About Me

My photo
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, December 12, 2012

Google Yourself.

I have a really good piece of advice for you. Google yourself. Google your name, google your email address(es), see what comes up. It might surprise you.

I google myself every couple months to see what shows up. I don't like it when websites post my home address or info like that, and if I see it show up, I email them and ask them to remove me from their site, which they always do.

It's also funny to find out that others have the same name as you and interesting stuff comes up. Tonight I found out that a porn star shares my first and last name. THAT was interesting.

What was also interesting when I googled my name is that I found a link to a book that my story is going to be in: http://books.google.com/books?id=7E9sFW2eBZMC&pg=PT234&lpg=PT234&dq=nikki+coar&source=bl&ots=1sTwgsPnfr&sig=qp2d3vjoIt3T3TXaCdfT_2DSKeA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Sy7JUOiTPKaoywHIzID4DA&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBA

Only parts of the story are shown. I can't wait to see the whole story when the book comes out. And I can't wait to read about other's stories. It's a book about eating well with diabetes, but I contribute how to eat with diabetes AND celiac. When you have both it can be a little challenging.

Pretty cool!!

Sorry this is short. I just finished the tweetchat on #dsma tonight. I get so pumped talking with others with D; it's pretty awesome.

More tomorrow...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dating with disease.

Yes it's late and yes I should be in bed right now deep in a slumber in preparation for tomorrow's workday but I just can't sleep. I just finished watching this Hallmark Channel Christmas movie that I recorded earlier and it's put some questions in my head. While I must admit that these movies shamelessly bring me joy, the one I watched today got me to thinking about something.

In one part of the movie, a man (presumably in his late 20s/early 30s)is trying to find his perfect match and finds a girl he thinks is cute but he finds out she is vegan and decides not to ask her out because as he put it "where could I ever take her out to eat? Too much work." and moves on to the next girl. Anyways, I felt this twinge in my stomach because I believe his feelings and his statement ring true- that perhaps a woman with "food issues" IS too much work and not worth pursuing. I wonder if that is how others perceive me? Do my "food issues" due to celiac disease and type 1 diabetes take me out of the running? Will no man pursue a lifelong commitment with me because of these things? I know I've brought up my questions about being loved as someone with medical conditions in a previous blog where I blatantly wondered if I could be considered lovable.

This all stems from my own embarrassment/insecurity from having these illnesses, and recognizing the hassle they will cause the person I could have a relationship with and/or marry someday, even though I know these diagnoses are not my fault but still I feel a little like damaged goods. And watching that scene in the Hallmark Channel movie made me think that even more! Why would they joke about it if it weren't true?

I'm just beginning to believe that finding a person who will see past my diseases, or "food issues" is just not a big possibility.

At least I have my dog and she loves me no matter what <3


Thoughts/opinions? I would really appreciate everyone's raw thoughts on this.







Sunday Funday.

Well Thanksgiving is over and it's now 'Tis the season. Today I joined a gym so that I can walk on the treadmill; the only exercise I have permission to do. It's cold here in Minnesota; there won't be any walking outside for this girl.

Last week I had blood work for my endo appt. All my numbers were great, including my cholesterol which is a blessing considered last time it was checked it was really high. I've never had high cholesterol in my life but then in the last 6 months I had this crazy idea to go on an egg diet where I basically ate eggs all day every day (protein) and the blood work showed my stupidity. My doctor asked "what happened in the last few months" and I told him about my egg idea and he put the kabash on that straight away. Put me on a limit of 2 egg yolks a week (unlimited egg whites) and voila, my cholesterol is back to being very low.

A couple of numbers didn't come back awesome- my white blood cell count and my thyroid test. No big deal tho; a tweak to my thyroid medication should take care of both of those issues.

But the number I always dread is the A1c. I knew it wouldn't be great because after my spinal cord repair let's just say that keeping my blood sugar in line wasn't exactly a priority. My A1c went up .4, from the previous 6.3 to now 6.7. Not horrible but still a disappointment because I have this goal of getting it down to 6 or lower. I guess I want it that low because then I feel I have a "cushion" for when things go awry (like spinal cord surgery!) and it goes up. But if you are already starting a little higher, then it doesn't give as much of a cushion for it to go up and be in a range that I feel happy with.

The other number that needs a little work is my weight. My forced sedentary lifestyle put some extra fat on me and I am on a mission to get rid of the extra weight by the end of the year or at least by the end of January. My goal weight is 118. That is where I look and feel my best. I'm 125 now so I think a 7 lb goal is attainable. I'm very small boned and a small amount of added weight on me gives me a muffin top AND a double chin. I know that sounds ridiculous but after some recent pictures taken of me I almost fell off my chair. I looked horrible. Everyone has a weight that they look (and feel) their best and mine is 118-ish.

I started the Paleo way of eating last week and so far it's been great. It's not a big change from how I was eating prior, except that it cuts out grains. I can't say I'll never eat grains again but after reading a lot on the Paleo's claims that grains cause inflammation and a host of other issues, I'm curious to see if I feel a difference when not eating them. So it's more of an experiment for me. If I don't feel different after about 2 months, I will reincorporate healthy grains back into my diet. I thought now would be a good time so then I won't feel as left out at the holidays when I can't eat any cookies or pies. Having celiac disease sort of ruined the holiday eating for me, so at least eating Paleo I can pretend THAT is the reason I'm not eating any of those beautiful desserts that are around me during the month of December.

Last night I went to the natural food co-op and ended up introducing myself to someone in the freezer aisle that I could tell was struggling with making a decision on a gluten free bread selection. I seem to always end up doing this when I go to this store; it seems to be a haven for celiacs, especially that frozen food aisle where all the GF frozen goods are. I like helping people and after her and I talked for a while, I found out that she, her 3 kids, her brother and her brother's daughter all have celiac disease. One of her children becomes violently ill when he ingests gluten and must be hospitalized. I suggested that she take advantage of the Mayo Clinic's Celiac Clinic right here in Minnesota, where they offer top-notch care and cutting edge research for celiac disease. We are so lucky to have the Mayo Clinic just one hour away. What a blessing that is.

I was up early today because as you know Sunday's are my chop & prep days for food for the week. I'll be making a chicken curry dish in the crock pot (from a paleo cookbook), chopping up lots of veggies for snacks, cleaning chicken for a chicken stir fry later in the week and chopping up lettuce for salads. Oh and of course I need to boil about a dozen eggs to have on hand for last minute breakfasts or snacks. And yes, I'm only eating the egg whites :)

Then back to the weekly grind tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A letter to my Dexcom 7.

