The Type 1 Divabetic Podcast

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Thanks for tuning in to episode 1 of The Type 1 Divabetic Podcast! In this episode, I introduce myself as well as share my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis story. Please feel free to write in with any questions or comments to smith.audra.m@gmail.com. I’m excited to cover many topics in the episodes to come! Not every episode will primarily focus on an aspect of T1D; however, T1D will always find a way to permeate into the discussion.

iTunes category: Personal Journals

Author: Audra Shoupe Smith

 

hey SNL, i’m not laughing

4AM. quiet, calm.

meanwhile, my phone is blowing up, my Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) alert is screaming…

and yet, i can’t hear a thing.

4:10AM. *Hamilton (my dog) howling, snarling, barking.*

*knock knock knock* “Tuscaloosa EMS!”

i hazily begin to get myself out of bed.

whoa. standing is not a good idea.

i almost pass out.

i finally gain enough strength to see who is at my door and why.

“ma’am, we received a call from our dispatch who communicated with your mother. she said your blood glucose level has been under 35 mg/dL for nearly two hours. you are at high risk of seizing, and becoming comatose.”

they test my vitals and help me correct. as i wait to stabilize, i tell them, “i’m good; i’ve got it from here. just gotta wait until my blood sugar comes back up.”

they won’t leave until i am stable.

“honestly, we’re surprised that you’re coherent right now,” they say.

“this ain’t my first rodeo,” i reply, with a half-hearted chuckle. “it’s been a rough year or so.”

they make sure i’m stable and they wish me well.

(i am so grateful for our emergency personnel in tuscaloosa.)


if you’ve known me for a while, or if you’ve been following my journey for the past year or longer, you’ll know that, much to my chagrin, this body of mine is not necessarily the most reliable machine.

this time last year, i was in and out of the hospital, fighting DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis.) this time last year, i wondered if i would even get to see 2017.

because of this disease, i have spent my past two birthdays in the hospital (hoping to break that curse this year.) because of this disease, i can’t function at the level of “normal” that i so long for. because of this disease, i have to sometimes be a hermit, because if i don’t listen to my body and put its demands first, it can be fatal.

that’s very heavy, and hard for people to understand (even family and friends in my closest circle.)

being a type 1 diabetic, i am more susceptible to:

  • getting sick easier/for longer/worse than someone with a “normal” immune system
  • to developing more conditions (no matter how healthily i live)
  • and to landing in the hospital (for the smallest things.)

i developed this disease due to no fault of my own; it simply runs in my family. my body was attacked by a virus in 2011 that awakened this genetic predisposition for T1, shutting down my pancreas.

my pancreas fully lost the ability to create insulin on its own. nothing i do will reignite the ability for my body to produce its own insulin. meaning, my insulin must be injected manually.

without insulin, i will die.

i did not develop T1 from “eating big macs” (honestly, never had a big mac in my life,) and i certainly did not develop it from lack of exercise. in fact, at the time i was diagnosed, i worked out twice a day every day, ate nothing but lean meat and veggies, and hydrated constantly.

this happened to me; i did not cause this to happen from my own choices/actions.

quite frankly, i am tired of being the butt of your jokes. 

i am usually pretty patient, and find most things funny. laughter is my favorite medicine.

however, jokes about diabetes (and any illness, for that matter) just cut me to my core. i cannot laugh at them.

despite the fact that i’m well-controlled + work hard at my efforts to do so, i’m still considered “brittle.” in short, this means that i can do everything perfectly right, and still encounter catastrophe regardless. even diabetics who are not brittle deal with this just the same.

my sweet husband has had a doctor look him in the face four times over the past eleven months telling him, “i’m sorry but your wife may not make it through the night” because of this disease.

i did nothing to contract this disease. this same disease that has tried and continues to try and kill me, also makes me the butt of society’s (cruel, ignorant) jokes.

the pain + anxiety this disease causes me and my family makes none of these kinds of jokes funny to me.

you see, it’s not just about me.

