Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giveaway: Stick Me Designs

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Rickina, creator and owner of Stick Me Designs, posted on facebook about wanting to give us bloggers a chance to test and blog about her product. I jumped at the chance because I've honestly been wanting a Stick Me bag for a while, but haven't ever gotten around to getting one.
Stick Me Designs is a company that makes meter bags that are NOT your plain old black bag. They are beautiful. Because honestly, who wants to have that boring old black bag? Not me. I've had a black meter case for 25 years now. And we all know how boring they can get.
Rickina sent me the Aqua Deco print of one of her cases. She also told me I could either keep it or have a give away. It came in a cute package and when I got it out, it was amazing! The fabric seems to be pretty durable and there are a million and one zipper pockets, and elastic bands. I put some of my things in it to give you all an idea of what it looks like.

Basically, I was able to fit in my meter, lancet device, 2 bottles of strips, insulin, emergency batteries, glucose tabs, a spare infusion set and reservoir, along with all the other supplies needed for a full pump change. I also put in my glucagon kit. And it all fit! In fact, one of the pockets on the outside of the case is lined in a cold pack material, which is where I stored my insulin.

I loved this case. But I decided to part with it. Here are my reasons, it's kind of big (obviously, to fit all of that stuff) and I would have an issue fitting it into my purse easily. I would probably get a lot of use out of it on vacations and on short trips, but not the every day use that I think a student carrying a backpack or a parent of a child with diabetes might be able to get out of it. Because it was given to me, I didn't feel right keeping it if I wasn't going to use it all the time.

So instead, I'm giving all of you a chance at winning this awesome Stick Me Designs bag. All you have to do it comment on this post before midnight CST on Monday, June 6th. I'll do a random drawing for the winner. But even if you don't win, I highly suggest you go check out Rickina's site. She has some beautiful and functional products that you should check out.

*disclaimer: This product was sent to me free of charge in exchange for me blogging about it. I was not told what to blog, only to be honest in my blog, which I have done.*

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another D Meet-Up

I love my meet ups with diabetes peeps. For the past 3 years, every May I've made a trip to NYC. It seems to be the place to be to get a good concentration of people from the D-OC. Every time I meet new people and get to visit with people that have become my friends both online, and IRL.

This year was no different. Thanks, as always, to Allison for putting this deal together (that girl is the ultimate organizer!).

There is nothing in the world like sitting at a table full of people wearing pumps, giving injections, and testing blood sugars. It makes me smile.

I'd tell you again how much I love the D-OC, but I think I say it so much that it's starting to get old. Either way, you guys are wonderful. And thanks for taking time out of your day to come hang out with me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What We've Learned

Today's final post is going to be short and sweet. I'm currently getting ready to head into New York City for vacation (and hopefully some amazing meet-ups!). This post is supposed to be about what I've learned. Basically I've learned one very important thing about myself & my diabetes since I found the D-OC. That thing:


Friday, May 13, 2011

Awesome Things

Diabetes has brought me so many wonderful things. The most awesome thing is the D-OC, without a doubt. I've met so many wonderful people in person and on the internet. You've given me the chance to express myself. You've shared your stories with me. I've guest blogged. I've had amazing diabetes meet-ups. I've  had the chance to join the Diabetes Advocates.

But diabetes has give me other things as well. Diabetes taught me to take care of my health. It taught me to be responsible from a very young age. It taught me compassion. It taught me the importance of health insurance. Diabetes taught me to share myself with others. Diabetes taught me the importance of juice boxes and to be thankful for a night of uninterrupted sleep. Diabetes has taught me how great it is to find a box of band-aid dots (not the silly mixed boxes). And that when you find juice boxes with 14 grams of carbs, you should buy them all.

Diabetes, in spite of all of the bad parts, had brought some of the most wonderful things into my life. And that makes me thankful.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

10 Thing I Hate About You, Diabetes

Along the vein of one of my favorite movies of all times, 10 Things I Hate About You (R.I.P. Heath Ledger), I write today's post. It's not the best sounding in the world, and in truth, it's slightly more than 10 things, but there were slightly more than 10 things in the movie poem as well (count 'em!).

10 Things I Hate About You, Diabetes
I hate the way you sneak up on me and the way you make me bleed.

I hate the way you interrupt my life, I hate it that you’re there.

