Take care of your diabetes, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too.

Well,  January has already [almost] come to an end. I can’t believe how quickly this past month went by. Anyway, remember the term “when it rains, it pours”?.. that’s been proven true this past month. HOWEVER, I’m starting to see the sunshine and that pretty light at the end of the tunnel that I’ve been waiting for! As I’ve had a lot on my plate this month, it’s given me a lot of time to think.. about everything. The truth is, I haven’t written a lot lately because amongst life happening, I just haven’t been feeling positive about where I’m at with my diabetes, or my health in general. Then it occurred to me.. I promised to blog with integrity. I promised to write about the good, the bad, AND the honest truth.. right? So why was I feeling like I “had” to write the HAPPIEST post ever to share with you guys, or that if I didn’t.. I shouldn’t write at all? This.. this was wrong of me, and for that, I sincerely apologize to you guys. So now, don’t get me wrong.. this will not be a sad, or depressing post, but rather honest talk.

As I previously blogged about, my a1c before I got omnipod and dexcom together was a whopping 12.2 (I KNOW, don’t be like me!!!!!-please). From there, it quickly came down to a 9, and in less than 4 months, it was down to a 6.6 (my best a1c EVER, excluding the 5.8 I had ONE time when I was always sick and couldn’t eat due to gastroparesis- before I got the pacemaker put in my stomach). To get to a 6.6 A1C was amazing for me, knowing it was MY hard work, my efforts, me watching dexcom on my phone like a crazy person trying to “beat” my blood sugars and make every day better than the previous day. I know a 6.6 isn’t perfect. For me though, that was the first time I ever felt proud of myself in my whole journey with diabetes. So proud that my father got that a1c framed for me, and now sits on my desk at  work. If I could pick my a1c, I’d probably chose to sit at a 5.8.. but unfortunately, we won’t ever get to pick that pesky little number (that means oh so much to us).

Well, that 6.6 was back in August. I went back later in December, knowing my a1c was going to be higher (based on dexcom). Gastroparesis and diabetes together can be a REAL piece of work. One can make the other worse, and vise versa.. and when they decide not to cooperate with each other, that leads to a tired, high blood sugared, grumpy Chelsea. That’s okay though! Because I have way more good days than I do bad, and even on my worst days, I’m HAPPY. For some reason, when my doctor came back in with the results, my eyes watered up before he could even tell me that number…. “So how bad is it?”, I asked. “7.1… it’s not bad at all, you’re still doing great!”. My heart sank,  I didn’t feel like I was doing great. I had worked so hard for it to come down, only for it to go BACK up .5 points!? No! This crushed me. But why!?! An a1c of 7.1 might not be the best it could be, but it’s DEFINITELY not a number to be ashamed of. My parents would have been thrilled to see me with an a1c of 7 when I was back in high school. So why was I so upset?

Diabetes can be so overwhelming, so frustrating, but it’s not going anywhere. Our a1cs are going to vary, and we have to accept that and not be angry at ourselves. It’s great to work hard for a good results, but you can’t beat yourself if you tried your hardest. Just keep trying, and keep fighting! I let myself be upset about this for too long, instead of moving on and trying harder. If you’re doing your best, you’re already doing great. I wasted too much time and energy being upset over something that I CAN change. Maybe not that last number, but I can change the next one. It’s important to have goals with your diabetes, but it’s also important not to drive yourself crazy with those goals. Don’t drive yourself to diabetes burnout – make small changes at a time and be proud of yourself for what you accomplish. You’ve got to take care of yourself, your happiness, and your emotions AS WELL AS your diabetes; but you can’t forget about you! That’s where I went wrong, I focused so much on my diabetes that it was all I was focusing on anymore. Take care of ALL of you, and you’ll be much happier, I promise.

 

It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, & to make your HAPPINESS a priority. It is necessary.”

