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Guest Post – Crystal Lane

Today’s guest post is from Crystal Lane from Randomly capitalizeD.  She wrote a nice poem for today’s post

Break

So close yet so far
It’s within my reach
If I want to take it
But it feels like a dare
One I am not sure
I’m willing to take
Challenges abound
Constant change
Progressive movement
It’s stealth with it’s alluring
temptation of relief
After so long and
so many invitations
It all seems elusive
Want it is a given
Need it feels it must be
Yet the idea, the thought
puts me back in place
To reality I go
With a fake smile
and an attitude
I trudge through another day
Wondering if a true break
will always be out of reach

———

Diabetes, whatever the type, does not allow for a break. We are constantly managing. We are always aware and alert. Always. It’s consuming and overwhelming. It’s maddening and depressing.
Just for one day, 24 hours, I would Love to not think twice. I would love to just Be. Be me. Not have to worry or think or wonder or be aware. Just be me.
As much as I think about it I still ponder…. who am I really? My Type 1 Diabetes does not define me, never has. It is simply a part of my life. I manage it. It lurks, it yells, it does whatever the hell it wants while I constantly try to keep up.
And all the time I wonder. What would it be like? Would I feel like me? What would others see that maybe I would not?
It’s a delusion of sorts. It allures, it tempts. That elusive break from it all can be deadly. We all know this. We have seen it, heard about it. It’s scary. So does Diabetes scare us into trudging along this path none of us chose?
Maybe. It’s all about perspective, I think. We have a choice of where we place our energy, our anger and even our triumphs.
So even if a “real” break (relative, of course) is to never be I can tell you all, without a doubt, that a darn good break is just being around good people. Even if via email or chat or phone. Their presence is a relief. It allows you to release your frustrations. It allows you to vent, yell, scream. It allows you to laugh, to cry. It allows you to talk and more importantly to listen.
We are all here for one another in this community, in one form or another. We all cannot be there for everyone at all times, that is impossible. But always in the background, we get it, we do understand and we are ready to listen. Always ready to pump our fists in the air at the injustice of our pancreas. Broken Pancreases Unite.

Guest Post – Cara from Country Girl Diabetic

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Cara from Every Day Every Minute Every Hour – Country Girl Diabetic

Words of Wisdom

When I was a child, I didn’t know any other Type 1 diabetics. Then, it was still called Juvenile diabetes. Insulin pumps were so rare, I didn’t know they existed until I was in high school. Blood sugar meters were HUGE. And testing took over a minute. If I remember correctly, it took over 2 minutes to complete the process with my first meter. I grew up when we didn’t go to the doctor very often. Our training was minimal. And we just did the basics of care. We counted exchanges instead of carbs and had no clue how to use a sliding scale for insulin and had never heard of insulin to carb ratio.
Things have changed so much since I was diagnosed in 1986. Treatment is better. Stronger. More efficient. And now, we have the wonders of the internet, which has led us to each other. With that comes some great responsibility for those of you raising children with diabetes. So, coming from a kid with diabetes who grew up, I have some tips for you.

1.)    Sometimes, it’s okay to forget to test before a meal. Not always. But sometimes.
2.)    Sometimes there’s a birthday party at school. Blood sugar is 200. Give the insulin and eat the cake anyway. The memories are more important than that one number.
3.)    Sometimes the joys of being a kid make remembering that you have diabetes difficult. Don’t be upset if your child forgets to eat or test. Deal with it and gently remind them for next time.
4.)    Every number is just that. A number. Sometimes they will be high. Sometimes they will be low. But a LOT of diabetics grew up with less than stellar blood sugars and we are fine. (Not that it means not to take care of your child. But don’t be quite so OCD.)
5.)    Don’t be afraid to let another adult have some control. Your child can’t always be by your side. Just be sure it’s a responsible adult. 😉
6.)    Most of all, remember that you child is a child first. Not a diabetic. Be sure to let them get on with the experience of being a kid. It’ll be worth it to them (and you) in the long run.

Thank You to All Guest Posters

First thing I want to do is thank all of my guest posters from last week. Lorraine and CalebScott Johnson, Cherise Shockley, Michale Hoskins , Rebecca Thomson, and Samantha Morris (Samantha’s has been re-posted and updated due to several technical difficulties).

