Tag Archives: Diabetes

Write Right about Diabetes

There are a few things that irk me about articles that I see written about diabetes.

Where to begin? Well, let’s give you my credentials and my “right” to be upset about this. I’m not really upset as much as I am just bothered. I’m sure these articles have great information, however, when you’re writing wrong about something I know so well about, I stop reading.

So, here are my credentials.

  • Person with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 7, which is approximately 23 years.
  • Diagnosed as having juvenile diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
  • Journalist with an M.S. in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Reporter for 3 years.
  • Professional writer since 2008.
  • Editor for 2 years.
  • Freelancer since 2007.
  • Blogger since 2011.

So accuracy, writing and creating well-rounded pieces on diabetes is kind of second nature to me. I’m not bragging, since these pieces of information can be found on my bios, on Facebook, Twitter and numerous other outlets. I’m literally showing you why I’m going to complain about this in a second.

It’s November, which means it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month and an array of diabetes articles have been published left and right about things that the DOC, or diabetes online community, have known about for years. YEARS.

I saw an article recently about how medical professionals are now calling diabetes an epidemic. However, this term didn’t just start this year. Diabetes has carried epidemic traits for a long time. People are just noticing now.

So here’s my list of things to do should you decide to take on the mission of writing about diabetes:

  • We are people with diabetes, or PWDs. We are not diabetics. Since diabetic is an adjective for objects, it doesn’t necessarily apply to people. We are not things. Take a gander:
    • People with diabetes have diabetic supplies.
    • Diabetic comas, diabetic ketoacidosis, diabetic socks
  • This disease is not foreign to the world. Don’t write like it’s foreign and don’t write about it like it’s something that people have never heard of.
    • Write to educate the community. If you’re talking about new technology, write like you’re excited about it, not like it’s an alien species.
    • Put forth credible information that explains when statistics were collected and who is collecting them.
    • Don’t trust the first thing you read. Please.
  • Get to know the community. We’re here! And we’re not curing our diseases any time soon.
    • Find us on Twitter, join groups on Facebook, ask questions and get real answers.
  • Yes, there are four types of diabetes and none of them is “worse” than another. They’re generally all the same.
    • BUT there are various strains of the disease. Yep. There are ALL DIFFERENT TYPES!

I don’t want to discourage people from writing about it. It’s a nice challenge for a lot of people, including myself. When I wrote about the epidemic and all the different types for a publication, I realized just how difficult it was to write a piece for the general population, that’s full of myths, fake cures and, quite frankly, lies. It’s a full on effort to set people straight about all the things that revolve around the disease and having the disease. Sometimes, it’s overbearing.

Try living with it.

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Diabetes and Tech: We’re all Geeks.

Continuous Glucose Monitors hurt. Their needles are thicker than anything I’ve seen since I’ve been diagnosed—do you know how many needles that is? Thousands. Blood withdraw, injections, tetanus shots, vaccines, all included. Especially for the size of the object that you’re inserting into your body, the needle for the sensor couldn’t be any thicker.

I stopped using it because of that. It didn’t just hurt—it felt like I was stabbing myself. My poor soft, virgin-to-any-needle thighs endured the worst pain. Bruises, blood and brashness were included every time I changed the sensor. However, according to my doctor there are two types of CGM users in the world: Those that hate it and use it and those who hate it and don’t use it. I fall perfectly into a category—for the first time in my life.

And don’t get me wrong, the 45 degree insertion angle is all kinds of important and I did prop it at such an angle, but it still hurt!

One of the downsides I found to wearing a monitor was the scars. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of them already from insertion sites for my pump, but when I wore the CGM I had to worry about double the amount of scars and where to place both devices. Additionally, the amount of times I saw “Cal Error” come up was disturbing. So I just went back to checking my sugar with finger pricks.

I went back to using my good old-fashioned glucose meter that conveys readings to my pump. It’s not at all new, especially since I live by the motto: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  I’ve decided to downgrade just because of the fact that at this point in time, I don’t want to be literally tied down and monitored 24/7.

However, if you’re like me and have instances of hypoglycemia, the CGM can literally be a lifesaver. When you drop below a certain number, your pump or monitoring device will beep, vibrate or somehow call your attention so that you wake up and  treat the low before it’s too late. The CGM is programmed to keep you aware, and the more aware you are, the better it is for your diabetes management.

