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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

When it hits the spot.


I'm blessed to own an insulin pump. There are so many positive aspects to having it, and I love it most days but last night I was cursing it. Last night it was time to change my pod. I took off my old pod, and put on the new one, on my left lower back/butt, which is one of the sites in my rotation. In fact, I had just removed it from the exact same location on the right lower back/butt. But this time when I clicked the button to insert it, it hit....something. Something really painful. The surge of pain caused me to say a few choice words under my breathe. I proceeded to bend forward, put my hand over it, and hop around the kitchen. It didn't help. I limped around (I don't know why I was limping; it wasn't my leg) and practiced deep breathing, hoping it would 'settle in' a bit, which it did. I was also worried that since I was about to go to bed, I wouldn't be able to sleep on my back now. But it did ok. The site is still tender. Hopefully it will be alright for the next 3 days until the next site change.

You just never know when it's going to hurt like that. I swear I've worn it in the same spots and every once in a while it just hurts like a ...!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I.am.Regimented.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. This week seems to be moving a bit slow for my taste and it feels like Thursday instead of Tuesday. But that's because my week has been jam-packed with extras that need to be done by the end of the week. There's no more putting these checklist items on the back burner.

I was wondering today about why I will procrastinate on certain things, and then seem to be anal-retentive about other things. For example, I have several handbags I need to put on eBay(the extra money would be nice). And I have been wanting to do this for over 6 months now, but they are still sitting on my floor collecting dust instead of dollar signs. And then there are things I am nothing short of obsessed with and would never miss doing, like washing my face before bed. No matter the circumstances, I will never go to bed without washing my face and putting on my night cream and eye cream. I've even skipped brushing my teeth a night or two out of sheer tiredness, but I still washed my face and moisturized.

I also obsess about my dia-numbers (bg, A1c). I test about 9 times per day, and have my target bg range set at 95-105. I strive for very tight control of my diabetes (too tight, if you ask my CDE). My A1c last week was 6.0, which was pretty good, but not in the 5's as I'd hoped (yes I know I need to change my expectations a bit). I don't eat more than 60g (4 carb choices) in one sitting. A typical day for me right now might mean no carbs for breakfast (egg whites), or on occasion I might add a piece of toast (15g carb or 1 carb choice), lunch is usually 35-40g of carb (2-3 carb choices) and dinner is usually lower, 15-30g (1-2 carb choices). It's true; I weigh everything on my food scale to ensure proper bolusing. Even my banana, to find out the exact carbs.

I do, however, have the occasional pig OUT... I might eat pizza and have dessert, too! Maybe a nice glass o'wine (shhh!)

In general, I think my life is very regimented. I know that doesn't work for a lot of people, but it does seem to work for me. I was joking with my CDE today because I told her I keep records for everything- I have BG logs, food logs, exercise logs, and even personal budget spreadsheets that I update monthly. It's just who I am. I've always had that sort of personality. I drive myself crazy sometimes with how exact I need everything to be, but it works for me, for my system. I can certainly understand why this wouldn't work for anyone else.

Are there things that you sort of obsess about and other things you manage to never get done? Do you have any whack routines?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Self Improvement.

Over the weekend, I embarked on a self-improvement project. I set some goals for myself; both physical and behavioral, in an effort to improve my overall health-physically, mentally and spiritually.

My physical goals center around incorporating more fitness into my week. I want to feel stronger. For me, it's not about weight, it's about wanting to have a strong body that can support and fight disease. So I joined Team Wild's WildFit training program, which I began today. It's a walk/run program that strategically increases the distance and intensity of your walk/runs. It's a 12-wk program, and my goal is to not miss any training days during these 12 weeks. It's a great program that focuses on fitness and training plans for PWDs. I'm determined to find my inner athlete.