This is also  when I realized how important having a GOOD endocrinologist is. It’s not a want, it’s a necessity.  I went years with doctors telling me I wouldn’t make it to my 21st birthday (I’m almost 25 now, so HA to them!) , telling my parents I was slowly committing “voluntary suicide” … what these doctors didn’t know what that I was struggling with diabulimia. How could they know if I didn’t tell them, right? I was a teenager, though, and in my early 20s.. I was scared. I just needed a doctor to show me a little compassion, and that they cared – for ME as their patient. I’ve now referred 2 people to the doctor I’m seeing now- and they both love him as much as I do. He’s kind, and caring, and he WANTS to help. He understands we experience burnout, and he reminds me to NOT always focus on my number if I want to keep my sanity. If you’re in the DFW area and are looking for a great doctor, contact me and I’d love to give you his info. The dietitians there are so great and supportive as well. It’s just a great office & staff and I actually look forward  to my appointments now- instead of dreading them with extreme anxiety.

As I wrap up this post, I just wanted to share something for any of you who may be in the market for a new meter. I’m going to be dedicating a post to this company and meter soon (because I want to, and really think what this company is doing is awesome. It’s not sponsored and will be 100% my honest thoughts and opinions). This company is about making strips affordable for all, and for every 12 kits sold, they donate to a diabetic in need. Did I mention the founder is also a Type 1? They’re called good glucos, click here to go to their website and read more. If you DO decide to order, use my Instagram name, “chelsthebetic” for $10 off your purchase! Just apply it in the coupon section at checkout. You can’t beat the price. You can choose the amount of strips you want- but if you choose 100, I know that with the code above, you get a meter, strips, lancet, all for $25.. yes, you’re reading that right! Like I said a full post is coming soon- but I couldn’t wait to share. Mine just came in yesterday and the accuracy is right on point with my dexcom and my omnipod PDM! This company recently launched if you’re wondering why you may not have heard of them yet- I highly recommend checking them out!

 

 

I hope you guys have all had a great week so far, halfway to the weekend!

 

 

Stay hopeful my fellow diabuddies,

 

Chelsea- The Hopeful Diabetic ❤

No diabetes is perfect

Happy Monday! Well, hopefully yours was happy.. I know a lot of people who really dislike Mondays.. myself (usually) included. But I got to see my Mom for lunch, and it’s always nice getting one on one time with her. I love my family and am so thankful for the relationships I have with all of them. So even though I’m currently feeling a little sick, it’s still a happy Monday.

Remember my last post about taking the highs with the lows? Well, yesterday my blood sugar got to experience some pretty intense ones.. and man, I am still feeling it today. Why does high blood sugar have to take SO MUCH out of us? I fought with my pump all day yesterday, taking more insulin nearly every hour. I was stressed and had other issues going on, which I have to remember plays a part in high blood sugars; But it’s still beyond stressful when you just can’t seem to get it down.  I got really upset by the time 6:00 PM came around and my finger stick said 497.  Dexcom doesn’t even read above 400… so the finger stick was necessary. At that moment, truth be told I broke down and cried for a little bit.  I was embarrassed and apologizing, and then quickly reminded that sometimes crying for a little bit is okay, and not only okay but necessary.  The more you try to hide your emotions, the more you build them up and you are likely to burst all at once (like I did). I encourage you to talk to the ones you love with your feelings about diabetes every so often, vent to them, let it out.. and I bet you’ll be reminded how strong you are.

By the way, I took a screen shot of my 24 hour graph this morning around 7:00 AM.. here’s what yesterday looked like:

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The only reason I mentioned my older post about the highs and lows, is because despite my highs and lows (literally) yesterday and through this morning.. Look what today brought:

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Now this still isn’t perfect (is diabetes ever perfect?).. but it doesn’t look like as much of a roller coaster, and  I’ve had a MUCH better twelve hours than yesterday.  Also, I keep my “high alert” at 120.. so it’s not that crazy outside of the lines like the previous picture. This is what diabetes is… we have to take the good days with the bad days, and always remember tomorrow is a new day. Despite what your blood sugar may be doing, don’t let it get the best of you. It’s VERY important to take your insulin and check your blood sugars, don’t ever take a break from that (unfortunately, we just can’t). But it’s important to cut yourself some slack sometimes, and not be so hard on yourself.  I hadn’t eaten anything up until after noon yesterday.. and yet my sugar just kept rising. I literally did nothing to cause it, but I was so frustrated. I’m looking back realizing how poorly I handled that, and I could have been in a much better mood all day (despite not feeling very well) if I would have just breathed a little, and remembered everyday with diabetes is a challenge, and we just have to keep fighting, with all our might. A cure is coming..  I can’t promise you when, but it’s coming.  My doctor told me “let the technology take care of you, until we can cure you” and that really hit home. This technology is amazing, and so many great things for diabetics are in the works. So, keep your chin up, and your heart strong. Keep smiling, keep fighting.. and stay hopeful. Always stay hopeful.

