It’s been a crazy ride.

Like I said- I’m not gonna say I’ll get better at a blogging schedule. I am very certain I won’t get to a schedule until after I graduate- so when that happens- BE READY. Blogs on blogs on blogs.

So this is just an update on my life the past few months.

I have 64 days left until my last day of classes! (YAYYY!).

Dawgs for Diabetes is going UHMAZING. <3 <3 <3 Literally- so much love so much momentum so much improvement.

Here’s our end of semester newsletter from December.

Dawgs for Diabetes also represented the College Diabetes Network on CNN Accent Health– and it was EVERYWHERE. It’s in doctor’s offices currently, it played on various news stations, and it was online. CRAZY. So glad that CDN was able to get this attention and reach more people!

About a week later, I was featured as one of UGA’s Amazing Students!

I had my graduation check/clearance, and I am good to go- Wait…. this is happening- four years have come and gone? It is hard to believe honestly.

Wait. there’s more- Yesterday my blog post about switching to a T-Slim was posted on the CDN Page.I meant every word- I LOVE my new pump! I am also liking my dexcom- but it is still a love hate relationship- blog post on the books about my feelings on always knowing my blood sugar.

That same day I had my interview for the Outstanding Senior Leaders Program- fingers crossed? I made the interviewers laugh multiple times- so I’d say that’s a good sign? On that note, Dawgs for Diabetes also applied for a TON of SOAR Awards (Student Organizations)- so fingers crossed for that.

Basically- these past few weeks have been a major dose of “Mindy get over your awkwardness with compliments and attention and don’t analyze it.” Because- that is what I do. I turn red. I want to hide. I start analyzing. So I’ve gotten better at taking compliments through all of this- and I appreciate everyone’s kind words. It’s still a serious struggled, and I don’t think people completely believe me. I get awkward and uncomfortable when people sing happy birthday to me. But- I know it’s all a confidence thing- which I am continually working on. For someone who had NO confidence coming into college- I faked it well, and I have come a long way in gaining confidence. Actually- in four years I have come a long way in general. WOAH.

There’s also so much stuff going on- Night of the Arts for Camp for a Cause, School of course, prepping for a new life transition, Hope Haven, etc etc. Blood sugars have kind of been all over the place. My gym is schedule is pretty back to normal. Yay. and juicing and my weird fiber smoothies- are happening- I also started drinking coconut water, and adding electrolyte tables to my water- this has all made a HUGE difference in my hydration- I always struggle to say hydrated- and I was drinking about 6 -32 ounce water bottles each day, plus other liquids (and not counting while working out)- which still was not enough. I now don’t have to drink as much, and I stay hydrated. YAY.

So. Like I said- so much going on! I am so excited for what is to come, and I am making sure to enjoy every moment while I can.

Generosity and Belief Go a LONG Way!

It’s all pretty exciting and weird and scary all at the same time. I’m literally on the homestretch to being done with undergrad. I hope to post about thoughts on being almost done, and towards the end of the semester I will definitely have a post about the changes I have experienced these past four years. But first.

I was recently reminded about scholarships. Without the abundance of aid I have received these past four years… Without the decision makers who decided they believed in me and they wanted to take a chance on me… Without the donors who made these scholarships possible… and so much more.

I would NOT be where I am at right now. Would I even have been able to attend UGA? Who knows. I would have had to work so much that I wouldn’t have been able to volunteer at that many camps, I’m not sure if I could have studied abroad, I wouldn’t have been able to devote any of my time to things outside of work and school (CASA, D4D/CDN, JDRF, and much more).

Yes I still had to work, but I wasn’t only counting on that.

I applied for over 40 scholarships my senior year of high school, and I apply for about 5 each year now. Yes. OVER 40. I was committed. I wanted people to help me pay to go to school.

My freshman year I was able to get all my expenses paid which means no loans for me that year! Since then, I have taken out loans, but not as much as I might have needed to. This means that once I graduate, I will not be focusing all my time and money on paying back those loans. Although, I would rather do this quickly.

Here’s what you have been probably waiting for-

Through grants or scholarships including the hope scholarship, I have received almost $70,000 in financial aid to help fund my college education. WHAT. Unreal right? No. I spent my senior year of high school applying for scholarship after scholarship. I was able to recycle essays, and it became easier. I had a teacher who wrote a general letter of recommendation for me, and I would send along the scholarship information and she would adjust it for me.

