Friday, December 15, 2017

Pictures


Shells 
Today, I'm not uttering the D word. NOPE.  See Kerri's post for details.

Instead - I'm going to post some photos from my own collection.
Back story. I love to take photos - and I always have. 

When I was little I would steal my sister's camera and take pictures. 
Actually, my sister Debbie was the first person who let me use her camera to take a picture - I was 4, it was shaky and a bit our of focus- and  I still have it... somewhere in a box filled with family photos. 
I became an auntie when I was 6 years old - and since then, I've taken hundreds (maybe thousands,) of photos of all my nieces and nephews.
In 4th grade - I wanted and received an Instamatic camera, for Christmas.
When my sister Debbie passed, my parents gave me her 35 millimeter Camera because they knew I'd use it - and I did - until the shutter met with an unfortunate incident with a can of spilled Diet Coke.
There was a time I loved having my picture taken - and I was quite the ham. 
Now...  at least for the most part, I like being behind the lens instead of always front and center. 

I love taking pictures.
Photography helps me see the little details - and the big ones. 
I love taking pictures of my friends and their children (not posting them, because privacy ,) and they seem to like the results. 

Photography makes me happy. 

Every picture shows me a secret and teaches me a lesson.
Photography relaxes me and feeds me creatively and spiritually.
I need a better camera and I'm hoping to get one this year. 
Hope you dig~
Sea foam, POV
Photographer as subject 
Atlantic City, back bay view from a helicopter 
2017 Women's March, in the City of Brotherly Love,
in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
MOMA - Louise Bourgeious  - I will never think of spiders the
same way again~

Rainbow carrots & co 
My friend Misty

Standing in my rain boots - in the sand and baptized by the sea

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Diabetes, Waiting Out A Low Blood Sugar And Recalling The First 3 Circles of Hell


I originally published this post on February 19th, 2013
Had a nasty low blood sugar of 44 at 3:29 a.m. this morning that woke me up from a restless sleep. I waited it out, drained my bottle of juice and all sorts of weird shit went through my head while I waited for normal to return.

This post from 2013 has been on my mind since breakfast. Hope you can relate. 
######
Every now and then weird shit pops into my mind, whether it's a commercial jingle from back in the day, an obscure movie reference, or facts I wasn't even aware I'd remembered or actually knew - until they popped out of my mouth.
Durning my low blood sugar last night, long ago facts from a college List class popped into this List major's head and made for some interesting D analogies. 
And even though it's a strange pairing at first glance - I think it actually makes sense. 
#######

You know when your blood sugar's low right before you start to make dinner so you drink some juice and then you try your best to "wait it out,"  because you don't want to ruin your dinner?

But "waiting it out" doesn't work so you eat saltines with peanut butter & strawberry jam, because you live  by yourself and you're self sufficient, and you want to stay alive & this particular low makes you feel vulnerable in all all of the above areas.

But even with waiting, your blood sugar feels like it's still in the 3rd Circle of Hell, where according to Dante, the gluttons are punished by lying in a vile freezing slush and are guarded by a 3 headed hound named Ceberus - think Fluffy from Harry Potter. 

Which actually makes sense -  because I do feel like I’m being punished for my insatiable hunger - And I’m starting to break into a cold sweat. 
And then I wonder out loud: Why the hell am I remembering Dante’s Circles of Hell at a time like this?  
Seriously, WTF?
Why does my brain remember such obscure facts at the weirdest and most inopportune of times? I don’t get it.
I don't know, maybe my brain pulls out long forgotten facts to take my mind off moments that are scary. 

I’ve left Hell's Third Circle and some how I've made it to the 2 Circle of Hell, where the "lustful souls are tossed about in a violent storm without any hope for rest." 

And again, this actually makes sense because I feel battered and like this stormy low is never ending.
I feel like my blood sugar will never go up and shove more peanut butter and jam covered saltines in my mouth because my lips are numb & I know that's not a good thing. 

I try and wait the low out and I sit at my computer and type what’s happening and what’s going through my head and for the life of my I can't believe that in this low blood sugar haze I’m thinking about Dante’s Inferno.

I didn’t even get an A in that class - I think I got a B, and honestly, I haven’t thought about that class since I took it!
I still think about my John Milton class from time to time - I did my Major Authors paper on Paradise Lost - And got a B in that class - And I remember being really happy about that because if anyone had told me that I would spend an entire semester studying and writing about John Milton and getting a B in the class, I wouldn't have believed them.... But I digress. 