These blog posts were amazing.  They are going to make my blog look boring now that you have to ready about my boring ole’ life again.  I received a lot of great feedback from readers that I have not had before.  Also, some of my readers that were not reading these other blogs were thrilled to be exposed to these other great blogs.

I encourage all the posters to take a look at all the comments on their posts because there are some great ones.

I will be doing another guest post week shortly, I am thinking about making it a monthly thing, as long as I have a guest post to post, I will post it.

Samantha Morris Guest Post

Today’s guest poster is Samantha Morris – dblogger @ Talking Blood Glucose- life with Type 1 diabetes

My Own Little Bit Of Luck

High blood sugar levels scare me. And perhaps I find myself more terrified of high numbers that any other diabetic I’ve ever met. There’s a reason behind this fear, and it’s something I’ve gone into detail about on my blog before. You see, when I was in University, I was the poster child for diabetic rebellion. I wanted nothing to do with my diabetes, I wanted to be normal like my friends, I wanted to go out every night and get plastered. I didn’t ever check my numbers unless I was feeling seriously unwell, and when I did see those numbers they were up at anywhere between 25.ommol/L and 30.0mmol/L (450-500mg/dL). Those are scary numbers to see, and I didn’t want to believe them so I pretended like I hadn’t even seen them. I would eat a chocolate bar and not bolus for it, I would snack and not bother blousing, I would bolus for lunch. It was just a breakfast and dinner thing for me, and they were fixed doses – 10u of novorapid no matter what I ate. I would take my lantus whenever I felt like it, and there were times where I wouldn’t take it until 3 or 4am after a night out. I’m surprised I didn’t end up in hospital with DKA on more than one occasion.

I guess I was lucky. But it was the words of my consultant that scared me into action: “you’ll be dead by the time you’re thirty if you don’t sort yourself out”. Not exactly the words you want to hear at 11am in the morning before heading off to an afternoon lecture really. From then on I worked hard to get my levels to what they should be. I went to testing eight or more times a day from nothing, I tried carb counting. I became everything I should have been during those years of rebellion.

But then I was diagnosed with a form of peripheral neuropathy. And I found out I had background retinopathy to go along with it. Did I still think I was lucky? No, not really. I sank into a kind of depression when I found out about the neuropathy, it’s not fun being twenty one and having complications. My doctor told me it was transient, meaning it would go if I kept my levels consistent and so, I began to research. I knew full well why I had this, and it’s because I was the world’s worst diabetic, I didn’t look after myself, I did what I wanted. I was stupid. I found out thanks to the wonderful world of the interweb that my symptoms would calm down and maybe even disappear at any time between 6 months and two years. But I had to keep my levels consistently good.

So with work I lowered my HbA1C down from an unknown number to 6.9%. It’s stayed around there for a while now, mainly because of the serious numbers of hypos I’m having on a daily basis. I am currently fighting to get my hands on an insulin pump and am soon heading off to one of the top insulin pump clinics in the United Kingdom. And now, 7 months since that initial diagnosis of neuropathy the symptoms are almost gone. I get the occasional twinge now and then. But the reason I’m so frightened of seeing those high numbers? It brings the pain back to levels I never even thought I could deal with. Seeing numbers like that frighten me silly, make me think I’m slipping back into my old rebellious ways.

Like I say, after 7 months of hard work the symptoms are almost gone. And ok so it’s been helped a little bit by medication, but I fully believe that if I manage to get an HbA1C of less than 7% because of good control rather than hypos, then I can stop the medications. It’s been a tough road, but I am determined not to let this get in the way of my life. It’s taken a backseat now, and hopefully soon I can boot it out of the car!

Am I lucky? I guess in a way I am. My problems thank to rebellion have been few compared to some of the blogs I read out there by people with neuropathy. Many sufferers have a terrible time with it, and they’re not all lucky enough to have a form of it that will go away, that will heal itself with good control. I would still give anything to turn back time and stop myself from doing what I did, but I can’t do that. And so, in my own little way I am lucky.

