Category Archives: #HAWMC
April 30, 2011 – Day 30 – Make up a new word (it can be a combination of two words or complete nonsense).
I’m a word geek (or freak?). After all, I was an English major back in college…
But for the life of me, I cannot seem to make up a word for this – been trying all week long. So instead, I will bring you my favorite diabetes-related Twitter hashtags…
#bgnow – blood glucose right at this moment
#sweatbetes – exercising with the diabetes in mind
#WTFructose – blood glucose reading that makes no sense based on what was eaten, or how we’re feeling. you know we’re really thinking a different word that starts with F.
April 29, 2011 – Day 29 – Health Cliché – Reclaim a cliché about your condition that bugs you.
This was an easy topic…to reach into my archive only a few months back. Normally, I wouldn’t repost a topic so soon, but the topic of depression came up on last night’s DSMA Live (thank you for having me, Cherise and George and Scott). I thought debunking the myth of “it’s all in your head” needed a repeat.
Dumb things are said all the time about diabetes, based on the myths behind the condition and its two major types as well as the misperceptions of others. I know that; it has been written about plenty around the diabetes online community.
When the latest Chronic Babe carnival topic was introduced (“the dumbest thing someone has ever said to you about your chronic illness and your witty response”), I knew I wanted to go in a different direction than diabetes.
Because, believe it or not, people say dumb things about mental health conditions, too.
The one I hear or read most often, and the one to which I am constantly crafting new witty responses, is “oh come on, nothing is THAT bad, just get over it” in regards to both anxiety and depression.
I always want to throw out a “I will get over my depression if you get over your rudeness” or “You are right, your haircut is worse than my worst panic attack”. That gets me nowhere. Instead, I take the opportunity to calmly educate about what it’s like to live inside my head. Witty, perhaps not; real, yes.
The thing is, unless you experience anxiety or depression for yourself, you really have no idea what it’s like. You do not know what it feels like to think you’re going to die in the midst of a panic attack; you do not know what it feels like to miss out on things you normally enjoy because you are either in a heightened state of anxiety or in the throes of a deep depressive episode; you do not know what it feels like to feel entirely hopeless lying in bed crying for hours or days at a time; you do not know what it is like to try to overcome anxiety and depression in the workplace, at school, at home, in life.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of anxiety or depression, I am happy for you because it sucks. I wouldn’t wish anxiety (acute in the form of panic attacks, chronic in the form of generalized anxiety disorder) or major depressive episodes on anyone. But, at the same time, please do not tell me what I just do not want to hear – ”just get over it” – because I wish like hell I could.
April 28, 2011 – Day 28 – “I used to be ___…but I’m not anymore,” another poem…
I used to be a bit more blah and blue, but I’m not anymore.
I used to be a bit more pained and pouty, but I’m not anymore.
I used to be a bit more scattered and spent, but I’m not anymore.
I used to be a bit more tense and timid, but I’m not anymore.
I used to be a bit more wandering and wayward, but I’m not anymore.
I am a little bit brighter, a little more positive, a little more solid, a little more talkative, a little more whole.
April 27, 2011 – Day 27 – Find a quote that inspires you either positively or negatively and write about it.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
This quote did not fall into my lap until I was thirty. Maybe I saw it once or twice before, though not really taking to heart what it meant.
You spend so much of childhood, and adolescence, and even college and/or early career, worrying what other people think of you. If you have a good head on your shoulders, you learn earlier than than many of us that nobody’s opinion of you really counts except your own. (Except maybe a manager at an annual review at work!)
Me? I was not that lucky. With generalized anxiety disorder, one of the ways it manifests is worrying about what others think of one’s every move, something that lends itself to being overly negative with one’s self. Yes, perhaps that would be considered a form of paranoia.
Only in the past few years have I started to ignore those negative opinions I encounter, both those of others and those of my own. It has become easier to turn off the switch that says “beware, toxic person ahead” or tell those toxic thoughts to go away.
I often wonder if this strength to focus on positive feelings both from others and from within developed while dealing with the multiple chronic physical conditions which came to light in my late twenties. When you must take care of yourself to feel as well as possible, you start realizing that positivity (and good mental health) is necessary to feel as well as possible.
That’s not to say that I am perfect these days, that negativity never makes its way into my mind. It just does not overwhelm me as often.
(Beyond that, I read an excellent biography of Eleanor Roosevelt a few years back that showed how she dealt with depression. Even this well-respected woman, who could have easily headed to the White House in her own right had she been born two or three generations later, experienced depression. This quote makes me think that she struggled with negativity in her own life.)
April 26, 2011 – Day 26 – Spirit Animal Day – Give you or your condition a spirit animal and write about yourself or it as if you were that animal.
I am a giraffe in spirit. I may be short, but I can stand tall and proud when I feel strong and in control of anxiety.
