Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Once Upon a Blood Sugar...

There was a time when keeping on top of my diabetes management was more fairytale than real life.

Checking my blood sugars wasn't a common occurrence. Carb counting wasn't around thanks to my 2 or more shots a day, in the morning and evening, so it came down to a more stringent style of meal planning. And as my docs often said, I wasn't "compliant."

At some point in my 20s, I grew up.

Well, to be accurate: I started growing up. That came in waves. And it's still a work in progress to some degree.

But that's when I started accepting and embracing the fact that my diabetes wasn't going anywhere, that I wasn't destined for doom, and I could do something about it in the here and now. That sense of hopelessness still existed, but it became like a toy that I could put into a box and pack away in the closet. Every so often that toy would reappear, but not as often as it once did.

What changed?

For the most part, it was because I found inspiration to look beyond myself and saw there was a need to be hopeful.

But aside from that, diabetes wasn't something I let seep into every aspect of my life the way it seems to these days. Yes, I dealt with low blood sugars. And high blood sugars. And fears of complications and actual symptoms themselves. And all the stresses and issues you might think of. The difference was these weren't talked about in the same way as they are now.

These days, we have an entire community online talking about diabetes all the time. And we can connect to others in an instant, with the click of a keyboard or touchscreen. We have easier access to people we might want to meetup with in real life, to talk diabetes.

Yes, I don't feel so "alone" like I once did. But the flip side is that I always feel diabetes is along for the ride, because it's always on my mind for one reason or another -- even it's just a matter of looking at some blogs, tweets or FB posts mentioning D.

Now that I've taken my career in a direction where I am covering the diabetes world, along with living it and also spending my time advocating, volunteering and connecting with people about diabetes the rest of the time, it's pretty much diabetes 24-7 for me.

And that's very exhausting.

On one hand, we preach "We are more than diabetes." But on the other hand, it's all D all the time. Even when we're not sharing or wearing it on our sleeves for the world to see, we are always thinking about it -- whether it's a Low thanks to Dexcom alerting us, or constant blood sugar checks at all hours of the day and night.

Sometimes, I long for the days when I didn't know where my blood sugars were because I just dealt with it. I felt where I was, took care of it as needed and moved on with it without any need to share or connect or dwell on my diabetes.

I wouldn't sacrifice the Diabetes Online Community or people I've met through it for anything. Yet, sometimes we just need to disconnect and realize our own worlds are where we're needed most. And in those moments, diabetes is just along for the ride and not getting more attention than it deserves.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Best of the Betes Blogs: October 2014


I'm honored to be hosting the Best of the Betes Blogs for this month, featuring some of the great writings of the DOC during October. But while this is me hosting this monthly treasure this round, it's not about me... but the We.

It's about all of us in this D-Community sharing, connecting, and just spreading the good word -- as in the real side - of life with D.

As always, it's great to find friends in the D-Community, both new and old ones, who have shared some insight about life with diabetes -- whatever the category may be.

So, without further ado, I'll highlight some of those that caught our collective eye this past month.


(Drum roll, please...)




Best Use of Humor
Renza in Australia, who blogs at Diabetogenic. Yes, you'll want to get this smile from her post called "The Greatest Advancement in Diabetes." 

Best Vlog
Kim at Texting My Pancreas shares some real emotion in this video blog, A Minute.
·      
Best Recipe
      We didn't have any nominations for this particular category, but given that November is now National Diabetes Awareness Month, I thought it'd be great to just mention the American Diabetes Association's theme this year: Cooking to Stop Diabetes. And yes, the ADA blog, Stop Diabetes, had a post on this in late October. Of course, I also always turn to A Sweet Life when I'm looking for D-recipes penned and suggested by my D-peeps.

Best Use of Photography
Melissa Lee is More Than a Number, and her photography in this post at Sweetly Voiced rocks illustrates that message perfectly!

Best Advocacy
Jenn over at Young, Fun and Type 1 did some outstanding advocacy by talking to her local news station about a recent diabetes research advance.

Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
This is a special one not only referencing a D-celeb, but written by a D-celeb -- IndyCar driver and fellow Type 1 Charlie Kimball. Charlie wrote a post marking his diaversary in October, which just happened to come on the heels of Charlie getting married to his high school sweetheart! Congrats to you both, Charlie and Kathleen!

Best Story of a D-Meetup
Ground Control to Major Tom... yes, thanks to this awesome D-Meetup post by Heather Gabel, that David Bowe tune "Space Oddity" is now stuck in my head. But it's totally worth it, to read about the experience of meeting another PWD while also being able to "share the love" through a little on-the-spot advocacy.
·      
Best non-D Related Post
      Jenn believes You Are Worth More, and her post over at Sweet Zoo is worth a read. Go on, click over.

Best Post by a Type 1
Living one day with T1D can be challenging, but on Halloween Kelly Kunik marked her 37th diaversary. And over at her diabetesaliciousness, K2 focused on the positives with a fun list of 37 items she has observed and felt through all her years with D.

Best Post by a Type 2
Kate at Sweet Success wants you to know: Diabetes is not to be ignored. Neither is this post from her.
·      
Best Post by a Type Awesome
No nominations came in for this category, but I couldn't help but remember this post that stood out to me from October -- because it's a guest-post from my own dad, who not only rocks the D-Dad role but also is a D-Husband to my mom who's been Type 1 for more than a half-century. He wrote that over at D'Mine. Love you, dad.

Best story of a D-mistake
Tina at Stick With It Sugar endured a scary situation recently, and I was literally on the seat of my chair reading about how this whole thing transpired. And how can you not read a post with the title, "Purple Because Aliens Don't Wear Hats"...?! 

Best Motivational Post
      Motivate this, Motivate That... yep, that's certainly what Alanna at Life on T1 has done with her post Being Balanced Is Key.

Best Comments
Jennifer at Despite My Pancreas wrote a post about The Edge as to her yoga, but it wasn't until you read through the comments you got to see the true impact this post had on people in our D-Community by inspiring them to begin or re-start their own yoga adventures!

Best Diabetes Art
      OK, there are 2 awesome art-related DOC efforts that got attention this past month - they both just had to be included here!
  1. Make Your Own Betes! Ginger Vieira has this post on Diabetes Daily about a TuDiabetes video chat that took place on Oct. 22, featuring the TheBetes.org.
  2. Hand in Hand, Art for Diabetes: This post from late October highlights a creative and cool initiative spearheaded by the great D-wife of our DOC leader Manny Hernandez, and it includes a trio of well-known diabetes bloggers -- Manny, Scott Johnson, and Kerri Sparling.
 
Nominations and Others Worth Noting From October:
DuG (@WyoWiseGuy)

So, that's the DOC wrap for October.

Don't forget, you can snag a Best of the Betes Blogs box and show it off proudly over on your own site.



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Do you want to host? There's always a need for more, especially for Dec. 1 and then down the road as we move into 2015. Hit up Sara here: Email Best 'Betes Blogs

Thanks for being a part of this awesome Diabetes Online Community, and doing all you do.
You rock.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Call for Nominations: Best of the Betes Blogs for Halloween 2014!


Hey, friends!

This month, I'll be hosting the October-November Best of the ‘Betes Blogs!

If you aren't up on what this is all about, here's the 411: it's a great way to recognize our peers/fellow D-peeps in the Diabetes Blogosphere. You know, a kind of those #dblog posts that caught me eye and I think are worth a read.

Please get all your nominations in as soon as possible, by this weekend, so that we can go through the submissions and get the list compiled. It will go up here on Monday, Nov. 3.

