Dear Diabetes, Thank You.

6th Diaversary!

Today marks my 6th year living with type one diabetes. As I reflect on how much type one has played a major role in my life and how much it’s impacted me, I’m forever grateful God has chosen me to take on this challenge. Instead of writing about how much I hate being a diabetic and how inconvenient it can be at times, I would like to celebrate my 6th diaversary with a personal thank you note to Diabetes.

Dear Diabetes,

You can’t control me. After putting up with you for 6 years, I feel like we have a special bond and an understanding that I can tell you anything. Now what I’m going to say next may shock you, but I would like to take this time to say thank you.

Thank you for being there 24/7 and never leaving my side even when I wanted to take a break from you. The late nights and early mornings never get old… because we’re bonding right? Knowing I can count on you to wake me up at 3:00am with a welcoming sweaty pillow, makes it all worthwhile. We spend more time together than I do with my fiance and family. We have formed a special bond no one can break, not even my endocrinologist, dietician or doctor.

Remember when you thought you were going to take control of me 6 years ago? I was a freshman in college, running to the bathroom 15-20 times a day, drinking a 24-pack of water that lasted every 2 days, feeling burned out during volleyball practice more frequently, and not knowing what was going on with me.

Well, guess what? I kept going because that’s the only thing I knew how to do. My athlete instinct kicked in and I pushed through the weird experiences I was going through. I blamed my 10-pound weight loss on the tough workouts and the constant urination on all the Gatorade and water I was consuming. I made excuses for something I didn’t know I had for 3 months.

No more excuses. After my diagnosis, you changed my life forever and I have accepted it. I have accepted the challenge.

I thought I was the healthiest I could be at 18 years old, but you fooled me. I am now more aware of what goes into my body. I can look at any type of food and automatically tell you how many carbs it has. I can tell you that Mexican food and pizza will raise my blood sugar 2 hours after I eat because it’s a higher carb meal. With carb loaded meals like those, I know to extend my bolus on my Omnipod to prevent bedtime highs. This has become second nature. Now at 24 years old, I’m the healthiest I’ve been with a 6.7% a1c. So I thank you.

You had me think I was in the best shape of my life, but you constantly remind me that I have to workout daily to keep my numbers in a normal range. But you have to make things difficult. I have to run a temp basal and monitor my numbers throughout my workout to prevent lows because having lows suck. Lows suck especially at the gym when you’re killing leg day and all of a sudden the squat rack feels 20 times heavier. You have to stop in between reps and go to the locker room to squeeze a juice box down your throat hoping you don’t pass out. You’re already sweating from being there an hour so you don’t know you’re THAT low until the room looks blurry, your walk becomes wobbly and your hands are shaky. Besides that Diabetes, you’ve held me accountable and made sure I stay in the best shape of my life.

I could really strangle you and curse your name for how expensive your supplies are, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll rearrange my entire budget and bite my tongue because I have to live. I’m very fortunate to be able to afford your expensiveness… test strips, insulin bottles, Omnipods, alcohol wipes, back up insulin injection needles, glucometers, ketone sticks, blood glucose meters, and batteries. At least you’ve provided me with a temporary survival kit until you are no more. So on that note, I say thank you.

Thank you for showing me how strong I truly am. When you decide to play those funny games in the early mornings, I get you under control and find myself up 3 hours later continuing my normal routine. It’s like I have 2 jobs, one that I get paid for, the other, well… I pay you. Thank you for teaching me that my appearance does not matter. All of the finger pricks, site changes and bruises that appear on my body, are constant reminders of you. I am greater than my highs and lows. I am not my disease. I am capable of the impossible. All because of you. I will not let you win. I’m a type one diabetic showing my gratitude for everything you’ve taught me about myself and with that, I say thank you.

After 6 years of our ups and downs, I can honestly say I’ve had enough and I pray for the day you are gone out of my life for good.

