Favorites #dblogweek day six

audra_child

Unrelated thought stream before I delve into today’s topic: I am so glad I wasn’t diagnosed at this^^ age. Being diagnosed as an adult was harder in lots of ways basically because I was completely on my own for a while and my doctor was Google, but I am so grateful I got to have 20 years of freedom from T1D, and I am SO thankful that I was able to have an enriching, carefree childhood. This girl LOVED {and still does love} to run, play, explore. I am grateful that T1 didn’t take that away from me, but I am sad for those who weren’t as lucky as I was. My heart is with y’all, truly.

Switching gears…

Today’s post has caused me to have to do some investigative reporting. 🙂 I’ve been digging through old blog posts of mine to find my favorite quotes that I have written. It was definitely an odd thing for me to dig back through and reread old posts…in a way it’s like opening old wounds. Each post took me back to that particular moment in time. Most of them I remember exactly where I was while I wrote them.

It was also a very positive thing for me to do because I was able to evaluate what a difficult and rewarding journey this has been. Though it can be hard to reread those things, I am so glad I did because I was able to see how my mindset has evolved positively over time. I’m so grateful for the growth that has taken place within my mind, heart, and body.

That being said…here are my some of my favorite originals!

“Even the strongest people need to rely on others sometimes. And everyone deserves to have their feelings heard. Even those with chronic diseases, even if it annoys you.”

“life is a silly thing. we’re always planning: our day, our meals, our outfits, our week, our holidays, our travels, our next steps. there’s this insane assumption that we will always have it figured out before we get to the next step…”

“The scale can’t tell me how much I’m loved. The scale can’t tell me my worth. The scale can’t remind me how extremely blessed I am. The scale doesn’t give a damn about me. Therefore, I’m learning to not give a damn about it either. In the grand scheme of my life, it’s not going to matter if I’m a little heavier than I desire. As long as I’m healthy, happy, and embracing my life…that’s what is important. That is what I will remember at the end of this life. Because that is the stuff that matters.”

“I know, because the Bible tells us all, that we will struggle in this life. Isn’t that what makes the promise of eternity with Him so much sweeter?”

“You can send me anywhere. You can ask of me absolutely anything, because I know of the grace I have found in Christ Jesus. I. Know.”

Food Friday #dblogweek day five

SHORT POST.

Today’s topic is all about what I eat in a day.

In a typical day, my eating schedule looks like the following:

Breakfast: Coffee {DUH}, plain Greek yogurt with berries, a pinch of granola, and a dash of cinnamon OR two pieces of toast with peach preserves or almond butter. I also like to have scrambled eggs and toast, because eggs are carb-free. {Although, if we’re being real honest, this morning I had a Chickfila chicken biscuit, and I have no regrets.}

Lunch: Spinach salad with Greek yogurt based dressing and almonds OR sandwich with veggies, ham, and cheese.

Dinner: I try to aim for dense protein, veggies, and fruit. So the other night I had homemade organic teriyaki chicken with brown rice, green beans, and a fruit salad. That kind of meal is what I aim for; however, today is Friday, so therefore I had veggie pizza.

Overall, I can eat whatever I want as long as I know how many carbohydrates are in it so I know how to bolus for it.

What I Would Change #dblogweek day four

Side note: I feel like I’ve been on a soapbox all week with all these emotionally stimulating posts, but I guess that’s just part of having a blog, especially having a blog that focuses on your chronic disease. Thanks for listening to my heart this week and not judging! I hope my vulnerability and honesty has been helpful, educational, and eyeopening for you. 

Today’s post is all about changes. What an ironic topic for my second diaversary! “Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way. This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings — anything at all that you feel could use changing. OR reflect back on some changes your or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes. Were they expected or did they surprise you?”

I’m diving right in here. What would I like to see change? I would LOVE to no longer have to battle the insurance company and pharmacy for my life sustaining medication. Just about every week, I’m playing phone tag with my endocrinologist’s office, the pharmacy, and the insurance company. Um….why?! My medication has stayed the same for the past year. I will literally always need test strips and insulin until we have a cure, so I don’t see why or how I could ever run out of refills {I know the script runs out at a certain point, but I wish there was a way to write an “indefinitely” prescription!}

Also, when there is a delay in obtaining prescriptions, not only does it make me sick, but it can kill me. All it takes is a couple hours for me to slip into DKA.

