Wildflowers, Wildlife, and Diabetes in the Wild

My spring has been filled with wildflowers on the hiking trail and wildlife in the neighborhood. I’ve seen hillsides of yellow poppies along with purple desert lupines, orange globe mallow, red Indian paintbrushes, and white soaptree yucca blooms. I’ve seen snakes, lizards, javelina, coyotes, and recently a bobcat while on an after-dinner bunny hunt** with my grandchildren. My spring has also had an interesting mix of “diabetes in the wild.”

**Whenever my grandchildren visit Arizona, we go out in the golf cart after dinner and look for bunnies. The children maintain a bunny book where nightly bunny totals are recorded. There is a column for “Ciyotes” which was edited this year to include bobcats. 

Neighbor

My first “diabetes in the wild” encounter happened when my next door neighbor came to talk to me about a tree issue affecting both of our yards. She and her husband are part-time Arizona visitors because he still works full time. We’ve always been friendly but have never talked about much except the weather and grandchildren. Sylvia indicated that Jim wasn’t there yet because he was traveling for work. I knew that he was affiliated with a major university in their home state but had never asked for more details. I asked Sylvia about Jim’s profession and she said that he was a teaching professor and practicing physician in the speciality of…. Wait for it! ….Endocrinology!

So for 8-9 years my Type 1 diabetes of 40 years and I have spent the winter months next door to a renowned specialist in diabetes. Similarly he has unknowingly lived next door to a not-so-renown diabetes blogger!

It rained the next couple of days and before I knew it, Jim and Sylvia had left and I didn’t see them again before I returned to Minnesota. Thus I never got to have a celebrity-crush visit with the neighborhood diabetes doctor. I Googled him and learned that he is quite renown on a national basis. I didn’t get a chance to give him one of my blog business cards and I have no idea whether he ever reads patient blogs. My own endocrinologist avoids diabetes social media and does not read the blogs of her patients. On one hand I think doctors benefit from hearing patient voices; on the other hand I know my endo works long hours with insufficient pay and I don’t expect diabetes to be her hobby. If Dr. Jim chooses to read any of my blog, he will learn that I am an educated and involved patient who does her homework and improvises with “her own thing.” It will be up to interpretation whether he sees me as an empowered consumer or a nightmare patient….

Gym Meet-Up #1

I went to my Arizona community gym a few days before returning to Minnesota. A man about my age was the only other person there. We said “Hi” and continued with our workouts. After about 15 minutes, he introduced himself as “Tony” and asked about the Dexcom transmitter on my arm: “Hey, is that thing on your arm for diabetes?” I said yes and indicated that it was a continuous glucose monitor and described what it did. He told me that a year ago he had started working out and changing his diet to try to avoid diabetes which runs rampant in his family. He had lost 43 pounds, gained muscle, and felt energized by his new level of fitness. His doctor was thrilled with the effect on his lab work. I don’t think that Tony had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes but hopefully his hard work will prevent or at least delay diabetes coming into his life.

Gym Meet-Up #2

While Tony and I were speaking, an elderly man (I’m old, but he is older!) came into the gym and started his workout. After Tony returned to his weights, this gentleman came over and pointed to my JDRF tee shirt and said that his wife had been very involved with them. (Thanks to Sara of “Moments of Wonderful” for the shirt.)

A bit teary-eyed he told me that she had died six months ago after 60 years of marriage. He was an engineer by trade and had always helped her take care of her diabetes. She wasn’t good with numbers he explained. She used a pump and CGM which I assume were Medtronic because he said that her “thing” didn’t look like mine. It turns out that Morrie lives next door to one of my friends so I plan on looking him up next year when I’m back in Arizona. I would enjoy hearing more of his story as a caregiver and more about his wife’s journey with diabetes. Morrie indicated that he hadn’t been getting out much since his wife died and how much he enjoyed talking with me. The enjoyment was mutual, but tinged with sadness.

Poppies, bobcats, and diabetes. Wild things.

