Monthly Archives: December 2013

Instant pick-me-ups. Twice.

I’m going to be honest… I had a bad day yesterday. Well, not the whole day. But part of it really sucked. I don’t want to go into why, because there’s a very selfish reason for it and it’s not worth talking about.

But I was feeling bad, and I checked on this site for the first time in almost 24 hours, and I saw the nicest comment… the kind that really makes you feel good no matter what else is happening in your life. I mean, my attitude changed almost immediately.

Later, I talked to my older sister on the phone. Did I mention that I’m one of six children? We’re just like the Bradys– three boys, three girls, without the craziness and rehab and made-for-TV movies. I’m number 3 in the line. Anyway, my siblings and I don’t talk all the time, but that’s not because we don’t like each other. We’re all just too busy, or we forget to call, etc.

So my sister wanted to get my e-mail to send me some information I was looking for. I gave her my regular home e-mail address, but I told her that if she ever lost it, she could always reach me at the blog e-mail address. Then she said this:

“Yeah, the blog. Love the blog. And I think what you’re doing with the d-athletes and the medals is great”.

She also mentioned that she has a friend at work with diabetes, and she told this person about the blog, and they both read it now. No one has ever relayed a story like that to me before. It was another instant pick-me-up that I really needed.

As a result, I’ve almost forgotten about my disappointment from yesterday. Almost. Instead, I’ve remembered how important it is to tell my story, and help where I can, and make it all about support and encouragement and what we can do, and not about me and how crummy my day was. I hope you can remember that too during the holidays, and I hope you can remind me if I don’t remember.

Enjoy your weekend. And trust me… your voice, your participation is important. Someone needs to hear what you have to say. And even though I’m terrified of creating some stupid cycle of dependency, I have to admit that sometimes, I need to hear what you have to say too.
 
 
 

It just feels good. And it works.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon each of the last two holiday seasons. This is a time of year when I’m unable to work out as much as I’d like and therefore, my insulin doesn’t seem to work out as well in my system. In short, my numbers are higher than the rest of the year.

But…Here’s what is so amazing about this time of year for me:

Last Sunday, we had our annual holiday open house. After a snowy afternoon filled with sweet and salty carbs and lots of conversation among friends and neighbors, my 6:00 p.m. BG check showed 113 mg/dL.

Monday, I had a normal day at work, eating something close to my normal diet, and couldn’t muster anything lower than a 156.

On Tuesday, more of the same. Okay dietary choices, worked through the day, came home, and my pre-dinner check showed 165 mg/dL. But: After dinner, our next door neighbor came over and we spent a few hours talking and laughing and sharing stories. Can you guess? My BG check after came in at 75 mg/dL.

Hey, I can’t explain it. I’ve never been known as a social person, though that’s changed a lot over the last couple of years. But I know that people-to-people contact has definitely had a positive impact on my glucose this holiday season. So I’m going to seek it out as much as I can.

I’m curious… Do in person get-togethers help you with your BG management?
 
 
 

Holiday goodness.. and badness, all at the same time.

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Man, the holidays can be tough sometimes.

I’m talking about the difficulty of keeping your glucose in a good range despite all of the festive cheer that adorns plates and cups and crock pots full of cider and filing cabinets at the office with cookies, and lions, and tigers, and bears… oh my!

I don’t have any great advice for you on how to avoid the temptations and spikes to your glucose that giving in to those temptations means at this time of year.

Instead, I’ll tell you what works for me (most of the time—not always). Hopefully, there will be a nugget or two for you in here.

First of all, I try to perform BG checks a lot during this time. There are two reasons for this: 1) If I check, I know how to bolus, or adjust basal rates, of course. And 2) If I check, and I’m not in an optimal place, I know I have to wait. This doesn’t always work for everyone, I know, so it’s not advice. But for me, a high number often shames me into just saying no.

That said… Second, I try to never say never to anything. But in my case, I really try to think of less. If I think, “hey, I’d like to have some crab dip on some of that great bread in the basket there”, I’ll give myself about 15 minutes before I actually go for it. Often, that 15 minutes makes the difference, and I don’t go for the crab dip, or maybe I just forego the bread. I don’t do this all day, but if I do it here and there, and it works, I wind up eating or drinking less than I might have in the first place. Every little bit helps. Oh… if I do all this and I still have trouble with my glucose, I try to remind myself where I’d be if I hadn’t done all of this in the first place.

Third, I remind myself that there are certain truths regarding the holiday goodies. They are good. Because they are often things I don’t have the rest of the year, they’re harder to bolus for. Other than a snack in the evening, eating at any time other than mealtime is just not my thing (though, truthfully, you wouldn’t know that by looking at me). And I know that I won’t be tempted by this stuff a month from now. It is the holiday season after all, not the holiday year. It makes sense if our numbers are off from time to time in December. Which makes having a number that’s in a good place really fulfilling right now. I hope you get more than a few of those 80 mg/dL – 120 mg/dL readings this month.

Thanks for letting me write this out. It feels good getting this out of my head. Again, it’s not advice, it’s just what works for me. I’m just trying to enjoy the holidays without a ton of guilt, while keeping the BGs in a place I’m comfortable with. That’s like climbing an icy roof this time of year. But keeping track of where I am, making do with less, not none, and understanding the realities of holiday fare makes things a little easier for me to handle.

I wish you luck with your holiday indulgences. Have any great tips for me?
 
 
 

Meet our first three medal winners.

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The movement is underway, and gaining momentum. Athletes With Diabetes are writing in and receiving their medals for bravery and resilience in completing their important athletic goals.