Dear Dexcom 7,

I just wanted to thank you for keeping me up all night. It must be nice to stay up all night partying and being loud, and then get to sleep in and not function properly until 11:19am this morning. I wish I could stay up all night and then sleep in, but unfortunately one of us needs to go to work so we can pay the bills.




Thank you for the 2am, 3am and 3:30am fake warnings of high blood sugars, for saying I was 221 when in actuality I was 79 and later 98. Thanks for waking the dog up so I had to take her to go potty at 2 in the morning.

Thanks for the ERR1 message you gave me this morning at work- twice. In case no one else knew you weren't working properly, you made it known by beeping as loud as you could in my cubicle.

I also want to thank you for putzing out on me at only 3 days old. You are supposed to last a week, you jerk.

You just wait until January when I can afford to replace you with the G4; we'll see who's laughing then.



Friday, November 16, 2012

A disease hypothetical question?

There are questions about my diabetes and celiac disease that I inevitably get asked.

When people ask you how "your diabetes is going," how do you answer? When someone new finds out I have diabetes, I am ready for three questions that inevitably follow- the first question usually involves the amount of time I've had it ("did you get it as a kid? how long have you had it?"). The 2nd question evolves around diagnosis ("how did you know you had it?" "what were your symptoms?" "does it run in your family?") and the third question is always the one I dread the most- it evolves around how my diabetes is being managed ("how's the diabetes going?" "is it well managed?"). When people ask that, especially someone you don't know well, how do you answer? Do you give them the dirty low down details? Do you breeze over the question altogether? There's this balance I always want to strike when answering that question; I want people to know the level of dedication it takes to manage this disease, but I don't want to terrorize them, either. I feel in the past, I've done both. I've sometimes glossed over the question with an answer like "Oh, it's going fine" and other times I have given TMI and you can see the confusion/horror on their face. So then I realize I wonder if that 3rd question is actually just a hypothetical question, to be polite? Maybe it's a question like "How are you doing?" The type of question that people don't realllly want to know that you just got dumped, your dog is sick, your car broke down, fill in the blank, etc. They just want you to say "I'm doing fine, thanks for asking," so they can move on to their next task. And then there's the task of deciphering who wants the details and who doesn't. I'm guessing the sales clerk at Macy's didn't want to know about your blood sugar issues when she asked you how your day was going.

I was asked this question by my manager when I told her I had diabetes a few weeks back. I wasn't sure how to answer- I didn't want to scare her with details that might make her think I was going to be a "problem" employee, but I also didn't want her to think it was a breeze and would never interfere with my work. Taken off guard, I think I leaned toward the side of having her believe it would never be a problem, out of fear of being a new employee and worried what she would think of me. Diabetes makes me very self-conscious.

I wish I didn't care what people thought. I wish their assumptions didn't hurt. I wish I had a disease I could keep to myself and not tell anyone about. But that is not the case.

Usually my celiac disease diagnosis is a little easier to hide, at least from strangers. People won't usually find out about it until there is a food-related event, and even then sometimes you can get away with not mentioning it if you don't want to. Until you go out to a restaurant and grill the poor waiter about ingredients, food handling and cross contamination. Celiac disease is difficult to answer questions about. The hardest question I get is "What happens when you eat it?" The reason that I don't enjoy answering this question is because there is no polite way to describe the digestive symptoms it causes. I'm not one to blurt out to strangers "Oh, it gives me the scoots." Nothing like telling a stranger about your bloating, diarrhea and gas problems. I try to glaze over the gross parts and focus about the damage it causes to my small intestine.

At the same time, when I am asked questions about one of my diseases, I don't want to miss an opportunity to educate someone and give them the CORRECT information about the disease, versus the stereotypes they'll likely hear later.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reducing Risk.

It's Sunday afternoon and not a normal time for me to write a blog. This time of day usually involves chopping, cooking, laundry. I have been doing some of that today, but not much because I'm trying to rest up my back in preparation for another long week. I just thought I'd take a coffee and gluten free scone break from my house chores.

Last night I completed my grocery shopping for food prep today. I went later in the evening on purpose, to avoid the daytime shoppers that pack up the stores. I also prefer to go when there is less traffic on the road. Since my spinal cord injury in July, I have been very scared of being on the road; scared that someone is going to rear-end me. The words from my surgeon ruminate in my mind; that if I were to get into even a minor accident, I could end up with quadriplegia. Quadriplegia occurs when there is injury to the spinal cord in any part between the C4-C7 cervical area. My spinal cord was damaged in the C5-C6 and C6-C7 region, with minor damage in the C4 area that they chose not to fix at the same time as the others (there is risk that a multi-level fusion would not be successful). The 12-15 months is how long it takes for my bones to fuse with the cadaver bones. Until then, what's holding me together are screws on the inside and outside of my spinal cord (see 2nd picture, below). So I am supposed to be really careful for the next year or so and is why I have a long list of restricted movements and activities. Here's a picture I found online that better explains the regions:

photo credit TexasTrialLawyer.com

Since I don't have a picture of my own xray, I found one online that looks just like mine:

photo credit boneandjoint.org.uk

The truth is, I'm scared of being being paralyzed from the neck down. What would that mean to a t1 diabetic like myself? It would mean not being able to poke my own fingers to check my blood sugar, not being able to treat a low on my own, and possibly not having the ability to feel a low due to paralysis. It would mean requiring 24 hour a day care, because of the risk of low blood sugar. It could mean living in a facility due to the special circumstances of type 1 diabetes and needing someone to be available to help me treat my diabetes at any time of the day or night. While I know that many quadriplegic patients may live with a level of independence, I don't think a type 1 diabetic would have that option. And that fear haunts me when I'm driving and I see a car behind me not slowing down fast enough.

I've purposely chosen my work schedule in order to avoid rush hour traffic. I don't drive during rush hour, period. I try to do everything locally and avoid the main highways, which seem to be featured on the morning and evening news everyday for accidents. I'm just simply trying to reduce my risk. I don't text and drive and I rarely talk and drive either. I see too many cars swerving around in their lanes only to see when I pass them that they are texting and not watching the road. I don't want someone who is texting behind me on the road because if I have to slam on my brakes for some reason, they will not be paying attention and run into me. We live in a different world now with cell phones and GPS systems. People are reading their texts, texting back, dialing, or looking at the map/directions on their phone. What they aren't looking at are the brake lights in front of them.

