20 Facts About Me Tag

I forgot to mention that I've had facial hair since 2010
Alsoblood also, high blood sugar gets on my nerves! 

When I woke up this morning I had no clue what I was going to write about for today’s post. Thankfully, Rich the Diabetic saved me from having to come up with something original to write about. Thanks Rich! Without further ado, here are 20 facts about me:

  1. I was born 3 months premature at Maine Medical Center in 1993;
  2. I’m a pile-organizer, not a file-organizer;
  3. I’m a caffeine fiend;
  4. I’ve lived in New England my entire life;
  5. I can speak broken Polish;
  6. Although I’m not Canadian, I love hockey
  7. I’m not a football fan; 😮
  8. I’m afraid of: heights, bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets;
  9. Although I’m a voracious reader, I rarely finish reading books;
  10. I’m the eldest of 4 children;
  11. I was an only child until I was 8;
  12. I was diagnosed with diabetes on Christmas;
  13. I used to have wicked bad sensory issues, and I’m still not a fan of big crowds;
  14. When I was in 4th grade I could read at an 11th grade level;
  15. I see myself as being a free-thinker;
  16. I enjoy playing the guitar;
  17. I’ve practiced meditation (on and off) since 6th grade;
  18. I love intellectually stimulating conversations;
  19. Given my life story, I’ve got a passion for my own self-development;
  20. I’ve got a passion for helping others meet their full potential.
Advertisements

Purpose of Life – Søren Kierkegaard quote

What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself… the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. … I certainly do not deny that I still recognize an imperative of knowledge and that through it one can work upon men, but it must be taken up into my life, and that is what I now recognize as the most important thing.

– Soren Kierkegaard, Danish theologian, Christian Existentialist

Strugglin’ to rebuild

This week hasn’t been the best…all thanks to Mr. D. To be less obscure, I had moments of laxity in how I managed my type 1 diabetes. My testing “pattern” became erratic, and I had a few high blood sugar readings that would have been caught earlier if I hadn’t been so lax.

Previously, the process of recovering from diabetes burnout went swimmingly. All this changed when I got my guitar restrung. In the days that followed, I spent an obsessive amount of time on it. Unfortunately, I became too distracted from diabetes. 

When I play/noodle on the guitar, all my thought’s melt away, and I become completely absorbed in a tumultuous sea of sound (I’m not the best guitar player). For me, this is a much needed stress reliever. Unfortunately, it’s equally adept at “relieving” me of my sense of time which, in turn, screws up how frequently I test.

Luckily, the intense interest in playing my guitar has lost its edge, and no longer poses a threat to my effort to rebuild my skillful diabetes management habits.

This incident was relatively minor. It only caused me to miss testing a handful of times. The period where I was unmindful of having a chronic condition only lasted a handful of days – not long enough to crystallize any unskillful management habits.

Those handful of days earlier this week were an aberration. The journey shall continue…

Food for Thought: Diabetes Advocacy

  1. An advocate is a fighter for the interests of those who would otherwise be ignored and trampled upon by society.
  2. Advocacy can take innumerable forms. Political activism, educating the public, and social/cultural criticism are just some of the forms that diabetes advocacy can take.
  3. Rather than seeing diabetes advocacy as an activity of a select few, we should see it as a project that all diabetics (and their loved ones) can engage in.
  4. The perfect health care system is a myth. Regardless of the form of system we choose to have, health advocacy is essential to the protection of the interests of patients.
  5. We need to broaden our view of what constitutes diabetes advocacy.
  6. Diabetes advocates can be thought of as forming a choir. More individuals = a louder collective voice.
  7. The louder our voice, the more that it’ll stand out amongst a sea of other voices.
  8. An ideal advocate would be one in whom a fighting spirit is tempered by prudence.
  9. How one chooses to advocate isn’t what matters most. The main thing is that one is taking action.
  10. Since our project is a team effort, we don’t all have to be doing the same task. We can each contribute in such a way that is in line with our talents, interests, etc. There’s a place for us all.

Coping with stress: how do you cope?

My baby
My baby

After months of collecting dust, last week I finally decided drop my Yamaha acoustic guitar off at Guitar Center in order to get it restrung/have its truss rod fixed.  I regret not having this done sooner.

My procrastination deprived me of a powerful means of coping with stress. Given my situation, my procrastination could have cost me dearly.

Taking a proactive approach to managing stress is of paramount importance to me. In addition to living with type 1 diabetes, I also have to deal with ADHD and insomnia. All three of these conditions cause a great deal of stress. I’ve always been acutely aware of this, and have, for as long as I can remember, sought more productive ways to deal with it.

Some of the ways that I’ve tried to manage stress include: writing, reading, listening to music, meditation (zazen), playing the guitar, and exercising. All of these have helped me lower my stress levels to an extent. Unfortunately, however, they haven’t always helped me enough – especially when I was a teen.

Given my situation, I’m alway’s open to suggestions on coping with stress. Feel free to share how you cope with stress in the comments section below.

Not all things are created equal

Got meters?
Got meters?

A month ago I was testing 2-3 time a day. On most days, my numbers remained above 200 all day, and I’d often see at least 1 number over 300. Numbers in the 400s – which had formerly been rare – happened almost every week.

Fast forward to this month. I’ve been testing 6-10 times a day. On most days, my numbers remain above 200 for most of the days, but I’m starting to see due some decent numbers. Numbers in the 400s – which been all too common a month ago – are now non-existent. Improvements have been made.

Being a pessimist, I’m adept at seeing the negative aspects of any situation. In my present situation, I could easily choose to focus on the fact that my blood sugars still remain, on average, higher than what I’d like to see.

