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No Awareness Needed

Can I just say that I didn’t know it was National Diabetes Month?

I mean, I knew it but I thought it was diabetes AWARENESS month. I guess now that diabetes isn’t a rarity, there needs to be more acknowledgement of the illness and not so much awareness building. I once wrote a blog about how it wasn’t a six-degrees of separation as much as it was one degree. It seems like everyone knows someone with diabetes nowadays.

When I was first diagnosed, I remember people giving me apples and fruit on Halloween. That was no fun. I preferred arts and crafts instead. I also had kids thinking that I was contagious, that I was privileged (since I could go to the bathroom any time I needed to) and that I was teacher’s pet. She bought sugar free candies for me that the kids thought were special. Yes, I AM special.

I had other kids try to steal my glucose tablets in school. “Why do you get candy?” “Why do you have a can of Coke in your locker?” “Why do you have sandwich crackers?” At that time, all I knew is that if I ever felt shaky, I would have to eat that stuff. It never happened. At the end of the year, I’d throw out stale crackers and hot cans of Coke. I cannot remember my blood sugar ever dropping when I was in grammar school.

I think back on growing up with diabetes and I laugh. Not because it’s funny, but because the way of thinking about diabetes was so old school, for lack of better terminology. It was very limiting and in fact, may have been easier to manage with all those restrictions. Now that doctors tell you that you’re not limited and you have to count carbs the freedom is cool to have but at the same time makes it more difficult to keep in check, that is unless you restrict your own diet from things you know you shouldn’t be eating.

In the end, you realize what your body is made for– veggies. Lots of them. Food becomes more complicated with freedom. As opposed to “normal bodies” we have to consider what’s being consumed all the time. As a person with diabetes, you realize what exactly is healthy for your body because you see the repercussions of eating crapola or something that you didn’t realize would affect you so negatively.

You know how they say, you are what you eat? It’s more true for people with diabetes. We eat too much sugar and even though we take insulin we slump. It’s terrible. You feel slow, sleepy, fat, cranky and full of regret. You’d think knowing this would stop us from indulging– nope. It happens.

This month, I plan on writing a lot. I want to definitely add to this blog since I haven’t been in quite some time and hopefully get into a groove with it all. Since I’m not bringing “Awareness” to anyone anymore, I’ll just tell you what it’s like to live with this little thing called Type 1. 

Here’s to National Diabetes Month! Happy November!  

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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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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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Diabetes Melodies

So the other day, my boyfriend was looking up videos about diabetes and came up with a few good ones. I want to share them here because I’m being lazy and really, I have nothing to write about just yet. I plan on getting my HbA1c tested next Saturday and I’m still writing down everything I’m eating and calculating the appropriate carbohydrates.

Yesterday I woke up with a blood glucose of 491. Pump fail. I should have known something was up when I first put the pump on because it said I had less than I really did. Not mention the night before last my blood sugar wouldn’t come down. It was scary to say the least and I slept a lot while constantly checking my blood sugar, drinking water and taking insulin. I checked my ketone level, of which the strip said I only had a trace so I was ok with that. But man, it was scary. I didn’t know what to do and I wanted to rip the pump out and give myself a shot. I changed the pump and it all worked out, thank God.

Anyway, moving on. My sugar reading for dinner was 75. Slightly low, but I had been getting hungry and didn’t eat much in the morning. Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed my dinner.

So here are the two videos that my boyfriend found that I thought were hilariously awesome and decided I should share with you, my fabulous readers. Let me know what you think, si?

My favorite line: “I’m a Type 1, son!”

This one is more for the Type 2 kats out there but nonetheless, still good information to know. I don’t have a favorite line for this one, but loved exaggerated corniness of it!

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Doctors, Health, Stories

Short and Sweet: Food.

This is the time of year that people spend days and hours with their families and eat a lot of traditional food.

Yes, I like food. It’s so sad to say, especially since (and this is the worst way of putting it) I’m diabetic, that food is literally my poison. Those cookies, candies, sweets and pastries that you eat on top of the main course meal at dinner, can kill me in a week’s time. That’s if I don’t watch it, naturally.

