Life is an apt teacher. 2015 didn’t disappoint in regards to the diabetes lessons. I went back through this year’s posts and pulled a few observations that I’d like to act upon in 2016. Maybe these connect with your own diabetes management. If not, at least it was therapeutic.
Have a Happy New Year everyone!
Denial exists even after 18 years
You’re thinking “how can a person who writes for a diabetes website have denial about diabetes?” Pretty valid question. Let me explain.
This fall, I was listening to a professor talk about how he radically changed his own diabetes management. After he visited his endocrinologist, received an a1c of 11 after getting the diagnosis a few months earlier, the facts had to be faced. He was a diabetic (person with diabetes). His pancreas is not coming back. Sugar is a toxin. Every added gram he put in his system jeopardized his heart disease risk. He stopped eating a jar of jelly beans every morning. His a1c dropped to 6.
I don’t eat jars of jelly beans but I did buy cereal that has added sugar, trail mix with chocolate, and put maple syrup in my oatmeal. After I heard him describe his own denial, I stopped buying those foods. Perhaps you’ve already made this subtle choice, but using my otherwise healthy vegan diet as a crutch, I too faced the facts and have felt a significant change in my blood sugars. Continue reading →
We all want to ring in the New Year with style. Pop bottles. Watch the ball drop. Kiss a stranger. These are not recommendations, just possibilities. There’s only one way to keep these option available–control the glucose. So, how do we do set ourselves up to enjoy the biggest celebration of the year?
It all starts with knowing where we’re at to start the night. Always, my goal is to keep my blood sugar in a place where I can be present and mindful of my choices. If you go into the evening in your range, this gives us the opportunity to actively make choices: Continue reading →
A few weeks ago I made a pact – I would say YES to everything. Not to cocaine or anything crazy, just to social events. For the most part it has been a pleasant, yet exhausting adventure. I’ve attended cocktail parties, happy hours, birthdays and way TOO many holiday shindigs. It’s crazy what conversations come up once I started talking about living with T1D. My friends had no idea I had to worry about anything other than over consuming on the booze as they were in the same boat.
As I entered my dear friend’s home, the first words from her mouth were, “I don’t think you can eat anything we’re serving so I fixed a spinach salad for you and it’s in the fridge“. Continue reading →
Confession – I like homemade chili more than most people in the winter months. If you come to my home in December or January, you could put money on me having a pot of healthy chili in the fridge. Don’t get crazy, I’m not willing to fix you a bowl – BUT I will gladly share the recipe.
Flexibility is opting to hit the trail, instead of the weights, on a December afternoon (when it’s 60 degrees outside). I couldn’t resist the urge and have no regrets. It was beautiful, I took the GoPro along, and the ride evened out the blood sugars. A few of these details are hinted at during the video, but here’s the ride logistics:
A Little History About How We Met… Liam and I met during our first year at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada as we lived in the same residence building and were part of a pretty tight knit group of friends. The very first time I spoke to Liam was during our frosh week. He was about to run a bouncy castle obstacle course race and I was behind him in the lineup. He jumped into the obstacle course and had been gone for a couple minutes. Our crew began to question why he was gone so long because the obstacle was only supposed to last about 30 seconds. Just then, Liam walked around from the back of the obstacle course (the end of the course was actually at the front) and looked very disoriented and upset. His upper lip was incredibly swollen and cut up and he was complaining of neck pain. He had jumped out of the back of the bouncy castle and landed face first onto the ground.
An Introduction To Diabetes: The next morning in the cafeteria, the first words I EVER said to Liam were “merry Christmas fat lip” because his lip was still swollen from face planting the night before and was wearing a red and green outfit. He was embarrassed, but loved the silliness of my comment and we became very close after that. From the beginning, I had no idea Liam had diabetes. He hid his pump under his shirt and never tested his blood or changed his pump sites around me. Diabetes never held him back from being athletic and energetic so I never suspected this young crazy teenage boy actually had an autoimmune disease.
A couple weeks into university I asked Liam what he was allergic to, after noticing he was wearing a medic alert bracelet. He laughed and said he was allergic to sugar, or a type 1 diabetic. I wasn’t really sure what this meant. I only knew one other PWD, my aunt who was recently diagnosed. I didn’t know Liam all that well at that point and wasn’t comfortable asking him tons of questions about diabetes. I was nervous, didn’t want to sound dumb, worried I would embarrass or upset him. I never thought any less of Liam or that he was fragile or weak because of diabetes. It didn’t change my view on him whatsoever. He was still silly, loud and had an endless amount of energy so I didn’t think diabetes could be that serious of an illness. His explanation was so brief and nonchalant, which helped to show me that it wasn’t something that would stop him from living properly in any way. Discovering Liam has T1D encouraged me to learn more about diabetes and how I could help him. I did most of my learning through asking questions and he was very open about it.
