Tag Archives: inspiration

Do the extra steps in your day really matter?

Holey Moley, the health care world is full of stories that contradict each other. Everyone will tell you it’s science, but very few can tell you if it’s actually definitive.

For years I’ve ben reading stories and hearing advertisements about how taking 10,000 or more steps a day will help us lose weight, get our hearts (and the rest of us) in good shape, and generally turn our frowns upside down. But now, I’m starting to see the counter-argument taking place… that the science of how many steps we take each day is complicated, and that movement may be less important than metabolism.

So the question remains: Do the extra steps in our days really matter?
Does getting out under the sun at least once in your day matter?

Do the simple things, like seeing the geese on the waterfront, help you feel better?

What about the steps needed to be with an important friend who means the world to you… do those steps matter?

Taking steps to be with someone close to you so you can spend time laughing and experiencing the world together… that’s priceless.

The steps you take on the way to seeking the help you need when you’re feeling down… do those matter to you?

Those steps I take walking with our dog each day… let me tell you, those matter.

If you have kids, I’ll bet every step taken to be with them matters more than I can describe here.

Without question, the steps we take to positively influence another life are golden.
I submit that health can be defined in many ways. And therefore, benefits to our health can be defined in many ways.

The steps themselves don’t matter. What we give and what we receive as a result of the steps we take is what really makes a difference.

How Far We’ve Come

I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook and Twitter posts this week from people in our Diabetes Community heading to the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Francisco. And it’s made me think about the efforts of those from the community, working within the community.

There are people living with diabetes who are working for software specialists, and device manufacturers. Others are writing for websites and publications. Some are speaking and presenting.

It warms my heart to think about this.

To be sure, diabetes advocates who came along way before me spent years trying to get their feet in the door to conferences and symposia. As they slowly made their way to venues near and far, they managed to show their worth in ways that helped make it easier for others to be where they were.

When industry started to realize the value of having those with intimate knowledge of diabetes among their ranks, they began to hire PWDs and Certified Diabetes Educators. Those people have helped companies develop products better suited for those who live with diabetes. They’ve collaborated on patient-centered messaging that helps their companies communicate with the people who keep them in business.

We have people with diabetes serving on FDA groups and state advisory councils and committees. We’ve even seen those living with diabetes starting their own non-profit and for-profit enterprises, and it’s wonderful.

It goes without saying that these people bring a wealth of knowledge to their daily duties. They also bring a passion that can only come from someone living with or affected by this disease.

I couldn’t tell you when it started, but I can tell you that it’s been great to watch.

So today, I’m thinking of these wonderful people, and hoping for their continued success. You’re all blazing trails with bright lights and sharp minds.

Thank you for your continued service. My biggest hope is that we eventually run out of the reason for what you do.

Hello! Life calling.

I think I’ve had more than a few moments like Saturday night’s.

I think maybe the timing of Saturday’s moment was particularly unique.

We started out by going to a birthday dinner for my sister-in-law (in the yellow shirt in the photo). She’s the Mom of The (former) Live-In Niece (third from the right). We had a great time eating, laughing, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

As we finished up dinner, it started raining. By the time we made it out to our vehicles, it was really coming down. About five minutes after we started home, we heard one of the local radio stations announce a tornado warning. By the time we made it home, the tornado warning was gone, but we were still under a severe thunderstorm warning for some time.

The first thing The Great Spousal Unit did when we got home was let the dog out (like he would actually want to go out in stormy weather like that). When she came back inside a couple of minutes later, she said she heard one of the big trees in the neighborhood fall down. If you’ve ever heard a hundred foot tall oak tree fall, you remember the sound, so she knew.

Well, it was too dark out to go and check where it happened, and I wasn’t about to get back in the car again, so we waited until morning to find out where the tree came down.

We had just driven down this street, exactly in this spot, about three minutes before the tree came crashing down across the road. Three minutes later getting home– the time to wait at one or two extra traffic lights– and that photo could have included us underneath that tree.

I don’t generally believe in signs. I believe in reminders, though. And I needed this one. Because I already know these things, but I’ve lost sight of them in the general slog to get through each day.

What are the reminders?

Life is short. Don’t be afraid to pursue what is important. Don’t wait to do something meaningful. If people can be helped by what you do, don’t make them wait while you… wait. Because their lives are just as important, and just as subject to the possibility that anything might happen at any moment. You might not get the chance later.

Advocating for People With Diabetes is something I’ve grown into over the past few years. It’s easy for me to feel like what I do doesn’t mean much. Until it means something to someone. Or until I can lead someone to someone else who makes the difference for them. But you never know when that’s going to happen, or when the opportunity will present itself. So you have to be ready.

Also: Never miss an opportunity to experience true, in-the-moment joy while it’s happening. For so many years, I’ve been guilty of recognizing special moments, even in the smallest of things, and moving on with my life like they never really happened. There are reasons for that, not good ones, but I am so guilty of not fully letting myself go for fear that someone will recognize I’m happy and do something to crush it. It’s happened before, and it’s conditioned me to where I felt, I don’t know, like I was 60 or 70 percent happy about something I should have been 100 percent happy about. I’ve been feeling like I’m missing out on 30 or 40 percent of my happiness for a while now. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me.