i don’t get to talk to my husband often in this current season of life, as he is in the military. but when i do, the first thing he asks is, “how are you feeling? how are your levels? have you been hospitalized in my absence?”

i see his eyes glisten with tears as i try to give the (watered-down) report of what life is like in this body lately.

i hear the panic in my mother’s voice as she frantically tries to reach me as my levels drop, and drop, and drop (or rise, and rise, and rise.)

i see the concern on my brother and sister’s faces as they internally wonder, “will this happen to me, too?”

i feel the pity and misunderstanding received from those who want to get it, but can’t.

this disease has tried to kill me, and it continues to.

but, make no mistake: i will. not. let. it.

mark my words.

each day is a fight.

each day when you ask me how i’m doing, i struggle with how to answer.

each day is a chance for me to prove to this nasty affliction that God has written my story; He is in control. and i know to my core that i will never stop doing my part; i will never stop fighting, as long as i live.

each day is “dire straits” for me.

and so, SNL, that is why i’m not laughing at your distasteful diabetes joke.

because, not only is it entirely fabricated and horrifically false, but it stings. it stings on behalf of myself: someone who literally fought tooth-and-nail from slipping into a coma multiple times over the past year. and it stings on behalf of my tribe; those who may not fully understand what this feels like, but who commiserate with me and support me just the same.

so i ask you: is it worth it? is laughing at my pain worth it to you? 

i would hope the answer is no, but in this day and age, who can be sure.

i encourage you to really think about the implications your “jokes” have.

picture the faces of those who are impacted and hurt by your “joking” words.

because they’re more than just words.

they perpetuate a myth; a myth that causes me to live in shame.

at the end of the day, this disease does not define me.

i simply won’t let it. because i am more than this. i spend my time and whatever energy i do have shattering expectations. “oh you’re diabetic, you must be fat and lazy.” nope, sorry. i’m a multi-half marathoner who enjoys physical fitness. “oh you’re diabetic, you must only eat crappy foods.” actually, i don’t eat much, and when i do, i much prefer food that serves as fuel over junk.

i could eat exclusively kale and run 6 hours a day every day for the rest of my life, and i will still have type 1 diabetes. because this disease is not at all impacted by what i eat or how much i work out.

i only feel like i have to justify myself to you, because you put me in that position when you make my disease a joke.

think.

care.

because it matters. 

My First, Second, and Hopefully Last Run-Ins with DKA

It’s taken a while for me to churn this post out. I am just so exhausted in every way; even just typing and formulating thoughts has been an involved process. But I wanted to write this post to serve as a detailed update for family/friends and also to help fellow T1’s identify the warning signs & symptoms of DKA. It happens so incredibly fast, so I don’t want it to sneak up on anyone the way it snuck up on me. Also, I don’t really expect any of y’all to make it through this entire post {it’s more like a novel!} But it’s been very therapeutic for me to write. Bear with me. This one is a doozie.

First and foremost, I want to give a sincere, heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been praying for me, encouraging me, listening to me, and just caring about me. I am so deeply touched by your kindness, support, and love. I’ve never felt so supported and just absolutely surrounded by love. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I’m going to break this down by day so y’all can grasp a better understanding of what went down. I’ll try to be as concise as possible. For reference, normal blood glucose levels are in the 80 to 120 range. I am usually very well controlled, and I hang out in that range most of the time. {Anytime you see the abbreviation “BG” I am referring to “blood glucose.” Also the terms blood glucose and blood sugar are mutually exclusive.}

Tuesday February 2nd

Tuesday was basically a normal day of being a Type 1 Diabetic. I had a few highs and lows throughout the day, but I did what I always do, and everything leveled out as it usually does. I had a low blood sugar right before bed {54} so I chugged some juice {22 grams of carbs worth} and went to bed. When I correct a low, I use juice or fast acting carbohydrates totaling 15 to 25 grams, depending on how low I am. Correcting with 15-25g usually brings me right into the safe range, about 90 or 100. When I fell asleep, my blood sugar was 86. Perfection.

