I have Type 1 Diabetes. Ugh, that still doesn’t sound like something that should be coming out of my mouth. I am young (ish), I am healthy (ish), and why the *&$# do I have T1D?!?!
I was diagnosed at 32 years old after I had my second son. I was told that it was gestational and would go away (blah blah blah…) Well, here came the shock of a lifetime: it did not go away. So, here I am, 33 years old, with a pump and a Dexcom attached to me at all times. Talk about a major bummer, but the bigger question remains: now what? Continue reading →
In less than a week from our last podcast conversation with Clayton McCook, he managed to “close the loop”, by himself, with the help of many (including the NightScout Community). His focus is singular: restore as many childhood moments to his daughter’s life as possible, without diabetes hovering in the background. He walks us through the “closing the loop” steps and his bigger motivations. As a parent of a person with diabetes, if you’ve ever thought about tinkering with your gear to allow the CGM and pump talk, Clayton stands as proof that it’s possible to pull it off with determination, love, and a small desk somewhere. Continue reading →
As many of us do as the holidays approach, we reflect on what we were forced to learn, or turned a blind eye to. I’m not just focusing on everyday stuff, but on my diabetes management or lack there of. I ask myself – Did I diligently count carbs? Did I do my best to stay on top of my numbers? Was I honest at the doctor’s office? At the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the past is behind me and it’s time to focus on the future and how I can hopefully stay off of Santa’s diabetes naughty list for next year. Continue reading →
It was about this time last year when I wrote, Battle To The Death.. My Death That Is, about the countless hours/days/weeks I spent dealing with insurance companies. I want to start by saying that I’m incredibly grateful to finally have medical insurance as someone who has been self-employed most of my adult life, but this recent round(s) of phone calls has me questioning a few things. Continue reading →
We all aim for that flat, consistent beam of blood sugars shooting straight across the horizon, right? Well, my mine are that shooting star, then the shooting star rising back from the dead, then to fall out of the sky again… before lunch. I’m in one of those strange spirals, where the true etiology remains unknown, but more than likely a combination of my daily choices and changes in circumstances underlies the imbalance. Continue reading →
It’s almost insulting, right? There you are, an adult, being asked to take your shoes off for a foot exam. This was always puzzling as a kid, leaving me thinking, “Yo Doc, if I had a foot ulcer or something, don’t you think I’d know?” But nevertheless, I always take my shoes off–hoping I have on matching socks and my feet are tolerable in scent–and let the endo do his or her cursory 3 second glance, eventually sliding my socks back on to a good report. Continue reading →
I believe I’ve made it quite clear that I’m creature of habit, especially when it comes to my diabetes regimen. If I had to be brutally honest, I can’t fathom changing things because my numbers are good. At the same time, I look at my T1D peers and feel as if I’ve been left behind. What’s holding me back? This thought process led me to a recent decision to shake things up. Continue reading →
So I don’t have diabetes anymore, I think. Or at least for now I am on a diabetes vacation. After twenty two years living with type one diabetes, I am having somewhat of an identity crisis.
As people with diabetes, we are thinking constantly about our health. We are so in tune with how we feel throughout the day. From symptoms of high and low blood sugars, to fatigue, to nausea, to blurry vision, to cloudy thinking, we feel it all on most days of our lives. Continue reading →
In 2010, I joined 29 other folks to take part in Leadership Norman, a nine month training for business professionals. We met every other week and participated in a variety of sessions focused on community history, current community issues, leadership, and self-discovery. One of the sessions involved a physical, trust building experience of sorts – a ropes course. At this point, no one really knew I had Type 1 diabetes unless they happen to notice my tattoo, but this particular session brought attention to the disease. Continue reading →
One can only talk oneself for so long, right? Wrong, Amber and Ryan dedicated an entire show to each other (we thought they talked plenty already about themselves in ordinary episodes). In conversation a week prior, they realized much of life had passed by since they had a good sit-down chat. It was time t0 “catch-up” on life, diabetes, and pick-up strategies (Ryan heads to the trail and Amber heads to Whole Foods). Amber elaborates on a DDG post about her recent extraordinarily ignorant endocrinologist visit, while Ryan updates on his new, old-school approach to diabetes management.