One scholarship was one of the most competitive in my area, I got that. I was told I would not get it because I had not done the IB program at my school, but I applied anyways. Another scholarship was a little bit each year so I know I always have some cushion. Hope Scholarship- if you don’t know what that is (if you live in Georgia and you attend college in Georgia, you get assistance with your tuition if you meet the academic qualifications.) I received scholarships once I arrived at UGA through my major and the Disability Resource Center. I have also received various grants throughout my college career as well.

So seriously. Thank you to everyone helped finance my college education. I literally would not be here without you. Maybe one day I can give back; I want to work in nonprofits- so not likely- maybe I’ll win the lottery?

Tips on Scholarships!

  • The more local the better
    • I did apply for big national ones, but I had better luck with local scholarships.
  • The more specific the better
    • For me- community service, my major, what I wanted to do, etc gave me a better return.
  • Do not be intimidated by essays
    • This means less people will apply.
    • You can often recycle the same essay or just tweak it a little bit. So once you write the first few, it gets easier from there.
  • Have a teacher on hand who knows you well to write recommendations for you. (ask nicely and well in advance!)
  • Use a calendar so you do not miss a date Which also means- be organized!
    • (oops- that happened to me)
  • Do not be intimidated!
    • You don’t think you’ll get it?
      • APPLY ANYWAYS- what’s the worst that could happen?
    • Have a working resume with anything you have ever done handy
    • Scholarship interviews! Dress to impress and be yourself! (but play up your best attributes)
    • If you have had “not so great” things happen in your life, get comfortable talking about it (to an extent. And don’t pressure yourself)
      • Don’t make it sound like a pity party.
      • Sell your accomplishments and your passions
        • I did this this, this, and this, regardless of what happened.
      • Make them go DANG. Inspiration!
    • Believe in yourself!
    • Be proud of yourself when you apply. This is where you need to brag.
I do not own this image

What’s the Difference Between Regular Soda and Cake?

Today has been one of those Diabetes days. The new medical company I am working with messed up and had no communication so I was left in limbo until I called and got it straightened out. I would like to gladly mention that I didn’t have to ask but they are “over-nighting” my supplies to me! I love good customer service and they apologized! My other new gadget- My new tslim pump will arrive tomorrow! and I am getting trained Monday! They’ve been so great! They delayed mailing it until a few days ago because I was on vacation! (i was not talk about the same companies here) So excited for this new journey I am about to start on! (and a little nervous- I do not like change even when I need it!) If I could just skip my dentist appointment tomorrow- that would be great! But I cannot put it off. Loving the fact that I am on break right now until January 4! Time to try and relax and be a little lazy? We will see how that goes. But to my story!

Today- my mom and I were traveling back home from vacation. We stopped by a popular chain restaurant for lunch. One of my favorites. The food was great. The service was on point! We literally just finished paying the bill and I can hear the server and another table right behind me (two customers). I hear Diabetes, which always scares me in public places.

Not sure what was said before this- I think the other two customers worked in food service at point by the tone of the conversation.

Server- “Then she asks for a new diet soda because she cannot tell if it is diet or not. I told her it was, but she asked for a new one just to be sure because she had Diabetes”

Customers laugh.

Server- “Then she orders chocolate cake!”

All three are laughing.

Server- “So I don’t understand what was the difference of big deal about her getting a diet soda, but then she gets a cake. It’s actually funny. I don’t see the difference between her getting a soda or a diet soda. It’s not serious.

Customer- “because that cake will put you in a Diabetic Coma.”

ALL THREE ARE LAUGHING AGAIN!

Cue myself-unable to sit by any longer. I had pulled out my meter and given myself insulin before I ate- maybe they didn’t see. I had been talking Diabetes supplies at one point- maybe they didn’t hear.

But I turn around.

Me- “As someone who is living with Diabetes, those comments are very offensive to me. It’s about thinking you have one type of food and getting another. It is about accounting for what you are eating. There’s more to tat than ‘Soda’ and ‘cake.’ and Diabetes related comas are actually very serious and not something to joke about.”