Wednesday February 3rd

Morning: I typically wake up in the “normal” range. It’s pretty common for me to wake up in the 80s. I rarely wake up high. However, this morning, my waking blood sugar was 239. I hadn’t consumed any carbs since I corrected my low the night before. Hmm. I assumed it was an issue with my pump site or tubing. Sometimes, the tubing or site can have kinks or occlusions that interrupt the delivery of insulin doses. I figured with a site change and a sizable dose of insulin, I would be good to go {as is usually the case.} So, I changed my site, even opened a fresh vial of insulin just to cover my bases, and ate a carb-less breakfast: eggs. I did everything right. I tested again midmorning=303. Clearly my efforts were not appreciated by my broken immune system. I was frustrated, but stayed calm, and gave myself a double correction dose. Surely, I would come down, and potentially even have a low, right? Riiiiiight?!

Afternoon: Wrong. I barely ate lunch, and I gave a monster dose of insulin for what I did eat. My blood sugar still kept climbing.  I began to notice a slight headache, dry mouth, and some nausea. I decided to start monitoring my ketones because I had been running so high for so many hours; I wanted to be safe rather than sorry, and just keep my eye on it. I started out having small ketones around 11:30AM, and by 1:50PM, I had moderate ketones. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ketones, they’re basically a measurement of the acidity level in your bloodstream. If your ketone-spillage reaches a certain level, your blood basically becomes toxic to your body {for lack of a better term.} The scale is as follows: negative, trace, small, moderate, and large. The highest I had ever measured prior to this day was small. That was quickly about to change.

I was starving, so I convinced myself to eat a grapefruit. I gave myself 20 units of insulin for this. TWENTY. Usually, I would only have to give approx. 3 to 5 units of insulin for a grapefruit, depending on what my blood sugar level is. This time, I made sure to cover my bases. At this point, I was praying for a low. At least I could drink a juice box to correct and stabilize. With highs like this, there’s not much you can do besides push insulin and down water. As the day carried on, my nausea became more and more of an issue, so I continued monitoring.

Evening: I continued to monitor my ketones throughout the afternoon and they kept rising. As my ketone level rose, my symptoms started to worsen. My nausea became extreme, I began to feel jabbing pains in my abdomen and back, my chest tightness worsened and began to shift into a shortness of breath. Once I realized my symptoms were feeling like they were beyond my control to manage, I packed an ER bag {just in case,} and got myself out of the house and in the car. I had to drive to Birmingham anyways to housesit for my parents who were out of town, so I decided I would head towards their house, and if I became significantly worse on the drive, I would head towards St. Vincent’s Hospital. If I stayed the same, I would just get to the house, push more insulin, give some manual injections, chug water, and wait it out. After all, how much worse could it get in 50 minutes?

As I was driving, everything started to quickly derail. I was certain I was going to throw up in the car {never did, thank goodness. One of my worst fears} and my vision was becoming more blurry. I tested on the drive. 567. Not good. Kept driving.

All of my symptoms continued to worsen, but what really began to scare me was how difficult it was becoming for me to breathe. The harder it was to breathe, the more frantic I became, perpetuating the breathing issue. Then, I began to feel changes in my heartbeat. “Okay,” I thought. “You can’t keep justifying everything you’re feeling and just keep shrugging it off. You have to seek emergency treatment.” So I drove to the hospital. When I reached the lobby of the ER, I tested my blood sugar. “HI” was all it could register. I was so high that my meter couldn’t even read it. And my ketone strip was the darkest purple it possibly could be.

The date/time settings on my meter are way off {always have been} and I don’t know how to fix it. Just disregard!

By the time I reached the check in counter, I could hardly get out more than 2 words at a time per each breath. You would’ve thought I had been running a half marathon based on the way I was breathing. I signed in at 7:04PM. By 7:08PM, I was in a room, hooked up to a monitor, getting my vitals taken. Yes, I was alone. No, that didn’t bother me. I preferred it, actually.

