Because Easter Is About Sugar You Know…

…and so is every other holiday of course.  I really hate to comment on this because I am NOT a grinch.  My parents were very good about celebrating all holidays and exposing us to them.  I enjoyed them and want my kids to as well.  However, I have certainly noticed a change over the years.  I did Easter with my kids for the first time this year.   They were too young previously.  When I was out Easter shopping the other day, I noticed there were several aisles for Easter.  But the disconcerting part was that there were at least three dedicated to candy!  When did Easter become about sweets????  I thought Easter was about remembering the day Jesus rose from the dead.  OK and bunny rabbits, baby chicks, pastel colors and hidden eggs.

I was mentioning this to my mom who told me that when she was a kid her mother would put out a plate for each kid with a little grass, a hard boiled egg, a piece of fruit and one candy.  We’ve come a long way from that!  The way I remember Easter was colorful baskets overflowing with sweets and toys.  Those cute marshmallow peeps, peanut butter cups, cadbury eggs and of course a chocolate bunny…or two.  When I think about the amount of carbs I would consume it almost makes me cringe.  But I don’t blame my mom.  I know she wanted to give my sister and I happy and memorable Easter celebrations.  But the fact that our knowledge of health is now changing and the number of people with diabetes, both types, is growing rapidly it makes me question why I saw three aisles of candy in the store!

I picked a very small chocolate bunny and looked at the label.  A whopping 33 grams of carbs in a tiny package.  I kept looking and found one I liked better.  As I said I’m not a scrooge so I bought a chocolate bunny for each of my kids along with a couple small outdoor toys.  But just when I thought I was done I remembered I needed eggs to hide in the yard.  Back to the candy aisle. Wait, no, I just can’t do that.  So I purchased some dried fruit and put some in each egg instead.  Sugar yes but if I had to choose between some strange candy mixed with all kinds of ingredients I cant even understand versus real dried fruit then I’d prefer the latter.  There was a tiny part of me that thought I was crazy but when my kids found all the eggs and opened them up they were so excited with their prize and gobbled it right up.

As appalled as I am with the amount of unnecessary sweets associated with Easter I know it’s probably not something that will change anytime soon.  All I can do is teach my kids moderation, what health means to me using myself as an example, and the true meaning behind these holidays.

My New Medtronic Insulin Pump

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If someone would have asked me a year ago if I was going to use a pump I would have said say what????  Seriously I really had no idea what diabetes even was exactly.  Just that it had something to do with my blood sugar and if I don’t control it I could possibly die.

Fast forward and here I am my first day using my new Medtronic insulin pump.  I am definitely done with multiple injections everyday and having to be very careful about which insulin to use.  (I’ve ended up in the hospital once for injecting myself with the wrong insulin. Do not want to do that ever again!) My uncle who uses and advocates the pump got me interested in checking it out but the way I understood it from him was that it would take some time to get it and that I would have to take a bunch of classes. Uggghhhh. I guessed it wasn’t going to be easy so I figured I’d get the ball rolling.  But much to my surprise it has taken me just one month!

I had my “training” today.  The lady who trained me felt confident that I knew my body well and said that I will be very happy with the pump.  I was excited prior to training but during training my mind was blown at what this thing will do for me.  I think she could sense my excitement.  I felt giddy like a 12 year old girl about her first crush.  I can give myself fractions of untis and it even calcualtes the amount i will need based on what my current blood sugar is and how many carbs I am going to eat.

I am sure there will be an adjustment period.  Not just for my insulin rates but for getting comfortable wearing it on my body.  I am woman and one who loves her clothes so I will definitely encounter some fashion challenges with this.  In the end my health and sanity are worth it.  I’ll keep you all posted on my progress with it.

On a side note, I am surprised at all of the support I have received regarding my tattoo.  I was a little reticent to share it at first but the positive feedback I have received is all the more empowering.

My One Year D-Anniversary

Today is my one year D-Anniversary with diabetes.

