Saturday, October 1, 2022

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Why am I here?

Why am I here?

I've been thinking a lot about this question lately. Especially since my stroke in February. We all question our purpose, but when faced with a situation that could be fatal. I don't like to think about it, but even though I came out ok from my stroke, the fact is that I could have died if it had hit a different part of my brain. I am thankful every day that I am still here, but that still brings up the question...

Why am I here?

This is a question I have been asking myself. Is there a purpose for my life? I'm meaning beyond the raising my children and being here to see my grandchildren.

I believe the answer is yes. My purpose is to share my story. To let someone know they are not alone. And if someone feels alone, my hope is through my words I can help them feel less alone.

Why am I here?

If someone needs a friend or a listening ear, my contact information is in my profile. Please use it. I am here for you. THAT is why I am here!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Uninvited Guests

This is a post that has been going around in my head for two months now. I know I want to... need to... write this. Not just for others, but mainly for myself. I need to get my thoughts and emotions out. That is the reason for my blog. To explore what I'm dealing with as a person with chronic illness. If by sharing I help one person who is also struggling know they are not alone, I have me my purpose.

People dealing with a chronic illness know that, quite often, the medical file usually doesn't stop with one diagnosis. Whatever the cause - genetic, autoimmune, illness, or just pure luck - rarely do we see a person with only one condition in the world of chronic illness. I started my journey in March 2008 with one condition - Type 2 diabetes. Just this year I have added to the list.

In the last few years, I found out I have a fatty liver, a cyst on one of my kidneys, and plantar fasciitis. Earlier this year I finally got an answer to my chronic pain - fibromyalgia. Thankfully it hasn't caused too much trouble in my job as a first grade teacher.

On February 19, my left thumb started to feel numb. I thought that was strange but didn't think much of it. Maybe I'd call the doctor the next day or so if it didn't go away. The next morning, I notice my left upper arm felt a little numb. Not totally numb. I could still feel pressure. Probably best described as the numbness you feel when the dentist first gives you a local injection to fill a cavity. Within less than an hour, my entire left side had this sensation. Off to the ER I went! (Thankfully it was a snow day so I didn't have to request s substitute or write sub plans!)

After tests and doctor appointments over the next several days, it was determined that I had a right thalamic stroke. In other words, stroke in the right side of the thalamus, near the center of the brain. This area of the brain affects sensation which explains why my left side was experiencing diminished sensation (numbness).

I am now officially a stroke survivor.

Chronic conditions are like uninvited guests. You don't want them, but sometimes it's next to impossible to get rid of them. I still have diminished sensation on the left side of my body, most noticeable on my face and upper arm. I may need to learn to live with this for the rest of my life. If you can't get rid of the uninvited guest, you might as well make friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What to Do?

There are some days that life, or at least a part of life, gets overwhelming. The world might feel like it's closing in around you. You might not sure what task to tackle next. How do you get out of the rut in order to help yourself while also living up to the expectations of others?

If you're expecting a magic answer here, you might want to hit Google again. You won't find it here. Some days I feel pretty darn lost. Then again there are some days where I feel I've found my path and faced in the right direction. Then some days I feel a mixture of both.

In a month we will be ringing in the new year. It's hard to believe that it's almost 2019! It's the time when so many make resolutions, knowing the odds of breaking them are not looking good.

I should probably take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember it's still the end of November. I don't need to take that magic cure-all pill. I need to look at my life, my health, and my goals to see what is really important in my life. I need to decide which direction I want 2018 to take. But, again, before getting too into that, let's make it through the month of December first (as well as tomorrow, the last day of November).

Focus on the Thanksgiving message: counting blessings! Once I force myself to see everything I have going for me, it helps me to see where my life seems to be heading. It helps me to tweak my goals and life plans as I work toward being a healthier person in general.

Think about what you want for you. Not what others want for you or what you think you "should" do.  Tweak these goals as you accomplish the little steps, keeping in mind your overall goal... a long and healthy life.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sharing My Story

In July of this year, I was invited to Boston University to discuss Bridging the Chasm between Pregnancy and Women’s Health over the Life Course.  I was invited as a woman who had dealt with gestational diabetes (five times) and currently lives with Type 2 diabetes. I saw a need for education and care about my gestational diabetes beyond the birth of my children.

