Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The eyes of a child

My youngest was laying on the couch, looking out the window.  She called to me. "Mom, look! There's a mama cardinal! Isn't she beautiful?"  I looked out the window to see a female cardinal perched outside.   Oh the simple things in life!  There was a delicate bird with her head crest being tousled in the breeze.  My daughter continued to watch that bird in amazement until she flew away. 

Of course then she asked if we could have a pet bird, which I'd expect from her.  She wants to keep every animal and critter she finds.  She threw a fit at the county fair because I wouldn't let her keep a grasshopper she found. 

There are times when taking a child's perspective on the world is needed.  This week is our church's Vacation Bible School (VBS) of which I am director.  For the days (weeks? months?) leading up to VBS, I was a wee bit stressed (ok majorly).  During the first two days of VBS, I encountered some bumps in the road that added to the stress.  However last night was the most amazing night at VBS that I have ever had.  What happened?

I looked at the program from the side of the children.  What was my goal for them?  What did they think about VBS?  Well, we start off with a meal.  Everyone is fed and happy.  Then we talk about our Bible story and sing a few songs before going off to centers where they're learning how to take care of God's creation, that they can make a difference in this world.  I decided to really listen to the music.  "I've got peace like a river in my soul."  Did I have that peace in my soul?  I kept singing, allowing peace to come in and did it ever!  I started to really get into the song and became more animated with the motions.  I saw those children having fun and that was all I needed!  I was there for them!  They were the reason I was there and that brought me peace.

During our closing last night, I told everyone how much I appreciated them.  The children brought me joy in their excitement.  The jr/sr high youth touched my heart as they worked on their service project, working together and radiating with pride.  The adult class was also amazing with their classroom smelling like basil after their guest speaker for the evening, a master gardener, talked to them about container gardening.  I felt like I was walking on air as I returned home last night, exhausted by so much lighter.

Not that I have to, but I do like relating these little life lessons to my life with diabetes.  So how does a child's perspective relate?  Children will often see the positive in things when we have difficulty seeing it.  Often people with diabetes (PWD), mainly adults, focus on what they can't do.  Ok, it's more the diabetes police than the PWD, but you get the idea.  When I hear, "You can't eat that!" I reply with, "I can have whatever I want in moderation."  My children help me see the joy in chocolate, ice cream, pb&j, and so much more. In the words of another PWD, "Everything in moderation, except laughter."

Monday, July 25, 2011

People are crazy

On days when people don't realize their words can hurt, this song's chorus comes in handy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You can eat *that*?

One of the biggest questions/comments I get from others usually centers around my diet.  Most of the comments are innocent enough.  Let me just set the record straight.

Yes, we can eat ice cream.

Yes, we can eat grilled cinnamon rolls (see picture of yummy goodness).

Yes, we can eat birthday cake.

Yes, we can eat anything you can eat.  It's all about moderation, not deprivation.

"But I thought diabetics need to watch what they eat?"  Yes, we do, but so should you.  The way a diabetic "should" eat is not really different from how a non-diabetic should eat.  Should you eat a whole container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream?  No (though I will admit it is yummy!).  Did you realize there are actually *four* servings in what most people eat in one sitting?  Tell me that that's ok for anyone, diabetic or not.

Yes, I ate most of the yummy cinnamon roll pictured.  I shared a little with my two youngest as they enjoyed a special treat of ice cream.  Yes, I also know that I need to be mindful of those extra carbs and either do some extra physical activity or eat a lower carb lunch.  Those of us with diabetes still like all the foods that you like, and we can still eat them. 

(NOTE: No one commented about me eating this grilled cinnamon roll today. These are just some thoughts that went through my head as I ate.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dibetes technology

Since I'm still fairly new to the diabetes world as a Type 2 and had very little exposure as a gestational diabetic (about three months for each of my five pregnancies), it's hard for me to give a lot of personal experience in the area of technology advances as they relate to diabetes management.  I remember a high school friend checking his blood on a not very portable meter at the kitchen table where he'd have to apply a huge drop, wipe it off, insert it into a machine, and then wait for what seemed like a long time to get the results. I know meters have gotten smaller and faster.   Now they also have cables and software that all a person with diabetes (aka PWD) to upload their numbers onto their computer, make fancy charts, and even email to their medical team.

If I wanted to talk about diabetes advancements over the years, I could either sum up my own experiences in one sentence or research the topic and present you with a term paper-like report.  Since I figure both wouldn't be very interesting to read (or write), I'm going to talk about what technology I would be interested in using or seeing in the future.

Of course a cure is first on my list, but since that looks like it's a ways off and I like gadgets I'll talk about those.  I like the meter I've been using.  It's fairly small, about the size of my small wallet in the case.  I like the light that I can turn on to illuminate the test strip while I apply the sample then lights up the display to show me the results.  Sometimes you need to test in the dark or a dimly lit room, so this feature is handy.  I can fit this on my fanny pack with the handy dandy velcro strap when I don't want to deal with a purse. 