For those of you like me that don’t necessarily have a tracker of sorts, you can also use MySugr, a diabetes companion used to “tame your diabetes monster.” You put in everything manually, but it makes it fun and keeps you on your toes about the stuff that’s going into your system and the results that it portrays.

See, the thing here is, you can input your numbers (of all forms) and see your results tracked, allowing you to identify what you’re eating and how it’s impacting your body. This answer the question of the “if… then” scenario. You’ll start thinking, “If I eat this, then my blood sugar will be XXX,” allowing you for wiser choices on meals and carbohydrate intake.

There are other things that I use to monitor my activity—like the fitbit that I wear. That’s just one of the many devices that are currently being sold to play the pedometer role in a more high-tech and fancy way. It also shows that you’re “active.”

What’s the downside to wearing one of these? Charging it and forgetting not to put it back on. Additionally, you also have to be good about inputting your caloric intake, water intake and setting your fitbit to sleep mode. I mean, if you need something to make you active, are you really going to be adding in all that information? I know data geeks do it. Do you fall in that category? What ’bout the simple folks, like me? Will power I tell you.

I would like to wish from the app making gods, to create something that not only allows me to track my glucose levels and intakes, but also communicates with my smartphone, updating data so that I can look at it IRT. You know what that means? In Real Time—some marketing terminology I picked up. But instead of sitting there and unplugging in order to download all of my numbers, I could have them as they happen with stats and all! That would be cool. Someone get on that now.

Bottom line, we people with diabetes are all geeks. We love to nerd out to new technologies that can give us more data and tell us more information about our body’s performance. It’s quite literally looking at your body as if you were some kind of machine, or dare I say, cyborg. I actually like calling myself that. Geeky– I told you.

People with diabetes or PWD want to know more. I think it’s a sense that something went wrong within our bodies that we couldn’t control and by having control and understanding everything else, is not only necessary, but it also keeps us sane in a strange way. I mean, my life is run by numbers and sometimes that’s enough– especially when you burn out and become exhausted of always being “on top of it.” However, using technology helps us stay on it even when we don’t necessarily want to.

Additionally, we have the ideas of islet transplants– which create beta cells which create insulin– along with this far fetched notion of stem cells and the more we learn about it, the more we are excited that there may just be a cure of some sort. Trust me, when it comes to the ethics of some of these things, I find myself in a bind. I tend to be selfish and think of only myself when it comes to these things. I don’t know if anyone else thinks along these lines but I’m like, “I can be free!” Kind of like the genie in Aladdin. We can dream, can’t we?

Social media has also played a huge role for us. You’re probably reading this right BECAUSE you follow me on social. You saw this blog post on Twitter, right? Leave a note in the comments, please.

I digress. Social media has allowed for people to find those who are like them in various ways, not just also being a person living with diabetes. This includes people who live in the same city, like the same music, play the same games – all folks who have allowed for friendships to flourish and conferences fun to go to. Together, as a band of do-gooders, we have allowed for people to come to us with questions, comments and “I know EXACTLY how you feel” sentiments. We just want the dialogue to continue so that we know we’re never alone.

And that companionship, my friends, follows us all over the place through our technology, especially our smartphones. We are able to tweet, Facebook, Pin and Instagram from anywhere on the planet (that has Wi-Fi) and stay connected via microblogging and blog and information sharing has never been easier. Wherever my friends are, I can be right there with them, letting them know that, for example, TSA didn’t have to pat me down today at the airport. Those are #smallwins, but #wins in my book nonetheless.

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, technology

The Challenge for 2014

Today marks the end of the year. The last day of an amazing 2013, whether I enjoyed every minute of it or not. This year showed me the power of self, the ability to bring goodness with positive thoughts and the ability to find self-worth and love in chaotic situations.

Above all else, I learned that absorbing every ounce of observations and pieces of situations helped me move forward and that I did learn a lot, even when I thought there was nothing left to learn.