I hate your stupid highs and lows and the way they mess with my mind.

I hate it when you make me sick, even when it’s a bad time.

I hate the infusion site changes and the needles and the pain.

I hate it when you make me tired, even more so when you make me cry.

I hate it that you’re always in my thoughts and the fact that you always come first.

But mostly I hate that you’ll never be gone. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wild Card Day - My First Vlog

I picked a Wild Card topic for today. I decided to vlog. This is my first vlog and was actually recorded a few weeks ago, right after my four year blog-aversary. But I couldn't get it to upload to YouTube, so it's a little late. But Diabetes Blog Week is the perfect opportunity to present my very first vlog.

All I ask is that you turn the volume all the way up (I've not quite figured out sound) and don't laugh at me too much. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter Writing Day

Dear Younger Self,

You’re young now. Life is carefree, for the most part. High school is scary, but you’ll make it. Don’t let those popular kids make you feel bad about yourself. Most of them will end up pregnant before they make it out of high school. Or they’ll end up on drugs.

Take some chances. Life isn’t nearly as black and white as you sometimes think it is. Remember that there’s a big world outside of your hometown. You’ve not seen it yet. But you will. And you’ll enjoy it. Pick a career path that will lead you away from home, not back home. Home is nice. But there is so much you can do if you’ll just broaden your horizons.

Know that there are others with diabetes out there. You don’t know them yet. But you will. Seek them out. Having someone who understand will make your world a better place and open you up to opportunities that you can not even begin to imagine. Diabetes can be rough sometimes, but don’t ignore it. Test more often. And don’t be so scared of an insulin pump. It will make your life a thousand times easier.

You like to play it safe. I know you well. Just a tip, sometimes safe isn’t always the best path to take. Push yourself. Do things you think you can’t. And don’t ever let diabetes hold you back.

When you’re in college, don’t stop going to the doctor. Test, test, test. Once a month is not often enough. And don’t stop giving yourself all of your insulin. It’s damaging. Sure, you want to be like everyone else (who doesn’t?), but you’re causing your body damage. And since I know you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to remember that a 12.1 A1c isn’t going to get you long and healthy. The sooner you get it under control, the better off you’ll be.

Most of all, remember to find yourself. It’s important to learn who you are while you’re young so you can decide what you want out of life. Your friends are wonderful, but you don’t have to be just like them. You can be yourself. Just like the great big eclectic mess that you are. And that’s just fine.


Your Future Self

Monday, May 9, 2011

Admiring Our Differences

Today’s topic for Diabetes Blog Week really starts us off the right way. Admiring our differences. Wow. Diabetes is one word, but there are so many different types and so many bloggers have different relationships to diabetes. I had to think so hard about who I wanted to talk about today. I’ve learned so much from all of you.

But the one that seems to hit closest to home for me are the blogs written by parents that have children living with diabetes. I’ve had diabetes for almost as long as I can remember. I don’t know what it’s like to live without diabetes.

I know how much work and effort I put into my own care each and every day. I know how frustrating it can be when I do everything right and the diabetes gods still don’t smile upon me. Those unexplained highs and lows.

But something I rarely, until the D-OC that is, thought about was my parents and their relationship with diabetes through me. I don’t have children of my own, but I have a mother’s heart. And I can’t begin to imagine one of my own children having diabetes.

The worry that every parent feels naturally has to be compounded a hundred fold. Maybe even a thousand fold. When I read the parent blogs it makes me realize, just a tiny bit what my mom and dad went through with me. The sleepless nights. The hospital trips. How hard they tried to just let me be a kid in spite of diabetes sometimes ruling our lives.
When I was a kid, people would tell me how brave I was to test my blood sugar and give myself shots. Looking back I hope those same people told my parents how brave they were. Because they were more brave than I ever was. If anything, I followed their lead. I was brave because they were brave.

Parent blogs make me thankful that I’m the one with diabetes, and that I’m not the one raising a child with diabetes. Although I’m sure I could do it with grace by mimicking those parents online and my own parents.