One gadget that I would like to have (though I know insurance would probably not approve for a Type 2 who is diet and exercise controlled) is a continuous glucose meter (CGM). (Here's one example.)  I would really like to see what my glucose levels are doing around the clock, not just when I poke my finger.  When I'm starting to feel tired, is it because my sugar is off or am I just tired? 

Of course one "diabetes gadget" that many forget about (and would like to continue to forget about) is the scale.  For a PWD, keeping their weight in check makes controlling diabetes a little easier.  Type 2s, dealing with insulin resistance, is less of a challenge at a healthy weight.  I admit that over the last month or so, my weight has been creeping up a little.  Stress and being busy have lead to me not taking the time for myself.  This is something as a mom I struggle with quite often.  Someone once told me they look at exercise as a prescription, just like any of the medications in their cabinet.  To stay healthy, you wouldn't ignore the medications your body needs.  Therefore you shouldn't ignore the exercise your body needs.

For now, my meter and bathroom scale are the only two items I need to help me manage my diabetes.  Even though I don't have a closet full of supplies, it's not always easy.  My prayer is that we find a cure soon and all of these pieces of diabetes technology will go into a museum.  Someday we'll hear children at that museum say, "A long time ago, people had diabetes and used these things to keep their blood sugar levels under control. I'm glad we don't have to deal with *that* anymore!"

This post is my July entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't give up!

Last week, I wrote about my friend, Cindy, who was on America's Got Talent.  She decided to follow her dream to become a professional singer.  Last week, the judges loved her!  The internet was all over her, calling her the American version of Susan Boyle

This week, the Las Vegas episode aired.  Unfortunately, things didn't go as well for her this time.

Is she going to just give up?  Oh, I hope not!  The internet is still singing her praises.  Many are saying she just chose the wrong song for her voice. 

What touched me the most is how she interacted with the others that she was in competition with.  She wasn't rude, snooty, or stand-offish.  She was encouraging, loving, and amazingly supportive.  To me, that's what a true champion is made of.

Cindy, you are loved!  We're still looking forward to your first CD!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

O is for Outrage

Two months ago, I wrote asking why there isn't more public outrage about the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with diabetes.  I remember during the AIDS scare of the 1980s, we had people all over the world educating and working on prevention of the disease.  Breast cancer is also all over the media with public service announcements encouraging women to get mammograms as well as products in our stores with pink ribbons, offering to make a donation with purchase.  What about diabetes?  Diabetes kills more people each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined, but there is no public outrage.

My goal, my purpose, my calling, is to help educate others about diabetes.  Not just telling others what diabetes is (and is not), not just helping people recognize their risk for the disease, not just showing them what it's like for me to be diabetic.  I want to help generate that public outrage.  I want to get our leaders to see the urgency to find a cure for diabetes.

In mid-September of this year, the UN will have a summit on non-communicable diseases.  How exciting would it be to have our very own President Barack Obama attend and participate in this summit!  He would be a great example to other world leaders, demonstrating the need to come together.

The International Diabetes Federation is collecting postcards to send to President Obama, urging him to attend the summit.  Please send one of your own by clicking here.  It's free!  The IDF will print if off and present them to our President on August 31st, so make sure to submit yours before then.  You just have to fill out an online form or use Adobe Acrobat to create the postcard.  They have pre-written messages or you can come up with your own.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Following a dream

In high school, I had a friend who was an amazing singer.  (Actually I had several friends who were great singers, but this story is about a particular one.)  She dreamed of singing professionally, but her parents are traditional Korean, wanting their children to become doctors or get a PhD.  On Wednesday night, the friend I hadn't seen in 25 years was on national television, finally taking a shot at her dream.

She appeared on stage awkward, with a giggle and a snort.  The audience and judges seemed to find her almost a joke.  I was starting to panic.  I remembered her giggles and cheerful personality, but would she still have that amazing voice after all these years?  From the faces of those watching on tv, I wasn't sure how she would perform and how they would react.  However, just like Susan Boyle, they were all about to be blown away.

Yes, I went to high school with Cindy Chang, the buzz of the internet over the last two days.  She graduated two years before me.  Her younger sister was actually in my graduating class.  I'm not writing this to brag or say, "Look! I know someone who is going to be famous!" (Though I know she is going to go far!)  I'm writing this because Cindy is finally following her dream.

How many times have we given up on our dreams?  Many times others talk us out of those dreams, saying it's not a good financial risk or maybe saying we're not capable.  How many times have we talked ourselves out of our dreams?  "I can't do this because..."  Whether it's our level of education, our financial situation, or our physical abilities, we can usually find an excuse not to take that leap.

On Wednesday night, I saw Cindy take that leap.  She was nervous.  She was scared.  But she was also awesome!  Will she win in Las Vegas?  Time will tell.  There are many, many talented people that will be there.  However, at this point she is on the radar and I'm confident she will now be living her dream

Ask yourself, "What is my dream? What is holding me back?"  Find out what is holding you back and figure out how to get around that so you can follow that dream.  Life is too short not to at least try!