They hooked me up to oxygen as they assessed my current state. They decided to push fluids ASAP because I was deteriorating by the second and they wanted to keep me out of the ICU {I was appreciative of that.} However, they had a heck of a time trying to get my IV in. It took several attempts from several nurses, and when they finally hit the jackpot, my blood spurted  everywhere. On the nurses, on me, on the floor. Splash zone. But the weird thing was, I didn’t even know I was bleeding. I couldn’t feel it; most of my limbs were tingly/numb at this point.

They didn’t want me to sleep because I was still in the danger zone as far as a coma was concerned. So we chatted, laughed, played games, did anything and everything to keep me up. It. Was. Brutal. I was fighting so hard. I could literally feel everything slowing down. My heart rate was irregular, heavy, and slowing; my breathing was out of my control. My body wanted me to fade away. I fought tooth and nail to resist that coma; to resist that urge to let go and just “sleep.” It’s very difficult to exactly put into words how that felt. But man, it was terrifying.

“It’s a good thing you decided to head this way when you did. You weren’t far off from becoming comatose,” the doctor said to me as he reviewed my chart. “So many T1’s wait until it’s too late. Good job listening to your body and following your instincts.”

I had never experienced DKA before, so I wasn’t sure if I was just blowing things out of proportion or not. It encouraged and empowered me to know that I made the right decision. 

My sweet friend, Hannah, came to visit after I began to stabilize some and she helped keep me awake. She made sure I had warm blankets and that they were taking good care of me.

They gave me so much medication and fluids, that my blood sugar came down to 162. They wanted to admit me for observation, but I had an endocrinologist appointment in a few days, so I asked if I could go home since soon I would be meeting with her to troubleshoot and fine-tune things. They let me go {I’m persuasive like that. Or stubborn? Let’s call it persuasive.}

When I got home, my blood sugar crashed to 50 due to the fluids/meds hitting me all at once. I corrected, and finally went to bed {I was BEAT.}

Thursday February 4th

Woke up ready to rest and recover so I could return back to my normal life on Friday. Tested my blood sugar: 388. “THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!” I totally panicked. And I was just really sad. My ketones were moderate, my blood sugar too high, and my body? Totally and completely devoid of any trace of energy. I rested all day, treated all day, and no matter what, I continued to rise all day. I only ate once: soup from Panera {thanks, Christy!} and I had a latte {thanks, Lindsay!} but besides that, I couldn’t really put anything in my body. I had no appetite. I overexerted myself by leaving the house in the evening; I thought I was feeling better than I actually was. {Target called, I answered.}

Friday February 5th

Friday was essentially the same as Thursday, except with some bad lows. It seemed I was either 50 or 500. Let me tell you y’all, that is a lot for your body to keep up with. My brain was totally foggy, I hadn’t eaten since 1PM Thursday, and I was a weird jumbled mess of starving but also totally nauseated by the thought of food. I had a smoothie and continued to rest for the remainder of the day.

Saturday February 6th

I woke up feeling like a new woman just about! I actually left the couch and went to a yummy brunch with my sweet friend Hannah. I laughed, conversed, ran errands, and then helped my friends the Livingstons paint at their church. I felt like I was turning a corner. I was human again! My levels weren’t great, but they weren’t detrimental either. I was so excited to start feeling better. I wasn’t able to sleep well Saturday night. I fell asleep at 2:30AM Sunday morning, and my alarm went off around 5:45AM because I was singing on the vocal team at church.

Sunday February 7th

This was the second bad day. I woke up and got ready. I felt awesome to be putting makeup on my face, doing my hair, wearing cute booties…I was ready to have the best day. I got to church at 7:00AM for rehearsal. I was running a bit high, and my site felt weird, so I changed my site as we rehearsed. In order to combat the high I was experiencing, I gave myself a manual injection in tandem with a nice bolus {dose of insulin} from my pump. Everything should’ve evened out just fine.