I have a behavioral goal, as well. My issue is that I'm always in a hurry. Rushed. Stressed out because I feel like I'm always running behind on something (Everything!). I identified that I need to SLOW DOWWWWN in every area of my life. Be present in the moment. Slow down my thoughts, my movements, how I drive, how I make decisions, even how I breathe. Just how I move in general. I rushing toward this finish line that is always just out of reach. I think I'm trying to move through my To-Do List, thinking that there is an end to it(there never is). If I could just reach the end of the list, I'd have time to relax, sit down, finish that book I started reading 7 months ago. But I realize that there will always be something to do. I'm working on slowing down my life and enjoying moments while they are occuring. Since this does not come natural to me, it's going to take a lot of effort to do. Even as I woke up this morning, I felt rushed to get out of bed. I woke up, opened my eyes, and immediately began running through all the things I felt I needed to accomplish today. I repeated them so I wouldn't forget them in my half-sleepy state. When I got out of bed, I grabbed a notebook and wrote them down. And I raced through the day to get everything done that I had outlined for myself. Before I knew it, the day was almost over and I'd wondered where it had gone. It was at this point that I realized how big of a challenge changing this behavior was going to be for me. But I'm not going to focus on every mistake I make and instead focus on what I've achieved and learned. No more negative self talk!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The risks of blogging and commenting on blogs.

This morning I decided to google myself. It's something I do routinely, mainly out of curiosity. It's always good to know what others can find out about you online. And when I say others, I mean acquaintances, co-workers, your boss, dating prospects, your ex, even future employers. Not that my life is all that exciting. You won't find out any juicy secrets about me online.

The google search was largely uneventful; it found websites that listed where I work, even though the information is consistently out-of-date and I haven't worked for those employers for many years. It's easy to contact those websites and have them remove the inaccurate profile from their database. The other thing that the search engine found were comments I had posted on a frugal/couponing blog, and some comments I'd posted on a diabetes-related Facebook fan page. Not really a big deal, but...

I guess I still get a little creeped out about privacy online (and really, that you should expect to have none). Having a blog, I have a lower level of expectation of privacy, considering anyone can read it. But nowadays, when you apply for a new job, employers/recruiters google your name to see what comes up. I realized that it was possible for potential employers to find out I have diabetes before ever deciding whether to call me for an interview and maybe I wouldn't get the call for an interview that I might have otherwise received. Sure, employers aren't supposed to discriminate based on that; there are laws to protect us from that. But really, in the early phases of applying for a job, how would you ever find that out? Or maybe they see I'm frugal and commenting on frugal-focused websites and won't like that, either. Who knows where their prejudices may lie or what conclusions they will draw about you. It concerned me enough that I deleted the comments I'd posted that were showing up when I googled my name. I guess it's that desire to want to control what information the entire world can find out about me before I'm ready for them to know it.

So why worry what a google search will produce, when I already have a public blog dedicated to talking about T1 and celiac? For me, the difference is that if you are reading this blog, titled Diabetes and Celiac Sunshine, it's because you already have the expectation that I have a relationship to diabetes and celiac disease. It's a different story when someone googles my name and finds it out that way. They may be surprised because they had no expectation of what the search engine would produce; and for a potential employer, it could have a negative impact.

I guess that's the risk you take when you have a blog or have your name attached to any social media. For me, this blog has enabled me to meet others who are affected by diabetes and/or celiac disease, from which I have benefited greatly, and in exchange, I accept that there are risks that could negatively impact me.

I just wondered if anyone else that either has a blog, or comments on blogs, ever worries about this too?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And here's where the conversation went downhill.

If you have diabetes (or any other chronic disease for that matter), you have probably been subjected to people's comments that range from thoughtful to rude to cray-cray. I've heard a lot of things in my short time as a diabetic, but today's encounter hit me differently. Usually, I chalk up people's comments to simply not having enough knowledge about the disease, and I try to use it as an opportunity to dispell some myths that people have about diabetes.

