Category Archives: Additional Inspiration

Quotes for Life.

For some reason, I’ve been going over a lot of quotes in my head.

”Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” – Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Quotes often get a reaction out of me. That reaction isn’t always the same. Sometimes, as you can probably imagine, a quote will inspire me. Other times, a quote can help to focus my mind exactly where I need to focus. Many times, especially now, I view quotes through a diabetes lens.

”Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” – C.S. Lewis

After last weekend’s Diabetes UnConference, I’m reminded of that quote a lot. And it makes me feel warm inside.

I learned a while back that I don’t have awesome command of all the words in the world. I’m not the sole source of pithy phrases. On the other hand, I come up with a good one now and then. Or so I think.

Yesterday is only a benchmark. The future is unwritten.” – Stephen Shaul

I try to remember that one when I see a number or have a diabetes experience that I’d rather forget. The truth is, every day will not be perfect. Most of the time, I don’t have any idea what the next five minutes will bring, let alone the next thirty years. Remembering that the future is unwritten helps me focus on the fact that if things are bad today, they don’t always have to be bad. There’s a lot I can accomplish, even if I don’t know what that is yet. And with that in mind:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky

Most people I know don’t think they deserve the love they would love to accept, if you know what I mean. Including me. It’s something I really want to improve on this year.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I may ignore you rather than confront you, but if you’re going to troll me, I’m not going down in the hole with you.

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Sometimes, our friends aren’t perfect. Sometimes, they make you uncomfortable because they order off the menu all the time or they vote for someone that you don’t. Other times, they’re there when you really need them. Sometimes, they give you the biggest boost at the time you’re most vulnerable. If we demand perfection of all our friends, we’re going to be pretty lonely. Actually, I think I just described my next door neighbor.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I try to tell twenty and thirty year olds that, of course, they don’t know everything yet. But they know themselves, and it’s okay to bring a part of themselves to whatever they do. It’s okay to emulate those you look up to, but remember to let your own light shine too. Don’t worry about how… you’ll find a way.

And that leads me to this final quote, which describes a lot of what I think about when I think of my interactions within the diabetes community, online and off:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Happy Friday… are there any quotes that move you? I’d love to read them!

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Community.

I speak to you today in praise of the Diabetes Community.

Multi-faceted, multi-talented, multi-country, multi-cultural, it is the living embodiment of selflessness and inspiration. Its accomplishments are many, and its biggest challenges remain to be conquered. For every advancement, every success, failures of our healthcare systems and of our own endocrine systems means our efforts are not complete.

There is much to be excited about. We are connected as never before, through social media and patient-centric organizations. Blogging is still a thing (at least I hope it is), and this community can boast writers that are among the best around at telling their stories of living with a chronic condition. In the past year, podcasting about diabetes has taken off again, and that gives people a chance to hear the latest without actually having to read the latest.

And there are the athletes. Reaching the heights of their chosen sports, amateur or professional, climbing Mount Everest, winning auto races, playing in the National Hockey League. Riding 100 miles on a bicycle, for no other reason than to help raise money for research toward a cure. There are organizations that encourage and help get people moving so they can simply remain as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

This community is full of passionate advocates, who see a need and try to fill it, or see a wrong and try to right it. Advocates who speak before Congress, who speak before regulatory bodies, who debunk long-established myth and self-serving stigma to anyone who will listen. God bless them. As we break down more barriers going forward, I hope we can find a way to turn our short-term advocacy efforts into sustained, long-term advocacy movements. In the end, a lot of advocacy is simply outlasting those who oppose us.

There are increasing numbers of healthcare professionals living with diabetes, and many who don’t live with diabetes but support us in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of a generation ago. I like how their profession allows them to have both a unique perspective on our disease, and an even bigger motivation to educate all of us about the importance of never giving up on our own self-care.

Yet, there remain difficulties. For every person running a marathon or leading a local support group or participating in a clinical trial, there is someone who lives with depression or burnout that they never counted on when they were diagnosed. There is someone who goes to a doctor once a month to get injections directly into their eyes to help reduce the ravages of diabetic macular edema. There is someone who works hard every single day to even out the roller coaster of glucose readings they see on a continuous glucose monitor. Their issues are not going away, so we should continue to show them the love and support they so richly deserve.

Being part of the Diabetes Community includes things like giving so that children living with diabetes in developing countries don’t also live with a death sentence. For many, it includes occasional happy gatherings full of laughter and hugs and bolus-worthy delights, living life to its fullest. It’s a unique language and an extra set of superpowers that none of us ever thought we would possess, but do anyway because it can literally mean the difference between life and death during tense moments for ourselves or our loved ones.

Diabetes isn’t something that happens to just us; it’s something that happens to all of us. All of us in this community are affected by the successes and frustrations that each of us experience every single day of life with a disease that is with us every single day. It is right that we commiserate in the sadness of a high A1c result or the passing of a close friend. It is equally right that we rejoice together in goals met, children raised, and new technology that makes us safer. Having to live with diabetes is the worst part about my life. Getting to live with diabetes people in my life makes me a better person.

