It’s the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week! If you want to participate, or if you want to see what other diabetes bloggers have to say about the daily topics over the next few days, head over to Karen’s blog at Bitter~Sweet and jump in.
Today’s blog prompt comes from Briley over at inDpendence.
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress and presented his vision that the United States would put a man on the moon and safely return him to Earth before the end of the decade. Eight years later, with an unprecedented national determination, and financial support from the top levels of our government, the United States did exactly that.
Imagine if our government, our Congressional leaders, and our medical experts today put the same kind of determination into curing Type 1 diabetes that the brilliant minds of yesteryear did in getting a man to the moon and back. I want to see leaders with the gumption to embrace seemingly impossible ideas, like curing diabetes, and support them with the same enthusiasm and determination as the leaders in the 1960′s did to send a man hurdling out of Earth’s atmosphere toward a floating dustball, have him land, and then safely return. I want to see every single level of government, big pharma, and supposed research foundations, along with parents, children, and people just like me with diabetes working together to embrace solutions for ways that curing diabetes can be done, rather than excuses for how difficult it is. I know it’s difficult. I get how complicated diabetes is. I live with it every single day, and I see my friends thrive with this disease, and I see them die with this disease.
If we can imagine in eight short years how to send a human being on a rocket fuel powered missile 238,900 miles through a vacuum to land on a dusty, dark, desolate piece of planet with no life, air, water, food, or electricity, and then have him travel the 238,900 miles back safely, then we should be able to imagine how to cure a disease that we’ve already figured out how to live with for the past 90 years.
To view other posts on this topic, click here.
It’s the 4th Annual Diabetes Blog Week! If you want to participate, or if you want to see what other diabetes bloggers have to say about the daily topics over the next seven days, head over to Karen’s blog at Bitter~Sweet and jump in.
Today’s blog prompt comes from Melissa over at Sweetly Voiced.
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?
Unless I’m traveling or just too busy to stop what I’m doing (or in denial…yes, that happens), I see my endocrinologist (endo) and CDE every three months, my ophthalmologist (eye doctor) every year, and my dentist twice a year. That amounts to, at the very least, four hours a year in the office of my healthcare team with my pancreas hanging out, my pupils dilated, or my mouth wide open. Sometimes at the same time.
Considering that there are 8760 hours in a year, I spend about .5% of my year in doctors offices in various compromising positions (not counting labs, time on the phone with insurance, time spent hooking so that I can afford my copays, etc.), which begs the question… How the heck am I still alive?
There are plenty of other doctors that I could spend time with too. Presently on my list of docs to find include a dermatologist, a podiatrist, and a psychologist. That last one will likely make my doctor time (and spend) increase exponentially, but that’s a conversation for another day. When I’m less crazy. Because that happens too.
The thing is, I need all of the services and advice of all of these doctors in order for me to stay at my optimal health status and achieve my health goals. Yet, I struggle. What little bit of time I have with each of these doctors, we don’t have a chance to talk about some of the things that they could really help me with probably better than anyone.
At my endo, we talk about diabetes, pump settings, high and low blood sugar trends, A1C’s, prescriptions, and sometimes even new diabetes research and technology. We don’t talk about my struggle with my weight, and how it affects me both physically and mentally. We don’t talk about my depression, and how sometimes I’m smiling on the outside and absolutely falling apart on the inside, and nobody ever truly knows the extent of it. We don’t talk about stress, and ways to manage being overloaded, and strategies to cut it down so that I don’t have to add hypertension and heart disease to my laundry list of sh–stuff to deal with on a daily basis.
At the eye doctor, we talk about diabetes, A1C’s, and the importance of keeping and EYE on things (see what I did there?) in the back of my eyeballs. We don’t talk about how prescription glasses are expensive, especially when you need multiple pairs (stylish regular glasses, plus sunglasses that make you think you look stylish, plus sport sunglasses for when you play volleyball on the beach with no shirt on all Top Gun style). We don’t talk about how much time I spend staring at a computer screen, and whether or not that is good or bad. We don’t talk about anything to allay my fears and anxiety from potential and, in reality, way over-exaggerated diabetes complications. We don’t even differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but rather treat it as just this overarching definition of diabetes that sucks and makes you go blind, your feet fall off, and your wenis not work properly. And I need my wenis to continue to work properly dangit! (I don’t even know how I got from eyeballs to wenis, but I’m mildly impressed and entertained with myself right now.)
I want my healthcare team to know that, just because it isn’t their area of expertise, all of these various other things in Martin World impact me, and are related in some way, and have the potential to impact my health in both positive and negative ways. Because I’m stressed out that my BG’s are running higher than normal may mean that I don’t check my BG as often because I don’t want to deal with the stress that I feel when I see that high number on my meter. So then I go get something awful to eat to feed the stress with, and then my pants start fitting a little tighter, and I feel like I’m the size of a whale and the idea of an 19th century style corset sounds like a pretty great idea if it will make my pants fit better. Then my pants get too tight and the pressure makes my eyeballs fall out and my teeth point forward.
