5 Things I wish people knew about living with Diabetes…

Let’s get right to it. Diabetes is difficult. Like, really difficult. It can be managed, yes. However, the emotional, physical, and mental state this illness can leave you in is pure craziness. One minute you’re completely in control and then you eat something, or go for a jog, or start stressing about the new promotion at work and then bam! You’re on a full blown diabetes roller coaster you never asked to be on.

This illness is hectic, tedious, and unruly. Even on the days you have massive control it isn’t because you were carefree. It takes patience beyond measure, commitment, and a whole lot of will power. I’m not speaking for everyone but my personal relationship with diabetes is a love hate one. I hate it, and it loves to hate me right back. The scars left behind by depression, anxiety, and just an overall fear of all the what if’s is enough to make a person want to scream. This illness is no joke, even though I try to make light of living with it. I do this because if I don’t laugh, even just a little, I would live in a funk.

So I’ve compiled five things I wish people knew about living with type one diabetes.

  1. I wish people knew that even though I am smiling on the outside, inside I am always freaking out. Are my numbers alright? I feel weird, why? I’m so thirsty…is my glucose high? What if I pass out from a low glucose and it’s just me and my kids? Why was my A1c so high? What am I doing wrong? I am constantly having to stay a few steps ahead of diabetes or it will catch me and make sure I fall hard. The truth is that Diabetes is a monster. It doesn’t care about anything.
  2. I wish people knew that it takes so much to stay in control of this. Maybe I make this look easy but it is far from it. Just thinking about being in charge of a drug that could potentially kill me is kind of a mind explosion. I’m not a doctor and yet I have to administer this drug to myself daily. Of course with out it I could die. So there really isn’t a grey area. I either do what I have to or I’m gone.
  3. I wish people knew that I didn’t do this to myself. None of us woke up one day asking to be diabetics. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. The fear alone of what could happen, or what is inevitable, is depressing. It can eat away at your sanity if you let it. I could fall asleep and never wake up. I could go into a coma. One day my kidneys could go on a permanent vacation, I know quite a few diabetics on dialysis already. Organs can decide not to work. I mean the list goes on. Not to mention I could lose feeling in my feet. People have had to get fingers, toes, even limbs amputated because of the havoc this disease creates. Why wouldn’t I have prevented myself from getting this illness if I could have? No one asks for this. It happens and we deal but I wish people understood that. Sugar didn’t do this to me. Cake wasn’t my enemy. It just happened.
  4. I wish people knew that even when I complain I’m never giving up. I can’t. It’s a real fight or flight kind of thing. You can either embrace it, run with it, and do your very best. Or you can let it take over your entire being until you’re consumed by it. Love and support from family and friends can go a long way. Every little encouraging thought, note, hug, whatever it may be, means the world to us. I know to me it does. If I didn’t have my support system who knows where I would be. I have met plenty of diabetics not caring about their illness because no one cares about them. What’s the point of fighting when you have no one in your corner.
  5. Lastly, I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t limit us. I may have to take a few extra steps, precautions, or detours, but I am fully capable of taking this world on with diabetes on my back. We can do anything we put our minds to, with just a little more pizzazz, and a lot of snacks.

What’s something you wish people knew about living with Diabetes?

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The Exercising Diabetic.

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Though I’d like to think I’m quite an athlete the truth is that I’m far from it. Far, far, far from it. There isn’t an athletic bone in this body. I have come to terms with it and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to do the same. Instead what I do have are let’s-workout-here-and-there-for-diabetes-sake bones in my body. I realize the positive effect exercising has on my blood glucose levels but I also realize just how difficult it can be to create the perfect scenario for my diabetes to thrive.

Even though I’m back on the workout grind it has definitely taken a while. The frustrating part of striving to be a healthier me was that, without fail, I would gear up and head out on my walks, or whatever regimen I had planned out, and my numbers would be stable. Then they would slowly start to climb. Skyrocketing by the end of my workout. This was supposed to make me feel great, healthy, and in charge. When in reality I was feeling, drained, defeated, and ready to throw in the towel. Some days were the complete opposite. Dropping so low in the middle of sweating it out that I would have to eat something substantial to get back up to normal.

Color me beyond frustrated. So frustrated in fact that I convinced myself that I was happy with the way I looked, the miserable way I felt, and the way diabetes and I interacted. Like two feuding exes not really wanting to be in the same room as one another but playing nice and being cordial because that’s what adults do.