On Valentine’s Day this year, I inserted my pump site before leaving for dinner with my husband. We were excited for a night out, classic dinner, cocktails, & a movie. My pre-meal BG was 119. Sweet! {Normal BG is 80-120.} I bolused {gave insulin} for my meal, cocktail, and I even gave some extra units of insulin just in case my carb guessing was incorrect. With how much insulin I gave, there was no way that I would have a high BG {blood glucose.} Right?

Wrong.

Post meal BG {immediately after dinner} was 213. Hmm. I gave a correction bolus, drank some water, and carried on with our night. We were having so much fun because we were pretending that we were on our first date and that we didn’t know anything about each other. We were learning new things about each other, we were flirting and laughing, and having an amazing night. I kept feeling worse and worse though as we left dinner and headed to the movie.

I checked my BG when I was situated in my seat during the movie previews. 296. Gave another correction bolus.

Checked my BG halfway through the movie. 377. I knew we were headed for danger.

After the movie: 499.

When we arrived home: 534. I was loopy, exhausted {I couldn’t stay awake, which was not good because if I fell asleep, I would risk not waking up. My body trying to fall asleep was a sign of a potential coma coming on. Bri helped me stay awake by talking loudly to me and playing my favorite songs.}

My levels hadn’t run this high since my first few months of diagnosis. Brian suggested that I check my pump site in case my cannula in the infusion set was bent or faulty. Good idea, Bri! I checked the site by detaching it from my skin. Sure enough, the cannula was not only bent, but the tip snapped off and was hanging by a thread. Thank goodness it did not snap off inside my skin!

I attached a new site, bolused to correct my high BG, and one hour later, I was 289.

PHEW. Coming back down. Three hours later, I was down to 99.

That just goes to show you how quickly it can happen. This is why it is critical that I always have the life saving medication on hand. I can’t refill prescriptions too early {to stock up} because insurance won’t cover it. So every time I call in a refill, I’m always holding my breath. Calling in prescriptions almost always ends in frustration and tears because it rarely goes smoothly.

If this could change…wow. I would be SO happy. I just want it to go smoothly.


There is one other “change” that I hope for that I would like to address in this post.

Diabetes {esp. T1 diabetes} & humor. Before I plunge into my ramblings about this, I have one question for your reflection: how far is too far? 

I never noticed this situation prior to my diagnosis, so I guess you could say I’m quite biased. Diabetes is chronic, life altering, and life threatening. So why is it laughable? Why is it the butt of Hollywood’s jokes, but other diseases are not?

I was watching a chick flick last night while giving myself a pedicure {no shame} and it caught me off guard when I heard one of the main characters on a date say, “Are you trying to give me diabetes or just make me fat?”

HAHA. Really funny, and also really necessary for the plot. It’s great that it’s not offensive at all to the families who are mourning their loved ones who died from diabetes. It doesn’t perpetuate false information, either.

^Was I sarcastic enough up there? Are you hearing my message loud & clear?

I hope so.

I love to laugh more than your average person. Really, it’s like therapy for me. However, I believe it is distasteful to laugh about the afflictions and deaths of others. How funny would it be if I made a joke about being diagnosed with cancer? Would it be swept under the rug as well? I can tell you right now that it would be an outrage if someone did that and put it in a TV show or movie.

This isn’t an isolated incident. I’ve heard diabetes jokes multiple times in The Office, Orange is the New Black, and many other popular shows and movies. It never fails to shock and disappoint me.

Many people’s reactions to my opinions about this include:

“Stop being so defensive and sensitive. At least it’s a manageable disease.” {Oh, how I just LOVE that word “manageable.” Especially when it comes from people who do not have the disease.}

OR

“You have no right to feel upset because you brought this disease upon yourself and you can reverse it through a healthy diet and by exercising.” {There’s that ignorance.}

Here it is y’all: Chronic diseases, life threatening diseases, and terminal diseases are not funny. Period. The way these diseases impact the patient and their families is not laughable. I’m all about humor, but this crosses a line for me. I wouldn’t laugh at a cancer joke just like I wouldn’t laugh at a Lyme disease/Crohn’s/Depression/etc joke. 

I wish these offensive, insensitive chronic disease jokes would stop because it perpetuates misinformation, it’s hurtful to the patients, and it prevents true education of the disease. I would change this if I could, and I do the best I can to change it by drawing attention to the problem and providing accurate factual information in order to educate the mis or under informed.

What do you think? Please comment with your thoughts below; I want to hear from you!

Clean It Out #dblogweek day three

Today’s theme is all about cleaning out your diabetes closet, both literally and figuratively. Since we just moved states away, my diabetes dresser is actually all in {well-organized} boxes right now, so I have just done all of the “cleaning out” in the past few weeks!

