Rain or Shine

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It’s a rainy day here in North Carolina.  I can hear the raindrops pinging against the windowsill and the occasional burst of thunder.  It’s the perfect time to write.

This gloomy day invites me share some thoughts that have been percolating for months. Gloomy thoughts about money and all the costs the come with living with Type 1 Diabetes that people don’t talk about.

The topics people already discuss cover the rising costs of health insurance (I just typed in “unsurance” by mistake; but for some, that may be quite accurate. Ha. *sad face), the rising costs of insulin, the frustrations around insurance not covering equipment that make living with the disease easier, and the list goes on.

I too am frustrated about all these things – AND MORE!  So much so that I had a minor breakdown about it recently.  Yes, I freely admit that I had a breakdown because I wouldn’t blame anyone else for having one about these things too!

I try to be an optimistic person, and I’ve been successful.  But a couple of months ago, it dawned on me: Diabetes HAS held me back despite all the pep-talks about not letting disease get in the way of the things we want to achieve.  In all honesty, though, it has indeed held me back simply because it’s expensive.

All the costs incurred by simply living with Type 1 pile up over time.  I was diagnosed when I was 14, and I’m now 30.  Upon my diagnosis, my parents proceeded to pay thousands of dollars for my health insurance, my doctors visits, my prescriptions, my special sugar-free food – not to mention their peace of mind, time, and sleep.  I went on to college, graduated and took the first job that gave me access to buy health insurance for myself, which meant that while my friends traveled, went on to grad school, or waited a little longer for a better job in their related fields, I was working in a coffee shop and waiting to hear my next assignment through a local temp agency.   Hard-work and patience led me through that stage of life to where I am now – happily married and coaching others through life with Diabetes.

My friends without chronic disease never thought twice about spending hundreds of dollars on flights to visit each other.  My friendships suffered because I could’t pick up and go with the rest of them.  My career suffered because I couldn’t afford to wait on the perfect job to come around or I couldn’t afford to go to more school.  I feel somewhat silly and spoiled for basically professing what we are all taught at one point or another: LIFE ISN’T FAIR.

That’s an appropriately gloomy thing to say on a rainy Monday.  But rain or shine, I’m pushing forward. I’m optimistic as much as I can be.  I’m real when I need to be.  And I’m sharing my story.

**If you have thoughts or comments about similar feelings or actions we can take to make a difference, please comment below or shoot me an email.

Also, please consider contributing to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as we raise money to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  To make a donation or to join us for the One Walk in Raleigh on October 22, 2016, visit: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR?fr_id=6369&pg=team&team_id=207036

 

 

 

But it’s important for our communities, who are our support systems, to hear and understand how unfair it is in all the different ways.  With knowledge, there is power.  There is understanding through sharing.  And with power and understanding, things can change.

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Rain or Shine

“You Best Wake Up and Realize!”

I was shocked just like everybody else.

I never experienced a situation like that before:

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Of course, I often consider what people will think, but I never let it stop me or allow it to make me feel ashamed. I always thought about taking shots in public or wearing my pump on my hip as sort of a sign of bravery –
“Look, I’m living with this disease, and it’s okay for me to do this taking-care-of-myself-thing in public.  Want to learn something? Ask me about it! I’m happy to explain.”
I want people to see that finger prick and either feel comforted or curious.  I want to invite them to learn more about my situation or to know that if they already know about it, they aren’t alone.
I never considered the notion that discrimination could apply to people with Type 1 Diabetes.   I hesitate to assume this is a really common occurrence, as discrimination seems to be all the rage right now.  However, this does bring to our attention the need to continue our efforts in raising awareness.  It’s time to “wake up and realize” we need to do more!
The more people know about each others’ experiences, the less fear and isolation we allow to spread.  The more people know about each others’ struggles, victories, hopes and dreams, the more compassion they are invited to share.
So, as this passion to raise awareness re-ignites, I’d love you to JOIN ME!  Do some Google searches and read up for yourself.  Ask a friend with Type 1 if they are comfortable sharing their insights with you.  Share what you know with your family and friends.  And join me in walking and/or fundraising to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  There is probably a One Walk near you! The one I’ll be participating in will be coming up in October in Raleigh, and we need folks to join TEAM GINKGO to walk, fund raise, or both!
If you have questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to comment below or email me at ginkgoihc@gmail.com!
“You Best Wake Up and Realize!”