The Server basically interrupts me and says “that is not what I meant. But soda versus diet soda is not a big deal.” The Server is now standing in front of me, and the customers are silent- looking uncomfortable.

Me- “It kind of is. That conversation was not funny at all. It was very offensive. There’s more to Diabetes than a difference between ‘cake and soda.’ I need to leave now.”

I left because I was starting to get very upset, and I knew I would not be able to contain myself. My mom told me after I left that he apologized to her, and said he had a problem with the fact that customer had Diabetes and she got cake! My mom also tried to tell him about T1D and T2D and Diabetes in general, and just wouldn’t listen to her either.

That doesn’t even help my feelings. Unless you are a healthcare professional or know much about it- you should not be passing judgment! Also, if you are going to blast your free speech everywhere- you need to also expect others to practice free speech in return instead of trying to shut them down/interrupt them.

I have actually come across this regular versus diet soda talk before- but in all honesty- I have NEVER been this offended in my life– I do not believe in the phrase- “words will never hurt you” They are POWERFUL! I needed to leave because I was so upset, and I knew that I would not be able to continue that conversation- which in my mind was a missed educational opportunity. But it was too much. I don’t like to get too heated with the people I am talking to- but I do have limits. I like to tone of peace- and you get more with honey than you do with vinegar.

I wish I had said more. But I was offended. and upset. I wish I had said more about Diabetes in those moments- but I couldn’t. So I cannot focus on the I wish. I am focusing on the fact that I left the restaurant with dignity until I got into the car and BLEW up. I began texting all my betes friends and going to town.

A few things to take from this-

As a former of server (of several years), you DO NOT talk about previous customers to current customers and so loudly that others can hear you! You save that for the back of the house with your co-workers! The customer is ALWAYS right- until you are in the back of the house of course. You know what that makes current customers wonder? If you are going to be talking about them once they leave. I am also ALWAYS pro-server in all instances. Except today.

Also, as a server, JUST GET HER A NEW SODA- forget the Diabetes part.

Also, I am all for free speech- to a point- I do not agree with mean, cruel, hurtful, disrespectful, ignorant…… continue these words comments or JOKES about other people. You have no right in my opinion. You also don’t know who you are hurting. I do not like jokes that are demeaning towards others- especially a population group.

I don expect people to walk on eggshells. I do not expect people to learn everything about everyone. But when I turn around and say that I have Type 1 Diabetes and I take a lot of offense to those comments- and it isn’t all about the “food” you are eating- it is about accounting for it. Take a moment and learn something.

Regular versus diet is kind of a big deal- Not everyone can taste the difference or see a color difference (especially in colored glasses).

For instance- I almost always know the difference between diet coke and regular coke (cept in Europe). I do not know the difference between the pepsis or most other sodas because I don’t drink those a lot. I do know diet mountain dew and regular. But not diet dr. pepper and regular.

I shouldn’t have to be worrying about if someone is going to give me regular or diet- and then JOKE about it. Enough sodas- and my blood sugar would be spiking- actually JUST ONE. and we all know most people have two-three cups. Imagine that- I’m going to say a glass of soda at a restaurant is 50ish carbs (sizes and types vary). So I think I have diet. I do not give any insulin for it thinking I have had 0. Then I get another. That’s about 100ish carbs. See where I’m going?????

One instance of regular soda won’t necessarily “kill me” but- I don’t want to get sick or have ketones or anything else. and a high blood sugar gives me anxiety.

So kind of a big deal?

Diabetes is not about “cake” no matter what type. There is so much more. I’m sure they didn’t pass judgment on the meal (even a salad can pack some serious carbs).

So What’s the Difference Between Regular Soda and Cake? 

I am accounting for the cake and giving insulin for it. I am not accounting for the regular soda and I am not giving any insulin.

Rant over.

Until next time. -Mindy

#diabetesawarenessmonth #doc #diabetesawareness (Looking back a few days later)

I really do wish that I had time for consistent blogging- My schedule is just as full as ever- and I enjoy the majority of it (except for classes). I am getting ready to lead two teen breakout sessions for TypeOne Nation; Atlanta in February and the South Summit in January. I am BEYOND excited for these opportunities. Dawgs for Diabetes is also going amazingly! I’ll be organizing and planning during the break.

