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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Restless Sleeping

I love sleep.

Even if I don't get enough of it by my own doing, closing my eyes and letting my mind drift off into dreamland is a good feeling.


But lately, my sleep has been a little restless.

Not in the way where my mind's working endlessly and reluctant to calm down, but rather my body has a mind of its own. I come to bed, but can't sleep because my foot is itching or even a little painful. Same with my leg, and I sometimes need to wiggle it or even let out a sort of kick to tide it over. These past number of days, that's been happening with my arms.


Of course, this all frustrates Suzi and prompts her to tell me to "Stop Wiggling" next to her.

I'm afraid that neuropathy and diabetes complications are weaving their way back into my sleep routine, and causing me to fidget and not sleep. And inevitably, I find myself thinking it's just easier to go sleep in the other room or on the couch.

This has been off and off for more than a decade now. I remember the most severe and life-impacting time was in 2005, just about the time we walked down the aisle. At that point, there were shooting pains and a constant ache in my toes, feet and legs.

That was neuropathy.

And it's what ultimately led me to going online in search of "real stories," not the textbook warnings and advice from medical professionals who were just saying "do better and keep your blood sugars under control." No, I wanted to find those people who were also living with diabetes, and telling me real stories about how to deal with these foot pains in real life -- when you're sleeping next to your loved one, or how to sit at your desk at work and not get too distracted by the pain. Or when you have to stand up and walk around every few minutes as a result.

That's what I was looking for, and search engines eventually connected me with Kerri, Scott Johnson, and George; and others like Amy, Christel and Scott Strumello who were telling real stories and even keeping an eye on diabetes issues and not just pumping out (HA!) press releases and medical lingo that wasn't real.

Through those people and an expanding online universe that's now the DOC, I found support that I didn't even know I needed.

No, it wasn't about finding a new medication to take. Or what my A1C should be, and how to get it there. Or hearing about special socks that could help circulation, or putting my feet up with specialized pillows to help ease the pain.

That wasn't and isn't the point of the DOC, as most of us see it.

Instead, it was about hearing the "me too." Hearing the "Yes, it does suck, but it's going to be OK." And we're here, no matter what hour and without any office visit or co-pay needed. Just go to any blog, or on Twitter, or whatever channel works. And we won't judge you."

The DOC made me not feel alone, and through that I found something that no doctor or medical professional had been able to give me before -- hope. and a desire to do better.

It helped me deal with that neuropathy, because the online community brought a sense of support that I'd been missing because no one had really let me explore that psychosocial aspect of diabetes before. That helped motivate me to do better, to pay more attention to my own diabetes, and get back on the bandwagon of taking care of myself.

Of course, I also went on medication to help ease the symptoms. Getting back into better BG management was the best move, and it helped me say goodbye to that most painful neuropathy at the time. And it hasn't come back to that extent, even to this day. All of that was with the help of my doctors, but it wasn't because of them. It was because of the DOC, and that's what led me to doing better.

That is where I find myself these days.

I am restless, and my sleep is off. There is a pain in my feet, legs and now arms. And it's a bit different, not as painful, but different because times have changed and I'm a different person, a different diabetic, and in a different place than I was in 2005. And "the DOC" is different too -- certainly not in the theme of connecting and helping people feel not-so-alone, but in that there's so many people out there and it can feel... large and impersonal, sometimes.

But that's where finding those stories that mean something to you matters most, and it's what this DOC thrive. Because there are so many voices out there, that probably means you can find whatever you might need, and hopefully it helps you get to a place you need and want to be.

Whether it's neuoropathy or mental health or blood sugar checks, or whatever.

Plugging back into the DOC may not be answer anymore for me, but it could be a start. The rest? We'll just have to see how it plays out. I'm just glad to know I'm not in this by myself.