Ahhh wedding planning. It’s a time when you and your fiance should be basking in the glow of your engagement as you look through fabric samples and feed each other tastings of wedding cake, day dreaming about the moment you meet at the end of the aisle and declare your love for each other.
If that’s what wedding planning looks like to you, then you’re either eloping or living inside a a copy of Brides magazine. Because all that is just a fantasy. Some of wedding planning is really fun – and it’s mostly the parts where it’s just you and your fiance discussing what you’d like for the big day. That’s stuff is actually really romantic and fun. But as soon as other people get involved….well, that’s when stuff starts to get a little stressful. Everyone has an opinion about how this event should go and what should be said at this time and where your weird Uncle Sylvester should be seated during dinner to ensure the least amount of disturbance. There’s a lot of opinions about what you should be doing in order to optimize the big day. If you listened to what everyone else wants and suggests though, you’ll end up with someone else’s wedding. And losing sight of the only thing that matters that day, which you and your partner.
Last summer I went to a wedding with Jacob that was as far from what I picture for my big day as possible. It was in a state park, next to a river. There was no music during the ceremony, and no bridal party. Lunch was barbecued by the bride’s father and despite the rustic setting, the bride was wearing a huge, poufy, sparkly, Cinderella-style wedding gown. It was, to say the least, not my style.
But that’s because it wasn’t my wedding, and it didn’t’ matter what I or any other guest thought. The bride and groom were glowing the whole day, and giddily explained how this was one of their favorite parks to spend time in. They both work in forestry conservation, and state parks are sacred to them. The bride gushed about picking out her dress with her sister, and her dad flipped burgers for hours, grinning from ear to ear. It was their perfect wedding, and everything they dreamed of. You couldn’t help but be utterly thrilled for the both of them, and to feel enveloped by nothing but love and happiness at their quirky wedding.
So, what does this have to do with diabetes? Everything. If you’ve had diabetes for more than five minutes, you know that people have a lot of opinions about what you should and shouldn’t be doing to take care of yourself. People will tell you what to eat, when to eat, when and how to exercise, and that this one Peruvian cinnamon will definitely cure you. But the only diabetes regimen you should be following is the one that works for you. It’s the one that you’ll stick to in order to optimize your health. You are the only one who has to live this every day. So although advice can be helpful, it should also be taken with a grain of salt. Because whether your dream is the wedding in the woods or a fairy-tale castle, you have to do what works for you and your diabetes.
Not that you’d ever marry your diabetes…even though it IS always there…..
Wishing all of you a safe and gratitude-filled Memorial Day. Although the three-day weekend is a nice perk, don’t forget the real meaning of this holiday, and the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
If you’re anything like me, you are livin’ La Vida Low Carb – but always hoping that one day they’ll invent carb-free noodles that taste like the real thing. I eat low carb because it’s the diet that best controls my blood sugars and my weight, but it’s not always easy. My favorite indulgences (and biggest temptations) are pastas, chips, and breads. I don’t have a new noodle to report, but I’ve discovered a pretty damn good new faux favorite: Kim’s Magic Pop.
Before you stop me and say “Lex, you’ve really adopted the Portland nuevo-hippie lifestyle because that name sounds like some grade-A bulls&%$”, hold on a second. I discovered Kim’s Magic Pop in my local Fred Meyer Grocery store (Fred Meyer is a Pac Northwest chain grocery story, and since my Ralph’s Club number works there, I am assuming they are owned by the same company). When I saw the multiple flavors of pita-shaped, rice-cake-resembling Magic Pops, I assumed they were carb central.
But then I noticed the words “low calorie” on the display, so I stepped closer for a better look. I lifted up a bag of the Magic Pops and realized they only weighed a few ounces. They probably taste like cardboard I reasoned at their lightness. I flipped over the package to check the nutrition info: only three grams of carbs for one large “pop” (each one is about the size of a salad plate) and only 15 calories. And it wasn’t a “net carbs” situation either. It was in fact, straight up, three grams of CHO total. Sweet! But now, they had to pass the taste test. I snapped up a bag of the “natural onion flavor” (because I just love to see how bad I can get my breath in one sitting – my poor fiancé!) and headed home with my Kim’s Magic Pop and package of hummus.
