I’ve joked, and/or compared my diabetes management to OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), but hadn’t met anyone living with both conditions until interviewing Brett Ryan Stewart. Brett is a Nashville based producer who shared – “ultimately what OCD kind of comes down to is this inability to accept what you can’t control and then obsessing about a way to control the uncontrollable.” I’m sure many of you living with T1D can relate to this mentality and Brett’s ability to give us a look into his daily life was eye opening to say the least.
It’s time to get rid of the word ‘weak’ when talking about people navigating chronic illnesses. In reality, we are some of the strong, unique and resilient people in the world, and Madison Thorn is spreading that very message. She was fueled by a nasty protest sign and turned that energy into a thought provoking project highlighting other high risk humans like ourselves, a story that needs to be told.
People living with diabetes don’t just need the latest and greatest tech, they need real solutions to unique problems! Kayla Mattingly always knew she wanted 3-4 kids from thestart, but never imagined two of her four sons would be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She rolled with the autoimmune punches, but an insulin allergy has her family and medical team scrambling for solutions. Type IV Hypersensitivity to insulin is rare, but she has found a handful of other parents who are looking for answers.
To all those who need to hear this – yes you can! This is the lifelong motto of Kristina Loskarjova, a woman who sets her mind to something and makes it happen while living her best life with T1D. She shares how taking a step back from the pressures of management could be exactly what you need to get back out and start living a fulfilled life. Kristina is an accomplished designer, entrepreneur and author who is sharing her story and those of other people living extraordinary lives with this disease.
Manny Hernandez is a published author, recognized diabetes advocate, and speaker on the power of community for social impact who reminds us, while we are not on this journey by choice, it’s not a path we need to take alone. What better way to wrap up 2020 than with a brave soul who transformed his professional career to connect with others who understand similar challenges.
Thankfully, many of us living with Type 1 diabetes have a supportive parent(s), but have we really taken time to think about how our diagnosis affected our loved ones. When Janet’s media kit fell on my desk, I knew I wanted to connect. Their story of strength and partnership as they navigated through this disease, both highs and lows, is a reminder – we are not alone. Continue reading →
TheReal Life Diabetes Virtual Happy Hour takes place every Thursday from 5 – 6:15pm CST. The theme or activity has attendance growing because we have a TON of fun with folks who “get it”. This event is a great place to meet new people, connect with old friends and hopefully lift your spirits as you roll into the weekend.
Checkout a few fun pics below and be sure to click on the Happy Hour logo to register. Continue reading →
After being rejected to join an insulin therapy clinical trial, I was determined to find someone who was able to participate. DDG’s newest team member, Cynthia Celt, connected the dots and hooked me up with Craig who shared his recent experience as a participant in a rather intense trial. Thank you Craig for temporarily donating your body to science to help fellow insulin dependent dia-peeps. Keep on trucking… jeeping you brave soul.
I connected with Kyle on social media and like many of my past guests, he shoots it to you straight about diet, exercise and his diabetes hacks. He isn’t shy and shares his opinion on lifestyle and offers HIS take on things without offering up medical advice. I was a little squeamish when Kyle shared details about a current trial he’s participating in, but eager to learn more about the advancements in CGM technology from someone who is walking the walk. Continue reading →
The dust has settled and the Real Life Diabetes Consulting team is back at home and taken a moment to reflect on our visit to the JDRF TypeOneNation summit in St. Louis. I love chatting with this crew and thought it was time to recap our roller coaster of events in Missouri. We aren’t shy and touch on personal take aways, connecting with new diapeeps of all ages, and how we battled our own diabetes debacles on this trip. Real life! Continue reading →
It was just by chance our paths would cross at a T1D kiddo and parent support group. I rarely attend and Rebecca and her husband James were guests that evening. When we split off into another room, Rebecca shared her heartfelt story to the parents and there was not a dry eye in the room. For many of us who have lived with T1D for decades, sharing the impact this disease has on our state of mind can be difficult to recollect, much less share. Rebecca found the courage and is turning a life altering experience into a philanthropic dream.
We’re an analytical bunch. Numbers flow through our brains alongside most thoughts. Numbers can dictate our emotional states–ever been feeling great, get a blood sugar, see it’s at 250, and then start to feel high? That blood sugar number courses through everything we do, everyone we meet, and everything we think. But, does it have to? Continue reading →
Whether you view dating as an enticing, fun experience or there’s nothing more you’d rather run and hide from, diabetes may be one extra thing to consider (and it’s important that you do)! As a young adult who has lived with type one her whole life, albeit minus 4 years, there are many questions I ask myself when it comes to dating:
When/How do I tell them about my diabetes?
What if there’s an emergency and they don’t know I have diabetes?