Fitbit Fun

Laddie_Head SquareIn the spring of 2015 I wrote a couple of blogposts (here and here) about how much I enjoy using a Fitbit and how I find it to be a motivating addition to my diabetes toolbox. A year and a half later I am still using my Fitbit and participating in a regular challenge with members of the diabetes community. (Thanks to Sue R who invites me every week!)

Although I am a self-motivated Fitbit user and would tackle my daily step goal without DOC competition, I still enjoy the motivation resulting my daily interactions with other D-people. Recent thoughts include:

I have a good chance of beating Kerri of Six Until Me in a challenge for the first time ever because she had a baby by C-section two weeks ago. I wouldn’t be so stupid as to place a bet on my results once that “little tomato” “biscuit” “fourth chair” is a month old….

My trick of attaching my Fitbit One to my pump tubing is gaining traction as I recently witnessed Scott Johnson borrow an old-style Fitbit (Zip and One, unlike the more recent bracelet models) so that he could clip it to his pump tubing to track his steps on the basketball court.

David E has moved from being an “also-ran” to an unbeatable champion almost every week. I’m not sure that he is more active these days. I think that he is just becoming better at syncing his Fitbit so that his steps count.

Just so your know!  On Monday Fitbit added a new do-it-yourself challenge called “Adventures.” If you click on “Challenges” from your phone/tablet Fitbit home screen, you’ll see a section called Adventures. This allows you to select a daily or multi-day hike to challenge yourself and receive the rewards of 180º photos at landmarks along the trail. Today I selected the Vernal Falls hike which requires 15,000 steps. (The options that show up in your adventures are based on your average steps.) Although my daily goal is 10,000 steps, my average is closer to 15,000 and that is why all of my adventure options require a lot of steps. As I type this blogpost, I am 331 steps short of my goal and I will walk around the house this evening to make sure I reach my destination.

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Because I am a hiker, I enjoy the idea of “Adventures” and it is something different from my normal goals. If you need motivation to pull your Fitbit out of the junk drawer, check out Adventures on the Fitbit website and see if it interests you. If nothing else, you can download some new wallpapers from the Yosemite Adventure as seen below:

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See you out on the Fitbit trail!

Fitbit: A Challenging Week

Laddie_Head SquareI’ve been using a Fitbit for over two years. I originally purchased it to track hiking mileage but quickly started wearing it every day. Although I have enjoyed the weekly stat updates from Fitbit and definitely watched my steps on a daily basis, I have rarely used the social media aspects of the device. I had a couple of Fitbit Friends, but not too many interactions with them.

Last week I was invited to participate in my first Fitbit challenge called a Workweek Hustle. Total steps — Five days — Monday to Friday. Usually I say no to things like this because I don’t want to bother and am mostly self-motivated when it comes to reaching my fitness targets. But I figured I might as well give it a try even if I wasn’t sure what my goals were for participating. Cherise of DCAF/DSMA was the organizer and most of the participants were diabetes types. When the challenge started, I was still in Arizona where I am a step-monster walking the dog, hiking, biking, playing golf, and enjoying easy access to the outdoors. I flew back to Minnesota mid-week and although I keep the same goal of 10,000+ steps/day here, it sometimes take more planning to get to my target.

Because there is always social media trash-talk when you get into contests like this, I had fun from the beginning. On the first day I learned from Kerri that Ben (whom I didn’t know previously) was very “steppy” and she wasn’t kidding. From the beginning his step count was in the stratosphere and he ended up winning the challenge with a 5-day total of 176,727 steps (35,345/day). I don’t know whether he is a runner or walker fanatic, but using my steps/mileage ratio, he clocked in at least 16 miles a day (probably more because his stride might be longer than mine). Kerri was not too shabby with a 5-day total of 143,457 steps (28,691 steps /~13 miles) per day). She was focused on beating Ben up until the end.

Kerri and Ben were so far ahead of the pack that I didn’t compete with them; I just marveled at their statistics. The group itself had a big range of results, but we were all winners as the ten of us totaled 768,205 steps (~350 miles) for the week.