Everyone tells me to stay in college forever, but there is so much I want to do, so many things I enjoy, so much I want to see and experience, and finally- I am not one of those who is okay with “C’s get degrees.” So of course, I spend my time making sure I do the work to my standards. I am also burned out on school, and I seriously need a break. I am excited for the days when blogging can be on a regular basis- along with writing, crafting, and reading (eventually I’ll be able to do more self-care what?). and I know there is even MORE out there for me to enjoy in the world. I want to go out there and DO something not just sit behind a text book or in a classroom. Do not get me wrong- I acknowledge the importance and how much I have learned.

As I take a break from my paper for International Social Work (which I’ll be posting about when I have a chance- writing about insulin access and diabetes education is getting me worked up). I wanted to take a bit to reflect on Diabetes Awareness Month.

November is over, which means my birthday has passed and I am 22. World Diabetes Day has passed, and Diabetes awareness month is over. It was a CRAZY and exciting month. Not including school and my internship. So much was going on. D4D, was filmed by CNN for CDN during this time. We spoke at two dorms about Diabetes, and we tabled for WDD. I was seriously so proud of us. I am so proud of how far this chapter has come, and it warms my heart. As of right now, when I graduate, I’ll miss the friends I have made here (but most want to move around the world like myself), and Dawgs for Diabetes.

I have been actively participating in Diabetes Awareness Month since I was about 14 when I learned about the blue circle- my how things have changed. I never saw it on any calendars. Organizations that I am a part of didn’t do a whole lot with it- but now things have changed so much already. I cannot wait to see where we go.

I saw more people living with Diabetes participating than I have before. I saw more campaigns and unity. I saw a lot of posts and action being taken. This all fills my heart with joy. Go us! Go Diabetes Community! Go DOC! Go Diabetes organizations! Go those impacted by Diabetes! Go Supporters!

my views on the following-

  • In the future, I hope to continue seeing more growth surrounding Diabetes Awareness Month.
  • I hope more people who are not living with or are directly impacted by Diabetes participate.
  • I hope that when people see the blue circle, they automatically think Diabetes.
  • I hope that the Diabetes community becomes more bonded.
  • I hope that I see more voices of those with Diabetes speaking out loud and participating.

I want to focus on the last two-

The Diabetes community is so scattered. Many people are fighting with one another. There are SO many different campaigns, that it is hard to find it all/be united/not be confused. How are we supposed to ask the rest of the world to listen and to respect us and to stand by our sides- when we don’t stand with one another? When we do not listen to one another. When we do not respect each other. When we are not united. Before we can expect everyone to change/listen, I honestly think within the Diabetes community we need to as well.

Do not get me wrong- I appreciate the caregivers, doctors, and diabetes organizations who stand up for us, and who raise awareness for us. They have seriously done so much and continue to do so much- BUT- those who are living with Diabetes are usually not as active. They are usually more silent. This has GREATLY improved this year. But don’t we want the world to hear our side of the story? Don’t we want to create the change? Don’t we want the change to help us?

I can see where this starts- I can see where children with Diabetes or others living with Diabetes start to fade into the background. They start leaving the Diabetes communities they are a part of- and very rarely do they stick it out or come back. Doesn’t that mean there’s a problem? Doesn’t that mean something needs to be fixed? I watch as kids and my friends grow up and stop attending walks. I watch as there are fewer older campers than there were younger campers (I know life happens and people have things going on and camp isn’t for everything). DKA and higher a1c’s increases as the teen years approach (which there are a lot of factors). I watch as mental health and Diabetes meet up and lead to Diabetes burnout. I have watched as more organizations acknowledge this is a problem. I have watched new organizations pop up for adults with Diabetes- but if the teens leave the the Diabetes Community- the likelihood of them finding their way back to become a part of these organizations is slim (in my opinion). I hope more continues to change. There is a gap here.

As I close out, Diabetes Awareness Month has ended for the rest of the world, but this month never truly ends for everyone impacted by Diabetes. I am truly thankful for all the people in my life who participated and stood up with me and the rest of the Diabetes community- those are the posts I love to see- from those who do not have to because that means a whole new group of people might be learning about Diabetes.

Again- Go US! Till Next Year? Psh. You know me better than that.