Maybe I'm paranoid, I'm not saying I'm not. But I have a lot to lose and I'd rather be overly cautious than not cautious enough.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Needed: Rest.

Glad this week is almost OH-VER. I haven't slept well most of the week and my back has been hurting, which scares me A LOT. It hurts in the surgical site area, and I think it's from the constant sitting in one position at work. I can't get comfortable at work, with my arms out in front of me typing all day. I keep repositioning myself to find a comfy spot and I can't find it. My boss doesn't know about my spinal cord surgery, and I'm not sure how much she (or any boss) would be willing to accommodate a brand-new employee for yet another medical condition. She already knows about the diabetes and the celiac disease. I just hate feeling like the problem employee. I don't want her to think "great, what have I hired." I am afraid to call my surgeon's office because I'm afraid they will recommend working a reduced work week, to work my way back into working full time. But I can't afford that. And I know for a fact my new job will not accommodate that because they have already stated the company does not hire part-time employees. So I'm planning a weekend of complete and total rest, preferably spent on my back. During the week I'm going to have do try to do less work at home after work (cleaning, cooking, laundry, errands) and focus on rest rest resting my back. I'm so scared one of my health conditions is going to jeopardize my work.

So tonight I made a yummy gluten free meals that I hope will last me through the entire weekend. I had a 2 1/2 lb container of ground turkey from Sam's Club that I thawed but had not made a plan for, so I flipped through my recipes and decided to make Confetti Turkey Loaf before it spoiled. It's very healthy and tasty. That took up 1 1/2 lbs; the remaining pound I used to make a batch of Manwich sloppy joe mix (less healthy, but easy). Then I baked 5 sweet potatoes in the toaster oven.

Here's the quick version of how to make the turkey loaf. Saute onions and peppers in a pan with a teeny amount of oil, then dump in a big mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey, 2 eggs, a chopped up carrot, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Mix it up.



Make 1 cup of cook wild rice (I made it in the rice cooker). Soak the cooked rice in 1/2 cup canned coconut milk for about 5 minutes.




Add it to the turkey/vegetable mix. Throw it in a greased loaf pan. Bake for a hour.

Before


After


Thanks for listening to me this week. I've had a bad week. Between the nightmares and stress, a $4000 medical bill for uncovered services during my spinal cord surgery, and now my surgical area causing me a lot of pain, I'm ready for the weekend.

Decisions, in pictures.

What I wanted to eat for supper.




Then I saw this (notice the 6 hour trending)



So I ate this instead


What I thought I probably should have had for supper








Monday, November 5, 2012

Haven't really talked about this before.

I've been sitting here for a while thinking Should I publish this? Should I not publish this? I don't know why I'm hesitant to talk about this when I've shared so many things.

I'm struggling a bit with an old demon. Night terrors. My nightmares have been coming back and as such, are preventing me from sleeping soundly throughout the night and have also made me dread bedtime. I haven't really talked much about this, but in 2010 I was diagnosed with PTSD after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease. I experienced a lot of trauma from the multiple life-changing illnesses and being extremely ill for most of the year 2010. In addition to the night terrors, I lost my appetite, I cut myself off from all my friends and family, not even a phone call here and there. I lived with so much fear that I felt like I was going crazy. I rarely left my house and for almost 9 straight months I cried every single day. It's hard to explain without sounding exaggerated, but after the 3rd autoimmune disease diagnosis in a 5 month period and a 2nd unsuccessful heart surgery to correct a heart condition, I lost my ability to sleep, to concentrate, to live normally. That's when the nightmares began; vivid dreams that seemed so real that in my dream I'd tell myself I was just dreaming, but then right after would think oh my gosh I'm NOT dreaming- this is actually HAPPENING. (It wasn't). I had nightmares that ranged from having snakes in my bed, attackers in my house, having my heart stop and tons and tons of dreams that my blood sugar was low while being physically unable to treat it. I dreamed that I was always dying in some way, whether it was someone killing me in my house, chasing me down and killing me, or dying from one of my many medical conditions. In my dreams, I was always alone where no one could save me or find me; where no one was ever around to help me, which is much how I felt in real life, that no one could save me from all the diseases that had plagued me.

The doctor put me on sleeping medication to help me get some much needed sleep. After about a year and a half, things started to improve enough where I wasn't taking the sleeping medication, but since the spinal cord injury diagnosis in July, the nightmares are back and I just can't shake them. I did try counseling but found it too slow of a pace to work. One hour a week just wasn't cuttin' it. I know this stuff takes time, but at a $45 copay for each visit, and really needing to go at least weekly, it just isn't something I could afford to do long-term (I have insurance where you still have copays after you meet your out of pocket maximum). I recently had a dream that was so awful that I woke up screaming. And last night I had a dream that someone broke in my house, and the dream was so real that I sat up on the couch with a hunting knife next to me and I didn't go back to sleep. I was a complete zombie at work today. It's time for me to re-connect with my doctors and see what other options we can come up with. I don't want to be doped up on sleeping pills which don't solve the problem anyway, and I don't want to keep living in a place of fear. I'm wondering if a group setting-type meeting might be a better fit for me. I always associated PTSD with people who went to war or people who were crime victims. I'd be almost embarrassed to go to a meeting and tell people why I have it; it just doesn't seem like it would compare to the tragedies they've experienced. Whatever I do I just know I won't let it get out of hand before I decide to do something about it. I won't let it destroy me like it almost did in 2010. My positive thinking, my faith, and belief that life WILL get better won't let it.

Consider this a segue. I'd rather talk about things that make me happy. Like food.

This is the first week in a while that I didn't have a menu plan in place, nor did I spend my Sunday chopping and food prepping for the week. The end of last week was busy and so was the weekend (two volunteer shifts at church) and next thing I know, the weekend was over. Tonight I made a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants dinner. I threw some chicken breasts in a pan and seasoned the heck out of them with a collage of rosemary, onion powder, salt, pepper and oregano. Flash fried with a wee bit of olive oil just until the outsides were slightly browned but still raw inside and threw them in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes (this technique keeps them juicy and not dried out). While those baked, I looked in my cupboards and fridge and realized I had nothing that went together meal-wise or made sense, so decided to be creative. I used the same pan that still had the chicken seasonings still in it and threw in a can of organic pinto beans (drained and rinsed), fresh mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and some jarred organic kalamata olives that have been hanging out in the fridge for a while. I added a few more seasonings and voila


Not to shabby.

