World Diabetes Day 2018.

Welcome to another World Diabetes Day. 2018 marks the five year anniversary of the beginning of our Champion Athletes With Diabetes program. It’s been a remarkably rewarding experience sending medals to people from all walks of life, all over the world. It’s been the one, consistent thing I’ve done that makes me feel great every time I do it. It never gets old.

So, with this anniversary, I thought I would share a few photos of our athletes, and remind you that your medal is waiting. Find out how to get yours below.













To get your Champion Athlete With Diabetes medal, send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal.

If it’s a big deal to you, it’s a big deal to me too. Send an e-mail for your award today.

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The mundane, unrelenting details.

Injections. Meter checks. Pump site changes.

And CGM sensor changes.

When you live with diabetes every day for the rest of your life, these things can become quite mundane. Oh, time for another change… it’s just what I need to do, no big deal. Done it thousands of times.

But when I think of the entirety of it all, mundane is not exactly the word I would use. The word I would use would be somewhat more colorful than that.

Especially when performing one of these tasks is more difficult than usual, I begin to feel it. I remember the last task I performed, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one coming up after this one and the one after that. Before long, I start to wish for the days before these things became a part of my life.

Today, my CGM sensor change was a tough one. I took great care to get everything placed on the back of my arm. As I inserted the sensor this time, I had the plunger pointed downward, which is opposite of how I like to have the sensor pointed. But hey, I can’t insert it into the same place every time, and doing this ensures that I move the sensor to a different place from where it was the last time I had it on this arm.

But the plunger needs to move forward to come off, and I had to get my opposite hand onto the plastic in front of the plunger anyway to release it. That made getting the plunger released, usually a job taking seconds, take a couple of minutes. More time to think.

Then, I had to insert the transmitter. Again, my opposite hand needs to put it in the right spot so I can snap it into place. But because I can’t really see because my hand is in the way, I try to do it all by feel and it just didn’t feel right.

Eventually, I had to go upstairs in front of a mirror so I could see where it was going and snap it in. More time to think about this crazy stuff we do to care for ourselves that not many people ever have to think about. I want to be one of those people again.

In the end, it all worked out, the sensor is doing its thing, and I’m back to tracking my BG trends on a 24-hour basis. Until the next time. Ugh.

This is where I often just try to forget about it. Amnesia works to keep you from feeling overwhelmed by all the crap. Right now, forgetting it is a little more difficult. But… for today… success. And that’s got to count for something.

Diabetes Awareness Month. There, I said it.

Welcome to November 1, the beginning of another Diabetes Awareness Month, culminating (oddly enough, in the middle of the month) on World Diabetes Day November 14.

I get the “I’m tired, I raise awareness all year long, every day is Diabetes Day to me”, etc. comments. People wouldn’t be saying those things if they weren’t true. But instead on focusing on all that, I thought I might take a moment and talk about a few of the nice things happening this month too.
 
 
To begin with, November marks the five year anniversary for our Champion Athletes With Diabetes program. Scores of medals awarded over the years, to athletes in multiple states, and in multiple countries on four continents.

I’m so proud of our medal winners, and I’m extremely eager to send more medals in recognition of sought-after athletic goals, large and small. CLICK HERE to find out how to get yours.
 
 
November is always a great time for #DSMA Twitter chats, and on that front, I have bad news and good news.

The bad news: No all-day #DSMA chat on World Diabetes Day. I know, bummer… but none of us has the time right now to coordinate moderators, topics, and scheduling in order to get it done. Sorry about that. Hopefully, it will be back next year.

The good news: World Diabetes Day is on a Wednesday, so we’ll be chatting for an hour anyway. In addition, I hope you’ll join me as I moderate the #DSMA chat on November 7 and November 28. Join your friends and make some new ones, Wednesday nights at 9 PM eastern time here in the USA, or whatever time that is in your counrty. Follow the @DiabetesSocMed Twitter account and the #DSMA hashtag to participate.
 
 
Finally… if you check my blogroll on this page you’ll see I’ve added a new link, to MakeDiabetesVisible.com. Created by Mike Durbin, it’s a place designed to curate things associated with the #MakeDiabetesVisible hashtag. Here’s the challenge, from Mike himself:

“I invite all of my friends living with any type of diabetes to join me in this challenge. 30 days, 30 photos, ALL types of diabetes. Any social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much we could all say about life with diabetes in 30 days.