When I got home I checked the ingredient list. Kim’s Magic Pops are made from unbleached white flower, water, salt, long grain parboiled brown rice, and natural flavors like onion powder, for the kind I had chosen. I opened my hummus and the Magic Pops and prepared myself to be disappointed by another imitation, low-calorie food.
And then I had a bite, and a chorus of angels began singing hallelujah! Ok, that didn’t actually happen (they’re not actually “magic”), but these little crispers actually tasted damn good! They are dippable, shmearable, have a delightful crunch just like chips, and barely required a bolus. This, my friends, is extremely hard to accomplish and I am thrilled to have found a new product that can save me from having to dip jicama slices into the queso salsa as a substitute for chips during football season. Because everyone knows that’s really, really not the same. I absolutely love finding a low-carb alternative to one of my biggest temptations that actually tastes good.
Here’s the website for Kim’s Magic Pop – and it looks like you can order them on Amazon in case you are interested in giving them a try. And for the record, this was not a paid promotion or a freebie review in any way – just a rad new product that I wanted to share with all of you!
Now that we’ve been back in the good ole USA for just over a month and successfully made the move up here to Portland, I’m out of excuses for not getting back back into exercising regularly. My last A1c was atrocious after three months of traveling in Asia, and I’m committed to getting that number down. Plus, with our wedding just a few months away, I want to make sure I’m looking and feeling tip-top for the big day. On Thursday of last week, after a week straight of packing boxes, loading boxes, unloading boxes, unpacking boxes, arranging furniture, sweeping, cleaning, hanging clothes, hanging pictures, and being generally consumed by the hell that is “moving,” I was ready to get outside and go for a jog to clear my head.
But then I realized I live in Portland now, and it was raining outside. Hhhhm. Well, this just got a little more difficult. I nixed the run that day and instead settled in for a
Real Housewives History Channel marathon.
Ok, ok, before you start commenting about what a wuss I am and that it’s just a little rain, let me tell you that first of all, I don’t mind running in the rain, and second of all, I was well aware of the weather change we were getting ourselves into with this move to Portland. My issue with inclement weather comes with not being prepared for it.
The biggest advantage to San Diego weather isn’t the fact that it’s generally sunny and pretty mild. It’s the fact that you never really have to plan ahead for it. Because there’s so little variation in the weather there, you can just decide to go running any time of the year. You might put on a long-sleeved t-shirt versus a tank top, but that’s about it for decision-making there.I didn’t have a summer and winter wardrobe there, I just had the one closet and some jackets for October through April. Here in Portland though, you need to be a little more prepared than that. It’s time for a trip to the nearest REI to get a little local advice (and gear) for running in the rain.
Any tips from you guys for this San Diego wuss on rainy-weather running?
Me (to the dude at the coffee shop): “Do you guys have any Splenda? I only see regular sugar over here.”
Coffee Dude: “Um. Yeah. I have Stevia. Will that work?”
Me: “Sure! Thanks.”
Coffee Dude (hands me the packet and in a self-righteous, preachy tone): “You know, the real stuff is a lot better for you than all these chemical fake sugars. It’s not worth saving the calories with this crap.”
Me: “I have diabetes, so I never use real sugar in my coffee.”
Coffee Dude: Awkward silence. “There will always be Stevia at this coffee shop for you.” (said with a big smile that said, without words “sorry about my judgmental comment”).
Me: (returning the big smile) “Thank you, I really appreciate it.”
Um…could it be the fact that the sensor isn’t on my body anymore…but the receiver is still showing a blood sugar? I took this sensor off right before I got in the shower because it was time to change it. Since my receiver wasn’t nearby, I didn’t deactivate the sensor right away. I was so curious about the fact that it was still showing a blood sugar even though it was off my body that I left it for a little while longer. Interestingly enough, the next BG it showed was a 58mg/dL! I have to give it props for accurately showing a dip in glucose though…because I am pretty sure the dresser I left the sensor on doesn’t have any sugar to show for itself! Too funny.
Sometimes, you actually really want to see double arrows down! Thank you, sunset jog.