What I also want my healthcare team to know is that I have absolutely no clue how to bring these things up and talk about them in the time limit and in a way that makes sense to them before they have to run off and see the next patient. I’m doing good to remember to even show up for the appointment most days. If it’s not on my Outlook calendar with an alarm, don’t expect me to be there. If there was one thing I wish they would all ask, it might be, “So all of these numbers aside, how are YOU doing? Feeling okay? Any particular issue not related to insulin, BG test strips, and pump supplies that I can help with?”
Just ask. The answer might be no most of the time. But sometimes it might be yes. And that’s when it is most important that you asked, and that you are there to listen.
To view other posts on this topic, click here.
Today is an important day in Martin World. A day that I look back and reflect on some of my accomplishments.
1. I passed Chemistry in high school. It was the hardest class for me. Tutoring helped. The tutor had a cute daughter. Those last two statements are mostly unrelated.
2. I graduated. Four times. Because once just wasn’t enough. (HS, AA, BS, MS…in case you were wondering.)
3. I was a DJ. On a Christian music radio station. Yeah, I don’t believe that either. But it’s true.
4. I found love. And lost it. And found it. And lost it. And found it again. I’m like a country song.
5. I’ve changed the world. Sort of. I stepped on an ant hill. “World” is relative.
6. I’ve been a President. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
7. I rode my bicycle over 100 miles in one day. Most people have enough sense not to do that.
8. I had dinner with Olivia Wilde. Kind of. She was two tables away from me. I’m still counting it. Can we be friends?
9. I was fired once. They called it a “lay off” because of the recession. Lipstick on a pig.
10. I’ve worked in two libraries so far in my career. I’ve been the token male in both. I’m like a trophy librarian.
11. I’ve been an Apple, an Android, and a PC. I prefer being an Apple.
12. I was voted Most Intelligent in middle school. It was nerdy at the time. Now it’s dead sexy.
13. I grew up on a farm. I delivered a calf. I about had a cow.
14. I had a dog named BJ when I was a kid. I lived on Fifth Street. I’m usually on top of that “What would be your name?” game.
15. I write with Sharpies. People with dry erase boards hate me when I get excited about flowcharts and to-do lists.
16. I worked in a 1-hour photo lab. I got paid to stick my nose in everybody else’s business.
17. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. According to the first rule, I can’t talk about this. I do love the movie though.
18. I wear a Mickey Mouse watch. It reminds me that great things start with small ideas.
19. I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.
20. I have a tattoo. I’d like to get another one. I just don’t know what yet.
21. I love video games. They are a way that I escape and decompress. I also want my own personal Navi, like in Zelda.
22. I always have more to do than I have time for. In related news, sleep is a nuisance.
23. I like to explore a new city on foot or bike. You see things that you didn’t realize were there. Like celebrities.
24. I love New York, DC, and Seattle.
25. I’ve tried escargot (snails). It’s not my thing.
26. I speak a little bit of Russian. I would like to learn how to speak Spanish. English would also be helpful, some days.
27. I can’t speak in coherent sentences before coffee in the morning.
29. I have pets that are some of my favorite people. Two dogs and a cat. All spoiled rotten.
30. I have moved nine times in my life so far. Books are very heavy. Save your back, buy an e-reader. And get a library card for Pete’s sake.
31. I gravitate toward leadership roles. Which probably explains why my to-do list is so long.
32. Today is my 32nd diaversary. 32 years with Type 1 Diabetes. Making it this long is nothing short of a big deal. But, as you can see, there is a lot more to me than just diabetes.
I’m finally learning to accept some things. Not everything, but some things.
For example, I’ve learned to accept that cooked carrots and mushrooms are disgusting and have no place on the food pyramid. Except maybe underneath the pyramid, as compost, to grow delicious things. Like fried chicken strip trees.
I’ve learned that my dog doesn’t really detect low blood sugars like I imagine he does in my low-brained head. He just likes spoonfuls of peanut butter at 3:30 in the morning. And who doesn’t love that?
A big thing that I’ve learned to accept (sort of…okay, not really) is that I get nervous when it comes to tests. Or things that I perceive as tests, like doctor visits. I don’t know why, but I always dread these appointments. In my head, they are the worst, even though 99% of the time they turn out just fine. It defies explanation.
As well as my life has been with diabetes, my imagination has a tendency to run wild and make things up that don’t necessarily reflect the reality of what I do everyday with diabetes. I think my anxiety is because diabetes is like a really crappy retirement plan: You make decisions based on data every single day in hopes that your annual account statement doesn’t show that you’ve invested all your efforts into a poop factory.