In my opinion, having a good rapport with your endocrinologist is vital to living a fulfilled and happy life with diabetes. Over the past 33 years, I’ve had three, maybe four folks who guided me on my T1D journey. As a creature of habit, change is hard so when I was contacted by my current endocrinologist’s office and informed he was ill and no longer seeing patients, I braced myself. I was sad he was not doing well and a bit trepidatious about having to cultivate a new relationship from scratch. Continue reading →
Remember doing those paint-by-number sheets when you were a kid? It seemed magical when a confusing canvas of intersecting lines and random numbers transformed into a circus elephant or something equally amazing. I remember the joy I experienced when I produced my first masterpiece and the new found love I had for being an “artist.” Continue reading →
I arrived in Ukraine with my life packed into two suitcases (one of which was half filled with medical supplies). My first stop as a Peace Corps trainee was an old sanitarium just outside the capital city of Kyiv. There, my group of volunteers had a few buffer days in which Peace Corps became real: we learned which language we would study, where our 10-week language and job training would take place, which other volunteers would be in our 4-5 person training ‘cluster’, and we filled out a lot of paperwork. This is also where I had to decide how and to whom I would tell about my diabetes. Continue reading →
What started as a mini pod quickly blossomed into a full blown podcast once Amber began diving into the nitty gritty as to how Tara Layman (T1D Exposed co-founder) scored a new pancreas and kidney. The question of the hour – Will two pancreases and three kidneys reverse her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis? Well, in this episode they chat openly about the pre surgery process, switching from insulin shots to a handful of pills, how important it is to have a support team and what the future holds for someone who no longer “technically” has Type 1 diabetes. Continue reading →
I’m a creature of habit with my diabetes regimen and most definitely when it comes to my 5:41am Lantus injection, but last week things did not go according to plan. It was just like any other night, I headed to bed and by the time my head hit the pillow, I was dreaming of hosting my own reality TV series. I usually get up around 3am to pee and feel pretty awake as I navigate my way to the restroom. This particular morning, my “Give Your Shot” alarm went off, but when I stumbled into the restroom – I knew something was off. Continue reading →
Time to borrow from the game of golf. It’s on the mind, as I watched the PGA Championship over the weekend. Diabetes makes for an interesting viewing companion, always finding a way to relate anything back to itself.
I like golf. Haven’t found another activity that reflects the inner state of mind better. Much like diabetes management in that aspect. Getting to the point now, playing golf in Oklahoma means playing with the wind. The song doesn’t lie, the wind sweeps down the plains.
What’s the recipe for innovation? Funny you ask, we were thinking it went a little like this: timing, drive, wit, guts, luck, and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. At least in Amy Tenderich’s story, all of those factors came together magically when she received her diagnosis in 2003. Continue reading →
The DDG set out for their very FIRST diabetes camp adventure (despite only being 24 hours in duration, it still felt like an adventure). Really, with over 50 years of diabetes experience under their belts, what more was left to learn at camp? As Advisory Board Members for Camp Blue Hawk in Oklahoma City, Amber and Ryan went to school… well, summer school for a few more diabetes enlightenments.
I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was thirteen. Shortly after, a fellow traveler broke it down for me: you can either control your diabetes or you can let it control you. A rabble rouser froma young age, I decided quickly that if those were my choices, I’d choose option A. At the time, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make that decision each day, but gradually it helped me develop a personality trait I see in a lot of folks with type 1: we love a challenge, and we love to prove people wrong. When I decided to be a Peace Corps Volunteer, I went into it with that same bullheaded mentality that had been an almost constant companion since diagnosis. Continue reading →
My own definition of insanity: doing the same thing, over and over, getting the same result, while simultaneously knowing the definition of insanity. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been on loop mode. I knew I was on loop mode, but history kept repeating itself. Until… a recent lunch with Amber and our friend Trish (and podcast 17 guest) said, “Ya know, you could just stop eating so many carbs in the mornings.” Let’s backtrack, mainly because I feel the need to justify why I needed to be told this essential truth in diabetes management after 18 years.
The DDG invested a weekend afternoon to dispel a diabetes urban legend… HOT TUBS, and their effect on blood sugar. In this episode, they do scientific research, or something resembling the scientific method, while rambling about everyday life, social media and all things diabetes. Why hasn’t there been an experiment like this before? Well, maybe there has been, but the evidence was nowhere to be found. Leave it to the DDG to get to the bottom of this T1D fear. Bear witness folks, this is diabetes research history. Continue reading →
Ryan trying to figure out how that whole lancet changing thing works.