I had a firm lock on 3rd place moving into Friday afternoon. Thus began my favorite part of the challenge. The story is shared in the timeline below:

Fitbit Challenge Timeline

At the end of the day, I lost 3rd place in the Workweek Hustle. No, I won because I got to watch Cherise be a champion. She refused to rest until she clocked 23,000! steps on Friday and rocketed from 4th place to 3rd. One stubborn and competitive lady, that Cherise:-)

I won. I lost. But I won.

Here is a link to Cherise’s video. I don’t know whether you have to be a member of Twitter or a follower of @SweeterCherise to view it, but give it a try. On my laptop and desktop, the link works fine. On my iPad, I have to click the Tweet below the photo and then on the next screen, click on the arrow/TV icon on the upper right of the screen.

One of my next blogposts will be my views on how Fitbit and other step/fitness trackers can be a helpful, fun, and motivating part of your diabetes/general health regimen. That sentence sounds awfully preachy, but I promise (hope!) that the post will be better than that….

Yellow Dot Program

Sue B_Head SquareWhat happens if a traffic accident leaves you unable to speak? For that matter, what happens if you are a diabetic with hypoglycemia unawareness and suffer a severe low while operating a motor vehicle? I can go even further and ask what happens if you have a heart condition and suffer an incident while driving your automobile? There are many what ifs. I recently found out about a program called the Yellow Dot Program. I learned of this program when my fellow blogger Sue and her husband Steve were visiting us from New York during the summer. Somehow we got into a diabetes discussion, and the subject of this program came up because they had a Yellow Dot on the driver’s rear windshield of their car and the Yellow Dot booklet in their glove compartment. I googled my Pennsylvania State Department of Motor Vehicles and found out that Pennsylvania had the program and immediately sent away for the booklet which contains the Yellow Dot and information about using the booklet to inform police and first responders in the case of an accident.

So, what is exactly is the Yellow Dot Program? This program was created to assist citizens in the “golden hour” of emergency care following a traffic accident when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves. Placing a yellow dot on your Yellow Dot Examplevehicle’s rear windshield alerts police and first responders to check your glove compartment for vital information to ensure you receive the medical attention you need. While it was specifically created for traffic accidents, I have been told by my Department of Motor Vehicles that they are now adapting it to include any type of medical issue including diabetes. That wonderful yellow dot on the rear driver’s window of your vehicle will alert the police or first responders that you are not drunk…you are having a diabetes-related incident.

I sent away for the pamphlet immediately and received it within 10 days. If you have read my blogs on this site, you will know that I write extensively about my worry for my husband, Marc, when he is not with me. His hypoglycemia unawareness has caused many frightening moments in our lives and my constant worry was always that he would be in the car and be stopped by the police and they wouldn’t realize that he was having a diabetic incident. This simple Yellow Dot gives me some peace of mind.

It’s very simple to start using the Yellow Dot Program. All you need to do is contact your Department of Motor Vehicles and request the Yellow Dot Kit. When you receive it, fill out the information booklet, put the yellow dot on the bottom of the rear driver’s side window and the information booklet in your glove compartment. The information booklet has a place to put your photo, all your medical information including medical conditions, emergency contacts, medications, allergies and physician information. You can also indicate your hospital preference. When the police or first responders see the Yellow Dot on your car they know to look in your glove compartment immediately. It couldn’t get any easier.

According to Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “older individuals tend to have more medical conditions, are on more medications and are generally more fragile. This well-justified program, especially in light of the growing number of older Americans, is innovative and addresses the unique risks associated with older Americans”. While he specifically targets older Americans, it gives anyone, whether young or old, with specific medical conditions, the ability to telegraph to police or first responders that there is information in the glove compartment that will help in the event of an accident or other incident. This information is invaluable.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supplies the Yellow Dot and Booklet at no charge. On some websites, I have seen places that do charge for the materials. And I also saw that every state has a Yellow Dot Program. In asking around, I found out that with the exception of Sue from New York and her husband Steve, no one else knew about this program and I truly believe it’s vital that the information be passed around. Because of this lack of knowledge of the program, I called my Department of Transportation and found out that they actually have a special department for the Yellow Dot Program and are aware that they need to do a better job getting information out to their various police departments, first responders and fire departments in my State of Pennsylvania and also to all the citizens of the State. They are having meetings with these groups in order to promote awareness.