Although I could choose to see my present situation through tinted glasses, I have decided not to. To interpret my situation in a negative manner would do me no good.

It’s essential that I keep things in perspective. Although my blood glucose readings are important, they’re not what’s most important to me. Of far greater significance to me is  the fact that I’m testing my blood sugar frequently.

My current blood glucose readings are irrelevant to me, so long as I’m in the habit of frequently testing my blood sugar. Although, by itself, it won’t have a major impact on the extent to which I have my diabetes under control, it will form a firm foundation for me as I continue to recover from diabetes burnout.

Discernment is essential.

Rebuilding after the storm

My kit: a necessary tool in my efforts to rebuild
My kit: a necessary tool in my efforts to rebuild

Diabetes burnout struck me like a tornado. Where skillful diabetes habits had once stood, there remained nothing. A once-magnificent city had been replaced by a vast field of rubble.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, I was left in a state of shock. After gaining an appreciation of what had transpired, my shock turned to self-pity and despair. Being stuck in the position I was in felt like an injustice, and the magnitude of the task at hand inspired nothing but despair.

These days are now behind me. Having freed myself from self-pity and despair, I was able to focus on the process of rebuilding.

This  process started in December of 2013, and has continued into the new year. Although a noticeable amount of rubble has been removed thus far, a significant amount remains.

I’m starting the process slowly by continuing to test my blood sugar more frequently. When I’m ready to move on to another task, I will focus on being more physically active again. For now, however, I still need to focus most of my attention on the first task.

Despite the large quantity of work that has yet to be done, the outlook is optimistic. Things will be restored to their former glory.

Thou shalt pace thyself

As I continue reestablishing skillful diabetes management habits, I need to pace myself.

I’d experienced diabetes burnout from September until the middle of December, during which I formed numerous unskillful habits. For instance, I was only testing twice a day, I didn’t change my pump site as often as I should, etc. Given the plethora of bad habits I had formed, I’m basically starting from square one.

Given the magnitude of the task at hand, it’s essential that I focus on one or two habits at a time; otherwise, I risk overwhelming myself. I risk burning myself out all over again.

Although the road to adequate diabetes management is long, I’m certain that, so long as I pace myself, I’ll reach my destination.

The wisdom of properly pacing oneself extends to other areas of life as well. I’m currently trying to pace myself in these other areas as well. This blog is one example of where I can implement it.

Therefore, I’m going to lower my posting frequency. For the rest of January I plan on posting twice a week – on Monday and on either Thursday or Friday.

Diabetes Burnout: The Psychological Challenges of Recovery

I want to write about diabetes burnout – in particular, my most recent bout with it. I want to find a way to incorporate the posts I made on tumblr a month ago, when my burnout was at its peak. As I attempt to achieve these goals, I’m continually falling short. I’ve hit a brick wall – and keep hitting it over and over again. Writers block has reared it’s ugly head.

After writing and re-writing this post repeatedly, I’ve decided to give writers block the finger, and write about writers block. I ain’t gonna let writers block slow me down…

If you can’t tell already, this post is essentially going to be a free write until I’m able to magically transition to the topic I had initially planned on writing about.

As a writer, beginnings are my archnemesis. I need to find my groove; after I’ve done so, it’s takeoff! If I don’t, my writing’s a train wreck.

Perhaps it’s because I try too hard. Rather than putting my trust in my own abilities, I try to force myself to write rather than allowing myself to write. Perhaps having a preplanned subject matter adds extra pressure. Perhaps, like a guitar player, I simply have to relax my mind and body, and then just write.

The part of this post that is actually about diabetes begins after this sentence.

Now my groove is coming back to me and, of course, now I’m starting to feel low…

I’m actually 123 (a nice number for more than one reason).

That unpleasant interruption brings us to today’s topic: the psychological challenges of overcoming diabetes burnout.

When your blood sugar is high all of the time, you adapt to it. Chronic hyperglycemia is miserable to live with, but I get accustomed to living miserably. It also tends to make me feel depressed after awhile, which means I…lack of motivation.

In other words, chronic hyperglycemia eliminates possible motivations to improve my blood sugars, while also making it more difficult to feel motivated in general.

To complicate matters further, I know that, as I improve my blood sugars, I will both experience more lows and start to feel low when I’m not. Psychologically, there is little difference between the two. Both of them make me feel the same, and this feeling isn’t one I desire.

Do you remember how I mentioned wanting to incorporate something I wrote on tumblr into this post? Well…I’m about to do just that.

Here’s something I wrote while I was experiencing burnout:

Didn't I exude positivity?
Didn’t I exude positivity?

The first sentence is the part of that post that’s relevant to this one.

Pulling yourself out of diabetes burnout involves making a decision between two shitty options. It’s not as black and white as it may seem.

If you’re stuck in a negative mindset, this taints your judgement. Both of them can appear to be equally bad if this is your mindset.

All of these things make diabetes burnout an incredibly difficult hole to climb out of.

What I have been describing is, of course, an extreme example. What I’m describing is a case where diabetes burnout and chronic hyperglycemia fed into each other.

It probably would have made more sense for me to organize the last three paragraphs into bullet points but what has been done has been done.

In conclusion, I don’t like writing conclusions, therefore this post will abruptly end here

New Years Resolution

My New Years resolution for 2014 is to fully recover from the diabetes burnout I experience from September-December of 2013, and to be more careful about not wearing myself out in the future.

Going forward, this blog will play an important role in staying faithful to my resolution.

In the coming weeks, I plan on exploring what this resolution entails, and I’ll be setting smaller (and more specific) goals that’ll help me stay faithful to this resolution. More on that later…

Happy New Year!