Please share, use the hashtag, and let’s #MakeDiabetesVisible”

Are you in? I am! Let’s #MakeDiabetesVisible in November!
 
 
So… what are you following, participating in, or initiating this month? Please share here!

I want a reset.

I want a reset. Okay, maybe a reset isn’t possible. But I’d like to think about getting a reset on a lot of my life.
 
 
I’d like a reset on my youth. I got to do a lot of things when I was younger. I had a lot of fantastic experiences. But I also wasted a lot of my efforts on things that didn’t provide much value to my life, or to anyone else’s for that matter. I spent a lot of angst over things that I’m embarrassed to say I spent a lot of angst over.

I’d like a reset on my health. My diabetes will be hitting 28 in a few months, and if it’s all the same to you, I would rather not be living with it anymore. Same goes for high blood pressure and an annoying little autoimmune skin condition that frustrates me to no end.

I’d like a reset on health care in America. A reset on the idea of for-profit care that incentivizes caring for those with the least need for care, at the expense of those most vulnerable. I’d like a big reset on that.

How about a reset on choice? I’d like to have a reset on the idea of what I, as a person with diabetes, is allowed to choose in terms of drugs, therapy, and devices so I can live the best, longest life possible with this condition.

I’d like a reset on price for all of the above. That’s a story for a different day. Moving on…

A reset on attitudes from people who choose blame over empathy would be helpful. That’s true of all of us, I think. I’d like to think that with the exception of the frightful white nationalist movement in the USA, those attitudes are changing, even though the pace of change is slower than I would like.

Finally, I think it’s okay to consider a reset on my own commitment to kindness and empathy toward everyone. Everyone thinks they treat others with the respect and dignity they deserve. Damn few of us actually do. Regardless of where I fall on that spectrum, I always want to be better, kinder, more respectful. What’s wrong with that?
 
 
What about you? What kind of reset would you like to see incorporated into your life? What would you like to see change about health care? What would you like to change about yourself? How can we, together, help people be happier, more supported, less fearful, not judged, healthier?

Reconciling Superlatives

You know, I kinda hate the idea of writing about what someone else wrote. The idea is theirs originally, and if I write about it too, then I feel like I stole their idea.

That said, I hope you will permit me this one deviation from that notion. Because I read a blog post at Diabetogenic this week titled The Weight, and I’m having a tough time reconciling what I think was a well thought out statement, with my own feelings on the subject. If you haven’t, you should probably read that first before continuing here.
 
 
I’ve never met a single diabetes advocate who considered themselves a good advocate. Some won’t consider themselves advocates at all. I’ve never met a good diabetes writer who considered themselves a good writer either. Yet… I consider those people good advocates. I consider some people good, or even great writers.

When I notice that someone hit a milestone in their life with diabetes, I want to congratulate them. I want them to know that someone recognizes how hard it is to live day after day with this condition. I recognize that sometimes staying alive requires at least occasional moments of extreme bravery and conviction.

I’ve referred to PWDs as brave souls. I’ve referred to PWDs as incredible and amazing. Heck, I hand out medals that say “Champion Athlete With Diabetes” on them.

I like making people feel better by extoling their accomplishments in “syrupy superlatives“, to borrow Renza’s expression.

Still, she has a very valid point. We are just doing what we need to do to make it another day, hopefully giving ourselves a better chance at a long-lasting (and long-living) legacy.

I can understand why someone would want to be complimented for something other than their diabetes. Why wouldn’t someone want to hear their friend tell them their t-shirt is cool, or they’re a great parent?

So I’m in a bit of a conundrum. How do I reconcile my strong desire to make people feel good about their life with diabetes, while not making it about the diabetes?

Like a lot of other things, this will require some thought, and perhaps a shift in how I interact with other People With Diabetes. That’s not a bad thing.

I’m not afraid to take a look at myself, and whether I’m doing someone a service by complimenting them about their diabetes, or just making them uncomfortable.

For the record, I’m grateful for diabetes bloggers who give me something meaningful to think about now and then. I’m okay with being challenged about how I communicate with others.

I just want to be worthy of the challenge.

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