Rebecca Thomson Guest Post

Today’s guest post is from Rebecca Thomson.

Let’s get right into it.

Myths and Legends

Urban legends – we’ve all heard them. Chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times into a mirror, and she’ll appear behind you. The girl whose boyfriend goes out to get fuel for the car, and is found dead on the roof the next day. The list goes on and on. They’re stories to scare children, disturb adults, and share via those annoying chain emails that everybody hates. But most people know that they’re not true.

Diabetes is no different, when you get down to it. As a disease, it’s surrounded by so many myths and legends that are completely ridiculous. These are the things though that sadly, Joe Public on the street believes to be true. There is so much ignorance out there that it can be frustrating/saddening/infuriating/blood boiling. Choose as you feel appropriate. For me personally, I often find myself split between any of the above. It can depend on what you come across.

I’m very fortunate really, in that in my social circles, I don’t tend to come across that much ignorance. That’s not to say that I haven’t come across any, because I have. I’ve been asked whether I have ‘the one where you’ve got too much sugar, or the one where you haven’t got enough’, and I know my mother had to field off questions from a cousin about how long I was going to have diabetes for, and when it was going away. I was told to ‘call back when (I) came off insulin’ in regards to donating blood. But on the whole, I’ve been extremely lucky that when someone I’m with doesn’t understand a thing, they’ll usually listen to me when I try to explain. Which is great. But I know that unfortunately this isn’t the norm.

You can catch diabetes. You get it from eating too much sugar. Children grow out of it. You’ll go blind/have your legs cut off/die young. You have to eat special ‘diabetic’ foods. You can’t ever eat chocolate. Note – none of these are true. Yet they are all things that you hear people saying, or come across online. Then on the reverse, it’s not exactly uncommon to hear or read things like ‘diabetes isn’t serious’, or that insulin cures diabetes. And let’s not get started on the ‘snake oil salesmen’ that are ten a penny. Though should you feel that some magic berries, grass juice or similar might be fun for a laugh, you’re probably sorted.

The media makes a mistake in an article. People read and believe the media. That becomes generally accepted information – ‘it has to be true because I read it in the Daily News!’. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI – don’t feel you have to link it, but it rather proves the point, I think! ) Why would they lie? But whilst they’re not giving you the right facts, I’m not convinced that it’s outright lying.

What can be done about it all though? That’s the million dollar question. Shoddy journalism by the mass media doesn’t help. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s just a general lack of education. If the writers of many articles were to spend two minutes fact checking with someone actually knowledgeable about diabetes, perhaps the continuing cycle of misinformation could be avoided. There are plenty or reputable sites and sources out there for fact checking. Major diabetes charities have good basic summaries of both types of diabetes on their websites, for a starting point.

I can empathise somewhat with large scale education campaigns only tailoring to one aspect of diabetes. Educate about Type 2, then there’s the risk you’re spreading misinformation about Type 1, and vice versa. Diabetes is a broad and complex disease, with so many different types, variations, treatments and so forth. It’s a lot for someone who might know nothing about it to wrap their head around. You don’t want to overload a person to the point where they’re no longer interested. But there’s got to be a middle ground, surely? It’s just where to find it.

Guest Post – Michael Hoskins

Today’s guest post is from Michael Hoskins.  You know him from The Diabetic’s Corner Booth.  Here ya go:

A recent guest blog post by Cherise about job interviews and diabetes made me think about how our common chronic condition applies on the job, once we’re actually doing whatever they hired us to do.

Who do you tell? When do you tell them? How do you prepare for regular daily activities and those special instances, and what is the response if diabetes interferes? How do you respond to those who may witness a Low or have to fetch candy or juice in response?

The Working D-Life can present any number of issues depending on the type of business or industry one works in, and how often they’re exposed to that role. For example, an office worker sitting in front of a computer or on the phone all day will likely face different issues and hurdles than someone who works retail and stands all day at a cash register or outside doing yardwork.