Then it hit me. One day I woke up and I realized that health isn’t something to take for granted, it’s something that needs to be worked at. You’re blessed with an amazing system in the beginning but it’s entirely your duty to maintain it. Sometimes illness happens, or life happens, and the healthy points start ticking down. But we are in charge, nonetheless, of our overall healthiness. Not anyone else. So I decided it’s time to take responsibility for my poor choices, and somewhat horrible habits, and have begun getting myself into gear. I’ve started kicking my own butt. Not literally of course. But I set myself goals. Small ones for easy victories that would give me the continued confidence I needed and now I am starting on those long term ones. Goals that after they’ve been completed make you feel really, and truly accomplished. Baby steps are still steps. Progress should always be something to be proud of. I’m starting there and working my way up.

It’s not an easy road. And this doesn’t mean I have suddenly developed those “athletic” bones. But I am working on a better me. A healthier me so that I can continue to be a mom, a diabadass, and everything in between.

How do you stay in charge of your diabetes and overall health?

The Diabetic Mom.

It’s weird to think I’ve been a type one diabetic almost as long as I’ve been a mom. My first pregnancy followed very closely to my diagnosis and it became a whirlwind of overwhelming emotions. I hadn’t really grasped what being a type one diabetic meant but I was going to have to figure it out quickly because it wasn’t going to be affecting just me. I was going to have a baby bump roommate who would be experiencing the roller coaster that is this illness right along with me. Needless to say it was a stressful time, happy, but stressful nonetheless. The beginning of motherhood, along with my diabetes journey, would cause me such anxiety I wondered often what kept me going. Aside from the beautiful, bouncing, baby girl smiling up at me. I prayed for strength and wisdom. He only gives us what we can handle but there were definitely times I was left feeling like the weight of the world were on my shoulders.

Thankfully I made it out of that worrisome time with a beautiful, smart, and perfectly healthy daughter, valuable knowledge to combat the tediousness that diabetes can bring daily, and a sense of humor. Because at the end of the day if you can’t laugh about it, even just a little, then life is going to be one big ball of yuck.

So I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss with you some things I’ve learned about myself, this disease, and motherhood, and how it’s shaped my view on life.

So let’s jump in…

The connective line between all three is me. If I am not on my game and doing my best then everything falls a part, not always drastically, but I have found that things don’t run as smoothly as they could be when I am in a funk. In the equation of life it is fundamental to remember you and your health. Whether that be mental, physical, or emotional. Doing what you can to ensure you’re at your tip top shape in those categories is key. Exercising, taking time to treat yourself, or even venting with someone in your support system, can all be ways to rejuvenate you and your health.

A technique I’ve used when I start feeling any sort of frustration, diabetes burn out, or insecurity in my parenting, I write it all out. Every single thing bothering me, I write it out, removing it from my thoughts and the fabric of me and then I crumble it up. I rip it to shreds. It doesn’t necessarily remove the “issue” but it gives me visual gratification that I am in control of the situation. Even when it doesn’t feel that way.

Alongside all of that it’s important to remember that we aren’t alone in this. Our friends, our family, and even our coworkers, are right there with us. They are ready and willing to be a shoulder, a comforting conversation, a useful resource for almost everything going on in our lives. The thing about parenting and diabetes is that neither one are easy. Each one comes with their own set of aspirations, frustrations, victories and failures, but not one of them have be done alone. Take the time to gather yourself up and allow your trusted confidants to take the wheel sometimes.

And above all else. Be gentle with you. Because you really are doing your best.

 

Community

Whether we see it or not we are all a part of various communities. It’s not a negative, and it should never be seen as separating one person from another. On the contrary it’s the glue that keeps a lot of us together. I happen to be a part of multiple communities in and around my city and I love it. Feeling close to people who get it, who understand what you are going through, it’s human nature. No one wants to be alone. They don’t yearn for that kind of life. Often times it’s just an unfortunate event that brings them to seclusion. It’s our job, the ones who do belong, to always make it a point to include others and go out of our way to be welcoming. Because that’s what community is all about.