Well, it's time for me to wind down and get ready for bed. I'm hoping the bad dreams will subside for tonight so I can get a full night's sleep. I don't like starting my week off so tired.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Your Disease Disaster Plan.

This week I was glued to the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. I watched the different types of devastation it caused in different states- some got snow blizzards, some got sand, some got wind and flooding. I watched as a New York hospital lost power and their backup generators failed. My mind immediately begins wondering about whether the diabetics and celiacs in the path of Sandy were well stocked up and prepared for the impending disaster. I can only assume that the pharmacies were closed for a while and hospitals were overloaded with patients. What if you couldn't get access to an insulin refill? Do you have enough on hand to get you through for a period of time? If you do have extra in your fridge, do you have a way of keeping it cold in case of a power outtage? Have you notified your electric company that you are an insulin dependent diabetic so that you will be on the list of the first people to have their power turned back on? Do you have a diabetes disaster plan? How about the celiacs- do you have enough gluten free food on hand that if the grocery stores were unaccessable or out of food that you could survive for a while? Because I have bad news for you otherwise- don't count on the emergency food shelves or the Red Cross to have gluten free options for you. Hopefully whether you are diabetic or celiac you've got an emergency plan in place, because in those situations these are additional things you will have to worry about.

I began to think about my situation, and what challenges I might face if there was a a big natural disaster in my area. I'm pretty stocked up on diabetes supplies. I have a good year or more supply of insulin in my fridge, and keep my test strips, lancets and pump supplies as stocked up as I am able to afford. I have coolers and freezer packs ready to go, and I also have a generator. I may or may not even have ammo on hand to defend said supplies (I'm just sayin' you might want to pick a different house to loot). I like to think of myself as a Diabetes Doomsday Prepper, and you may remember reading my blog earlier this year. As for the celiac side, I keep lots of cans of beans, canned tuna, rice, and canned vegetables stocked. I also have cans of Spam stocked since it's a gluten free protein, although I think it's nasty and hope to goodness I never have to eat it.

The show Doomsday Preppers was popular this spring and I hope they bring it back. Nowadays the show I like is Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. Not that I plan on peeing in a bottle instead of flushing my toilet anytime soon, or dumpster diving for food, but I can't say anything bad about those folks cuz guess what, they don't have any debt and I do. They are millionaires and I'm not. So who's the smart one?

While I am not an Extreme Cheapskate, I do like to think of myself as an amateur diabetes cheapskate. I use the same nasty kleenex or napkin over and over until it's riddled with dots and looks like a George Seurat painting. I re-purpose my alcohol swabs by first using them to clean my finger tip if if needs it, followed by using it to clean off all my equipment screens like my iphone, cgm, insulin pump, glucose meter, even my work phone and keyboard and mouse. Until it's dried out. I sign up for any and all free offers for test strips and glucose meters, because I'll use whatever is free before I go out and pay my deductible for my prescription ones. Recently, I signed up for a coupon for a Verio IQ glucose meter and 50 free test strips. Why not? I get to try new equipment for free and free test strips too? Now that's GOLD. And I save money by trying to test my bg less on days when it's stable, to make up for the days when my bg is nutso and I have to test twice as many times. That way it all balances out. Lastly, I have a T1 friend who I swap d-supplies with. I may have extra of one supply she needs and she has extra supply of something I need. Tonight I gave her some of my extra stock in exchange for 2 of her cgm sensors because I'm almost out. Now I'm not saying you should follow what I do, or that these are the right things to do for you. I'm just a person trying to manage my diseases on a reallllly tight budget and sometimes, you just gotta cut corners to make it work.

Do you have any tips for saving money to manage your disease? Are you prepared for a disaster? Did seeing the Hurricane Sandy coverage make you think about your preparedness?



Thursday, October 25, 2012

The worst they can say is no.

A few weeks ago my electric hot water maker died. I've had it for years and loved it so much. I use it nightly to make my tea (you may recall from previous posts just HOW MUCH tea I actually have.) Anyway, while most normal people would drive over to the local Walmart or Target and pick up a new one (they are only about $20-something dollars, after all), me being very frugal decided to write a letter to Hamilton Beach, the parent company of the Proctor Silex hot water maker I own. Here was my letter:

Dear Hamilton Beach,

I am sad to report that my loyal, favorite hot water maker (Proctor Silex) has pooped out on me for the last time. I love this kettle because of its reliability and the long cord, and I can't find another like it. It started to die a while ago but I was always able to get it working again by wiggling and jiggling the cord each time until the light finally came on. Sometimes I would have to prop the cord up with something under it so the power would stay on. It became a nightly (fun) challenge to find what item to put under the cord that was the right height that would keep the light on. But last weekend, the wiggling and jiggling and cord gymnastics stopped working. And thus, I had to warm up my water in the dirty microwave instead.

I'm wondering if you have replacement cords? I love my kettle and am sad to see it go.

No tea for me,

Nikki


I am happy to report that Hamilton Beach provided me with a 30% off coupon towards a new hot water maker.

Also a few weeks ago, my Otterbox case for my iPhone started to break. I've had the case since February 2011 and surely didn't expect that contacting Otterbox about it would do any good. WRONG.

Upon reading my letter, even advising them that I purchased the case almost 2 years ago, they had me send them a picture of the damaged case. Then they sent me an email saying a new case would be shipped. BOOM. I received my new Otterbox case about a week later. I sent them a thank you letter!

The point of sharing these seemingly-unrelated-to-anything stories is that it never hurts to ask. I would never lie to get something for free, because I have strict morals about that and think that's wrong. But there's nothing wrong (in my humble opinion) in asking to see if they would be willing to help you with whatever your situation is.

When I had my spinal cord injury this summer and was laid up without any income, I sat in my cervical collar in a bed 24/7 and watched my medical bills pile up with no money to pay them. Then one day I decided to contact the two health systems I owed the most money to and ask if they had any sort of patient finance programs to help those in 'tight spots' financially. Both did. What I hoped for was that they could lower my monthly payments or write off a small portion of my bill; making it more affordable for me to pay it off. I went through their internal application process, in which I had to prove my income (or lack thereof), provide proof of hardship (easy with all the medical bills I was accumulating), and write a letter explaining my hardship. The health systems decide if- and how much- they are willing to assist, based on your hardship. In my case, both health systems decided I qualified to have the entire amounts I owed written off; one wrote off $1600.00 as long as I paid them $200.00 over the course of 6 months (in $33.50 installments), and the other health system wrote off the entire $1800.00 bill due to providing evidence of severe hardship. I now owe them zero and am $3400.00 less in debt than I would have been had I never inquired about their programs.