Diabetes Burnout- 1 year later

It’s really easy when hindsight bias is always around the corner; when the rest of the world looking in is pointing towards self-help books; when your a1c barely goes up; when you don’t believe it yourself. It’s especially easy when you ‘re looking in on yourself a year later (especially after an amazing weekend). As a social work major, I theoretically should have been practicing self-care, and taking care of my mental health. I should have been reaching out to the Diabetes community and my circle of friends and family. So many should haves.

You could have done this. You could have done that. These are the steps to take. You control your Diabetes. It’s not that hard. Others have it worse. Take a pump vacation. Just deal with it. -What myself and what others were telling me.

It’s not that simple in the moment. It’s not that easy to take advice and want to do anything at the moment. It’s not a snap of the fingers-quick-fix to accept it all again. Especially when you reach a certain level.

Even now, I have a hard time admitting it to the world let alone myself. I didn’t full acknowledge what was happening or what happened until mid-spring of 2014. I was still in the middle of it. But I was hiking up the mountain- trying not fall. I do not think I was “over” it until I arrived at camp in June.

I think this happens to everyone on occasion- at the end of a long day or a long week and Diabetes is not being a friend- and it is being who it truly is- a chronic illness- sometimes I forget about that. T1D- it’s a chronic illness. It’s something- that not everyone is living with.

When I looked in the mirror, I hated Diabetes and even asked why me. When I stared at my freckled fingers tips, I didn’t want to even check. I was leaving my meter at home, supposedly by accident, but was that a subconscious decision? The pump vacation didn’t work. I was doing even worse on shots. I dreaded changing my pump site- I was leaving it in longer than needed. I wasn’t rotating anymore either. I was concerned about diabetes management, but I was concerned that I was “failing.”

I didn’t want to talk Diabetes. I didn’t want to think Diabetes. I wanted out. I wanted the cure that had been promised to me when I was 17. Isn’t it a little late? Where is my cure? Are researchers trying hard enough? Does the FDA not want me to be happy? Do they and insurance companies and medical companies not really care about us?

There I was, the girl who all her life had paraded around; saying “I’m Diabetic” as her fun fact about herself; speaking about Diabetes to donors and groups and for school projects; bringing her friends to the walk every year; speaking endlessly about camp; knowing Diabetes inadvertently gave her a career and goals for the future; giving her a better understanding; and so much more.

But none of this was registering. None of this was at the forefront of my thinking.

I had been given the majority of the tools I needed to take care of myself and be positive. I somehow swerved out of the typical middle/high school experience. I had actually been warned. When I graduated high school, friends and doctors (especially doctors) warned me, this was a possibility. It happens to almost everyone, and you’ve been going full force all the time. I thought I was invincible. Surely, since I never felt that way in my teen years, it would escape me now.

But there I was in the fall, 2013, of my junior year of college just trying to get my blood sugars to cooperate with me, struggling to keep up with my commitments, my job, and my school work- and to be honest- not even doing a great enough job (at least- to my standards). My health at this point was at its worst in regards to my thyroid- my numbers were slightly out of range, but my body reacted poorly- which did not help. My insurance was giving me a hard time about getting supplies and endocrinologist appointments. I no longer had access to children medical services to assist when I turned 21 so that dark cloud was everywhere. This was one of the hardest semesters of classes I had taken. I was supposed to be studying for the LSAT already. I was also not feeling my best- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Events from my past were constant memories and nightmares. I was pushing people away. I was canceling endocrinologist appointments, but they also kept getting canceled. Finally, I was trying to do work with Dawgs for Diabetes because I wanted it to really take off- but that was a struggle.

But how do you do that when you hate the mention of Diabetes? How do you parade yourself and attempt outreach when all you want to do is hide from Diabetes? How do you speak to people about Diabetes and being positive and living and thriving when- at that moment you don’t believe it yourself.