Earlier this week I went to the eye doctor, or more specifically, the ophthalmologist. This is where they check my eyeballs and retinas and all the tiny little veins and capillaries and doohickeys that keep them working to make sure that I have my diabetes in good control and that complications aren’t running rampant in my eyeball holes and causing irreparable damage to my vision and kidneys (which are connected to my eyeballs, somehow). I’m sure it’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s basically the big idea.
I was extremely nervous. Anxious. Full on shakytown while waiting to sign in. It didn’t help that the receptionist had a look on her face like she had just bitten into a piece of cat litter in her sandwich. She wasn’t rude by any means, just not exceptionally welcoming. In her defense, my appointment was at 1:00pm, and she was probably hungry. Plus, cat litter in your sandwich isn’t pleasant no matter how famished you are.
After I signed in, I barely had time to do a quick BG check before they called me back (it was 89, by the way…perfection). The nurse was super nice, but I could tell she hadn’t really been exposed to too many people with Type 1 diabetes before. We went through the standard form field questions for an eye doctor appointment: Height, weight, do you wear glasses, do you have any health problems, what kind of insulin do you use, what book are you going to try to read after we dilate your eyes, will you please put your phone away, did you just roll your eyes at me? You know, the usual.
I told her that my blood pressure was probably a little high because I was very nervous. It was, and wasn’t a big deal at all. She said, very friendly-like, “You should be used to this for as long as you have had diabetes.” I just smiled and laughed. Truth is, I’ve never gotten used to it. I don’t think I ever will.
The biggest disconnect was when she asked, “What was your blood sugar this morning?” I fumbled for an answer. That was at least three checks ago. I don’t remember that kind of information. That’s what BG meters and insulin pumps are for. I have more important questions to answer from my short term memory. Like, where did I park my car? What pocket is my cell phone in? How did I think these clothes matched this morning when I got dressed? I told her what my last BG was, and just went with that. One BG on my patient chart out of all the data points that I depend on every day to keep myself alive really makes zero difference in the grand scheme of things.
So we got through the formalities, and then I met with my ophthalmologist. Through all of the anxiety and nervousness, the experience was rather uneventful, which is a good thing. Bottom line, my eyes look the same as they did when I saw my ophthalmologist two years ago. Very microscopic evidence of having had Type 1 diabetes for almost 32 years, but nothing at all to be worried about. No blood vessels bleeding into the back of my eyes. No kidneys waving white flags of surrender. All in all, a clean bill of health, and a free joke about me being the oldest “kid” that my pediatric endocrinologist still sees on a regular basis.
I’ll take it. Growing up is overrated anyway.
At first, I was thinking that I would toss out this post, or save it for later, in order to respond to the news from the Diabetes Research Institute. I know that a post like this, full of words on a screen, risks getting lost in the mix. But maybe it won’t.
If you read my last post, you know that A-Flizzle surprised me with a birthday trip to Jacksonville to tour the Budweiser brewery, hang out with Jacquie and the gang, get a massage, and go to one of my favorite restaurants in the whole wide world called 13 Gypsies. And my blood sugar spiked sky high. So now you’re caught up. As Paul Harvey would say, this is “the rest of the story.”
I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks now. It’s been a really hard thing for me to share. It’s the post I’ve been waiting to write for, like, 23 days.
My blood sugar was sky high, but I couldn’t very well call in diabetic and cancel a quality birthday celebration. Nor did I want to. I bolused for the high, but having been unplugged from my pump for as long as I was, there was really no telling how much insulin it would take to turn things around and get my BG’s back to normal. I knew I would need to feather the insulin over time in small doses so that I didn’t get a big ball of insulin hitting me all at once. It sounded like a good idea, at least. Until it just wasn’t working. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.
So, I did what any abnormal person with a nonfunctioning pancreas would do in the situation: I rage bolused the $h!t out of that high to show it who was boss. And I did too.
Later that night, after we had gone out to a rooftop bar and then to one of our favorite hangouts in 5 Points, Birdie’s, A-Flizzle and I trekked back to our hotel to call it a night. We settled in, I stretched out on the bed, propped my head up on a stack of pillows, and started watching one of the greatest movies of all time that just happened to be on TV that night: Con Air. What? You know you love it!
A-Flizzle was sound asleep, and I was laying there in bed messing around with my iPad and watching Cyrus the Virus battle The Man of Nomadic Eyebrows from the Land of Forgotten Forehead (aka, Nicholas Cage) for a shot at freedom via a crash landing on the Las Vegas strip (don’t blame me, I didn’t write it) when it hit me. Hard. And I remember every single part of it.
In an instant, I had absolutely no clue where I was. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing, even though I was doing nothing. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t help overanalyzing every next thought that was popping into my head, and I had no control of what was popping into my head next.
