Ten reasons I am glad that I have diabetes


Happy World Diabetes Day! As a tribute to today I decided to talk about the plus side to living with diabetes. I have compiled the following list of ten positives to living with diabetes:

1 – Responsibility – Being diagnosed at age 11 meant that I had to learn about consequences that my actions
made from an early age. For example, if I ate something sweet and did not take my isulin, my blood sugar would go up and I would get sick.

2 -To be adaptable – There are days when i would do exactly the same thing and get totally different results. On days like these you learn how to WAG (Wild Ass Guess) it until you can SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) it. **Side note – WAGging it simply means you take a guess and hope all goes well while with a SWAG you have some calculations to help your guess such as carb-counting or a correction bolus guide)

3 – Strength – I learned I was stronger that I thought. I saw a t-shirt for T1 Diabetes that read “you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” and I totally agree. I was terrified of sticking myself, I didn’t mind others doing it but I refused to do it myself until my doctor at the time looked at me and said, “Steph, you’re mom isn’t going to be there all of the time and I can’t let you go home until you can.” It took about a week and some swollen oranges (I had to practice by injecting water into the orange lol) but I did it and have no problem doing it now.

4 – Health – There were some years that my diabetes made me frail and weak but I know when I am older that I will be ten times healthier than many of my friends. Even though there is nothing that I can’t eat, there are times that I choose not to. I know that diabetes puts me at a greater risk of developing other conditions and I do my best to avoid them by eating right and exercising.

5 – A New Language – I speak Diabetic! How many people do you know that include words like Endocrinologist, pancreas, Ketoacidosis, bolus or Dawn Phenomenon in their vocabulary? Not to mention that certain words and phrases (like number, swag and bs) have an entirely different meaning for a person with diabetes than it does for someone without.  When my mom asks me how I am doing I am more likely refer to my blood sugar readings than my actual day. We also have our own “diabetic” words like glucoaster and diaversary.

6 – Determination – There are those days when nothing seeems to go right, when diabetes just seems to get in the way and seems way to hard to deal with. Many diabetics go through what is termed as “Diabetes Burnout” from one time to another but most of us realise that giving up really isn’t an option and we keep on pushing on even through very difficult situations.

7 – Team Player – Behind every controlled diabetic is a support team of doctors, nurses, family and friends. When you are diagnosed, you become a part of a team that helps you to manage your diabetes. The only way to get the most from your team is through your willingness to become a part of it. You learn that the only way to really be able to manage is by working together, asking questions and sharing information.

8 – Management – Time plays an important role in the management of diabetes. We learn to keep a schedule of what time to test, inject, eat, exercise as well as fit in all of the other non-diabetes related stuff that we do everyday.

9 – Travel – There are so many places that I have had the oppurtunity to visit and experience because I had diabetes. Whether it be a trip to a diabetes camp in another country or a diabetes conference, I have the ability to that I have been there.

10 – Friends – I have met so many new friends and become much closer to my old ones because of my diabetes. I have a ton of local and on-line friends with diabetes now (many of whom I would have never met if not for diabetes) and my ‘normal’ friends and I have become much closer. They got my back lol. Yes, I did lose a few who didn’t want to understand but there is nothing like an illness to show you who your true friends are.

Introducing Mindy


Well my supplies from Barbados ran out and after a few days of trying endlessly to find my brand of test strips, I decided to buy a new meter. Say hello to Mindy (so named because of all the stuff she reminds me like whether the reading was pre or post meal and also to take my post meal tests)  She also has some style – no black meter case here, even the lancets are multi-colored (though I personally perfer my old lancing pen which I still use) The only thing I have to get used to is the readings being in mg/dl.

Mindy's stylish purple case

What They Should Know – DBlog Week Day 5


Prompt: Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September.  The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”.  Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes.  Have more than one thing you wish people knew?  Go ahead and tell us everything.

Oh my… where do I begin? I guess the first I would like people to know is that there’s no such thing as a “bad” type of diabetes. They are just different. Whenever I meet someone new and they find out that I have to take injections, the first thing they usually assume is that it must be bad because their grandmother only has to take pills. Type 1 diabetics have to take insulin because our pancreas no longer makes it.

Then there is the belief that you must have eaten a ton of sweets as a kid. We did nothing wrong. Our immune system decided to attack our pancreas and the beta cells not longer function. It wasn’t caused by having a sweet tooth.

Oh… and the horror stories or magic cures that you heard about. We really don’t need to know that your aunt lost her leg, turned blind and is on dialysis three times a week. Dealing with diabetes is tough enough as it is without having to think of dreadful complications. We know the risks. We have heard them time and time again and as far as these ‘cures’ are concerned there is not enough research or proof to prove that any of them actually work. So let us stick with what we know will – insulin, healthy eating and exercise.

Last thing I would like to say would be to show any diabetic (Type 1, 2, LADA, etc) you’re support. No matter which type they have because we all go through challenges. It is a 24/7 365 days a year (366 on leap years) job. We have our ups and downs and many ‘normal’ tasks require premeditation on our part even when it seems like we do it so easily.

