About Me

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I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's been a very busy week.

Today was a good day. Today, I was notified that I was accepted into my 2nd Master's program, Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies. I'm about finished with my first Master's, an MBA.

It's been a grueling week of verifying that all paperwork has been received, references filling out paperwork and submitting it, gathering transcripts, writing personal statements and interviewing.

So my classes begin next Thursday, and I'll be taking a full time load. That in addition to the fact I'm planning on returning to the workforce after taking 8 months off to get healthy (see my 2/12/11 post for details on what I'm healing from).

I hope to work for a corporation that focuses on wellness and healing. With my business background, it would be great to open up my own wellness consulting company once I have a few years of experience under my belt. I used to be all about the business degree...until I got so sick in 2010 that I almost died. Then my focus changed to health and healing. And that is where my passion now lies- staying healthy and helping others to discover their own healing capabilities. I'm not under any illusion that I can get rid of my chronic illnesses, but living in a holistic manner has made a night-and-day difference in how I feel everyday. And the results are actually measurable- my blood work shows it.

I was just recently asked by a large health system here in Minnesota to meet with endocrinologists to help improve relationships between them and their patients, and to give doctors ideas for how they can promote self-care. Part of this includes talking with them about the techniques I am currently using to manage all my illnesses.

AND, I offered to help take care of a friend after surgery next week, so I've got to fit that in between things as well.

So I've got a lot going on! All good things, all exciting but demanding and challenging. I don't want to overdo it and end up wrecked from stress. But over time as my health has improved, I've been getting bored with all the time on my hands. Guess I won't be bored any longer!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How do you cook in cast iron????

Okay. We need to talk. I need someone out there who knows something about cast iron pans to help me. I received a Lodge cast iron skillet as a gift recently. I only have one other frying pan, and it's a non-stick pan, which I know isn't great healthwise, so needless to say I was uber-excited about this gift. I carefully read the pan's instructions to see if it needed any special handling (pre-seasoned, etc.) and it said it was ready for immediate use, no pre-greasing or seasoning needed.

Now look at that picture and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Why does everything stick???? I tried to cook eggs tonight, and well, you see how that turned out. I lost at least one egg to the bottom of that pan.

I'm beginning to think that cast iron pans should just be used as weapons against intruders and NOT for cooking.

Anyone got any advice????

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pump crap

I had a really off-day with my Omnipod for some reason. All of the following happened when I was in a hurry to get out the door (of course). It all started when my Omnipod insulin pump alarmed to let me know it was expiring and needed to be changed. So, I began the process for shutting it down and firing up a new one. There was one problem... I couldn't get the pump off. The adhesive was so stuck that it was taking layers of skin off of my arm. I began to think that the adhesive had melted into my skin from being out in the heat a lot the previous 3 days. The areas where the skin came off are now scabbed over and ugly.

I gave up on trying to get that one off. I figured I'd dig out my adhesive remover (Uni-Solve) later and work on it. I proceeded with firing up the next pod. I was trying to put it on my lower back, but it wasn't sticking. Why aren't you sticking to me, pod, I asked. Oh yes... I put on my Vaseline body oil right after my shower. My skin was like a moisturized oil slick. Crap. So I took it off, what little amount was actually sticking to me, alcohol-wiped the area, and tried to put it back on. No dice. It won't stick now. So I tried to see if it would stick to my stomach. For some reason I apparently thought the skin was "different" there. Again, no go. There was no amount of tape or anything else that was going to rescue this one.

I tried to pull the insulin back out of it to put in a new pod, but I bent the needle head. Grrr. So I tried to use the new needle in the new pod packaging to pull the insulin back out of the now-defective pod. But the insulin wouldn't come out. So I threw out the pod and loaded up the new one with a new batch of insulin. As it was priming itself, BEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP. It's alarming. Something's wrong, who knows what.

I pick up the phone and call Insulet Corp-Product Support. I reported the alarm and they will ship me a new one. They were very nice when I called. So, on to a new pump (#3 for the day). I slowly performed each step to get it on, so as not to cause another alarm or break anything. I held my breath as it primed...and primed...and primed. I waited for the friendly beep-beep it makes when it's ready to be put on. And this time it was successful. Exhale.

All of this took an extra 26 minutes. I was running late to begin with and was in a foul mood and this just made me more mad. But in the end, I relaxed and reminded myself to have positive thoughts to bring on positive activity in my day. It was a good reminder that sometimes things happen and you can't get upset about it. So what if I ran late- nobody died as a result (lol). And now at the end of the day, getting that mad just seems silly.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Terri & Me and church tonight

This is a pic of my friend Terri and I at church tonight. She is so sweet and full of positive energy. Inspiring. Down to earth. She's a good person to call a friend! I'm a lucky girl!

Are any of you on TWITTER?

I just joined Twitter yesterday. Yes, I know I'm a bit behind the tide on this one. I've resisted long enough. I'm missing out on some good stuff!!! But I'd like to follow some of you guys that read my blogs. Are any of you on Twitter? If you are, comment below or send me a private msg if you don't want to list it in the comments. I'd love to follow you!

