Another Year Older

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Ma Ladies

Hello, howdy, long time no talk. Since we last spoke (or since you’ve last read) I turned 22, had quite a few up and downs in my blood sugar and realized I should probably start looking for a job for after graduation. Because as I keep saying in these posts (probably more in an effort to convince myself than to remind you) graduation is coming up. But, like, it’s really happening.

Last week we had a “100 days until graduation party” (despite the fact that it was actually 87 days until graduation, el oh el- I’m assuming it had something to do more with nailing down the venue and less with Boston University’s inability to count) and it really hit me. And I don’t mean the frat bros spilling beer everywhere I turned, but hit me in more of a metaphorical, where did the time go, sense.

Anyways, I digress on the whole graduation front [for now].

After a birthday celebration with some of my friends Friday night, I learned first hand how much alcohol affects blood sugar the next day. Okay, so obviously I’ve already experienced the post-drinking lows, but nothing to this magnitude.

After waking up with a relatively low number, and a relatively horrible hangover, I spent the day in bed until I ventured out to meet a friend, and afterwards walked along the Esplanade. For all of you non-Bostonians, the Esplanade wraps around the Charles River and is gorgeous. Anyways, Saturday’s temperature rose to a boiling 55 degrees in Boston,  in mid/late February. I find this disturbing, but that’s a post for another time.

I walked entirely too much in the beautiful warm(ish) winter air, and experienced a low. This time, however, my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) was/is a month expired (unbeknownst to me) and therefore extremely less accurate in its readings. After figuring this out, and chugging a bottle of orange juice like it was my job, I had to make a stop at my friend’s apartment before proceeding the next block to mine. What is life?

This May marks both graduation and the two year anniversary of my Type 1 diagnosis.

If you had asked me five years ago if I thought type 1 diabetes was in my future, I would have turned an even paler shade of white, let out a nervous giggle, and said hell no.

I never would have thought that this is where I’d be at 22, chugging orange juice and resting after a long walk, probably looking worse for wear and closer to 82 than my young age.

My friends often ask me how I do it. I know i’ve said this a few times, but that question always makes me think. Because to me, life isn’t about “doing it,” but more about the journey. I need to find who I am while I’m still young, before I find myself looking a mirror in 30 years wondering where the time went, and when I lost myself along the way.

Do I want to be known for my disease? As the diabetic girl? No. But for better or worse, and let’s be honest, it’s a disease so it’s mostly been for worse, this is a part of me now. But here I am, calloused fingers and all, and I think I’m finally becoming okay with it.

 

#Diabetethis: Part 2

PC: Cara Difabio  Click on the photo to check out her website.

PC: Cara Difabio
Click on the photo to check out her website.

Here it is guys…. the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Part 2 and the final installment of Diabetethis. Well, tbh, I might continue this diatribe because it’s fun and therapeutic. So, this might not actually be the last installment, but just the second installment. I digress. I hope you enjoy this part, and again hope that no one party is affected by any of my words below.

When I turned 20, after my initial diagnosis, I did not get a birthday cake. I got smiles tinged with sympathy and pity. I’ve never been one to enjoy people’s pity. I prefer to make my bed and lay in it, so to speak. But this, this disease that hit me at such a late age compared to my T1D (Type 1 Diabetic) counterparts, this thing that has come to be such a large and overwhelming part of my life, changed me. I am no longer the giggling girl with no care in the world (not that I ever was, but it’s nice to see some options!). Now I am constantly thinking of the consequences of what I eat, drink and even do physically. I can no longer go for a long walk when I feel like it, I have to eat an hour before and hope my blood sugar doesn’t get too low.

Shit, that reminds me. Dang it. UGH. Okay so after walking that mile to class and giving myself insulin for that high blood sugar from an hour ago my blood sugar is now 100, dropping like it’s hotter than Snoop diggity-dawg. Great. Now I look like an idiot eating my squeezable applesauce.

Oh wait, I don’t care.

Yeah, that’s right group of tall man-child basketball players walking by staring at my snack of choice. What? You’ve never seen a 21-year-old woman eating squeezable applesauce on the go? Yeah, look away, that’s right. Mhm. Okay. Good.

