshots

Back for the third year, let’s show everyone what life with diabetes looks like!  With a nod to the Diabetes 365 project, let’s grab our cameras again and share some more d-related pictures.  Post as many or as few as you’d like.  Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures, or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves."


My life with Type 1 Diabetes through photos...

What I have to do every 3 days..
































































                            And sometimes my kitty likes to play with my pump while I am changing infusion sites.












































































                                                                    
Patience is key when it comes to diabetes.




The joy that comes when I see a beautiful number like this.




Testing blood sugar doesn't have a special time or location.  Sometimes you need to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial & test away.





































































Traveling with diabetes isn't easy...





and pump attachments break more often than I'd like.






I'm glad my pump serves as a foot rest for my cat.


Testing 10+ times a day is just part of my routine.




Oh so happy when I see numbers like this-especially after a long, tiring, hot day in NYC!

You mean you have diabetes and can eat THAT? Yes, yes, I can.  There I am with one of my favorite supporters, my sister. 




My biggest supporter.  The Type 3 diabetic in my life.  I wouldn't make through a day without him.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: What You Should Know About Diabetes

Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.
The first and most important thing that I would let people know is that it's a lot harder than it looks.  People on the outside only see a sliver of what it is like.  There are only certain places where I can truly show and express my feelings with this difficult disease (like at home).  
For example, no one knows the battle I have been having for weeks with low and high blood sugars in the morning.  Sure, I may have mentioned it to you in conversation...but, you weren't there when I had to deal with those shaky, sweaty lows that later turned into pounding-headache, thirst-quenching highs! I just want to punch diabetes in the face because for the life of me...I cannot figure out my insulin dosage in the morning.  That's just a piece of what I go through.  Or what about the fact that I was thinking for hours about how those two slices of pizza would affect my blood sugar?  Something the typical person would not even think about at all.
So, this Type 1 diabetes, it's not easy.  At all.  It takes a lot out of me, and yes, I do my job and live my life the best I can.  However, don't think that I just take a pill and diabetes is out of my mind.  You couldn't be more wrong.  
Also, I can eat what I want.  So, if I'm stuffing my face with a cupcake or some ice cream, don't give me a look or ask rude questions.  Sometimes I feel like I should wear a sign when I'm eating those sweets.  
Lastly, I do like being asked genuinely-concerned questions about my disease.  It's the only way for you to see a little bit of what I go through and deal with every hour, minute...second of my life.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: My Fantasy

Prompt: "Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?"


After reading some other posts, and loving some ideas--especially the one about a cupcake that could lower my blood sugar with every bite! (Thanks for that one, Kerri!), it occurred to me that it was going to be hard to narrow this one down.  
Other than the obvious (a working pancreas!), I'd love to have some kind of "sugar" that could stream into my system when I'm having a low.  Sometimes, I just do not want to eat.  Then, there are times when your body craves that sugar and I eat too much of it, resulting in a high blood sugar!  It could give you the perfect amount to bring you back up, but not make you too high.  This seems like a simple solution to me.  So, c'mon people--get on this invention!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: One Thing to Improve



Prompt: Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!


I'm a perfectionist.  So being diagnosed with diabetes--a completely imperfect disease did not mesh well with me.  I feel as though there's a lot in which I can improve on with this disease.  I try hard, but let's face it, you usually don't see perfect and diabetes in the same sentence!
What do I want to improve on? Being more open about my disease.  I'm so afraid of being judged and of people thinking "how can she do this or that with diabetes?" I fear the criticism.  I feel as though I need to "prove" myself before I let people know this deep, dark secret about me.  And that's how I act with people in the outside world--testing my blood sugar with my hands in my purse so others don't see.  I'll be the one hiding in the bathroom stall entering my blood sugar into my pump or secretly stuffing fruit snacks down my throat.  
Diabetes consumes me.  It's what I'm thinking about most of the day! I need to learn to let people know, "Yes, I have diabetes, but this is what I have done/can do in spite of it."  It's something I am working on and struggling with everyday.  In this world, where people are so judgmental and critical--how can you blame me for this fear?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: One Great Thing

Prompt: Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!"


Today, for Diabetes Blog Week, we're asked to share one thing we're great at in relation to diabetes.  It can be a stressful, frustrating, wanting-to-give-up-all-the-time kind of disease.  However, the one thing that I am constantly great at is testing my blood sugar.  My doctors look at my fingers and say, "Your poor little fingers look so sore!" 
If my sensor tells me my blood sugar is too high or too low, I test.  But, I don't stop there. I test if I feel "weird" or if I just worked out.  If I just had an argument or cried and if I'm scared or excited.  Every second of every day--my blood sugar is on my mind.  I test, test, test...because in my opinion, you can't test too much! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week: Find a Friend

The first website I turned to when I felt lost and scared at the beginning of my diagnosis was Kerri Morrone Sparling's blog, sixuntilme.com.  There I found this amazing, young woman who I felt that I could relate to.  Thank you, Kerri, for being a friend and supporter with your words and advice on life with diabetes.  
Another strong, young woman named Sysy Morales created the blog, thegirlsguidetodiabetes.com.  She has helped me realize the importance of eating healthy and exercise. 
Ginger Vieira just recently helped me by giving me advice/feedback about my insulin dosage.  Her website, living-in-progress.com is inspiring when it comes to health/exercise.
So thank you to these women and MANY others in the online community that has helped support and encourage me in ways they probably were never even aware!  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Baby Named Diabetes.

