Diabetes Awareness Month

ride the highs, the secret life of, well rounded wellness

damI think “awareness” is an interesting way to describe a month dedicated to a chronic, sneaky little bastard of a disease. It should be more like “HEY WORLD, IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GET THE HECK UP TO SPEED ON TYPE 1 DIABETES BECAUSE IT’S REALLY ANNOYING.” But to be fair, my own awareness is a little sub-par both with regard to myself as a diabetic, and just diabetes as a disease in general. I honestly can’t remember the last time I checked in on research advancement, or Congress’ movements towards improved coverage of care. Or, even more importantly, what’s happening with the other nebulous “c” word we all hate so much…you know that whole “cure” thing we’ve been promised for like 200 years? Where are we with that?

Over the past 10 years, I’ve struggled to come to terms with the fact that though I am not visibly sick, I have a very real disease. That I now require a lot of extra help from devices and sensors and finger pricks not just to “feel better” but to be alive. That my body isn’t going to look like other women’s’ bodies because I have some accessories on it I don’t have the option of removing. I’ve had a hard time learning to accept and identify with my diabetes instead of hide it and pretend it doesn’t exist. But I also have the, at times invisible gift, of experiencing a disease that forces me to dig deep and find strength when I least expect it.

So, my goal for each week of #DiabetesAwarenessMonth, is to a write a post about my own awareness. Do some research, chat with some other inspiring ladies in the amazing DOC, tell people I just got a CGM, and see what I discover on the way. I’m expecting to find all good things, but sometimes diving head first into an uncomfy territory can be, well… uncomfy!

Here’s to another #DiabetesAwarenessMonth.

hi, diabetics.

well rounded wellness

2000px-World_Diabetes_Day_logo.svgDear every other diabetic in the world,

Yes, all ~347 million of you.

That’s a big salutation, I know. But that’s the point. This disease is a BIG DEAL and there are a lot of people in this world that identify themselves as a person with diabetes. This disease is deadly. There is no cure. It doesn’t come and go. It moves in and it stays put. Forever. So, I just wanted to take a quick second to acknowledge the silent fight that each and every one of you is putting up every day, not just today.

I don’t know a lot of you. In fact, I hardly know any of you. And that’s really too bad because I think I would be infatuated with nearly all of you. But since I don’t know your names, or anything about you, I figured I would just…

Say hi to all of you who wake up in the morning and your first thought can’t be “Good morning to me.” it’s, “What am I?”

To all of you whose finger tips are sensitive, callused, and covered with tiny dots. No one notices, trust me.

Everyone who looks at a bagel and sees the number 75. Eat it anyway. Life’s too short.

Those of you who have had to sit, talk down the panic, sweat, and weakness associated with a low. I know it’s scary. But this too shall pass.

Hi to the kid whose grades are slipping because he can’t even see the whiteboard after 2pm. Dude, you’ve gotta cover your lunch. No one can fix that but you.

To the girl who just started a job in a new city and is crying in an unfamiliar pharmacy. She was told her test strip order can’t be fulfilled until tomorrow and she has 1 left. Been there. 100 times. At least you got to buy a new bottle of shampoo while you were there?

Hi to the man that just finished his third marathon sans blood sugar scares. You’re a fucking trooper, sir. Congratulations.

To the student who just unpacked his suitcase abroad and realizes he forgot his back up meters back in the States. 2 of mine drowned in Costa Rica’s humidity, I feel your pain, bro. Every country sells meters. Also, it might be time to learn the metric system just in case.

To the middle schooler’s mom or dad who diligently cares for him and makes sure he’s safe during school and hockey practice. Eventually, those 11PM spikes will subside. He’s a growing boy. You are amazing and he will thank you soon enough.

Hi to the freshman in college who is afraid to drink at parties because she doesn’t want to tell her friends she has diabetes. Trust me, come clean, it’s so worth it to be honest. Party on, Garth! (Safely, of course.)

And hi, to the young dad who just lost his job and doesn’t have health insurance to cover the astronomical cost of test strips and insulin. There are resources for you, and just like everything else, you will get through this. You’re the strongest guy out there.

Hi to every the teenage girl who gets bullied for her weight and is too afraid to expose her ugly test kit to her friends at the lunch table – you are a beautiful warrior, girlfriend. For now, keep your head on straight and someday, you’ll show them who’s boss.

Hi to each and everyone of you who dedicates so much of your mental capacity to ensuring that your health and wellbeing is top of mind at all times.