I made it through rehearsal, the 9AM service, and the majority of the 11AM service just fine. I was sitting in the dressing room around 11:50AM, waiting to sing again. Suddenly, I was hit with a wave of extreme nausea and dizziness. I had chills all over my body and my throat instantly tightened. I tried not to panic, but I felt absolutely miserable. I tested my blood sugar {448} and then I decided to test for ketones, just to be safe. Surely this wasn’t about to happen again….right? 

My ketones were large again. My breathing was becoming worse by the minute, and I was shaking all over. My friends were trying to convince me to sit the last song out, but I’m persuasive remember? {Read: stubborn.} And I just couldn’t let T1 win. “I can get through the next twenty minutes,” I thought. And I did. But not without messing up the third verse of “Come People of the Risen King”…sorry Brook Hills. My brain was a swirly mess.

The service ended and I high tailed it out of there. I was ready to avoid the hospital at all costs, though I knew I wasn’t far off from how severe I was on Wednesday. I drank 42oz of water immediately after walking in the front door, I gave a huge manual injection of insulin, and then I napped for two hours. I totally shouldn’t have slept. That was stupid and very risky of me. But I was so extremely exhausted that I couldn’t fight it. My brother was at the house and was on standby in case I needed him. I should’ve gone to the hospital, I knew that, but I was seeing my endocrinologist first thing the next morning, so I decided to spare myself a second ER bill {if I didn’t have an endo appointment for the next morning, I would’ve gone to the hospital.}

When I woke up, my blood sugar was 294, and I had never been so happy to see the 200s. I could breathe again, so that eased my mind beyond belief. I was starving because I hadn’t eaten in about 24 hours, so I made eggs again {very minimal carbs} and gave insulin {even though I typically don’t even need insulin when I eat eggs.} I read my book, chugged more water, and got ready to go back and sing for the evening service. I tested on my way there=500. Y’all, I was so frustrated. I was 500 with large ketones, but I could breathe and I felt decent, so I powered through. “I need insulin and a whole lot of Jesus,” I grumbled.

 I don’t remember much of Sunday night; everything is hazy. I was just pushing insulin and chugging water like it was my job, and I went to bed early.

Monday February 8th

My endo was very concerned as soon as she saw me. She could tell by looking at me that I was fighting DKA again. She tested me for ketones amongst other things and she ran an EKG. She was fearful of the damage two bouts of DKA was doing to my heart. Turns out, my heartbeat was very irregular, and I was still full of ketones. I was shutting down again and I barely knew it {because I was starting to get used to that feeling.} “Based on your blood work from the ER the other night and today’s tests, for the past few days, your blood has been containing the same level of acidity as a battery,” she told me, and she prepped me for more tests.

Back at it.

Horribly unattractive picture of me, but I always have to keep it real. Notice my rosy cheeks…my face always gets so red and hot when I’m super high/in DKA.

Receiving more fluids & meds was nonnegotiable at this point. She wanted to admit me, but I asked if we could pound a couple bags of fluid first to see if it made a difference. She’s a very patient-driven doctor {I love her so much} so she agreed to my proposition.

People keep asking, “what’s the cause of all this?” And so far, the answer is: That’s just how T1 is. Sometimes there isn’t a reason. You can be doing everything right and this can still unexplainably happen. It’s the nature of the beast. We’ve ruled out pump malfunctions, bad batches of insulin, etc. So far, there’s no concrete explanation.

Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance kept me company & cracked me up as I passed the time. He still hasn’t tweeted me back…

I miss my kids at school so much, so my co-teacher, Shannon, had Caroline FaceTime me when I was hooked up to machines. I smiled so big.

 We were able to flush out the majority of my ketones, and I even finally had a low blood sugar. So after they helped me treat it, I was released. I was starving because I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours. I met my mom for lunch before heading back home, because once I was home, I was ordered to essentially be on bedrest for 24 hours. I tested, programmed my pump to give me insulin, and waited for my bolus {insulin dose} to go through. Then…

Y’all…I lost my ever-lovin’ mind.

My DKA was not caused by a pump malfunction; these events are not related. I finally thought everything would be evened out. And then, of course on this day, this has to happen. My pump was not delivering insulin to my body no matter what troubleshooting I was doing. I had an insulin pen with me, but I didn’t have a needle. I took my food to go and rushed back to Tuscaloosa to fix the situation.