I just returned home from the largest diabetes gathering I’ve attended to date, the Friends For Life conference. I had no idea what to expect and felt overwhelmed at times because I was surrounded by SO many PWDs. I laughed and cried during my interactions with folks who understand the path I’m on. While in such great company, I gathered data (sipping wine and sharing stories) on commonalities and lifestyle hacks to make life with T1D easier. I’ll share a few of them in a future post – BUT there was one thing that was very clear – NO ONE changes their lancet. Why is this? Are we stubborn, lazy or just gluttons for punishment? Well, I’ve developed a plan I hope you will participate in… Continue reading →
Last week my favorite bartender overheard my conversation with a dear friend. We were laughing about how our bodies are changing since turning the big 4-0. The bar was packed with attractive men so when she announced, “Amber – there’s no way you’re 40!”, I almost fell from my bar stool. Instead of freaking out, I announced with pride that I turned 40 a few months back. The girl talk continued and I proclaimed how happy I am to still be alive. This declaration fueled my desire to begin a new series of posts – diabetes over the decades, yes decade(s). Continue reading →
We got the green light to interview IndyCar driver and fellow guy with type 1 diabetes, Charlie Kimball. He not only keeps his car on the track, he stays out of the low BG pits. In this episode he shares his father’s in-car orange juice invention, his daily attitude, and how he became the (sort of) first T1D IndyCar driver. Continue reading →
One of the biggest challenges I face as a T1D is tackling foreign foods. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely shy away from an unfamiliar dish, but guessitmating the carbs can be difficult. One dish in particular I’m drawn to is curry so what better way to update my carb calculating skills than by preparing this heavenly dish myself. I rallied my culinary partners in crime and whipped up a recipe with a few diabetes friendlier options.
This recipe might seem intimidating, but don’t let the number of ingredients freak you out. I’m breaking it down into three easy steps. Continue reading →
Last February I was sucker punched by my worst fear – retinopathy. This dark cloud has hovered over me for 30 years and I knew it would inevitably make it’s way to the surface. Ryan was actually with me at the appointment and I think we were both a little shocked when Dr. Smith of Classic Vision noticed numerous hemorrhages in my right eye. After having time to process the bad news, I gathered the courage to write about it in, Diabetic Retinopathy Is Finally On The Radar. When it was clear three months later my eyes were not getting better, he referred me to a specialist. After a series of additional tests at the Dean McGee Eye Institute, I was given the green light to live life and return in 12 months for a follow-up. Hemorrhages had been detected, but they could have been caused by other factors like stress, blood pressure in addition to diabetes.
The day had come and it was time to schedule my follow-up exam. Was retinopathy still on the radar? Continue reading →
A few days back, I took the first medical school board exam (Step 1 USMLE). As always, diabetes did its thing, always in the background, making subtle moves, maybe influencing things, maybe not, but nonetheless, it was there. In itself, the whole day is its own marathon–7 separate 40 question exams spaced out over 8 hours. Having the knowledge is one thing, but putting yourself a place to access that knowledge is another (the test results arrive in 3 weeks, so it’s hard to ascertain whether I truly accessed said knowledge). Continue reading →
When I was ten years old, my doctor told my mom I would never have children. I didn’t hear these words; I was laying in a diabetic coma that lasted for 4 days. When I woke up, I woke up to a new life, a diagnosed life that included injections, meal planning, and glucometers. When my mom finally broke the news to me a few months later, the last thing on my mind was having kids someday.
Moving is stressful, but having diabetes adds a whole new layer to the chaos. When the “official” moving day arrived, I felt confident I was prepared for the uncertainty of what laid ahead. I knew the next 48+ hours were going to be challenging both mentally and physically, but more so on my diabetes. Since co-founding the DDG, it has opened my eyes to how diabetes plays a role in every part of my life. There is no escaping. Continue reading →
Well, we warned you and now it’s time to share another episode of “Ask Us Anything“. In this episode, we received stellar questions from #DOC royalty and some brave souls who were kind enough to leave us a SpeakPipe message. Amber & Ryan share their deepest thoughts, not advice on diabetes complications, drinking bourbon, carb guessing in uncharted territory and how to encourage a “friend” to make healthier food choices. We’re keeping it real and sharing some laughs. Hope you enjoy the show.