Clinics and hospitals offer programs out there specifically to help those who are in tight financial spots. Don't be afraid to inquire if you are one of those people. They understand that people fall on hard times and need help paying their medical bills. In my case, I had been making high monthly payments to both of them for over a year and could no longer continue to make those payments once I was unable to work.

So again, my point is that it never hurts to ask, whether it's your favorite tea kettle that just died on you, or whether you are in dire straights financially due to loads of medical debt. Don't try to tackle more than you are able. See what resources the clinics/hospitals might be able to offer you. These are not state-programs; these are exclusively offered by the health systems as part of a budget they set aside to assist patients experiencing hardships, so don't feel bad about it!

I hope that this information has been useful to you. If you have any stories you'd like to share about a time when you asked for something - and got it - I'd love to hear it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Losing my driving privileges from Big D?

This was my morning (my work desk) at 7am. A D-mess on my desk.


Boy was today EVER a Monday. I woke up late, no time for makeup, ironed clothes or even a shower. Scarfed down my breakfast so fast that I actually forgot that I ate breakfast, and as I was trying to rush out the door, had an insulin pump failure. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP it screamed. Too busy to take care of it at home, I grab pump supplies and race to work. I call Omnipod while I'm driving to report the defective pod; hang up with them as I'm pulling into work.

I get to my desk, I pull off the failed pod (ouch cuz it was really stuck on), and quickly began getting the next one ready to put on. Except, there's a problem. It won't prime. It won't beep. BEEEP. No beep. It's dead. GAH! Luckily I'm prepared and pull out my backup spare pump supplies from my desk drawer. I'm calling Omnipod quickly and quietly to report the 2nd pump failure. The call feels like it's taking forever. I'm at work, and I'm a new employee with this pile of d-crap on my desk and sitting on my cell phone on a personal call. I understand the phone reps have to go through a laundry list of questions- what kind of insulin did you use, was it room temp, what were you doing when it failed, can I confirm your home address, when is your next shipment due, what is your astrological sign...etc. I finally tell the woman on the phone, who at the end of the call wants me to 'hang on the line while she documents the call(which I did for a while but we were now about 15 minutes into the call) that I'm at work and I HAVE to go; my shift had started 10 minutes prior and could not hang on the line any further. I put on the new pump and OUCHHHHHHHHHHH, it hits a nerve or something and I'm writhing in pain with no back up pumps to replace it. It's 7am and I'm stuck with it until 5pm when I get home. I'm starving, and try finding anything gluten free in a vending machine.

You might have seen my Twitter post at 7:10am.

You'd hope that would be the end of a bad day. But when I got home and opened my mail, I saw this



I'm not sure how I feel about this. Why do I feel that as a diabetic I was singled out for this? Do they send people with all diseases this letter and force them to get into their specialist doctor (endocrinologist) within three weeks from receipt of the letter (yeah, right) or else lose your driving privileges? Why did I receive this? Why now and not two years ago when I was diagnosed? Why ever? This upsets me for two reasons, first I have a perfect driving record. Second, I am a very well-managed diabetic with no history of having an event while driving. So why do they require that I fill this out in the next three weeks OR ELSE... To me, it would make more sense to send out this letter if you've had a documented medical event while driving. But I'm healthy, and when I opened this letter I felt like my civil rights were being threatened and given a very short and unreasonable amount of time to complete their request. I called my doctor's office and advised I'll be faxing this over tomorrow but can't get an appointment until 11/23, and that was because there was a cancellation.

I would love to hear how others feel about this. Am I overreacting? Is there any part of you that feels that this is somewhat discriminatory towards those that have diabetes? Do they require everyone with a disease to fill this form out?

I can't wait to get in the bubble bath and wash this day off me. The whole day just feels rough and dirty.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celiabetes Facebook Page.

I finally got my facebook page up and running today. It would be very awesome if you visited it! I'll be adding more content each day, more pictures and things.

I really want to connect with diabetics and celiacs (and their friends and loved ones alike). I consider it my favorite past time and I definitely feel that connecting with others has been a HUGE part in my disease management. If I hadn't connected with people through my blog and twitter, I would still be feeling really alone, like I did for the first year after diagnoses. If only I'd known about the online community sooner; I wouldn't have suffered alone like I did.

Anyways, the weekend is almost here. Tomorrow night I am meeting up with a good friend for coffee, and I am looking forward to some face-to-face time! Sunday I have volunteer work for the church, followed by meal prep for the week so Saturday will be my wildcard day; a do-whatever-i-want day. I plan to use it wisely, catching up on some much needed reading and book-finishing. I have a bunch of books STARTED... sigh. I should be working in some cleaning time but nah.

The leaves are almost done turning here in Minnesota. Most have dropped to the ground and I'm seeing a lot of bare trees. That means my favorite season is coming to an end. I still need to hit up a hayride before it snows! And an apple farm! Oh how I miss my childhood and teen years growing up on a fruit farm. Fresh fruits year round without the grocery store prices. I never purchased fruit from a store until I was around 23; I had no idea it cost so much and was unripe. Looking back, it was kind of like living in the Garden of Eden; perfectly sun-riped fruit everywhere. At our country home I'd walk in the back yard and pick the ripened apples/peaches/pears/plums/apricots that fell to the ground they were so ripe and eat them. We had grapes, too. Juice grapes, not wine grapes. So I'd eat those, too. Now if I want produce, I have to go get it from the overpriced grocery stores and clean it with fruit cleaner to get all the spray dope, wax coating and fake coloring off of it. It just isn't the same :(

But then again I didn't enjoy getting up at 3am every spring and summer break to go work on the farms all day in all types of weather. And I got chased a few times by mean, loose dogs. Boy did I learn to climb trees fast! It was hard work, but somedays I think that working in a cube in an office building is much harder! I miss working in nature!

Ok enough with memory lane. I gotta go get my food for tomorrow put together. I've been eating the same lunch each day and love it. Those organic kidney beans on my salad each day have been fantastic. The salad alone fills me so much that I rarely have room for anything else I brought to eat; I end up eating the rest for snacks later. If forgot how much I love beans!






Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Doggy Style.

