Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For all you creative folk...

Amy from DiabetesMine sent me some info about this really great contest designing innovative/creative diabetes gadgets & gismos! There are two categories; over 18 and under 18...check it out! The deadline is May 26th and there are some awesome prizes!!! Head over to for the specific details. Here's the link:

The competition begins today...
This is a very cool YouTube-based contest sponsored by two young boys living
with Type 1 diabetes for over 10 years each. It's co-hosted by, and prizes include $2,000 in cash plus some pro-bono consuling from world-class design firm IDEO.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This is my official note of apology for being such a slacker! Things have been crazy because I am officially done with college in exactly two weeks!! You'll have to stayed tuned, I have tons to update but just have not had the time. This has been one of the craziest, greatest, most exciting times of my life but also one full of FREAK-OUTS! I graduate May 10th so until then, the blogging will most likely be put on hold due to the fact that I have tons of work and celebrating to do! However, I have been keeping track of my thoughts, ideas, etc so once I'm free from books, papers, and being a student..the blogging will take off!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A is for Anxiety

In the past few years, I've had major issues with anxiety. The mind is a crazy thing, especially when dealing with chronic illness and a busy lifestyle. Last year, things started to get really out of in a dorm with four other girls, working, going to school and diabetes started to take its toll on my mental health. So, I decided to see one of the mental health specialists at Joslin...I haven't been back in almost a year now so I wanted to reflect on the progress I've made since then.

My anxiety basically began to take over my diabetes care...I was absolutely terrified of going low, partially due to the fact that I was always walking, on the T, at work or in class and never quite sure of who I would turn to if something did happen. As it progressed, I was letting my blood sugars run high because I felt comfortable being between 200 and 250, far away from low and just as dangerous. I felt completely out of control and was a MESS. So I started talking to Ann, the specialist and after a few visits, we devised a plan. The plan was to gradually move my "comfort" number down by 50 points. So to start, I had to move my comfort level from 200-250 to around 150/180-200. The problem was that in the middle of trying to do all of that, I switched to the OmniPod and so my A1C went up again during that adjustment period. Life basically completely got in the way of me trying to execute the "plan."

So around Thanksgiving of this year, my mom and I discovered the online community. I was not feeling 100% but was honestly didn't know what do. My anxiety had diminished but I still had my dramatic, diva moments and still my blood sugars were not what they should be.

I had to make a change, a decision...I had exactly one month until my next doctors appt. so with my mom's help I came up with an experiment. I had tried a wheat-free, gluten-free diet in the past but it was difficult to do eating in a cafeteria. So, my experiment was to eat a wheat-free, gluten-free diet for one month and to see what happened when I went to the doctor. My result was a .2 drop in my A1C in just one month, granted it was still 8.2 and higher than I wanted but I was finally starting to see results!

So now, about three months later my "comfort" level is around 130 to 160 and I feel much better, healthier and lighter. I've lost weight, and I just feel less bloated and weighed down by my blood sugars. I haven't had my A1C tested since January but I am feeling really confident that it will finally be down in the 7's. I really feel like my "experiment" made me feel much more positive about my health...before it felt like a burden because I wasn't seeing the results I wanted. And frankly, its disappointing to discipline yourself for so long only to have no results.

Now, I've replaced my old comfort foods with a new obsession...gluten-free toast. I absolutely love spelt, wheat-free bread and it tastes so good toasted and does not affect my blood sugar the same way normal bread would. I tell my mom all the time that if I could live on sandwiches and toast I would...and now I could! I find myself constantly changing supermarkets to hunt for new, interesting gluten-free treats to try. Just making this little change in my diet has really helped me to make positive changes, I still struggle with anxiety about lows but I've really gained a lot more confidence in my ability to control my blood sugars.

Hmm..This topic is def. overwhelming for me to for now, I'll leave it at that.
I'll add some gluten-free links!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Droppin' the Big "D" Word

Sunday, I had the pleasure of brunching with a fellow T1 girly whom I met at the Diabetes Expo, I'll call her LT. We obviously talked about the everyday struggles/triumphs/embarassing stories of being T1 and one part of our conversation got me thinking and laughing. We were talking about relationships, how people react to diabetes, experiences with boyfriends, friends, teachers, parents, peers, strangers, you get the picture..we were equally stumped by the following questions: When and how do you bring up the "D" word in a relationship?

I had to laugh because every time I've told someone its resulted in me being the most awkward, self-conscious, stuttering person alive. Let's just say, its made for some great embarrassing tales to share when I need a good laugh. I have to say, usually when I met someone new, diabetes is not the first thing I talk to them about...something about the person or their body language, what they're saying usually has to trigger it in my mind. It's like..all of a sudden you become aware that their eyes are focusing on that piece of tubing sticking out of your belt, or that pod-shaped bump under your t-shirt..and then, out of nowhere you feel compulsed to just blurt out "I'M DIABETIC" before they can get out the "Is that a _____!? (fill in the blank with appropriate cell phone, Ipod, beeper, whatever misconception is your personal favorite) Allow me to illustrate exactly where we decided the dilemma lies.

We discussed the dreaded, evil, nerve-wrecking, awkward FIRST DATE. These are situations which can be disastrous under normal circumstances, add a chronic illness to the mix and whoa, baby. So let's be optimistic, say you are on a first, second, even third date with someone and you have yet to unleash the big "D." You are at a small, romantic little italian restaurant where the menu is a carb-lovers paradise and a diabetic conundrum. You are eating when the inner-conflict surfaces and the questions begun to race through your head. Should I just pull out my meter and test at the table, therefore revealing the secret? Will the person be grossed out by me licking the blood off my finger? Should I take my meter into the bathroom? What if I go low later? Will he think I'm a freak if I pull out my juicy juice box? Should I tell them? Should I not tell them? We've all experienced this, whether or not it was on a first date. The hard part is not telling the person...its waiting, suffering or rejoicing at their reaction.

I had a guy once crack a joke about my "pager" saying that no one but a drug dealer would carry one of those anymore. My friends jaws hit the floor as I stammered....."Its an insulin pump." The hardest part is talking about your diabetes after a comment like that, trying to open up and share when you really just want to kick the person in the shin. I have to give credit to the people who react by trying to understand it before making their judgment about how they are going to treat me. By this I mean, if you don't know a lot about diabetes...ASK! But, please try to avoid "Are you allowed to eat that?" Because yes, while diabetics do watch their diet...I will be the judge of what I can and cannot eat...not my dysfunctional pancreas. And I certainly do not want to feel guilty or judged if I do decide to eat a cookie or a piece of birthday cake. You have to smile at the moments where people go out of their way to make sure you are ok, you've had enough to eat, your blood sugar isn't low or high and that yes, you actually feel quite normal at this moment. While sometimes it is annoying to have people fuss over your health or even show a bit of just goes to show you that they care!

Don't get me wrong, this is not a rant...rather a reflection. I truly reflect on these awkward moments with fondness because they are worth their weight in laughter afterwards. And it makes me happy to know that perhaps I have educated a stranger, friend, teacher, peer about diabetes, and maybe even, spared another diabetic that awkward moment. What's your method for dropping the big D? Share some of your favorite moments!