I hope that after reading this blog, you the reader will contact your local Department of
Transportation and request your kit and also find out how much they are doing to promote this very, very important program. It can definitely save your life.

Blogrolls….

Laddie_Head SquareLast week I spent two hours updating my Blogroll.  The process began with a print-out of my current blogroll which I compared to my bookmarks for diabetes blogs in Safari. I found about 25 bookmarks which needed to be added to the list. One by one I typed in the name of each new blog and embedded the link to the website.

I had known for months that I needed to work on my blogroll, but the chore stayed at the bottom of my To-Do list.  What inspired me to finally tackle the project was the Wednesday, Sept. 3 DSMA TweetChat. The subject was whether the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) should have a governing body along with standards of conduct and lots of rules. No one seemed to think that was a good idea and the discussion moved to the topic of helping newcomers to the DOC find a foothold in the maze of diabetes social media.  Blogrolls were mentioned.

Blogrolls show up in many different forms.  Some like mine are long lists by category (Type 1, Type 2, Parent) with no description or rating of the blogs.  Others are shorter lists with titles such as “My Favorite Blogs” or “DOC Friends”.  One of my favorite blogrolls is by Scott at Rolling in the D because he has personalized his list with brief and occasionally witty descriptions of each blog/blogger. A nice feature on Blogger sites is a “live” blogroll that automatically updates with recently published posts.  Many DOC writers have chosen to not have blogrolls at all.

Blogroll_!What is the purpose of a blogroll?  When I began reading diabetes blogs many years ago, blogrolls were a magical pathway to “meeting” other people with diabetes.  Without Twitter and Facebook, there was really no other way to learn about other websites.  The first blog I read was either Scott’s or Kerri’s and then it was a dot-to-dot adventure finding other people sharing their stories.  My guess is that newcomers to the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) still use blogrolls in this fashion while most blogrolls are largely ignored.  My blogroll had about 200 views in the last year.  I hope that some viewers used my list to find other blogs.  Unfortunately I suspect that most of the views were just by other bloggers seeing if they were on the list!

The main reason that blogrolls are impossible to keep current is because there are now hundreds of diabetes blogs and new ones appearing all of the time.  If you check out most blogrolls, you will find a dated list that highlights many established D-blogs while including few new blogs and being littered with many blogs that have been abandoned for years.

As an experiment, I checked out the blogrolls of the first twenty blogs listed in my Safari bookmarks.  I chose 3 favorite blogs in addition to my own to see if they were listed in any blogrolls. These 3 blogs are by prolific Type 1 writers who like me have been around for about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. Of the twenty blogs I checked out, 5 did not have blogrolls.  My blog was listed on 5 out of the remaining 15 blogrolls.  Another fantastic newish blog was listed on only 3 blogrolls.  One was seen on 6 out of 15 and the last one had more presence being on 9 out of 15 blogrolls. These stats are not meant to criticize anyone; rather they emphasize how flawed most blogrolls are.  Even if you are able to keep adding all of the new blogs, when do you take an inactive blog off the list?  The ultimate criteria is probably when the link doesn’t work anymore.  But how old is too old?

When blogrolls were mentioned in the September 3 DSMA TweetChat, Scott Johnson immediately tossed out the question of the day. Typical of DSMA, the discussion quickly went off-topic and morphed into shrimp rolls and carb counts.

Blogroll Tweet All

How do I feel about this?  On one hand, it is frustrating to be left off lists by people whom I know read my blog regularly.  At the same time, I know that it is meaningless because I don’t think blogrolls are used for much of anything and most of us rarely look at them.  So after this post I think I will go back to totally ignoring them.

Back to the September 3 DSMA TweetChat.  Although I don’t believe that the DOC needs a governing board or rules, I wonder if something like a DBlog Central website would be useful.  This site could maintain a complete and updated blogroll with descriptions and tags to help users navigate the DOC.  A central website could also be a hub for sharing information with all diabetes bloggers on things like starting a blog, finding diabetes graphics, Twitter names, current campaigns of the DOC such as Spare a Rose, and a calendar of events.