I sat up and threw my legs over the side of the bed. My bare feet hit the cold wooden floor. I sat there, in a complete panic, trying to figure out what was going on. I knew what was going on. I just couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. But everything was so serious. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, what was next, what I should do.
I stood up. I walked over to my BG kit, and sat it on the table. I walked off. I started pacing around the room, stomping hard, trying to figure out what in the world was going on. I could see A-Flizzle in the middle of the king size bed, sound asleep. I tried to yell for her, but I couldn’t. No sound would come out. I started hitting my diabetes tattoo, indicating, trying to make noise and get her attention. Anybody’s attention. But it wasn’t loud enough.
And that’s when it hit me: I was low. Really, really low. And I was standing in the room with the one person that I trust more than anyone, and I could not for the life of me (literally) figure out how to get her attention. What would be so simple any other time, to simply yell or reach out and shake her awake, I could not figure out how to tell my body to do. I just knew that this was really, really serious, and I had to figure out something through my garbled thoughts.
I paced around the king sized bed like a tiger walking a perimeter, establishing his territory. Back and forth, from one side to the other, for I don’t even know how long. All the while I’m trying to figure out how to wake her up. I was fading. The panic was wearing me out. I was starting to think about what A-Flizzle would do without me, and how much it would crush her to lose me when she was right there, so close. What would happen to my Hopper (dog), Squirt (cat), and Bindi (A-Flizzle’s dog) back home without me. How their little hearts would break when I didn’t come home from a weekend away. How my Hopper would continue to look for me at the door long after Amanda got home, just waiting on me to get there to give him a doggie hug.
All I could think was, “This might be the one. That one low blood sugar that I don’t survive. The big one.” I was also thinking, “Dammit, I don’t want to go to the hospital on my friggin’ birthday!” I started punching the corner of the bed because I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get my body and brain to communicate and work properly. Then I thought of big ones, like the big earthquake in California that everybody always talks of but hasn’t happened yet. The hurricane that will come and sink Florida. The importance of having an emergency plan, a parachute. A parachute? A PARACHUTE! For when I fall!
I managed to figure out that if I passed out from the low, it was my pump that would continue to give me insulin and keep me low. I snatched it from my PJ pants pocket, and unhooked it, not bothering to suspend it, and threw it on the bed. I went over to my bag, and found the glowing bright red rectangle that contained glucagon, and held it tight in my left hand. I knew that if I passed out, A-Flizzle would likely hear me hit the floor, and hopefully see the glucagon in my hand and know what to do. If she didn’t, at least my pump was off, so hopefully I would survive long enough for my blood sugar to come back up naturally before…well, before I died.
As I was digging in my bag for that, I uncovered a Level gel. I ripped off the top with my teeth and managed to get most of the gel in my mouth through the lack of motor skills and shaking that I didn’t realize was happening. Once I got the Level gel in me, and gave it time to work, I was finally able to figure out how to reach over and wake A-Flizzle up to help me. By then I was back on the edge of the bed, drenched in sweat, shaking, still holding the glucagon case in my left hand, and completely physically and emotionally exhausted. Half asleep, her training that I taught her in case I ever go low kicked in, and she was able to retrieve two more Level gels and help me get them down before I had to lay down, else pass out from exhaustion. Still, I wasn’t up to a normal and safe BG level yet.
A-Flizzle set a timer on her phone to wake us up every 15 minutes for me to test my BG again. After an hour of that, I was still only at 70. Not too low, but certainly not high enough to go to sleep after such a bad low. I took one more Level gel, and then I was out for the rest of the night. I woke up the next morning at 96. Normal. And completely hungLOWver, worn out, physically and emotionally exhausted from the night before.
I’m thankful that I taught A-Flizzle what to do when I go low. I’m thankful that we have a plan and always know where things are to treat a low, even if half asleep. It’s so important to have something available to treat a low blood sugar, and know where it is even in your subconscious. That is what may save you in the event that you have to build your own parachute. I know it did me. It’s been extremely hard for me to admit to myself, but I know that I wouldn’t be here right now had I not had those gels, known where they were, and the fact that they were easy for me to get into when it was literally life or death for me.
Tomorrow, the DRI is set to share some big news about steps toward an eventual cure for diabetes. I really hope it is everything that we hope it will be. I’d be lying though if I didn’t admit I’m skeptical. Don’t confuse that with negativity. I’m positive that there will be a cure someday, and I’ll be the first one to celebrate tomorrow if there is something to celebrate. I’ve just heard that a cure was coming since my mother was told that there would be one when I was diagnosed at age two, 32 years ago. A cure for diabetes is exactly what every one of us with diabetes, and every parent of a child with diabetes, wants in this world. Nobody should have to see their life flash before their eyes on their birthday because of a low blood sugar like I had to. However, hoping and praying and wishing doesn’t get us closer to that day.