I know everything took a hit. I can still see the remnants of my decisions and how I was feeling. I know that all things Diabetes took a hit at that time for me. (along with everything else in my life)

I was not blogging. You can see where I pretty much stopped. Claiming I would get back on track.

and this continued. and continued for months. as I wouldn’t admit out loud or even to myself. Going through the motions. This can happen to anyone. but not to me. These feelings come sporadically for people, and often it goes away- but occasionally it comes to stay for a while. The winter of 2013,/2014 things started to get easier, and in the spring- I realized and admitted what had happened. It started when I spoke to teens living with T1D at JDRF’s Type 1 Nation in Atlanta in February. My- this is it- I need to believe it. and then-

There I was at the College Diabetes Network Retreat at the beginning of the summer, and for some reason I said it out loud. I said the words I had acknowledged in the spring, but I wouldn’t dare say to a group of people who I had just met. I still do not know why I said it out loud, but just as quickly as it hit that fall- I said it Diabetes Burnout.

“Diabetes burnout is the term given to the state of disillusion, frustration and somewhat submission to the condition of diabetes.

Burnout can be characterized by a person’s complete disregard for their blood sugar levels.
They may also miss doctor appointments, forget or avoid taking insulin injections or other diabetic medication, or switch back to unhealthy eating habits.

Often it will be a state of mind that is reached after years of dealing with the condition.
Diabetes burnout is often marked by disregarding blood sugar levels and neglecting an individual’s diet.

What happens in diabetes burnout?
At times of diabetic burnout, a person will often participate in self-destructive behaviors.

Accounts of people who have experienced diabetic burnout report that they are seeking ‘freedom’ from this confining and often frustrating condition.

Burnout is also often accompanied by psychological changes such as:
• Stress
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Emotional states such as anger, resentment, shame, guilt and helplessness”

 

That’s what this was. In a nutshell with a few variations- because everyone is different.

What I really needed was time, and the people who wanted to be there for me. I truly wish I had opened my mouth  to reach out. But at the same time- I feel like Diabetes Burnout comes hand in hand with other events or stages in your life. Would I have experienced Burnout or to that extent if my thyroid had been dealt with and acknowledged by my previous doctor? Was the anxiety my thyroid or the burnout (etc, etc)? What if my class load had been different? What if, What if, What if?

What I do know- without Dawgs for Diabetes, I would not have been pulled out of it. If I had not been involved in CASA training, I wouldn’t have had something non-Diabetes to focus on.

I learned an extremely valuable lesson last year; self-care. It has been relentlessly thrown at me since high school and I would “practice” self care. But only when it was convenient for me. I’m a work-a-holic in training. and yes- I know I’m in social work, but still it didn’t click.

I’m looking at this a year later, and I can remember some things clearly. I dreaded Dawgs for Diabetes meetings. I wanted nothing to do with Diabetes awareness month. I didn’t even want to go to the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes- I have never missed one since being diagnosed.

I think I am a part of the Diabetes generation that has been caught in the middle of everything- specifically change. With all of these resources and educational resources we are expected by society to practice perfect Diabetes management. We are expected to have THAT a1c. Pressure on us. Pressure on our families. The pressure to keep up with society’s standards is draining for everyone. Even if we preach that we don’t care about those standards, it still impacts us.

And I am JUST now starting to see more about Diabetes and Mental health. Why has it taken so long- Diabetes does impact our lives and our lives impacts our Diabetes? Is mental health not included?

And time- honestly time. No one wants to hear time. Everyone wants the quick fix. But sometimes, you have to do your best at that moment (even if it isn’t your usual) and allow time to run its course.

A year ago, I wouldn’t admit burnout. I wouldn’t acknowledge that this is what was going. This past weekend I had the most amazing weekend in my Diabetes “life” that probably tops most of my camp experiences; the JDRF Walk in Athens and the Campus Tour- I am surrounded by the most amazing people. A year ago- I did not think any of this would be possible in my wildest dreams.

But with time, and finally reaching out, and so many other things- the burnout faded into the background. and when I think of where I am now, and where I was- it seems like more than a year. I can’t believe I passed my classes. I can’t believe I studied for the LSAT, I can’t believe I kept up with commitments.

But why can’t I believe that- shouldn’t I know I can do it automatically? This is something I constantly struggle with but I have also improved upon this.

When I finally reached out to my friends- I realized who was truly supportive- and those who were- I am forever grateful. Not pushing me to speak. But listening when I finally did.

Self-care is now part of my weekly routine- even if I do absolutely nothing. I can see the difference when I utilize it- and when I don’t. I am still working on this- self-care is a struggle for me.

