Perspective

Fortune cookie - Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.

Fortune of Fate

The other day I had a hankering for Chinese take out. Sure, it might not be the healthiest food of all the choices out there, but sometimes you just have to indulge. For the record, I did make three meals out of my dinner order, so at least there is that.

The wonderful thing about Chinese food is that, after you are done, you get to fumble around in the butcher quality brown paper bag that the food arrived in, contorting yourself just so in order to avoid the mangled construction grade staples threatening to open up your house fried rice infused arteries, and find the most magical and sage of all desserts: The fortune cookie.

I like it when my fortune cookie tells me something gratifying, like “We’re renaming soy sauce to awesomesauce in your honor” or “You put the POW in kung pao chicken.”

Sometimes though, my fortune is a real miss…

Fortune cookie - Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned.
Normally when I get a bogus fortune, I just shrug it off and throw it away and don’t think about it. After all, not every fortune cookie is created equal. This one, however, was discovered to be filled with commentary.

The notion that life is on rails, and that the future is set in stone, has never sat well with me. My science mind refuses to accept that all of our paths, as complex and unique as we are, are pre-planned.

Take diabetes for example. As I sit here writing this, there is absolutely no way of knowing what my blood sugar is going to be with certainty at this same time tomorrow. I can guess, and due to my repetitive behaviors when it comes to living with my diabetes, I can make an educated prediction, but that isn’t fate. Fate would say that tomorrow, at exactly 10:07 a.m., I am going to have a low blood sugar and require someone to fling jelly beans in my general direction as if they were feeding an animal at the petting zoo. Fate would say that I am on a path toward that silly spectacle of a low, and the best I can hope for is that the jelly beans are buttered popcorn or watermelon flavored, which is much more desirable than the mothball or earwax Jelly Belly recipes.

The flip side of that coin is that maybe my fate IS to depart from the path that I have been assigned. Maybe the new path is indeed my fate, and the other path was just a ploy to make me think that it was what I was supposed to be doing. Maybe by writing this blog post, I avoid the 10:07 a.m. low and allay my fears of biting into a vomit flavored Jelly Belly in order to survive a sneaky low. If you think about it too hard, you end up flopping around in the floor with a perfect blood sugar and your brain all twisted into the shape of a plate of lo mein.

I guess what the egg drop soup boils down to is that the only fate we have is what we make of the decisions we encounter today. We use our best judgement to make the best decisions that we can, and then we react to the outcomes as they may be. Nothing is guaranteed, good or bad, and nothing is written in stone.

How we are doing with our diabetes today does not in any way dictate our tomorrow. Our choices determine our fate, not the other way around.

Numeracy

Unconscionable Numeracy

Last week at the 6th Annual Education Forum on Diabetes Prevention & Management conference, I witnessed clinical healthcare professionals learning and sharing about the impact of diabetes, issues from the patient perspective, issues from the healthcare professional perspective, and enough data and PowerPoint slides to make Bill Gates proud.

Two presentations really stood out to me. As a person with type 1 diabetes, or a type 1 diabetic if you prefer (you say “noo-tella,” I say “nuh-tella”), I gravitated toward those portions of the conference that I could identify with the most. I like hearing various perspectives of my particular flavor of diabetes, especially from the side of people who work with and deal with diabetes without having the disease themselves.

First, there was a presentation about numeracy.

Numeracy: adjective; able to use or understand numerical techniques of mathematics.

In other words, numeracy is the ability to understand and use numbers in our day-to-day lives. Those of us with diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, do it all the time, seemingly without thinking because we’ve done it for so long that it has become almost habit. We can do carb and blood sugar math like it’s nobody’s business! For example, I know that my insulin to carb ratio is 1:8. That means if I have a meal or a snack with 20 grams of carbs, I’m going to have to take 2.5 units of insulin to cover it so that my blood sugar doesn’t spike and make my head explode. (Not really, but my blood sugar will go high, and I hate, hate, HATE being high.)