When my last A1c came back at a whopping 8.1% three weeks ago, I pledged to get it back down under 7% by my next visit. Now that our travels in Southeast Asia are over and I have food options beyond rice and noodles again, I thought it would be easy for me to double down on my d-management efforts and get my numbers back in line.
Then we decided to move to Portland, jump right back in to wedding planning, look for a new job, catch up with friends and family, and start exercising again. We didn’t just throw a monkey wrench into our lives, we threw the whole damn toolbox in it. Things have been hectic to say the least. While looking for a place in Portland, we stayed at Jacob’s brother’s house, and now I’m back down in San Diego getting everything ready for our move. It’s been a lot of dining out, irregular schedules, and as a result, some big swings in my blood sugar. I feel like I haven’t had time or the opportunity to take better care of my diabetes. Poor me, right?
Then, the other day after yet another to-go meal that was high in carbs, as my Dexcom blared “HIGH” at me from my purse I realized that I was making excuses for not taking care of my diabetes as well as I should be. Yes, it’s been challenging living like nomads for the past few months but you know what? Running outside doesn’t cost a dime and even 10 minutes is better than nothing. You can get salad and soup and burgers with no bun to-go from restaurants instead of their high-carb fare. And I’m not paying all that money to COBRA for nothing: I have a CGM, sensors, and pump supplies now, so I need to use all my fancy tools to do what they’re supposed to do, which is help me manage well.
After we get settled in Portland, there will still be plenty of distractions: wedding planning, the job hunt, and hopefully a puppy soon too. There’s never a good, quiet time to start better diabetes management. The time is right now, and there are always better choices to be made. I want the last A1c I had to be a number that I don’t see again for a looooong time-preferably never actually. And that means its time to put in the work it takes to bring it down, right now!
We’ve all said it at some point: “I wish Type 1 and Type 2 had different names, I’m so sick of explaining the difference.” I recently received an email from a mother of a child with diabetes who has organized a petition to seek just that. Jamie Perez explained in her email that she filed the petition along with another mom of a Type 1 child “to more accurately reflect the nature of each disease. We tried to do this in a way that benefits both the T1 and T2 communities and helps protect our T1 children from dangers caused by the prevalent misconceptions..”
My immediate reaction was “it’s about time.” Since being diagnosed, I’ve been trying to explain Type 1 diabetes. What it is, why it happens, and why it’s different from Type 2 diabetes. I’ve been asked if I have the “bad” kind of diabetes (to which I always respond “remind me what the good one is again?” because we all know they ALL suck). I’ve been asked if I gave myself diabetes because I ate too much sugar (to which I always respond “that’s not how you get any kind of diabetes, it doesn’t work like that”). And I’ve spent way to many breaths explaining to people that no, this won’t go away if I just get myself to a treadmill (and that Type 2 is a progressive disease and not always related to exercise levels so the treadmill ain’t always the answer for Type 2 either). Basically, I’ve been explaining all kinds of diabetes (don’t forget our gestational friends and LADA either) for as long as I can remember and I’m tired of it. So I signed Jamie’s petition thinking that was the end of that.
Then I started reading about this whole debate and the unbelievable s&^%storm this has caused. The best arguments against the name change were well articulated and thought out, the worst came down calling it “useless”, “a waste of time,” and said that it unequivocally creates a divide between the Type 1 and Type 2 communities that drives us further apart when we should be working together. Several bloggers said that changing the name won’t help educate the media anyways, that it takes a long time and a lot of energy to do for something that might not ever happen, and that past attempts at name changes have not proven successful.
Wow. Although I think these arguments have merit, and many of them were well-written and articulate, I have to respectfully disagree. First off, I have never known the diabetes community to not attempt something because it “takes a long time and energy” and might not happen anyways. That’s the basic premise of searching for a cure, and we sure aren’t stopping that because “it takes a long time.” And if you think that this petition will distract from other diabetes efforts that are more important (i.e. research) remember that what’s being asked right now is ONE signature from you that takes two seconds to do, and two moms who are leading the charge on this. I can promise you they’re more passionate about finding a cure than anyone, because they’re watching their kids struggle with this disease every day. Petitioning for a name change isn’t taking away money from research organizations or public education programs. Yes, it could cost money down the line when names have to be replaced on educational materials, medical materials, and for public education but let’s not put the cart before the horse yet.