LifeAs much as I don’t like resolutions, those that I’ve made in past years, I’ve kept. However, today I write a challenge for 2014. Though, it’s not for me, it’s for you. After all I’ve seen and those who I’ve talked to, I’ve found a pattern. Additionally, I credit the inspiration for this to my friends who are going through their #Reinvention2014 and who reminded me to love myself regardless if I feel the need to and regardless of loving so many people around me. So here it goes. Are you ready?

I challenge you to learn more about your body. Learn more about your own health; spiritually, mentally, physically and holistically. There are many people I came across this last year who didn’t do that and paid the consequences for it. And I mean in every way. Down to the people they were surrounding themselves with, to the stress that work caused them. Learn what’s good for you and how your body has a ripple effect; what affects your mind will affect your body and vice versa. Don’t take your health for granted and get to know yourself inside and out.

I challenge you to challenge your healthcare professionals. We all go to the doctor, but I’m telling you from experience, you know your body the best. When they tell you to do something, ask why. When they prescribe medications, ask what they do and what else they work for and why they chose to give you THAT one. If not, turn to the internet. Find out for yourself, then ask your pharmacist. You know, that’s what they’re there for. Use your resources.

This one may be self serving but hear me out. I challenge you to talk to me. Ask me questions about my health. I’ve had a tumultuous history with my body but I’m not afraid to talk about it. From nutrition to how the body functions, I have an idea and if I don’t, I know where to look and find out. I don’t give pity parties; I don’t believe in them, but I will help you find answers. Your body is the greatest tool you’ll ever own fully. You have every right to use it and the last thing I want to see is someone suffer from a preventative situation.

I challenge you to learn about diabetes. Seriously. Its an epidemic taking over in many ways and you probably know one or two people who have it, not including me. Type 1, type 2, learn about both. Learn what it does and why it can harm you. Ask me questions about it. You have to know what’s out there and how you can prevent it. You also have to care for those around you. You can be of service to those with diabetes more than you know. I’ve written about it before and I will continue to do so in the years to come. Communities, whether you are a member of it or an ally of it, help each other to grow, learn and heal. Be a part.

Happy New Year’s Eve. Take a minute to think about how you’ll improve in 2014 and take the challenge. It won’t hurt you and its not a diet. I say do it!

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Gaining perspective to live my advocacy

I put my pump back on a while ago. Although it felt good to be disconnected, I realized that the luxury of it all was constant insulin being pumped through my body. A delicious feeling.

Since my last post, which was way too long ago, by the way, I’ve started a full-time job and I have insurance! It feels so good to say that. Months without insurance felt as though it was 10 years.

Today I called Medtronic to reorder supplies and it was easy peasy. I didn’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket, I just had to give the information on my pretty little insurance card. I learned a lot, without it. I learned what it was like to have to worry where the money was going to come from to pay for my supplies. I know what it’s like to be down to one infusion set and worried how, if I didn’t have syringes, I was going to get the insulin into my body.

It’s a scary thought, but it was there. Almost as bad as when my pump stopped working. At least when that happened, I did have insurance and was able to get  a replacement within a few days.

You’re going to find this weird, but I liked not having insurance because it put me in an uncomfortable situation. I had to figure things out. I had to worry. All my life I never worried about things like this, but in order to understand my community and what the highest rate of uninsured people are going through. Yep, that’s right. The Latino community has the highest rate of uninsured individuals.

What do they do? I asked myself every time I went to the county hospital. I was fortunate to be educated at an early age, have the resources in order to take care of myself and learn the betterment of my health. But what about those who don’t have everything I did?

I knew what to ask when I went to the hospital. I knew how to “manage up” instead of be dictated to about my health and what was good for me. I knew exactly what I had to say and sometimes, how to say it, in order for the folks helping me to understand just what I knew and how I knew it.

The one thing that I can’t stress enough is education on all counts. I mean, if you are someone with diabetes, educate yourself. If you’re someone who knows someone with diabetes, educate yourself. If you love someone with diabetes, educate yourself.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are times when people with diabetes want to give up, we get tired. To constantly think like your pancreas, think about every activity that you do ever day, it’s exhausting along with other daily responsibilities that we have. It’s an effort and what makes it easier is having people who understand what you’re going through.

This is why online communities are so important to many of us. We can find people who go through the same experiences without asking so many questions and bitch and moan as much as we want because, they get it.