I have some emotional cobwebs in my internal diabetes closet though.

Our recent move from Ohio to Alabama has me diving back into the dreaded job search. It hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated; I’m glad to have something to work on again, and I am excited about some potential offers in the works {Lord-willing; please pray!} However, there has been a recurring issue that has left me feeling…disappointed. Not even frustrated or mad, just…down.

I don’t consider myself “disabled” as a result of my Type 1 diabetes, primarily because it normally does not disable or disallow me from doing everything I set out to do {at least not on a daily basis.} On many job applications these days, they have a “disability” section, where they have a compiled list of different afflictions that they consider to be “disabilities,” and you have to select whether or not you have anything on the list, or anything else that would mark you as “disabled.” On many applications, the answer options to this question include: YES, I HAVE OR HAVE HAD ONE OF THE ABOVE LISTED DISABILITIES OR OTHER DISABILITIES or NO, I DO NOT HAVE OR HAVE HAD ONE OF THE ABOVE LISTED DISABILITIES OR OTHER DISABILITIES or I DO NOT WISH TO ANSWER.

However, I did come across some applications that only had “yes” or “no” as the answer options, and all of them did not include a text box to explain your answer selection. This has prompted a lot of reflection for me over the past few days.

If you believe my T1D is a disability, but I do not agree with you & I don’t believe it disables me from living a normal life, do I really have a disability? Am I forced to label myself into one of these two categories without any chance of explanation? What if I’m disqualified for this position simply due to the answer to this question when I’m otherwise qualified for it? I didn’t ask for this disease, I didn’t do anything to cause it, so why do I have to be punished or isolated or feel bad about myself for something I had no control over? If I select “I DO NOT WISH TO ANSWER,” does that make me seem suspicious or sketchy?

My personal answer to that question would be “NO” because my T1D doesn’t disable me. But If I select “NO,” and they later find out about my T1D, then I would look like a liar.

I would like to think that I would not be disqualified for a job simply because of this, but I am a realist, and I know that may not always be the case. I am trying not to feel sorry for myself, but I definitely feel bad about myself because of it. Each time that question comes up, it nauseates me. I want a fair chance. I just want to be normal. Since I’m not “normal,” I just want to feel normal.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. I know God has amazing plans for me, and if a job doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t meant to be. But it still makes me feel anxious. I’m trying to let it go.

Whew. That feels better to get off of my chest.

What do y’all think? Is this fair for employers to ask? If so, what answer do you typically select? Does this situation cause you anxiety?

Keep It to Yourself #dblogweek day two

Today’s theme is all about social media persona, which is a topic I find particularly interesting. “What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet? Or from your family & friends? Why is it important to keep it to yourself?”

I have always made it a point to be extremely open about most things; I spent too many years being closed off, and that was no way to live. Living as an open book has been freeing for me, so thankfully, there isn’t much that I choose to keep to myself. I have found that by being open, I am able to help people struggling with similar things. I have always been open about my struggles, and through this, I have made so many special connections and I’ve been able to be a source of encouragement for people. That just blows my mind and fills my heart.

In the first year of diagnosis, I posted on social media a lot more about my T1D, even really detailed things, in hopes of displaying the reality of this disease. I remember one post in particular where I posted photos of my CGM readout from the night before, showing the relentless, extreme, unpredictable nature of this disease.

My mission is always to educate and motivate.

However, my mission has been unfairly misconstrued throughout the past two years. I heard rumors of people thinking I was seeking pity or attention. I would like to take a moment to address this. I have never sought pity. I have sought attention, though. My hope was that my posts would attract positive motivating attention, instead of negative, “she feels so sorry for herself” attention. I never wanted to seem like a whiner or drama queen. I’ve always aimed to be real, vulnerable, and raw with my readers and social media followers. When people don’t care about your cause on their own, you have to make them care, if you want to receive their understanding, support, and potential funding. In order to do this, you need to inform people about the harsh reality of the disease. I thought I could do this by being transparent with everyone, and I still believe this.

As a result of my mission, I don’t have much about this disease that I willingly choose to keep to myself. If I had to pick something, I would say that I tend to keep my irrational extreme emotions to myself. Living with a chronic disease in general sometimes means fluctuating emotions, and especially for me, my blood sugar can change my moods and temperament, which impacts my emotional state. When it comes to my weight, my emotions range from content and confident to irrationally defeating and self-deprecating. I was finally comfortable with my weight the year before diagnosis after  years of struggling with eating disorders.Once I was diagnosed and began on insulin, I put on weight.