Diabetes is scary. It’s obnoxious. It’s rude and interrupts our lives all of the time. It’s never convenient. Nothing ever goes the way it’s supposed to, and yet we have to be 10 steps ahead of it at all times. Plus, not all of us are numbers people. Hell, I can barely count to 10 (it’s after 13, right?), but our lives are entirely comprised of numbers: mg/dl, grams, percentages, units, times per day we stab ourselves, times per day we go, “Oh shit”, times per day someone looks at me when I pull my pump out of my bra (you enjoyed it, relax.). And it’s exhausting! It’s a lot of pressure! It’s a lot of work.

As if life isn’t hard enough as it is.

So, hi to each and every one of you; young and old, near and far. To all of you who keep your diabetes a secret, and those of you who blab about it on the Internet every day (sorry). Those of us who know all the facts and have the latest devices, and those of us who are totally clueless and overwhelmed.

There’s so much more to all of us than the pungent smelling vile of mystery that keeps us alive. Than carb counting and alcohol swabs. We are all amazing. We are all whole people. We have careers and boyfriends. We love music and traveling. Diabetes is just a part of us. It can’t stop us, it can’t keep us from living beautiful, adventurous lives.

You don’t have to say hi back. I get it, you’re busy! I just wanted to extend an olive branch just in case one of you needed it. Say what’s up. Congratulate you on doing everything you’re doing. I know how hard it all can be sometimes.

Keep doing you. People admire you. Your peers respect you. Your family is proud of you.

Love,

Libby

yo, be easy.

the secret life of, well rounded wellness

ImageThis might sound weird, but I am not very gentle with myself. I push myself to the extreme kind of all of the time. My mom gets really mad when, every time I show up on her doorstep, I have bags under my eyes and greasy hair. “You’re doing it again. You’re burning the candle at both ends.” I obviously roll my bloodshot eyes and go straight for her wine stash in the basement, “Mom, I’m fine.”

I am one of those people that looks in the mirror and sees a perpetually unfinished project. I see a pile of laundry half-folded, but mostly just a ball of wrinkledness. I see a meal that is prepped but not cooked. I feel the pressure of conversations that are awaiting initiation, or of a whopping credit card bill that is getting impatient with me. I’m opting to ignore the 10 pounds that I’d be stoked to find out have miraculously disappeared from my thighs, and I really need to go to the dentist. I’m also still missing my Patagonia vest, is it at work? I need to find that.

I get pissed at myself when reality reminds me that I am not, in fact, a magical wizard that can snap her fingers and have everything instantly figured out in her world. I bust in and out of my apartment like Kramer – frazzled and boiling over, but laughing at the irony of my exhaustion. It’s cute, but like…it’s not sustainable. Can’t all of my friendships and relationships just be in ship shape while I kill it at work, am dressed to the nine’s, am in killer shape, and, most importantly, my diabetes supplies is so organized it would make every bitch on Pinterest squirm?

I have struggled with prioritization my entire life. I am such a sucker for anything that is “fun” and “easy”…and I have a really hard time with the word “no.” I am literally like a moth when an outdoor light gets turned on. Like, “Hi, here I come! I have no control over my mind or body right now…what’s up, you hot, bright thing!” I know that I have things that need to get done, and they certainly do get done…eventually. But if any opportunity to be distracted by laughter or an engagement with a lack of seriousness arises, I have a tendency to sign-up immediately regardless of what’s on my plate.

Diabetes is the anti-everything I just described. It takes an insane amount of discipline and planning and research and discipline and … did I mention discipline? It’s so intimidating that I cower at the thought of truly “doing diabetes right.” I’ll go on the interwebs, Google something, see the results and go, “Zoinks! This is too hard, these people know a lot more than me and I don’t really know if I feel like learning right now. Also, now I  feel like I suck, because, clearly, other people are doing a better job than me.” Then guess what happens? I get sad. I get down on myself. And I get mad because I just perpetuated the cycle of this god damned unfinished project. Like, can’t I just nail this one down? I’m really trying, here! I got a new Endo like a big girl, I check my blood sugar like, 6 times a day, and I run many miles many times a week. Can’t that just be enough?

Downward spiral, engage!

Earlier today, I was reading one of my favorite diabetes blogs (I only have a few re: statement above that they all scare the shit out me so I avoid them like the T in August during a thunderstorm.) I enjoy this blog, though, because the author is hilarious. She also swears on the Internet, which is my favorite activity in the whole wide world. She is very real, and she is so forgiving of herself. She is her toughest critic, but also allows herself to acknowledge her efforts and that they, though maybe not perfect, are enough. After reading this teeny tiny, uber simple post. I went, “Oh.”