I loved this presentation because the presenter really linked it to the patient perspective of living with diabetes. She highlighted the fear of all the numbers that sometimes paralyze us to take action. That applies no matter what type of diabetes you have. She said, “Something that healthcare providers have to realize is that if we make a mistake in math in our checkbook, it’s really no big deal, but if a type 1 makes a diabetes math mistake, they can die.” There is not a lot of room for mathematical forgiveness with type 1 diabetes.

Numeracy

The next presentation I went to was awesome because the presenter was my endo. I love my endo, so pardon me a minute while I gush. I really appreciate him because, even though he doesn’t have diabetes himself, he gets what it is like to live with diabetes as well as anyone I have ever met. He was sharing with the room some of his experiences with helping children and parents adjust and learn to live life with type 1 diabetes. Having grown up with diabetes myself, since age 2, I could appreciate a lot of the stories he had to share; many of them could have been about me.

He opened his presentation by telling every single diabetes and healthcare professional in the room that “it is absolutely unconscionable what we ask people with type 1 diabetes to do to stay alive.”

Unconsionable: adjective; not in accordance with what is just or reasonable.

Yes, yes, and more YES! I’m paraphrasing here, but he explained that sustaining the constant counting and checking and pricking and poking and dosing and everything else it takes to live with diabetes is really not reasonable or realistic. He said, “Albert Einstein said that doing the same thing twice and expecting different results is the definition of insanity,” then added, “…except with diabetes.” A person with diabetes can do the same exact thing and eat the same exact foods for two days in a row and get totally different results. The best that can be hoped is that people with diabetes will do as much as they can.

Something that I’ve always appreciated about him, and the reason he is still my endo even though I am 32 years old (still a kid at heart people, don’t get it twisted!), is because of the perspective he shared at the end of his presentation. He said that in his practice, he refuses to tell a person with diabetes to “test” a blood sugar. A test you can pass or fail. A blood sugar check is just a check, returning a number that is neither good or bad, just possibly something that needs to be addressed. All these numbers that come with diabetes are just data. Just. Data.

What we have to do to live with diabetes may sometimes be unconscionable, but the numbers that we see staring back at us should never be that. We have to learn to use all of these numbers in our diabetes world to make decisions, and react to the best of our abilities.

That has to be enough.

Stop Diabetes

Resolved

Last Friday I had the privilege of attending the 6th Annual Education Forum on Diabetes Prevention & Management in Tallahassee, Florida. Throughout the day there was talk about all of the various types of diabetes and their differences, along with the growing number of diabetes diagnoses, the obesity epidemic, the lack of education about the beneficial impact of fitness on the human body, and other topics.

One discussion panel consisted of diabetes educators from rural areas, mostly working with their local health departments rather than a diabetes center of some sort. Each of the professionals shared what their communities were doing to educate people who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, to help those with any type of diabetes to get the resources that they so desperately need, and to help them navigate the often confusing world of healthcare.

One of the panel members, like so many others that took to the microphone throughout the day, spoke about her personal connection to diabetes and how important it is to her. My ears always perk up when I hear someone sharing their diabetes story. We all have a unique diabetes story, and we find common ground in our shared experiences in living with diabetes on a daily basis.

I heard this panel member trying to share her connection with diabetes from her rural perspective, and her view of the importance of education and helping people to learn the skills they need to effectively live with diabetes. She said, “I understand, because I used to have diabetes, but mine has been resolved. My husband still has diabetes, so it is very important to me.”

I looked up from my iPad, where I was taking notes, and probably had a look of “Huh?” written all over my face. “Used to have diabetes?” I’ve always been taught that there is no cure for diabetes, regardless of what type you have. Sure, there are options if you have Type 2 diabetes, including lifestyle changes and medications, but you still have diabetes even if you are able to avoid medications. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and you have to stay on top of it in whatever way works best for your unique situation. They don’t say “your diabetes may vary” for nothing. For Type 1, there is far less gray area for lifestyle adjustments: Insulin or death, pick one.