It’s okay to sit on the sidelines for a while, watching the world go by. But don’t sit too long. Live your life. Make it special. For you, and for someone who needs you.

Friday pep talk.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

As we all know, diabetes is a strange beast. Sometimes our BGs play nice, staying within range, and those of us who practice pre-bolusing actually remember to do so all day. Other times, we’re subject to wild swings, lows that just won’t come up, or highs that can’t be brought down no matter how much insulin we throw at them.

Likewise, we’re stuck with the constant requirements of managing (to the best of our ability) a condition that never plays fair. People not living with diabetes don’t always understand that this disease is not as simple as do a calculation, take a certain amount of insulin, eat perfectly, and our numbers will be awesome all the time. And there’s that little tiny voice in the back of our minds that we try to keep silent, warning us of possible complications. On top of that, let’s face it: We’re human. We’re bound to make a mistake or two (or three). Yuck.

Okay, so we know that things aren’t always perky, right? What do we do about it?

Far be it from me to give advice (famous last words). First, let me give an appreciative nod to this amazing post by Briley at inDependence. In addition, I’m hoping a few reminders here will help you in a moment of diabetes stress. Think of it as a Friday diabetes pep talk.

Yesterday may suck, but it’s yesterday.
That’s the best part of awful numbers, stupid people who think cinnamon will cure you, and CGMs that go kaput in the middle of the night. It’s over. I’m not saying forget about it… that’s impossible. What I am saying is be glad that the moment is over and you survived it. Whether you think you are now or not, you are stronger for it, and the future is unwritten. Carpe Diem, baby.

You count. Diabetes doesn’t.
This is one of those sayings where, sometimes, you have to keep repeating it to yourself over and over again before it sinks in. But like I said, if you’re surviving, it also means you’re living to see another day. For some people, and for some circumstances, that’s not just something… that’s everything. Particularly in America, it’s easy to hide what’s going on. We don’t like to show weakness. We like to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, move on. That can be good (see above). The reality, however, is that occasionally it’s good to stop, take a moment or two to compose ourselves (even if it takes all afternoon), and then move on. Doctors are learning more and more that our mental well-being is just as important as our physical well-being. Let’s prove to ourselves that we’ve received that message. Let’s remember that how we feel about things does matter. A lot.

We have more resources than ever before.
In the past month, we’ve seen advances in diabetes technology that many couldn’t see coming a year ago. Meanwhile, there are more diabetes organizations, conferences, and informal get-togethers where peers (you and me living with diabetes) can meet and commiserate. On top of that, there are more diabetes blogs where people like us are sharing our stories, and what was once a fun, quirky Twitter chat has now become a Wednesday night institution. Heck, in just the past week I’ve seen a number people get late night diabetes help and support via Twitter, myself included.

Diabetes takes a lot away from us. It also gifts us with perseverance and empathy. Perseverance to endure the tough times and continue on where non-pancreatically-challenged individuals might indeed falter. And empathy that allows us to recognize when someone needs help and then do something to lift them up. I almost never encounter others with these qualities. Yet they are almost universal in our world.

So why not use our unique qualities to make a great life for ourselves and our diabetes friends going forward? YouCanDoThis. Bring on the day.

Like these links: Spreading the DOC Love.

Is it just me, or are you cray-cray busy too?

We’ve got visitors this week (Maureen’s friend and fellow Type 1 Mary Beth and her family), and a few other commitments too. As a result, I haven’t had time to really write this week. It’s been even longer since I’ve felt like I’ve caught up on my D-blog reading.

I still haven’t fully caught up on that, and I’ve also realized that it’s been quite a while since I turned you on to some terrific insights from the fabulous Diabetes Online Community.

Also, I’d like to ask you for something new on these posts: Have you read something that moves you lately? How ‘bout you share that in a comment below so we can all get a look at it? Now… without further ado, here are some things for you to chew on this Wednesday:
The writer over at Running Without Sugar has a wonderful take on something she read in a T1D forum, what it says about us, and how important it is for us to keep trying and never give up:
Rhonda at FifteenWaitFifteen is getting closer to undergoing gastric sleeve surgery. This is a very brave thing she’s doing, and it’s something I’ve rarely read about, and I’m glad she’s documenting what she’s going through. Here are a few posts to help you get up to speed on her experiences:
Scott Strange has an interesting take on the idea of being cared for, then being the caregiver yourself, then being cared for again as we go through the stages of life with diabetes:
Have you been an insulin pumper for a while? If so, I think you’ll find some familiar themes in Vicki’s first-hand account of her first week with an insulin pump:
Finally, a feel-good story that involves biking, nature, and a memorable quote. Enjoy this from Moira McCarthy at Despite Diabetes:
Enjoy your hump day… hope the rest of your week is as pleasant as it gets. And don’t forget to leave a comment linking your latest favorites!

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