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 →
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 →
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 →
I had been mentally preparing myself for a memorial service for the spouse of a woman I absolutely adore. The dreaded day arrives and my goal prior to attending the service included a brisk walk and meditation before jumping in the shower. Everything was going according to plan until I returned home to find I was locked out of the house! I had 1 hour and 32 minutes before picking up an honorary guest of the widow!
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.
This is not an advice column. It is the opposite. If you, like the DiabetesDailyGrind, want to make the most of your Thanksgiving with friends and family, avoid the following seven diabetes-related behaviors:
1) Be the high school hero during the annual family football game.
After scoring every touchdown, making every tackle, and breaking your niece’s collarbone, your family will most likely say “See you next year” and you’ll be low.
2) Join spirited conversations over the Middle East or Donald Trump.
3) Flip a family member the bird, storm out of the house, and peel out of the driveway, after losing a third game of Uno in a row. Two hours later, your blood sugar has spiked because of the stressful exit.
Game days are a huge part of the Oklahoma culture and one game in particular brings out the crazy in all of us, the RED RIVER RIVALRY. Die hard fans from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas meet in the middle – Big D, where everything is bigger – including corn dogs and hangovers. The DDG has made this epic journey a few times and in spite of not going this year, we’re willing to highlight the madness through diabetes eyes.
My life is very different than the average person my age. I’ve never been married, don’t have children and have shared my home with a housemate for the past 10 years. This unconventional lifestyle allowed me to pursue my dreams and the freedom to travel, but next month everything changes. I’m branching out and going back to living alone. YAY ME!
I look forward to walking around naked, leaving dishes in the sink, having multiple closets to house my shoes and storing diabetes supplies wherever I want. Continue reading →
Our field of contenders is complete. Thank you to everyone who submitted their life-saving food or drink choices. In regards to many of the snacks, I can recall specific instances where I consumed that food when low. With that said, speaking from personal experience, I have written a review of the low blood sugar snack contenders.
It’s time for us to crown a champion of low blood sugar recovery. You get two votes. Pick two snacks off the list, yes, they must be on the list, and submit those two snacks in the comments section below. The DDG team will tally the votes and declare a champion at the beginning of next week. Voting will last one week.
They’re cheap and easy. Not usually an attractive description, but here, it’s perfect. Coming in at a smooth, versatile 27 carbs, this fruit gives your blood sugar a bang for its buck, with staying power due to the fiber. Continue reading →
The DDG team is looking to crown a champion of our own, one to rival the NCAA tourney’s champion found in March Madness. Today, that tournament begins. It’s time to declare the field of contenders, a group fighting for a distinguished honor.
World’s Greatest Low Blood Sugar Recovery Snack
Why is the DDG looking to anoint a titleholder? Because we care about this. Amber eats fruit strips. Ryan loves cereal. Whole foods vs processed foods. Juice vs candy. We deserve a champion.
We need contenders. We need your go-to low blood sugar snacks. Who knows, you might even be low as you read this. If you’re not low, pretend that you’re low. What do you grab out of the fridge? Cabinet? At the gas station? What do you crave? Please don’t induce a low blood sugar in this process.
Okay, now you’re ready. In the comment section below, submit your two top snacks. The DDG team will compile this list into a bracket and release the first round of voting next Monday.
Peace. Focus. Confidence. Ask a person with diabetes if those words are associated with low blood sugar. You’ll get a resounding no. If we look at it from the perspective of the brain’s energy needs in blood, 20 percent of each heart beat heads to that squishy mass. In that blood is energy in the form of sugar. Cut down the energy source to your brain and lose functioning power, like the ability to focus.
Science is wonderful. Yet, the phrase Albert Einstein is often credited with, Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted, applies here. Continue reading →
It’s now afternoon. I’m staring out of the window from my desk at school, trying to pound information into my brain with little progress. The weather’s perfect. It was time. Time to ride. I mean, for February in Oklahoma, I’ll take anything above 40 but yesterday it was 60!
Let me digress, our story really begins at lunchtime. I was running low on groceries, so campus food was the only option. I stroll up to the cafeteria salad bar at the bottom of Children’s Hospital, looking to put together a relatively healthy salad. At this point, the blood sugar is 90. As a plant-based, vegan eater, I always check first for beans and peas, the old reliable sources of protein. Neither were in site.
I bailed, then walking half a mile up to the student union for a taco salad bowl. By the time I got there, the glucose was hanging out in the 60s. Now, I’m absolutely starving. I eat the bowl, and casually check the CGM (continous glucose monitor) to see when my blood sugar starts to tick back up. Once it did, I dialed up a few units and didn’t give it another thought. Two hours later, I get the high blood sugar alert at 250. Knowing that I’m about to take off on a bike ride, I only take a unit to play it safe.
