Friday, August 10, 2018

Of Crashing Waves And Diving In

Friendships come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.
And the ones that last go with the flow - just  like the tides. 
This happened a few weeks ago~

Brown Eyed Girl is no longer a girl. She’s a newly minted teenager who will soon be taller than me — and that freaks me out a little. 
But she is still my Brown Eyed Girl. My sweet, kind, funny, and smart friend who I am lucky to have.  
And like me, she notices the small details and is a lover of books and the ocean.
When I arrived at the beach, Brown Eyed Girl wasn’t happy because 13 is tough — and I’ll leave it at that. 
A half hour later I asked her if she wanted to take a walk - and that’s what we did. 
We walked and talked for a good twenty minutes — until we both decided it was time to go for a swim. 
As we walked in the the ocean I told her: My summer doesn’t officially kick-off until I go in the ocean with you. 
 And those words made her smile. And then like she always does, she dove right in — and I did not. 
As always, I let the waves crash over me, shuddering at every wave that I walked towards, then through. 
“Dive in and you’ll be fine! The fact that she always has to tell me to "dive in," plus the fact that she was laughing while she said it made my heart happy.
Me: Kid, how long have we been doing this? You know it takes me a while, but once I get my head wet, you can’t get me out!”
Brown Eyed Girl: I know, Kel! 
Hey, I’m glad you don’t have to take off your pump anymore. That pod thing makes makes it easier because now I don’t have to wait for you to disconnect — and that makes me not worry as much.
Me: How many times do I have to tell you - you don’t have to worry about me. I’m good. Everything is Ok.
Brown Eyed Girl: I know… I just... do. I worry about all the people I love. 
Me: I know you do... me too. 

And than I yelled “dive under, NOW” and together we dove under a huge wave that was barreling towards us - and as always, we metaphorically washed all our troubles away in the sea. 

And just like that, my summer officially started. 

We laughed, swam and talked — I was updated to the fact that she “really likes Carrie Underwood’s music," and we both discovered that “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” is one of our shared favorite books! 

And then we got down to the business of serious body surfing - shredding the waves until we owned them. 
45 minute later, exhausted and out of breath, we left our beloved Atlantic, descended on the beach and trekked back to our chairs - where we dried off and sat down. 
I grabbed my pod’s PDM/meter out of my cooler and checked my blood sugar - it was 110 and that made me smile.

Brown Eyed Girl came up from behind my chair, put her arms around my neck and whispered in my ear: Is that OK? Is everything OK? 
I squeezed her arm and whispered back: Yep, everything is “OK.” It's all good~  

Because in that moment and no matter the number  - it was. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Breakfast... Salad? OK, Hear Me Out~

It’s summer, so I usually hit up my local Farmer’s Market once a week to stock up on fresh summer fruits and veggies... and sometimes I go a little overboard when it comes to the  fruits and produce. 
In my head I’m all like: It’s healthy, the price is right, it’s straight from the farm - of course I’ll eat it all! 
But in reality, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach - or I don’t feel like cooking and or preparing what I bought… or I end up meeting up with friends for dinner and forget about my food in the fridge. Or - I just run out of time and my produce purchases start to go bad.
Did I mention that I HATE to waste food? 
Also: For a good portion of June and July - the weather has been oppressively hot - like crazy hot. Like it’s already 80 degrees at 7:30 a.m., and on a recent Saturday morning, type of hot. 
So damn hot, that eating eggs over medium-well with a slice of toast wasn't doing it for me - also, I'd recently hit the Greek yogurt wall - so NOPE. 
I looked in my fridge on that humid Saturday morning and saw a fresh veggie bounty of radishes/radish greens,(which make for an excellent leafy green lettuce;) cucumbers, sugar snap peas and baby onions— all purchased from the Farmer’s Market - plus a couple of hard boiled eggs, a lemon, goat cheese, and fresh mint from my garden. 
Sidebar: There was EVOO, balsamic vinegar, and spices in the pantry - JACK POT. 
Yep, I had all the ingredients for a pretty damn fine salad  - so that’s what I made. 
I made a breakfast salad - and not because it was healthy or low in carb - those were not deciding factors. I made a breakfast salad because it was so damn hot out that I needed a cool first meal of the day and some iced coffee, STAT. 
And I made one hell of a breakfast salad! No joke, it was effing fabulous! Tasty, refreshing, SUPER DELICIOUS. And OK yeah, it was easy on the blood sugars. 
Also, not at all super weird once you get past the whole eating a delicious salad at breakfast, thing. 
Photographic evidence of my first attempt at "Breakfast Salad."
And thus began my dalliance with breakfast salads. Once or twice a week (and usually on a weekend,) I make myself a damn fine breakfast salad in cooled in the fridge, metal mixing bowl, and with whatever fresh veggies and proteins I have in the fridge. 
Sometimes it’s a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella, a few cups of fresh basil, and a small hunk of Italian bread chopped up into little bits, other times it’s chopped hard boiled eggs; carrots, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, french feta or cheddar, onions and greens with homemade dressing. 
Avocado, tomato, egg, onion, cucumber, cilantro, and egg Breakfast Salad
Whatever’s in my fridge that can go in a salad - goes in my breakfast salad… and my dinner salads.
A cool breakfast salad on hot summer day - I"m down with it - I love it - and you might be surprised how much you like it, too! 