But until that day comes, I will continue inspiring others to push through their struggles and educate those who are unfamiliar with how cruel you really are. Even on my bad days, I will try to look for the positive. I have come too far to throw in the towel now. So on this day, after reflecting on how you’ve changed my life for the good (mostly bad), I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t control me… you never will.

Yours truly.

 

New Partnership with LifeSeasons LLC

Okay… so I know I told you I had some exciting news to share with you. Well, here it is… *drumroll please* I partnered with LifeSeasons, a natural supplements company in Dallas, Texas. LifeSeasons creates natural formulas targeted toward specific everyday health concerns. I’m so excited to be given the opportunity to share with you my 90-day journey with the following all-natural supplements:

Mobili-T 

Rest-ZZZ

Glucose Stabili-T

Living with type one diabetes, it’s difficult to find supplements and/or medications that don’t interfere with your blood glucose levels. For example, I can’t take Tylenol because it raises my blood sugar drastically. Well, guess what? LifeSeasons is a healthy substitute which doesn’t affect your blood sugars! It makes it easy for you, blending all of the natural ingredients together in a safe formula. I knew I had to try these products out.

What it is:

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Mobili-T assists in the free movement of the joints and assists in moisturizing them to help support ease and range of motion. I’m a retired college volleyball athlete and I have accepted the fact that my joints and muscles will forever ache. I recently injured my shoulder, which has limited my range of motion. Depending on the day, the pain creeps up on me; so bad that I can’t sleep on it, put on clothes, or even shower. Any slight movement can be unbearable. With my luck, I also sprained my ankle recently in an alumni volleyball game, and now I’m experiencing stiffness and more pain. So basically, EVERYTHING HURTS!!! I will use Mobili-T twice a day (as suggested) as a daily Ibuprofen replacement.

Rest-ZZZ aids in relieving muscle tension, restlessness, and nerve-related sleeplessness. It helps calm the nervous system and promotes natural sleep cycles. Being the millennial I am, I work a 9-5 job with a few side hustles; life is tiring! My mind races at night and I’m constantly making to-do lists for myself. I’m grateful to try Rest-ZZZ to ease my racing mind and restless nights. Everyone deserves a great night sleep, right?

Glucose Stabili-T helps maintain healthy blood sugar, circulation, and vision. It also supports the body’s natural cellular metabolism. I will use Glucose Stabili-T to help with circulation and vision. Diabetics have to get frequent eye and foot exams. If you’re not in control of your diabetes, it can affect your eyes and feet the most. Eyes- Having high levels of sugar in your blood for a long period of time can harm the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This can result in vision problems or even blindness. Feet- Diabetes can damage your body’s nerves. Nerve damage stops you from feeling pain or other problems in your feet. Poor blood circulation can also cause damage to your feet. A lack of blood flow can slow down the healing process for a sore or infection. IMPORTANT: Ladies and gentlemen, before getting a pedicure, make sure everything is sanitary! Watch the pedicurist clean the bowls and utensils before they touch your feet.

Mobili-T Ingredients: Glucosamine, Chicken Collagen, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), Chondroitin Sulfate, Turmeric Root Extract, Bromelain

Rest-ZZZ Ingredients: Chamomile, GABA, Melatonin, Passion Flower, Valerian Root

Glucose Stabili-T Ingredients: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Bilberry, Chromium, Cinnamon, Gymnema

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LifeSeasons conveniently ships the products directly to your home. If you sign up for the monthly subscription, not only do you save 15% on all of your orders, but you get FREE shipping! If online shopping is not for you, go to your local Whole Foods or Sprouts. LifeSeasons is found on the shelves of many health stores. Find a store nearest you Store Locator.

To find the supplements that are formulated for you, visit Formulas to Help You Rebalance.

I will share my experiences with you as I continue this journey to a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on these fabulous products, click HERE.