Insulin is a growth hormone, and when you’re constantly being pumped of it, it’s difficult not to. I do everything right: I work out daily, eat healthy, and treat my body well. However, my body doesn’t function the same as a “normal” person’s. My endocrinologist told me that if I wasn’t T1, I would weigh about 25 pounds less, based on the way that I treat my body. Knowing this fact is incredibly devastating because I work so hard, and I just want my body to look the way I treat it.

I tend to keep this more private than my treatments and BG levels just because I don’t see the point in discussing it over and over when it is what it is; I’d rather keep doing what I’m doing and try to accept being content in knowing that I’m healthy & letting go of how my physique looks.

Something else I try to keep more private is my actual phobia of additional complications, especially during pregnancy. Brian & I plan to add children to our family eventually {I like to word that this way instead of saying “starting a family” because we are already a family} so I have had conversations with my endocrinologist about what that would look like for me. The answer is that it will be risky and will take a lot of hard work, but it’s not impossible. I can deal with that, but it’s definitely nerve wracking. My chance of death and miscarriage are more than doubled. I can’t pretend that doesn’t hurt me. But I also can’t let it consume me.

Overall, the emotional brunt of this disease is what has affected me the most, and still does to this day. I find that the facts are easier for me to post and talk about, but I am always open to discussing the emotional nitty gritty with anyone who needs to or would like to.

Thanks for reading y’all, see you tomorrow for #DBlogWeek day three!

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I. CAN. #dblogweek day one

Today marks the start of D Blog Week, which couldn’t be coming at a better time, personally. My two year “diaversary” is this week, and I am excited to read the thoughts of fellow diabetics within the diabetic online community {DOC.}

In reflection of year two with this disease, today’s post theme for dblog week could not be more constructive.

I CAN.

When I was first diagnosed on May 14, 2013, I did not have much help from doctors, surprisingly. This is partially my fault.

When most T1’s are diagnosed, they’re admitted to the hospital for a few days. Well, I was diagnosed while I still lived in Ohio and my family lived here in Alabama, so I had a plane to catch to get back home. I was very avoidant about my new diagnosis; I just wanted to get out of the hospital and get on with my life. The ER doctor said they would release me as long as I got into a doctor’s office immediately upon landing in Dayton. If I could go back, I would’ve just stayed in the hospital and been admitted.

The only doctor I could get in to see that week was a primary care physician. This {idiot} primary care physician DID NOT EVEN KNOW the different between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. WHAT?!?! So, I was given much false information. In addition to this, I was {very rudely} told that there were many things that I had planned to accomplish that I would not be able to do anymore. This “doctor” literally laughed in my face when I told them that I had planned to run a half marathon. They said. “Oh, you will NEVER be able to do something like that. There’s no way.”

Well, that wasn’t good enough for me. “THERE IS A WAY. I WILL SHOW YOU.
Just because they said that, I did it.

Don’t tell me I can’t do something…I’ll just do it 100x times better. I’m spiteful & determined like that. My parents like to say that I’m “passionate.”


