August Blog Carnival…

Diabetes is a condition that affects more than just our bodies, it influences our emotions as well.  It can sometimes feel harder to cope with the emotional aspects of diabetes then the physical demands.  With that in mind, we revisit the “Diabetes and Mental Health”  chat from July 24th and ask:

What can a parent of a child with diabetes, or a person with diabetes, do to help reduce the emotional impact of caring for diabetes?

Oh, diabetes.  You impact my emotions on a daily basis.  On any given day you may make me feel:

  • Frustration.  But I bolused correctly…why is my BG skyrocketing?
  • Anger.  I’m going to have to do this crap for the rest of my life?  Really?
  • Disappointment.  I really wanted to work out today but my BG isn’t behaving.  Or, I just worked out and my BG has dropped causing me to consume calories making me feel like my workout was a waste of time.
  • Fear.  Will I go low overnight and not feel it?
  • Tired.  I am sick of dealing with insurance companies, BG checks, so many doctor’s appointments.  I just want to be normal.
  • Empowered.  My BG has been perfect all day.  I can do this!
  • Strong.  If I can handle diabetes, I can handle anything.

For me, in order to reduce the emotional impact of diabetes, I try to focus on my last bullet point – strength.  Diabetes sucks.  BUT, it’s not going away.  When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed by all the disease entails emotionally, financially, and physically, I try to remind myself that I have a choice.  I can choose to be miserable and feel sorry for myself or I can choose to accept that this is my reality and I need to deal with it and keep moving forward.  Sure, the pity party sometimes wins out.  I am human, after all.  But choosing to be happy and accept this leads to many more positive days than negative.

My advice for those Type 3s in our lives – focus on the positive.  Remind your PWD how awesome they are and how proud of them you are.  Diabetes isn’t easy.  It feels good to get that pat on the back or high-five and a “you’re doing a great job”.  Don’t harp on us when we’re having a tough day or our BG is being naughty.  Let us throw our tantrum and know that tomorrow will be better and that we are doing our very best.

 

Going to the Carnival…

The DSMA Blog Carnival, that is.  The prompt for July (OK, so I’m waiting until the last minute!) reads:

Blood glucose.  It’s front and center when it comes to diabetes.  It is how we get diagnosed and it is what we are trying to manage.  An important tool we use to manage our blood glucose is our meter and its strips.  But what happens if our meters aren’t giving reliable information?  Let’s explore that this month as we discuss a topic from the June 26th chat Fill in the Blank.  Weigh in on the following statement:

Test strip accuracy is important to me because______.

As type 1 diabetics we rely so much on numbers.  Our a1c, how many units of insulin we take, insulin sensitivity factor, Insulin to Carb ratio, but the number we rely on the most is our current blood glucose level.  This number is instrumental in telling us how we are going to proceed with our next diabetes decision – do I need a snack?  Insulin?  Should I wait a bit to eat dinner?  Am I at a safe level to exercise?

We test our blood glucose 4, 5, 10 or more times per day.  It is a constant “tattle tale” of how we are managing our diabetes.  Yes, our a1c gives us our overall diabetes “grade” for the past 3 months, but our blood glucose…that is the number we rely on to make these multiple daily decisions which, in turn, account the most for our overall care and management.

There has been a lot of talk lately about test strip accuracy (or inaccuracy if you want to look at it that way).  Our trusty little meters aren’t quite as great as we thought.  Some may read too high, some too low.  The general rule is that a meter is within about 20% accuracy.  This is a big deal.  Say my meter tells me my average BG is about 140.  I think I’m doing pretty darn good at this whole diabetes thing – this would translate to an a1c of about 6.5, not too shabby.  But what if my actual average is closer to 168 (an increase of 20%)?  That brings my a1c up to 7.5, which, not as great as 6.5, especially when you are planning a pregnancy and trying really, really hard to get your a1c to 7.0 or lower.

A person without diabetes may think, “What’s the big deal?  The difference between 140 and 168 isn’t THAT huge.”  But over time, as you can see above, it makes a pretty big difference.  If my meter is telling me 140, I’m giving myself less insulin than if I’m 168, thus remaining a little elevated.  And vice versa.  If my meter tells me I’m 168 but I’m actually 140, I may give myself too much insulin and thus cause a blood glucose drop later on.

Luckily, with the advent of CGMs, we have yet another tool to make our treatment decisions.  However, not every person with diabetes is able to benefit from this technology due to various reasons, so the core issue remains the same.  We need accurate meters and test strips.  Diabetes management is a series of small decisions that lead to an overall result.  Shouldn’t we have the best tools available to make the best decisions possible?

SS-LOGO-STACK-SM

DSMA Blog Carnival – Diabetes Strengths and Weaknesses.

I really enjoyed participating in Diabetes Blog week – the topics were great and I loved being challenged to answer specific questions related to diabetes and living with the disease.  I also found some great new blogs to follow and I am learning from and laughing with them every day now!

I was delighted to hear about the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy monthly Blog Carnival!  I am looking forward to the monthly topic and finding some more great blogs to follow.

The topic for May is:

What do you consider to be your Diabetes Strengths?  What do you think are your Diabetes Weaknesses?

I posted a couple of months ago about things that diabetes has taught me and although these are strengths, I wouldn’t say they are necessarily “diabetes” strengths.  I think that my biggest strength with managing diabetes is that I’m never too lazy to test my blood glucose.  If I feel off in any way, I test.  I prefer the peace of mind knowing what my body is doing so I can treat accordingly, rather than guessing.  I frequently get angry at my father because he is absolutely a lazy tester.  He will wait and wait and wait to test, meanwhile his sugar is plummeting or sky-rocketing.  I really wish that he would realize that it takes 30 seconds to test and it could make such a difference!  Granted, now that I am on the CGM, I don’t test as frequently but I’ve never been one to slack on testing if I feel weird.

A weakness I’d say, at least recently, is my laziness when it comes to exercising.  I know exercise is an important factor in diabetes management.  But I’ve been seriously slacking in that department for the past 8ish months.  I recently started a challenge with some girlfriends to exercise 20 times before the end of June.  I already have 2 workouts under my belt, so I am on my way!  I am hoping that this challenge will help me get in the good habit of going to the gym more often than once/week.  My hips, butt, and thighs will thank me, right?  Oh yeah, and my blood sugars too…