Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are

When I was working on my masters degree, I found myself wanting to give up more times than I care to admit. I'd cry. I'd yell. I'd hang my head. My husband and children would encourage me to keep going, but sometimes their words stopped at my ears because I wouldn't let them reach my heart. Music, I found, more than often reaches my heart.

During my undergrad days, I was a huge Rich Mullins fan. He was a Christian artist whose music easily touched my heart. Luckily I still had some of his music from back then and I brought it back into my life as I struggled to balance family, work, and school. "Hold Me, Jesus" was a regular song on my playlist. I would feel as if Jesus himself was wrapping me in a hug, encouraging me.

Some days I felt so weak. I found this song, "We Are Not as Strong". Even though Rich calls it the "Christian break-up song." I felt as though admitting that we're not always strong was reassuring. I needed someone to say that it was ok to feel weak. The song reminds me that I am "beautifully and wonderfully made."  Even though the song was meant to deal with the sadness of a relationship ending, it worked wonders on my heart to let me know that I could make it through the tough times.

Sometimes, however we need more than a song. We need more than a family member or other loved one. We need more than a best friend with a pep talk. Sometimes we need professional help.

This is something I've just realized and admitted to myself. Although I feel like I'm doing an adequate job managing my life with diabetes, I've decided I need some extra help. Today I met with a local dietitian to help with my nutritional needs. I'm also seeing a counselor for my emotional needs. Of course both of these areas have a huge affect on my general health and happiness. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I'm one of those people who does not like asking for help.

Please, if you're ever feeling like you have a little too much weight on your shoulders, admit to yourself that you can't do it alone. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. It's showing how strong you've been for so long and you need to share the load.

We are not as strong as we think we are.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Working on a New Look

Often we go through phases where we feel the need for a new look. Sometimes we might get a new haircut. Other times a new outfit. Well, today it's my blog that got the new look.

With the help of my HealtheVoices friend, Megan Starshak, I have a new logo for Diabetes Ramblings! Megan and I met during HealtheVoices16 and have developed a friendship from there. She was able to take my thoughts and turn them into a beautiful design that I didn't have the artistic or technical skills to create.

I'm so excited and hope you like what we came up with! (Square image here in this post and a banner at the top of my blog.) Thank you again, Megan, for your help and encouragement!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Time with Others to Recharge at #HealtheVoices18

There will be much hugging!
This morning I grabbed my suitcase, my laptop, and headed for the train station. I am on my way to Chicago for HealtheVoices 2018. This is actually my third time attending this conference. I have attended diabetes conferences before, but this one is different. It is not a "diabetes conference." Those attending are online advocates from so many different medical conditions. It's overwhelming and awe-inspiring at the same time

I am honored to have been selected again this year. There are so many people who apply. I learn so much during this conference about others and their conditions, but I also learn more about myself.

I learn about my supportive level toward others. I learn how to take care of myself - not just my medical conditions, but also me as a person. I learn how I can support others. I learn to ask for help.

Over the next four days I will be surrounded by a type of love and acceptance that is like nothing I've ever experienced anywhere else. That is not to say that I am not loved and accepted in other parts of my life. I definitely am! This is different though. This weekend I won't have to explain what's going on. If I'm hurting, I don't have to explain why. If my blood sugar is out of whack, I won't have people patrolling my food choices or activity level. It is understood that I am the expert of me and my conditions.

This is my time to renew and recharge with others who get it, even if their condition is different than mine. This is my time. This is my tribe!

Disclaimer: Janssen covered my travel expenses to attend #HealtheVoices18. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

In Sickness and In Health

Over 25 years ago, my husband and I made vows before God, family, and friends to be devoted to each other "until death do us part." Another part of our vows included the words "in sickness and in health." We've each had our share of colds, flu, stomach bugs, etc. He's cared for me when I had my gall bladder out and after childbirth. In turn, I have cared for him after surgery and other illnesses.  Most of our "sicknesses" have been different and separate. Until now...

This past week my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. We knew it was a possibility. After all I have the diabetic cooties... Umm, just joking. Actually his father had Type 2 diabetes. Knowing the strong genetic factor for Type 2, we have prepared ourselves for this possibility.  We're not happy about the diagnosis, obviously, but we weren't blindsided either.

How are we dealing with diabetes as a couple? So far it isn't any different from when only one of us had diabetes. We've always been supportive and encouraging of each other. I don't know everything going on in his mind about this. My husband is a pretty quiet guy. You won't see him blogging or at advocacy conferences. If you do see him, you will see an intellectual man who is doing his best to take care of himself and his family.

As a person who has lived with diabetes for almost 10 years and is involved in education and advocacy, the hardest part so far is not telling my husband what to do. His diabetes is *his* diabetes. It's not mine. I'm his wife, his partner, his cheering section - I am not his physician, his dietician, his keeper. We learned about his diagnosis only a few days ago, so it will take us time to figure this out. I do know one thing for sure. We will figure it out together!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1 - #MakeDiabetesVisible

My friend, Mike Durbin, had an idea (he wrote this yesterday, October 31)...

#MakeDiabetesVisible Photo Challenge 
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and it begins tomorrow. During the next 30 days, I will be posting at least 1 photo a day that captures part of my life with diabetes. The goal is to make diabetes visible and show what it is like to live with ALL types of diabetes. The highs, the lows, the finger sticks, the meters, the pumps, the CGMs, the insulins, the pills, etc...  
I invite all of my friends living with any type of diabetes to join me in this challenge. 30 days, 30 photos, ALL types of diabetes. Any social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. Please share, use the hashtag, and let's #MakeDiabetesVisible
 So here is my November 1st contribution:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Working with Other Online Health Advocates

Last year, I met Josh Robbins at HealtheVoices 2016. This was an amazing time where Jansen brought advocates from various mental and physical health areas together to collaborate and network. Even though Josh and HIV and I have Type 2 diabetes, we found that we had a lot in common. Both conditions deal with a lot of stigma and misinformation. I consider myself an educated woman, but that weekend I learned so much about HIV and changed my views about so much.

I was a teen in the 1980s, when the HIV scare was high. The media and uneducated people spread so much misinformation that I thought was true. Twenty years later, Josh and other HIV advocates have set me straight with loving, caring words meant to enlighten and not condemn. I learned even more during HealtheVoices 2017.

The desire to educate along with my desire to be educated helped to form some pretty tight friendships. Those who I have gotten to know have not just become connections that I can refer friends to; they have become my friends as well.

Recently Josh presented at TedX in Nashville, talking about the importance of social media as a means of support. During his presentation, he mentioned some advocates from areas outside HIV. I was honored to be the diabetes advocate that he mentioned. Even though he couldn't pronounce my last name (RARE-ick-ah), the gesture was not taken lightly. I am honored and humbled to have been mentioned by Josh, an amazing man, advocate, and friend. Thank you, Josh!

Disclaimer‬: Janssen Global Services paid for my travel expenses for the conference. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.