It is known that women with gestational diabetes have a much greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. I learned that in my research as a young mother, wanting to be proactive about my health. Yet I wasn't tested until March 2008 for Type 2. This was at my request. It was not the suggestion of my doctor. This was 3.5 years after my fifth child was born. My oldest child was 15 years old. Why had I not been tested before this?

In this picture I'm sharing my "why". Why did I feel the need to be at this conference? I felt the need to give a face to the patient. I was and I am the patient. I want to make a difference, not just for other mothers dealing with gestational diabetes, but also for my children. Some of my daughters may want to be mother. Do they face the same fate?

After my experience, I am now feeling drawn to help women with gestational diabetes to receive the post-natal care that they deserve. Yes, pre-natal care is vital for both mother and child. However mothers also need after care well beyond the birth of their child. Some referred to the time after childbirth as the fourth trimester. Ideally this care would last for the rest of a woman's life. Mothers need to receive healthcare so they can be there for their families.

As a busy mother, wife, and teacher, finding the time and balance to accomplish this is sure to be a feat. I want to step up my advocacy. Raise my voice. Help more people. I don't know how long it will take me to climb this mountain, but I know it starts one step at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

WEGO Health Awards: Endorse me?

I've been nominated for a WEGO Health Award for my blog. Just getting nominated is such an honor. Now I need endorsements to reach the next level. Please click below and find the button on my nomination page to give me an endorsement.

While you're there, check out the other advocates and categories. Endorse away!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Two T2s Discuss the Freestyle Libre

My dear friend Phyllisa (at Diagnosed Not Defeated) and I were recently together at HealtheVoices18 and discovered that we both were using the Freestyle Libre. We teamed up to give you our opinions on the device.

How long have you been using the Freestyle Libre?
Phyllisa: Since April 2018
Me: December 2017
What do you like about the Freestyle Libre?
Phyllisa:I like the graph charts the most as it gives me detailed information about my blood sugars.
Me: Having the graphs allow me to see how my body reacts to different foods and activities over time. It also helps me understand what my glucose levels do during times when I would be unable to poke my finger.
How has the Libre affected your diabetes management?
Me: As a busy mom and teacher, it’s hard to remember to check my numbers. I love being able to check my blood sugar without the time and hassle of a traditional glucose meter. I can check while teaching without missing a beat. The graphs also help me understand how my body reacts to different foods and activities.
Phyllisa: The libre has had a positive impact on my diabetes management. It allows me to be more in control of my diabetes management and it gives me the opportunity to check my blood sugar multiple times a day, if I want, and not have to worry about the cost of test strips.
How do you explain “that thing on your arm” when asked?
Me: If I’m in a silly mood, I’ll either say it’s a popsocket or that I’m part cyborg. I love seeing their reactions! Most of the time, though, I’ll explain that it’s a glucose sensor and show them how it transmits to the receiver. When my young students ask, I explain that our bodies turn food into a special type of sugar for energy and that sometimes my body doesn’t use that sugar correctly. The Libre helps me determine how much sugar is in my blood.
Phyllisa: Sometimes I say, it’s related to diabetes. Other times I say, it’s a device that communicates with my pancreas. It all depends on how I’m feeling in the moment and who’s asking. I once had a six-year old kid ask and I told her that it was my way of checking in with my pancreas, an organ in my body that isn’t working properly. This device helps me feel like a superhero.
Any comments to others who are interested in trying it? 
Phyllisa: I would check with your insurance company and see if it’s covered fully or how much they will cover. Make sure it is within your budget and it is, then I strongly recommend it. I wouldn’t throw away your glucometers, however. You will need them in between sensors and you may want to compare readings from time to time.
Me: If it’s within your budget, I’d suggest giving it a go. The graphs and ability to test multiple times per day have given me great insight into my own diabetes. Thankfully the Libre also has a spot for test strips so you can test with a finger stick if you don’t feel the same as the reader reports.
If you could suggest any changes to Abbott about the Libre, what would they be?
Me: The adhesive area needs to be a little stronger. My current sensor is loose on one side, requiring the use medical tape to hold it down.
Phyllisa: I would extend the adhesive area because I’ve had two sensors come off because the adhesive stop sticking. I think a wider area would help.