Friday, July 3, 2015

The Two Faces of Diabetes

My diabetes seems to have two faces, or sides. The side I like to show in public, and the side I like to keep secret.

The public side of my diabetes shows the world that their misconceptions about Type 2 are all wrong. I exercise, I'm a healthy weight, I check my blood sugar on a regular basis, and I watch my carbs. This is the side that I like to present to the world. This is the side that shouts out, "Colas full of sugar didn't give me diabetes, so there!" The side that says that genetics is to blame more than anything else.

However there is the other side of my diabetes. It's the side that wants to get comfy in the recliner and eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting. The side that wants to eat chocolate chip cookies with milk until I have a tummy ache. The side that says "Not today!" to exercise. The side that thinks maybe I did something to "earn" the diagnosis of diabetes. The side that shows that I am human. The side that shows that I am not perfect. The side that wants to curl up in a ball and cry.

Honestly this is very close to how I feel as a mom of five kids. The public side is a very organized mom with five amazing kids. The other side is my cluttered house and lucky if I know what day it is sometimes.

Unfortunately our society only sees the side that I want to hide. The media portrays Type 2 diabetics as older, overweight individuals with unhealthy lifestyles. Where are the young, healthy Type 2s with some bum genes? I know we're out there. I've met many through the DOC and other advocacy work. Where are those who develop Type 2 due to other medical conditions such as PCOS? Why doesn't the media talk about that?

Why doesn't the media show us the side of diabetes that takes the blame off the patient and admits that sometimes things happen no matter what you do? When are we going to realize that correlation does not equal causation?

When are we going to stop shaming people who live day to day with a life threatening chronic illness?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Countdown to #MasterLab

On Monday, July 6th, I will be on a plane to Orlando, Florida for MasterLab. I've posted about my anticipation again this year, but what is MasterLab exactly?

According to Diabetes Hands Foundation:
MasterLab is about building a sense of what is possible in Diabetes Advocacy. If you are called to advocacy MasterLab will connect you with people, resources and skills be be a better advocate. The best way to get a feel for Master Lab are the slides and video archive from the Diabetes Advocates MasterLab from the summer of 2014 at the bottom of this page. It was presented by the Diabetes Hands Foundation in collaboration with Children with Diabetes.
Last year's MasterLab involved a single day. This year, the event covers a day and a half. I love that it has expanded. Personally, I would like to see it grow even more as the interest in advocacy grows. Although an exact schedule isn't available as of yet, here is what we're looking at so far:
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 – 7:30am to 4:30pm
Presentations and panel discussions 
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 – 8:30am to 12:20pm
Focus Groups
(Edited to add: I just got a copy of the agenda. See it here.)

There is an "after hours" adult only networking event on Tuesday night that participants can register to attend as well.

I'm counting down! My flight and room have been reserved as well as registration for MasterLab completed.* Yesterday I scheduled a taxi to and from the airport out here. All that is left is my online check-in for the flight the day before and packing my bags. Oh what to bring! I'll need to make sure I have rooms for souvenirs for the family (and me!).

It's not too late to sign up. Go to the MasterLab registration page to join us. If you would like to try to win a free trip to MasterLab, Medtronic is having a contest. Go here and fill out the form by Sunday, June 28. I hope to see you there!

*Disclaimer: I have been offered a scholarship by the Diabetes Hands Foundation as part of my participation in the Diabetes Advocates program to attend the MasterLab. My travel, conference fees, and hotel are being covered by the scholarship, but the opinions and ideas (as well as excitement and anticipation) I will report on are my own.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ph.D. Candidate Needs Type 2 Help

Dianne Palladino, a Ph.D. candidate in Social and Health Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, is seeking people to take part in an online research study for people with type 2 diabetes as part of her dissertation. 

It is completely anonymous, takes about 30 minutes, and those who participate will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of four $50 money orders. The survey is open to adults over 18 years old living in the United States who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

If you are willing to help, more information and the link to the survey can be found here:  CMUDIabetes.

Let's take this opportunity to help her and the diabetes community as well. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I did it! #gradschoolmama now #mastersmama

On May 15th, I received a Master of Science in Education with a major in Reading. This was after three years of hard work, lots of tears, and many sleepless nights. I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of myself!

My family has been my biggest cheerleaders during this time. Their understanding, support, and encouragement kept me going when I wanted to give up. They told me that I was capable when I felt like I was going to fail. I honestly didn't know how I was going to make it through this last semester. With their love and gentle shoves to keep going, I not only graduated, but I did so with straight As! Yes, I earned every point of that 4.0 GPA!

The DOC (diabetes online community) has been a constant support during this time as well. I found out that the hashtag #youcandothis is not just relevant to diabetes management, but all parts of my life. When I felt discouraged, I knew that there were others facing obstacles, too. Many were far more challenging. If they could do it, so could I.

What's next? For starters, this summer will be dedicated to my family. I will not be taking classes or tutoring. We will be hanging out, gardening, reading, and just relaxing together. Of course I will be attending MasterLab in July, but they're understanding and supportive of my diabetes advocacy work. In August I will be setting up my classroom for the year, something I'm looking forward to doing (and some of my kids have asked to help).  I have decided that I will wait a year before even considering the idea of taking anymore graduate level classes. I'm not sure what I want to do next, but for now I'm going to enjoy where I am.

My blog has also been neglected, so I plan to start posting again on a more regular basis. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

MasterLab 2015: Save the Date!


Last year I attended MasterLab in Orlando, FL thanks to a scholarship from Diabetes Hands Foundation (see disclaimer below). Well I am excited to share that I will be going to MasterLab again this year (recycled disclaimer, but even more excited this year!). This is an amazing opportunity for anyone affected by diabetes, regardless of type, to get together and talk about advocacy. Caregivers and patient advocates working side by side. It doesn't matter what type since we're all in this together.

If you want to read more about last year's event, click on "MasterLab" at the end of my post under labels. I even have links to other blogs describing their experiences!

July 7 and 8 are the dates for MasterLab 2015.  (Click for more information)

MasterLab 2014
We're all in this together - regardless of type!

Disclaimer: I have been offered a scholarship by the Diabetes Hands Foundation as part of my participation in the Diabetes Advocates program to attend the MasterLab. My travel, conference fees, and hotel are being covered by the scholarship, but the opinions and ideas (as well as excitement and anticipation) I will report on are my own.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Snow Day Workout

(Written two weeks ago, but forgot to publish. I'm still proud of this, so I'm going to publish it! So "today" actually was two weeks ago.)

Today the school district where I work had a snow day due to low wind chill temperatures, but my kids had school (delayed start). On previous days like today, I'd drop off my kids at school then head to a local coffee shop café. This place is family owned and like Cheers but with coffee instead of beer. With great conversation and free Wifi, I typically spend the morning there.

However today I had a better plan.

Instead of going to the restaurant, I went to the YMCA. I walked 3.2 miles! WOOHOO!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Resolution or Promise?

Wow! It's 2015! It doesn't seem possible! Time seems to fly by so quickly. Yes, I know it's actually January 2nd. See how quickly time flies by?

Many people make resolutions. So many of those resolutions are broken. Hey, it's kind of an unwritten rule that people expect resolutions to be broken. Therefore I am not planning to making any. 

Instead I'm making a promise. A promise to myself, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my students, and anyone else I may deal with during my days. 

My promise is to love. I promise to love those around me: family, friends, coworkers, students, everyone. 

Most of all, I promise to love myself. 

Some days are easier than others. To love myself, I need to take care of myself. Physically and emotionally. I need to forgive myself when I make mistakes. I need to let myself have some down time, but I also need to work hard. 

Here's to a year of love!