Someone said to me the other day..."Ahh, I remember the days before I had kids! My husband and I could take walks at night...have drinks whenever we wanted...and go out to eat whenever and wherever!" 
As she said that, I thought, "Wow! I can't do any of those things without preparation either!" Diabetes is like a kid! If I want to go on a walk, I need to plan ahead and reduce insulin to prepare for lows. On walks, I need to carry my test kit and sugar in case I have a low. And if my blood sugar is not on target before the walk, then I can't go for a walk. 
I can't have drinks either if I want my sugar in range! As for eating out, well...that's a rarity and a struggle too. When you go out (at least or me)...I want something I wouldn't usually have at home. But the tricky part is that it has to be healthy too. Forget the fried foods, Italian foods, and desserts. I have to stick with all the healthy options. Yes, I could have those things once in awhile...but I have to plan ahead with that too. 
And that darn sensor wakes me up during the night. Sometimes, every hour [like last night-grr!]...and I can't just ignore it--who could ignore the wailing, incredibly obnoxious sound that's similar to a fire siren? Even my husband wakes up!  When it keeps me up during the night, the following day can be extremely long and tiring!
What about the fact that my life literally has to be put on hold if my blood sugar is too high or too low? I have to wait it out--be extremely patient.  If I'm low, I need to stop what I'm doing and give it my attention. When my blood sugar is high, I have to have an extra amount of patience and poke and prod my poor fingers to make sure that my blood sugar reading is going down and NOT up!  
So, I have this baby...and it's name is Diabetes. Tell me again, what can I do since I don't have a "baby"?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Band-Aid That Saved My Life.


Ok, not literally, but I wanted to grab your attention. I finally bought my sensor band-aids! This might not seem exciting to you---but if you saw the welts/sores I was getting from the regular store bought band-aids...well, then you'd understand my enthusiasm!
Why didn't I buy them before? (yeah, I knew that'd be your next question)...because they cost 50¢ per band-aid! And the worst part is...it's not even covered by insurance. Lovely. But regardless...thank you band-aids, for being back in my life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Weapon of Choice



I was scrambling today at work. I needed to test myself, I grabbed my testing kit...but there was no lancet device in there! Luckily, in the side zipper...I had a lancet. I reluctantly pulled the top off of it...closed my eyes...and stabbed my finger in order to get some blood for the testing strip. Not a very fun experience, but it got the job done.
If you've ever misplaced or lost your lancet device, what "tool" have you resorted to using in order to get some blood out?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quotes to Get Us Through the Day



I love quotes. I love finding inspirational quotes that relate to my struggles, hopes, loves, and fears.
This one sticks out in relation to my diabetes...
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.’"
-Eleanor Roosevelt
  
Living with diabetes is frustrating. Sometimes we need some positive thoughts in our lives to help get us through. What are your favorite quotes that you relate to living/dealing with diabetes? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Diabetes is With Me [Even When I'm Sick]



Getting a cold and having diabetes sucks. When I have a sore throat, stuffy nose, nasal congestion, and I'm coughing...the last thing I want to put on top of all of that is diabetes. But, I have to.  
When it takes me forever to get to sleep because of my cold, the last thing I want to do is get out of bed when my sensor is alarming me that my blood sugar is high/low.  What I WANT to do is hit the pump off, roll over, and go back to sleep! Instead, I get out of bed and test my blood sugar and do what I need to fix it.
When I'm not feeling well, I have to test even MORE often because it can throw my blood sugar off. I'd rather just ignore it...but diabetes is with me everyday, regardless of how I feel.
When I take medicine, I have to monitor my blood sugar and look for medicines (eg. cough drops) that aren't high in sugar so that it doesn't make me get an unnecessary high bg.  
It goes to show that diabetes can never be put on the back burner. In every aspect of my life, at every moment, I have to think about my diabetes. Nobody told me that this was going to be a full-time, 24/7 job. No break, whatsoever. Doesn't ever other profession get a vacation?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spain, Morocco, & Dabetes



My husband and I just got back from a trip to Spain and Morocco. It's always a struggle to pack diabetic supplies...especially for an international vacation.  For this trip, I created my own little travel package of supplies. When I made my list for the trip...it quickly became a mile long: fruit snacks, emergency glucagon pen, insulin, insulin pens, needles, syringles, batteries, glucose sensors, test strips, lancets, and an extra test meter. Oh how fun!
It was no trouble going through security; I had my doctor's note right on me. When leaving the United States, I told them I had a pump on before going through security. It's a good thing a did--because with my pump, I couldn't go through the x-ray machine. Instead, I went through the metal detector. They also wiped my hands with wipes and a tiny machine for any type of...residue? 
I only dropped low once--but once was enough! After trudging along the streets of Granada, I felt extremely weak.  Once my shaky hands were able to get blood on the test strip, I saw a big ugly 35 staring back at me. Eeek. My husband and I had to stop on the street for me to stuff three fruit roll ups down my throat. People walked by me, looking akwardly my way (or at least I assumed they were)...they must have thought I was nuts!
I had a couple of really great days there, in regards to my blood sugar. It was very difficult to keep my numbers steady. All of the food in Spain is fried and greasy (for the most part).  Even if I did get something packaged, which was rare, I had to figure out where and what the carbs were in Spanish! With all of the walking I was doing...I'm actually lucky I did not drop low more often. I was carrying this around Europe.  Yeah, I am pretty tough! Even though my numbers weren't "ideal," I did my best and kept myself in what I believe was a "safe range." 
I can't even describe in words how incredible our trip to Spain and Morocco was! It's unbelievable when you are lucky enough to experience new and exciting cultures and immerse yourself in a different way of life. I was able to do this all with my husband...and meet some pretty awesome people along the way.