At first it agitated me that this woman, a diabetes educator, a representative expert on diabetes in her rural community, was proceeding and educating others with the presumption that diabetes was something that could be “resolved.” To me, that implied that diabetes was somehow the fault of the patient, which is not always true, and certainly is not a fair assumption without looking at many other aspects of the individual’s health. Initially, it felt to me like she was blaming her patients for having Type 2 diabetes, which I do not agree with.

Blame does nothing but remind someone of the circumstances that they are in. Blame looks into the past, not the future, and keeps us focused on what we should have done, as opposed to what we can do now.

I said at first it agitated me, because the more I thought about her words and her perspective, the more I came to realize that maybe her choice of words is a direct reflection of the rural community she is trying to help. Rural communities are often lower income, lower educated, often economically challenged, and without extensive healthcare options within the community area. Given this, for the people with diabetes that she is trying to help, it may be easier and more effective in managing diabetes within the community if they proceed with the idea of:

Losing weight + eating healthy + exercise = diabetes resolved.

As opposed to:

Medications = I have diabetes.

I know this equation doesn’t work for everyone, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, because maybe it works for a majority of the patients in her care. Thinking about it from that perspective, it is certainly a lot easier to inspire people to take care of themselves when they can have a goal of “diabetes resolution.” For a rural community that simply does not have the resources to help every single person with Type 2 diabetes, and the community members themselves may not be able to afford medications, prevention and “resolution” may be the most effective options.

At first I wanted to jump up and say, “There is no cure for diabetes! You can’t give people that false hope! That isn’t fair!” Then I thought about it some more, and even if we find hope and can place our faith in things that under a microscope may not be completely accurate, if it gets us to a better place where less people are dying from diabetes, then I can certainly accept that bigger win in the long term.

Stop Diabetes

The Day After

I’ve been perusing news articles, blog posts, tweets, Facebook, TV and radio observing the reflections of a day ten years ago when terror struck on September 11, 2001. The impact of four commercial planes full of innocent people, heroic people, and the worst kind of people who eventually saw all four of the planes through to a tragic end has left an indelible mark on me, on a city, on a nation, and on the world.

Ten years is a long time, yet, it isn’t very long at all. It seems so fresh, so yesterday, so real still. I still expect to turn on the TV and see smoldering rubble in the business district of Manhattan, a burned and gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, and a big, dirty, smoking trench in a field in Pennsylvania. Yet, those aren’t my tragedies.

One of the tragedies of 9/11, for me, is the change in perspective. What once would have been a coincidence, a natural phenomena, or a just a freak accident is now questioned: Are we being attacked once again?

Recently there was a relatively minor earthquake that shook our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. The first thought for many people in D.C. was that there had been another attack, that something had exploded nearby, that the worst had struck again.

Before 9/11, we would have all thought that it was an earthquake…first.

Parents of children with diabetes also have this perspective shift. Before diabetes, a child acting the fool, goofing off, and just being the beautiful weird that a child can be would have been attributed to just having fun and being a kid. After diabetes, the same acts are questioned: Is his blood sugar low? Does he need a snack? Is there a reason for this odd behavior? Is this my fault?

Diabetes is its own sort of terrorist, hijacking our immune system, demanding that we be forever vigilant of how we feel, what we eat, and what we do and how much we do it from that point forward. It requires us to closely scrutinize things that we would have previously overlooked, such as being thirsty or having a headache, and question their intent and what they stand for.

Both the evil of 9/11 and diabetes have claimed and continue to claim the lives of friends, families, loved ones, innocent people, heroes, and even those that we don’t admire so much. There is no discrimination, aside from sweeping political and religious idealism that has been portrayed by the media over the years since 9/11.