I can’t envision how something like this could be created.  Maybe we should have a governing board for the DOC and “they” could set up the website….  Yeah, right!  I think that most of us would say that the magic of the DOC comes from its somewhat chaotic nature and no one wants to regulate its constant evolution. Why should we change something that isn’t broken?

In the meantime I plan to continue to have a blogroll.  If you’re not on it and would like to be, please contact me.

Join the Conversation

Conversations Banner_All

Laddie_Head SquareI really enjoyed my Type 1/Type 2 Conversations with Kate Cornell of Sweet Success: My Life with Type 2 Diabetes.  Our first foray into collaborative blogposts was a four-part series.  We had ideas for about ten posts, so I don’t think that this is the end of Kate/Laddie conversations.  But for now we’ve retreated into our respective corners with a greater understanding of what the “other type” of diabetes thinks and experiences.

When Kate and I started our project, one of our goals was to inspire others in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) to initiate similar conversations.  Real communication is often lacking in our 21st Century world and the DOC has not been exempt from conflict and misunderstandings.  Fortunately many bloggers have become increasingly vocal about working to unite as one community regardless of medical history or type of diabetes.  (A good example of this is Kerri’s post titled Learning from My Peers.)  Together we can make progress; individually we spin our wheels.  We don’t need to agree on everything and we certainly aren’t the same.  But we can talk to each other.  We can respect each other and we can learn from each other.  We can build bridges to make the DOC a stronger community.

Kate and I hope that others in the DOC will jump on the communication bandwagon and initiate some conversations.  Type 1/Type 2 discussions are great, but don’t be limited by that combo.  How about a LADA talking to Type 1 diagnosed as a child?  How about a Type 2/Parent of a Type 1 dialog?  How about a pregnant Type 1 talking to a young T1 mother?  How about a conversation with your spouse or child?  Maybe a cat-lover and dog-owner (or would that generate too many fireworks?)  The possibilities are endless.

If you would like to participate in the Conversations project, please check out the Conversations page at Test Guess and Go.  You’ll find a few hints on how to proceed and information about obtaining the Conversations banner and graphic if you’d like to use them.  (I can easily customize the graphics to fit whatever your conversation is, so be sure to let me know what you need.)

What are the rules?

  1. Be respectful.
  2. Have fun and be creative.  If you don’t want to write a long post, consider using Storify with Tweets and/or Instagram photos.  Write limericks back and forth.  Publish email conversations.  Write comic strips.  Create vlogs.
  3. Feel free to tackle controversial subjects but don’t avoid fluff pieces that will make us smile.
  4. Choose a partner.  A familiar online friend, a new Twitter follower, a big-name blogger, a new blogger, an acquaintance from a TuDiabetes message board.  Don’t be shy and send an invitation.  The collaboration is just as important as the finished product.
  5. Don’t forget #1.  Be respectful.

If you need help or ideas, please contact me or Kate through the contact form on her homepage.  Once you’re published, send me your link and I will add it to the list of blogposts on the Conversations page.

Please help the project grow.  All you have to do is join the conversation!

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If you missed any of our Kate’s and my conversations, you can find them here:

Type 1/Type 2 Conversations: Talking about Weight

Type 1/Type 2 Conversations: Diabetes in the Great Outdoors

Type 1/Type 2 Conversations: Friends and Family

Type 1/Type 2 Conversations: Food, Glorious Food

*****

My Favorite Things

Banner_DBlog Week

Today’s Topic: As we wrap up another Diabetes Blog Week, let’s share a few of our favorite things from the week. This can be anything from a #DBlogWeek post you loved, a fantastic new-to-you blog you found, a picture someone included in a post that spoke to you, or comment left on your blog that made you smile. Anything you liked is worth sharing!