The idea of community is to bring like minded individuals together and allow them the space needed to grow and flourish. We all need encouragement and support. When I embarked on the journey of motherhood I became a part of the mom community, we see each other at the grocery stores, sometimes dragging our screaming children behind us. We see each other out at restaurants trying to enjoy a meal that isn’t being cooked and cleaned up by you, and we smile, because we get it. We seek advice from one another because if anyone knows what you’re going through it’s another mom. And we’re always willing and ready to lend a helping hand and offer up what has worked for us.

Some of you may or may not know that I am also a part of a church community. And even though I have severely slacked in attending mass I know that if I needed them they would be there with open arms. Praying and sending love my way. We’re there for one another whether we see each other often or every once in a while. Because community is accepting each other, faults and all.

Another big community I happen to be a part of is the diabetes one. I may not meet up with other diabetics daily and discuss the craziness of this disease but I am always thinking of them. People I have met online and people I have met in person. We keep in touch and they are blessings to my life. They keep me motivated and striving for success. Their victories feel like mine and when they need a shoulder to cry on I’m there for them. Just like they’ve been there for me.

Community isn’t about segregation. It’s about finding people who have your back even if they don’t always agree with your choices. People who will stand with you when the going gets tough. Sometimes we just happen upon these communities, and sometimes they can save our lives. Community, to me, is one of the most important things you can have next to family. A solidarity, a trust, and a belief that when you’ve been knocked down or you’ve been beaten and bruised too many times, these people will be your support. They will always try to bring you back up. We should all want to be a part of something like this. Something so much bigger than us. I know I feel grateful every day for the moms, the diabetics, and the church communities I am involved with.

I couldn’t imagine it any other way.


Do you think community is important? Do you have a community or support system in your life, who are they? 

Mornings with me…

Here’s an episode of  mornings with the diabetic mommy.

My day starts out at 6:15 a.m when my daughter wakes me up from the deepest of slumbers by creepily breathing in my face and poking my cheek. She alerts me that her brother is now awake and requesting to go downstairs, he would also like milk and cereal. Okay, awesome. I sluggishly creep into the room. Sort of like a zombie only I don’t want brains, I want coffee, or more sleep. There staring up at me with the sweetest of eyes is my son screaming at me to pick him up. After retrieving him, his blanket, and whatever stuffed animal he begged for in the middle of the night, we make our way down the longest flight of stairs. They aren’t really but when you are carrying down a child that weighs more than a bag of potatoes and is also flailing about, it sure feels that way.

Once downstairs I finally have a second to check my blood sugar, make sure my dexcom is calibrated, if needed I correct…if not I go about my normal routine which is preparing my sons breakfast, taking my medicine for my thyroid and trying not to fall asleep mid walk.

Lately I have been attempting to exercise. It’s a cardio routine that is equivalent to walking a mile only it is in the middle of my living room. The same living room that just 5 minutes ago I set my son down in and now I am looking for him in a tornado of blocks, light sabers, and books. Tubs have been dumped and every toy is now spewed across the floor. My child is a magician obviously. I give him his food and he pretends to eat it but really he is sprinkling it around the room. I can only imagine he is stock piling it for later. In case he gets hungry between meals, I suppose.

As I maneuver around the area I turn on my workout dvd and begin “sweating it out” the extra sugar, the extra weight, the little bit of everything I don’t need hanging around. Then my daughter comes downstairs from getting ready for school. The two of them attempt to work out with me but really they are dancing around making  me laugh and lose concentration. I need to focus, I am in the zone. Before I know it the TV is being turned over to my son. We are now watching Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse until I want to punch myself in the face.

Leaving him for a second I get some water and check my sugar again. I’m dropping now so I suppose it’s time to make myself breakfast. Finally. Oh no, wait, it’s now time for my oldest to head out for school. I say my goodbyes, give her big kisses, and silently wish she didn’t have to leave. Suddenly I remember I have laundry to fold. My dexcom is starting to alarm but I look and it’s still in the 70’s. I’ll be fine. I fold the laundry and then check on my youngest. I sweep the kitchen and oh yeah, my sugar is dropping. Now it’s in the 30’s. Why do I do this to myself. I eat, quickly and without thinking. My son begs for some and I reluctantly share. He’s just too cute to say no to.

It’s now 10 a.m and I am left wondering where the morning has gone.

 

 

 

 

Please don’t fail me now!

