My New “Dantra”

On my Twitter account, I follow a quote person… or bot.. or whatever you call him/her/it named @allgreatquotes. Some of them, I don’t care for too much. Others, I like, so I retweet them. This was this morning’s quote (which I promptly retweeted…)  :

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." – Vince Lombardi

I like this quote because you can apply it to so many aspects of your life. Granted, this came from the former Greenbay Packers coach, and I’m sure he was referring mainly to football, but just take it out of the football setting and think of how it is so true… school, marriage, work, etc.

Now, I’m not saying that if you work hard you’re guaranteed for it to work out. Sometimes, things just simply don’t work no matter how hard you try. But the key is trying, and trying your hardest.

But take that principle and apply it to diabetes.

Before becoming pregnant, the main thing I had to do was to get my levels under control. There were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. There was no “okay, I’ll do my best this week and take a day off Saturday.” or “I’ll work on it and if it doesn’t seem too hard, I’ll keep it up.”, or “I’ll do what I can, but if it gets hard, it’s just not going to be worth it.”. No. These were not options in my book. I was going to work hard and keep it up because I knew what it was I was working towards.

While working hard on reaching this goal, I realized there was something else happening to me… something inside. Yes, there were just as many good days as there were bad, but there was something about working hard to get there that changed my way of thinking. Taking it slow – one hour at a time, one meal at a time, and one bbb (blood sugar, bolus, and basal) at a time, I slowly learned how to make this disease fit my life, not my life fit this disease. This is not to say that d-burnout didn’t happen – because it did. But the key is not to let it get you down for long. Look back over your past day – week – month’s hard work and concentrate on the victories you had, and let the victories become your inspiration and encouragement to keep it up that hard work. I found that the harder I worked at controlling my numbers, the harder it was to let them go and slip back into the “I just don’t want to care any more” attitude.

So, to take what he said and change it just a bit, my diabetes mantra (dantra?) from now on will be this: The harder I work at managing my diabetes, the harder it will be to surrender to it. I will not punish myself for the bad times, but will rejoice in the victories and let them carry me through. Because surrendering is giving in. And giving in is not an option.

Conquer

Conquer Your Fears

While living with diabetes, you can become afraid of a lot of things. And, with some of them, if you let that fear get to you, it can hold you back from living.

Fear of getting married. Would I find someone who would understand this disease? Who would be there to help and support me, and not see it as an inconvenience or irritation? Yes! I did.. and he’s wonderful. We will be married 4 years on the 20th of this month, and we’ve been together 6 years as of September 1st of this year. He’s never once complained about me being a diabetic or showed any sign that it’s an irritation to him… other than that he hates to see me deal with it because he just wants me to be healthy.

I was afraid of what having diabetes and a pregnancy would do to me – even with all of the new advances in technology and knowledge since the Steel Magnolia days. Kidney failure being #2 on my list… dying being numero uno. But I finally did it. I came, I fought, and I conquered it. And I have a beautiful baby boy. And I’m still alive and as healthy as a diabetic can be (physically anyway… pregnancy messes with ya mentally a bit… darn hormones!)

I still have fears though. One being travel. I would absolutely love to go be a part of a d-meetup. But a lot of what holds me back is the fear of travel. I’m afraid something will happen (train wreck, plane crash, automobile accident, , etc.) and I won’t have extra supplies that I need and I’ll be far away from home with no way to get them, or passing out from hypoglycemia in said train-plane-automobile and no-one knowing what the heck is wrong with me, oh the list could go on. “Up a creek without a paddle”, if you will.

The above picture is a paper thingy from the Chinese cookies. I taped it to my fridge at home. It’s been there for a long time now. I look at it and try to remind myself that, yes, I may have fears, but if I never face them, they’ll keep wrapping around me like a boa constrictor until I can’t move.

So, I have a goal. Baby steps, though.

I want to attend a Diabetes Sisters event since it’s somewhat close to home, but not really (it’s in the neighboring state, okay?). That will be away from home, but not away from home. I want to meet up with some of the awesome d-ladies that I speak with on Twitter and read their blogs… my diabetes sisters. I am thinking of planning to go to the 2012 meet-up.

