Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Few Parting Words about MHAW

It’s the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, and some of you may wonder how I’m doing with my therapist.  Without revealing too much, I will say that we are getting along great.  He also does some art therapy so we may explore that area a little more.  He seems to understand (and works to continue to understand) some of the more unconventional aspects of my life.  He treats me with respect.  Like the best healthcare providers, mental or physical, I always feel like he is on my side.  He challenges me to think about things in my life I hadn’t really contemplated before.  I find that I am more thoughtful during the week because of it. 

Also?  He’s a fellow dork.  We’ve had a couple of conversations about RuPaul’s Drag Race and comic books.

There’s been a lot of candid talk about depression around the DOC this month, and I want to thank all my fellow PWDs for sharing their stories.  We are truly not alone.  

Whether you're happy, unhappy, confused, anxious, coping, not coping, manic, depressed, whatever you are, just remember that mental health is a healthcare concern too.  There is no shame in getting help.  It's only going to make your life better.  Just be patient--it takes time.  Just look at me.  I'm still learning.  But I think I am on the road to feeling like myself again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5: What They [You] Should Know

I am not a role model in the sense that I have a great A1C, or that I always know what to do about diabetes.  I don't have all the answers.  I just have 21+ years of experience.

I don't always know exactly what I'm doing, but I am trying my best to keep up.  I read a lot of blogs.  I may fire off a lot of terminology that you don't necessarily understand.  If you want to understand, please stop and ask me.  I'd be happy to try and help explain.

I don't need your policing, but sometimes I may want your help.  Let's work together to learn the difference. 

I appreciate it when you have diet soda or unsweetened iced tea at parties.

Sometimes I don't mind if you're looking at the numbers on any of my screens.  Sometimes I do.  It can be a touchy thing.  It makes me feel fickle.  I'm sorry if you want to look, then I snap at you a bit.  It's not you.  It's me being embarrassed by the results I don't like.

If you think you don't need health insurance, I will try to convince you otherwise.  If you think national healthcare is a shitty idea, I will try to convince you otherwise, angrily.  Furiously, if you try to tell me that changes to my lifestyle could have prevented me from getting diabetes.  I was eight years old.  It was autoimmune.  If you don't understand that my family didn't choose this for me by their actions, then you may get your toes stomped on with some combat boots.

Sometimes I lick my fingers after I check my blood.  It's my blood.  It's less gross (to me) than keeping one of those blood-spotted tissues in your testing kit.  I'm not a vampire.  Deal with it.

When I'm cranky, it might be my blood sugar.  It might not be.  It's hard for me to tell the difference, too, so don't get too discouraged.

You know those 21+ years I mentioned earlier?  I've had type 1 this long, and I'm still learning every day.  I'm still trying to figure out how and when to do things, what to eat, what not to eat.  I'm always trying to have a better attitude, and sometimes I completely fail.  Diabetes management is about trying, and accepting that failures may not necessarily be my own fault.

There is uncertainty built into every single day.

I worry about you worrying about me too much.

I worry about me not worrying about myself enough.

I worry about every ache, pain and discomfort in my body, but I try not to let it get to me.

Every person with diabetes is affected differently.  We all need different amounts of insulin, medications, etc.  We all have our own management styles.  You say your Aunt Matilda was "cured" by a lot of exercise and a raw foods diet?  Goody on for her.  That doesn't mean the same will work for me, you, or your other family members.

DIABETES FUCKING SUCKS.  There.  I said it.  I love bringing you guys the lighter, goofier side of things.  That's just my personality.  But at the end of the day?  I have a chronic illness.  It's not fun.  There are times I am actually working really hard to feel like a normal person.

And you?  Well, your love makes me feel like a regular, healthy woman.  Love me, through the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, the middle-of-the-night juice run to the fridge, the disgruntled clack of an old infusion set against the wall because I just can't deal with one more failed site change.  Love me.  Everybody with diabetes needs love, kindness and respect. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

D-Blog Week, Day 4: Fantasy Diabetes Device!

I would like to thank my favorite ninja, George, for making me laugh this morning with his fantasy device.  Little did we know, maybe our pals at Skynet Google are creating the glasses of the future which we are seeking!

