Monthly Archives: November 2011

#NHBPM – Toot that horn.

One thing I love about myself - That even on my worst days of anxiety and depression, I can recognize a good hair day when I see one.

One thing at which I am awesome – Making vats of food for the freezer. And good food at that. (For which I will be grateful this weekend as I recover from minor oral surgery.)

One thing I want to share – My very last dLife column about 30-day challenges. While I might not have exercised all 30 days as I planned (though I did 20 minutes for 20 out of 30 days), I did write blog posts every single day of November… While it saddened me to stop writing the column, I know I needed to do so in order to start moving ahead with life on my own.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

#NHBPM – Greeting card for the recently diagnosed.

Roses are red

Violets are blue

So now you are chronic

I can help – I am, too.


This post was hastily written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days. One more day to go!

#NHBPM – How ridiculous!

Blood glucose monitoring. It is for everyone who has a diabetes diagnosis – type 1, type 2, gestational – and every type in between.

I found it absolutely ridiculous, as a newly diagnosed type 2, that my primary care physician was more than willing to write out a prescription for metformin and send me off to a dietitian, yet would not write out a prescription for test strips.

How was I supposed to learn good dietary choices without monitoring blood glucose? What dietitians teach may work for some people with diabetes, but may not work for everyone – trial and error is such an important part of the initial period after diagnosis to see what you should eat more regularly and what you should limit – particularly true of people with type 2 diabetes relying on diet and exercise (and maybe metformin).

Since a hypothyroidism diagnosis came just a couple months before the type 2 diagnosis, I asked whether seeing an endocrinologist would be prudent and the primary care provider grudgingly agreed.

After showing the endo a month’s worth of blood glucose numbers, he recommended continuing with diet and exercise without metformin (at that point in time). I had already learned that oatmeal was no good on my numbers, and surprisingly could eat a small portion of mashed potatoes if I balanced them out with meat and green veggies.

These days, I only test once or twice a day, just enough to notice both positive and negative trends. I know that my friends with type 1 as well as those type 2s on insulin need to test much more often to stay on even keeled blood glucose. The thing is, we both need access to test strips because it is absolutely ridiculous to rely solely on A1C testing every few months. That does not paint the whole picture of the person with diabetes.

Blood glucose monitoring – it’s what’s for diabetes.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

#NHBPM – Quote to inspire.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything; That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

As humans, not one of us is perfect. For some people, whose personalities are ugly, we know they are not perfect.  Then there are the rest of us. Whether living in disadvantaged areas and unable to rise above that, or living with decent health care and decent jobs but still dealing with chronic illness, not one of us is perfect.

There are some who can see the light through the crack in their circumstances, somehow they are able to see the good over the bad, even amongst things like poverty or chronic illness. Perhaps they even see past those with ugly personalities because of the light that shines through that crack in their very being.

I wish no disadvantages on anyone, I wish no illness on anyone. Sometimes, though, I think we need these things in order for the light to get in, in order for us to see the beauty in life with all of its cracks.

This is not about government grudgingly helping the disadvantaged, or those who want to stifle such “handouts”. This is not about conspiracy theories about how big pharma may know where a cure to cancer or diabetes or any other chronic illness may be, but profits too much from such diseases to pursue it.

This is about suffering, and seeing the good stuff of life anyways. Would we be able to see the good stuff without the cracks in our lives? Do we need the bad stuff in order to let the light in?

This post was written as a 15-minute free write for  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

#NHBPM – I still remember…

I still remember not knowing what was wrong.

I still remember thinking it was all in my head, that stress must be taking its toll yet again in new and interesting ways.

I still remember the fevers and the chills and the heartburn and the abdominal pain, for several days, not enough to scare me to a doctor sooner.

I still remember the endocrinologist being more worried about those symptoms than my A1C increasing.

I still remember finally seeing a doctor the day before all hell broke loose anyways, and how she saw something uncertain on the office ultrasound.

I still remember what it turned out to be – an unknown abscess, crying out to be drained with its impact on my body’s temperature, on my body’s white blood cells, on my body’s blood pressure.

I still remember being wheeled into the operating room.

I still remember how I came out stronger even when I was still so weak.

Come December 5, two years will have passed. And I still remember it all, especially that last part.

(Not forgetting the care I received, either, I still remember all the fantastic doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and office staff who helped me through all the events leading up to both surgeries, along with each hospitalization and recovery period.)

This post, was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

Blue Fridays #3 and #4

So… I am taking part in Blue Fridays in November. I believe in year-round awareness of the reality of diabetes, though I cannot discount the numerous initiatives popping up all over the diabetes online community in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day (November 14). Let’s keep these projects going all 365 days of the year!