I called Medtronic and they helped me adjust and ultimately fix the problem. I gave myself a manual injection on top of a bolus just to cover my bases. Around 4PM, my blood sugar dropped to 38. I drank 40g of juice to treat my low, and stabilized eventually. I spent the rest of the evening watching Disney movies and sleeping.

Now…here I sit. My brain is a foggy, jumbled mess. My body is absolutely covered in bruises. My back and stomach ache. I barely have enough energy to even keep my eyes open. But y’all, I’m here. I fought, I’m fighting, and I will never give up. Today has been better blood sugar-wise, but I really just want my energy back. I return back to work tomorrow, and at this point, thinking about picking up a child feels borderline impossible. But I’m going to do what I always do: pick myself up, put a smile on, keep laughing, and stay focused. I know I will get better soon. And as I celebrate my 23rd year of life tomorrow, I couldn’t be more grateful to be here with all of you. I promise I will never let T1D win {I’m stubborn, remember?}

If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’m happy to answer and help. Also, it’s very difficult to explain the exact sensations that I’ve been experiencing. Hopefully you can get the gist of it or at least you can empathize. Thanks for the love, y’all! You’re not getting rid of me yet!

xo

Me, today. After my 5th nap. Keepin’ it real.

 

Thriving Thursdays 2: How to Stay Motivated in a Generation of Complainers

Motivation: our fuel for getting things done, accomplishing our goals, and following our dreams. In a generation where most everything is easily accessible, finding motivation is sometimes difficult. It’s difficult because motivation isn’t required as much. We can access the world at our fingerprints at any given moment.

Whenever something isn’t going our way, it’s altogether too common to just complain. Complain, give up, be miserable. Or complain and don’t give up, but be distracted from achieving your goals.

I find this incredibly unfortunate.

We’ve all done it; we’re all guilty of complaining. It is certainly okay and healthy even to express your frustrations sometimes, especially to your spouse or partner. But where it becomes a problem is when it begins to be a character flaw. When you complain so much that people begin to expect you to do it or people dread being around you because of your “leaky faucet” tendencies, then it has become a part of your character.

There is a difference between complaining and being a complainer. Sometimes life sucks, & complaining lifts that burden for a moment. It is problematic, though, when you can’t do anything without complaining. Complaining is often an expression of arbitrary frustration: frustration without specificity.

I developed a five step system that I follow to isolate the frustration and break it down into its component parts so that I can work through it. Sticking to this system has helped me to minimize my complaining, and to turn it into something more productive. I have decided to share this with you in hopes that it will resonate with you!

Step One: Establish your goals.

What is your mission? What do you strive to accomplish in this life? Goals can be made in many forms. It is constructive to have both short term & long term goals. I’m a firm believer in writing things down to commit it to memory or to make it more real! Writing down my goals is always an easy, helpful way to keep my head straight.

Step Two: Evaluate your roadblocks. 

What’s holding you back from achieving the goals you’ve made for yourself? This looks differently for everyone. Roadblocks can be actual objects: if you run track, failing to clear your hurdles can hold you back from achieving your goal of a lower time & new personal record.

Roadblocks also exist figuratively. Personally, my greatest roadblock is self-doubt & insecurity. Self-doubt has always slowed me down, and in some cases, blocked me from reaching my goals. I have a tendency to start out with something and give up because I’m afraid it’s not going to be the best or even just good enough. I frequently compare my work to that of others, and this throws me into an ocean of self-doubt {without a life jacket.} Insecurity tries to block almost every road I travel on.

Step Three: Troubleshoot.

Once you’ve identified your roadblocks, you’re able to troubleshoot. Troubleshooting is one of my most favorite processes. In fact, I have a special journal dedicated specifically to troubleshooting. Identify your roadblocks and write them down {or commit them to your memory; whatever works best for you.} Next, brainstorm about why these roadblocks exist for you, and what triggers them. Once you know what triggers your roadblocks, you can begin to work on developing an action plan for when these triggers arise {because they will.}

Step Four: Don’t be afraid to say “no.” 