The cardinal sin of CGM wearing is not testing your blood sugar on the meter before correcting. I sinned. Continue reading →
Since joining the DOC (diabetes online community), I am continually impressed by the uplifting encouragement dished out daily. Really though, it’s amazing. It usually goes a little something like this:
Person 1 on Twitter: “I seriously hate being high! I’m so sick and tired of my pump clogging. It’s all my fault for not changing the site! #theworldisending”
Person 2 responding to Person 1 on Twitter: “It’s not your fault! Things just happen. Remember, this will pass and your sugar will be good in no time! #keepyourheadup” Continue reading →
What’s the fastest, most-efficient way to derail your day? Go low or go high. This is our beast. Don’t wake it up. Don’t taunt it. Learning to preserve your creativity and momentum is critical as a modern student, professional, and parent.
Here is the goal: Do whatever you can to maintain your zone, especially when you need to be your best. Of course imperfection is inevitable. Occasionally, your blood sugar will be over 250 for no reason. You will go below 80 when you should not have. This is the grind. But, when you have established control–firmly entrenched in a comfortable blood sugar zone–you must do everything possible to preserve it for productivity sake. Continue reading →
Lunch is over. You just scarfed down your kale, blueberry, chia seed, sprouted black bean, and quinoa salad. Yay you. After leaving the break room, feeling quite proud of your lunch choice in comparison to your coworkers’ chicken fingers, you take some insulin. This does happen to be your first time packing and eating this meal, after breaking the chicken finger habit, yesterday.
Anyway, emails popping up in the corner of your computer monitor catch your attention. You answer a few. Feeling good. Then, you begin to feel overwhelmed. Here come the thoughts sneaking into your consciousness: “How can I possibly answer all of these emails? Why don’t these people take care of their own $hit? I hate this job. I’m not very good at this. I’m going to get fired. It’s over.” Continue reading →
Oftentimes, exercise can be treacherous–inciting low blood sugars immediately after, then the resulting high blood sugars, and leaving us wondering why we signed up to exercise in the first place. It’s time to provide clarity to something we all need and crave in our lives: movement. Matching personal experience with research, I’ll provide a few generalizations that will help you traverse the exercise path with optimum, never perfect, glucose management.
Periodically, I’ll ask Amber about a recent observation about my own T1D life, “When X happens, do you feel like X?” She promptly shoots me a quizzical glance and responds, “You always say things like this to me and I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced that specifically.” If you’re not following me yet, be patient, this is where diabetes gets weird.
Our bodies are complicated. The king of this complexity is the nervous system–especially the sensory feedback. Being a T1D presents unique insights into the nervous system. These insights are everywhere.If you listen carefully, you find your language. Your language is different than mine. It’s full of clues. What drives the language? Blood glucose levels. Continue reading →
Last Friday night, Halloween, marked the opening of a new era in my life–going out with continuous glucose monitoring. Some may say So what? Big deal. I’d respond with Have you ever tested your blood sugar at the bar? Try remembering to test your blood sugar at the bar.Continue reading →
I want to start by saying this post is filled with curse words and real emotions, so if you are easily offended – STOP reading now. This photograph sums up my thoughts on how I feel about diabetes. My weekend was a shitshow of highs and lows and I DID NOT consume a single piece of fucking candy. I’ve created a timeline of events so you can understand how everything diabetes worked against me.
11am – Have an incredibly stressful meeting where I could feel my blood pressure rise. I acted calmly and only broke down in the privacy of my office. Heated discussions soon followed and I took the rest of the afternoon to fester.
With the CGM alongside, I now understand the speed at which insulin operates. Yesterday evening, my glucose trended up towards 200. I corrected with a unit of insulin. At the moment, I was attempting to study, which invariably leads to a search for any excuse not to study. Insert CGM. I kept looking to see if the insulin was working. It didn’t initially. Fifteen minutes later, I could see the readings crest and begin trending downwards. This is the indicator to stop giving insulin unless you enjoy being low, or well… crazy. Continue reading →
The past couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind of events leading up to the Grand Opening of my baby, Dreamer Concepts: A Community Art Space. My close friends and family, for the most part, know how to handle me in times of utter chaos by subtlety bringing or offering to bring me food. I often refuse for some odd reason because I’m kind of a meal planning nazi, but after hearing the the word, “hangry” more than once I throw in the towel and allow others to help me.
This new adventure brought on something I had never consciously recognized until meeting Ryan Fightmaster. In a conversation earlier in the week, I mentioned I didn’t have to give a single unit of insulin throughout the day while still consuming plenty of food (fruit, veggies, protein and a few carbs here and there). I immediately think of my hormones. I won’t freak you out by talking about my period, but this is a huge factor as to when my blood sugar starts to go crazy. I contribute the constant low to the insane amount of adrenaline and not taking a moment to actually slow my mind or body down for more than 4 minutes. I literally ate while walking around delegating tasks.