“When I am with a group of human beings committed to hanging in there through both the agony and the joy of community, I have a dim sense that I am participating in a phenomenon for which there is only one word… glory.” – M. Scott Peck

“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” – Mother Teresa

Communities are not buildings or monuments or parks. They’re made up of people. Our shared situation and our singular desire to compassionately relieve and delay and eliminate the burden of diabetes unite us as a community in a way few other things can. As each new day dawns, I take solace in the fact that even though my pancreas is faulty, my heart is full.
 

Why I don’t worry about December anymore.

I know there will be a lot of newspaper articles, TV reports, and yes, blog posts in the coming weeks giving us the latest and greatest ways to get in shape and eat better in 2016. To which I say: Great! Bring it on! I’ll be ready for it.

But I’m not ready right now.

The avalanche of stories about resolutions and how to keep them used to make me feel like I must have lived poorly over the previous months, whether I had or had not. The truth is that feeling guilty doesn’t make me feel motivated. It makes me feel guilty.

Instead, I now look at December like a chance to get a head start on fitness and diet goals. I no longer look at the month with dread about having to deny myself of everything, or that I’ll be sunk if I don’t get to the gym every day. Now I think of each day this month as an opportunity. No, really, I do.

I look at the few days here and there in December that I can work out as add-ons to my January, February, and March workouts. Like I’m starting the process early, even if it’s only in a small way. The same thing applies with food. I’ve definitely had moments when I’ve eaten too much. Who doesn’t? But that’s been tempered somewhat by soup and salad dinners, and days when I don’t eat anything extra at all.

And then… I try to give myself a break. I’m sick of being too hard on myself and feeling like an abject failure come January. Knowing myself, I know that cutting myself some slack, plus doing what I can, when I can, makes December a much happier month.

I’ve been far from perfect in December. But I have had good moments too. And now I’m in a good place, physically and mentally, to pick up the pace in the new year. I hope your December has been great so far, and your 2016 starts on a great note.
 

Thanksgiving 8 (plus one)

Another Thanksgiving is upon us here in the USA, and it’s natural to sit down and consider what we should be thankful for. Especially if we write a blog. It’s been a crazy, busy, up and down kind of year, but when it comes right down to it, I still have much to be thankful for.  In no particular order, here are Eight (plus one) reasons I’m thankful this year.
8
– First and foremost, I’m thankful to family that puts up with me as I am, and continues to support me in ways big and small. I’m grateful to my wife, a person who drives downtown late on a Friday night to pick me up instead of waiting at home for me to return on the subway. That’s just one of the many things she does for me, all the time.

– As usual, I’m thankful for insurance that allows me to pay for test strips, infusion sets, insulin, and doctor visits. Even if though I’m still paying too much.

– I’m thankful for this space to share my thoughts and what I’ve learned and experienced while living with diabetes. And I’m incredibly grateful to anyone who still comes here to read it. You know who you are.

– I’m incredibly thankful to organizations like Diabetes Hands Foundation, Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation, Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, JDRF, and the American Diabetes Association for persuasively advocating more, and in bigger numbers, than I could ever muster on my own.

– I’m thankful to all you crazy bike riders who cover as much as 100 miles in a single day, while raising millions of dollars for research toward a cure. You know who you are.

– I’m thankful for gatherings that allow me to meet new friends and extend existing friendships due to nothing more and nothing less than having a permanently vacationing pancreas. Diabetes UnConference, I love you.

– I’m thankful for People With Diabetes, famous and not-so-famous, who inspire me and have shown me that there is life, wonderful life, after diagnosis.

– I’m also thankful that I got to spend a few days in Brussels at the end of a business trip in February, experiencing all of the grand architecture, good food, and lovely people of a city that now has a very different look to the rest of the world. Trust me, what you’re seeing on the news is not the Brussels I discovered.

– Finally… though it sounds redundant, I’m thankful that there’s an actual Thanksgiving in the USA. If there wasn’t, there would probably be years when I would completely forget to stop and enjoy and actually, you know, be thankful for the many, many great things in my life.

Whatever your life looks like right now, I hope that this Thanksgiving brings you health, hope, and happiness. And I hope that next Thanksgiving is the first Thanksgiving without diabetes. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

What are you thankful for this year?

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Motivational Symbols.

Lately, because of everything that’s been going on in the rest of my life, diabetes seems to have taken a back seat. Or, more of a back seat compared to how active I’ve been over the past few years. I’ve been lamenting that for a while, for two reasons: One, I’ve found that I have a passion for diabetes advocacy; and Two, I feel like I haven’t been paying enough attention to my own health lately.

So when I was cleaning up around the house this weekend and I came across this bracelet, I decided to give it another fling. It says: ACT ON DIABETES.NOW.
bracelet
For me, it means Acting On Diabetes in two directions: Outward, and Internally too. Maybe hanging this on my wrist for a few weeks will get me refocused on what I do well, and most of all, what is important. I’m not unhappy with me… I’m just looking to be a little more energetic when it comes to taking care of myself, and helping others where I can.

If a blue bracelet can help me do that, then okay. I’m all for motivational symbols. What motivates you?
 

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