I can think of all kinds of "fantasy" devices, like a tubeless pump that holds 300 units, a device that checks your blood sugar without any kind of poking, something that will enable me to wear my pump without bulk or strapping it under my boobs.  These are the kinds of things we all wish for every day.  A working pancreas.  A closed loop system.  A cure.  A CGM sensor that doesn't cost a zillion dollars.

But I am thinking fantasy here, people.  Seeing as this is DORKabetic, let's get overly geeky for a second.

Introducing...Diabetes Navi
If you've played Legend of Zelda, you probably know Navi as that annoying little sprite who follows you everywhere.  "Hey!  Hey!  Listen!" she says.  "Look!" 

Diabetes Navi would follow you around, keeping you out of danger, alerting you to the Dexcom alarm you've been ignoring for 20 minutes, nudging you to bolus for your carbs.  She may get irritating after a while, but she might also save you a lot of hassle.  She'd intuitively know when that barista put sugar in your latte instead of Splenda, when those test strips have expired, when your insulin has baked in the hot sun.  "Look!"  Suddenly, you realize your vial is cloudy.  She'd be really helpful when the d-moms and dads can't always be around, or if you're really stubborn like me about checking alarms. 

Plus, wouldn't it just be cool to have a glowing orb with wings that follows you around, looking out for you wherever you go?

"Hey, look!"
"Whoa, a stray kitten needs my help!  Thanks, Diabetes Navi!"
"That drunk-looking dude behind me in line needs glucose tabs because he's actually having a hypo!"
"Look!  Look!"

Diabetes bonus: She's blue.

Geeky multiple-fandom bonus?  She can double as your golden snitch if you're into Quidditch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

D-Blog Week, Day 3: One Thing to Improve

So far, it seems every diabetes blogger out there has said the same thing today.  "What do you mean ONE thing to improve?  The list is endless!"

At first I thought that my one thing to improve is EVERYTHING!

But that seems like the easy way out, writing-wise.  So I shall roll the 20-sided die that resides in my brain and pick one thing.

I think today's big thing is logging numbers.  I could always improve on logging numbers.  I frequently say to myself, "I have all this technology and all of these fancy electronic bits at my service, I should barely have to write anything down!  I could just connect my meter/Dexcom/pump/cell phone and print and be done!"

So do I take a few minutes every week to upload my shit on any of the computers in my house?

Nope.  Or only if it's CDE or endo-visit time.

I realize it's just like letting the facts of my diabetes pass me by.  It's a terrible habit to develop.  It's one I'm constantly trying to work on.

Okay, that may be stretching it.  It's a habit I'm always intending to turn into a good one, then I lose motivation or get stuck or [insert other excuse here].

It makes me consider an iBGstar.  Or a Glooko.  Or some kind of iPhone app that I can just plug numbers into.  Do you have any logging secrets?  I would like to become a blood glucose lumberjack!  (Get it?  Logging?  *dodges the hook and runs offstage*)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

D-Blog Week, Day 2: One Great Thing

Yesterday, I mentioned on Twitter that I've never heard anybody say that they love having diabetes.  I did have one excellent response to the comment.  Basically, the person responding said diabetes has forced them to "keep fit and make healthier choices".  I definitely agree that is an upside!  I am also sure that most of us, given the choice, would NOT choose to continue having diabetes if given the opportunity to ditch it on the side of the road somewhere.

So what's one great thing that diabetes has done for me?  Well, it pretty much forced me to become a blogger.

In 2006, the word "blog" was pretty new, and the word itself made me gag a little.  I just didn't like the sound of it, much like I hate the words "eyesore" and "moist" and "sportswear".  Having a Livejournal account for years, I was much more accustomed to the phrase "online journal", wherein you could go and type whatever was on your mind.  Blogs were becoming a thing, and at the time, diabetes management was becoming a thing for me.

I wasn't long out of college, and I never had any friends with diabetes.  I was feeling frustrated and struggling with depression.  I turned to the internet to see what people were saying about diabetes and what kind of message boards were out there.  It wasn't long until I discovered the burgeoning Diabetes OC.  There weren't so many of us back then, and it took another couple of years for tweeting to really catch on.  Yet I found a little piece of something on the interwebs, people with smiling faces and joyful lives who also had to pause to check their blood glucose levels.  They were bloggers who struggled and laughed, who shared good times and bad with diabetes.