My posts lately have been sort of thoughtful, sort of focused on family life, and motherhood. I hadn’t touched really on how diabetes has been treating me, or rather how I’ve been treating my diabetes. The truth is we aren’t friends and we never will be. I despise this disease and everything that comes along with it. I hate that I am almost thirty and having to think about my own mortality sooner than I feel I should. I am having to sit and think about every single thing I eat, or drink, and how it’s going to affect me. I am having to be my own pancreas which doesn’t sound bad until you realize all that the position entails. Constant finger pokes and blood drawls. Constant site changes and a body that has been beaten and abused by this illness. The constant fear of what could be, or what will be, no matter what I do.

Recently I was faced with the fact that sooner then later I might have to deal with kidney issues. Twice now I have had protein spill into my urine and now my endocrinologist is concerned. Now we have to monitor, now we have to discuss being proactive when, not if, we cross that bridge. And I don’t know about you and how you deal with news like this but it’s gotten to me, it’s depressing, it’s made me feel helpless. I don’t have the time or the energy for all of this crap but I have to find it. Because if I don’t get in control of this situation some how, some way, it’s me that suffers. And my family. That’s one thing I regret more than anything, having my family involved in this vicious disease. They are apart of it whether they want to be or not and that pisses me off more then anything. If I could bear the brunt of it all by myself, I would. If my sickness didn’t make them sad, or worry, or upset. Then I could deal with all of this. But I can’t shield them from it anymore then I can shield myself. And that’s another difficult pill to swallow.

I’m trying to  be positive. We aren’t talking dialysis, we aren’t figuring out medication yet, but we are monitoring and to me that’s just the start. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Treatable, sure. I am currently taking medication for that. But I still felt like, why? Why do I have to deal with this, too? All of this has caused me to take a step back and reevaluate my health and what I need to do to improve it the best I can. I need to push back these complications for as long as possible because I am not going out like that. I am a fighter. I am a beast. I am a mom, and I have better things to be doing.

Recently I’ve started working out again. Being selective with food choices. And overall continuing to show this disease that I am in charge. Nothing is going to take me down unless I let it and that is not the kind of person I am. I don’t back down when I am put in a corner. Diabetes might be tough, but I’m tougher.

So to all you champions out there. Wear that smile and wear it proudly.

 

Things you shouldn’t do when your blood sugar is low…

With type one diabetes there are some days when you’re hitting those numbers and you’re hitting them hard. You look like a freaking rock star. And then there are those days when your numbers are doing their own thing and you’re left feeling all sorts of wonky.

Now, I don’t know about you but when my blood sugars (blood glucose levels) are low I get a little weird. Aside from the normal symptoms; shaky, sweaty, dizzy, disoriented, dealing with a numb sensation in my mouth and limbs, feeling lost, and everything else that comes along. I also get combative. A bit aggressive, in the sense that I don’t want anyone to tell me anything, don’t even talk to me when my sugar is low because I’m not me when I’m low. Ha. Like the snickers commercial…okay.

I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t do when low because it will end badly.

Trust me.

 


  1. Do not. I repeat. Do not try to have a conversation with anyone. Happy, sad, or even political. Because when that sugar drops so does the filter. At least for me. I don’t care about anything other then gobbling up every single carb under my roof so I am not concerned with you and your political stance on bacon. I just don’t care.
  2. Do not try to operate heavy machinery. That’s for obvious reasons, I think. If you can’t remember your own name then driving a vehicle or anything like that should not be on your list of things to do right at that moment.
  3. Do not attempt to put make up on. I’ve been there and done that and it never comes out the way you hoped, the way you think it looks in a moment of low sugar rage, or the way the girl in the YouTube video says it will. Step away from the makeup.
  4. Do not go grocery shopping while low. Because I’ve come home with so much junk. And most of it was opened and half eaten. Not only that, the cashiers usually look at you weird and then there you are having to explain with a mouth full of oreos why you have opened and consumed most of your groceries already. They tend to understand for the most part but it’s still not a pretty picture.
  5. And lastly, do not try to shower. I’ve lost track of time in there. I’m washing my hair, minding my own business when my sugar drops, next thing I know I’ve been in there for an hour just wondering what the heck is going on.

Most of these are from personal experience and in no way reflect other type one diabetics. I can only speak for myself and when my blood sugar gets low I can only focus on one thing, trying to get my numbers up so I don’t feel this way anymore. Because it’s an awful, ugly feeling. If you can relate tell me the funniest, or weirdest thing, you’ve ever done while your sugar was low.

Also, don’t forget to smile. It’s a beautiful day.