If you don’t have diabetes but loves someone who does, the most useful you can be is being an understanding ear. You can understand what it is that we’re going through just by asking questions and doing a bit of research. The support that comes with knowledge is beyond lecturing people with diabetes about what to eat.

I appreciate someone who can help me out by listening and wanting to know. Having diabetes is a part of me, a secret, sacred, special part of me that very few know about. I mean, very few without diabetes know. My DOC, or diabetes online community, knows me well. But that special spot is open to very few.

I want to talk about it. I want people to know me. That’s why I answer questions and I talk about the issues that we go through as people with diabetes, as a Latino community that is not educated properly about their health with diabetes, and I’m not ashamed of who I am or the disorder that I have. I welcome questions. I live my advocacy.

Ask away. I’m prepared to answer.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Doctors, Health, Latinos

And the point of working out is… Bad dreams!

So everyone knows that working out is good for you. That’s no secret. But when you’re living with diabetes and on medication for it, working out is a problem. My doctor used to laugh and would say something like, “Yeah, you work out to lose weight, then your blood sugar goes down and you have to eat.” There’s basically no winning in the game.

Like everything else, there is a solution to the problem, not that I’ve found it yet. Working out is like a double-edged sword. You either have to do it consistently so that your insulin intake reflects it (if you’re on the pump) or you have to turn the darn thing off when you’re stretching, moving and grooving. I don’t work out at the same time every day, so the bolus schedule that I’m on is hard to come by. I can change it every day, but I’m too lazy to do that. Usually my work outs last for about 45 minutes, so I just take it off, do my thing and put it back on. That’s not an issue.

But my question is, how are you supposed to deal with monitoring yourself when you’re not awake?! My problems have always come at night. Either my blood sugar sky rockets when I sleep or it drops dramatically. Take for example, yesterday. Yesterday I came home from work and decided to work out. Midway through, my sugar had dropped to 75 so I took a swig of regular soda and kept going. At the end after the cool down, it had dropped again to 67. That’s when I ate. I hadn’t had dinner so this was my chance to eat without feeling too guilty about it.

As I showered, cleaned and watched a little more television while Tweeting away, I was super-duper thirsty. I went to check myself and I was up at 247. “That’s why!” I thought to myself. My pump suggested about three units of insulin which I manually lowered because I knew that I might drop, and that was that.

As I drifted off to dream land, I had a peculiar dream. I was on the phone with a man who was having a heart attack. At the same time I was in a hospital, trembling and I thought to myself, “Am I feeling what this man is feeling?” I started to shake harder, which is when I opened my eyes. I was wide awake at 3:15 in the morning. As I got up, I was disoriented. I went to check my blood sugar. 37. I had dropped to 37. It was incredible. And there I went, turning on the TV, grabbing my box of Cap’n Crunch and watching a rerun of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, or whatever it’s called. If you look at my twitter account, you’ll see my comments at about 3:30.

There’s nothing worse that going back to bed after an episode like that. I checked myself again and I was already at 75. I was on my way up. In the morning I was at 209 with a dry mouth and headache. I got my insulin and went about my day. Let me tell you, my body has not caught up yet. Last meter check, I was at 120. With that Cap’n Crunch love affair, I can tell you that I might have eaten everything I burned off with my work out. How terrible is that?

If your blood sugar has never dropped, you wouldn’t understand. The feeling of passing out and not being able to get up when you live alone is horrendous! When I was struggling to get the tiny strip out of the bottle to check my blood sugar, I was sweating, shaking and kept thinking, what if I pass out? Who’s going to help me?

If your blood sugar is too low, that’s it. You die quicker from having a low blood sugar than a high one. Hypoglycemia, when your blood sugar drops below 60, can lead to seizure, coma and even death if not treated. Dying from high blood sugar takes a little more than 24 hours. You can now understand the fear of hypoglycemia to an extent.

There are different ways to solve this problem, obviously eating is one of them. It’s just the control that gets most people. You panic, feel like you’re starving and just want to get rid of that ugly feeling so you EAT! When I was younger, that was my chance to get at those Oreos.