Novo Nordisk was kind enough to invite me to join them in cheering on T1D and Indy race car driver, Charlie Kimball in the Phoenix Grand Prix. Upon receiving my itinerary, it was clear to be a whirlwind of a weekend. After three full days of lively, diabetes themed discussions, I prepared to head home. For 48+ hours, I had been fueled by adrenaline, insulin and red wine. My diabetes game plan going into the weekend – adjust Lantus injection to the different time zone, do my best to pursue healthy food options and have fun no matter what the circumstances. Continue reading →
Being low does not permit coherent thought, most of the time. Thus, this article will not follow much of a format. Instead, we’re going to examine my thoughts, close to sequentially, as I navigated the grocery store, at dinner time, with a blood sugar of 54. (This was not a planned experiment. I tested to calibrate my CGM right before going in. The CGM was off.) Continue reading →
If you, like me, grew up viewing life through the periscope of sports, the random sports idiom knows no bounds. Sport is often sold as the character molding force that teaches the lessons of life, builds camaraderie, and strengthens resolve. Being one that only knows my own experience, I cannot discount these assertions (recently though, I’ve met a few people who never played sports and seem alright). Continue reading →
A recent series of events has me looking at life a bit differently. Nothing dramatic, but when considering a few big decisions I began to weigh the options. Fear crept in and so did a need for uncharted territories. As I’m still pondering my final decision, it made me think – there are two types of people on this earth in which I’ve broken into different categories:
Balls Out – The person who doesn’t think twice or look back before jumping off a cliff.
Fear Factor – The person who must calculate a few things = test the water, nearest exit point, wind speed and BG level before even considering the jump.
This discovery forced me to dive into my psyche to determine which category I fell in to. Continue reading →
As a freshman in high school, if someone had asked me what type 1 diabetes was about two months ago, I would have been clueless. I kind of knew about Type 2 and I might’ve had a sense that there was a second type of diabetes, but… that was about it.
A few weeks before my diagnosis, I hadn’t been feeling like myself and was thirsty all of the time. My mom and I decided that should it persist throughout the next week or so, I would go to the doctor. On Thursday morning I felt fine, except for this new usual thirstiness. About mid-morning my stomach started hurting a little. It wasn’t that bad, so I figured it was just something I ate. I had biology class right before lunch, and we were doing a lab on yeast fermentation. While my teacher was explaining part of the procedure, I started feeling dizzy. It got worse and worse, and by the time I realized something was actually wrong, I couldn’t really do anything. Out.Continue reading →
Nah, that’s not a typo in the title. This is an article about the opposite of a low carb, high fat way of life. Instead, it’s an embracing of the carbs, a going out of your way to eat more of them discussion. The spark for this recent exploration into the ultra carb life was inspired by a recent (but upcoming podcast release) conversation with Amy McKinnon.
She, like myself, stumbled into the plant-based way of doing things, but has a different outlook on fat. Inherently, a vegan diet will consume more carbs than any other nutrient. So, it’s not like I was not eating carbs prior. I ate plenty. But, before our conversation, I’d been consuming about a third of my calories from fat (roughly 90 grams/day) in the way of almond butter, trail mix, walnuts in cereal, and olive oil to saute veggies. Amy aims at less than 30 grams per day, claiming that this has had remarkable benefits 2-3 hours post meal in the way of more consistent blood sugars. Continue reading →
A year ago I joined the Bourbonettes, a wonderful group of educated, savvy women who come together to enjoy this delightful libation. A pairing of Girl Scout cookies and various labels of bourbon kicked off my inaugural Bourbonette adventure. Even though I was excited to attend, I didn’t partake. My T1D fears took over. I was nervous, didn’t really know anyone and had no desire to attempt carb counting with the fear of miscalculating and being a shitshow. Lame!
Last week the gracious hostess presented a fruit adorned Fancy Free. My immediate thought – do I take the leap of carb counting/alcohol consumption faith and join in? Continue reading →
As an acupuncturist, I spend a lot of time thinking about balance. In Chinese medicine theory, we talk a lot about the balance of yin and yang. Yin is dark, cold, nutritive, whereas yang is bright, hot and energetic. We see these two forces in all aspects of life–from day to night, summer to winter, activity to rest. Good health is all about finding the yin and yang in our own bodies. When I meet an acupuncture patient for the first time, I focus on finding out what is off-balance that is causing their pain or illness, and coaxing their body to regain that balance and heal from the root level. Continue reading →
I love to get creative in the kitchen so when I heard a fellow T1D complain about the carbs in pizza – I had to take action. I make it a point to insist on a thin crust with healthy toppings, but felt confident there had to be a healthier option. A recipe rumor had been circulating about this mystery, low carb pizza crust made from cauliflower. I was skeptical, but my previous culinary creations with cauliflower were pleasantly surprising – so what the hell, let’s do this. Continue reading →
Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Easter are all the same to me – a candy driven holiday. You can’t go into a store or even the pharmacy for that matter without being bombarded with isles and isles of candy. Growing up with T1D, this isle was torture! I didn’t really care about the candy, but I “had” to refrain which made me feel isolated from my peers. Well, I’ve changed my tune and created a list of ideas and tips PWDs can appreciate… and it includes chocolate.