Jell-O, Mattresses, and Pump Sites

What do these three things have in common?

I had no idea they had anything in common until “E” brought me into the light earlier today.

Here’s the story:

I was letting the little 4 year old girl I nanny watch me change my infusion site.  I was at the part where you poke around to find the perfect spot to inject, when she excitedly and unashamedly exclaimed, “It’s like mine and Neesey’s mattresses! It’s bouncy like my bed!”  

She was referring to the cushy layer I was poking around my hips…

I burst into laughter at the time, but later I thought about what had happened a little bit more…

 

I’m kind of proud that her comment doesn’t make me feel bad or self-conscious, and I’m proud that I’m not hiding my diabetes around the kids (or anyone).  Instead I’m using it’s interruptions as teaching/learning opportunities.

Today, I taught a young girl that body fat isn’t something to be feared or ashamed of.  I taught her that needles do not hurt that bad.  I also taught her that our differences do not need to separate us or make us feel weird, better, or worse than other people – Rather, our differences can inspire curiosity and conversation (and even laughter).  But most importantly, I taught her that taking care of ourselves should be our top priority because if we don’t do that, we can’t do anything else.

 

 

Oh! And if you’re still wondering what the answer is – Jell-O, mattresses and infusion sites are all bouncy!

 

Jell-O, Mattresses, and Pump Sites

Can you say “Quick Tips List” 5 times fast?

 

It’s hard to believe May is almost here, y’all.  Congratulations on making it through another school year!

School is almost out, and it’s about to get hot.  Family vacation season commence!  (I personally can’t wait to jump into the lake and sunbathe day after day away.)

 

What plans are you making for your summer?!  

 

As we think about all the exciting plans in the near future, I wonder what plans you have made to make it easier to manage diabetes on your vacation.

I’ve had plenty of instances where I’ve been embarrassed and angry about how my diabetes has impacted family visits.  I’ve had to go ahead and eat before everyone else, or I’ve had to get out of the lake to put my pump back on, or I’ve had a total meltdown in the privacy of my bedroom because I was off my schedule and just all out of whack.

Can you relate? 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough.

So I’ve been compiling a list of quick tips to share with my family to help them understand what will help me best maintain my balance. When my diabetes management is consistent, I feel balanced.  When I’m in balance, I’m a much happier person.  And when I’m that better version of myself, my family and I have a lot more fun.

That being the case, why wouldn’t we share a few insights with the people who love us most?  Especially if it will help all of you have a much more pleasant vacation season?

Even if they don’t do anything with it, they will hopefully understand me and diabetes a little bit better.

So, what would be on your list?  

Check out mine below, and let me know what you would add to it:

TIPS TO CONSIDER FOR KIMBERLY:
-Foods: aim for low-carb, high protein (Avoid Tomato Sauce, Pasta, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Starchy Grains, Super sweet cocktails, etc. )

-Heat & humidity drop bloodsugars quickly

-Meal/Activity/Rest routines – basal rates are fine-tuned for body’s basic needs (Meals around 9am, 12:30pm, 6:30pm. Physical activity helps lower blood sugar, unless insulin isn’t absorbing or anxiety is high. Usually moderately moving or exercising around 10-12 and 2-5)

-Watersports/sites/site changes can cause high blood sugar and frustration if malfunction occurs

I’m looking forward to your input, y’all!  Comment below or shoot me a private message on Facebook.

Happy vacationing!

Peace,

Kimberly

Can you say “Quick Tips List” 5 times fast?

Bouncing Back and Moving Forward – Diabetes Burnout

Have you heard about Beyond Type 1?  It’s a new organization making a big impact in the world for the diabetic community.  While many other diabetic organizations emphasize how to manage diabetes from a medical perspective, Beyond Type 1 focuses on how to LIVE LIFE with diabetes.

That concept is exactly why I became a health coach for Type 1’s.  Diabetes definitely needs to be managed, and it takes a lot of knowledge and perseverance.  But we have lives beyond disease.

Figuring out how to THRIVE in life with diabetes is my passion and my profession.

I am truly honored to have my story featured on beyondtype1.org.  My hope is that it touches people, comforts them, and inspires a sense of hope in a life beyond Type 1.

Peace,

Kimberly

Bouncing Back and Moving Forward – Diabetes Burnout