We All Can Do This

The diabetes online community is full of inspiring people. We are all inspiring to some extent, we all have something share and there will always be someone who is touched by our stories and experiences. That’s the most wonderful thing about the DOC, you never know when you’re going to make a difference in someone else’s life. And that’s why we’re here. But there are people who work hard every day to be a voice for everyone, to make everyone speak, so we can be heard. One of those people is Kim over at Texting My Pancreas, who came up with this wonderful idea called You Can Do This, a project I have yet to participate in because I’m extremely camera shy.

According to its creator, “You Can Do This is a growing community of videos, created by and for people with diabetes, with the aim of providing validation, hope and encouragement through honest talk for the diabetes community.” — And the project is 1 year old today! Congratulations, Kim! And thank you for giving the DOC a place to make a difference. And a big thank you to all the people who have participated and have words of encouragement for every PWD regardless of what type we’re talking about.

Maybe this anniversary will give me a good reason to be less camera shy. We all can do this!

What Diabetes Has Done for me

You never look at a chronic condition as something good. After all, diabetes can be such a pain in the you know what. All the things you have to do, all the things you have to take care of, all the things you have to stop doing, all the things you are at risk of… Yes, not fun. But for me, diabetes has also been a blessing in disguise… a big one! Especially now when I need to find some new purpose in my life.

I have mentioned many times that I started advocating for people with diabetes way before my own diagnosis. What I never thought about is that by becoming an advocate, not only I was helping myself to understand and be aware of my diabetes once I got diagnosed, but that eventually, advocacy and activism would become such an important part of my life; the connections I’ve established since I joined the diabetes community have been my lifeline more often than not.

We may not share the same type of diabetes. We may become friends with someone who doesn’t even have diabetes, but who cares about someone else who has it. We may not understand what the other person is talking about sometimes, but we all are there, having each others back, trying to be supportive. And this support is not only when it comes to diabetes, but it’s about knowing we have friends and people we can trust. People who won’t judge, people who will always be happy for the chance to meet, people who will go out of their way to show you they care.

I guess chronic conditions make us aware of how hard life tends to get at times and how many struggles we go through. I’m grateful I was put on this earth to deal with diabetes. It gives me purpose, it gives me something to be passionate about and it has brought many wonderful human beings into my life.

This summer will give me the chance to meet new d-peeps, see old friends again, work on an awesome project for the Hispanic community with the fantastic DSMA. And that is exactly what I need now. I’m making lemonade! 😉

Go Test Yourself!

A couple of weeks ago I posted something on my Facebook timeline about testing my blood sugar (Shocking! I never talk about diabetes! :P). One of the comments came from a friend who’s afraid of getting tested, even though she was told she had pre-diabetes and she has a family history. She says she’s terrified they’re going to tell her she has diabetes because her father had too many complications and she can’t deal with that. My words to her: GO TEST YOURSELF!

As scary as the thought of having diabetes is the sooner you learn you have it, the better. Sure, when you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it isn’t fun to hear you have to change your life style, prick your fingers often, stop eating anything you want, exercise and all those fun things people with diabetes have to do. Most probably your doctor will put you on a medication that can and will upset your stomach and you will wish you never took it… but test yourself! If you’re afraid of developing complications, learn the most you can as soon as you can and take control of your diabetes if you have it.

People who are afraid of getting diagnosed or who are newly diagnosed see the condition as an overwhelming burden. IT IS! However, they also believe they won’t be able to make it, they won’t be able to manage it and they will sooner or later die of horrible complications. My words to my friend were “commitment and discipline” and her response was “the two things I lack of.” —Well, she’s not the only one. I think that’s what we struggle the most with, and I think that’s the first thing we have to work on instead of making ourselves crazy with a lot of information about the condition itself. Learn how to cope, learn what is good, learn that there is support, learn that you’re not alone.

It pains me to hear a friend telling me she/he has diabetes, but they won’t tell anyone… hence they’re not taking care of it. I don’t know if it’s denial, fear or a combination of the two… but please! If your doctor tells you that you have diabetes, don’t put it on the back burner. There is a way to live a happy, healthy life with a chronic condition. You just need to be aware of it.

D-Blog Week, Day 3: One Thing to Improve

Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at. Today let’s look at the flip-side. We probably all have one thing we could try to do better. Why not make today the day we start working on it. No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

Discipline and consistency. I really need to stick to healthy routines and not give up in the middle of a project when things start getting better. It’s self-sabotage and it’s not good at all. Call it testing my blood glucose level more often, keep a food diary to watch what I eat more carefully, exercising every day.

I’m the queen of excuses and I need to put them in a drawer and never take them out again; not when it comes to my diabetes control. It’s always raining, or too hot, or I’m too tired… and that’s all because in my heart I’m always afraid of failure and I convince myself I just won’t be able to reach any goals. The problem is, and this is true, that I don’t set any goals. Maybe that’s the first thing I have to do. But it’s not about numbers, it’s about being able to visualize myself healthier and better and work toward it.

So yes, definitely discipline. That needs a lot of improvement!

D-Blog Week, Day 2: One Great Thing

Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

One great thing I do for myself is forgive my mistakes and remind myself that we all have bad days. All my life I’ve dealt with a lot of self-blame for everything that happens, and diabetes makes things a little bit harder. After all, there is a lot of stigma when it comes to type 2 because “we did this to ourselves.” Can I have a better control of my diabetes and make better choices? Absolutely. But like Karen’s introduction says, we aren’t perfect.

I think living with diabetes and interacting with the DOC has increased my sense of compassion because I really try to put myself in other people’s shoes regarding the many frustrations that come with this condition. I care, a lot! That is my one great thing… the need to connect, the need to understand, the need to remind people that it’s OK to mess up because every day is a new beginning.

I like to sit with people like Marie, who have a positive attitude toward life’s challenges. We laugh at her Dexcom and I ask her to teach me how she manages her type 1 diabetes. I care, I want to get to know people and see how things work for them.