Unique Gift Ideas:
Purchase a T1Dexposed Calendar – The Nude Diabetes Advocacy Project was created to promote awareness, connect people living with T1D, and fundraise for both local and global diabetes organizations.
Routine–we love to hate it, especially with a demanding disease like diabetes, which requires hyper-vigilance. No sane person would set their alarm to wake up during the night to check their blood sugar, diligently count carbs before a meal, or force themselves on the treadmill at 9 pm. But we do it, because without the effort, where would we be? The science speaks for itself.
So, how can we turn a ‘have to’ into a ‘want to’. This is where the sister science of Yoga and Ayurveda take center stage. The word Ayurveda means the science of life. As a traditional Indian method of healing, it uses the natural world to help us understand what creates balance and imbalance. Continue reading →
In the midst of a VIP cocktail hour LIVE from the Connect+Cure Gala in Oklahoma City, leaders on the diabetes research and treatment frontier were kind enough to converse with us. We didn’t focus on run of the mill research questions. We got to the heart of their individual diabetes motivations. We covered the importance of a physician’s own A1C, the equal importance of cowboy boots, favorite Toby Keith (he played a full concert that night) songs, and why both Amber and Ryan haven’t been dropped as patients for non-compliance… yet. As the night’s feature ceremony, the Hamm Prize–$250,000 for research advances toward a cure–was awarded to Dr. Ronald Kahn, and he joined us to share his enlightening perspectives (that’s not hyperbole, it’s truth).
After we wrapped up our interviews, we were honored to join 900+ people who support the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center’s (HHODC) future and groundbreaking strides toward eradicating diabetes. As Oklahomans, where 1 out of every 3 people is affected by diabetes, it was a meaningful night filled with promise. We are so grateful for the opportunity provided by the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and appreciative of our guests to supply insights for all of us with diabetes. Thank you everyone! Continue reading →
January 28th, 1984 I checked into Children’s Hospital after my pediatrician cried expressing her worst fear – I had type 1 diabetes. I shared my diagnosis day in this POST I wrote in the first few months of DiabetesDailyGrind. I wept as I recalled the days events that changed my life. SO many emotions surfaced – sadness, anger, fear and all things doom and gloom. 32 years later I choose to celebrate. Diabetes has been a large contributor to building my character and I have a magnificent life. There’s NO room for doom and gloom (wow – that kind of rhymed)! Continue reading →
My nephew Greg (aka Grandpa Henry) is headed back to Cali after a lengthy visit to Oklahoma. This trip was a bit different than years past because he’s old enough to ask questions – Real Questions. He no longer holds back pointing out bald people in the grocery store or asking awkward questions about a person’s physique at inappropriate times. During this particular visit, it was clear he needed answers. Why was I pricking my finger? Does it hurt? Why do I give shots? This short video documents one of MANY conversations I had with him and made me think – how do you discuss diabetes with a child?
“Just remember – life is like a sine graph”, my mother always touted, long before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (at the “adult” age of 18). Growing up with a dad who was a math professor ensured that I knew from a very early age what the sine function was. It goes up, and then down. And then back up. She always said it to make me feel better – after losing a tennis match, getting a lousy grade on an exam or fighting with my high school boyfriend. “Head up Maria – remember – life is like a sine graph.” Continue reading →
The DiabetesDailyGrind.com wants to share an hour of good times with fellow people with diabetes, their loved ones and parents of T1D children. We won’t be sharing research or promises of a cure, just celebrating together as we all live the real life.
This inaugural event will also celebrate DDG co-founder, Amber’s 32nd Diaversary!!!! Continue reading →
I’ve always believed that I can do anything with diabetes. This idea of freedom is one of the primary reasons we started the site. For sanity’s sake, it’s good for me to venture the great unknowns, test the boundaries, and find new possibilities for my life with the disease.
Yet… as the saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything. And maybe, just maybe, there’s more freedom in understanding of our own limitations first. To demonstrate what I’m getting at (this just recently came to conscious awareness in my own life), let’s examine a few of my daily choices: Continue reading →
Woohoo – We made it to 2016! In the days prior to popping a cork and celebrating an epic 2015, I took time to reflect. What did 2015 bring to the table? What lessons did I learn or refuse to address? What literature had an impact? What lifestyle choices moved me forward? My preferred form of geeking out is definitely documentary films and three particular films made quite the impact on my dietary choices (thus my diabetes management) and overall mental state when it comes to what I put in my body.
THAT SUGAR FILM – One man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.
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 →