Like a giraffe, when I feel free of worry, I can hang my head up high. I keep my mind busy with writing, reading, and other work, like a giraffe would concentrate on life out in the wild. I can speak easily of why I simply must participate in patient activism.
But also like a giraffe, when I feel confined by space or by my own thoughts, I resort to anxious behaviors like fingernail biting, hair twirling, and knee bouncing. Wikipedia’s article on giraffes explains that the animals in captivity may “resort instead to excessive tongue use on inanimate objects”.
Withdrawing from being tall and proud can happen to the best of us.
April 25, 2011 – Red Pen Day – Find an old post of yours from months or years ago – revise it as radically as you can. What changes did you make, what clarifications were made?
The Job - Originally posted March 27, 2007 – additions in italics, deletions in strikethrough.
Title: Person with type 2 diabetes, currently treatable (but not curable or reversible) with diet, exercise, and metformin
Supervisors (may include any of the following): Endocrinologist (if needed), Ophthalmologist, Podiatrist (when needed), Dietitian (when needed), Primary Care Physician
Job Summary: Attempts to control blood sugar with diet, exercise and oral medication, reports to supervisors on a regular basis regarding progress.
- Checks blood glucose readings 1-4 times a day without being squeamish.
- Every effort made towards fasting blood glucose below 126 mg/dl, preferably 110 mg/dl; post-prandial blood glucose below 140 mg/dl.
- Exercises for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Follows his/her diet within boundaries
set by dietitianset in coordination with endocrinologist, to include portion control and carbohydrate intake in moderation.
- Keep mental health in check in order to stay motivated to take care of self.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
1. Knowledge of basic math skills for carbohydrate counting.
2. Manages time wisely, communicating with co-workers and family members to allow for appointments with supervisors.
3. Communicates honestly with supervisors about concerns.
4. Attempts to exhibit self-control when faced with unexpected desserts.
Credentials (at least one of the following):
1. Family history of type 2 diabetes.
2. Body mass index (BMI) above 25 at diagnosis.
April 24, 2011 – Day 24 – Best Moment of Last Week
So my best moment actually happened ten days ago.
I was offered (and accepted) a new position as an accounting clerk for a grant within a governmental entity, a position which I will start next month. I must be a little vague regarding all the specifics, though I am quite excited about the opportunities that could sprout from this experience. While the specific grant is related to energy efficiency, I could see this being a stepping stone towards grants administration in a health-related capacity. From there, who knows, right?
And, well, the salary and benefits are quite good, as one would expect from a government position – something I definitely need right now.
Meanwhile, I will be a little sad in leaving the company for which I have worked the past five years. It has been a roller coaster, indeed, with varied experience gathered and with some good friends made along the way. When all is said and done, however, it is time to move on to a new work environment.
April 23, 2011 – Day 23 – Write a post with as many rhymes as you can.
The cat’s morning perspective
I meow at her early, though each morning she’s rather surly;
Follow her to the sink, where she swallows pills with a drink;
She takes notes of her blood glucose, sometimes reacting, “what the fructose?”;
I do my best to calm her with my purr, even as she grunts with her best grrr;
Until she pours the coffee in a cup, then she gets all wound up.
April 22, 2011 – Day 22 – Your doctor writes you a wacky prescription – what is it?
The endocrinologist might write: More play, less stress; more fresh food, less processed food; more sleep, less stress; more exercise, less lounging.
Isn’t that true of us all, though, and not so wacky?
April 21, 2011 – Day 21 – Free-write about someone you admire.
A couple of months ago, I tuned into the 20/20 special dealing with celebrity heart disease survivors. Towards the end, Barbara Walters briefly interviewed Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS regarding the specifics of heart disease in women.
I quickly googled Dr. Magliato and found that she is one of the few female cardiovascular surgeons in the United States. Even more impressive is her dedication towards raising awareness for heart disease in women, something that kills at a higher rate than breast cancer. She is currently developing a Women’s Heart Center in Santa Monica, CA to “address the cardiac needs of female patients”. Now she can also put “published author” in her lengthy biography.
Originally titled Healing Hearts, Heart Matters is a memoir by Dr. Magliato regarding her journey towards a career in cardiovascular surgery intertwined with patient stories and statistics about heart disease in women.
Not only did she make me cry with the stories that did not turn out well, she made me smile with those that did. The discrimination and harassment she found along the way to being a successful female surgeon is infuriating, while her humorous attitude towards balancing her career and motherhood is refreshing.
I highly recommend this book to any woman, but especially those with significant risk factors of heart disease, as I do. Particularly remarkable are her own aggressive standards for women with diabetes to reduce the risk of heart disease (while unrealistic for some, perhaps).
Dr. Magliato is slowly changing the misconception that women don’t have heart attacks or experience heart disease, with the end goal of saving lives by doing so – and that is truly admirable.