I had a moment where I said to myself what I say to people when they’re getting fiesty with me for no reason. “Yo, be easy.” I beat the crap out of myself when I fall short of where I want to be. Or when I make a mountain out of a mole hill. Or for missing an opportunity. But one thing I don’t do is appreciate the efforts that I am making. And though there is probably always going to be room for improvement, it is imperative that I take time to celebrate little victories, progress, or even just say, “God dammit, kiddo, you’re doing your best, what the hell else are you supposed to do.” And for that, Kerri from Sixuntilme, I thank you.

use it or lose it?

well rounded wellness

inspirational-quotes-week-35-picsSpring is all about new beginnings. We reset, we shift, our energy changes, we make plans. And, for many of us, we look back at the winter and go, “Um….what the hell just happened?” I’m incredibly sensitive (surprise!), so for me, I tend to feel a sense of remorse when I realize that during the winter time I’m not at all who I want to be. There is something about the bone chilling wind and lack of sun that mutes my zest for life and sense of adventure. But you know what? I realized I didn’t really tank quite so hard this year. I’m looking back at my winter and realizing that the goal I set for myself back in September was actually accomplished. For once, I didn’t let the mundane weather take me away from myself. There are a lot of reasons why this is, but let’s start with where I am today and why I felt the need to reflect in the first place.

I haven’t been writing that much lately. Frankly, I’ve been feeling like… uber uninspired just in general. I’ve been desperately searching for stories or little flashes of motivation from things I walk by during the day, songs I listen to, conversations I’m having. Yet nothing has really struck a chord with me. Not one thing has ignited a: “lightbulb” moment (say that in Mr. Gru from Despicable Me’s voice, please). I’ve been a little uneasy about it to tell you the truth. Have I run out of steam on this blog already. Am I dead inside? What’s wrong here? Maybe it’s that I don’t feel like working on something “frivolous” right now with all the other shit I have to deal with in my life. Or? Maybe I’m just flat out being lazy? In the poetic words of one of my dear friends, Mr. Joe Albanese, I asked myself today, “Is it true that if I don’t use it… I lose it?

I feel like every post I’ve ever written has said, “Life is busy, eh? Things are changing all the time.” But recently, the anticipation of some major change has finally subsided. Like an intricate April Fool’s Day booby trap, tiny pieces of elaborate plans are falling into place all around me. A door opened, which sent a marble down a path, that marble fell into a bucket, which then pushed the toy car down the hall….etc, you get the picture. People are moving away, people are getting new jobs, people are investing time in things that they’ve talked about for months. Change can paralyze a person. The anticipation of change can be even more devastating. It can make you so lazer focused on things other than the present that it’s crippling. But once the ball is rolling and plans evolve, that kinetic energy can fuel a flame so great inside of you, that you almost feel as though you might burst. And this is why I haven’t written anything down recently. I think it’s because I feel as though I might burst.

I have realized that this has been one of my most emotionally challenging, yet intellectually stimulating season’s of my entire life. I’m in a new(ish) relationshp,  I have gone through major change in my job, I have connected deeply and spiritually with new friends, I have experienced new things, and I have learned about myself in ways I never have before. I have begun to view the possibility of my own life adjustments through lenses I never could commit to before now. I have shuffled the deck, and I have rearranged my priorities. Now, at the beginning of April when I “should” be bursting at the seams with ideas and instead am frustrated that my creative juices are feeling stifled, I am accepting that maybe this is a calculated quiet period. An organic and necessary pause, if you will. And, because my brain is trying to tell me to rest for a minute, I am going to try to invite a few moments (weeks) of “blissful nothingness” into my life. Allow myself to rest, reflect, be content, and to acknowledge all of the work I have put into myself and my universe over the past several months.

It’s tough to admit when I’m feeling this way. My inherent reaction to this lack of active energy is self-annoyance and like, “eowoisdglsdkgjslkgjsdgdgerjweoigjew what are you doing, you’re doing nothing, go DO” But I’m viewing it differently this go around. I see a battery charging opportunity. I also think it’s incredibly exciting in a weird, “I heart potential energy, what’s gonna happen when it goes active?!” kind of way. By allowing myself to take a moment to rest, I know that whatever wave of adventure and pursuit is around the next corner will have that much more care for the details, determination, and force behind it. By surrounding myself with the right people, taking time to appreciate solitude, and inviting quiet into my mind, the next part of this year better get ready…turn down for what?