I also remember not that long ago when the d-community decided it would not longer refer to “diabetics” because the word defined us by our disease. It was practically insisted upon by bloggers and Twitter and everywhere else in writing that folks were referred to as “People with Diabetes”, or PWDs. I for one did not mind being referred to as a diabetic but I adopted the nomenclature because I respect the wishes of those it did bother and I want everyone to be represented. I understand that many people are not bothered by being lumped in to the same group, but some folks are and that’s something to think about. No one balked at PWD when that became the standard.
The tough one for me to understand is the idea that this is a waste of time. I will tell you what a waste of time is: a waste of time is pharmaceutical companies developing the exact same drug over and over again for Type 2 diabetes. Currently, there are no less than four DPP-IV inhibitors on the market (a Type 2 drug, all four work in the exact same way, they vary by dosage and way of clearance by the body) and NINE in development. Why do pharma companies keep developing the same drug over and over again? Because they go for the biggest money maker, not innovation. If you think pursuing a name change is a waste of time, imagine spending billions of dollars on a product that kinda helps a condition a little bit over and over again. What I’m saying is that there are much larger “wastes of time” than a petition for a name change. And people love to say that Type 1s can ride the coattails of Type 2 research to yield drugs or treatments that can help both. In the last 100 years, there have been two drugs indicated for Type 1 diabetes: insulin in 1921 and Symlin in 2005. That’s not a good track-record for coattail-riding. What if those billions of dollars spent on me-too drugs had been put into finding a cure? Or, since a cure won’t make a company any money, how about novel therapeutics that help people live with diabetes better. Anything but the same damn drug over and over again. I think the “waste of time” claim is better spent somewhere else. Educating the public about serious diseases is not a waste of time. The name change could be a wonderful platform to begin more broad-reaching and better educational programming about all kinds of diabetes.
Those are the reasons I’m for the name change. But there are two reasons I have a tough time with it, and think that it does need to be done very carefully. The first is that there are many kinds of diabetes already (T1, T2, gestational and LADA) and we may find out that there are even more as research continues. For this reason, I think it will be difficult to find the appropriate names for each disease, but as Jamie pointed out, this should be done by the medical community with careful attention to the fact that we might not know every kind of diabetes yet. And when you think about it, the fact that there are several different types that vary in epidemiology, treatment, and progression suggests we should have been giving them individual names in the first place. If we discover more types of diabetes as research continues, they deserve their own names as well.
The second part of this that is hard for me to adjust to is that I would never want a name change to make the Type 2 diabetes community feel that Type 1s don’t want to be associated with them. This has never been the case for me and I don’t think its the case for any Type 1 worth their salt. Type 2 is not some self-inflicted, shameful affliction for those of low self-control. It is a progressive, degenerative disease brought on by widely varying contributions of genetics and lifestyle, and disproportionately affecting those of lower socio-economic status and minority descent. It is a deeply complex disease deserving of it’s own name, public education, and research. I would think that the Type 2 community would want this complexity reflected in the name of their disease as well. I can’t tell you how many of my Type 2 friends go through the same stereotypes and explanations of how Type 2 works and why they have to take insulin or don’t have to take insulin yet or what that pill does. The bottom line is there needs to be more education about all kinds of diabetes. The last thing I want is a divide between these two communities, but I don’t believe in my heart that they are the same disease. My perfect world would contain the name change as well as a massive public education campaign that educates the world about both diseases, how they are treated, and why research for both of them are so incredibly important. I’m happy to start with signing the petition.
Alright. I said my piece. But I am wide open to debate and I think talking about this sensitive subject is exactly where we need to begin. Please, by all means, leave your feedback in the comments or send me a message directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you agree with the name change, you can sign the petition here:
And if you’d like more information about why these two moms are working towards this change, check their website here: http://www.diabetestypeconfusion.org/
This is what happens every. Single. Time. I change my damn pump. I start off in range with a great blood sugar, but then I get a steady creep-up into the 200s until things finally calm down about five hours into wearing a new pod. For this one, I even bolused before AND after changing the pod out so I’d have some rapid-acting on board. So frustrating. What’s a gal got to do around here to have a pleasant site change!?