Sunday, May 18, 2014

D-Blog Week: Weekend Edition of Snapshots & Reflections

We are now at the end of Diabetes Blog Week 2014.

Boo... (sad face)!

Once again, it's been a lot of fun writing this week and seeing all the great contributions from so many in the Diabetes Online Community. Thanks can't go out enough to Karen Graffeo, who came up with and
coordinated this whole concept five years ago and has made it happen each year since.

It's nearly impossible to condense into a single thought what I love the most about D-Blog Week, but I have to say it's just awesome connecting dots and being able to find so many voices you might not normally have seen in the blogosphere. Personally, I love the more creative takes on each prompt and so those are the ones that stick out in my mind the most. But every single one is awesome, because it's straight from someone's heart and mind and that's powerful.

Finding those new D-peeps online is great, as is connecting with old friends and seeing different spins on each topic.

Earlier in the week, I had some fun with the "Mantras and More" and put together my D-Soundtrack for when my mood needs a boost. And reaching back into the "older" days of the Diabetes Online Community, I included the wonderful SugaSheen "All The Diabetics" song created years ago (in 2009) by our friends, George "Ninjabetic" Simmons and DSMA-queen Cherise Shockley. That was fun, and it was a bit nostalgic.

But then, I got a comment from a good friend who apparently had never seen it before:

That video and song by Cherise and George just changed my life. Thank you SO MUCH for posting that. I am going to play that all the time. It is so bouncy and fun and light-hearted. They are wonderful and so. are. you! Great list of songs, Mike!

And in scanning Facebook and online posts later in the day, I saw a few others linking to that video and indicating they were just seeing it for the first time.

That's what this is all about - connecting dots. Helping people find others that we may not have known about, no matter how long we've been at this D-Life game or hanging out in the DOC.

And with that, I'm offering my Saturday Snapshots for this Weekend Edition.... it's a photo that takes me back a few years to when a good friend came to the U.S. for the first time from Australia. It was a life-changing experience for me, that debut Simonpalooza experience. And the next time a couple years ago, when he came through Indy briefly. And I'm very very excited that he'll be returning to this U.S. this summer and we get to hang out once again, in real-life.

The Kansas City Simonpalooza Group

Blunt Lancet: Jeff, Kelly, Kim, Mr. Simonpalooza

This DOC has been life-changing for me, and it continues to be in so many ways. And it's in times like these with #DBlogWeek, that I think that shines through so much.

Friday, May 16, 2014

D-Blog Week Tip: Don't Go Hacky With Diabetes Devices

So the topic for Diabetes Blog Week today is: Diabetes Life Hacks.

Um.... right.

Like this?!

It IS Blue for Diabetes, right...?! #BlueFridays

Does look like some good blood sugar-lowing exercise...

Hmm. Probably not what Karen had in mind for this topic.

And you probably don't want to go all Hacky Sack with your diabetes devices (even if you want to)...

Bolus this, you b*st+rd...!

No Dex, I TOLD you to stay in-range...!

Probably not a good idea to use an insulin pump or CGM like that, even if they do provoke and urge you to kick them sometimes... So yeah, aside from what I mentioned elsewhere today and all the other D-peeps out there sharing their own D-Life hacks, I've got nothing more on this.

Happy Blue Friday!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

D-Blog Week: My Pick-Me-Up Diabetes Soundtrack

It's now the fourth day of Diabetes Blog Week. And the topic:

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

Music makes me feel a whole bunch better.

Yes, cranking up some tunes and letting myself sing along is a mood-booster for me.

And for diabetes, there are some specific songs that do the trick. Here are a few tunes on my soundtrack to a better diabetes mood...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

D-Blog Week: Capturing Demons and Keeping Them Secured

What brings me down when it comes to diabetes?

What's the toughest on my emotions?

And how do I and the rest of my family cope?

That's the Mental Health prompt for this Third Day of Diabetes Blog Week 2014, and it's also the theme for the whole month as it's Mental Health Awareness Month. There's a lot to be said about the psycho-social aspect of D-Living, and this is an issue I've been dealing with myself over time so it's very personal for me.

Two years ago, I stared down my demons and called them out, then did what I had to do in order to trap them in a dark hole and get on with my life. People in my life and the Diabetes Online Community were integral parts of being able to get a handle on my life after it seemed like I'd fallen down that dark hole of depression. Especially those who've shared their own stories of dealing with diabetes and depression, like my good friend Scott Strange who has been an inspiration and fellow warrior in fighting these fights and sharing them online.

Obviously when you're talking about mental health, it's not a matter of locking a cell door and leaving and never looking back... no, it doesn't work that way. You hear those demons rattling the door quite often, and sometimes they might even start breaking the lock or even escape -- but facing them before, you're in a better place to capture and secure them once again. That's been my world for 2+ years now, and even though they occasionally break free and screw with my mental health balance, I've been able to get everything back in order with the help of people in my life.

The notion of long-term complications brings me down the most, and it's something I've been grappling with lately as I work to get myself back on track. At times recently, my mental health has been all over the place because of these fears and it's been tough at times. I've said it before: Death doesn't scare me; it's a fact of life for all of us and it happens to everyone (unless you have a Cloak of Invisibility). What gets to me is everything that's possible short of death, those things like kidney failure or vision loss or whatever that will impact life.