“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.”- Robert Louis Stevenson

-Chelsea, The hopeful Diabetic ❤

Taking the highs with the lows, and lows with the highs.

Now, this is a diabetic blog, so you probably assumed I meant the literal (blood sugar) highs and lows of a type 1, right? Wrong (well, this time..)!  I’m not going to get personal with details, but I had a roller-coaster of a week, both emotionally and physically. This is not for sympathy, or a “poor me” post, in fact, it’s just the opposite.

I’ll be the first one to admit, I haven’t always had a grip on my emotions or how to deal with them. One day I can be so happy, and the next, lethargic and “gloomy”. Obviously blood sugars and other things come into affect here too, because our blood sugar REALLY CAN affect our moods. We just can’t let it get the best of us. I used to swim in my sorrow on those sad/bad days, but I never tried to make myself feel better (after all, it’s only YOU who can ultimately choose to be happy, right?).  And that brings me to my favorite Andy Warhol quote:

“You have to be willing to get happy about nothing.”

All I’m trying to really say in this post is.. you have to take the highs with the lows. You have to know there will be great days, and not so great days. Just like there will be amazing days, and flat out horrible days (this applies to diabetes too). Don’t let those bad days get you down and keep you down.. (I’m talking from experience, because I let that happen to me for years). Everyday isn’t going to feel like a vacation to your favorite place, or visiting family, or doing whatever your favorite thing to do is..BUT, that does not make it a bad day. It’s just not the happiest one you’ve ever had. Find little things that you love, and find the things that make you happy, and surround yourself in them.  When you feel sad, get up and take a walk with your dog, write a poem, read  a book, cook something you’ve never made.. Don’t let one day get you down.  Just do something to distract your mind from the negativity- and remember this feeling is temporary. Which brings me to another quote my Dad told me my entire childhood:

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

I first heard that quote from my dad when my grandfather passed away when I was only 11, and couldn’t cope with his loss. And it stuck with me like glue.  I’ve also heard him say: “pain is inevitable, growth is optional” and I love both, though I think the first is the “correct” or “known” quote. I don’t feel I even really need to say more on those… The quote itself speaks volumes.

Find your balance! Find little things that  make you happy to help pull you out of your funk… (for me.. It’s writing. Before I started this blog I’d been writing poetry for years and years in a private journal). Not every day will feel like a movie, but it doesn’t have to feel like the worst day just because work was stressful, and you got a stain on your shirt, does it? If you have food in your stomach, and a place to sleep, (and of course  insulin in your system!) you’ve got it a lot better than a lot of people already, and I’d say you have a lot to be grateful for (even though I know, some days are truly just rotten).

This post may be irrelevant to many, but I’m hoping some can relate..because I’m just learning this at 24– to take the good with the bad, and the bad with the good.  It makes those good times extra special, and is a reminder in bad times that “this too shall pass”. NOTHING in life is permanent (hopefully not even our broken pancreases, my fellow diabuddies). Change is the only constant in life. Just remember that on those hard days, and most importantly.. stay hopeful

 

“Perhaps, without the lows, the highs could not be reached.”

 

 

-The Hopeful Diabetic

 

P.S- Have any of you guys heard of or been to the “Diabetes UnConference” in Vegas? There’s one in February, and one in October of 2017. I read about it last year and was unable to go.. but this year, I’ll officially be there and I’m so excited! If you want to read about it, click here. If you’ve ever been, I’d love to hear feedback and what you thought!

 

My best friend, Dex!

Who is Dex, you ask? Well.. Dex is my continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Also known as…Dexcom! (I know, I know.. my nickname for it is so original, right!? Man.. have you guys picked up on all my sarcasm yet?)