Unfortunately, staying motivated and focused on your goals involve saying “no” sometimes, and it’s all about prioritizing. Sure, going to happy hour with friends sounds more fun than working late, but which will bring you closer to your goal of a promotion? Running on a rest day may make you feel more fit, but will it bring you closer to your goal of completing a marathon? Not if you overtrain and get injured. Saying “no” to some things in order to make room for others may seem intimidating or out of your comfort zone, but it is absolutely okay to put yourself first sometimes and to respectfully decline or postpone. I’m notorious for going 95 miles per hour with my hair on fire, so I am always working on saying “no” in order to find rest for myself so I can recharge & accomplish tomorrow’s goals.

Step Five: Always keep your “why” & purpose at the forefront. 

This step is always the most influential for me. I have encouraging prints and quotes hung around my house and in my car that empower me and keep me focused. I surround myself with positive, ambitious people to keep me motivated. I try to manage my time well, fill my head & my heart with loving, healthy thoughts, and make sure I’m investing in myself by partaking in hobbies and activities that recharge me. If you don’t invest in yourself, you will burn out. Whenever you hit *that* point in your career or your current season of life when you’re asking yourself, “why am I doing this?,” remember why you started in the first place. What provoked you to wind up on this path? Who keeps you pushing forward towards these goals? What is your ideal end result?

One of my favorite quotes has always been, “Commitment in the face of conflict produces character.” What makes up your character? Are you a complainer, or are you a dreamer & achiever?

I would love to hear your thoughts/stories/sentiments on this. Please feel free to leave me a comment below!

FREE DOWNLOAD: to download, click on the photo, hold it down {or right click} & select “save image.” All Thriving Thursday images created by Audra Smith of Shambly Chic.  

commitment character

^regular image

commitment character iphone

^iPhone lock screen image

Feel free to save & share these images…please use the hashtag #ThrivingThursdaysSC or #ShamblyChic!

xo

Audra

my husband has type 3 diabetes

type 3 diabetes.

ever heard of it?

it’s a devastating affliction that he never asked for.

medically speaking, the term type 3 diabetes means something different, but for many in the diabetes online community {DOC} “type 3 diabetes” is the term for loved ones who deal with the burden of T1D even though they don’t have it. my husband doesn’t have diabetes in the literal, medical sense; however, he deals with the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual burden nearly just as much as i do.

watching someone you love go through hell and back every day, fighting a civil war waged within their body, it’s gotta be difficult to watch and to know how to properly support that person. i know he struggles with knowing how to support me {as he frequently tells me}, but what he doesn’t always realize is that he doesn’t have to do anything other than to just be there and listen. 

so, this one’s for you, type 3’s.

listen. even if you have nothing to say, no advice to give…listening is enough. listening without judgement is of the utmost importance. if there are times when you are feeling overwhelmed or saddened by it, SPEAK UP. you matter. you can’t be a strong supporter if you are feeling emotionally unstable. us T1’s truly care about your wellbeing as well, and we know we couldn’t do it without you! realize that you will never truly understand and feel what we go through, and that’s ok. we will never truly understand what you go through and feel as well.

a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes impacts the entire family and support system of that person. it affects all members of the support system in different ways. T3’s, just because you don’t have a dead pancreas, doesn’t mean that you are unaffected. it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes too. take care of you, and then think about taking care of us.

you. matter.and we love you.