Or: I’m weird - and in a great way... but we already knew that~  

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dinner And A Diabetes Hypothetical ~

One of my closest friends in the world and I had dinner the other night. 
We talked about all sorts of things - Our lives; the shit show that is American politics, stupid people, and the complexities of the the endocrine system — including my diabetes.

My Friend: So hypothetically speaking and in an alternative universe/perfect world, if you were to eat the exact same food, the exact same amount of food, at the same time each day and do the same activity two days in a row, and not factoring in hormones, stress, etc.,  because alternative/perfect universe, your blood sugars should be the same two days in a row… right? 

Me: Hypothetically speaking, if the queen had balls she’d be king. 
And yes, “hypotherically speaking and in an alternative universe/perfect world," if I were to eat the same food, and the exact amount of said food, at the same time of day, and did the same amount of activity two day in a row. And not factoring in hormones; stress, hydration, heat, cold, the common cold, the alignment of the planets, which way the wind is blowing, tide charts and a boatload of other variables, because alternative universe/perfect world - my blood sugars should be the same - or at least in the same ballpark as they were the day before. 

But that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this (and by THIS, of course I mean diabetes), works. Because diabetes is never the same disease two days in a row and as we know, diabetes is a fickle bitch. 

My Friend: And because that would be too fucking easy. 

Me: EXACTLY. Also, in an alternative universe/perfect world - I would have a perfectly functioning pancreas and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

My Friend: True. But we'd still be drinking Prosecco.

ALSO: Is it any wonder that we’re friends? 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Friends For Life Orlando, 2018

Just a few things of the many things I loved about the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Orlando conference, I attend last week.
Super special coin and bracelet.
People roaming the halls of Disney’s Coronado Springs wearing green and orange bracelets, and who “get diabetes," without ever uttering the D word. I LOVE THAT. 

Littles running up to me and shouting: Mama, she has a green bracelet like me!

Realizing that the young “teen” you've mentored/been friends with for years, is now a vibrant 21 year old woman with t1d who is thriving! 
Sidebar: And who promised you (and put it in writing,) that as an adult t1 woman, she will ALWAYS keep an 8 pack of juice boxes by her bed. 
Seeing the 16 and 14 year-old t1s and the awesome 11 year old orange bracelet sibling you’ve known since they were in single digits,(and missing the 16 year old orange bracelet sibling and her mamma, who were sidelined due to an injury,) are growing and becoming and it blows your mind.

Hanging at the bar with other green/orange bracelet adults and laughing with them about everything - including all the beeps and blips from all the various diabetes electronicals.

Bumping into the little boy who told you last year that diabetes “makes him happy and sad,” and who now declares “that he loves diabetes,” and ROCKING YOUR WORLD, in the process. 
2018 and 2017.
What a difference a year makes~
Meeting a 10-year-old, green bracelet “First Timer,” and his orange bracelet wearing little sister in the lunch line, and who become super excited to make superhero capes at the Dexcom booth after you explain to them that Dex's Super Hero Cape Making Station is an actual thing. 
Then green bracelet boy discusses with you (and in great detail,) about pumping; wearing a Dex, and how he gets his love of sauerkraut from his Grandmother, as he piles his lunch plate with 3 big scoops. 
You get dTechy with him and also tell him that you can totally relate to his sauerkraut obsession because thanks to your dad, you feel the same exact way about horseradish — and you both start to giggle. 
He follows you over to the dessert table and you both go for the oatmeal cookies “because they are the best,” and the giggles continue.
A few hours later, two green and orange bracelet wearing super heroes (and one with a penchant for sauerkraut,) are rocking capes and participating in your #IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes booth, then head over to the Beta Bionics booth and make the crazy light thingies and then give them to you, and after you'd complimented them on their cool crazy light thingies.  :)  