Or at least less-words Wednesday. Today I bring you Doggy Planking. You never know when you'll come up on it.











Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A lil bit o' this, a lil bit o' that.

Just finished packing my lunch/snacks for tomorrow. After last weekend's not-so-pretty gluten-ing, I'm eating a little less meat this week (it hurts my sensitive intestines while they are trying to heal up). It's a healthy selection, with the exception of a less-than-diabetes-friendly choice (pasta salad). The main course for lunch will be a salad with kidney beans for the protein and and Bragg's Healthy dressing. Along with some steamed cauliflower and homemade unsweetened applesauce. I don't think I'll be able to eat all that for lunch, so some of it will be continued into my afternoon snack.



Afterwards, I took my evening shower. Unfortunately, for a reason unknown to me my hot water started to quickly run out on me shortly after getting in. I knew I didn't have much time left, and had to make some tough decisions with what remaining warm water I had left (front or back?) Anyways, I jumped out and here I sit. On the couch. Feet up. Ahhhh.

I started working earlier hours today (7-3:30), which means getting up an hour earlier. Which means going to bed earlier (yeah right). Which means a very tired, disoriented me in the morning.

I thought I'd share two pictures that were shared with me today from Barbara Campbell and Scott Johnson. These were taken at the TCOYD conference in Des Moines a few weeks back.

Me with awesome motivational D-speaker Bill King


Drawing some D-Art for diabetes art day at the conference


Now off to go take a benadryl or nyquil or something because I'm not tired at all and I need to get to bed!

P.S. Pre-ordered the CrazySexyKitchen cookbook today from Amazon. Can't wait for it to be released at the end of this month! I love Kris Carr so much and I truly credit her for being a big part of my return-to-health process that began in 2010 after my year of diagnoses. I own all of her books as well as her documentary and can't wait to own her very first cook book. This chick is definitely in the amazing category. Although not all the recipes are gluten free, most of the ones I saw in the preview of the book can be altered to make a gluten free version, and are healthy, diabetes friendly. I worry a lot about the hormones in the food I eat- especially dairy products and meat. Especially when at least two of my auto-immunes involve hormone issues (insulin= hormone. grave's disease/thyroid= hormone disease.) I've pretty much eliminated dairy from my diet. I'd like to cut back a little on the amount of meat I eat until I can afford to buy more organic meat. That stuff is EXPENSIVE. It's like buying a Coach purse every week. I tell ya, worrying about nutrition is almost a full time job in itself these days.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

D-Street Cred.

Today I volunteered at the Omnipod booth at the 2012 Minneapolis American Diabetes Association Expo. I didn't sleep all that well last night thanks to being glutened, but still awoke at 6am cheery and excited (albeit bloated and gurgly) to work at the Expo. Due to the intestinal swelling from the glutening, I was unable to wear the outfit I had originally planned, but found something else comfy to wear. I was originally only going to work at the booth for 1-2 hours, but so many people were coming up to me with questions about wearing the Omnipod that I ended up staying at the booth from 9-3. It was literally nonstop for 6 straight hours. I had to treat a couple of minor lows, from not eating the entire time I was there, but no big deal. It was an amazing experience to meet SO many neat people with amazing spirits and stories; so many people interested in changing up their current D-regimes in an attempt to gain better control, and others who are already on pumps who were just curious about my pump. Type 1s, type 2s, and type 3s all came up to me. I'm pretty sure I swayed more people to get on an Omnipod pump than the sales guys! For me, it's not work. It is something I live with daily and truly believe helps me to manage my diabetes and I think my passion was evident. People expect that the sales guy will tell them how wonderful the product is, which is why so many of them waited around until I was available so they could ask the "real" questions they didn't want to ask the reps. Since I'm not on the payroll, I had no problem telling them what I loved about the pump, and also about what I feel are the limitations (just a few). I offered real life, 1st hand accounts of day-to-day experiences. I'm a fellow D-soldier. I have D-street cred.

At the end of the day, the territory manager asked me if I would be willing to be their local advocate for their other diabetes events. "Of course!" I said. I will be at the JDRF Reach & Teach U on 11/17. I do not get paid nor do I get reimbursed with pump supplies (I wish, lol). I just want to help other D-people.

What also made today amazing was running into Scott Johnson, Heather Leide and Kelly Rawlings from the DOC. SO COOL!!!!!!!

On a separate note, after having discovered that my new insurance doesn't cover Freestyle test strips, AT ANY COPAY LEVEL, I will be switching to a new brand. My choices were Accu-Chek and Bayer. Having had a Bayer Contour in the past and not loving it (I love that it's pink but don't like that it doesn't light up so I can't test in the dark when I'm sleeping), I'll be going with the new Accu-Chek Nano. I saw it in person today and boy is it COOL. It's so small! It has adorable skins and cases available, too. I love this case. I saw it in person at the expo today. It's SO much cuter in person than on this website. It's metallic and shiny and so cute. Everyone wanted it! Hope there's some left :/

So now I'm sitting on my couch, with the dog, kicking back and eating reheated chili. Yumm. It will be a quiet rest of the night for me. Reading, tea, maybe a little DVR'd Dr. Phil :) Tomorrow is food prep day for the week, so gotta rest up now! In light of last night's gluten-ing event, next week's menu will be blander and milder than originally planned. Light on spices and hot sauce, and more tummy-healing foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, cooked veggies.

Friday, October 12, 2012

GLUTENED

I ate gluten tonight. Not on purpose. I'm now sitting here waiting for the inevitable consequences. And I'm feeling very mad right now, and it takes a lot to make my easy-going self this mad.

So how did it happen? Tonight I went to Target to buy some vitamins, the same vitamins I always buy because they are gluten free- Nature Made brand. They have always been good about labeling the top 10 allergens. I bought the chewable vitamin c.


I popped two in my mouth when I got home. I don't know what it was that gave me the feeling that I needed to go to their website to double check the gluten status of these vitamins, but I did. And what I saw made me very mad.


And this is why it made me mad


Notice how they take the time to label one of the other top allergens, Milk, in parenthesis in the ingredient listing. But they do not list GLUTEN in parenthesis behind the words "natural orange flavors," despite the fact their website makes it clear there is gluten in the flavoring. The FDA requires labeling of the top 10 allergens on food. So how did Nature Made get away with not labeling the gluten source, you ask?

Because only WHEAT is on the top 10 allergens list; none of the other sources of gluten are (barley, rye, oat, malt). So therefore, a company is not LEGALLY required to label the gluten source, unless it's wheat-based, although ethically and morally they should be.