#FormulatedforLife

Life Seasons Logo

Coping with the Highs and Lows of Dating a Diabetic

Living with diabetes is difficult enough, from meal planning, carb counting to finger pricks and site changes. When you add the “Big D” to the mix of everyday life, it can cause a relationship to either grow stronger or fall apart. These extra challenges that are involved with the lifestyle of a diabetic are better when faced together. “In sickness and in health until death do us part” isn’t just a memorized vow you say at the altar, it has a deeper meaning to us diabetics. It means when shit gets hard, you will be there every step of the way. When we become shaky, fatigued and sweaty, will you hand us our favorite candy (yummy glucose tablets) or juice box? How about when we’re cranky and argue for no reason? Will you be the first to apologize and tell us to check our numbers for a high? When we are burned out and don’t feel like diabetes-ing today, will you step in and take over our numbers or cook a low carb meal? When the going gets tough, will you run or accept the challenges of this new lifestyle and face it together?

I reached out for some first-hand experiences and tips on dating a diabetic, and the responses came rolling in. I found them very valuable and have shared them with my valentine of 6 years, and now, with you.

“My husband knows a box of chocolates is just asking for disaster, because if there’s chocolate in the house, I will find it and then eat every piece! Flowers are always a sweet gesture, and I won’t snack on those!” – Ang, @sickoftheprick

“My boyfriend and I were together prior to my diagnosis, which was back in November. I always had so much energy prior! Then things started to go downhill. I felt so awful and tired all the time, so much that one day I stopped at his house on my way home from class so I could nap, and then continue on home.
When I got the diagnosis I felt so calm, as if I had already accepted it. I think at that point I was just glad that I knew why I felt awful. Though, that’s when my boyfriend kinda freaked out about it. Every time I ate, we would go on long walks to bring my blood sugar down, and when I wanted ice cream, he literally read all the nutritional facts on all the ice creams at Kroger until he found one with the lowest amount of carbs. Even when I bought him a cake for his birthday, it was obvious that the thought of me eating a slice worried him. He didn’t quite grasp that I could just use insulin. At that point, he had also done research, which of course revealed all the terrible effects that T1D can have on the body.
Now, I’m the one freaking out. It’s like it has finally hit me that I’m going to be battling this the rest of my life. Luckily, my boyfriend is the calm one now. I cry a lot more, and he just holds me. I have a Dexcom G5, so whenever my phone makes a noise, he checks to make sure it’s not my blood sugar. He knows how to use my glucometer, knows how to work my insulin pen, and he knows what to do if I’m high or low. For me, I sometimes don’t even feel a low, but when I do, he can tell. I also never feel highs unless I’m hitting 500.
He has truly made this process so much easier for me, and I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like had I not had such a supportive person by my side through this. As long as a person cares about you, your diabetes won’t matter. If anything, this experience has made our relationship stronger.” – Rachel Reedy

“My hubby said that he’ll remind me to check my bgl if my movements are slow and/or my speech is slurry. I know he has asked me to check them if I’m cranky and I try to listen without being defensive, where possible! When I initially started on insulin, my hubby learned to carb count with me, and I have to say that I relied on him a lot as I was having trouble remembering things at the time. We go for walks together on the weekend, and he happily changes his pace for my interval walks. He was originally impatient when we went on long road trips, but now makes stops patiently if I need to make frequent toilet or water stops when my bgl is up. We mainly eat healthy, and my hubby has learned to try to keep junk food out of sight. He has also slowly learned not to tell me what to eat! It has been a hard road, and we still struggle with it sometimes, but we’re getting better at it all the time.” – Pauline Cunningham

“We have been together almost 24 years, and I was diagnosed about four years ago. He has been awesome. He knows when I am low, and he knows to be patient when I am high and crabby. He wakes me up in the middle of the night to check my sugar if my sensor is not working. He tries to eat as close to me as possible aside from some ice cream and heath bars when he is dying for sugar. He helps remind me to make sure I have all my supplies on me. In return, I have helped him with his sobriety and this year we were both diagnosed ADHD, so we have been through hell together and are stronger because of it.” – Kelly N Jeff