Which leads me to Limbo - Dante's First Circle of Hell - that's where I am right now - In limbo - where Dante says the unbaptized & virtuous pagans live. 

And at this moment I really can relate to those virtuous pagans - I am one of them after all. Right now I’m praying to the Diabetes Gods to bring my blood sugar back up from the beneath surface so I can breath again. 

And now I've come up for air... I feel better and sick all rolled into one. 
My blood sugar has gone up fast, too fast for comfort. It’s gone up from 62 to 90 and then 25 minutes later ( and an hour and 10 minutes after the low) it’s now 164.

I'm tired and do a correction bolus, my head hurts and my dinner plans of a roast beef sandwich on Esekiel bread with Pacific Hearty Tomato soup & and broccoli sautéed in olive oil and garlic will have to wait for another night. 

I have a headache and my stomach is full and I feel terrible. 

This low has left me tired and little teary eyed and I’m annoyed at my body in all its dimensions. 

Next time my blood sugar drops I hope my brain recalls something more pleasant - Dante & his 9 Circles of Hell are total downers - even if you're only recalling the first 3.

So.... Any weird facts or memories float through your mind during a low or high blood sugar haze?  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Patient Online Communities, Including The DOC - Fight For Net Neutrality!


On Thursday, December 14, the FCC votes to repeal and dismantle Net Neutrality laws that are currently on the books.

What does that mean? 
Digital inequality. Imagine being forced to use certain ISP (Internet Service Provider,) in order to surf the net.
Example: Being forced to use Yahoo as your search engine instead of Google, because Verizon owns Yahoo. That’s why Net Neutrality laws are in place. 

Do you really want Companies like Comcast and Verizon to control what parts of the Internet you have access too ? 

Do you really want to pay them more money so you can GOOGLE or tweet? I DON'T. 

Hey, did I mention the newly elected head of the FCC and guy trying to tear down the Net Neutrality laws, Ajit Pait (also the guy making jokes about killing net neutrality and shilling for Verizon,) used to be a an big shot executive from Verizon. 

Dismantling Net Neutrality means no more even playing field  - and not even in the same ball park! 
Small businesses won’t be able to compete with the big ones, and it will become more difficult for people to have access to info on the net - hence denying us freedom of information. 
Not great if you’re in a poor school district, own a small business trying to compete with the big guys, or belong to a ***Patient Community. 

The Diabetes Online Community changed my life for the better - And I know that you feel the same way. 
The value of the connecting online for those of us living with a chronic illness is so incredibly important. 

The Internet not only connects us to valuable info, it connects us to our diabetes peers and consigliaries  -people who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes. The Web helps people with  diabetes and other chronic illnesses find our tribes; our teachers, champions, and our allies.

The Internet gives us our voices to implement change. 
Our voices - our freedom of speech and our freedom to obtain information is THIS CLOSE to being taken away.

Still not sure?  Ok, look to Portugal and Spain. Because they don’t have Net Neutrality, internet providers are now starting to split the internet into packages. 

It’s not a Red verses Blue issue - everyone no matter what side of the fence you sit, will feel the impact. 

How can you help? 
Sidebar: Cutting and pasting directly from facebook and HUGE thanks to John Oliver  - for creating a SUPER easy way to do this⚡️ - like RIGHT NOW
1. Go to gofccyourself.com
(the shortcut John Oliver made to the hard-to-find FCC comment page)
2. Next to the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom), click on "express"
3. Be sure to hit "ENTER" after you put in your name & info so it registers.
4. In the comment section write, "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs."
5. Click to submit, done. - Make sure you hit submit at the end!

THEN: Call, tweet, facebook, and text ( text RESIST to 50409) your lawmakers and tell them to protect Net Neutrality. 


We are running out of time, your voice matters - SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Life Insurance - Another Diabetes Choice - John Hancock Vitality Program



This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.
I want and require options in my life ... and life with diabetes. 
Healthcare Options for PWD (people with diabetes) and the ability to choose among them, are critical for our physical; mental, Dtech, and fiscal well-being. 
We need more options and we demand more choices. 

When an option comes across my desk that I believe will give people with diabetes an additional choice, I want to know more.  

A few weeks ago, John Hancock reached out to me (and some others in the Diabetes Online Community, like A Sweet Life and Diabetes Daily, to talk about John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality, and their recent survey* around people with diabetes and  life insurance.