I make sure to be involved in things that have nothing to do with Diabetes and nothing to do with Social Work.

I know in the end that point in my life has made me stronger- I never want to go through it again, and I don’t want others to go through- but more than likely- they will- at some point. and to me- this is just as scary as DKA- another occasional nightmare to add to the list.

I think a few things are important to note-

  • Reach out- you may be surprised who will grab your hand to walk through a difficult journey with you or try to pull you out. Don’t close people out.
  • SELF-CARE- make sure that you are consistently doing things you enjoy- not including exercise, sleep, TV- I think something unique to you makes more of a difference. For me it’s reading, crafts, writing, and music.
  • It’s okay. This happens. Diabetes does not determine your worth. at all. you can’t be perfect.
  • Do what you can in the moment- even if it is sometimes going through the motions.
  • Be involved in something that makes a difference for others- the impact is amazing.
  • Back off from the Diabetes community if you need a break.
  • Know that you are a strong person even before you add the Diabetes to the mix.
  • Believe in yourself

These are just some of the things I took away from this. and after years of struggling with some of this- I have gotten better at applying it.

and everyone is different, and everyone experiences things differently. and I think Diabetes Burnout is similar to Diabetes- because we do not completely understand it yet. You Diabetes may vary, and everyone is on a different point in the Diabetes perspective spectrum.

from one of my favorite authors “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” J.K. Rowling (I didn’t completely rebuild- but I am such a different person than I was a year ago)

-Mindy

Why I Live for Today- in terms of Diabetes- a contradiction in my life. (so much talk of a cure)

In all honesty, I’m terrible at that whole live for today concept. I live by a John Mayer quote- “People say: ‘live for today’. I don’t think it’s right. You gotta live for the big picture.”

It’s really how I feel. I LOVE looking at what is ahead for me. When I’m stressed or upset; that light at the end of tunnel keeps me going. It serves as a reminder for why I am working so hard, and why I am putting in so many hours. It’s nice to think about when my hard work will pay off, or the next phase of this journey we call life. I also do like to look back on occasion and see how far I have come and how much I have changed and where I have been and where I have met.

I know I need to enjoy life’s little moments, or big moments, and I have gotten better at that- BUT I still live for the “big picture.”- and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love Life’s Contradictions- well fun ones; hoodies and flip-flops, converse and dresses, etc etc.

But throughout my life, there has been one glaring contradiction that relates to Diabetes. Diabetes is the one place where I live for today in a sense. I have my whole life, and as I have “dealt” with my changing of plans for after graduation and with everything Diabetes News related, I have realized this fully.

When it comes to Diabetes, I live for today. I have to. I cannot focus on that cure supposedly coming down the track. I cannot put all of my “eggs in one basket” because I will be so focused on that I’ll miss out on what I might need.

When I got diagnosed in 2000, EVERYONE in the medical community kept telling me that a cure would arrive in 10 years when I was 17. When I was 14, I knew that wasn’t happening. Stem cell research had come to a halt, other possible cures had not worked or the complications were way too much. So my 17th birthday came and went, my 21st birthday is about turn into my 22nd birthday before I know it- and a cure- it’s still not here? But I have watched the news before my eyes; test trials are going on; new breakthroughs, etc etc. But honestly, I think of a cure as that date that stood you up, again and again, and you told yourself ‘this time will be different.’ But it’s not. It never has been. Someday, who knows when, there will be a cure I am sure- that new date who proves you wrong and shows up (early).  But scientific progress or new findings do not guarantee us a cure right now or even “soon.” I think it’s cool to watch and be up to date- but I cannot and will not say “this it- my cure is coming.” Because realistically, I don’t think it’s here yet. Research is definitely on the right track, but we are not there yet. not too mention all of that red tape and policy and making sure it is all okay- especially in the US, takes A LOT OF TIME.

Sometimes, I feel like the Diabetes community (and other people in general- ESPECIALLY the rest of the world) gets so caught up in a cure, they forget about the people and families who are living with Diabetes 24/7 right now. They forget that there is this whole mental health side to Diabetes. They forget that teens and young adults are still here. We are still living with Diabetes.