My new FFL cape wearing, sauerkraut loving,
orange and green bracelet wearing, sibling Super Heroes!
Your special group of “First Timers alumni,” are now seasoned Friends for Lifers, who you have special drinks with at the pool and exchange silly texts with.
T1 Chicks & Orange Bracelet friends @ the Omnipod party for
T1 Adults at #FFLOrlando18 
D Squad goals met and exceeded because of a group of fantastical green and orange bracelet wearing chick friends who have indeed become friends for life. 
These women always encourage you throughout the year; send you wake up texts on the day you fly out to ffl; buy you unsalted almonds and water at Publix, ply you with British chocolates, understand your “L Explorer” and “GM Running Club” references, and always make you laugh!

Sitting at the bar and watching your “diabetes brothers” totally nerd out over Disney’s Avatar Ride, while you and your D-Sister can’t stop laughing at and with them.

Attending adult t1 support sessions about diabetes burnout and diabetes complications in a judgment free zone. 

Your D mama friend who once again makes sure you’re OK with juice boxes and bottled water. 

Orange bracelets who have become friends for life!

Watching your t1d friend experience FFL for the first time and through her eyes.
You forget that she’s shy because she's anything but with you. 
And you burst with pride as she reaches her goal to meet 3 new green/orange bracelet wearing friends in one hour at the bar.

Discovering that the shy little Ninja Turtle loving, 4 year old green bracelet wearing boy from last year is now a talkative, confident, and positive Spidey Super Hero with a huge smile and an amazing attitude!

Experiencing one of the worst lows of your life surrounded by people who love and help you, and continue to check in with you throughout the day, into the evening, and well into the next day - and in a way that doesn’t make you feel like a burden. 

And you are so incredibly thankful that they were there.

Realizing a few days later while talking with your diabetes brother about that low, that maybe it’s time to do something you’ve been putting off for a while. 
Sidebar: More on that later. 

Standing at the ice machine on Friday afternoon after a long day of sessions, attempting to fill a ziplock bag with ice, so you can ice your broken toe (long story), and failing miserably, because the goddamn ice keeps spilling EVERY WHERE and you are about to lose your proverbial shit.
Then, and just as your about to let out a stream of expletives, you feel a slight brush against the side of your thigh and exactly where your Omnipod and purple grip are, followed by a little voice that’s barely a whisper, saying: I like your gripper and your Omnipod. 
You turn around and see a little girl with blond hair, wearing a blue and green bikini, with a pod on her belly that’s surrounded by a super cool black oval grip— and she’s looking up at you with a broad and shy smile.
And you know it must have taken all the courage she could muster to walk up and start a conversation with you.  
Your heart melts and you respond: I like yours too. 
And then you both start talking about all things diabetes — your new D friend is a year and a half in and her mom is watching and smiling. 
All of a sudden you’re not frustrated anymore. You’re happy and want to hug this amazing little girl and tell her that’s she’s exceptionally awesome, because she is, so you do. 
You’re glad you’re wearing sunglasses because you know your eyes are on the verge of leaking. 
Then her mom grabs your arm and thanks you for “doing what you do because it’s amazing,” and you feel your cheeks turning red. 
You thank the mom for all she does, tell your new friend that you’ll look for her in the pool and in the hallways and she promises to do the same. 

You say your goodbyes and walk in the direction that may (or may not,) lead your back to your room, as tears start streaming down your face and in the best of ways.

And once again you are reminded how much you need to be at the Friends for Life Conference in Orlando - for yourself and for others.  
And how much #FFlOrlando18 recharges your diabetes batteries and your spirit - and once again, you are so incredibly grateful~

Monday, July 9, 2018

I'm Off To #FFLOrlando18

I'm heading back to Orlando this morning to attend the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. 
And #FFLOrlando18 on the Social Media - and I can't wait! 
This is my 6th year attending (which blows my mind,) and it's a week of being surrounded by people who "get diabetes in all dimensions." 
It's a week of sessions about living with diabetes and support. A week where green and orange bracelets rule, carb counts on all the group meals are the norm, not the exception, and official low blood sugar stations are around every turn. 
It's a lot of laughter, a few tears, and an enormous amount of hugging with friends you haven't seen in 365 days, friends you ate breakfast with, or friends you just met!
It's meeting new friends at every turn because if you wear a green or orange bracelet - you are immediately part of the gang. 
I received/responded, to the following text from one of my DMama friends last week, who wanted to make sure I had enough juice boxes and water in my room because she knows me (and she knows my preference for Elmo Fruit Punch Juice boxes;) she gets me, and she knows and gets diabetes. 
I think it perfectly sums up how the friends you make at the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life conference - really do become friends for life! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Kismet: Attending #2018ADA As A Guest Reporter For Ascensia