The survey found almost 50% of PWD surveyed worry that they won’t qualify for a life insurance policy - and 45% thought life insurance with diabetes would be too expensive. 

In the past 18 months, 90% of people living with diabetes and looking for life insurance qualified for life insurance from John Hancock, with 88% reporting that they received standard or better rates.**

60% felt the John Hancock Vitality program could provide them with the extra support they needed/wanted in managing their diabetes.

I liked those stats. 

Sidebar: 
John Hancock Vitality life insurance rewards policyholders for the smarter choices they make every day to improve their health – exercising regularly, eating well and getting annual check-ups. Through the John Hancock Vitality program, policyholders can earn rewards and savings up to 15% on their annual life insurance premium. The Vitality Program is over 2 years old and thousands of customers are participating and pursuing healthier lives. 

So, when John Hancock asked to me to partner with them, I did some research and then said yes. Here’s why.

I like the options and incentives that John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality offers people with t1, LADA, and Type 2 diabetes for doing things that our healthcare team continually ask, tell, demand of us.

Things like working out on a regular basis; eating healthy, getting a flu shot and visiting our healthcare team. 
I also like that the Vitality Program recognizes and rewards all the little changes that equal big ones.

Speaking of... I really like the rewards:   

Rewards
*Choice of an Apple Watch for $25 (plus tax,) by exercising regularly.
*Or a complimentary Fitbit

*Up to $600 in annual savings on healthy food purchases from 70 national grocery store chains when you buy veggies, fruits, grains - healthy stuff like that. 
* Up to a 15% percent discount on your life insurance premium, annually.
*Discounts from national retailers – including Amazon, Hyatt, iTunes, REI, Royal Caribbean International. 

While, I did have concerns about personal info, as in who was looking and whether my info was safe, I was assured that: 

John Hancock is committed to protecting policyholders’ personal information and it will only be used in order to conduct business and administer the program and as permitted or required by law. They do not sell information or share health data with third parties for their marketing purposes. They’ve been protecting customers’ data for over 150 years, and understand the seriousness of that responsibility.

Bottom line: John Hancock Vitality Rewards Life Insurance is an option for you to explore if you live with diabetes. 
So, check it out and see if it’s an option that works for you!

To learn more about John Hancock Vitality and the rewards the program offers for living healthy, head to  JHRewardsLife.com. You can also tweet them at @JohnHancockUSA, #RewardingLife

This is the part where I talk about transparency and full disclosure: 
I am partnering with John Hancock (as in: I received compensation in exchange for writing this post) on a project promoting their Vitality Program. 

If I didn’t support the program and all the benefits it offers people living with diabetes, 
I wouldn’t have agreed to work with them. I’ve spent 10 years writing my blog, 4 decades living with and advocating for diabetes. As always, Diabetesaliciousness is mine - as are my thoughts and opinions. 
 *Source: Qualtrics survey on behalf of John Hancock, completed Sept. 2017.
**Source: John Hancock

Friday, December 1, 2017

It's December 1st, We Still Have Diabetes - And We Are Stunning!

Diabetes Awareness Month has come to an end, 
it's December 1st, I still have diabetes and I bet you do, too!
Lin- Manuel Miranda said it best.
"You're stunning and the world is lucky to have you.
We are lucky to have you.
Get some rest." 
Also: Keep on keeping on - in life and in life with diabetes! 
My #Dsma closing thoughts re: (National) Diabetes Awareness Month - courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda
#DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) twitter chat is a twitter chat for people with diabetes, by people with diabetes. 

Follow @DiabetesSocMed and the #DSMA hashtag on the twitter and join the conversation Wednesday Nights at 9PM, EST. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#WaybackWednesday: Diabetes And The Energizer Bunny

A #WayBackWednesday pic that will hopefully make you chuckle!
I shot this pic from a rooftop terrace on the upper WestSide, Thanksgiving Day, 2011.
1. It reminded me of people with diabetes, because we keep going.. and going...and even when we don't feel like it.
2. Also, I immediately checked the status of my pump batteries...just in case! 
Sidebar: I originally posted this picture on the blog in December, 2011.
Just like people with diabetes, the Energizer Bunny keeps going...
and going...and going.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Diabetes, Labs, And Taking A Beat Before Clicking On The Link.