There is probably much more I could talk about but I will leave it at these for now. It’s my birthday today so I am off to go and celebrate. I hope everyone is having a great day and happy Dblog week!

Fantasy Diabetes Device – DBlog Week Day 4

I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday’s post so I will post it right after I finish writing this one.

Diabetes Blog Week

Prompt: Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

My answer is probably not what you will be expecting. You see (at this point in time) my fantasy diabetes device already exists. In Barbados, insulin pumps and CGMs aren’t that common. I heard about them when I was first diagnosed eight years ago and at that time the doctor was like, “Well, they are available in the US but we don’t have them here.” There are only a couple of people with diabetes who have insulin pumps in Barbados (and I can probably count the number on my fingers). I saw a pump for the first time in real life only this week.

The idea of devices inserting needles by themselves, delivering insulin continuously for three days, bolus calculators and being able to view your blood sugar at any point in time by looking at a hand held device; they all seem like a dream come true.

DBlog Week Day 2 – One Great Thing


Today’s prompt: Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

I have to admit today’s post seem easy enough until I actually had to start writing it. I can think of tons of things I do wrong and I admit I tend to beat myself up when my blood sugars are off. When it came to thinking of something I do well my mind drew blanks. I could list a ton of things I am just average at. So I asked my mom; her answer was that I always drink tons of water.

At first I felt a little disappointed (Oh great… Is that it? – I drink water – how interesting) but then I realized how important it is to remain hydrated (especially if you’re high). I probably drink at least a gallon of water everyday – no exaggeration. There are times I don’t want to drink juice because of all the sugar, don’t always feel in the mood for diet soda (maybe because we only have the choice between Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi or Sprite Zero). Water is just pure and I always have a bottle of water by my side (especially since Barbados is so hot).

Maybe it is because in the hospital the first thing they put in you is a ton of IV fluids – which consist of mostly water. I used to always be told that I was dehydrated, sometimes going in to ICU for severe dehydration. Since I have been drinking more water, I find I am healthier and I have only been in hospital once for the last seven months (which is a big deal given my track record of going in almost every two to three months)

I guess it is not as spectacular as testing every two hours or being the carb-counting bolus queen (hopefully I will get there someday) but I am proud to say I drink more than my quota of 8 cups a day.

Find A Friend – DBlog Week Day 1

Sorry that I’m so late. I had a few technical difficulties (my laptop did not want to connect to the Internet all day) 😦 but I’m here now.

Well I’m still new to the Diabetes Online Community and have not yet had the chance to read all of the blogs I want to read but from the few that I have read here is my list of blogs to definitely check out. (There are way too many blogs to just list one lol)

First up is the blog at www.smartDpants.wordpress.com. I absolutely love her personality she simply tells it like it is, whether you like it or not. She is funny and sarcastic at times and her tag-line describes her (and her blog) well – a girl with a dumb pancreas, a smart mouth and some thoughts on living with diabetes.

Next is the blog that made me feel like I’m not the only one who is not on a pump. She is a college student and talks about what it is like to be a young type 1. I read her blog and feel like ‘she gets it.’ You can check her out at www.lovehatediabetes.wordpress.com

Now this guy makes me laugh even if I was having the most horrible day ever. When I told my mom about today’s prompt she was like, “Oh, so you are going to write about that guy you are always talking about.” That guy is Brain from www.notmycell.blogspot.com. He sees the silver lining in everything, rewrites the lyrics to my favorite songs to make them more “diabetic” lol and adds just enough sarcasm to make anything funny. If you are in need for a laugh trust me, check him out.

There are so many other blogs I could mention but I have to stop because I’m running late and have to eat something. My mom is already fretting because I’m typing instead of eating lol. I hope everyone enjoys DBlog week!

Prompt: D-Blog Week, Day 1: It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends.  With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections.  Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!!  Let’s all find a new friend today!    (Special thanks to Gina, everybody’s Diabetes BFF, for helping me (Karen) title this post!)

Round 1

Sorry that I’ve been away for so long. It’s hard to remain upbeat all of time especially when things don’t go as planned no matter how hard you try. Well, my blood sugar has really been riding a glu-coaster these past couple of weeks and I felt a little down.I felt like a complete failure.

I love the DOC because I began reading other blogs about people who are going through the same difficulties. Karen @ bitter~sweet diabetes wrote that “not trying is not an option”. I think that statement helped me through this time unlike anything else. Then I started googling motivational quotes and came across things like – “You haven’t failed until you stopped trying.”

I have a vivid imagination at times and pictured a boxing match between diabetes and myself. Now diabetes is big and tough while I’m skinny and weak, so diabetes has the advantage. Diabetes keeps knocking me down and I would get up, I’ll get knocked down again and get right back up. Now someone in the crowd (I picture this to be that mean little voice in your head that never believes in you) shouts “Just stay down!” and I shout back “No I will never give up!” My little story ends with Diabetes getting tired from always knocking me down and one random blow knocks him out. Yeaaa…. I am the winner.

This is how I have dealt with my bad days. What do you do when you are feeling frustrated?