What a year!  When I look at where I was a year ago I’ve come a long way.  Just like so many milestones happen in the first year of a babies life, I’ve experienced a lot of my own diabetes/health milestones this past year.

I actually look forward to the years ahead as this new healthful me.

The Skinny Diabetic

Most people, when they learn I am diabetic, exclaim “But you are so skinny! You look great especially after having two children! I would never think you have diabetes!”  Typically when I hear this I know right away that their knowledge of diabetes is not the greatest.  First of all, I do not “have” diabetes.  I am diabetic.  My Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune condition that will stay with me for the rest of my life, not like “having” a cold.  Secondly, skinny does not always mean healthy!  In retrospect, I think I have been diabetic for a lot longer than a year.  I have always been fairly thin but now I see that I was not necessarily healthy:  “Because the pancreas produces no insulin, glucose cannot enter cells and remains in the bloodstream. To meet cellular energy needs, fat is broken down through lipolysis, releasing glycerol and free fatty acids. Glycerol is converted to glucose for cellular use.”  So basically I was running off of stored fat and not what I was consuming.  This is what happens to someone who becomes Type 1 diabetic.

However, I realize that when someone exclaims how skinny I am, they probably are thinking of Type 2 diabetes which “is characterized by the following three disorders: (1) peripheral resistance to insulin, especially in muscle cells; (2) increased production of glucose by the liver; and, (3) altered pancreatic insulin secretion.”  It is not the product of auto-immune beta-cell destruction like above.

But I can’t blame these people.  After learning I am diabetic I felt like everything advertised and talked about concerning diabetes was geared toward Type 2s.  Headlines like “lose weight now!” and “reverse your diabetes!”  Reverse?!?!? I guess in the minds of the general public if you are diabetic you are gray-haired and obese.  I was very lost right after being diagnosed because of this.  I kept thinking to myself “But I am a skinny diabetic! What about people like me?”  As the Type 1 community grows (because the reality is it is) I hope that more people come to understand the different types of diabetes.  I also look forward to seeing advertising that leads to misconceptions change.  It is looking like that is taking place as we speak.  For example, I recently joined a LinkedIn group called  JDRF.  The goal of this company is to research and find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.  There is currently a post talking about misleading advertising and in the comments people are mentioning that they take the time to write to companies to let them know what they are doing.  You can read here: http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=129291&type=member&item=225408444&qid=e5df44ed-e0c5-4297-b83d-f9f060454296&trk=group_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=%2Egmp_129291

I was so happy to see this!  It means things are slowly changing.  Perhaps in the future the general public will understand that diabetics are not always overweight and that skinny is not always a sign of health.

My First Tattoo

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I have always wanted a tattoo.  But somehow I just couldn’t justify putting something permanent on my body. I mean I’m a woman.  Some days I try on several outfits before I decide on what I want to wear and even then sometimes I will change halfway through the day. Commitment phobic? In general no.  But a tattoo is not a handbag or other accessory that may change from one season to the next.  This is something that stays with you FOR LIFE.

It has been an interesting year since I was diagnosed as Type 1 Diabetic.  It has definitely been a year of rebirth for me.  My entire life is changed, albeit for the better, but not what it used to be.  At first I thought the idea of getting a Type 1 tattoo was corny but really this is probably the only thing I could justify putting ink into my skin for.  Just think, my diabetes will never go away. I am married to it now.

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My husband’s cousin runs a tattoo shop in Orange County and I had an appointment today with Tony Nguyen.  I was told he was the best script tattoo artist in the area.  I anticipated it to be more painful than it was but it wasn’t that bad.  It is larger than I originally thought I wanted but I am actually really satisfied with the end result.  It commemorates my one year anniversary with diabetes on March 27, 2013.  This blog is also dedicated to that.  I regret not stopping to take the time for this previously because looking back I wish I would have documented all the highs and lows (literally), experiences, education and new-found passions and motivations.