Finally, I found a place to share my own thoughts on living like this.  I do hope I've found a way to help some of my non-diabetic friends understand what it's like.  Without writing this blog, where would I talk about the guilt-ridden nuances that ride on top of a heavily frosted cupcake?  Where could I post pictures of my Dexcom read-outs and make jokes that involve the song "Love Rollercoaster"?  Blogging is a one-stop-shop for me to talk all things diabetes.

Being a "blogger" became less about using a stupid-sounding title, and more about regularly writing and speaking my mind.  

Blogging helps me connect to the various ins and outs of social media.  Knowing a lot about social media makes me feel like an expert, and using this expertise is something that I hope will land me a new job at some point in the future.

Not everyone I know can say they have their own dot-com web address.  Blogging makes me write and care about presentation.  Blogging makes me Tweet and start a Facebook fan page.  Blogging makes me curious about all the latest programs for managing all the social media in your life.

Blogging keeps me current.  Diabetes keeps me blogging.  It's not so bad for a word I never liked that much in the first place.  And sure, diabetes always keeps me on my toes, which is sometimes a good way to be, but I guess I am grateful that diabetes, burdensome as it can be, is one more thing that spurs on my passions.

I assure you this: if they cure diabetes in the next few years, well, I hope you like really personal blog updates, because what else am I going to talk about?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Diabetes Blog Week, Day 1: Find a Friend

Happy D-Blog Week to all of my friends in the Diabetes Online Community!  I am constantly astonished at how many names and faces have popped up since I started blogging back in 2006.  I certain have been at this for a long time.  It's such an honor to know that I am in great company, and that I can count some truly awesome bloggers among my personal friends!  Seriously, I have been chatting with George and Kerri and Scott J and Allison and Amy and Kelly and many others for years now, and while I do feel a twinge of jealousy when other people are getting invited to d-blogger summits or events, it just inspires me to work harder at blogging.  

It's funny, I often feel like I have a similar position in the poetry slam community.  I'm the poets' poet.  The bloggers' blogger.  I know lots of people whom I adore, and vice versa, and yet I still feel like this relative outsider at times.  I'm not complaining.  I just feel like I'm some best-kept secret that never makes it onto another list.  Can I nominate myself on Find a Friend Day?

I am realizing that sounds a smidge emo and self-indulgent.  I've been focusing on myself a lot lately.  Introspective.  Anyway.

One blogger you need to check out is Nicole Purcell.  She used to write at her own blog, now she blogs for D-Life's Blogabetes, and George already had some awesome things to say about her today.  She is at the top of my "I am totally going to meet this person one day" list.  She has tattoos and is into all kinds of badass music. 

Have you visited Scott E of Rolling in the D?  Definitely my favorite blog name I've found this year, great content, and he was recognized in the Best of the 'Betes blogs in March.  I'm described on his blogroll as having writing which is "humorously quirky", and that also won him some points.  Also, raise your hand if you now have Adele singing in your head because of his blog title.  Thought so.

Jess became a blog pal of mine recently via Twitter.  I feel like we are kindred souls at times, struggling with the same things, trying to get over some emotional hurdles, some things that are challenging us mentally, plus diabetes, plus everyday regular life.  If you aren't reading Me and D, you should check it out!  (Hilariously, work internet has decided her site is NSFW today. Kind of like the day Texting My Pancreas got blocked but came back up the next day.  You guys are some naughty diabetics.)

There's some awesome online friends for you to make.  And if you haven't told someone about Dorkabetic yet, why not do it today? [end shameless self-promotion]  See you tomorrow for D-Blog Week, Day 2!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Self-Portrait Saturday: Coming at You in 3D!

Thank you, dollar store, for the ridiculousness.  My pal Harper is now wearing these as sunglasses because they make him think of David Tennant.  Some of you will even understand what that means! (Way to know your pop culture, fellow dorks.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Cute Overload!

This cute li'l' chinchilla was hoping to be taken home from the Petsmart nearest to my house. Fuzzy fuzzy cute cute.