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high blood sugar rant

here i am, at 355 mg/dL, waiting until i can go on a run. i was ready to run about 25 minutes ago, but it’s looking like my body has different plans.

i’ve been struggling with erratic blood glucose readings for the best few days, due to scar tissue build up around my most common pump site areas. the absorption isn’t as good there now because of how often i use those sites (my favorite sites are arm sites.) also, there have been multiple issues with one of my prescriptions lately, and it is impacting my levels significantly.

i am mad.

we have plans at 7. i could’ve been almost back and showered by now. if i run with a BG this high, i risk vomiting, passing out, and a coma. if i miss my run today, i will be crushed. i have goals. but my t1 always tries to take them away from me.

normally i would say “screw you t1, i’m running.” but it’s different when my life is on the line. i want to be motivated and determined, but i don’t want to be stupid.

today is one of the days when i crave normalcy. i miss my freedom that i had prior to diagnosis. being diagnosed at age 20 means that i had 2 decades of “normal”…2 decades that i remember well. i know life another way; i don’t get to have that other way anymore, and the worst part is that it’s not due to an mistake i made. it’s because of my genes. because that’s fair, right?

not every day is good, but there is good in every day.

i’m mad, yes, but once my BG lets me be rational again, i will try not to be so hard on myself.

Update at 22:46

my BG came down enough for me to run. i had my best 5k time of the week. i have been battling lows now all evening, but it’s mainly all good now. thanks for your love, prayers, & just for listening. t1 is relentless, unpredictable, & frustrating. but i am so thankful to be a determined girl who constantly tries to prove t1 wrong. couldn’t fight this disease without my strong support system &, most importantly, my God. 

i remember…

i remember life before type 1 diabetes.


i remember what it was like to crush work outs without having to stop for a low blood sugar. i remember what it was like to spend time with my husband, family, and friends without having to leave early or be super boring and not feel well. i remember what it was like to sleep through the night. i remember what it was like to eat whatever whenever without having to do a bunch of guessing and checking and fearing the ICU based on an incorrect guess. i remember what it was like to not have to worry about dealing with the insurance company and pharmacy not giving me what i need when i need it.

i remember living free.

though i am thankful that the disease that ails me is not terminal, the reality is that it is chronic and life-threatening. i struggled for a long time about not feeling justified in being sad about it. i still feel this way a lot of the time. people even say, “well at least it’s not cancer,” which is true, and i am thankful. SO thankful. but it is still terrible, and i am finally learning how to allow myself to feel sad about it when i need to; i’m only human.

the night of my diagnosis, the ER doctor warned me that i would be going through the 5 stages of grief as i accept my “new life” with T1. he said it may take years, depending on if i let myself properly feel my emotions. i thought going through the stages of grief over a chronic illness diagnosis was silly, so i chose not to for a while. this ended up being detrimental for me, and i am picking up the pieces this year because of it.

instead of harping on the harsh reality of T1 all the time, i have tried to make it as positive as i can. i want to prove to myself and the world that i can still accomplish great things and be as “normal” as possible even with an auto-immune disease. that was the whole motivation for completing a half marathon, and after that race, it turned me into a runner, which was unexpected. that is one of the blessings from my T1.

i have learned to appreciate every moment, even the bad ones.

not every day is good, but there is good in every day.

i have adopted this as my new philosophy. i have noticed that my attitude can greatly influence my perception, especially when it comes to my T1.

i am able to make my passion my career, and i get to run around with 20 amazing preschoolers every day. those kiddos are my heroes. they have taught me so much, and i am grateful that i am able to have a job {that i love} regardless of my T1D. it is complicated sometimes, especially when i have a low blood sugar around them or i have such crazy levels all day that i come home and totally crash. but it is so worth it. they are so worth it.

one distinct thing i remember about myself before my diagnosis: i did not feel strong. i did not feel confident. i did not feel empowered.

i can now say the opposite. i do feel strong now. knowing that i can overcome and defy the odds makes me feel strong, confident, and empowered. i have this fight in me; it makes me not want to give up. in fact, it makes me want to conquer. i have always been “passionate,” as my parents like to say, but let’s be real, i’m feisty. i’m feisty, and real, and i have an overwhelming desire to live with purpose.

i don’t know if there will be a cure in my lifetime; i can only hope and have faith. i am so grateful to have a strong support system to help me work through the plethora of emotions this disease brings with it. hope and strength. that’s all it takes most times.

and laughter…lots of laughter. life is too precious for constant negativity. 🙂

hope and strength