I’ll admit that I could be more without diabetes. Not acknowledging that, to be blunt, is ignorant. Don’t mistake me, I subscribe to the power of positive thinking, knowing that it improves the quality of each moment. However, I will not use that methodology to convince myself that my life is better with the disease.
Diabetes is a grind, never ceasing. Yet, it’s forged who we are. Most of us will give it responsibility for great things in our lives. Still though, deep down, on occasion or daily, we ask the question, “Could we be more without it?” Being content knowing that we could, that’s the Zen in diabetes. Continue reading →
It has been an incredibly busy two weeks so I decided to spend my first day off deep cleaning my home. Happy Sunday to me. I have a confession, cleaning makes me happy and I know that the rest of my week will be more productive because everything is in it’s place.
I kicked off my cleaning spree around 10:30am and even put on gym shorts and running shoes. I wanted to be on my game for this day long adventure. At around 2pm I realized I had about 412 projects going and most of them were about 64% complete. Bed is stripped and sheets are in the dryer, shower is ready to scrub and dust bunnies are begging for mercy. Unless the bunnies can pay rent, I am evicting them and their friends.
At some point around 2:45 it dawns on me that I am not completing anything. DING, DING, DING… this sounds like low blood sugar. Continue reading →
You would think with 30 years of diabetes under my belt I would have a pretty good handle on this disease, but I am still amazed by how my blood sugar affects my body. A recent middle of the night low reminded me of an interesting conversation I had years ago.
Barbara, my former high school teacher and recently diagnosed adult Type 1, was kind enough to attend an outdoor event I was hosting. She sat down next to me as I was suffering a serious low blood sugar (sweaty, not able to put together a complete thought, etc.). We cursed how the serious lows seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. She has a dry sense of humor, which I totally appreciate, and made a comment that only diabetic women could understand – “Menopause will be nothing – you experience the equivalent of an unbearable hot flash with any major low blood sugar.” Good to know!! This inspired me to to compare the symptoms of menopause (Healthline.com) and diabetes.
Hot Flashes – Hot flashes can be a sudden feeling of heat either in the upper portion of your body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep.
Every T1D has woken up in a pool of sweat or even worse – had a sweatfest during a social event.
Mid-august has arrived. Summer is holding on for dear-life. The chance for one last adventure looms. Us Oklahomans just spent a week on the Carolina coast, a place unfamiliar to the land-locked. Sun was had, drinks were guzzled, laughs were aplenty, and diabetes subtly influenced it all.
While out by the water, mostly drowning in an attempt to body-surf, we came up with 6 sure-fire ways to live it up on the beach with insulin-dependence: Continue reading →
Low blood sugar makes people crazy. Even normal people understand this concept of being “hangry”. When there is no standard, low BG relief available (Gatorade, granola bars, OJ), the hunter-gatherer in us appears.
Here’s the list of the Top 5 Craziest Foods ever consumed while low by The Grind: Continue reading →
AC – I prefer a vodka with soda, single, tall with a splash of bloody mary mix. Lime as a garnish. I seem to consume them quickly so the extra soda water helps me from becoming intoxicated too quickly. I LOVE a good bloody mary, but don’t want the sodium so a splash adds flavor. At home or with my friends I am definitely a red wine person.
RF – I’m going beer. I lean hard toward the IPAs. Here in OKC I like to go with the Titan or Caldera. Or I like to find a cool looking/sounding beer on tap and order that. Red wine has its own time and place too.
If you know you’re staying out past midnight, what are you packing with you?
AC – I am rarely out past 10pm, but I always have a fruit strip or organic gummies. I know that both items will raise my blood sugar enough w/o spiking it. Worse case scenario I would ask the bartender for a shot glass of cranberry juice.
RF – Rarely will you find me without a Clif Bar in my back pocket. I’ve found that if you end up going low at the bar, that usually means you’ve had more than a few. If you’ve had more than a few, asking for cup of soda incognito usually doesn’t keep it up for very long. The combo of carbs, fat, and protein works for me. Plus they hit the spot when everyone else is chowing pizza. I usually break down my tester and distribute the parts into 3 separate pockets. Continue reading →
Count your carbs – take your insulin. This is the mirage we chase tirelessly every day.
Here’s how the situation usually places out. Tuesday I wake up and my blood sugar is say 80. Not where I like to wake up but not a low blood sugar that slows down my mind all morning. I make a blueberry banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. Looking at bolusing for about 45-50 carbs by my count. I send 3 units in through the pump. Feel great all morning. Blood sugar looks good at lunch. I OWN THIS DISEASE!
Flash forward to Wednesday. I wake up. Make the exact same smoothie. Blood sugar is at 123 this time. Given the higher blood sugar, I take 3.5 units of insulin. By 9AM, in mid-lesson, I feel that wave of anxiety and insecurity move through me. Words and coherent thought escape me. You guys know how that sweat feels. Here we go – blood sugar is at 70. What just happened? Continue reading →