Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Running Against the Wind

I am honoured that I have been asked by JDRF Canada to be part of their Blogger Network. When they reached out to me, I couldn't get over the fact that they even found me.  But I also know that as a person who happens to blog, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for a very long time and also live in Canada, that it could happen, and then it did. :) 

Living with diabetes is like running against the wind. 

Sometimes living with it is like being brushed by a gentle breeze - the calm days that quiet our minds, when our blood sugars behave and we can exist in the diabetes happy zone, almost like 'regular' people. 

There's a whirlwind of doctors - specialists and general practitioners - who endlessly discuss our A1c's, our eyes, feet, and other body bits that can be affected by diabetes, as we worry our bodies might betray us as we get reminded about what we should be doing, and what we shouldn't. 
Credit: kubcia

Diabetes can be like a tropical storm, which can batter you, throw things at you that you didn't see coming, which leave marks like unseen bruises. 

Low blood sugars pop up at unexpected moments. Sometimes we can see them coming, and they leave us numb and confused.  They wake us up in the middle of the night or keep us up, not letting us get the much needed sleep, ironically because we were up the night before, dealing with yet another low.

There's the frustrating high blood sugars, which despite throwing insulin at them, routinely mock us, laugh at us like those creepy little gnomes that live in people's gardens. Then, just to add a little insult to injury, because as we overcome the high with insulin to attempt to get those numbers down, because the system is imperfect, back down to lowland we go. 

Don't be disheartened though, for diabetes gives us resilience. All of these winds have made us who we are. 

If we each had a magic mirror, and could wish away all of those winds away from our pasts, and whisk away all of our challenges, it would also wash away the discovery of how strong we really are, and who we have become. Without that, would we be who we are today? 

It's  not all about those storms. But I've learned over the years, just as those gentle breezes shift, diabetes also shifts. I continue to get by, to survive, and I will continue my journey to become a better and stronger person, while running against the wind. 
Sometimes I go about pitying
While I am carried by the wind
Across the sky. ”
            ~ Frances Densmore

We can change the direction of the wind. We can do it many ways, including supporting, or even participating in the TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes. Our very own DOC (Diabetes Online Community) member, and Canadian, Alanna Swartz, is stepping out to make such a difference

Let's change the direction of the wind by participating, supporting a family member, or any one of our T1D friends, or at least share the word with others. If you live somewhere else, look up your JDRF chapter and find out what they are doing, to make living life with diabetes just a bit better for all of us. 

This Walk raises critical funds for research focused on curing, treating and better preventing Diabetes. I am all about that! 

And is it a fit? I'll let you figure that part out, and I'll just continue writing, and hope what I share with you here gives you something to reflect on. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Matter of Perspective

A conversation that I recently had:
Pharmacist:  You are on only two medications! That’s amazing!! 
Me: Actually, it’s three. 
Pharmacist:  ????  Two.  
Me:  Don’t forget the Insulin. 
Pharmacist:   Oh, right!!! But you are like a rock star diabetic! Nobody is on just two meds! 

Now, it did feel good to be called a rock star diabetic. Because nobody has ever EVER called me that. 

Credit: Valerei

This conversation came 26 years - almost 10,000 days - after my diagnosis, and it did make me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside. But I would bet there are lots of PWD - People With Diabetes - who are not on other meds, like children for example. But I’m not going to argue that point. 

Because what strikes me is this:

Has insulin become so ubiquitous in our culture, that it is no longer seen as a medication with its own challenges? 

Is this why people shrug diabetes off? Is it why people tend to think that all you need to do is eat well, take your insulin, take your meds, and all will be well? 

Does it take a diagnosis of diabetes, and living with diabetes for a while to understand that insulin is not a cure? That even with the modern advances of better insulins and technology, that there are still many challenges for those who inject or pump it everyday?

Insulin is not a cure, and it is not easy to manage. But I do my best to manage it. Every day. 

And that makes me a Rock Star. And if you are a Person With Diabetes, that makes you a Rock Star too. 

So when you're not feeling much like a Rock Star, and it will happen from time to time, remember that it's a matter of perspective.

When it rains, look for rainbows
When it's dark, look for stars
                                                                          Esther Comau

Sunday, August 24, 2014

That thing you're doing*

*The full title of this post is actually "That thing you're doing right now, and don't even know it", but for Twittery reasons, I have shortened it. :)

An advocate cares. 
An advocate wants to affect change. 
An advocate wants to engage, influence, and chart new paths in churning chaos. 

Advocates are all that, and none if that. It's like saying all ALS supporters want to have buckets of ice water thrown on their heads. There are as many types of advocates as there are people. 

I call myself an advocate, because I speak what's on my mind, usually about diabetes but not always, albeit I often edit it just to keep it in the realm of being family friendly ;)

~Mahatma Gandhi~
But far from the advocacy 'stars' (bless them!), I am a small tiny star just trying to make a tiny difference. I choose to share my thoughts about diabetes in a blog, on Twitter, and with my co-workers if they ask me about it. 

When I see others struggling with diabetes, or with any other challenges online, I break out of the mindset that "they will work it out" or "Somebody Else will help them", and I will offer suggestions, or if nothing else, give them a little virtual pat on the shoulder if I don't have an answer. 

I am sometimes inspired to write letters to organizations, but not often, because I usually end up feeling my efforts seemingly go unnoticed. I do when I think it's important though, and I do harbour a little hope that somebody out there is sharing that email with others, exclaiming, "See this??! Isn't this brilliant??!"

All this being said, I'd also venture to say that you are an advocate too, because you are reading this blog post. You probably have read some other, much more inspiring posts and commentary than this. You have come down a different path to get here, whether it was looking for insight, looking for clarity, or just a little curious. 

Whatever it is, whatever brought you here, and however you get to where you are going, you will take away a new fresh perspective all your very own. And one day, you may find yourself sharing your own take on things with others - your partner, your extended family, or your best friend, over a cold lemonade and a package of Oreos. And maybe your sharing with them can expand their world just a little bit too as they go on their own life journey.

And that makes you an advocate too.

It doesn't take much. Just as Mahatma Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hacking Life with Diabetes

So many people are just so clever, and have so many great ideas. Check out right here for some wonderful ideas.

I won't try to compete, and I encourage you to check them out. But I do have one hack to share. 

You know all those lancets hanging out in the bottom of your diabetes supplies? You get 10 of them with every new meter... that's like 10 years worth (well, in my world it is anyway). 

So what to do with all those extra lancets? Whenever you get a sliver, it makes an awesome sterile sliver removal tool when you don't have tweezers hanging around. 

You're welcome. :)

This is my submission for Diabetes Life Hacks - #DBlogWeek Day 5. I submit we should give more respect to the lowly lancet. It can be seriously useful. Nothing worse than a sliver... except maybe a paper cut, but I've got nothing for that.