Nominate your favorite posts from the month of July in these categories:
  • Best Use of Humor
  • Best Vlog
  • Best Recipe
  • Best Use of Photography
  • Best Advocacy
  • Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
  • Best Story of a D-Meetup
  • Best Non-D Related Post
  • Best Post by a Type 1
  • Best Post by a Type 2
  • Best Post by a Type Awesome
  • Best Post by a LADA/Type 1.5/Not Otherwise Specified
  • Best Story of a D-Mistake
  • Best Motivational Post
  • Best Diabetes Art
  • Best Comment(s)
Nominating is so easy, and you can do so in any of these 3 ways:
  1. Email bestbetesblogs@gmail.com
  2. Direct message to the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs Twitter account (@bestbetesblogs)
  3. Complete the online submission form
Make sure to include a link to the specific post and the category it fits in.

Oh, and you also don’t have to have a blog to nominate others. Just don't nominate yourself, please (and thank you).

For more information check out this link: http://momentsofwonderful.com/best-of-the-betes-blogs/a-history-of-best-of-the-betes-blogs/.

I plan on posting the full list of the Best of the ‘Betes blogs on Nov. 3. Thanks in advance for your nominations!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Clarity (of the Plastic Persuasian)


A pair of new plastic holsters for my insulin pump just arrived by brown truck.

I've been wearing my MiniMed 723 Revel since March, and I took a risk and changed up my color choice for the first time in years. Going clear, instead of charcoal. Sadly, Medtronic didn't yet have one of these beloved holsters that same color so I had to stick with the old one I'd been using.

They told me the clear ones were on the way, and I've been anxiously waiting. In the meantime, my clear pump and charcoal holster have been horribly mismatched.
 


Until now.

Finally, the time's come. Two new holsters arrived earlier this week.

And now I'm happy. And see things much more clearly.






 
I'm pumping with clarity, you might say.

And they better compliment my black-to-black Dexcom G4 CGM and belt case, too.

Wait... I use the MedT pump and a Dexcom G4 CGM?! Yep, sure do. That's how I roll.


And now, I can do it with a little more clear plastic style on my waist.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

When Trees Have High Glucose Levels...

Diabetes is everywhere.

Even on my vacation to Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.



We escaped from work and regular life here in Indiana for about 10 days recently, heading up across the mighty Mackinac Bridge to a place I had never been. While we stayed mostly on the eastern side of the UP and settled in Michigan's first city known as Sault Ste Marie (the Soo), we also ventured into the central UP to experience the magic of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior and other places around there.

One of the most breath-taking experiences you can find in this part of the country, aside from just the incredible history and soul-enriching water that is everywhere, is getting a glimpse of the changing colors of the Fall Foliage. The trees and the changing colors of the leaves are just... awesome.

Fall is beautiful in many places throughout the country, and I haven't personally been to places on the East Coast or more West of Michigan and Indiana to see for myself how they compare. But in my post-college years of working the state and local environmental beat for a local newspaper, I've heard many people "in the know" about those kind of things (read: tree experts and nature-observers) say Michigan's got most beat. Why's that? Simply, because of the changing temps and all the water of the fresh water from the Great Lakes that surround the state and effect the seasonal changes and trees more than most.

The trees "explode in a frenzy of color," as some describe it, like Tim Allen in this Pure Michigan ad


#PureMichigan, indeed.

But, why do the leaves change?

That's a question that I thought I knew, but realized during our trip it all goes back to long-forgotten and jumbled bits of info from 9th grade science class. And that fun little process known as photosynthesis. My memory has just enough in there to know it's all about plants and oxygen, and that all plays into why leaves change colors when the temps change outside.

But what I had forgotten (assuming I learned it at all) from back in the day was that glucose is a part of that leaf color-changing process. And yes, with diabetes more on my mind these days (hello, sometimes it feels like my whole world!), you get where my brain took that next.

"No kidding, the trees have high blood sugars and that's why the leaves change!" I may have blurted out as we drove through the UP, in response to Suzi rattling off that info she found online.

At that exact moment, I was behind the wheel and she was in the passenger seat, Googling the question "Why do leaves change colors?" thanks to a stray data connection we managed to find on that drive in the middle of the UP.

"Diabetes is everywhere... I just can't escape it!" may have been what came from my mouth next.
  
I could feel her eyes rolling from the passenger seat.