The day after 9/11, we questioned everything. The day after diabetes, we questioned everything. Still, we have the day after, and that is one more day to live with all of this, and one more day to overcome it.

“Nothing we do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.” — Ashleigh Brilliant

NYC World Trade Center Rebuild - May 2011

Rebuilding the World Trade Center - May 2011

Dear X

Dear X

Dear X
Dear X,

You’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It seems as if we’ve always been together. Even when you weren’t physically present, or I wasn’t paying attention, you were never far away.

There was a time when I was afraid of you. Your temper and recklessness frightened me, and how it seemed like you could dictate how I should act at any given moment. Your lows, your highs, I was there for them all. I never left your side, just like you never gave me the choice of you leaving mine.

The thing is, times have changed. I’m older now, wiser now, more experienced now, and I realize that it is my choice how much you are present in my life. Whether you are physically here or not, you will always be a part of my world, because you always have been. In many ways, I am grateful for that. You have taught me things that I couldn’t possibly have learned on my own. You have taught me patience, the value of hard work, that I will have hard times, and also that I will overcome those hard times.

But you don’t own me.

I am me. I cannot do anything about the past, but I have full control of my present, and my future. Blaming me for whatever happens to you is as futile as me blaming you for what happens to me. The blame serves no purpose, and doesn’t change anything. I choose to include you in my life as I see fit. Maybe I choose to have you attached to me, or just around to make a point when I need your input, or maybe there are times that I celebrate you and the community that you’ve inspired. But I refuse to carry on as if you are more important than I am.

I MUST come first. You don’t own me.

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t really mind sharing my world with you. Through you, I have met so many wonderful people who mean the absolute world to me. I wouldn’t have met them without you. Just like you, they inspire me to do better. They inspire me to rise up from all the things that hold me back. They inspire me to accept the things I cannot change, they give me the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I’m learning the pattern of things as time goes by, and how to anticipate what is going to happen next. Still, I stumble. As much knowledge and foresight as I have, things that are completely outside of my control happen, and often I am asked to take on the responsibility of those consequences, as if they were somehow my fault. I feel like you put that burden on me more often than not.

Still, you don’t own me.

I can carry the burden. I’ve got an army of people behind me that will not let me fall down. I know who I am, and I know who I am not.

I don’t always know who you are. But no matter what form you take, everything you throw at me just makes me that much stronger, because I am in control.

You. Don’t. Own. Me.

 


This post was inspired by the song “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)” by Disciple, off of their album Horseshoes & Handgrenades.

Ninjabetic - Aunt Addie Tweet

Get Well Soon

On Sunday I slept in a bit, made my way to the gym for spin class around mid-afternoon, then over to the coffee shop to spend the rest of the afternoon on the computer and getting caffeinated. It’s kind of my thing.

As the afternoon slipped by, I finally remembered that I needed to go get a “Get Well Soon” card. On a Sunday in the deep south, stores start closing at 5:30pm…6:00pm if you’re lucky. I dashed across the street to the drugstore to see if they had a card that would meet my needs. After browsing up and down the aisle, I finally found a small selection of “Get Well Soon” cards, most of which were either short novels or gave the impression that the person the card was for really wasn’t going to make it. How does a drugstore not have a surplus of cheerful “Get Well Soon” cards?

That just would not do. I was looking for a card for someone special. The card I wanted had a very particular purpose.

Ninjabetic - Aunt Addie Tweet

I decided, rather than play leapfrog from store to store looking for one that would work, I’d skip all the aggravation and head directly to the source of “Get Well Soon” card bliss: Hallmark.

I called the only Hallmark in town, and a gentleman named Trey answered. I was really just calling to find out what time they closed, since it was already 5:30pm and if they were closed I didn’t want to waste my time driving all the way across town. Fortune was on my side however, and I had just enough time to get there before the store closed in 30 minutes.