I’ve learned to keep myself grounded in reality. Maybe that’s a defense mechanism so that I’m not constantly let down, but experience says to be patient, diligent, and steadfast today so that we can make it to tomorrow. The absolute best thing we can do is take care of ourselves today, support each other in the diabetes community, both online and offline, and not let our fellow person with diabetes stumble. You can do this, and so can I. Then, when that cure does arrive, whether it’s tomorrow or twenty years from now, we’ll be ready.
For my birthday, A-Flizzle surprised me with a trip to Jacksonville for a weekend of good food, good times, and great friends. It was such a surprise! I never saw it coming. I was all, “Hey, I’m going to work” and she was like, “No, we’re going on a weekend getaway” and I was like, “Oh wow, I’m so surprised! This is so cool!”
Okay, who are we kidding? I hate surprises, and she knows it. That’s why she’s a keeper. To prevent me from freaking out, A-Flizzle made this awesome timeline of what was going on and where we needed to be. Actually, calling it a timeline doesn’t really do it justice…it was a FUNline. Look at this picture while I do the pencil sharpener…
Friday started with a beermaster’s tour of the Budweiser brewery in Jacksonville. Upon arrival, I struck up a conversation with the tour guide who noticed my insulin pump. She couldn’t quite grasp how in the world I could possibly have Type 1 diabetes and drink a beer, at the same time. It’s not an exact science, but I explained to her the basic idea of factoring in blood sugar levels and counting carbs and dosing enough insulin to cover the difference, just like anything else we people with diabetes (PWD’s) eat or drink. Yes, I know there’s some long division and a square root of Pi and other fuzzy math that goes into calculating carbs and insulin when drinking alcohol for some PWD’s, but your diabetes may vary (YDMV). Suffice it to say, it was nice to meet someone in the beer brewing industry who was legitimately interested in how everyone might be able to enjoy what they put so much effort into making.
The tour was fascinating, and getting to sample beer directly from the ice cold tanks was delightful. There is no way to get a fresher beer than that. One lady on the tour, who didn’t even like beer, even became a convert. I’ve got a newfound respect for the Budweiser brand of beers now, and the care that goes into making each and every one. It’s a process of Willy Wonka proportions, and I’d highly recommend the tour if you every have the opportunity. Also, the gift shop is a great place after you’ve had a couple. Just saying. (I left with a Landshark beach umbrella and a hoodie with a built-in beer koozie on the front. So…yeah. In my defense, I did pick those things out BEFORE the tour.)
I also found my dream job in the Budweiser brewery…
Afterwards, we met up with Jacquie and the family for dinner: Mediterranean food, for the win! Nothing chases an afternoon at the brewery like chicken shwarma. Shwarma…mmm. Just sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
The next morning, my pal Bob and I were supposed to get up and go for a bike ride. However, it was cold-ish, and the temperature was not appealing to my sense of get out of the warm bed and go pedal at all. After texting back and forth for a bit about it, we decided to do what any normal person who doesn’t feel like braving the cool air to go on a bike ride does on a Saturday morning.
We went and ate bacon.
After that, A-Flizzle and I made our way toward the spa, where she had us lined up for a facial and a 1-hour deep tissue massage, respectively. Now, I’ve gotten a massage before, and my pump was never a big deal for the masseuse. In fact, every massage that I’ve ever gotten, I was able to keep my pump on and just slide it to the side and the masseuse was able to work around the tubing and the infusion set. No big deal, right?
Except, this masseuse was different. Although she was plenty nice enough, and she did a spectacular job of getting some of the knots out of my back and neck and shoulders, she was really weirded out by the idea of having to work around my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor and insulin pump and infusion set. Because I needed that ding dang massage more than I needed diabetes at that moment, I decided to dose a couple of extra units for the hour, and then I took off my CGM sensor and my insulin pump so that I could get some relief. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
In hindsight, I should have just let the masseuse be uncomfortable. Once the hour was up, I was a blob of mostly relaxation. A-Flizzle and I took a leisurely pace back to our room, at which time I stupidly decided a birthday cupcake was in order. A cupcake? Really?! Dumbass. Then I proceeded to get a shower, which was delightful, and full of hot water, and a window that I could look out of while scrubbing off eucalyptus oil. I’m like a cat. I can’t resist a good window to look out of. Hours of entertainment. Fortunately, the hot water didn’t last.
Keep in mind, I failed to put my insulin pump back on through this entire episode of Birthday for Dummies with Diabetes.
By the time I got done taking my sweet time with everything, my blood sugar was through the roof. I don’t even remember what it was by the time I put a new infusion set in and reconnected my insulin pump. Probably somewhere around 1,000,000 and rising. I felt like crap. Way to ruin your own birthday there, Wood. Brilliant.