I’m always on a healthy diet, as the rest of the world should. I always break the diet and I’m motivated to stop breaking it! If anything, that will be my goal for the coming year. Next to getting my blood sugars down, I’m also going to stay on track with what is good and healthy for me.

A friend of mine always laughs at me when I look at nutritional facts on the back of packages. But, how many of you do the same thing? Even if you’re not diabetic and not on a diet, looking at nutritional facts can do a lot of good for you, even if it just scares you. It’ll teach you to stay away from bad food.

I just moved out of my house and into an apartment all for myself and I can’t wait to start cooking what I want to eat! I mean, granted, my family is very healthy in what they cook, but it’s something about making it yourself and having that connection to your own food that makes you enjoy it that much more.

As funny as it sounds, I might just move toward writing how many carbs are in everything in my cabinets and fridge, like Weight Watchers people do. I might even lose some weight that way! But if anything, I would like to open my comments to good recipes and ideas to fill myself up but not fill myself out or affect my blood glucose levels all that much.

So my question to you is, how do you feel about food? Even if you’re not diabetic, what are some things that you feel you have to improve on when it comes to your diet?

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The Culture of Food

Americans love food. No, let’s rephrase that. Americans are obsessed with food. We love it. And a few years ago, Forbes decided to rank cities based on how much they actually loved it. If you Google it, you’ll find that Memphis, Tenn. ranked in the number one spot because they have the highest obesity rate. Well, now, it’s not just food they love, but also love the lack of exercise and food choice.

San Antonio was ranked number three on the chart for obesity and in 1999 a study was conducted to find that seven percent of 8-year-old kids had elevated glucose levels. Uh-oh. So not only does that mean they eat a lot, but they eat the wrong foods. Put it this way, kids shouldn’t have to worry about glucose levels and all that jazz. I mean, if they were eating carrots and fresh fruits they wouldn’t have high glucose levels, be obese or have to worry about being diagnosed with any kind of diabetes. They should be outside, in the yard playing tag and having fun.

So according to a friend of mine, Type 2 diabetes is managed 20 percent of the time by medication. That’s it. For the other 80 percent of the time, it’s up to the person diagnosed to eat healthily and exercise regularly. But it’s a lifestyle change that not many people want to deal with. They don’t want to have to run around the block and would much rather have their kids stay inside the house where they’re safe.

I say that you have a million and one reasons as to why things like this are happening. But first and foremost, it’s the lack of nutritional education. When I was a kid, they used to give me whatever I wanted to eat. That included Capri Sun juice packets and sugary things like that. Mind you, I have Type 1 diabetes, not Type 2. Nonetheless, feeding and having some meat on your bones in the Latino families is a sign of love and health. If you were thin you’d be called out as skinny. If you were fat, they let you know it. Eating is a sign of family and of love. For birthdays, they make you your favorite dish. And because of the fact that they could make this back in the day and even in their native countries without too many repercussions like fatness, they make it here, not taking into consideration what kind of chemicals are but into food or the fact that food is being altered every day into something more similar to poison.

Not only are they telling us that we have to watch fat intake, which is slightly obvious, but we also have to stay away from anything white, like processed sugar and white bread. For a lot of people food is food and if they sell it and can afford it, then you should eat it. But sadly it’s not that simple.

In San Antonio, they loved fried food and according to the rankings that Forbes created in 2007, it was noted that more obese people/cities were in the south. Why? Just because of the cultural reasons I mentioned. Food equals love and family. And the fact that a lot of things are fried… well, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?

My little cousins eat pizza and McDonald’s all the time because my aunt doesn’t cook. That’s the exact reason. They eat out all the time, but lucky for the girls, they got their father’s genes and hence are not obese. They’ve also inherited their father’s athletic side and play sports. Since we’ve started eating healthier, the girls love to come to my house for dinner. Why? We eat together, we eat home cooked food and we make it a point to have conversations, which is not something that they do. Mind you, they come from Latino parents but they haven’t be raised in the culture. The one thing that my family has done differently? We’ve paid attention to our food and our food intake. I would love to say it was just for me (which at the beginning it was) but I just learned to stay away from things that had remotely more sugar than I could eat. Now that my sister and mother are losing weight and eating healthier, their choices have been more conscious. My dad, who plays soccer at least 3 times a week, loses weight regardless of what he eats. At 60 he can run circles around us.

