Monthly Archives: February 2015

Four things (times 11)

I had something already written and ready to go today, but after I read this over at Scully’s blog and then this over at Jeff’s blog I thought, what the hell, I’m game.

For lack of a better phrase, here are my top 4 lists:

1. Four names people call me other than my real name.
1. Steve (of course)
2. Uncle Steve
3. Honey
4. Hey You

2. Four jobs I’ve had.
1. Delivering papers (when I was 14, I made four dollars each week for delivering a local weekly paper)
2. Radio announcer, program director, freelance announcer, copywriter (I did all of these jobs at one time or another in my late teens into my mid 30s)
3. Retail manager (mostly, I set up, managed, and sold men’s suits for a discount chain in the midwest, again, from my mid 20s through my mid 30s)
4. Senior systems analyst (when I quit retail, I wanted to go in a different direction. I’ve been at my current job for 17 years)

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once
1. Field of Dreams
2. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
3. Lillies of the Field (I’m a Sidney Poitier fan… what can I say?)
4. Any of the Thin Man movies (I’m also a big William Powell and Myrna Loy fan)

4. Four books I would recommend
1. Balancing Diabetes by Kerri Sparling (see what I did there? It’s a great book!)
2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (a tough but great read)
3. The Frontiersmen by Allan W. Eckert
4. 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn (another tough read, but eye-opening)

5. Four places I’ve lived
1. Cincinnati, Ohio (born and raised there)
2. Columbus, Georgia (during that radio phase back in the 80s)
3. Dayton, Ohio (not far from Cincy, but it counts)
4. Baltimore, Maryland (where I’ve lived for the last twenty years)

6. Four places I’ve visited
1. London, England and Brussels, Belgium (where I was three weeks ago)
2. Ireland (a memorable trip I took a little over ten years ago)
3. Jamaica (on my honeymoon)
4. San Francisco Bay area, California (where I am right now!)

7. Four things I prefer not to eat
1. Beans
2. Chili with beans
3. Mushy peas (I noticed it on a lot of menus in London, but… no)
4. Any type of egg other than scrambled (they’ve made me gag since I was a kid)

8. Four of my favorite foods
1. Pizza
2. Cincinnati chili (which is usually eaten with pasta or with a hot dog– carbs,anyone?)
3. Pie (any kind except the kind with merengue)
4. Farm-fresh produce (especially tomatoes and corn on the cob)

9. Four TV shows I watch
1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
2. Major League Baseball (whenever it’s on and ESPECIALLY when the Reds or Orioles are on– see #5 above)
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. Parking Wars (especially the episodes from Philly– guilty pleasure)

Four things I’m looking forward to this year
1. Diabetes UnConference, March 13-15
2. Visits from family
3. Spending time with friends, at home and on the road
4. More chances to advocate for those living with/affected by diabetes

Four things I’m always saying
1. “Can you e-mail that to me?”
2. “Sorry, I don’t have a smart phone.”
3. In response to the question: Are you low? “I don’t KNOW if I’m low unless I check!”
4. “I support you… no conditions.”

Got anything you’d like to list?

This has been a fun exercise for a Friday. I hope your weekend goes well, and is free of snow unless you don’t want it to be.

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You can’t always see NED coming, but you are not alone.

So many of us are familiar with NED. We know him by his first name.

Like the obnoxious uncle who swings by for an afternoon then stays for the weekend, NED can be hard to get rid of. He may only be around for a short while, but NED is always lingering in the back of our minds.  NED’s effects are often devastating and long-lasting.  Often, the guilt and shame that comes with a visit from NED gets swept under the rug, adding pressure to the lives of people who already have more pressure on them than they need or deserve.

We need to put NED in his place.

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Why am I using space in a diabetes blog to talk about eating disorders?  If you live with diabetes, or if you even know someone living with diabetes, you are familiar with eating disorders.  Our wacked-out endocrine system that causes strange blood glucose numbers can also cause wacked-out eating habits. If you live with diabetes, you know that. It’s sucky, but it’s natural.

Let me tell you:  We all need to be part of a solution that uplifts and inspires success for everyone working their way through difficult health issues. And eating disorders are a very difficult health issue.

If you’re living with diabetes and dealing with eating disorders, you are not alone.

Visit nedawareness.org and get started on the road toward a happier, better, healthier life right now.

If you’re living with Type 1 diabetes, you can also visit wearediabetes.org and reach out to people who provide support and advocate for others who are going through what you’re going through.

As always, please remember:
You are not alone. I support you… no conditions.
 
 
 

Congratulations Ryan Reed.

I got to interview NASCAR Xfinity series driver Ryan Reed last year, and to be honest, it wasn’t that great an interview. We were both pressed for time, and though I got my questions answered, it wasn’t a great experience. That’s the way it goes sometimes. He did send me this cool photo:
Reed

Now the good news: Ryan Reed, one of our Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal winners, was the winner of the Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday.

Ryan got a little help from teammate and second-place finisher Chris Buescher, went around Brad Keselowski on the final lap, and got his first series win on the biggest stage in his sport.

Afterward, as he climbed out of his car and answered the first question from an interviewer, he had this to say:

“Four years ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, thought I would never drive a race car again, and now I’m standing in Victory Lane at Daytona…”

He also managed to say this:

“This is not only for me and my family, but every kid that gets diagnosed with diabetes – or anything that says you can’t do something. Just go out there, overcome it, win it, and do the best you can.”

To me, that’s worth more than my crummy interview.

We all have our chance to advocate for others living with and affected by diabetes. Ryan Reed got that chance before a national audience Saturday night, and he took advantage of it. And I’m grateful.