This made me highly suspect of the other vitamins I bought tonight that I have not yet opened.


They labeled one of the other top allergens, SOY, but no mention of gluten.


So I ran straight to their website, too. And this is what I saw



People, I can't begin to tell you how difficult and frustrating it is to try to find safe food. For people like me with Celiac Disease, and for those others who have anaphylactic allergies to gluten, crap like this makes it almost impossible to decipher food labels. What are we supposed to do, carry our laptops to the store and check the FAQ section of each food's website before we make a purchase? We rely on the labeling, yet companies seem to always find ways around the FDA requirements. Those measures are in place to keep people like me safe.

I'm angry and I'm tired of crap like this. Companies should be required to tell us what major allergens are in our food, in plain language. Too many times I've been in the shopping aisles of a grocery store, on the phone with the 800# customer service rep for a food company, to find out if a food is safe for me to eat, because there isn't proper labeling. Only for so many of them to tell me that while they don't ADD gluten ingredients, they cannot guarantee what their raw materials suppliers use. WTF. Just an FYI, when you pick up a food item and it says GLUTEN FREE on it, that only means there aren't gluten ingredients added. It does not mean there is no gluten in it from cross contamination from machines. A gluten-free labeling still requires a call to customer service to check the cross-contamination risks, unless the product is labeled as CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE.

This diet and lifestyle isn't an option for me; it's the only management for a life-altering disease and my health pays a high price for non-adherence, even if it's accidental non-adherence.

Sorry for the rant, I'm feeling frustrated right now.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celiabetes cooking healthy on a budget.

It's no secret I like to stretch my dollars. And since most of my bills are not variable or negotiable (think car payment, insurance, medical bills, etc.), my food bill is one area that I feel I have some control over. In times where I realllly need to stretch my dollars, like now because I've been off work for a while, I meal plan and make meals that are not expensive, will last for several meals, are freezable and of course healthy. One of my favorite places to grocery shop is Aldi's. It's a no-frills national grocery chain and I love it because I can buy a lot of food for about 30% less than the other grocery stores. Here's my most recent shopping trip:


The meals I pre-planned to make were chili, corned beef, turkey meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce, chicken salad (using canned chicken), salads (which I also top with canned chicken or hard boiled eggs as my source of protein), canned chili for times I'm caught without a meal, and of course a restock of my daily breakfast stuff: eggs, spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms. Also pictured are snacks like bananas, radishes (yes, I like to snack on them), cheese puffs (my one unhealthy splurge), chicken broth to cook my rice in (tastes WAY better than cooking rice in water), and salad materials. All for... DRUM ROLL...


$58.40! Considering my corned beef was $11.00, 99% of my groceries only cost me $47. With the cost of groceries these days, that's a good deal in my book. I can stretch chili into 2 or 3 days worth of lunches or dinners, same with the corned beef, canned chicken/chicken salad, salads for lunch, etc, and that is close to 2 weeks worth of food.

The chili


The meatballs in homemade tomato sauce


My daily breakfast, in stages



Add a little kick


One final tip of a way I save money is to avoid soda vending machines at work. They are expensive. Sometimes you want something a little more than just water. So I pack this and restock it each week. The Snapple drink mixes I found in the dollar section of Target for a 10 pack. I bought 6 boxes. The crystal light ones I buy as they are on sale and I have a coupon, and I love both hot and iced herbal teas so I keep those on hand, too.


I also recommend doing your meal plan no later than Friday for the following week (sooner if time allows) so you can get all your grocery shopping done and then spend Sunday morning/afternoon prepping/chopping/dicing/slicing, cooking, and if need be freezing your meals for the week. It sure makes you enjoy your week more when you aren't coming home from work at 5:00 starving with nothing made.

Sometimes it feels impossible to cook healthy yummy meals when you are on a budget, but with a little planning it's doable. Once you've done it two weeks in a row, it will become very habitual and easy. Look to buy foods that are multi-purpose, like ground turkey, which can be made into burgers, meatballs, tacos, etc., or canned chicken (or canned tuna works) which can be eaten on salads, made into chicken salad or even used in a warm sandwich. Eggs are also great, using them for both breakfast, lunch (hard boiled sliced on salads or even eaten as a snack), and made into either frittatas, quiches or omelets for evenings.

Well, off to finish getting my evening chores done before bedtime. Have a good one.








Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New job jitters for those with diabetes or celiac disease.

Well I started at my new job last Monday and things have been a whirlwind ever since. The last two weeks have flown by quickly and I'm mostly still training. I work for a dental benefits company. I'm not yet used to working in a position with a rigid schedule, meaning I can't be late and I have actual scheduled times to be at work, lunches, etc. It's mostly because we have a small team and need to make sure we have people there to cover all of the work we do. I don't mind having a set schedule. I think I'll be choosing to work 6:30-3:00. I prefer to get off work earlier, but worry about with winter driving (in Minnesota) coming here shortly whether I'll have to deal with unplowed roads that early or risk being late. I drive a Subaru Outback which is all wheel drive, so I should be ok. I only live about 15 minutes from work.

The last couple weeks have been an adjustment, considering the months prior to it I was laid up in bed recovering from spinal cord surgery. Returning to work has left me feeling a little more exhausted than normal, frantic and trying to fit everything in in a night (pick out outfit, iron outfit, shower/blow dry hair, pre-make my egg breakfast and pack a lunch). That's just prep for work for the next day. That's not including all the other crud you have to do when you get home from work, like take care of the doggy, make supper, laundry, chores, pay bills, yard care, BLOGGING (ahem), grocery shopping, etc. You get the idea. So I've spent a fair amount of time trying to find balance in my days/week.

Returning to work brought back other worries/fears. Starting at a new job in a new position has left me feeling scared of telling anyone at work that I have diabetes or celiac disease. My boss just told us she is bringing in pizza for us next Monday so don't bring lunch that day. I haven't had the nerve to tell her I can't eat the pizza. So when I show up on Monday with my bagged lunch, she's probably going to wonder why or just think I'm a picky whiny eater-type person. Because she's also announced that for a week she is going to bring us in treats everyday- cupcakes, brownies, candy, etc, all stuff I cannot eat because of my celiac disease.