Back to my cousins though: Every time I see them, I try to make it a point as to why they should eat one thing over another and why the choices that they make could help them in the long run. The high-school-aged one pays more attention to me than the grade-school-aged one for obvious reasons. But they don’t have the proper education on food, which they should. They’re not living in poverty nor do they have a limited mode of transportation, they just choose to go back to the same places and make the same bad decisions. When my grandmother had gotten out of the hospital from being cleared of an artery blockage, as well as having a pacemaker put in, my aunt thought that ordering her fried zucchini from the corner pizzeria would be good for her because it was a vegetable. This is what I mean. And she is the mother of the two girls. But even though I tell them what they don’t want to hear, it makes no difference and I come off as being the know-it-all. Oh, how the world works.

Of the total U.S. population, 18 percent of non-Latinos are obese compared to the 37 percent of Latinos. Surprise, surprise. There are reasons, but since no one is taking that step to education Latinos about what they can do differently and all the options they do have, this is still going to be a problem. We have not yet found a way to educate in a properly, cultural way to the Latino demographic even though many companies and organizations that are Latino based have put the money into a campaign to try to make it happen. And honestly, putting it in Spanish isn’t the answer.

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The Stresses of being Diabetic

Waiting is a dangerous and trying game. Talk about stress.

It’s interesting how stress impacts the blood sugar. On top of your body creating more sugar in your system, you’re also making everything else react, making your heart rate go up, giving you headaches and the like. But really, someone should answer the question: what does stress have to do with blood sugar? A lot.

According to the American Diabetes Association website, stress can impact a person two ways: first, by causing someone to drink, neglect checking their blood sugar or having no time for exercise, which will impact (of course) the blood sugar. Secondly, it can impact blood sugar directly because of the hormones that your body produces.

“Their net effect is to make a lot of stored energy — glucose and fat — available to cells. These cells are then primed to help the body get away from danger,” it states, especially when dealing with the fight-or-flight feeling.

Hell, if you don’t know what this is like, you’re one lucky person. As for me, well, I’m not so lucky. When I get sick, I get really sick. On Monday, I woke up throwing up. No fever, no cramps, just the fact that my stomach did not want to keep anything down was the problem. Not to mention, I lost eight pounds from those two days of not eating. Mind you, it was all water weight, but what does that tell you? Extreme dehydration. I’m still drinking as much water as I can now without bursting and it’s my second day relatively ok. But there’s one little problem: My blood sugars are still not regulated. With as much appropriate insulin I take for what I’m eating, my sugars are still in the mid-200s. And what does that do? It makes me worry and it makes me drink more water.

I freak out. How can I give myself enough insulin so that it puts me in the right position but doesn’t make me drop to a dangerously low level? And then, what can I eat that won’t make it spike? I just got over throwing up my intestines, so I don’t necessarily want anything heavy and rice is the best thing for someone who has been sick. That along with bread. So what do you do? Just thinking about it all gives me a headache, another sign of stress. Not to mention that I always have a lot going on in my life.

But this is what happens in the body, and of course, for people with Type 2 diabetes, cutting the stress also alleviates the problem with high blood sugars. In Type 1, it just doesn’t matter. Go figure.

There are many ways to conquer this though. Breathing, exercises and changing your lifestyle are your top three ways. Talk things out, make sure to get things off your chest because the hardest thing to get away from is yourself, right? So what happens when you have mental stress?! BAH! Sometimes, it’s hard to win, but not impossible.

So now, as I triumph over the evils of this disorder, I invite you to join in with me and say, “I can do this with one deep breath and plenty of vitamins!”

If you did it with me, leave me a comment and let me know. I need things like that sometimes.

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The Support That Pulls Through

Ever try to go on a diet but no one in the house understands and continues to buy cookies and candy, not caring that you’re attempting to stick to your salads and lean meats? Living in a household with more people than just yourself can make dieting kind of hard. When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, of whatever type, multiply that need for support times 10.