Today, I went to Macy's to purchase a new handbag. I was greeted by a talkative and outgoing sales woman. A well spoken woman, who identified herself as being in her early 60's. Seeing my Omnipod on my arm, she asked me if I was diabetic. I was thrilled that someone knew what it was and it grabbed my attention. We started a conversation. I found out her niece (who is around 40) had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her 30's.

And here's where the conversation went downhill.

As she continued to talk about her niece, she began to sound upset with her. She went on to call her niece selfish for "going and getting pregnant with that disease, knowing that she could pass it on to another life," and "I mean, YOU (emphasis) would know, (as she gently pointed out her palm-up hand to me) who would want to live with that their whole life?" She stated her niece was also selfish because "she knew that if she got sick while she was pregnant, SOMEONE (emphasis) would have to take care of her and she took that risk anyway," and then ended with "And then she had the nerve to get pregnant again with her second child, I mean, knowing that you might not be AROUND to RAISE YOUR CHILDREN!" (Her niece is alive and well, btw).

Mouth on the floor. Silence. My heart rate went up and I couldn't think clearly enough to respond. As someone with T1 that hopes to someday have kids, it felt like a dagger to the heart. Or maybe I was just shocked to have someone say something like that to my face. I was sad, and then angry. I wanted to light her hair on fire with a can of aqua net and a Bic lighter.

(Dear Lord, keep your arms around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. Amen.)

There are times when you just have to walk away, people. When educating someone doesn't take priority; when walking away from them does. And that's what I did.

Looking back, I realize this was likely a missed opportunity. In hindsight, there are many things I wish had come to mind that I could have said that might have changed her opinion. It saddened me to realize there are people that get downright angry and label persons with diabetes as selfish for wanting the same things in life as everyone else.

Maybe her comments were just stemming out of extreme concern for her niece's wellbeing and health, but it would have been appropriate for her to consider her audience before she spoke.

On that happy note, I got my A1c back today. It's 6.0, down a bit from last time. I guess doing the low-carb diet helped that somewhat; it helped prevent a lot of the fluctuations that I was having post-meal. However, it also likely contributed to my bad cholesterol going up substantially from 3 months ago (too much meat and eggs, I guess). Sigh. Oh well, I'm trying; not everything works, but I am trying. Stay positive, Nik. Like Deepak Chopra said, "If you have happy thoughts, then you make happy molecules." And I want happy molecules.

I'm excited to start my WildFit training on Sunday, too. I'm part of Team Wild, and I'm beginning the walk/run training program, hopefully working my way up to marathon distances. I'm also doing yoga again to restore some lost flexibility. And breathing. Breaaathhhhhinnnnnggggg.

Tomorrow's a new day, and today's events will soon be forgotten. (Hopefully, anyway). I just need to focus on what's important and not get distracted by stupid things.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today I finally did...it



I have been very fortunate to have had T1 for 2 yrs and never had to give myself an insulin injection. To date, I've never given myself a shot. When I was diagnosed, I was so terrified of needles that the clinic put me on an insulin pump instead. I knew I'd have to learn to give myself shots at some point, as a way to treat myself in the event of a pump failure. Well, it's been two years now, and on the advice from several other co-diabetics in the DOC, I decided it was time. I made the dreaded education appointment. I canceled it once. Then I rescheduled and promised not to cancel it again. And true to my word, I showed up today.

All was fine, as I poked a syringe into a green cushion that represented my stomach. I had no problem injecting that stress ball. Then came time for me to inject the saline solution into my stomach. I don't know what it is about those teeny weeny needles that scare me so much, but tears started rolling down my cheeks and my armpits, hands, feet, and under-the-butt-cheeks became realllllly sweaty. We had to take a few mini-breaks, but I am proud to say that I FINALLY gave myself a shot! Yes, yes, it was only saline solution, but I am ready now to move on to real insulin. In a couple of weeks, I'll be meeting with my doctor, who will set me up on a 2-4 wk plan, whereby I am off of my pump and solely using MDI. It is to get me the practice I need to understand how injections work in case I'm ever in a position where I need to use them, or maybe if I just want to take a pump vacation.

