Diabetes Blog Week Day 5 – Diabetes Life Hacks

Our Friday #DBlogWeek topic is one I find really fun – Diabetes Life Hacks.  Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes, everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.)  

Non-medical: I’m paleo. I didn’t transition to the lifestyle because of diabetes, but for other reasons and much to my surprise it completely transformed my life with diabetes and overall health. As a result, I ended up becoming super passionate (curious and fascinated) about food, and what it does to our bodies. I blog about it, guest blog/write about it, and am inundated with emails about it. I can’t tell you the last time I counted food, calories, or saw crazy up and down swings in blood sugar. Not to mention, it really helped me lose weight even while supplementing insulin, and with another auto-immune disease that adds more difficulty. Totally awesome!

Diabetes Blog Week Day 3 – What Brings me Down

Our topic for today is What Brings Me Down.  May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)

What brings me down with regard to diabetes? Honestly? Quite a few things, but probably not what most would first think.

One: Diabetes drama in different groups/clubs/networks, etc. It isn’t about what kind of diabetes you have, how you manage it, how involved you are, we all have diabetes, can’t we all just support one another? Why is it a competition? I absolutely hate the finger pointing, the negativity, attacking. Quite frankly, it’s discouraging to me.

Two: I get really fired up, once or twice a year, when I get stuck in the “my disease is a business” mindset. It’s a very unique position to be in when you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 25, are very involved with JDRF (in many capacities), work in the diabetes industry, and try to navigate the intricacies of DoD insurance. I continue to devote time, effort and money to varying organizations that are helping to improve technologies, and ultimately, find a cure. However, diabetes is one of the BIGGEST businesses in this country, and when our society continues to be reactive with regard to health, rather than proactive, I get very discouraged that a cure will be found at any point, because our economy would take a huge hit. Sad, but really, true. Again, this only crosses my mind on occasion and it’s usually short lived, but still. Ugh.

Three: I do not get depressed from the physical aspect of having diabetes. What I do get depressed about, is the mental and psychological aspect that we as individuals with diabetes live with on a non-stop basis, and will for the rest of our lives. Nobody really sees or understands diabetes, a very big portion of the time. It’s carrying that constant burden of such demand that really is just fucking depressing! My numbers, are great. I know how to manage my stress, fine. But my brain? It takes a beating.

Diabetes Blog Week Day 2 – Poetry

Our topic today is Poetry Tuesday.  This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

I wrote a haiku inspired by a couple traumatic low blood sugars I’ve had – when the air was so heavy I couldn’t breathe, and sat in a puddle of sweat wondering if I’d make it through to the other side:

Confusion sets in.
Air is heavy on my shoulders.
Blood sugar 39.

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 Day 1-Causes and Issues

Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)

I’ve thought long and hard about this topic, because there are about a million different things related to living with diabetes, that I’m extremely passionate about; I think they can just about all be summed up with two words: outreach and connection.

The outreach aspect is kind of what it’s always been about for me (well, post diagnosis depression phase, which was about 1 1/2 years). When I was first diagnosed with T1D, the circumstances were less than desirable and for the most part, I was on my own with regard to healthcare, understanding, and learning about T1D (except for hubs and family!). Where do you go to learn? Google. I found a forum and was promptly attacked for my lack of knowledge with regard to T1D (mind you, I’d had it about 4 weeks), and that’s when someone reached out to me to offer help and support. The series of events that transpired after that initial contact brought a whole group of amazing T1D adults and parents of children with T1D into my regular, daily life. They taught me everything I know today, and for that, I am eternally thankful. I’m still in touch with all of these individuals today (and have met many in person over the years), and here we are 7 1/2 years running (where is that cure?). I quickly realized how important connections are, so I set out to be involved and “out” there, to provide the same support and knowledge I’d gained, for those that find themselves in my initial shoes. Nobody deserves disrespect, to be alone or to be judged.

Connecting for me, in part, stems from outreach and has come in many different forms. This disease is relentless and most often silent, so I’ve forced myself to not be so quiet when connecting with others, and improving lives of those living with diabetes. Whether it’s volunteering, fundraising, leading teams, speaking to groups about diabetes, advocating, writing letters, social media and blogging, giving presentations to companies, there is always someone I meet affected by diabetes, and if not, you most certainly have an instant connection with others living with the disease that understand you. Priceless!

Outreach and connections are what have got me to where I am today, and I’m so thankful for all of the experiences, opportunities and wonderful individuals in my life, as a direct result of putting myself out there.