A lot of times it’s hard to keep having to explain yourself to other people, especially when you’re learning how your own body needs to improve and function properly to stay healthy. Diabetes is a lifestyle change that many people don’t like to go through, especially Latinos. It bothers me sometimes that many Latinos just want to give up because they think they’re supposed to die from it. I’m Latina and I’m here to tell you it’s not TRUE!

I met someone last year who was diagnosed with Type II diabetes; a Latino. He emailed me to ask what he should do. Get to a doctor, I told him, but firstly, you have to stay away from anything with unnatural or processed sugar. No more pop, no more fast food. Stick to natural and healthy. I gave him a few more pointers since he admitted to me that he never exactly lived a healthy lifestyle and he didn’t know where to begin.

A few months later, he walked into the office where I worked. He had lost about 20 pounds and rejected a sugary drink. “I’m trying to stay away from the sugary stuff now,” he said. I was proud of him for actually taking the initiative to improve his health.

When you have a team of support behind you, you work harder to improve your life. Learning about the consequences if you don’t take care of yourself, like heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, sores and death, may also scare you into your lifestyle change. Whichever works, do it. I say, find that support system.

When you buy food at the grocery store, you don’t have to completely stay away from sugar, just find a balance and choose  wisely. Nutritional Facts on the back of the packages is a good place to start! Finding cereal with whole grain, a lot of fiber and little sugar is better than Frosted Flakes. Now, they sell juice with 50 percent less sugar than regular cartons. When looking for bread, find high fiber, whole wheat bread because fiber actual helps maintain your blood sugar levels. Stay away from consistent red meat and make sure to eat chicken and turkey and fish. Get your family away from high sugar intake. It’s bad for your teeth and just doesn’t make your body feel good. Eat more fresh fruits with natural sugar (which is digested faster) and better for your body. Eat green vegetables. If you grill bell peppers, their sweetness comes out and are delicious. And remember, organic should be your way to go.

As a kid, I didn’t have a choice. I found out I was diabetic when my mom had me checking my blood sugar the required three times a day. “Am I going to have to do this for the rest of my life?” I asked as she pricked my finger. Yes, she told me. That’s when I knew.  A few weeks later they put me in the hospital for four days to monitor my insulin treatment, making sure my body wouldn’t reject the hormone and the dosages were correct.

My mother went through a depression I had never seen before. The fact that her first-born had an illness no one knew anything about was hard for her. How was she going to deal with it? Was it her fault?

I’m not going to lie, I was a fat kid. But at the same time, diabetes starts even before anyone can notice it and by the time any effects are seen, 90 percent of the insulin-making cells have been destroyed. So, it was in my body for long before I was diagnosed.

In order to treat it the best way they knew how (they being the doctors), I had to be on a very strict diet. I had two pieces of toast in the morning with a half cup of orange juice. For lunch I had a sandwich and milk. Everything was accounted for because I was on a consistent dose of insulin and I had to eat or else my sugar would drop. I lost a lot of weight and was attempting to control my diabetes. But I forgot to mention the naturalezas that my grandmother was convinced would cure me! I had concoctions that tasted like grass and plants. I swallowed garlic whole and ate some other things that people would give me. I drank holy water, rubbed holy oil all over my body and they prayed, but nada.

Anyway, at that point, it wasn’t just me that needed support, but my mother did, too. One thing I forgot to mention is that my cousin, who lived three blocks away, was also diagnosed six months before I was. So my aunt was in the same boat as my mother, although she didn’t take it so hard. Both my mom and aunt sought out support groups from the hospital my cousin and I went to. We too, were also in support groups for kids. Some kids would come in and still be healing from the repercussions of diabetes and had to carry along their IV bags and were in robes. Like my cousin, many kids and young adults find out they’re diabetic because they get flu-like symptoms due to hyperglycemia (when your blood sugar is way too high). My cousin was vomiting, peeing every five minutes, his breath smelled of candy (because of the sugar), he slept all the time until finally, they didn’t know what else to do besides check him in.  I was lucky enough that I didn’t go through that. They caught it early in me.