This is something I believe no type 1 should be afraid to do. Asking questions and being open to answering questions spreads knowledge and curbs incorrect and therefore annoying assumptions about type 1.
PWDs are constantly juggling the lows and highs of this disease. As Amber and Ryan look back at posts from DDG’s past – low BG was a common theme. We hope you enjoy our top three Low BG posts for 2015 as much we did writing them.
I’m NOT a parent and after my behavior today, it might be a good thing. My sister and nephew are in town and I made a point to have quality one-on-one time with Greg (a.k.a Grandpa Henry). GP Henry is four and 100% boy – fearless, somewhat stubborn and off the charts a cutie pie. We like to sing songs, eat vitamin C organic lollipops and solve the world’s problems. CLICK HERE to read more.
I was obese, ill, tired, suffering from major depression and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar was out of control… no wonder I was feeling so unwell!
Back in September of 2014 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I had been feeling poorly for quite some time, was overweight and out of shape. At 35 years old and 5′ 8″, I weighed in at almost 20 stone (280 lbs.). I drank a lot of alcohol and smoked roughly 20 cigarettes a day. The alcohol was a big problem and it had been for years. This was more than likely contributing to my depression, but I didn’t want to admit it. The alcohol helped me block out the negative thoughts – and this is the “vicious circle“. Continue reading →
So what do you eat? Once upon a time, I use to respond to my name. Now, I respond to that question only. Okay, I’m somewhat kidding, but I get that it’s a curious decision: going plant-based with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. To shed light on the question and provide guidance, I’m rolling out the mini-grocery list of essentials for the person looking to make the plant-based leap, while keeping the whole pancreas deficiency thing in mind. Continue reading →
No one wants to talk about their period, but why aren’t we discussing the impact it has on diabetes? Well, I’m here to break the silence! With each dia-versary, I realize something new about myself and how I differ from the average person. This includes my period – BUT it has never been discussed in my endocrinologist or OBGYN’s office unless I brought it up. Even then, there wasn’t literature or a site to visit to learn more so when I recognized a pattern it was time to take action. I came up a “Period Plan of Action” to follow each month so I won’t be at total T1D shitshow.
About four days prior to staring my period it’s hard to keep my morning BG below 225.
I test around 3am and give Novolog if above 225. Be careful, you don’t want to overcompensate while calculating half asleep.
Over drinks with T1D friends one night, we (Kat and Tara) were talking about fundraising ideas to support our beloved diabetes camp (where we had met the summer before), and other amazing diabetes non-profits. It can be so hard to ask friends and family for money all the time when there are so many worthy causes. We laughed about how ridiculous it would be to start a T1D nude calendar. We kept joking about it, then seriously talking about it, and decided we had to make it happen.
What started off as a joke between friends turned into something beautiful as we recruited people to participate in the project. It is interesting to us that diabetes is often called an invisible disease. Sometimes it feels anything but invisible with the bumps and bruises, scar tissue and patches of sticky adhesive residue, gadgets and tubing, and constant beeping. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Diabetes can definitely leave its mark on your body, and we feel this is especially apparent when naked. During their photo shoots, T1Ds shared stories of struggle and acceptance, of eating disorders and complications, and also of finding peace.
There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. The love for bodies and all their amazing abilities, and the exasperation of living with a chronically ill body that requires so much mental attention to keep alive really resonated with us. It’s about acknowledging the struggle and changes to your life and body while celebrating your existence and abilities. The calendar reminds us to practice gratitude for all the amazing things are bodies are able to accomplish each day with insulin.
Maybe you’ve heard the adage: HALT. Take precautions when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, especially when it’s decision making time (this skill is sufficiently difficult by itself for me, not withstanding additional emotions). Let’s add another L to the acronym: Low. Trying to do much of anything while hypoglycemic is already a challenge, but oftentimes the tiniest decisions turn tortuous.
How important is this understanding? Well, important enough to write a blog about it. Looking back, I think things would have just been easier if used the thinking plan I use now, “Okay, Ryan you are low. I know this feels like something really important that you should do right now, but this will be simpler in 1o minutes. Find some food.” Remind yourself of the past experiences where things were never as bad as they seemed when you were low. Really though, it’s never that bad.
I’m always down for a road trip so when I was invited to Austin to share Thanksgiving with new friends, I starting packing my bags. I met Lisa and her family in Hawaii and spent a number of evenings with the Thomas family. I even attended her daughter’s wedding, so driving a few hours for Thanksgiving was a no-brainer.
As the departure date approached, I felt the anxiety creep in. I was excited to see everyone, but nervous to spend 72 hours in someone’s home I barely knew. We had discussed my diabetes so they were familiar with me testing my BG and shooting up, but a wave of insecurity came over me.