To all of the parents out there raising a child with diabetes, thank you. Thank you for doing your best. Thank you for your sleepless nights. Thank you for worrying about us. Thank you for all the stress you endure. Thank you for doing everything you can to make our lives as normal as possible. Thank you for helping us to understand that a number is just a number (it’ll be better next time). And most of all, thank you for loving us.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

To My Mom

Sunday is Mother's Day. I love my mom every single day of the year. I think I love her more every single day I think. But this year holds a little bit more of a special meaning to me. And it's all because of a post written about a week ago by Hallie from The Princess and the Pump. At the beginning of May Hallie and her husband J had a terrifying experience with their Princess, Sweet Pea. She wrote about it in a post called The Scariest Night of My Life. When I read this post, I cried. I cried tears for Hallie and her husband. I cried tears for my mom and dad.

I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt that I put both of my parents though similarly terrifying experiences through the years. But I never really thought about how it affected them. Though my dad did some of my care, my mom was my primary care giver, especially when it came to diabetes.

Thank you Mom. I can’t tell you in any amount of words or blog posts how much you mean to me and how much I love you. But here are some of the things that I need to thank you for.

Thank you for the sleepless nights.
Thank you for the times you worried.
Thank you for the countless prayers you’ve prayed for me.
Thank you for letting me be a kid.
Thank you for the doctor visits and the subsequent buying of a troll to add to my hideously large collection.
Thank you for always reminding me, “You’d better take care of your diabetes or it will take care of you.” :)
Thank you for always loving me, even when I was impossible.
Thank you for each and every time you put what I wanted before anything that you wanted.
Thank you. I love you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Frustrated Rant

I apologize for this depressing post ahead of time. But I'm feeling it a lot right now and need to get it out. I don't like to talk about the negative part of living with diabetes very often. Truth of the matter is, I avoid discussing some areas of living with diabetes like the plague. Because some of the negatives of living with diabetes make me feel like I'm in a cage with no way out.

From the time I was a small child I understood that diabetes cost a lot of money. When I was first diagnosed, meters ran in the hundreds of dollars (no free meters here!). I remember when losing a meter was a HUGE deal. And I did lose a few.

And although I had a fairly normal, stable upbringing, I thought about running away once. When I was about 8 or 9, I think. And I remember my thought process about it. I knew what I needed to take; toys, clothes, food...and insulin. I even got smart enough to realize if I waited until my mom got my prescription refilled that I'd have the most amount of insulin to take with me.

Then it occurred to me that I couldn't stay gone forever (isn't the the point of running away?) because once the insulin ran out, I'd have no way or no money to get any more. Diabetes foiled my plans. It also made me realize, even more than I already did, that the answer to me living a semi-healthy life was to having health insurance.

I was quite a bit older before I realized that getting health insurance was harder than it seemed. I couldn't just buy a policy on myself. I couldn't work for a company that made me pay for my own. I think I was in middle school or high school when I finally realized that I'd have to work for a big company in order to go in under a "group policy" to get my health insurance.

As a college student this wasn't really an issue for me. I knew that I was going to be a teacher. And working for a school system offered great insurance. No problems, right? Yeah. Sure. Turns out that even though I loved children and the act of teaching children, teaching in the public school system wasn't really for me. There is too much going on that doesn't have anything to do with teaching (I still gladly teach my Sunday school class and adore children).

So I ended up working for state government. Still great health insurance, even though it isn't exactly my dream job. But the longer I'm with my job, the more I want to be doing something else. I am thankful for my job. I'm not miserable (most of the time). But it's not my life's passion.

The problem that arises is that most of the things I want to do require either A) more schooling, or B) being self-employed. Both of those end up with me leaving my job and losing my health insurance. I'd love it if I had a "significant other" that could carry insurance on me while I went back to school. But I don't. Also, almost anything that I'd want to do requires self-employment. And as we have all learned after diabetes entered our lives, getting insurance when you are a diabetic is IMPOSSIBLE or way, way more money than anyone can afford (unless they're rich, which I'm not).

Basically, I feel like I'm running into a corner or a wall over and over again. Frustrating, yes. Depressing, yes. I can live with the normal ups and downs of diabetes every day. I can deal with the fact that I'm probably going to have to deal with this disease for the rest of my life. I've been doing these things for most of my life already. But the fact that diabetes, in some ways, seems to be keeping me from what I want to do with my life frustrates me beyond belief.

I don't want diabetes to have that much control over me. But diabetes doesn't seem to be happy with dictating when I eat and sleep. And when I'm feeling well and when I'm not. And sometimes even what clothes I wear (dresses, girls??). Diabetes seems to even want to dictate what I do for a living.