I forgot to post what I wore blue last week…and can’t seem to get a decent picture today, but what I can show you is an idea of what I’ve worn…

(Even if today is not a Chicago Bears game day and even if Jay Cutler is out indefinitely.)

#NHBPM – Never Ever

Never have I ever:

  • Taken statins. The endocrinologist would like me to do so, given Dad’s family history of early heart disease and my own C-reactive protein levels, though I would like to wait until I turn 40.
  • Taken ACE inhibitors or other blood pressure medication. While I struggled with serious white coat syndrome with one health care professional for several years, these days I tend to run normal to low normal. No need for these to protect those kidneys of mine at this time, though blood pressure family history on Mom’s side could turn that around at any time.
  • Taken exogenous insulin. So far, I have managed type 2 diabetes well enough to keep going with diet, exercise, and metformin. Even hospitalizations and undergoing surgery have not warranted the usage of such – blood glucose was, if anything, on the borderline low side during these incidents. That is not to say that I will not jump on board that train when the time comes. If I need it, I need to look past needles and myths about weight gain.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

#NHBPM – Mascot

The mascot of the diabetes online community is undeniable. A unicorn – perhaps a blue unicorn – perhaps even a blue unicorn wearing a “Blunt Lancet” t-shirt.

What about the anxiety community? What would best represent that?

To borrow from a previous prompt of #NHBPM, it would have to be The Little Engine That Could. So many instances of “I think I can” ring through the anxious mind. Sometimes with a little talk therapy needed, sometimes with relaxation techniques, and sometimes with a little anti-anxiety medication. Because whether it is something followed through upon, or not, we do try our best to “I think I can”.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.

#NHBPM – My Choice – Diabetes Blessings Week

Diabetes brought me to blogging. Using a voice that had been muted, making that voice sound strong.

Diabetes and blogging brought me to ChronicBabe via one certain Kerri, to explore much more support beyond just diabetes.

Jenni and Kerri’s efforts to reach chronic patients eventually brought me to session at BlogHer ’09 in Chicago, where I met them both for the first time. Beyond that, I met some of Jenni’s friends (and their friends, in turn) from the city that weekend.

Admitting that my health issues spanned beyond diabetes, hypothyroidism, and anxiety and into chronic pelvic pain, brought me to being involved with the Chronic Babe forums.

With being a part of creating formal chats and welcoming new members and enlivening the forums however possible, I found a little purpose in a year where little other could be found.

I owe it to those who may find themselves alone on Thanksgiving to offer an internet-styled ear. I will be alone, too, but the thought of helping others worse off than me is motivating for me to stay alone. I could accept an invitation or two, though I would be going back on my word to be around Thursday at the chat room on the ChronicBabe forums.

It all leads back to diabetes. Without diabetes, there may not be purpose in this life, and in a sense, I feel the blessing that there is. Without the anxiety, without the depression, without the now seemingly resolved pelvic pain, there may not be purpose and in a sense, I feel the blessing that there is.

The least I could do is be there for others who might not yet see their purpose this Thanksgiving.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days and as part of Diabetes Blessings Week (courtesy My Diabetic Heart).

#NHBPM – At present.

Three of the relaxation techniques I use to attempt sleep…

  • I let myself go limp all over. I close my eyes. Slowly, I tell each part of me that it is okay to go to sleep. Toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, hips, torso – then fingers, hands, lower arms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders, chest. I close my ears. I close my nose. Finally I tell my brain to shut off. Does this work? Not all the time… but then I make a conscious effort to focus on the closed eyes, closed ears, closed nose to stop seeing, hearing, and smelling. Eventually the brain shuts off as a result.
  • Counting to one hundred in German, my second language. I remain so focused in trying to remember how to pronounce each word that I lose all that is around me (again – all the sights, all the sounds, all the smells).
  • More recently, I start placing myself somewhere else. At a family member’s house, where I have been able to sleep well. Thinking about who is in the house with me, feeling comforted by the idea that I am near my loved ones. Or sometimes, bringing myself back to a Chicago hotel room stay in 2003 for work. Exhausting trade show days led to awesome nights worth of sleep in the most comfortable bed I have ever experienced. I will never forget how as soon as my head hit the pillow each night, I fell right asleep. It seemed like the next moment, the alarm went off with a sense of fully rested. The recapturing of that week in that amazing bed can work wonders even if my own bed does not nearly compare.

This post was written as part of  NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days.


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