Anyway, my past two posts I’ve mentioned  Dexcom being a serious game changer for me and my life with type 1.. But I barely talked about it! So I had some responses asking why it was such a blessing for me, and if I could elaborate further. Well, OF COURSE I can, and I’m actually really excited about this! But first, I have to add that I am by no way getting paid for this. These are my own opinions and I want to answer your questions, from my personal experience. These are my honest words, thoughts, opinions, with my dexcom journey.  (See my disclaimer in my menu section)

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end”- Robin Sharma

I struggled with the thought of getting another device to have to wear along with my insulin pump for a while, but I finally stopped being so vain about the idea, and realized it could benefit me.. so why not give it a “test run”? My endocrinologists office actually had one that I was able to wear and use for a week to see if I liked it. Well, after about 4 hours of wearing it…. I was sold. Seriously! Now I’ll tell you why…

I was not only able to see my blood sugar from my phone (updated every 5 minutes) but I was ALSO able to see if it was going up, down, or stable (there’s an up arrow, a DOUBLE up arrow, a slanted up arrow, a sideways arrow, a slanted down arrow, down arrow, and DOUBLE down arrow). You know how sometimes you do a finger stick, and say it’s…. 104. A great reading, right? But.. with dexcom, I can look at my phone, see that it’s not only 104, but it has DOUBLE ARROWS DOWN! What does this mean? I’m likely able to stop a bad low blood sugar before it gets.. well, a lot worse. Sometimes, I don’t even feel that I’m low, and all of a sudden my phone is alarming URGENT LOW (which is below 55) and I’m at 43, or lower (I don’t personally always feel my lows, and I feel that it’s saved my life before.. game changer, right!?). It’s the same if you prick your finger and see it’s 127. That’s a good reading, but what if you saw it was 127, with two “double up” arrows?! This tells me, I need to take insulin, or make sure I have enough “on board” to avoid going too high.. (and feeling like I was hit by a train).

Dexcom doesn’t replace finger sticks, but you do only have to calibrate twice a day, and that’s A LOT LESS than all the finger sticks in one day (especially if it’s a roller-coaster high and low type of day).

In 9 years, I was never able to know what my blood sugar was doing at any given moment through out the day.. I never knew if it was going up or down when I tested. Even with the pump changing my life back in 2014, dexcom and the pump working together made it WAY tighter control  for me, that I would have never accomplished  myself without it. I got my best A1C EVER with dexcom, and I can’t imagine life without it now.  In a weird way, it’s like this game on my phone that I want to “beat” so to speak. I can see what  my numbers are doing (going up or down) and take a little insulin, or suspend a little insulin here and there depending on what it’s doing. It also allows up to 5 followers on phones. My Dad follows me and is always quick to call or text and make sure I’m alright when he gets a “low” notification (since these can be life threatening if not treated). You can personalize the settings and they really only get alerted if I’m going too low (at my age, I can tackle the highs on my own, but don’t always feel the lows coming).

It’s been an amazing experience for me, and I’ll never not have a CGM again. My A1C went from a 12.2 to a 9 in 1 month, and in 3 months was down to a 6.6. Life changing enough!?!

They’re technically only FDA approved for 7 days as of now (the new ones will be 10 days, and only 1 calibration a day) but I’ve gotten 30 days with my best sensor, and have heard of others in dexcom groups I follow getting even more than that (they are a dry site, unlike a pump, so there’s not so much risk for infection if you wear it a while). I use a certain kind of tape with mine to help keep it on longer and it works great for me!

I’ll wrap this up, and remind you guys to please comment with any questions, or email me via the contact section on my menu. I hope this did answer some questions you had, and I’m happy to answer more! I really and truly appreciate and welcome all and any feedback, and have to thank you guys again for reading, and for all the love and support!

Lastly, I ask you to PLEASE sign this petition to help make insulin more affordable to EVERYONE. No mother should have to sacrifice her insulin to make sure her kid has enough, and no kid or adult should have to go without for ANY reason. Insulin is NOT an option, it is our life support.. literally. This is a petition with the American Diabetes Association, and here is what they have to say about it :

“The average price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years—nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. We’re calling for immediate action to make this lifesaving medication affordable for everyone who needs it. We’re asking all entities in the insulin supply chain to increase transparency and to ensure that no one is denied access to insulin, and we’re calling on Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin prices and take action. Join us by signing our petition”:

Click here to sign the petition! It takes 45 seconds!

-Chelsea…The Hopeful Diabetic

P.S — You may have noticed… New Domain/Name, but same me, same blog! 🙂  I should have researched more before just up and creating and starting my website, but I changed my domain to be more original. Bare with me guys, I’m just getting the hang of things!