I’ve had my share of High and Low D-Experiences on the job during my life, in various positions. From hectic newspaper jobs, stable office positions, active retail roles in grocery stores, banquet hall server, and outdoor landscaping. Each has presented its own nuances in dealing with diabetes on the job. Most of my employers and co-workers have been understanding and willing to work with me. Haven’t experienced any discrimination or unfair treatment that I’ve heard others have had in their own lives.

Professionally, I’ve been sitting in front of a computer at work when without warning my blood sugar dropped dangerously Low – leading me to get tired and put my head down, resulting in my passing out on the floor and having my coworkers call the paramedics. That position didn’t last long, but it wasn’t specifically because of that experience that did create embarassment and guilt in my time afterward.

I’ve also worked in retail positions in my younger years and as a restaurant server, and it just meant being more diligent in testing and making sure everything was OK to work. Outside landscaping presented some interesting issues right after my high school graduation (before insulin pumping), but again it was all manageable and just meant having some candy or quick-acting carbs on hand just in case. Of course, fleeing from the bees and wasps presented an entirely different and more concerning challenge!)

My last reporting position at a daily newspaper was anything but conducive to effective D-Management for me, and it only lasted a couple rocky years in large part because of my suffering health. This wasn’t a role I could be lax in working, and work from a home office or take it slow when feeling Low or High. Always on deadline and on the go, and it was brutal on my body. Thankfully, I found what I describe as a perfect job at a legal newspaper that publishes twice a month and allows for MUCH more flexiblity.

Working with a small team of five people (my boss, a managing editor, and two other reporters), everyone is aware of my health issues and they’re extremely understanding. I told my boss and supervisor up front about my health issues (second interview, if I recall correctly). No one hesitates to help or support or give me flexibility whenever needed. My boss doesn’t step overboard in sometimes “acting like a mom,” and I can’t stand that it sometimes is necessary, but she makes a point to know my schedule just in case I don’t appear as normal. I write down all my interviews and meetings on my desk calendar or let someone know in advance if there’s a change, and if by chance she can’t reach me we have the emergency contact (my wife) on hand to jump into action. My boss is about the best I’d ever be able to find, and loves learning more whenever there’s time and I care to share aspects of my D-Life.

That flexibility and work support is something you can easily take for granted, but it makes all the difference in creating a place you want to come to everyday as far as having that great quality of workplace and achieving a balance between health and job duties.

Cherise Guest Post – Job interviews and Diabetes


Day 3 of guest post week is a post from Cherise.  Please be sure to follow her on Twitter because she is very active and gives great advice and comments.

I  would  like  to  thank  Chris  for  inviting  me  to  do  a  guest  post  for  him.    I  am  honored.

There  once  was  a  girl  named  Cherise,  she  lived  in  California  but  soon  to  relocate  to  Indianapolis.    She   knew  she  had  to  find  a  job  but  where  and  what  to  look  for.    Cherise  searched  high  and  low.  She  applied   for  many  jobs  but  no  one  would  respond.    She  almost  gave  up!    One  day  she  received  an  email  from  Sue.   Sue  asked  if  she  would  like  to  come  in  for  a  job  interview  on  Thursday.    Cherise  was  excited.    Could  this   be  it?  She  texted  her  husband  and  off  she  was  to  Kansas  City,  MO  to  hitch  a  ride  with  her  mother  to  the   great  city  of  Indianapolis.      Cherise  knew  she  had  to  eat  something  to  keep  her  blood  sugars  from  rising   but  she  didn’t  have  a  clue  what  to  eat.    Cherise  said, “I  can’t  eat  too  many  carbs  because  I  will  get  sleepy   but  if  I  don’t  eat  enough  carbs  I  will  go  low.”  Off  to  the  waffle  house  she  went.

She  ate  bacon,  eggs   and  hash  browns.      She  looked  at  her  iphone  and  it  was  time  to  go.  
This  is  how  the  interviews  went.

Interview  number  one:
  Hi!  My  name  is  Cherise.    I  have  diabetes.    If  you  hear  anything  alarming  or  buzzing  don’t  be  alarmed.    It   could  be  my  insulin  pump  or  my  continuous  glucose  monitor.    It’s  a  little  hot  in  here  can  I  take  my  jacket   off?    The  interview  lasted  an  hour!  It  was  fun  and  I  enjoyed  talking  to  all  three  of  the  ladies  in  the  room.