I dosed the snot out of the high in hopes that I could get it at least dropping by the time we had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the whole wide world, 13 Gypsies. I was moderately successful, but really had to focus dinner on the lower carb items and lots of water to try and offset the effects of the afternoon.
See those eyes? That’s not glassy eyed from birthday beers. That’s worn out from fighting a high blood sugar all afternoon. I’d have preferred the former.
I guess the moral of this story is to never disconnect your insulin pump and remove the inset unless you have another one handy for immediately after whatever necessitated your getting naked. Because I am the last person in the world to vote against being naked. Also, maybe tell the spa and masseuse that you have type 1 diabetes and use an insulin pump so that they don’t freak the eff out when they see that you’re bionic.
Maybe also do this in an Austin Powers voice, just for style points. Yeah baby!
I’m not perfect. There, I said it.
The past few days have been a rollercoaster of educational opportunities and lessons learned for me. It’s as if I’m stuck in the Robert Frost poem about two trails diverging in the woods, and I’m constantly finding myself on the one that is less traveled.
Of course, the road less traveled is the one that is supposed to make all the difference. That whole “thrive through adversity” thing, I guess. If I’m being honest though, it’s exhausting always traveling that path. Sometimes I’d like to just travel the well worn option, where I can proceed without so much resistance.
I remember my mom telling me when I was growing up that when you’re stressed out and upset, you have to find your stressors, and get rid of them. That sounds so easy, but in reality, there are a lot of stressors that we have no control over. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s never going to be perfect, right, or appropriate for everybody.
That is exactly where I’m at right now. From nasty emails that completely blow non-issues out of proportion, to trying to lead a group of people with shifting priorities in all directions, to dealing with supposed professionals behaving unprofessionally, I feel like I’m traveling down a path that more closely resembles a briar patch than it does a simple path less traveled.
It’s hard not to internalize times like these, especially when there are conflicting reports about whether or not you are doing a good job. It’s hard not to take it personal. Sometimes I just need someone to say, “Martin, I know this is hard, and I know you feel like the world is against you because of these few small things, but you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you.” Preferably in the Stuart Smalley voice. Short of that, I’d settle for someone that knows just telling me that I’m doing the right thing, because sometimes I’m just doing the best I can and hoping that is good enough.
I guess this is the part that I could link to diabetes. Fortunately, and thankfully, it’s not my diabetes that is giving me the hardest time right now. I’m waiting on new test strips to get approved by my insurance company and arrive, sure. I need to order pump supplies, of course. But really, those things are just another day with the “D.”
I did get to Skype with some amazing Students With Diabetes from Tampa last night, and that was awesome! I love hanging out with people with diabetes (PWDs), even if it is virtually. They certainly reminded me that not all is awful in the world, and even if we get the diabetes blues, PWDs are resilient and forever hopeful.
That is what I have to remember right now. There is hope. Better days are just around the corner. You can’t please everybody, and sometimes it really doesn’t matter what you do, some people have made up their minds from the start that they are going to proceed with their panties in a wad or their boxers in a bunch. I just have to be consistent, and stay positive, briar patch or not.
The advice I gave to the Students With Diabetes last night about diabetes blues is that if you can find a way to laugh about it, you can overcome it.
That said, who wants to get me one of these Lionel Richie cheese plates for my birthday on Saturday? Or you could just donate to my Tour de Cure and help me kick diabetes in the teeth. Either way, you da best, and I thank you from the bottom of my busted pancreas.
Every year right around this time we all dream up our New Year’s resolutions. Some form of weight loss, get in shape, go on a diet, or eat healthy is almost always at the top of everyone’s New Year’s list. This year, I’m feeling the stretch, and I realize that I need to do something to get back to my size 4 bikini body again.
Actually, I don’t even know what that means. I just heard it on an infomercial for some kind of magic beans that are supposed to make your clothes fit better. Truth be known, they probably have a better chance of turning into a beanstalk and leading to a land of giants than they do making me lose weight.
I bet they are good with ham though. Anyway, moving on…
I freely admit that I weigh more than I want to right now. I’m overweight. Heck, I might even be considered obese by the current standards of how big a person’s butt should and shouldn’t be. (And don’t you dare tell me what the difference is. I don’t want to know.) What I do know is that my clothes fit a little tighter than I would sometimes call comfortable. I can’t really button the top button on my dress shirts right now because my head and neck resemble Jabba the Hut. If someone told me to haul ass, it’s questionable if it would take me one trip or two to get it all. At least, that is how I feel.