But we also forget all of the scientific advances that have been made- I would NEVER take a pump vacation if there hadn’t been a huge change; Regular and NPH anyone? being the only choice anyone? Now I can take a pump vacation. oh yeah and I wouldn’t have POLI- which I LOVE. I don’t have to change the code every single time I open a new bottle of strips. Meters have lights and can take less than 5 seconds. Pumps can calculate your insulin for you. You can have sweets! CGMs. and so much more. I am benefiting, along with many others, from research and breakthroughs that are not a cure- maybe looking for a cure lead us there- but my Diabetes management and even my mental health has benefited from all of that- and I won’t forget it.

I think if my parents and I put all our focus on a cure, I would be a different person today. Instead I have focused on taking care of myself because who knows when a cure will come. I don’t want to wait my life away waiting for a cure; I have stuff to do. I have places to see. I have Dawgs for Diabetes and the College Diabetes Network to be a part of. I want to make sure that teens and young adults don’t get lost or left out of the Diabetes community. I have little moments to enjoy. I have ideas and hopes and dreams I want to follow and tackle with my clumsy grace. I have a CASA kid in foster care who needs me. I have school. I have a big city to move to soon. I have to travel. I have to meet new people- AND SO MUCH MORE.

and if I focus on that cure- would I stop trying to take care of myself? Would I get so hopeful, and then possibly let down because a cure didn’t work- I feel like that happens a lot for people- and your mental health takes a hit.

I’m not saying- don’t get excited- by all means get excited- but use your critical thinking and make sure that’s not the only thing you are living for in terms of Diabetes Management.

I’m not saying don’t stay up to date. Be informed. that is SO important.

I’m not saying there won’t be a cure. There will be- SOMEDAY.

I am saying- please don’t send me articles that say Diabetes is cured; or article after article. I might like to just talk to you? Instead of just speak in Diabetes Articles- feel free to send them- but maybe ask how I am doing or tell me how you are doing?

Because honestly, I have probably seen and read it; I am VERY involved in the Diabetes Community, and I read the news (from many different sources- always check EVERY bias).

I like to think of it in the view of People’s First Language- I am MORE than a possible cure. I don’t know when that cure will be. In my lifetime? I really don’t know. But until we have one, in terms of Diabetes management and self care, I need and have to live for today.

Until next time!

-Mindy

It’s just data.

D4D Newsletter

I have elaborated on a few of these. Enjoy.

I’m more than a number.

  • a1c, blood sugar readings, blood tests don’t tell the whole story. These are just numbers that guide me to better Diabetes management. I am not simplified to a little number on a screen. It’s just data. This is NOT a reflection of who I am as a person or even the work I put into my Diabetes management. I cannot be belittled by a number. I cannot put everything into one number. I cannot let this reflect the value of myself as a person. There are no Good or Bad Blood Sugars….

I’m more than a future possible complication.

  • Enough Said. Please do not tell me how I am going to (insert possible complication here) in the future or because of one blood sugar.

I’m more than my diagnosis.

  • Getting diagnosed on my Diabirthday was not the end of the world. It was not when I would stop living- it was when I started. That is where my life begins- it’s one of my first memories that are clear as day. BUT. That is not all of who I am. I got diagnosed with Diabetes- but I am LIVING and THRIVING with Diabetes. There is so much more to me.

I’m more than a Diabetes joke.

  • KitKat lasagna- DOES NOT MEAN DIABETES. STOP THAT NOW.  Pan of cookies does not equal Diabetes. I could keep going. These are cruel and mean and ignorant and so much more more. Just stop. Stop the jokes. They are NOT funny. Educate yourselves.

I’m more than an insurance policy.

I’m more than a dollar sign.

I’m more than a statistic.

I’m more than a “sad story.”

  • When I send my JDRF, Camp, or D4D letters to get donations. I briefly mention how many times I have to check my blood sugar or change my site. Honestly- that number surprises me. I focus on all that I have accomplished. My focus isn’t despite having diabetes. I just share all that I have accomplished. This is NOT despite diabetes. These are just my accomplishments. I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t want them to say look at what she has done even with Diabetes. I want people to say- look at her accomplishments, and we should offer our support because she is so passionate about (insert here).

I often find myself thinking this when I interact with the world, but I also needed to be reminded sometimes. I can get caught up in numbers and comments and insurance nonsense, but there’s more to me and Diabetes than that.