Emotional Eating with Diabetes

One of the people I admire the most in the diabetes community is Ginger Vieira. She manages to transmit her enthusiasm in everything that she does, and as a diabetes coach, she helps many people to manage their diabetes and live a happy, healthy life. From Ginger I’ve learned not to let diabetes defeat me, and she’s also a great example to follow when taking care of my body and mind. And her most recent book, Emotional Eating with Diabetes, can be added to my list of favorites. I’m glad I finally took the time to read it.

LIP-EEWD1In Emotional Eating with Diabetes, Ginger explains how we sabotage ourselves when it comes to food, which is detrimental for our diabetes management. I’ve always known I have a very weird and complex relationship with food, and it has always been my emotional escape. I eat when I’m sad, bored, angry, etc. Nothing to do? Go to the fridge. Nervous about something? Go to the fridge. For a while I completely forgot to think about food for what it is, nourishment.

In a very short, very easy to read book, Ginger starts by discussing how we develop this love-hate relationship with food and how, for people with diabetes, food becomes a double-edged sword. Then she goes on to share hers and other people’s experiences and thoughts, and finally she gives easy to follow pointers to work with food to help our bodies, not to destroy them.

Emotional Eating with Diabetes was like a godsend to me. I’ve struggled with this issue for as long as I can remember and the guilt I’ve carried on my shoulders has made every aspect of my life more difficult than it should be. The good thing is that now I’m more aware of it, and you know what they say… knowing your have a problem is the first step. And I may have taken the first step, but Ginger’s book is certainly going to be my companion on the road.

If you’re currently struggling with balancing food and diabetes, I recommend you take a look at Ginger’s book. It will not take you a long time to read, and you’ll be grateful you did.

Another year, another endo…

“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie

After 6ish very scary months without health insurance, I finally got HMO through my employer. It may not  be the best when it comes to choosing my own doctors, but at least now I can get my tests done and don’t worry about emergencies without coverage. The downside? I have to switch endocrinologists, and that makes me very, very sad.

I think I’m one of the first patients my endo had at the practice where he is now. Very sweet, caring and encouraging man. When my A1C hasn’t been the best, instead of asking me what I did wrong, he found ways to help me figure out how to improve my numbers. When he knew that I was depressed, he gave me a referral to one of the best psychiatrists in town. When he found out I didn’t have health insurance, he tried his best to keep an eye on me through my primary care doctor (who, unfortunately, I have to say goodbye to as well). So I’m going to miss Dr. B… a lot!

But this is the story of my life. I’ve been on the move for the last 14 years, switching doctors. I think I’ve been to a total of 6 different endocrinologists and I’ve been lucky with them. And now it’s endo lottery again! Should I be excited? I’m rather bummed, but also thankful to have health insurance. I will never understand how a country like the U.S. has such a faulty health coverage system… don’t get me started on how much I have to pay for this, but I’m glad I have it.

I’m not sure what my A1C will be. I’m sure it won’t be the shiny 5.9 I got last time, but at least I know that I’ve been trying my best to take care of myself.

48 Things About Bea

1. Were you named after anyone?
Not that I’m aware of.

2. When was the last time you cried?
This past Sunday, January 13.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
It’s OK.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
Oven roasted turkey.

5. Do you have kids?
Do animals count?

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
Of course I would. I’m nice, funny, and all those good things.

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Not on purpose.

8. Do you still have your tonsils?
Yes. Do you want to see them?

9. Would you bungee jump?
Are you kidding me? NO.

10. What is your favorite cereal?
The ones that aren’t good for me. Hah!

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Nah. Neither do I when I put them on.

12. Do you think you are strong?
Physically? Not really. But I’m a very strong person.

13. What is your favorite ice cream?
Dulce de leche. Want!

14. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Their eyes.

15. Red or pink?
I like them both.

16. What is the least favorite thing about yourself?

17. Who do you miss the most?
My Dad.

18. What is the technique that you need to work on the most?
Ice fishing? I don’t know!

19. What color shoes are you wearing?

20. What was the last thing you ate?

21. What are you listening to right now?
The space heater.

22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

23. Favorite smells?
My boyfriend’s soap, sandal wood, vanilla, cinnamon.

24. How important are your political views to you?
I have my days when I care more.

25. Mountain hideaway or beach house?
What about mountain hideway with a beach nearby?

26. Favorite sports to watch?
Hockey… I guess.

27. Hair color?

28. Eye color?

29. Do you wear contacts?
No, they freak me out.

30. Favorite food?
All the things!

31. Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings.