Here’s an interesting fact: Back in the day, like 6th Century BC, they tested you for diabetes by seeing if ants were attracted to your urine. Ants are attracted to sugar, therefore, if ants were attracted to the urine, there was sugar in it and hence you had a problem. This technique was used by the ancient Indians who called it the “sweet urine disease.”

So at the support groups we got coloring books and talked about school. “What would you tell someone if they said they didn’t like you because you’re diabetic?” asked the doctor. I answered that assuredly with, “It’s their problem. I can’t get rid of it and if you don’t like me for that reason, that’s not my fault.” Sounds like me, doesn’t it?

My mom and aunt went to parent support groups and learned a lot about what happens within the body. My mom has since become a medical nut. She’s not a nurse or anything but because of taking care of me and my grandmother, she’s seen more than her fair share of doctors.

Then there are people like the rest of my family who have gotten used to me drinking Diet Cokes, not having too much candy or sugar and are always asking if I’m taking care of myself. They support my healthy choices. Since I’m always around them,  they know that me checking myself and taking a shot is normal. That’s normal.

And of course, my boyfriend. He’s learning more and more by being with me. He yells at me when my sugar drops and I don’t have any candy, he makes sure I check myself when I have to and I eat when I have to and he goes with me to see nutritional specialists and my endocrinologist because he wants to learn. He wants to know how he can support me to make this easier.

When faced with diabetes diagnosis, don’t go through it alone. Doctor Enrique Caballero, MD, from the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard, told me that most people with diabetes are healthier than “normal” people. Everyone wants to be a little bit healthier now a days. So grab a partner. If it’s your aunt, cousin, sister, best friend or parent, there will always be someone to get in on the fight with you. One thing they do out at Joslin is acknowledge people who have been living with diabetes for 25, 50 and 75 years. So if you could have a gold star for making it that long, which one would be your goal?

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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Food, Health, Other Diabetics, Personal, Stories

If You’re Like Me…

If you’re like me, you don’t like to be told what to do. Even more, you hate it when you hear the same thing over and over again. Usually, this is why I don’t tell people what I give up for Lent because they’ll be sure to tell me what not to say, eat or do. “Shouldn’t you not be eating meat?”
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, juvenile diabetes or whatever else you want to call it, I was 7 years old and about to start second grade. Upon the first day of school, it started. She has a disease, she can’t have candy, she gets special sugar-free candies, she can go to the bathroom whenever she needs to. I had a brown paper back in my locker with crackers and regular soda, in case I should get shaky. It was oddly great and weird at the same time.
For Halloween, I got apples. For Valentines Day, I didn’t get candy. For all other times I was asked, “Can you eat that? Isn’t that bad for you?”
It’s exhausting to have to explain yourself over and over especially as a kid. Now that I’m older and have much better control of myself than I did when I was seven, I still get that.
“Youre diabetic, you shouldn’t have that.”
“Is that ok for you?”
“Should you be eating that?”
I understand that people are concerned, but dammit, I have the disease, not you. I know what I can eat, I understand my limitations and I know what comes with it.
My favorite was when a pharmacist in California told my boyfriend not to offer me diet Coke because it still had sugar in it and he should know better. First of all, there’s no sugar, just caffeine which still makes your sugar go up but not drastically and sugar alcohols don’t count. Secondly, mind your own business. Thirdly, she obviously didn’t realize I was Type I. If you’re going to say something, make sure you know what you’re talking about.
I don’t mind when people ask how everything works because then they just want to be educated, but if you think you know more than me, you got another thought coming.
Now, I understand that people feel the same way that may be uneducated about being diabetic. Totally get that and that’s why instead of attacking anyone, I choose to inform them about what can and will happen should they not take care of themselves, nor understand what the consequences are. People feel like they got it and I get that, but, like in my last blog, when I ask how often you check your blood sugar and you say “sometimes” I know there is something wrong.
So please, if you want to be concerned, ask questions and get educated if you want to be supportive of my disorder. But never assume you know what’s going on or that you know more than I do. And definitely, don’t tell me what I should or should not do.

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