At the end of my visit, my CDE presented me with this sheet, as a proud reminder of this day. She knows what a mountain this has been for me to climb; she was there two years earlier when it all started. I like her very much; she is caring and genuine and a great CDE. I'll be seeing her again when I attend Advanced Insulin Mgmt class.

Obviously celebration-worthy, time for a glass of vino!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Can a person with diabetes & celiac go camping?



Lately, I have been feeling the desire to try to go camping for the first time in my adult life. Maybe it's because the spring weather is finally here and I have an urge to get outside. But I have real fears of going camping because 1, I am a type 1 diabetic and two, because I have celiac disease which means I would need to find my own, safe food to eat as well as safe cooking areas to cook it on. I wonder if it's truly not not in the cards for me to be able to go.

I am going to need some help with this, since I am beginning from square one. So this post is largely to ask for help and tips for a brand new camper. I was reading TheDiabeticCamper.blogspot.com's site and he has inspired me greatly through his writings. He has a way of making it look both fun and appealing. So, where to begin.. what do I need? Where do I go? Where is it safe (free of animals large enough to eat me)? What cooking supplies do I need? Camping gear? How do I pack diabetes supplies like insulin and keep them cold?

So, I'll start there and see if anyone has any tips. I'm also going to continue reading his blog and take notes!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Starbucks is my Foe.


This post was written as an illustration using a personal situation (my own). It is to demonstrate to others just how difficult it can be to obtain ingredient information when you need to know it, in order to make the decision as to whether it is safe for me to eat or not.

Unfortunately, a celiac cannot always rely solely on labels to determine the gluten status of products. Some companies are great about labeling gluten; others- not so much. It makes grocery shopping a guessing game, and a frustrating one at that. It is not uncommon to see me standing in the grocery aisle, on my iPhone, either googling a food or calling their 800# to ask about allergen (gluten) information.

A while back, I made a call to Starbucks, wanting to inquire whether their cold(bottled) Starbucks Frappuccinos were gluten free. You see, back before I was a celiac, I was a Starbucks LOVVVVV-ER. Sbux 7 days a week! Starbucks coffee was my drink of choice. When stressed, some people flock to the bar; I ran to Starbucks. It was my oasis from chaos; having the hot steam of the caramel latte drift into my nostrils as I carefully slurped up the "extra foam" I'd ordered. Ahhhhh, I still remember those days, even though it's been a year and half since I've been there.

Anyway, back to my story. After checking on their website to determine the gluten free status of their bottled frappuccino (and finding zero answers), I placed a call to Starbucks' customer service number. I asked the representative a very simple question:

Me: "Is your frappuccino gluten free?"

Starbucks rep: "We are unable to provide the gluten free status of ANY of our products (either in a Starbucks or products sold at the grocery stores). We suggest that you not purchase our products if you feel you are unable to eat gluten."

Me: (thinking WHAAAAAAAAAT??????, and trying not to panic, but saying:) Ummm, okay... can you tell me whether your products include actual gluten ingredients and if so, what are they?, or is it because of a potential cross contamination risk?

Starbucks rep: We strongly advise you to consult with your doctor to determine whether you can eat/drink any of our products.

Me: My doctor isn't a...um FOOD CHEMIST, so he will likely be as unable as I am to determine what MALTODEXRIN is, or any other ingredient. Besides, it isn't his responsibility to know what's in YOUR product. He has already instructed me to contact the manufacturer when I am unable to determine from the label whether a product is gluten free. So is there someone else there that might be able to assist me with the frappuccino question?

Starbucks rep: I'll see. Please hold. (Hold music......)

10 minutes later....

8 more minutes later... (purrrrty sure they are waiting for me to get sick of holding and hang up)

Starbucks rep: Ma'am we do not bottle the frappuccino, so you will need to contact PepsiCo at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Me: Okayyyyy..... Will do....