I’ll get there. One day. Because I need to conquer this fear. I love the d-friends I have online… but I want to meet them in person. To make it real.

My Endo

The doctor-patient relationship is one that is very important to me. Not only do I like to have a doctor that I can trust, but one that is – even through all the years of his or her practice – still human. Not some big textbook-spewing robot who has medical degree after medical degree, but one who has tremendous love for what they do and the people they see on a daily basis.

My endocrinologist is one of these people. He has a passion for what he does, and it shows with every visit. Rarely do you find a doctor that is open-minded to new technologies, yet still keeps in mind the oldie-but-goodie tricks of the trade that work when the new stuff isn’t quite up to par. I know that when I go to see him, he’s going to look at my numbers and help me pin-point the problems, and make suggestions (and he even stresses the word “suggestions” when he’s writing stuff down!) as to what needs to be changed. He is also very open to hearing my opinion as to what I think needs to be done as well. He’s not a preacher-type that is all “Here, this is what’s going on and this is what you must do to fix it and you have to do what I say because I have the degree and you don’t”. He works with me.

While I was pregnant, they hired on a new endocrinologist in his office. One comment he made to me was that since he had followed me through the journey to get pregnant, he was going to stick with me throughout my pregnancy and be sure that my chart wasn’t transferred over to her, in hopes to avoid confusion. If anything were to happen, I have his cell phone number for emergency cases. He went above and beyond what I would expect any endocrinologist to do to help me have a perfect-as-diabetically-possible pregnancy. His dedication to my care throughout my pregnancy was outstanding. My fear now is that because I am no longer pregnant (thank the LORD!), he’ll allow my chart to be transferred.

Granted, I know I’m not giving the “new girl” a chance, but with me, the relationship and trust I have in my doctors has a direct impact on my care. When I was a teen and going to a pediatric endo, I didn’t see him, but rather his nurse practitioner. I LOVED her. She was more than just my medical caretaker, she was a honest-to-goodness friend to me. We talked about everything outside of diabetes in our appointments and usually only spent about five minutes discussing what to change in my treatment. She’s the one who talked me into going to diabetes camp when I was 15… the first time I had ever been away from my parents alone. If it weren’t for her being at the camp, I wouldn’t have gone. While under her care, I got my diabetes under control because she showed an honest care for me and my diabetes. She didn’t fuss or belittle me. It was because of her positive actions and care that I, in turn, cared and wanted to do my best for her, because she made me believe that I could do it. After she left, I was heartbroken. Literally… I cried for days… Begged her not to leave. (She was moving to Florida, so it wasn’t like I could just follow her across town to the “new” doctor’s office.) I felt as if I had no one else to “keep up the good work” for.

The nurse practitioner that replaced her was a joke. She was very rude and easily agitated and rarely gave encouragement. It was then that I went back to the way I was before and didn’t care about taking care of myself. I honestly didn’t see the point. It didn’t seem to matter if I were a dedicated diabetic and did everything right or if I didn’t care a lick – my numbers were bad, with no pattern, and she didn’t care to encourage me that it was going to be ok, that we’d figure it out – I wasn’t an easy-to-fix case. I guess because I, just as I am now, was an analyzer of the data being sent back to me from my meter, and if I didn’t agree with the adjustments or couldn’t get a clear answer as to their reason for their adjustments, I didn’t want to make their “recommended” change. The old practitioner understood this, and she worked with me. She would take the time to explain until she saw “the light bulb go off in my head” – because I’m not one to just trust them because they say so. After all, I’m the allowing this medicine that keeps me alive – but could kill me if dosed wrong –  to go into my system each and every day, and she understood where I was coming from if I didn’t “feel” right about the new changes. The new one? She didn’t care what I thought, she knew more than I did, and I was just being a non-compliant, hard-to-get-along-with patient.