My Twitter handle is: DbetesSunshine

It just was too long to put Diabetes and Celiac Sunshine (Twitter rules, I guess).

Hope to see you on there soon!!!!

x0x0 Nikki

Friday, August 12, 2011

How do you organize your diabetes?

These are my diabetes drawers. One is an actual drawer, labeled "Diabetes," and the other is a storage ottoman. Someday I hope to have enough storage to keep everything in one spot, but that is not the case right now.

Every month when I get my new stash of diabetes supplies from the pharmacy, I have to rearrange my drawer to make room and "rotate stock," so I'm using the oldest stuff first.

Do you have an organization system?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Your refridgerator is your pharmacy


Do you eat for enjoyment or necessity? Maybe a little of both?

I largely eat for necessity, with the occasional treat thrown in, of course.
The bottom picture is of my spinach cranberry turkey burgers (sans spinach, b/c I forgot to buy fresh spinach at the store-oops). It's just turkey burger, a handful of fresh spinach, maybe 1/4 cup of cranberries, and 1 egg. Mix 'er up with a fork and form into patties. They will feel wet and difficult to keep together at first, but trust me, they'll fare just fine. Just fry them up in a pan. I'll eat these later in the week.

The top picture is of my dinner tonight. Fresh salmon. As a nice treat, one of my church friends gave me some fresh salmon that their family had caught in Canada. I was so happy and surprised! Yum! The picture here shows what I did with it. That's fresh dill, garlic, evoo, and lemon on top of fresh salmon, right before entering my oven. I ate it with a side of freshly sliced mango.

I must have over bolused for the mango, tho, because about an hour post-eating, my bg tanked. Yikes. What happened there, who knows. Feeling icky and seeing the down-trending arrow on the CGM, I over-corrected: a 15 carb juice box, followed by about 15 more carbs of whole grain crackers.

Tonight I caught up on my dLife recordings. I try to catch it on Sunday nights on CNBC, but b/c it's broadcast here at 6pm, it's usually in the heart of a very busy part of my evening and gets missed. So tonight, I had two weeks' worth to watch. I am so happy there is a show dedicated to D.

Last week I met with another dietician/CDE, this time at the University of Minnesota, on a referral from my primary doctor. The dietician is a specialist in persons with both celiac disease and diabetes. I'm pretty sure I struck gold with her. My appointment was for 2 hours, and we used up every minute of it. I confided in her that I get jealous of other diabetics who only have diabetes (versus celiac w/ diabetes). I told her that I used to complain about having to follow a diabetic-friendly diet, but once I had celiac AND diabetes, I begged for the days that I only had to follow ONE diet (diabetes) instead of two. It can be incredibly taxing, emotionally and socially, to manage two medical diets. I began to resent people who could just order food mindlessly, without a care in the world. I would think, it must be nice, to just order whatever you want with no immediate consequences.

Yes, I am already aware I have anxiety when it comes to managing my diseases. I try to be perfect. The dietician picked up on this. She referred me to a therapist who specializes in ppl with multiple auto-immune diseases, with an emphasis on diabetes.

The best advice I have been given for managing the diets didn't come from a doctor or therapist or a dietician/CDE; it came from one of my non-diabetic, healthy-as-heck friends. He works out a lot at the gym. He told me to view food as medicine; advice he follows himself. I know that sounds incredibly boring and horrible, to not eat for the sole purpose of enjoyment, but for me it turned out to be invaluable advice. Once I started viewing food as medicine for my body, it took some of the pressure off me. It gave me a new way to look at food. When I view food as medicine, I don't feel as disappointed, like when I can't go out to eat somewhere because there is nothing safe (gluten-free) at the restaurant. It's like Kris Carr said and now I say: Your crisper is your pharmacy.

So now when I see other people eating whatever they want, I get a little tough-love on myself and remind myself that my body is broken, for goodness sake it attacked ITSELF and it needs proper and specific nutrition in order to function properly. I know I'm not like those other people. I have multiple auto-immune diseases, 3 of them, and a fourth one could be fatal or at the very least, debilitating. So I have extra incentive to follow a strict gluten-free/blood sugar regulating diet.

It's also given me incentive to cook and enjoy doing so. I have only eaten out at sit down restaurants 3 times in 2011. I've cooked all of my meals, all year. I've gotten creative with my healthy food. I've learned new flavors and new combinations that work. I've tried new foods that I'd never heard of (like teff and amaranth). I can't believe how much I like my own cooking and that I've learned to manage two medical diets, a feat that seemed nearly impossible 12 months ago. I'm proud of myself for what I've accomplished.

Whatever your food philosophy, you gotta agree that what you put in your mouth is important stuff. And sometimes it feels like the only piece of our diseases we have control over. P.S. I really recommend trying those turkey burgers! Easy and yum.