But if, God forbid, you ever see someone pass out from hypoglycemia, what you’re supposed to do is rub either sugar or icing on the inside of the person’s cheek. It’s the quickest way to the blood stream. If there is a glucagon injection near by, you can also administer that.

Glucagon injections do not inject sugar into your system. Glucagon itself is a group of 29 amino acids that trigger your liver to release glucose so that your system is always at a balance. When people pass out, the injection, which is concentrated glucagon, tells your liver to release all its stored up glucose so that your body jolts itself back to normality. Crazy isn’t it? All these things you have to learn!

But there’s always a balance, right? Like eating a snack before bed, which I didn’t do because my sugar was already high. I didn’t want to be that high, so I took insulin for it. I guess this just goes to show that no matter how much you THINK you have this monster of diabetes in check, sometimes you don’t. Your body is still a body, doing things on its own. We’re not machines and we don’t work like clock work sometimes. That’s the reality of it.

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Filed under Diabetes, Food, Health, Personal, Treatments

The World Epidemic that No One Gets

First of all, I would like to announce that I am now a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Young Professionals Board, which is the only one in the nation thus far. Lucky for me, it’s here in Chicago and in need of more members. There are 16 of us total, who either have or know someone who has or has passed from diabetes complications. We’re getting somewhere!

Next, I would like to point out that Tuesday was Diabetes Alert Day. Throughout the day, people got out and said, “Hey! Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes?! Take this risk test and find out.” Interesting how people never did this before when not very many people had diabetes, but it’s good that they’re getting out and fighting the good fight.

On the same day, or might have been Wednesday, Novo Nordisk released a press release talking about the effects that diabetes is having on the world. They expressed their concern for those who don’t have the resources necessary to take care of themselves. They also asked, when there will be enough to help the situation? Diabetes is not a cheap disorder to have, let me tell you.

They bring up a very valid point. When 79 million Americans have prediabetes, which is still abnormally high blood sugar readings, 26 million have already been diagnosed with it,  and there is a “diabetes belt” in the US alone, you have to think, when are these people going to get the help they need?And this is all Type 2 Diabetes by the way. Only five percent of those with diabetes have Type 1.

Do people not get it yet? Now they’re talking about a pill that will prevent “the move” from prediabetes to diabetes. As much as it sounds like it, this is not HIV to AIDS. This is you eating a salad instead of pizza and eating vegetables even if they’re out of a can. This is losing weight and knowing that you don’t have to die a disgusting and miserable death IF YOU DON’T WANT TO.

When are people going to start listening to what they have to change? In the end, you want to know who’s winning in all of this? Pharmaceutical companies. You’re on their pills, on their drugs and you start to get dependent on it all. Why don’t people grow a pair and decide to take this head on?

I knew a guy who was diagnosed with Type 2 and he emailed me asking what he should do. I said, go see a doctor, first of all. Next stay away from anything with added sugar. No pop, no sweets. Stay away. You want to be able to fight this off with little or no medication. It IS possible to put Type 2 Diabetes into REMISSION. The next time I saw him was in our offices, when someone asked if he wanted a sugary drink, similar to pop. “No, thanks,” I heard him stay. “Since I was diagnosed, I’ve been trying to keep away from the sweet stuff.” He then came to me and said that he had lost a significant amount of weight since he had emailed me. He was getting help and taking my advice. Do you know how good I felt that someone had actually decided to take care of themselves? Now only if we could get the rest of the United States to do this.

The other thing that angers me is that information that is supposedly new and recently done research is old news. Not exactly old, but it’s common sense. Now it’s, obese teens are at risk for Type 2. DUH! Why? Because they’re obese! Same thing with babies and children. They should not be fed everything they want to eat because it makes them happy. It should be limited and they should be playing outside and having fun. Why are these poor children and teens obese?! That’s child abuse! And guess what, if obesity is what’s the main cause of Type 2 Diabetes in older people, it’ll probably be an issue for teens and younger children as well. To know that children are already developing prediabetes is disgusting to me.