My fear is that I’ll be dealt the hand I was dealt back then again. It took me almost 7 years to find a doctor that would, in my mind, come remotely close to being like my first nurse practitioner. My endo is such a wonderful doctor, and his manner of care has been just as good, if not better, than hers. I feel “at home” and safe with him. I don’t feel like just some stupid, non-compliant patient if my numbers aren’t great. He encourages me. Not just because he’s my doctor and is paid to do it, but because you can tell he’s the type that wants to. He genuinely cares about his patients.

He’s my team-leader. My coach. My friend.

I don’t want to give him up just yet.

The Hubs

In honor of No-D-Day (Thanks, George!), I’m going to talk about something else besides me, or D, or even BabyK (well, we all might come up in there a bit, but the post isn’t centered around us).

Other than my wonderful, beautifully handsome baby boy, there’s only one other person in my life that my world revolves around. My husband.

We met September 1st, 2005 and hit it off right from the start. That’s not to say we haven’t had some rough patches (oh boy, have we!), but they’ve not been anything we haven’t been able to work through. And what I love about him is his passion for what he loves and believes in.

Since he was a kid, he has loved Transformers. Most of the lingo he talks, I don’t understand, but all I know is when I see him watching the re-runs of the first Transformers cartoons that came out, it’s like he’s a kid again, sitting in front of the TV, watching the coolest thing to ever come on the tv. And, when talk of the making of the 2007 Transformers movie was the buzz of the internet in 2006, I got to see just how crazy he really was about this “cartoon”. Transformers was the hot topic of most of our conversations, and even when I would try to weed it out, Erik would think of something else to say. We even had a big, blow-up fight about it because I simply did not understand his obsession with them. After all, they were just toys, right?

Wrong.

What I didn’t understand was that they may have been a toy of the 80’s, but it was that toy that helped shape who he is. The toys made the user think. It was puzzle that transformed from one thing to something completely different. Even today, he will sit for hours and transform new and old ones to perfection. When I transform them, there’s still gaps and holes and it looks like some sort of thing that resembles only remotely resembles a vehicle or a robot. Him? They look like they just came from the factory. But my point is he has taken that same principle and applied it to his life. He has a Bachelors of Science in Computer Technology and works as a Systems Administrator (and a PC Specialist when needed) at his job. The stories he shares with me show his passion for computers, technology, and the puzzle they create – much like the passion for the puzzles that Transformers have. They make him think and help him problem solve.

Once I realized just how they impacted him, and still do (I mean, come on, have you seen some of the Transformer toys they have out now?! It’d take me a year or more to transform one of those! Him? A couple of hours… TOPS.), I let go. Most of his gifts now are Transformer related. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when the Transformer buzz is over in the media once again and you can’t find the action figures anymore. When we went and saw the first Transformers, he actually started to hyperventilate when Optimus Prime transformed the first time… as if he were seeing his childhood hero in person for the first time ever… which, I guess you can say that’s what he did, in a way, since Transformers is a cartoon that was made into a movie. And, if we had been alone in the theater, I’m sure he would have stood up and clapped at the first line of “I am Optimus Prime…”. Of course, I’m sure he’d absolutely have a heart attack if he ever met the man behind OP’s voice in person!

Of course, Transformers is not all that makes up who my husband is. He’s bright, funny, and the biggest teddy-bear of a man with a heart to match.

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Laugh

Laugh

When you feel like you just can’t win.

Laugh

When it hurts to do it over and over again.

Laugh

When you just can’t figure it out.

Laugh

When it seems there’s nothing to laugh about.

 

Laugh

Until the frustration is small

Laugh

Until the hurt is no longer a wall

Laugh

Until you can relax just enough

Laugh

Until you find some sort of peace in the midst of the “stuff”.

 

LAUGH

(This came to me after a blooper in a diabetes vlog.

Diabetes is a very stressful, demanding disease.

But sometimes, you just have to sit back and laugh to relieve some of the stress.

So sit back, think of some funny, crazy stories that have happened to you or a loved one with diabetes, and have a good laugh.)