I’d love to lose some of the extra pounds that I’m carrying around. I know it would make me feel better, both inside and out. I mean, there is a Ryan Reynolds under all of this that is just waiting to get out. I’m just trying to find a real solid purpose that I can grab onto besides, “Skinny people are happier.” Oh yeah? With that kind of logic, rich people must also be less lonely, hairy people have more style, and short people enjoy the smell of toots. Give me a break. Happy has nothing to do with weight, just like loneliness has nothing to do with how much money you have.
And everybody hates the smell of toots. Unless you’re a proctologist. Then it just smells like money.
When I signed up for my last gym membership, my goal was simple: I wanted to look good naked. I could have said that I wanted to be able to run a marathon, or be in good enough shape to teach spin class, or ride my bike for miles and miles and miles, but…well…yeah, naked. You have your goals, I have mine. Unfortunately, 2012 was a really hard year for me to establish and maintain a routine of exercise, working out, riding my bike, and keeping active consistently, and I feel like I’ve lost my way a bit. I could blame it on a chaotic schedule, being overwhelmed by other things going on, not having enough time, or that the Mayan’s had predicted that the world was going to end anyway, so why bother. When it really comes down to it though, it was me. I didn’t take time or make time, and I realize that I really need time to exercise and work out for both my physical and mental well being.
In order to change all of that for 2013, A-Flizzle and I worked extremely hard in our garage over the holidays to get it organized so that we could have a functional workout space that would be available despite my busy and often chaotic schedule. If I want to work out at 11 o’clock at night, I can. I don’t have a bunch of expensive equipment, but what I do have I can definitely make the most of now. I’m SUPER excited about it.
In 2013, I’m trying to get back to establishing consistent exercise routines. I’ve really got to find a way to make time to train and get to where I want to be. The first place I want to be is on my bike in a few months for the Tour de Cure. My goal is to train consistently this Spring so that I can complete the 100 mile century bike ride in May. From there, who knows? Hopefully by then there will be other bike rides that I can train for. Or maybe even a triathlon. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! But, first things first.
I know that exercise is only part of the story. In order to get fit and have a set of abs worthy of doing laundry on (thanks Ryan Reynolds for setting THAT bar so high), I realize that I also have to eat right. What does “eat right” even mean these days? I look at all of the options for supposed “eating right” and I wonder how in the world I can adopt something like Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo, eating clean, gluten free, zero trans fat, and all the other whoop-tee-do diets out there for the rest of my life. I don’t want to make a change that gets me to where I want to be with my size and weight, just to reach that goal and balloon back to being the fat kid that I am now all over again. I also don’t want to not be able to have a Burger King fish sandwich WITH fries when I have one of these:
Basically, I’m a walking contradiction.
Weight Watchers I don’t get because of the point system. It’s difficult for me to understand how a banana (about 24 carbs, take or give) is zero points. It sure doesn’t feel like zero points when I’m having to bolus for the carbs and then check my blood sugar a couple of hours later to make sure I guesstimated properly and am not sitting at 300. Fruit is like jet fuel for blood sugars when you have Type 1 diabetes (YDMV – your diabetes may vary). “Free food” is really just a matter of perspective. Yet it works for so many people.
Then there is Atkins. How is it healthy to eat that much meat? I mean, essentially the diet is a version of a low carb diet, but it also talks about putting your body into ketoacidosis. Aren’t we supposed to be staying OUT of ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can mean a hospital trip for many of us people with diabetes (PWDs). But there again, it works for so many people.
Those are just two examples, and clearly I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of them all. I see info about this meal plan and that weight loss option, conflicting testimonies and experiences, and I can’t seem to come to any conclusion about what is right for me. It is this lack of understanding that is paralyzing my decision making process on what it means, for me, to “eat right.” I see successes and failures with every single option. How do you pick one? Which one is the “right” one? It’s like walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Can’t I just get the one that is delicious and has the best prize?
I don’t have an answer. I probably just need to commit to something and try it. For now, I know I can work out. I enjoy that, and even look forward to it once I get into the routine. Maybe my rule needs to be, “If you eat it, burn it.” Or maybe it’s, “Sweat like a pig to look like a fox.” It’s one of those. In any case, we’ll call it the “Running on Fumes” plan, and I’ll try to talk Chuck Norris into being my spokesperson. After all, Chuck Norris never loses weight; he knows exactly where it is, and it’s very afraid of him.
In 2012, I was a bit quiet on my blog and even online within the diabetes online community (DOC). I spent the majority of 2012 offline with diabetes, working in real life with groups like Students With Diabetes, and spending the bulk of my time professionally in my job as a medical librarian. Now that 2013 is upon me, I want to get my voice back, realizing that time and
puberty experience may have changed some of what I have to say.
I get frustrated when I see folks posting so many “woe is me” blog posts, Facebook statuses, and even Tweets about how awful life with diabetes is. I get that, believe me. We all have our bad days, and I’m no exception. The frustration I feel is when that seems to be all that they are sharing, as if living life with diabetes is like walking around in a cloud of filth like Pigpen from the Peanuts gang.