Then something happened that blew me away: Trey asked me what I was looking for. I told him that I was looking for a special “Get Well Soon” card, and the situation, and when I arrived at the Hallmark he had a selection of about eight cards that he had pulled that he thought would work best. Then we narrowed it down to three, and I bought them all.

It is a rare and delightful moment when someone goes so far above and beyond what they have to do for their job. All he really had to do was tell me they closed at six and point me toward the plethora of “Get Well Soon” cards that lined an entire wall of the store. Instead, he took the time and cared enough to not only help me find a “Get Well Soon” card, but to also help me find the RIGHT “Get Well Soon” card.

This post isn’t about diabetes really. It is about our diabetes online community though, supporting each other, and the pleasant surprises that happen along the way. Good things beget good things.

Giant Chicken

Wrestling with The Giant

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve put together a solid blog post. I’ve been busy. I’ve been traveling. I’ve been exhausted. I’ve been preoccupied. But mostly, I’ve just been out of whack.

Normally, my blood sugars are prone to running low. I can be eating and run low. It’s just the flavor of diabetes that I’ve been blessed with, despite the basal testing and best precautions. The past couple weeks though, I’ve found myself in the 200’s on more than one occasion. At work sometime around mid-morning, 229. Before spin class, 250. A few hours after dinner, 240. Granted, I still have an occasional low, like yesterday’s lovely panic-laced BG of 37, but still. I hate running high.

Since I am accustomed to running numbers in the double digits rather than triple figures, I can feel every single mg/dl of a 200+ blood sugar. It makes me tired, it makes me irritable, it makes me unable to focus, and it makes me wonder what in the Sam Hill is going on?!

To try and figure out where this out of whackedness is coming from, I figure it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. I can’t keep proceeding like this, so I have to find out where my stresses are, and remove them.

So my blood sugars are higher than normal. Why? The first guess is something to do with my diet. I will admit that I’ve had a few more carbs in my meals than I should have lately, but I’ve also started back at the gym for the past three weeks. I need those carbs for fuel. I’ve discovered spin class at the gym, and I can’t keep up the pace for 45 minutes that burns calories, gets my heart pumping, and leaves my entire body covered in sweat if I don’t have the proper fuel. My blood sugar can easily drop 100-200 mg/dl in one single spin class, so it requires a careful balancing act of fuel in and power out. Still, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably don’t need ice cream, pizza, or Chinese take-out to fuel my gym experience. I know I could do a bit better job. But is that it, just my diet that could use a little fine tuning?

Being tired is easy to understand. I don’t sleep enough. But why am I not sleeping? Probably because I have way too much on my mind lately. My mind is all work, responsibilities, money, worry, friends, family, never feeling like I am getting enough accomplished, needing outlets and not being able to find them, not being able to share and say what I really think about things, not getting the support that I need, keeping way too much bottled up inside…too much thinking!

Or maybe too much coffee. Naa…no such thing.

Ironically, I can’t focus because I have too much to focus on. To give one thing my undivided attention, I stress out over everything else that gets ignored and suffers. It’s this constant vicious cycle that keeps repeating over and over, and meanwhile I feel like I’m falling further and further behind.

As you can see, it isn’t just one thing that is the challenge that must be overcome. It is all of it added together that makes it a giant. I don’t know what the exact solution is, but I know I have to keep trying, and hope that I’ll find a way to bring this giant down to size before he looks at me and says, “Hmm…tastes like chicken?” and then eats me alive.

Giant Chicken

Today I’m going to put a new CGM sensor on my body, and I’m going to pull the rug out from under these high blood sugars at least. I hate them. They make me feel awful. So goodbye to them. I’m bad about taking breaks away from CGM, but I didn’t get it just to look at it. I got it to warn me of when there is a problem, diabetically speaking. Be it warning me that I’m high or low, the CGM has a purpose, and I’m not giving it a fair opportunity to help me when I’m not wearing it. And clearly, I need the help right now.