I've successfully hidden from my new colleagues that I have diabetes or celiac, which has not been easy. Yesterday at work my Omnipod PDM errored- loudly- in my cube. It wasn't just a pod error where I could just take it off and put on a new one. The actual PDM (the handheld portion) errored out and required a call to Insulet. I whispered on the phone the whole time, sweating each minute I was sitting on the phone on a personal call at my new job. But luckily noone noticed.

I know my diseases are nothing I should be ashamed of. But I learned the hard way from my previous job that sometimes employers DO treat you differently when they know. Some employers DO discriminate against you, and it's very hurtful because you know you are a loyal, dedicated employee who works hard and knows her stuff. And out of fear of that happening again, I've decided- at least for the time being- to keep my mouth shut. For now I'd rather be thought of as a crazy-picky eater who doesn't like anything than as a diabetic with celiac disease.

Just wondered if you guys had any opinions on how to handle the work situation?

On a happy note, I just saw the article that the next generation Dexcom was just released today, the Dexcom G4. Here is the link to the article, in case you haven't seen it: http://asweetlife.org/catherine/blogs/products/dexcom-g4-platinum-cgm-conference-call-for-the-doc/30753/

I am SUPER excited to order mine. I'm ordering the pink one, OF COURSE! My new insurance is effective on 11/1 and I will have my order in right away. For those of you who just recently got the previous model of the Dexcom, you may be eligible for a free upgrade/swap if it was within the last few months, or if it's been more like 6 months I think they give you a steep discount. Give them a call to find out what your options are. My Dexcom is 2 yrs old and was purchased under my previous insurance plan, so I'll be able to upgrade no problem.

Took some picks of my grocery haul and am excited to write about it tomorrow. Sorry again for my long absence. Since moving into my new house I have been internet-less while I looked for the best deal (apparently it's Comcast), then had to week almost 2 wks for an available appointment to have it hooked up! But I'm up and running now, and look forward to my regular blogging again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notice anything different?

You may have noticed a little title change in my blog. Formerly "Diabetes & Celiac Sunshine", I changed it to Celiabetes. Why? I wanted a blog address that incorporated BOTH of my diseases, because both affect my life daily (and affect each other) and also so new people who saw the blog address would know I talk about both diabetes AND celiac disease.

So I did something pretty fun this past weekend. I decided to drive down to Des Moines, IA last Saturday to attend the TCOYD conference. It's a little over 3-hour drive south from my house in Minneapolis. It was a great event, but what I loved most about it was meeting bloggers in person that I have met through the online community. Here is a pic from the event. If I look a little rough, it's because I got up at 2:50am to drive down to the event! No time to get ready and seriously felt like I was half dead when the alarm went off that morning (do I even call that 'morning'???)


Kim from www.textingmypancreas.com, me, C from cslifewithd.blogspot.com.

I was able to meet other cool bloggers in the D-community, shout out to Mike Durbin, Marie and Bea!! So cool to put names with in-person faces. And I got to hang out with Scott and Heather, two members of the DOC located here in Minneapolis with me. So fun!

I also got to meet Bobby Dean, Paula Deen's son. Good looking + thick southern accent = HOT!


Yeah, he was into me. (RIGHT!)

They served a delish meal for lunch, which on top of being diabetes-friendly was also GLUTEN FREE. Holler!!!! It was this chicken dish with a mango salsa on top, with a side of black beans and veggies and a slice of flourless, GF chocolate cake. OMGosh, so good.

So yesterday I decided to re-create said meal at home, following the recipe provided at the event. I didn't make the dessert, but made the chicken dish. I'm sad to report that while the dish turned out scrumptious, it turned out to be quite expensive to make! And took over an hour to prepare. The mango alone was $3.42 (gulp), then buying ingredients I won't likely use that often like dried rosemary, fresh cilantro and fresh jalepeno. I loved the dish, but won't be making it anytime soon since the cost is above what I'm willing to pay for a meal. Here's what mine looked like:


Yesterday I had my 10-week post surgical follow up. It went great. Xrays show that the fusion is beginning to take (yay!), and I was told that my xrays looked like that of someone 4-6 months out of surgery, not 10 weeks, so that's awesome. I love being ahead of schedule! Still have restrictions that are tough to adhere to, like no yoga, running, lifting above my head, lifting (weight) restrictions, etc. But I am happy to be feeling good with little or no discomfort. Not too shabby. While I was at the hospital, they had a hope board posted, where you could write on a sticky what you hope for. I wrote "Cure for Type 1 Diabetes" with a blue circle for the upcoming World Diabetes Day. And I placed it right above my favorite sticky entry on the board:


I LOVE that this little kid wrote a cure for type 1 diabetes, hope AND MUSTACHES! Hilarious!!!!! I want to meet this kid.

Lastly, this is my last week of nothing-ness. I return to the workforce next Monday. Talk about nervous. I love the excitement of starting a new job, but am nervous about dumb things, like fitting in. I'm self-conscious about diseases that cannot be hidden from view. I can hide the spinal cord injury, I can hide the grave's disease. I can't hide the diabetes or the celiac disease. In fact, both tend to rear their ugly heads on the first day of any job; usually when your new team surprises you with a potluck you can't eat or a lunch invite to a restaurant with no gluten free options. Yep, no hiding it. And let's not forget an ever-BEEPing insulin management system. Oh well, guess I'll just hope that my **sparkling** personality overshadows the food issues! (tee hee).

The rest of this week is getting ready for next week. I'm ironing all my wrinkly clothes, putting some outfits together. Planning lunch menus and snacks. I'm already making a big batch of the black bean burgers I told you about previously and freezing them for next week. I think I'm also going to make a batch of GF pasta with veggies and sauce and freeze them for ready-made frozen lunches. And I'll probably also make a big batch of lentil stew for freezing into individual sized servings for lunch, too. These are easy meals that you can pull out of the freezer and just add on a healthy side, like pack a little side salad, a no-sugar-added fruit cup or a side of veggies. For snacks, I already mixed together a big batch of trail mix. I really like the Nantucket Trail Mix that Sam's Club sells; but it's too expensive so I bought the ingredients separately and mixed a batch at home. In it: shelled pistachios, craisins, unsalted/roasted almonds. (The Nantucket Mix also has raisins in it but I don't want the extra carbs). Another snack I'll have ready: Wild Garden Hummus with sliced carrots, celery and whatever other veggies I have in the fridge. I don't buy baby carrot sticks; I buy the full sized carrots and slice them myself (cheaper).

Do you have any other healthy snack ideas? I'd love to hear them. Comment if you do!

Talk to you tomorrow!