I guess I give people too much credit in the common sense area and they have to read it for themselves or from a study to know it to be true. I, on the other hand, want to smack a lot of them upside the head. People don’t realize how disgusting it is to die from diabetic complications. They really don’t. But think about it. If you read my blogs and read my explanations of how the body works, you’ll see that since diabetes is a multi-organ disease, it’s going to rip through each organ one-by-one. Usually, it’s your kidneys, then it’s neuropathy which leads to sores on your body, losing feeling in your limbs, all while having to urinate and eventually vomit, feeling exhausted and so thirsty you could drink a lake. If you’re lucky, you might just die of one massive heart attack or stroke. I can’t even continue…

What can I do to make you see the light?! I’m going to start giving workshops and talking about it. I have to. I can’t sit here an watch people drown in their own ignorance and bodily fluids. Something must be done and if no one else is reaching out, I will.

Contact me with any questions, comments or concerns. If you would like me to talk about Diabetes at your place of work, community center or family meeting, I’m at your service.

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Filed under Complications, Culture, Diabetes, Food, Health, Treatments

Pay Attention!

I never realized the impact of diabetes on my thoughts until I attended a tweet chat with #dsma or the Diabetes Social Media Advocates. They began asking deep questions like, “Who do you take care of yourself for?” Many said they do it for friends, family members and spouses or significant others. I went out on a far off limb and said, “I do it for myself and for my unborn children. I have met various peers who have lost their parent to diabetes complications.” I don’t want to be THAT parent, and I had a few people agree with me on the thought.

Personally, I don’t want to think that I’m not going to see my kids grow up and have their own children. It’s a scary thought that I never quite processed before. I want to see my grandchildren, that is, if I ever have children of my own. *Side note* Although I’ve never been pregnant, I will be talking about diabetes during pregnancy, both with Type 1, 2 and gestational diabetes.

Now, you might ask, do you think of that each time you check yourself or take insulin? No, I don’t. But when do you ever think of the bad stuff when it’s all going good? You don’t. I think about it when I get angry about certain issues I have. For example, when you count carbs, take your insulin and do everything right, just to have your blood glucose still high, that’s when I think, I have no control over this! Who says I’ll survive when my body isn’t reacting the way I want it to?!

No one can possibly save me from this whole ordeal if it’s not myself. My mind, at this point, is the master of my body and my method of survival. It’s all in my head. Isn’t that strange? It’s strange that as diabetics, we have to learn how our bodies work, what it’s trying to tell us and what we should do to fix it.

Take for example, if I feel a headache coming on, I know there’s a chance my blood sugar is high. Oddly enough, along with that, I can feel dryness in my eyes, which is another way I know my blood sugar’s high. These two symptoms are due to dehydration. When blood sugar goes up, urination increases, releasing fluids from the system, increasing thirst, exhaustion and headaches. See how that works? I know what I did wrong, what my body is lacking and how to fix it.

If I feel this, I know, “Check blood sugar right away!” and it honestly sucks when I get a headache and find out my blood sugar is normal. Why? Because I can’t do anything to fix it unless it involves other medication.

I’m lucky I pay attention. That’s the issue. People don’t pay enough attention to what their bodies are doing or saying to them. As diabetics, we urinate a ton, no lie. But if you go more frequently than necessary, something’s up.

So my advice for this week, diabetic or not, is PAY ATTENTION! There are things your body reacts to that you don’t even know about. Watch it before it’s too late to actually do something about it, get sick or just plain feel bad.

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Health, Treatments

Reality Check: How long is forever?

Today I decided to take a day off. I’m always doing something, always going somewhere, but today, I wanted to spend time at home, clean and go grocery shopping. It’s the simple things in life sometimes that make the rest worthwhile, right? It could also be that I needed a mental health day because yesterday I was so distracted and all over the place.

I walked into the fiscal department at work yesterday only to see Tish Parker in her corner. Tish and I met at our new employee orientation and since then she makes the effort to occasionally stop by my closet of an office to say hi, I return the gesture. I found out that she, too, is a writer although of the fictitious genre. When I walked in, she said hi, always greeting me with a beautiful smile and called me over. She pointed to my pump and asked what it was. Apparently her sister-in-law is also diabetic and uses a pump but she didn’t put two and two together until I explained it to her. She thought it was an MP3 player of some sort and I said, well, at least you didn’t think it was a throwback and call it a pager.