How did this get started? Like I mentioned on DSMA Live in November, I’ve always been a huge fan of athletes, and I’ve competed in several sports myself over the years. For People With Diabetes, the adjustment from non-activity to regular activity, plus the adjustment in BGs, basal rates, and boluses often requires a fair amount of bravery. I don’t think People With Diabetes get enough recognition or rewards when they get out and compete, or even when they make a concerted effort to stay active. I had been thinking about that on and off for a while, and then I saw this video from Kerri Sparling at Six Until Me. In short, it was inspiring.

It inspired me to get medals produced and purchase certificates and create Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote the idea that all Athletes With Diabetes are Champions.

Here are the first three Champions who received their medals.

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MB

Mary Beth Wyss lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband David. She has a son in the army, and a daughter in college. She’s also been living with Type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years. About five years ago, Mary Beth decided to go to a boxing class. Five years later, she’s still with it.

In MB’s words:
“At first it was overwhelming and I had to keep dropping out to catch my breath or rest my arms. But with each week, month, year it got easier and easier and now my body craves it. If I miss a day, my body drags. I’m doing more push-ups, more planks, more squats, more tire lifts and more jumping jacks than I’ve ever done in my life. But I am DOING SOMETHING!”

Five years of boxing class… wow! Congratulations Mary Beth. I’ll be sure to mind my P’s and Q’s next time we’re together. No need to put your training to use.

Full Disclosure: Mary Beth is a college friend of The Great Spousal Unit, and she appeared in this space once before talking about her diagnosis and treatment of diabetic macular edema, and her participation in clinical trials. She is a dear friend.

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Jen

Jen lives in California, where, among other things, she writes the popular blog See Jen Dance. As you can imagine, Jen’s athletic achievement has to do with tripping the light fantastic. Not once. Not twice. But three times in dance competitions since July. And she’s planning to compete three more times before next July!

Jen writes:
“I’ve been at a few events in the last 6 months. I competed with my instructor at the International Grand Ball at the end of July in pro/am Smooth events (so waltz, tango, foxtrot, v-waltz) and I’m an avid competitor in the west coast swing community.”

By the way, she also posted a photo of her certificate and medal on her blog, and they look great. Way to go, Jen! You are a Champion!

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SJohnson

Everybody knows Scott Johnson. Writer of the awesome Scott’s Diabetes blog, facilitator at Children With Diabetes events around the country, co-host of DSMA Live, friend and advocate and there-aren’t-enough-exclamation-points-to-describe-how-amazing-Scott-is. I’m sure the medal we sent him pales in comparison to the Insulindependence Athletic Achievement Award he received this year (partly because of the money). But for Scott, finishing the Rothman Institute 8K run in Philadelphia back in November was a huge milestone in itself.

“I felt great while doing it, and great afterward. Great all around! I trained for 8 weeks to build my physical abilities and learn how to manage my diabetes, and all of the hard work paid off. A big thanks to Insulindependence for making the whole event happen for me.”

Congratulations Scott… Perseverance is like kryptonite to the diabetes monster.

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So… How about you? Are you next? Are you living with diabetes and getting active and showing your resilience like a champion? Is someone special in your life doing that? If so, I urge you to write in for your medal, or a medal for the important AWD in your life today. Here are the simple rules:

1. The athlete receiving the award must be living with diabetes.

2. The athletic event must have taken place in the last six months. For now, we’re going with a pretty loose interpretation of the word “event”. If you feel you’ve accomplished something important to you, that’s an event. This is all about you, not about stupid rules. ‘Nuf said.

3. 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. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you post a photo of it around the athlete’s neck. You can send a Tweet to @ChampsWithD (hashtag: #champDathletes) or post it on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes Facebook Page.

I think D-Athletes are amazing. It takes a tremendous amount of planning, effort, and bravery to compete, or maintain an exercise routine. Heck, sometimes, it’s everything we can do just to walk around the block. Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that brave step is something that should be recognized and rewarded.

Congratulations again to our first three medal winners. Keep those e-mails coming, and let’s get the medal count up even higher!
 
 
 

Happy December.

Wow, I can’t believe it… it’s been almost a week since I published anything. Don’t read anything into that other than the fact that work has been occupying nearly all of my time, and I just haven’t had any extra moments to write.

But while I have a moment, let me just ask you to remember what’s really great about the holiday season that’s just begun.

What’s really fantastic about this time of year is the giving. And the giving takes all forms. From blog giveaways here and here, to giving and preserving life by donating to Insulin for Life, which has a big push right now to raise funds to aid typhoon victims in the Philippines.

There’s also a DiaTribe petition (go there—read & sign NOW), to urge the ridiculous people in Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission (this is a thing?) to stop the idea of restricting test strips for Type 2s to one, or even zero, per week to the patients enrolled in the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan. Go there. Read it. Sign it. Now.

And strangely enough (or it makes perfect sense, depending on your point of view), right about now is also when a lot of people feel a little more down. Feeling a little less celebratory, and a little more like hunkering down through the holidays. For those people, I hope the rest of us can bring ourselves to reach out this December. Not to say, “Hey, you should be part of this great thing happening!”, as much as to say, “Hey, I feel for you, and I was there once, and I support you, no matter what… No Conditions”.

It is not a reach at all to say that sometimes, the best giving is when we give of ourselves. I know that from experience, and I know that from experience on both sides of that table. Empathy means a whole lot in our world. And giving empathy feels really great too.

Hope you’re enjoying your week… I’ll try to catch up to you with more very soon.
 
 
 

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