Starbucks rep: Is there anything else I can do to assist you?

Me: (thinking: REALLY?????, real answer:) No thank you.

Click.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Me (calling PepsiCo): Hi there. Can you please tell me if Starbucks bottled Frappuccino is gluten free?

PepsiCo: Why the hell are you calling us about that? Okay, I admit that wasn't their ACTUAL response, but they essentially said the same thing: Ma'am, we only bottle the products for Starbucks, we don't make the beverage. You will need to contact Starbucks for that. Do you need their number?"

Me: No, (sigh), I've got it. It's just that they told me... never mind. Thank you for your time.
________________________________________________________________________________

Me (calling Starbucks back again): Hello, (re-explained entire situation, including call to PepsiCo and their response.)So I've been referred back to you from PepsiCo to determine what is actually in your ingredients and specifically if the ingredients are gluten free.

Starbucks Rep: Please hold....

Starbucks Rep: "We are unable to provide the gluten free status of ANY of our products (either in a Starbucks or products sold at the grocery stores). We suggest that you not purchase our products if you feel you are unable to eat gluten."

Sigh....
Well, at least she didn't refer me back to my doctor again.

In the end, Starbucks continues to claim that they are unsure of their ingredients and whether they contain gluten. Their stance is that people with either intolerance or like me, celiac disease, should refrain from giving them our business.

So guess what, that's exactly what I've done.

But it does hurt my feelings that an establishment that I've spent SO much time in over the years, and as a (former) frequent, daily patron, that they really don't care about me, well, US (celiacs). I've since written them a couple letters explaining the need for them to get on the gluten free movement!

In the meantime, I cannot go to Starbucks or buy any of their products to be on the safe side. So I've started frequenting Caribou Coffee instead.

Someday all food manufacturers will know what they are putting in their OWN food and stop relying on (if not blaming) the consumer. Until they do, I will continue to send letters and emails to the corporations, asking to start properly labeling their products.

It can just be a pain in the neck sometimes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Attracting Bad vs. Good Energy

Have you ever had something bad happen to you, and then shortly thereafter, something else bad happens to you? Some people describe it as "bad things happen in 3's" or "when it rains, it pours." But what if it's us inadvertently attracting bad energy onto ourselves? What if we have somehow "attracted" bad things to ourselves, and bad things continue to happen because our mind is still focusing on the previous negative situation?

If you have ever read/seen the documentary "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne, or read any book by Louise Hay, you know what I'm talking about. It's a belief that goes wayyyy back in time; the belief that like attracts like, and that any negative thinking can bring about negative (bad) energy, thus causing bad things to happen.

Not to say that bad things will never happen to you if you are a positive thinking person, but the positive energy you are attracting to yourself may improve how you react to that bad situation and recover from it.

I've been thinking about and expecting good things to happen, and they are. Most things are little things, like hitting all the green traffic lights on the way to and from work. Or maybe it's my dog not getting sick last month (and me not getting sick from the vet bill). Maybe it's cooking a new food, and it actually turns out well. Good things can happen at all levels; they can be little things or big things. And perhaps focusing on recognizing the good brings about more good things.

February has historically been a bad month for me. Over the years, it was the month I got a severe case of pneumonia, the month the hospital had to re-do a stomach biopsy because the first attempt failed, the month that I had such severe, uncontrollable shooting stomach pains that rendered me completely useless that my physcian put me on morphine (we never did find the origin; it just eventually resolved itself after about a month), the month my grandmother died suddenly, the month I got dumped by someone I really loved, and two years ago, the month I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Needless to say, whenever the month of February begins, I usually take a deep breath and tell myself to HOLD ON. This year, I tried a different approach. I decided to be optimistic about the month. You see, I just recently re-watched the documentary "The Secret."

Whatever it is, it seems to be working lately, because my life has been pleasantly uneventful (SUCH a blessing!).