Back in early August, when I was dealing with a nasty viral infection that made me break out all over and feel like crap; required a slew of lab work and forced me to finally signed up for LabCorp’s patient portal. 
Bottom line it made communicating with my GP's office easier, especially since the staff was in rotating vacation mode, which resulted in unreturned phone calls re: my labs. 
I’ll admit that it was cool to see years worth of my lab work online, at my fingertips, and organized in one place by date and doctor.
In August I thought it was great. But last Wednesday? Not so much.
######
Cut to last Wednesday afternoon. 
3pm, me deep in thought and working on a project that was due on Friday.
I took a break, opened my email tab and immediately focused on the Subject Line of an email from labcorp, letting me know that my labs were available online.
All I needed to do was click on the portal link and sign in. 

INSTEAD, I IGNORED IT
I knew if I clicked on the link,I would be either happy... or I wouldn’t - because of my A1C.
Clicking on that link would take me down the rabbit hole of numbers that I didn’t have the time or mindset to go down.  
And at that moment, I knew I was reaching the brink re: my diabetes numbers breaking point. I took a beat, told myself my Endo appointment was the next morning and I would go over my results with Dr. J.
Until then, I was going to give myself a break so I could assess and be proactive at my appointment - no matter what. 

It wasn’t easy to ignore the email.... at first. 
Seriously, (like for the first 20 minutes,) I kept toggling back and forth between screens. 
But slowly, I forgot about it, except for when I didn't - but I never clicked on the link.  

Cut to Thursday morning at my Endo’s office. 
I sat in the exam room with a slightly elevated blood sugar and a normal blood pressure of 120 over a number I can’t recall. 
Dr. J walked in, said hello, shook my hand and stated: The good news - your A1C didn’t go up.......It’s exactly what it was last time you were here.

And at that moment I was so glad I'd stayed above ground and hadn’t clicked on the link and ventured down the diabetes rabbit hole of numbers and what-ifs. 
I would have lost focus and been upset for the rest of the day. 

I wasn't thrilled, but I ready to talk it out and make some changes. 
Sidebar: I know a 7.4 A1C isn't terrible - it's not.
But honest to God I really thought that I'd made strides since the beginning of August. 
I'd started on the Omnipod, (and really like it,) I'm taking less insulin per day, (by at least 10+ units,) and I thought my A1C would have reflected that. 
I was expecting it to be 7.0 or lower and not stuck in an the same a1c moment - and I told him that.

I was frustrated with myself and with diabetes - and I knew Dr. J was too - even though he remained calm and kept his game face on. 
We talked it out. Dr. J asked me what changes I’d made that led me to believe my a1c would be lower.
I told him about cutting back on my daily insulin intake and how I’d been trying to eat healthier. 
He asked if I’d been sick or dealing with anything that might have contributed to my A1C.
I explained about the viral infection that had me down for the count for parts of July and August... but it was November 18th. 
I was grasping at straws and we both knew it. 

He asked me if I thought I was getting enough exercise.  
I was honest. I told him that needed to do better in that department. 

And then he asked if I’d downloaded the Glooko app on my phone so I could download  my Omnipod PDM’s info, and share it with my Sorceress of a CDE, Cheryl - so she could work her magic on my basal rates, carb ratios, etc and assist me in getting unstuck. 
Sidebar: Insulet (the company that makes Omnipod,) and Glooko have been data management partners since last year - the Glooko cable and instructions are included with your first PDM and first pod order  - and my cable and instructions were still in the box. 
“Cheryl’s really knows what she’s doing,” he said. 
And he's totally right, Cheryl does know what she's doing. 
She and I had discussed me getting my data to her via Glooko when she was training me on the Omnipod. 
I told her I would - and I talked about doing it. 

But I didn't.

I needed to revisit and reconsider.
Calmness prevailed and Dr. J pointed out the positives in my labs - and I love that he always points out the good. ALWAYS. 

And then I blurted out to Dr. J how I’d ignored yesterday’s email - and he looked a little surprised and asked me how come. 
Me: I knew that if I clicked on the link and it didn't take me to the number I wanted to see - I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or get things done. I’m always dealing with numbers - I knew I was seeing you this morning. I needed a break, so I took one. 

Dr.J: OK, fair enough. Set up the Glooko, share your PDM data with Cheryl; make an an appointment with her for December. I'll be right back, I’m going to see if we have any insulin samples for you.

When he came back with insulin in hand, I'd downloaded the app to my phone and was willing to try it out. 
Because I am going to tackle those damn basal rates with my CDE. 
I am forging ahead.
I am keeping the promise I made to my healthcare healthcare team.
I am going to keep the promise I made to myself. 
And we'll see how it how it goes.