I sit down in a quiet area of the GSU, close my eyes and hope that this feeling like the world is going to open under my feet will go away soon. Come on applesauce, do your magic. I hear those two familiar, loud, obnoxiously terrifying beeps coming from my glucose monitor, telling me that my blood sugar is low and basically for me to get my shit together.

I get it. I am trying here, work with me pancreas. I know you’re kind of done and all, but maybe you could do me a solid and just make my life a tad easier?

I open my eyes to see the girl across from me eating what can only be described as a plate of diabetes. We’re talking curly fries, fried chicken and a large milkshake. Jesus, I can feel my pancreas laughing at me from within. Life is so unfair. I can’t stop staring. I want that milkshake. I want that meal. I want that carefree life that, alright, let’s admit it, could potentially lead to the other less dangerous, more common cousin of T1D, type 2. Type 2 sucks, because it’s somewhat preventable and reversible. So if you get type 2, you know it’s partially….maybe….your fault. With type 1 at least I know that my pancreas quit on me, taking the guilt of this major health problem out of my hands. I let out a small laugh, towards the girl’s ironic food choice, the situation, and who knows, maybe even the big guy upstairs. Thank you Lord for giving me a sense of humor and irony.

All I seem to think about these days is this disease. Comparatively, it’s not even that bad. But the real question is: when will it become such an integral part of my life that I won’t have to think about it anymore? At what point will I be able to sit down for a meal and not worry. I worry so damn much. I am tired of worrying, but at the same time, it’s the worry that keeps me sane. I need the worry to let me know that there was a before. It gives me hope that there might be an after. I hope for that cure.

Woah ok where did the time go? Time to get started on my Comparative European Politics homework. Oh, yay, glad that this week’s reading only consists of 150 pages, as opposed to last week’s 180. Things are looking up.

I sigh, I go get a salad from loose leafs and am actually content with my spinach, health-filled meal. Yeah, I can be healthy. I don’t even want a milkshake anymore. Keep telling yourself that, Em. You got this. One meal at a time.

Hope you enjoyed this part 🙂

Stay beautiful and warm peeps!

XOXO

Stressed but Well-Dressed

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Shalom, welcome, hi, hey. So, it’s been forever and a day since my last post–my b. I’ve been insanely busy. Anyone who’s seen me since the start of my senior year of college (aka 3 weeks ago) can attest to my level of sheer panic/stress/help me.

Which brings me to my topic of choice… you might have guessed it…. #diabetethis. When you think of stress you might think of health issues stemming from the heart (see what I did there?) or brain, . And if you do, bravo–I never knew it had an effect until I was diagnosed. That being said, times are tough for my pancreas, with three writing courses and a political science seminar. Anywho, complaints aside, I’m seeing a real change in my bg numbers (getting all technical on you–bg=blood glucose/blood sugar).

But at the same time that I’m finding myself forgetting to breath in between writing articles, I’m discovering more and more people around me that have the disease. I’ve encountered two classmates with T1D in the last two weeks.

A study shows that Type 1 diabetes is actually on the rise. According to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) “Between 2001 and 2009 there was a 21% increase in the prevalence of T1D in people under age 20.” While I may be at the higher-end of that age cut-off, the fact that there was such a substantial increase in the population of t1D’s (type 1 diabetics), shows that there is a problem, not in diet or exercise, but in the antibodies that cause/contribute to T1D.

Moral of: type 1 is not caused by overeating, diet or exercise, but is an auto-immune disease.

Anywho, that’s my little attempt at educating the masses. Stay tuned for a post in the next couple of days!

Stay classy and sassy and have that PSL, you deserve it!

XOXO

A Little Bit Bionic

Hey there, coming to you live from Florida, where the living is easy… and easiest the hottest it’s been in quite some time. Florida could burn a hole through New York with this heat.

Any who, I recently updated my CGM (continuous glucose monitor, Dexcom, coincidentally the same brand that Nick Jonas uses el oh el) to connect with my iPhone! I’m officially bionic. It’s awesome, I know. For those of you unsure as to what a CGM is, it basically measures the levels of glucose/sugar between my skin every 5 minutes. It’s basically the best thing ever invented. While the CGM has its faults (SO MANY), the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. My CGM wakes me up when my blood sugar is high or low and I’m in a deep sleep, during class, in an exam, or at work. This CGM does not discriminate. Anyways, despite the fact that my Dexcom comes off when it wants, and often seems to have a mind of its own, the constant knowledge of my blood sugar, seeing the trends of what causes my sugar to spike or drop, not only assists my doctors in treating me, but also allows me to lead my life a little closer to the way I did pre-diabetes.