Interview  number  two:
  Hi!  My  name  is  Cherise.    I  have  diabetes.    If  you  hear  anything  alarming  or  buzzing  don’t  be  alarmed.  It   could  be  my  insulin  pump  or  my  continuous  glucose  monitor.

Sue: “What  if  your  blood  sugar  goes  low?  What  do  you  do?”

Cherise:  ␣I  have  glucose  tablets  I  carry  with  my  all  the  time.    I  eat  a  few  of  them;  they  bring  my  blood   sugar  up.    After,  I  eat  the  glucose  tablets  I  try  to  eat  something  that  has  protein  in  it  to  keep  my  bg’s   leveled.”

Sue:  “Ok,  would  you  like  a  glass  of  water?”

Me:  “Yes.␣”

The  interview  lasted  about  an  hour  and  a  half.    It  went  great.    I  met  with  2  people.    I  was  asked  about   going  back  to  school  and  why  I  wanted  to  become  a  CDE.

Interview  number  3:
  This  interview  was  sprung  on  me  at  the  last  minute.    I  was  a  little  exhausted.    Seriously,  I  started   interviewing  at  8am….. now  1pm.
  I  repeated  the  same  opening  speech.    I  was  excited!  I  have  never  had  3  interviews  at  once  and  all  in  the   same  place.    My  bg’s  did  not  drop  and  I  was  offered  a  2  positions  out  of  the  3  I  interviewed  for.    I  know   some  people  don’t  like  to  disclose  that  they  have  diabetes  when  interviewing  for  a  job  but  I  try  to  be   honest  up  front.    I  try  to  be  open  and  honest  with  everyone.    I  have  to  go  to  the  endocrinologist  every  3   months.  I  could  go  low  one  day.    IMO,  the  more  people  who  know  about  me  having  diabetes  the  better   it  is  for  me  in  the  long  run.

In  case  you’re  wondering,  I  went  with  job  number  2.

Do  you  inform  your  potential  employer  that  you   have  diabetes?

Be  Blessed

Cherise

Scott Johnson Guest Post – Resignation Versus Resolve

Day 2 of guest post week is Scott Johnson.  He is a great person to know if you don’t know him already.  If you are not following him on Twitter already, then please follow him right now.

I recently wrote a blog post (“Screw It! I’ll Just Eat The Rest”) about not wanting to finish my dinner. My brain almost imploded when I tried to think about my insulin and how it would affect me if I stopped eating. So naturally, I posted about it!

I think it’s important to talk about those sorts of situations because it gives those around us a glimpse of how difficult food can be for us. While food is only a small part of our daily life with diabetes, it seems to take up more energy than it should. At least that is how it seems to me.

I got so many wonderful comments from that post (thank you!), but there was one that hit me and stuck in my head.

Barbara said:

“What I am wrestling with now is balancing resignation with resolve to keep trying and working on it. I think that the key is to try and keep figuring out how to tolerate all these diabetes difficulties which you describe so well. I pray for strength and resilience because most of it can’t be ‘fixed’, just tolerated.”

Thank you Barabara, for such a great comment. That is something I wrestle with all the time! It’s really a tough thing! There is very little positive reinforcement with our diabetes management. Think about it! If we do well enough, the encouragement we get is lack of negative consequences! That is not the same thing as positive encouragement.

The amount of work it takes to maintain anything close to normal is mind-blowing. Many of us try so very hard, but still struggle more often than not. The messages we receive when we’re not doing so well are all negative. Those messages come from many places (including our own heads!), and often get skewed by our huge load of guilt (why do we feel so guilty?).

I am all too familiar with the “resignation” that Barbara talks about. It usually comes to me in one of two ways. One is after I’ve tried SO HARD and still can’t seem to do well enough. The other is a slower, sort of grinding down of my resolve to keep trying. I think that one in particular is from the lack of positive reinforcement.

I try very hard to not be negative, and honestly, it’s not always negativity directly, but rather the LACK of positive signals and messages. If I do great – well, that’s expected. If I do poorly, then by default I’m not working hard enough. It’s a failed feedback system that has been built into so many of us.