Things I Have Done and Can Do Even With Type 1 Diabetes

  • I became a wife. Marriage is challenging enough as it is {and incredibly rewarding…I wouldn’t have it any other way}, but throw in a chronic debilitating disease, young age, financial stress, and you’ve got yourself a monumentally difficult situation. T1D is a rough disease for the family involved in general, but it’s especially tough adjusting to this disease and adjusting to married life. T1 really is a burden on the diabetic and their significant other. Brian never asked to be my doctor or caretaker, but he is in a lot of ways. I am grateful that he’s always wanted to be super involved, and he’s never made me feel bad for being different. He accepts my dead pancreas as part of our lives, and he deals accordingly.
  • I graduated college…one full year early {even though they told me I couldn’t.} Thanks to understanding professors, bosses, & friends, I made it through year one of diagnosis with minimal issue. In the first year, there were many times I had to skip class due to high or low blood sugar, endocrinologist appointments, and emergency situations. I am so glad that I had professors who “got it” and didn’t make me feel worse about myself because of it. Side note: T1’s, make sure you register with the Office of Disability Resources at your school; it really helps to have someone “in charge” in your corner so you’re not constantly having to justify everything and spill all your personal health details to your professors.
  • I ran a half marathon.This was a biggie for me. I have always wanted to become a serious long distance runner, but when school made me busy, I kept pushing it off knowing that I would complete it eventually, when I had more time. What I didn’t realize was that the best time is now. There’s never a perfect time for anything, so when you feel like doing something, do it. You may have the opportunity snatched away from you. Thankfully, the opportunity for me to run a half marathon wasn’t fully snatched away from me, although I thought it was at the time. Running a half marathon is difficult and a long journey for anyone, but being a T1D and running long distance is a whole new ball game. Even if you’re planning a 3 mile run, you still have to dedicate hours of planning to that. I have to track my levels up to 6 hours before a run, and sometimes, if I’m too low pre-run, I either have to wait until I have a more stable running level, or I need to eat right before I run. Eating before I run always results in runner’s stomach for me, so that’s another issue to deal with. On long distance runs, it’s difficult to keep my levels stable, but I rely a lot on Gatorade, glucose tabs, and Gu packets to help stabilize me. I always have to be very diligent and attentive to my body, but it’s worth it to me.
  • I can explore the outdoors. I love to be outside. I love water sports. I love to hike. Whenever I set out on a long hike, I prepare a small backpack with my meter, extra pump supplies, juice boxes, glucose tabs, and snacks. I love to be on the water, and the first time I kayaked after diagnosis, I was terrified. I was afraid to pack a little bag because what if the kayak tipped over & all of my supplies and medication get completely ruined? I loaded myself down with everything I’d need: juice boxes, glucose tabs, meter, etc. and I got in the kayak. After the first few minutes, I forgot about my T1D. Truly, I did. My blood glucose {BG} was safe the whole time; I had no lows and, as far as I know, no highs. I have kayaked and parasailed multiple times since, and each time I have had no or minimal issues.
  • I can hold a normal job and schedule.
  • I can go on long distance road trips…by myself.
  • I can be a loving wife, devoted sister & daughter, hard worker, big dreamer, athlete, writer, advocate, musician, cat mom, student, teacher…I can be anything I want, even with my dead pancreas.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. And if they do? Prove them wrong.

I have a fire within me, and it cannot be extinguished. In many ways, my T1D has been fuel to this fire, constantly giving me reasons to prove myself. I need that motivation; although, I didn’t ask for it.

Keep fighting, T1’s. Never give up, not until there’s a cure. We can do this.

pancreas on my hip

^This could not be more accurate!

bionic woman: an intro to T1International


this is me this week. not only am i hooked up to my insulin pump, but i also am giving my continuous glucose monitor {CGM} another try. the last time i used my CGM was over a year ago; i quit using it suddenly because i was having trouble affording all the technology AND my test strips AND my insulin. i’m not quite sure yet exactly how i will be affording to use all this technology once again; however, my so sweet husband has assured me that “we’ll make it work.”

although it’s frustrating not knowing if & how i can afford to use these medical devices, i can’t help but to think of the millions of type 1 diabetics around the world who don’t even have access to INSULIN. yes, all of these incredible devices make this disease more “manageable” {relatively speaking, of course, because any T1 will tell you that this disease truly is not manageable}; however, the only true necessity we T1’s require is insulin. without pumps & CGMs, it’s more inconvenient & temperamental, but without insulin, we will DIE. within days, even hours.

it sickens me to think of the T1’s who don’t survive this relentless, terrible disease just because they don’t have access to the necessary resources. i believe EVERYONE with type 1 diabetes should have insulin; it’s their right to life. i feel very passionately about this, and thanks to an amazing organization, i now get to channel these passions of mine into actual advocacy & i get to take action. WHHAAATTT?! i get to use my voice to actually create change & help others around the world. MY DREAM!

Open your mouth,
judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
proverbs 31:9

T1International’s main initiative is to create a world in which every type 1 diabetic can receive & have access to insulin.

On T1International’s website, they have a simple quote that i could not agree with more:

Life with diabetes is complicated. Access to vital insulin, diabetes supplies and medical care should not be.

YES.

i am now working as a Global Advocate for T1International, & i could not be more excited for this wonderful opportunity! 

as i have always said, raising awareness is key & the first step towards finding a cure {with awareness comes funding, with funding comes research, with research  comes a cure, with a cure comes freedom.} however, while we wait for *the day* we need to stay alive, & insulin is our only way of doing that. without insulin, the chances of staying alive are scarce, impossible. 

let’s keep T1’s around the world alive so we can see a cure. okay? 🙂

ALSO. please check out T1International’s newest article! it is extremely interesting, even if you’re not personally invested in understanding T1D. 

hit me up y’all. 

xo!