Kismet has been occurring as of late and I'm embracing it!
For instance, I was able to attend The American Diabetes Association's 78th Scientific Sessions last week in balmy (code for UBER HUMID,) Orlando, Florida - and thanks to Ascensia Diabetes Care, who hired me to write a 3-part series re: my experiences as a person living with diabetes attending ADA. acting as their official on-site Guest Reporter for ADA 2018. 

ADA was awe inspiring; incredibly overwhelming, physically never ending, a total sensory overload, and IT WAS AMAZING! 
I learned so much, met incredible people,  reconnected with diabetes friends and colleagues. 
My first post is up and running and it's all about diabetes data; dtech, helping other people with diabetes in under-served communities and a very cool WHISK. Click  HERE and give a read!

As always, while Ascensia paid for my flight, hotel, and travel expenses, and provided me  
with an honorarium for my time and skills - ALL THOUGHTS are mine and mine alone. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Diabetes And Periods - In This Case - My Period.

Yeah..... NO. 

Yeah, I’m getting personal - I do that on this blog - so if you don’t want to hear about me talking about all that is the glory of having my period and diabetes - OH WELL. 

I’m on the last 24ish hours of my period and I am fucking tired.
Diabetes and periods - at least for me, can mean either relatively mild symptoms and elevated blood sugars for a few days prior to Aunt Flow actually getting her “flow on,” and blood sugars that are perfect, low, or elevated - or a wicked and sometimes manic trifecta of all three, during said period. 
And sometimes not relatively mild at all.  As in not much of an appetite; boobs being tender (yes, as in it can actually hurt to shower, unless the shower-head is set to the "Gentle Rain setting", stomach issues, salt cravings, bloating, emotions, as in #POGDogs making me cry like a baby, and bitch cramps to boot. 
It depends on the cycle. 

And because of strokes, t1 diabetes, and heart issues, run in my ginormous family tree (as does tenacity, talent, good looks, and humor,) - I am not a candidate for the pill.

PSA - THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you have diabetes and are considering birth control methods:
1. Be honest about your diabetes diagnoses and your family history with your Gynecologist, Planned Parenthood professional, or GP - because the pill can be dangerous depending on your family history of strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes
2. Make sure all your doctors are on the same page 
3. Pill, IUD, or Diaphragm, you still need to use condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. 


Also: I was anemic as kid, and my iron has been on the low side of normal for years - so there’s that. Luckily I have a friend (NO, not that friend, but I could see how you'd go there,) who could totally relate and recommended that I try Blood Builder supplements since last summer and for me, it's helped even out my iron levels (which are now on the normal side of normal,)  and my energy…most of the time.

We know that hormones and diabetes are never a smooth ride - don’t even get me started on cortisone!
But as women with diabetes know, hormones and periods, being premenstrual or para-menopausal, or post-menopausal the hormonal douche-baggery (yes, I absolutely meant to use that phrase,) can be brutal.

Like I said, for me, some periods are worse than others - sometimes killer cramps, sometimes not so much, plus everything else I've already mentioned.- 

This time around, it was on the worse side - at least for the first couple of days. 

So even though my blood sugars were pretty damn good over the weekend - I spent a lot of time on the couch, chilling out, wrapped in a blanket and drinking hot tea, while snuggling with my friend’s cat  (OK, not snuggling because she’s not a snuggler, but she did let me pet her while she leaned against my leg,) and watching season 4 of Shetland (because Netflix is dropping the ball, BIG TIME,) and #POGdogs on Britbox. 
Sidebar: It rained all weekend so I wasn’t compelled to be outdoors. 
Also: It pays to house/pet sit for friends with Amazon Prime! Which I’ve stubbornly avoided getting, but am now strongly considering - and it’s all The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s fault!
God, so much great writing, acting, set design, costumes and coat porn! 

In the "70s' and "80s,"
periods were all about riding horses, bikes, and windsurfing.
But back to diabetes; hormones and periods, being premenstrual/para-menopausal, or post-menopausal, and if you feel like sharing - great. 

If you don’t - I get it and no pressure.

And if you are a guy - I hope you’ve learned something - Also: MENSES. 
You know I was going to sneak that word in there !