 

Laddie_Head SquareMy first Diabetes Blog Week was a great experience. Mid-week I was tired of writing and swearing that I would never do this again. Quickly I regained my mojo and was back on track. I am still overwhelmed at the number of posts that I have already read and by the huge number still to be perused. By far the best part of this week was my interactions with old friends and the introductions to new friends.

Old Friends:  When I started blogging a year ago, very quickly I met Rhonda of Fifteen Wait Fifteen and Kelley of Below Seven. Their blogs sit side-by-side in my bookmarks and because they are so closely aligned in my mind, I occasionally worry that I might accidentally switch up their names.  (Please forgive me if I do!)  Rhonda and Kelly, thanks for being loyal readers, commenters, and always an inspiration to me.

Rhonda’s Thursday post about her mantra of “Fake it ‘til you make it” is a must-read for everyone.  Kelley’s Friday post about Diabetes Hacks has a ton of suggestions for everyone with Type 1, especially Medtronic users.

Also thanks to James of t1dme for following my blog and then challenging my liberal arts education with his philosophical and artistic blogposts. His Wednesday post on mental health wove the story of Sisyphus into some vivid imagery about the mental burden of diabetes. As a former flower-child, I can only say “Heavy, Man.”

New/Old Friend:  Sometimes it takes a while to put together the puzzle of who someone is and how they fit into your life.  Colleen of d-meanderings has left comments on my blog several times in recent months, but it took Diabetes Blog Week to introduce me to her blog.  Anyone who starts Snapshot Saturday with a photo of Krispy Creme donuts deserves special mention.

New Friend:  One of the first posts I read on Monday was by Kyle of Active Diabetic-An Ongoing Experiment.  His Change the World post was passionate about athletic endeavors as a way to empower people with diabetes.  I totally agree with him although rock climbing and extreme cycling are out of my reach.  All week his posts were beautifully and intelligently written.  Plus he loves dogs and lives in Newfoundland!  Be sure to investigate his blog.

Best Laugh:  Kim of Texting My Pancreas bent the rules a bit for Poetry Tuesday by providing some diabetes rewriting of a couple of Saturday Night Live skits.  If you want a good laugh and yearn for knowledge about strippers and tube trimmers, check it out.

I read many wonderful blogposts this week and am amazed at the talent and passion of my fellow bloggers in the DOC. I could have mentioned one hundred posts here and just picked a sampling of my favorite things. Parents, Type 1’s, Type 2’s: thanks to everyone for sharing your life with me.

Final thanks to Karen Graffeo of Bitter~Sweet™ for a great Diabetes Blog Week!

Mantras and More

Banner_DBlog Week

Today’s Topic:  Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we’ve done that and we can help others do it too?

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Laddie_Head SquareAll day long I’ve tried to think of something to write on mantras.  Reading multiple #DBlogWeek posts about mental health has not done much to inspire me. I’m feeling a little gloomy reading about the struggles of my fellow DOC members. Right now I just want to yell “GROUP HUG!

I wasn’t a cheerleader and “push ’em back, push ’em back, way back” doesn’t doesn’t seem to have much relevance beyond what I should be doing to dessert at the table: “Push it back, push it back.” I’m not much into meditation and “Om” mostly reminds me of Sheldon’s throat singing on The Big Bang Theory.

The Little Engine That Could is a charming and inspirational children’s book, but “I think I can, I think I can” seems a little trite on my 1,460th insertion of a long-needled Silhouette infusion set. I know I can, but I still don’t want to.

“Take one for the team” implies that because I have diabetes, I am statistically saving another person from getting diabetes. If only.

I’ve often written about getting up every day and trying to do a better job with my diabetes. For the most part, that is what I do. But I can’t use the “Try, try, try again and you shall succeed” mantra. What will be the measure of my success? That I didn’t die? That my diabetes is cured? That I have a good A1c? The only good prize to win with diabetes is that you don’t get the bad prizes. “I guess that is a good prize,” she says, smiling….

Just Do ItMaybe “Just do it” should be my mantra. With visions of a Nike swoosh, that can be inspirational like climbing Mt. Everest. Or swimming the English Channel or finding a cure for cancer. I’d look good in a Michael Jordan basketball uniform (not!).