I started explaining how the pump is used and how it works to a point when she asked, “So it’s forever?” And when she said that, I didn’t know how to take it and said, “Well, I change it every three days, but yes, I’m most likely going to have to use it forever.” Which put my mind into a whirlwind. Forever.

Or until there’s a cure, but at this point, I feel that I will not live to see one. The fact of the matter is, I will be connected to this contraption for the rest of my life, something I didn’t fully wrap my head around until she said it. I knew I would have to take shots forever, that was easy to come by, yet thinking about it now, the pump does feel temporary although it isn’t. It’s forever.

It took me back to the day that I found out I was actually diabetic. My mom called me over to check my blood sugar, which at the time, I didn’t understand. I knew I had to do it because the doctors said so, but the significance behind it, I didn’t quite comprehend yet. We were about to have dinner when my mom pricked my pointer finger to squeeze out some blood. “Mom,” I said looking up at her, “am I going to have to do this for the rest of my life?” I think the question broke her heart.

What did that mean? FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. As a grew up, I looked into what the rest of my life was going to be like. It went something like this: Over time you will lose your eyesight, be at risk for cardiac problems, get amputations and die. Fun, huh? Well, everyone dies, right? I already knew that part. But dying prematurely is what gets everyone. As a diabetic, five years is already cut off my life span. So if I was going to live until 100, I’d die at 95. That’s cool. I’ll take it.

The issue is that throughout my younger years, no one told me straight out what being diabetic meant. No one explained the repercussions, the decisions I’d have to make, the consequences. It was just, “If you don’t stop…” or “If you don’t cut back…” Doctors didn’t try to make living with the disorder easier, they were just trying to make me stop living.

Now it’s, “If you don’t control…” or “If you don’t lower your A1c…” The same tactics that are used today were used with me back then, as a child. Awful. They scared me into being healthy, they didn’t teach me how it all worked. They were passing down the stresses of having a diabetic child to my parents who thought they had done something wrong. They didn’t try to expand on my forever, they scared me into thinking about forever and living a terrible, terrible life of pain agony and losing my legs. It was also the 90s. I’d like to think times have changed.

But yes, to my dismay, I’m going to be connected to this little purple machine for the rest of my life. At this point, I can only think of having something smaller but never not having anything at all. I see it as a benefit. We’ve transitioned from a pump that you had to carry around in a backpack to a little thing that looks like a pager. Brilliant. Let’s see where life leads us next. What does your FOREVER look like?

 

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If I wasn’t diabetic…

If I wasn’t diabetic (Type 1, that is), I would probably weigh about 300 pounds. I’m not kidding.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would probably love eating chocolate a lot more than I do now. Right now, I just think about it a lot, but don’t eat it. So it goes for many, many other foods.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would probably not even THINK about working out. Actually, maybe I would.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about waking up with the shakes in the middle of the night.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t know what wanting to pass out felt like.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would know much less about how my body works.

If I wasn’t diabetic, Type 1, I’d probably be Type 2 by now.

If I wasn’t diabetic, a part of me thinks I’d work out a lot more and skip out on a few meals without worrying about repercussions. But I can always do that now, right?

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about having a job with health insurance.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have won my boyfriend over. He says that he liked me more because of the control and knowledge I had about the disorder my body carries. I wouldn’t be different if I wasn’t diabetic.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would have chosen to travel the world instead of staying in one place.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would have joined something like the Peace Corps, if not the Peace Corps.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting yelled at by my doctors.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t always be lectured by my doctor.

If I wasn’t diabetic, my life would not be run by numbers.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have knowledge about technology, medicine, health or a variety of other topics that are affecting people all around me all the time.

If I wasn’t diabetic, Kikisbetes.com wouldn’t exist, nor would @kikisbetes.

If I wasn’t diabetic, learning about new exercise moves would not be a priority.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to always count carbs.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be eating more tortillas.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t exactly worry about how much grasa actually went into my food.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be eating a lot more pan dulce, drinking Jarritos, scarfing down chicharrones and drinking atole every weekend.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t find a need to inform people of the health issues that may hinder them in the future.

If I wasn’t diabetic, there would be no looking up carbs in beer and worrying about “how to drink.”