I’m also going to resign myself to focusing on just one project, at least temporarily. Not 30 projects and things that I need to get done. Just one. And I’m not going to stop until that one is done. Because then I will have 29, instead of 30. And that is progress, no matter what speed it travels at.

Me and Fireflight

What I’ve Overcome

Fireflight is a band that you’ve probably never heard of, so I hope you’ll humor me for a moment and let me give you an introduction. A Florida-based Christian rock band, Fireflight has put out three albums of music that just connects. After listening to their albums dozens of times, the songs are always the same, but I change, and I can identify with different songs at different times.

Me and Fireflight

Me and Fireflight - February 2010

Now, I realize that some folks read the words “Christian rock band” and have probably already stopped reading this post. That’s okay. The beauty of music is that it appeals to so many and not to everyone, at the same time. I’m diverse in my music preferences, which includes an affinity for metal bands such as Stone Sour, punk bands such as Green Day, pop bands such as Paramore, and even swing and jump blues bands such as Brian Setzer Orchestra.

For those of you still reading, there is a song out by Fireflight right now called “What I’ve Overcome.” This song is about the times when we fall down, and how much stronger we become when we find the strength to pick ourselves back up. It’s also about how much stronger we become when we have faith, and allow ourselves to be picked back up again by something bigger than just us.

The main line of the chorus of the song is, “I’m not what I have done, I’m what I’ve overcome.” We have all had struggles in our past. Many of us are struggling right now. For me, this song serves as a source of encouragement that we can overcome our challenges if we have faith, if we push forward, and if we can somehow find a way to use our past to fuel our future. In my world, that applies to a lot more than just diabetes. Maybe that fuel is finding faith in God. Maybe that fuel is accepting the things that we cannot change. Maybe that fuel is exactly what the lyrics of the song say, that we find grace, and healing.

Whatever it is that enables us to heal and move forward and overcome the ugly things in this world, I know that it is powerful, and I know that sometimes when I feel helpless, the only solution that works for me is to simply let go…and trust. When the chains that are holding us down are broken, and we rise up, that is when we are no longer defined by what holds us back, but rather by what holds us upright.

Martin - Class Prep

What Diabetes?

Last week I took my medical librarian know-how to the classroom to teach a group of doctors how to find and use medical images for their research and teaching methods. As I was leaning over helping one of them learn how to successfully manipulate an image, I overheard a couple of doctors behind me chatting about me, or more precisely, “that thing on his side.”

I wasn’t mic’d for sound (this time), as the room was plenty small enough and I was able to project my voice plenty loud enough to not need to be wired into the room’s audio. When I overheard them, I didn’t jump right around and whip out my broken pancreas club membership card and secret handshake. Instead, I chose to let them go for a bit. After all, they are doctors and far smarter than I am. Surely they can figure out what that contraption is on my side, right?

They spent only a few moments debating about whether or not it was a wireless microphone, and moved on to the temporary conclusion that it must be the clicker for my PowerPoint presentation. Granted, I was using a PowerPoint clicker, but that was in my hand. I like to imagine I’m a weatherman when I get to use the PowerPoint clicker. Nevertheless, moving on…

Maybe the light hit me just right, or maybe I turned at just the right angle, but finally I heard one of them say, “Oh, that’s an insulin pump. He must have diabetes.” Followed by a pause for consideration. Then one of them said, “That’s impressive.”

Pride. That’s what I felt. Not for me so much, but for those of us who quietly live everyday with diabetes and don’t let it stop us from making a difference in the lives of others. We don’t let it stop us from helping others. We don’t let diabetes stop us from doing anything.

I never had a chance to acknowledge their overheard conversation, but I like to imagine that they went back to their hospital or their practice the next day and told their colleagues about how good of a class they took, and how this charming and incredibly attractive guy kept them engaged, learning, and laughing for a solid two hours. I hope that they got a glimpse of someone with diabetes who was thriving, living, and making a difference in the lives and abilities of others. At that point, I wasn’t a patient, or someone that needed their medical advice, or their prescriptions, or their years of medical education and experience.