Have you ever had a really great A1C? You and the doctor might celebrate for 5-10 minutes, then you’re back out in the world again. You are expected to maintain that fabulous A1C, and often to work even harder to get it down more! There is constant frustration built into something that always has room for improvement. It is a hard, hard balance for us to find. The balance between resignation and resolve is slippery, and most often a moving target. What is the answer? IS there an answer?

Lorraine/Caleb Guest Post – The Power of Perspective

With all of the great blogs that are out there, I decided to run a guest post week.  I want my readers who are not your readers to become readers because I know how great your blogs here.  Well, let’s get into blog week.

First up is Lorraine, mother of Caleb.  Her blog is This is Caleb.

The Power of Perspective

When Caleb was diagnosed, I assumed I would handle the challenge of his diabetes as I had handled countless others in my life – independently.

“Strong”, “responsible” and “independent” are words used to describe me for as long as I can remember.  My presumption was therefore that I could, and even should, handle this by myself.

It took several months for me to reach out to others.  I joined a few online forums, mostly geared toward parents of PWD.  These people were a treasure.  Whenever I had a question, they not only had the answers, and had them quickly, they had the perspective I needed and did not find in friends, family or even doctors.  These forums became a lifeline for me.

But my questions became very specific and I had to figure out all the little Caleb nuances on my own.  I found myself on these forums less and less as I was spending my time on charting, tracking, evaluating, and analyzing Caleb’s numbers.

I became so engrossed in figuring things out, I isolated myself from the support system that had been holding me up, and I didn’t even realize it.

Then I came upon the TuDiabetes community.  Although within this community there are parent groups that I value, the variety of diabetics is broad.  I had entered a whole new world of information and experiences from which to learn.  I followed discussions and read experiences of the adults that live and have grown up with diabetes and found these views very informative and valuable.  It provided a new comfort.  I was getting a glimpse into Caleb’s future that until then, was very uncertain to me.

It was a new perspective.

This led me to join Twitter to follow Team Type 1.  Almost instantly someone I didn’t know was following me.  How does this Twitter thing work and who is this Scott Johnson guy and why is he following me?  It was days before I took the leap to follow him back, but soon the floodgates opened and I was following and being followed by lots of people in the DOC.  I was reconnecting with parents and getting that much needed support back, but I was making new relationships too.

To that point, I viewed parents of PWD as distinct and separate from PWD themselves.  My mindset was born out of respect for people who live with this responsibility every day.  As much as I understand and as much as I bear the responsibility for Caleb’s diabetes management, I am not the person living it.  As such, I never expected someone with diabetes to have any interest in anything I had to say about it, because really, what do I know?

I was wrong.

Although I did not literally have arms around me, I was most definitely embraced.  I was talking with people about diabetes and lots of other things.  I was being included in discussions and it was uplifting.  Scott is actually not a stalker.  He is a diet Coke-drinking, iPhone-using, basketball-loving, mega-blog-commenting super great guy, dad and husband.

The connections I have with PWD give me a view into Caleb’s mind, or at least the closest thing to it.  I sometimes see the wheels turning inside his head, but I don’t know what he’s thinking or feeling. Talking with the people who live this, and have grown up with it, helps me understand and empathize and thus make decisions not only in Caleb’s daily care, but in the big plan: the plan for him to gradually assume the responsibility for his own diabetes.

Just a few weeks ago, Chris himself shared some perspective – perspective regarding a mom’s worry about her adult son.  Thank you for that, Chris.  That little nugget is one of several that you and others have given me that will stay with me for years; probably forever.  I will never be able to repay you for that.

There was a time when I thought I should handle Caleb’s diabetes by myself.  I suppose I could, but I am glad I don’t have to.  Thank you, all my adult PWD friends.  You have given me, and therefore Caleb, so much.  You have welcomed me into your world, and I respect that I am just a visitor to a certain degree.  It gives me great comfort to know that when Caleb is ready, you will be there for him, and I am confident that he will be there for you.

I wonder if you know the power your perspectives have on me and other parents of KWD, and how sincerely we appreciate them.