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to wear the Medic Alert bracelet that you see in the photo above.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about my process of having children.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing six to seven different doctors in a year.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about medical bills, keeping up on my supplies for medication and making sure to see the doctor every three months.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my feet or my sight.

If I wasn’t diabetic, my motivation would be writing and writing only.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t be one of the five percent of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t completely collapse every time I get a simple cold.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have as many writing opportunities as I do now.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I would be a little more normal.

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t always have to convince myself that diabetes isn’t a limitation.

If I wasn’t diabetic, though, I don’t think I would be me. All of these little things that have shaped me over the years have kept me sane, healthy and alive. Every day, diabetes is being less of a limitation for me. I know there are ways to do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do and just like the next person who doesn’t have diabetes, I’m being limited by much more than just having this disease.

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Filed under Culture, Diabetes, Health, History, Personal, Stories

Food for thoughts of happy endings.

Of course, I’m going to tell you that vegetables are the best thing for you to eat if you’re diabetic. But there are other foods that are good for you, that will keep your blood sugar stable and help keep you healthy. You have to keep this in mind; before, they counted everything in your diet towards your insulin intake. Now they just count carbs. But the less carbs you eat, the better, right? Or so say all the diets that have been emerging, especially since the atkins diet.

Anyway, I’m going to tell you about foods you should be eating to help your blood sugar stay controlled.

taken from: fitness.resourcesforattorneys.com

Anything green allows you to have iron in your system, which is in charge of carrying oxygen-healthy cells. By green I mean like spinach, broccoli, lettuce and even strawberries and kiwi have a lot of iron.

Here’s a list of what to eat while pregnant, that works even if you’re not and even if you’re a man:

Dried fruits and nuts: The mixture of these two ingredients gives you a balance of natural sugars and proteins and also give your jaw a workout. Did you know that once your jaw gets tired of chewing, it will send a message to your brain telling it that you no longer want to eat?

Whole-grain crackers or bread with peanut butter: Anything whole grain is good for you. The complex carbs keep you satiated longer and also are better for energy and don’t store as fat so easily. Peanut butter, like nuts, is a great sources of protein that will fill you up. Fat is necessary in your diet, no matter what anyone says. As long as you limit your peanut butter intake, you can count it as protein and not fat, which will also keep you fuller, longer.

Yogurt: The creamy deliciousness has a high source of probiotics that’s awesome for your stomach. Stick to low-fat yogurt and add granola for extra fiber and extra crunch.

Fruit: Fresh fruit is the best kind! The natural sugars don’t take long for your body to process and therefore gets worked out quicker. Unlike processed sugar that can do more harm than good, you don’t need too much insulin when eating fruit. The fibers and extra nutrients and vitamins in fruits make them that much better to eat.

Low-fat cheese or cottage cheese: Again, these dairy products have a lot of protein and keep you fuller longer. Since you’re not eating so much, it will keep your blood sugar regulated.

A baked potato: eat a small one with the skin. Potato skins carry a lot of vitamins and nutrients.

A hard-boiled egg: Again, eggs are a high source of protein. Add a little bit of salt to the hard-boiled egg and it tastes delicious.

Hummus and pita slices: Hummus has a ton of protein in it. For those of you who don’t know, hummus is crushed chickpeas, which eaten whole are also a delicious source of protein that can be added to salads or eaten alone.

Cacti are known to produce their own insulin and have been used to treat type 2 diabetes around the world. How do you prepare this, you ask? Well, when I was a kid, my grandmother gave it to me in the form of a shake and my mom make nopalitos mixed with egg, like a cactus omelette.  It’s delicious. It’s been used for other illnesses and diseases too like asthma and whooping-cough. Those Latinos and indigenous folk know what they’re talking about!

In addition, high fiber foods that are natural also keep your blood sugar balanced. As I mentioned before, fruits like apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and bananas are high sources of fiber and very good for you. Actually, any kind of berry is excellent for your system. The Mayo Clinic lists high-fiber foods that are delicious and nutritious!

Keeping an eye on nutritional facts is a great idea and not hard to do. The less insulin you use the better, right? Well, sometimes, but you want to be good to your body as much as possible.

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Filed under Diabetes, Food, Health, Latinos, Treatments