32. Last movie you watched?
I can’t remember.

33. What color shirt are you wearing?
Blue. Cherise would be happy.

34. Summer or winter?
Summer when it’s not too humid.

35. Favorite dessert?
Ice cream!

36. Strength training or cardio?
Cardio,  please.

37. Computer or television?
I watch TV on my computer.

38. What book are you reading now?
Proof of Heaven (by Eben Alexander, M.D.) and Emotional Eating with Diabetes (by Ginger Vieira)

39. What is on your mouse pad?
Nothing. Pitch black.

40. Favorite sound?
My mom’s voice.

41. Favorite genre of music?

42. What is the farthest you have been from home?
Alma, QC in Canada.

43. Do you have a special talent?
I’m sure I do…

44. Where were you born?
Cali, Colombia.

45. Where are you living now?

46. What color is your house?
Hahaha! I don’t know. Beige?

47. What color is your car?

48. Do you like answering 48 questions?

Please feel free to join the conversation, tomorrow at 9 pm EST on twitter. Follow @diabetessocmed and include #DSMA in your tweets.

The Joy of Music

cellobardThe first time I learned about the existence of Marie was when I saw her on twitter during a DSMA tweet chat. I remember her twitter handle (@CelloBard) caught my eye because I thought it was clever and artistic, and she seemed like a bubbly person. The stalker in me decided to check her blog, Joy Benchmarks; the first thing I noticed was the picture on the right, and I thought that was the loveliest cello bow I’d ever seen. I read some of her entries, learned about her struggle with myasthenia gravis, cancer and more recently, type 1 diabetes. My first reaction was to wonder how on earth could she handle all that, and the answer to that came a few weeks later, when I discovered Marie lived in the Chicago area and we planned a d-meetup.

We met at Starbucks one morning back in March 2012, I thought she was hilarious and inspiring. We clicked right away and what I didn’t know that day is that she was going to become one of the most important people who were going to be with me through a very difficult time. We became friends, we made plans for coffee, breakfasts, walks around the forest preserves… she is a joy to be around, just like her blog’s name. And yes, she struggles, she wants to give up sometimes, she gets sad, she gets frustrated, but somehow she manages to inject enthusiasm into every person she meets. And she talks about all that in her book Life Music: Lessons Learned At The University of Catastrophe.

Reading Marie’s story was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed it very much, and being her friend made the experience even better because as I read, I could imagine what her reactions and faces would be to different life situations. Marie opens up about her illnesses in a very heartbreaking way, but still she approaches everything with a great sense of humor. And it all fits in this quote from her book: “Everyone spends part of their lives up a creek without a paddle. No one is exempt from the journey. Some people get wet for a little while and then they find their way to shore again. They shake themselves off, go on with their lives, and laugh about it.

Life Music: Lessons Learned At The University of Catastrophe is about learning to keep the music playing even when life wants to throw us a punch. And that’s why Marie has a whole chapter dedicated to her most precious material possession: Her cello, Sir Barclay (whose longer name I can’t recall now). Marie is a talented musician, and I think this chapter of the book is my favorite one. It’s about how much joy Sir Barclay brings to her and how much it means to her to play it. There’s also a chapter about her dog that is hilarious, but I really want you to read the book so I won’t say anymore.

IMG_1238For me, Marie is more than that book. She’s an amazing friend, one of the smartest people I know, a buddy I can go on road trips with and sing The Beatles all the way to our destination, the one friend I laugh about high BGs with to the point of mockery, and much more. But most of all, she’s a constant reminder that illness doesn’t define us. And she puts it very simple, “I am not a broken body. I’m me and I’m OK. […] Being well has more to do with what’s going on inside my soul, than how my body works.

Marie, this is an overdue post that I promised I was going to write a while ago. I admire you, I respect you, and I’m extremely grateful for having you in my life.