I hope that they appreciated that diabetes was there in the room with us, but that it wasn’t in the spotlight. Because I certainly did.

Martin - Class Prep

In the office, getting ready for class.

A-Flizzle and Martin - NOLA - May 2011 (FI)

Helleaux From New Orleans

I’ve been traveling and working a lot lately, which is to blame for the lack of blog posts in the past couple weeks. A couple weekends ago I spent a few days in New Orleans celebrating A-Flizzle‘s birthday. We had a great time eating good food, exploring quirky and interesting stores and art galleries, and overall just having a great time away from work and responsibilities. We even got to check out a fun swampy sounding backwoods bayou band that featured a mix of blues, jazz, and a quintessential New Orleans sound…and a trombone. I love me some trombone.

New Orleans is a city whose disaster history in recent years is known quite well. In September of 2005, the city of New Orleans suffered a devastating blow by Hurricane Katrina, causing billions of dollars in damage and changing the lives of thousands of people. The city still features glimpses of the storm damage, but it is as rejuvenated and full of that New Orleans spirit as ever, while still retaining it’s signature lack of polish that gives the city so much of it’s soul.

Librarie Book Shop - New Orleans French Quarter

Librarie Book Shop - New Orleans French Quarter

Shotgun House Garden - New Orleans French Quarter

Shotgun House Garden - New Orleans French Quarter

Haunted Hotel - New Orleans French Quarter

Haunted Hotel - New Orleans French Quarter

Lafayette Cemetery - New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetery - New Orleans

Traveling with diabetes is always a challenge, as any PWD can attest. Accurate carb counting while on the road is equivalent to winning the lottery or catching an empty cab in the city on a rainy day. Really, it’s mostly luck and best guess. Something that New Orleans is better known for than Katrina is its amazing food, but when you’re trying to stay focused on low carb eating, it isn’t easy being in a city where poor boy sandwiches and fried everything are the staples.

Some of the foods that I enjoyed the most in New Orleans weren’t really food at all. A couple blocks from the shotgun where we were staying was a Community Coffee house, and let me tell you, Community Coffee is so much better in New Orleans than it is anywhere else you can get it. One of the highlights of the trip was a morning when A-Flizzle and I got up early, walked to CC’s to get our coffee, and then headed east to the mighty Mississippi River and sat on a bench and just took a few moments to chat and soak it in. Here is a city that actually sits below the water level, where all that is separating it from a seemingly unending supply of muddy water is a dirt and rock levee, and yet somehow it thrives and survives.

Mississippi River Levee in New Orleans French Quarter

Mississippi River Levee in New Orleans French Quarter

It’s a lot like how I feel about my own diabetes sometimes. I’m always just a break in routine diabetes management away from the proverbial levee breaking and a gush of unpredictable blood sugars flooding in and causing all sorts of chaos. Which is pretty much where I am right now, by the way. My biggest problem is that I’m having a hard time getting pump insets and CGM sensors to stay stuck to my body. On more than one occasion I’ve reached under my shirt to check an inset just to find it floating around in the fabric as free as a bird, spewing insulin all over me like a malfunctioning Band-Aid smelling fire hose.

The thing about diabetes though is that you can’t let it keep you from living life. As annoying as disconnected pump insets and CGM sensors can be, they are manageable and something that I refuse to let keep me chained to the house. I love to travel, and see new places. If that means I have to duct tape my diabetes attachments to me in addition to spending a small fortune and carrying extra supplies everywhere with me, I will.

So in the true New Orleans spirit of things, I say to you, diabetes: “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

…because ultimately, this is what being in New Orleans was really about:

A-Flizzle and Martin - NOLA - May 2011