“We have been together 4.5 years, and I was diagnosed just 2.5 years ago. He’s been great at adjusting! Before I got my Dexcom, he would just magically know I was low when I had no idea. He reminds me to take my insulin even when I’m having a rough day and don’t want to and will do pump changes for me if I’m being lazy about it. We are still working on learning that if I start getting mean when high to remember it’s the sugar talking, not me!” – Alexandra Marie Raxter

“I have been with my husband for 6 years. I was diabetic when we first met. It took him a while to get his head around it all, but he’s my rock. Now, he will always take interest in my sugars and remind me to take them if I am unwell. He does it for me at times. He’s good at recognizing symptoms of highs and lows, and he’s been there for every hospital admission, and I would be lost without him.” – Stacey McAinsh

It does’t end here. If you want to give your valentine a shoutout or share some experiences you’ve encountered, please comment below.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
XXXX
P.S. splurge the day away, just don’t forget to bolus 🙂

 

 

 

Sherry Davidson RN, CDE Educates Patients How to Live Diabetter

Q&A with Sherry Davidson RN, CDE


I interviewed Diabetes Educator, Sherry Davidson who was actually the first nurse I met after my diagnosis. Sherry has a passion for education and is full of information. She knew at a young age that she wanted to be a nurse and after occasional fill-ins at the hospital, Sherry earned her career as an educator full time. Sherry answers questions from the correlation between stress and diabetes to the do’s and don’ts of drinking alcohol. Read how my favorite nurse educates people on how to live diabetter!
I’m Sherry Davidson, I’m a Registered Nurse and a Diabetes Educator, I’m the Diabetes Coordinator here. So 70% of my job is diabetes education, mostly outpatient education, I do see patients in the hospital as well. The other 30% is checking in on in patients, I look at lab values and blood sugars and try to make sure we’re managing patients well.