But “Just do it” can also mean “Quit thinking about it, you ninny, and do what has to be done.”  Test your blood sugar, count your carbs, change your pump site, calibrate your Dexcom, order your supplies, bolus for meals, do it again. Do it again and again and again. Don’t think about it. Just do it.

Yeah, that’s the one. Just do it.

Always an Optimist

Banner_DBlog Week

Today’s Topic:  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?

 

Laddie_Head SquareI don’t carry a lot of emotional baggage with my diabetes.  I knew very little about diabetes when I was diagnosed as a young adult in 1976 and I didn’t know that I should be sad, mad, or depressed. Both of my parents had issues with depression and for whatever reason, I have been spared that journey into darkness.

I began my diabetes life before home glucose monitoring was available and my insulin regimen was one shot a day of Lente. I followed doctor’s orders when it came to testing my urine and taking my insulin. I wasn’t perfect when it came to my exchange diet, but I followed the diet plan more often than not. Diabetes wasn’t filled with too much guilt and I had no expectation of perfect control. In some ways I was also very naive. It was never part of my mental make-up that I even had diabetes. To this day my self-conception is that I am active and healthy and that whatever the stereotypes and realities of diabetes are, that’s not me. A phrase in the songs of several artists (The Band, Good ShapeCasey Shea, Harlan Howard, and more) fits me perfectly:  “I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”  Stupid for sure, but it helps keep mental demons at bay.

Lest you think that I am all smiley-face and Pollyanna about diabetes, I find it to be an incredibly frustrating and mind-tangling condition to live with. Most of the time my blood sugar responds in a somewhat expected fashion. Things aren’t perfect, but the tracings on my Dexcom are familiar and not totally from Mars. Then days like yesterday. My BG started climbing after my morning walk when usually it stays level or trends low. Multiple corrections and a lunch of only 18g carbs rocketed my numbers high and higher. It was the day to change my infusion set and two changes later (the first one hurt), nothing improved. Boatloads of insulin finally brought things down just in time for dinner. Stir-fried chicken and vegetables (no rice!) re-launched my BG to the stratosphere.

Most people who know me think that I am incredibly disciplined and rarely veer off the path of lowish-carb good nutrition. Ha! Not so! A “good diabetic” would have spent the evening drinking oodles of water and avoiding the snack cupboard. Unfortunately my most common reaction to unexplained and “undeserved” highs is to say “What the heck!” and start gorging on crackers, cookies, and ice cream. Add another glass of wine to the mix and moderation is banished.

Frustration with diabetes. Disappointment in my lack of willpower. Guilt for sure. A night of Dexcom squawks. A recipe for mental anguish and depression.

But morning comes. And just as I have on each of the 13,693 days since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I get up and resolve to do a better job today. Another day filled with diabetes, but a new day nonetheless.

A Diabetes Poem

Abby with Abby Crown_no backgroundToday’s Topic:  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!

Thanks to Abby the Black Lab who has taken time off from her busy day of napping to share some thoughts about diabetes.

 

 A Diabetes Poem by Abby the Black Lab

I don’t know fancy poetry,
But I do know how to rhyme.
Diabetes is a pain-in-the-butt
All of the time.

I’m not a smart alert dog.
I don’t smell lows or highs.
But I do wish that diabetes
Would take a big good-bye.

At eighty pounds I’m big and black
And always need a hug.
I’m just a big old lapdog
And cuddly like Lancet the Pug.

It’s true that I am just a dog.
Dog biscuits make drool.
I am so glad to not count carbs
Diabetes is so cruel.

I’m starting to get old and stiff.
My joints are getting sore.
It’s sad to know that one gray day
DSMA walks will be no more.

Glucose meters come and go.
Diabetes seems to stay.
It’s faithful like a big black dog
And never goes away.

If I could bark and scare away
Type 1 and Type 2 likewise.
I’d ask for heaping bowls of food
And not the Nobel Prize.

So diabetes, please be cured
And don’t come back another day.
You’re not a friend like cats and dogs,
That’s all I have to say.

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