He’ll be advocating again on Saturday in Atlanta.

Here’s a look at the final two laps, plus the beginning of his interview just after the race:

 
 
 

Throw me a frickin’ bone here…

I was a victim of one of those stupid unexplained, recurring lows the other day.

Near the end of my workday, I had to excuse myself from a meeting and reschedule because I couldn’t focus. I knew something was wrong. A quick glucose check revealed a 47 mg/dL reading.

So immediately, I shut off my pump. I did not have any insulin on board at that time. I ate a fruit cup that was hiding in my desk drawer for just such an occasion, and just for good measure I ate a couple of pieces of candy too. Okay, three pieces.

I performed another check half an hour later (it’s supposed to be 15 minutes, I know, sue me), and I was at 170 mg/dL. This was at the end of my day, and figuring I was at a safe number, I turned my pump back on. I should also note that to err on the safe side, my basal setting between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. is significantly below what my basal rate is at any other time of day, because that’s usually when I’m finishing up my day and traveling home.

I made it home, let the dog out, looked at the mail, and then did another BG check. Can you believe it?

52 mg/dL

I made my kicked-up ramen noodle recipe for dinner
, and due to the day’s previous events, I definitely under-bolused. Or so I thought. 2½ hours later? I was at 62 mg/dL.

Sometimes diabetes throws us a curve ball, and we need to try and deal with it the best we can.

It would be nice, however, if diabetes would throw me a frickin’ bone now and then.


 
 
 

Mostly, I’m grateful.

When I started this endeavor almost three years ago, I didn’t know if I would make it to five blog posts, much less five hundred. I knew from previous experience that I could write 500 different things, so durability wasn’t an issue. The real question was, would I even want to write as many as five hundred? Of course, I also wondered from time to time whether anyone would be interested in reading even one thing I might want to write about. For the record, I still ask myself those questions.

When I started Happy Medium, I had three ideas in mind. I refer you to my original post for the actual wording…

1. Stay humble. Don’t try to be a rock star. This rule is mostly so I can remind myself that no matter how big success is, it never seems to be enough. There really is a lot of truth and solace to be found in just doing the best you can. I do this for others and for me. It’s not my job. Keeping all this in mind frees me to write from the heart, and write the truth too.

2. Try to help where I can. It’s no secret that there’s a lot of need in the Diabetes Community. What’s the sense in being part of a community if you don’t contribute to it?

3. Enjoy the process. I love to write, and the idea that I can share information, tell my story, and advocate for others living with or affected by diabetes makes me feel more engaged, more useful.

How am I doing with all of those? The easy way out would be for me to say it’s up to you, the reader, to decide. But if I’m being honest with myself, I think I’m doing okay on Number 1, I could do more on Number 2, and Number 3? I still need to loosen up a bit. Trust me, I am working on it. I think the best way to describe it is to say that I’m content, but despite my best efforts, there are days when the unbridled enthusiasm for life I felt some years ago still eludes me. I haven’t yet figured out why.

I will admit that sometimes (like in this post and my previous one) I write primarily for myself. Fortunately, no one has castigated me for it yet. Some things I’ve been involved in have been great, like two different D Blog Check-in days, three different editions of Diabetes Blog Week, my attendance at the Manning Diabetes Symposium in 2013, and an FDA workshop last November. Other things haven’t worked out as well as I’d hoped, like when I went through JDRF mentor training two and a half years ago, only to be asked to mentor no one because people my age are almost never diagnosed with Type 1. I still get an occasional e-mail asking me to volunteer to be a mentor, and it’s kind of depressing.

I truly felt honored to participate in clinical trials over the past two years, and our Champion Athletes With Diabetes medals have been given to 26 brave souls so far. Each one of those stories warms my heart. In each letter I receive, I’m touched by how much people feel inside about something they are physically involved in.

In addition to writing, I love to cook too, and I’ve been able to post a few recipes. One of my most interesting learning experiences involved writing about living gluten free for a week as though I were newly diagnosed with celiac disease (for the record, I do not live with celiac).

I think it’s safe to say that all of these experiences, and so many more, would not have happened without first having learned as much as I have from others who also write about diabetes and advocate for others while living with this condition.

I have learned a lot through this experience. I’ve managed to embarrass myself once or twice. I’ve had the typical highs and lows. I’ve tried to be fair. I have also managed (crossing my fingers) to avoid some of the trolls who have been a pain to some of my other blogging friends.

What I don’t want to do is hang on too long. After 35 years or so, I want to continue to learn and grow as a writer, because I am totally self-taught, this is my first experience writing on the internet, and I’m sure there is much that I don’t know. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

But I don’t want to write just for the sake of writing. I’m not closing up this blog just yet. But I’m thinking about it. Honestly, I always think about it. I think it’s right to examine what you’re doing from time to time, ask yourself whether you’re meeting your goals, and whether it really means anything at all. If I write for one more week or one more decade, I will probably continue to do this.

Mostly, I’m grateful that people engage with me through this medium honestly, sharing their feelings without reservation. I could and would still write without any feedback, but knowing you care about things as deeply as you do humbles me. So often, you make me want to be like you.

And if you’re out there thinking about telling your story, through a blog or Facebook or Twitter or some other avenue, my advice is: Yes, absolutely, do it. You will find it rewarding and cathartic. Like I said over a year and a half ago,
Your story is the most important one in the world to the person who is moved by it. Don’t let down the one person who needs to hear you.

I’m satisfied with my first 500 blog posts. But the fire in my belly says that I want to make each one from this point forward better than ever. Here’s to another… one, in a couple of days.
 
 
 

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