  1. Is there a correlation between anxiety/stress and diabetes?
    That’s a form of stress… anxiety, stress and being scared so any type of stress can make your blood sugar go up or down, most people they go up but a lot of people they go down. One of my patients was learning to drive and he was going for his test and he took his blood sugar before the test and he failed. He took his blood sugar after and it was way sky high, so the next time he went, he did better and didn’t fail. It showed immediately how that one little event really made his blood sugar skew.
  2. Can I reuse a syringe?
    That’s always a hard one, everything you read will say no. There’s a lot of literature that has looked at that just for cost and disposal and all those issues. They do say that technically you can, there’s no risk necessarily of infection to the person, which is what you would be concerned about. The needles are so fine that they do tend to get dull faster and when you look at some of the research that shows the actual needle, after one use it gets a little jagged. It certainly can if you’re using it too much can definitely irritate the skin, but as far as infection risk and everything there’s not really. So I don’t recommend it but I do tell people if you’re out somewhere and you forgot to bring an extra one or you’re over night somewhere and didn’t bring one, reuse it!
  3. Tips on drinking alcohol
    Always have food with alcohol because a lot of people think depending on the alcohol they’re drinking, it’s going to make my blood sugar go up so I better not eat as much. It’s actually the opposite because when you’re drinking alcohol your liver is metabolizing the alcohol and it can’t do anything else. So people actually run the risk of a low blood sugar because one of the functions of the liver is to also release sugar that’s stored and it can’t do that when you drink. The rule I have with that is, women 1 alcoholic beverage, men can have 2 and just always make sure you have food if you’re going to drink.
  4. What is diabetes burnout?
    One of the things I hear patients say is, “I just want a diabetes vacation” because it’s so much work and you’re thinking about it 24/7. I think there are ways to take breaks from certain parts occasionally depending on what your regimen is and maybe having another person be responsible for parts of it for two days so you can kind of have a little break.
  5. Is a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) necessary?
    A continuos glucose monitor is such a great tool, I don’t think it’s a “must” but I think they’re times when it’s helpful. I do think if people are having hard times managing their blood sugar or their a1c isn’t matching because you can’t test 24/7, then it might be necessary. I think the CGM for me is more meaningful to do spot checks. Some people do it all the time, but like you said it’s expensive. Maybe do it 3 days a couple of times a month, just to see where your baseline is and if there is an issue you’re not aware of.
  6. Tips on sick day management?
    One of the big things with sick day management is balancing the carbohydrate beverages with the non-carbohydrate beverages. There’s a difference between staying hydrated, you want to stay hydrated with the sugar-free gatorade, broth, sugar-free jello and water, just things that don’t have carbs in them. Drinking lots of sugar-free beverages to stay hydrated but balancing that with apple juice and ginger ale. So usually what I tell people to think about how many carbohydrates you normally have in a meal and have that same amount even though it might look very different. It might look like apple juice or sprite and alternating with the non-caloric and non-carb.
  7. Does insulin aid in weight gain?
    Insulin is a fat storage hormone and so it stores fat if you have extra you’re not using. I tend to see this with people who have type 2 diabetes more but it definitely can be with type 1 as well. You have insulin that’s not being used, it’s not causing low blood sugar, it’s sitting there so it does cause you to gain weight. So making sure you are using all that insulin and exercise is the best way to do that. Women tend to run their blood sugar higher to avoid weight gain because they know that if it’s high, they’re burning off the calories which is not good. Sometimes when people are first diagnosed, they’ve lost weight and they put it back on and they are like “uh oh, am I going to keep gaining weight?” No, it’s just initially it’s stabilizing, you shouldn’t continue to gain from that if so, we need to look at the ratio you’re using because you’re not using it all.
  8. How can someone manage diabetes without insurance coverage?
    Diabetes is definitely a tough disease if you don’t have insurance coverage. I would say that typically they would be on a different insulin regimen. Some of the newer insulins cost more but we have older insulins that still work fine. You can buy a bottle of insulin for $20 at Walmart if you’re on a generic brand. It can be reasonable but it can be the $200 bottle too. With glucose testing, you can buy name brand which the strips are $1 a piece or you can buy the others that are $15 for 50 strips, so they’re ways to help.
  9. Is it safe to use expired supplies?
    Technically yes we do say that you’re not supposed to use them, I don’t really know what happens. One of the things they say with insulin is that a bottle of insulin is good for a month, 28 days. If you go past that it’s not like it isn’t working, it’s probably now 98% effective. So it does lose its potency, I don’t think something bad is going to happen.
  10.  What is hypoglycemia unawareness?
    A lot of times after you’ve had diabetes for a long time you just aren’t as sensitive. Those nerves that usually warn you that you’re having a hypoglycemic event aren’t there. So people get really low, 20 before they would have any symptoms but then your brain can’t remember what to do and it can be very dangerous. People tend to run themselves higher so they avoid that. What they do say is that if you run yourself a little higher for a while, your body can reset itself. That’s not always true if you’ve had diabetes for a long time.
  11. Any advice for those battling diabetes?
    Staying focused on what the end result is. A quality life is so important and I think enjoying life too. So many people have diabetes controlling them instead of them controlling their diabetes and initially I totally understand because it is self-absorbing and trying to learn everything, but eventually we want to get people where it’s part of what they’re doing. Some people deal with that better than others, I think support systems make a big piece of that.
  12. Will there ever be a cure?
    I do think that sometime in the future. They say every 5 years they say, “Oh, in 5 years…” and they’ve been saying that for the last 30 years but we’ve learned so much. Treatments have definitely improved, so I don’t know that will be exciting one day if they can. I think we know why, we just have to figure out how to fix it.

Ms. Sherry is one of many who has encouraged me to turn my diagnosis into a positive by choosing to live diabetter every single day.

Who has helped you on your diabetic journey?

Do you have more questions you want  me to ask on my next doctor’s visit?

Leave a comment below 🙂