How do I cope?

I do my best to not dwell, to focus on the here and now and just move forward doing the best I can. It's important to get beyond the past and what I've done or haven't done, and strive to do my best now to ensure that the future is as bright as it can be. People who triumph over devastating complications give me hope, and the people in my life give me hope and courage to face these fears.

And that's what is a key to my mental health these days.

You can see what others in the DOC have written about this topic today, and you can also follow the hashtag #DBlogWeek on Twitter to see the conversation about all of this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blood Sugars and Beer: A D-Blog Week Poem

Welcome to Day Two of Diabetes Blog Week 2014!

Today's topic, as Karen puts it over at BitterSweet Diabetes:
This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

I'm actually excited about this prompt, as I get to channel my inner-poet that really doesn't get much practice these days. With so much journalistic news coverage and blogging, my creative writing and poetic genes haven't been worked out much in the years since college... That's how I got started writing, with a Batman-inspired short story back in third grade called "The Diamond Men." And as the years rolled on, poetry was my passion.... pretty much up until high school and college, when journalism became more of a priority. I miss it, so this is a great way to exercise that past poetic love! I doubt it's any good, but hey it will be on point and from my mind.

Plus, since it's American Craft Beer Week, this is a perfect time to get a little beer writing out of the system too!  Pictured below, Michigan-made oatmeal stout called The Poet.

Clears my throat, mutes my Dexcom G4 alarms, and steps up to the virtual blogging stage to being a slam-blog poem post:

Carb Estimate: 13g/beer
A good beer, a good blood sugar.
One in the same, yet quick to fizzle
So similar in taste, in waste, in haste
That first taste after being uncapped
Defines how we drink on.

Excited and appreciative we can be.
When it starts out so smooth, so steady.
So full of life, energy and hops one moment.
Steady strohs and sugars so straight and uninterrupted.
A bottle and Dexcom to toast, to praise what we hold.
In our hands, in our hearts.
At that one moment in time.
Life is good, a smile and sip on the lips for that moment.
Hope that it's right, is accurate as it feels.
Not a fleeting reading on our tongue or fingertip.
One that twists away, like a bottle cap removed
Discarded in the blink of an eye.

Suddenly, the bubbles of jubilation fizzle away.
An emptiness creeps in.
Like we've shaken the bottle,
And what was settled inside, explodes into chaos.
Spilling everywhere with wasted energy.
Highs go Low, control goes flat (or not so delicious).
Sips of happiness
Turn into gulps of unhappiness.
Maybe juice or sugar dust to wash it down.
Then, we're left empty -- just like you.
Once full, now empty inside.
Waiting for a surge of new energy to fill this cup again.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the DOC who are participating in D-Blog Week, and you can see the full list of topics and participants over at BitterSweet Diabetes. And you can follow along on Twitter, by using the hashtag #DBlogWeek.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Changing Our Worlds Face-to-Face (D-Blog Week #1)

Hooray, Diabetes Blog Week is here once again!

This is the 5th consecutive year where the online D-community hits the blogosphere to write about the same topic all at the same time. Thanks to Karen for once again coordinating the week's prompts and getting it all together.

Today, it's about Changing the World through Advocacy.

I'm all for D-advocacy, but this isn't the place you'll find a blog about that today. No, there's plenty of other blogs for that. There's a list here, and hell I even have an official-like post over at DiabetesMine today. Or, just try Google'ing "Diabetes Advocacy blogs" and see where that takes you.

No, today I'd rather explore the human condition. Specifically, how this whole online world is screwing with our ability to actually have real, human interaction with people.

Yes, it's apparently making us feel more lonely and may be messing with our brains!

This past weekend, I was up in Southeast Michigan for a JDRF conference and Mother's Day. While there, I had a chance to meetup with some good friends from college for breakfast. Part of our Coffee & Conversation was about the pervasive trend of online-everything -- emails, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, texting and interactive games. We would rather send an email to someone than picking up the phone, or even get up from our desk at work and go into someone's office to say something. We go out with friends and everyone is sitting at the same table, looking at their smartphones -- possibly even interacting with each other through the phones, and not just talking across the table.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blood Sugars With Mayo, Mustard and Ketchup

My blood sugars have been all over the place lately.

Whatever the numbers actually are, my Dex G4 has been showing off those colorful trends of where my blood sugars are at:

Red = Low
Yellow = High.
White = In Range

Or, as we say it in my house: yellow is mustard, red is ketchup, and those ideally-white lines are mayo.

The Mayo-to-Mustard Threshold

If memory serves, I believe this actually all goes back to a conversation with Kerri at a conference sometime last year where we were talking about... well, who knows what. But I just remember she mentioned Ketchup and Mustard, and from that point on, I've been unable to look at my Dex lines the same way.

And I am always hoping to see those white in-range numbers (aren't we all?).

"I'll take my blood sugars with mayo. But hold the mustard and ketchup, please."

Apparently, my body isn't listening.