I don’t want to be someone who parades around in a sea of hate because I have diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t own me, and I work extremely hard to never let it. Diabetes is not all bad. It’s a challenge, certainly. Life with diabetes is not going to always be easy, but it’s not going to always be the thing that demands every single second of my attention either. The same can be said for life without diabetes. If diabetes took up every single minute of every single day, none of us would have time for jobs, families, hobbies, or any other activity that is really what makes life worth dragging our carcasses out of bed for every morning.
I like to think that diabetes is more like a sleezy landlord in my body that I have to pay rent to (insulin, time, attention to details) and deal with quarterly walkthroughs of my proverbial apartment (trips to the endo) to continue living in its good graces. If I want to renew the lease on this walking shack of mine every year, then I have to do my job and take care of the things that were featured on the lease agreement that was forced upon me.
In 2013, things are changing. I’ve taken the first steps by completely redesigning Diabetically Speaking so that it is available to everyone via their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. All of the old posts are still there, but I needed to give my site and myself a refresh.
2012 was an election year, and it seemed like there was so much hate flying around. People that I thought I knew better showed (and in many cases are still showing) a side of themselves that I simply can’t support. It really made me feel like I couldn’t trust people, or myself, because I had made such a mistake in my judgement of their character. I’m not a hateful person, and I can’t operate with disdain toward people just because they don’t match my politics, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, income level, education level, gender, or any other measuring stick that people seem to choose when comparing others to themselves. In 2013, I am not going to tolerate that nonsense in my world. It yields no good. I am all for free speech and sharing of opinions, even if I don’t necessarily agree, but I believe we can do it with some human decency and respect for each other. Type 1 diabetes does not discriminate based on any of these things, which tells me that a stupid autoimmune system malfunction may have more sense than some of the rest of us walking around. Like diabetes, I want to give people an equal opportunity, because we all need someone who gets it, and gets us.
Finally, I’m not going to set specific goals for myself in 2013. In previous years I’ve set a list of goals, and some of them I accomplished, and some of them I didn’t. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t make a bit of difference. This year, I feel like I need to leave some room for the unexpected, and paint with a broader brush. I’m not going to force myself to lose X number of pounds, pay off X number of bills, pedal X number of miles, or write X number of blog posts. I’m going to set myself up for success, not failure, and I’m going to do what I can in hopes that it will be enough. I’m going to lose SOME weight, I’m going to pay off A bill, and I’m going to ride SOME miles and work my way back into riding shape, and share everything that is going on in my world WHEN I can.
This year, I want to find happiness, be kind, and seek greatness. I want to practice random acts of kindness, because despite appearances and our own biases, you never know just how bad the person sitting next to you may have it. Above all, I want to approach the world in 2013 like it’s an adventure, and let that lead me wherever it may.
Today, October 1, 2012 is “No D Day.” Today is the annual day to take a step away from diabetes, to do something different, to share something new, and to not mention the “D” word that so many of us live with every single minute of every single day. For me, it’s even more special, because this is the first time that I’ve visited my blog to share with the world in over two months.
You can find all of the “No D Day” posts on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #noDday, or you can visit Ninjabetic.com for a list with links. I hope you enjoy this and all of the “No D-Day” posts today. As always, we will continue to work, and share, and push for a future where every day is a…
I’m a joker. No, not like the Steve Miller Band song (although, that is a great song…”I’m a joker, I’m a smok…” Nevermind.). What I mean is, I love a good laugh. Lately, I feel like I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to laugh as much. I haven’t had time to stop and appreciate the humor in things. I haven’t had time to stop and sniff the chihuahua eating venus fly traps. (What? Those TOTALLY exist.)
Most of my time lately has been spent working and traveling for work. In the past three weeks I have been up and down the state of Florida three times teaching physicians and medical students all about how social media and medicine collide. Basically, this is what happens during the Social Media and Medicine workshop.
First, my colleague and I get a bunch of physicians and lock them in a classroom. Then we start to mention social media, Facebook, Twitter, and the fact that people are sharing information online, and they go all…
Then they spend two hours being exposed to all the various social media vehicles, why social media is important, how patients and physicians are actually using social media for good, and they start to get all…
Finally, by the end of the workshop, we reach the point of…
That’s when we know that our work is done, and we move on to the next workshop in another city. Nothing makes me happier than a health professional embracing LOLcats. Okay, LOLcats and social media. I love being a medical librarian! And soon, I hope to slow down enough to share more of my world with everyone again.
(Also, this was my very first blog post using a MacBook Air that a friend let me test drive for a week. TOTALLY different than the PC that I’m most familiar with and accustomed to, but I have to say…I kind of love it. Dear Santa Claus, I’ve been really good (mostly) this year…)