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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Blame Game

This is my third in a series of posts for Diabetes Blog Week 2017.

The Blame Game, huh? That's one of the prompts for D-Blog Week. Oh such a loaded topic. People with diabetes being blamed for their illness?



Hey, I have Type 2 diabetes - the ultimate blame game is here! Society is convinced that we are nothing more than lazy overeaters that deserve our fate. Never mind the overwhelming evidence that it's more about genetics than if I ate a Twinkie last week.

Ummm... I don't like Twinkies, but Snickers.... oh off topic...

Yes, there are ways to lessen the risk of Type 2 diabetes through proper eating habits and regular exercise. However this lessens the risk. It does not prevent the possibility. Sometimes genetics bites you in the back side. 

Please don't blame anyone living with any critical illness. No one in their right mind would intentionally cause this for themselves. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Cost of a Chronic Illness

This is my second in a series of posts for Diabetes Blog Week 2017.

Today's topic is the cost of chronic illness. This is an awkward topic for me to speak of since I'm not using medication or insulin as part of my diabetes management, which is what most people think about when discussing the cost of diabetes. However, there are limitations in my care that are financially driven.

For example, many people with Type 2 diabetes are limited on the number of test strips they are allowed to get through insurance, if they're allowed any at all. My mom is only allowed two per day. At this time, I have a prescription of four per day. This was my requested number shortly after my diagnosis. Originally my doctor didn't think I needed any. (What?) However after much thought on my part, I called asking for test strips using our upcoming vacation as an excuse. Should I even have to ask for test strips? Should I have to use a vacation as an excuse? Why do I feel hesitant to ask for more? (I'd like at least six so I can test before an after every meal.) Do I fear being judged or turned down, either by my doctor or insurance?

What about a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)? Why can't everyone with diabetes get one? It's obvious the more data someone has about how their body reacts to various foods and activities then better that person can manage glucose levels.Why is it if a person's body still produces some insulin, whether it's not enough or just not using it properly, insurance will deny coverage for a CGM? Oh yeah, the cost. They don't think the benefits outweigh the cost.

Let's forget for a moment the financial cost of diabetes. What about my personal cost? Not being able to enjoy certain foods with my family? Avoiding making pancakes for my kids because I love them so much but they raise my blood sugar even more (even if I only eat 2-3)? Having to stop working in the garden with my family or helping my kids clean their rooms because my blood sugar is low? Does anyone consider those costs?

The cost of living with a chronic illness isn't just a hit to the pocketbook.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Diabetes and the Unexpected

This is my first in a series of posts for Diabetes Blog Week 2017.

Today's topic for d-blog week is "Diabetes and the Unexpected." I admit I'm not sure where to start here as everything about diabetes pretty much is unexpected. Physically and emotionally. Well, maybe that's not true.

What was *not* unexpected:

  1. My diagnosis. Since I have a family history of Type 2 and I personally had gestational diabetes five times, I was honestly expecting a diagnosis of diabetes eventually. The unexpected part: Getting diagnosed in my 30s as an active, healthy mom of five young children.
  2. High blood sugar after too many carbs. I mean, really. Isn't that pretty much expected. Too many carbs for someone who is insulin resistant means high blood sugar is pretty much a done deal. The unexpected part: High blood sugar from healthy foods such as carrots. Yeah, I know carrots have natural sugars in them (sugar=carbs), but who would think that carrots would be bad for you?
  3. Low blood sugar with too few carbs and lots of activity. The opposite of #2 - If a person with diabetes doesn't eat enough carbs and then exercises, there is a good chance that person will go low. The unexpected part: Going low from doing housework. Yes, housework. Picking up my kids' clothes off the floor, picking up dishes left here and there, sweeping, vacuuming, etc. I have actually gone low from simply doing housework.
  4. Information and advice from others online. The internet is full of information about diabetes. Some good. Some... ummm... Let's just say orca water will not cure diabetes. The unexpected part: The friends I have made because of diabetes. I was not expecting to meet so many wonderful, caring, loving people through the DOC (diabetes online community). Helpful and full of advice, yes. A family, no. I can honestly say that the people I have met have become my family. My brothers and sisters in diabetes. I also have my advocate cousins, those with other health issues that I have learned from and love with all my heart.
Thank you to my friends who have joined me on this journey. Your love and support means more than I ever expected!