Now, with the cell phone app, I can keep my hand-held, MP3-look-alike receiver (receives the glucose reading) in my bag, and just check my iPhone for my numbers. Praise. If one more person asks me why I have an MP3 player… let’s just say I’m running out of snarky comments.

This is real this is my blood glucose

This is real this is my blood glucose

Let’s #diabetethis

Stay posted for a new post sometime in the next week!

Also, stay classy, sassy and beautiful.

XOXO

Write it Out

Hey there! Shalom. Bonjour. Hola.

I’ve decided to take pictures of the interesting street art I come across in NYC this summer. Some of the ones I find, i’m sure you’ve seen a million times via instagram or just like, idk, life. But I want to document the true beauty of New York. The longer I spend here, the more places I find disgusting (I’m looking at you who didn’t clean up after your dog–lady), but also the more places I find beautiful.

Well said Mr. Einstein

Well said, Mr. Einstein

Any who, I did not start this post with the intention of explaining how to find the beauty in the ugly. But I think that’s where life wants to take me these days. I’ve had quite a few downs mixed with even more ups over the last year. Obviously, the ups aren’t the things that we fixate on in times of distress.

I know you know what I’m about to talk about… Diabetes. I feel like a broken record–like Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls when she can’t stop talking about the “plastics.” It’s word vomit. Don’t hate me, hate the disease.

Okay, now that i’ve acknowledged my week facade of togetherness, let’s get down to the honesty bit. I am so over health. Everyone talks about the annoying aspects of diabetes–finger pricks, shots, insulin pumps that just won’t stay on (UGH thanks omnipod, I really do appreciate you, but clearly your product doesn’t appreciate me quite as much considering it can’t wait to practically jump off of my skin at the first chance of freedom). But, with diabetes comes other lesser known complications. Let’s take my sudden need to wear my glasses more frequently, or the fact that I find myself having some sort of terrible cold every month, or even more the clear lack of immune system barely holding my body together (I’m being a tad dramatic–no need to panic).

In fact, my immune system is one of the key reasons behind the development of my type 1 diabetes. Type 1 is caused by an auto-immune disease, one that causes antibodies (usually good) to attack the pancreas (also allegedly good, except mine that decided to just quit not even hopefully a quarter of the way through my life. I mean come on. You have one of the most important jobs. You can’t just j-chill in my gut like a kid refusing to do its chores. UGH).

My ever-growing anger issues aside, diabetes, or as my friends affectionately call it, “the big D” truly–for lack of a better term–sucks. I mean things just keep happening. I think i’m overdue for some amazing karma. Wait, am I even allowed to say that? Is that bad karma? Clearly I can’t tell the difference anymore.

I’ve learned so much over this past year, and maybe that’s the beauty in the ugliness. The beauty in the breakdown, because lord knows I had quite the breakdown yesterday. But honestly, nothing felt healthier than acknowledging the fact that sometimes we only have ourselves to count on (not talking to you pancreas). Maybe it’s ok to cry when life becomes overwhelming.

Life is like (a box of chocolates… jk that’s not where I’m going with this analogy) a Nicholas Sparks book (minus the Channing Tatum, Zach Efron, James Marsden, and my personal favorite Ryan Goslings of the world), after the storm comes the sun, after the emotional upheaval (hint: tears) comes a big smile. So, I’m just going to keep on keeping on, until the tears dry and that smile arrives, because life is hard, but no one said it would be easy.  And to be quite frank, I’m not sure it would be entertaining if the ugliness didn’t creep in every once in a while. So let’s redefine beauty and let some of that ugliness force us to appreciate the gorgeous life we’re given.

In the words of the aforementioned Einstein, Love is the Answer.

And that my friends is the most honest post I think I’ve ever written. In the words of Taylor Swift, but originally my father, Shake it Off.

Thanks for letting me write it out.

Look for another post sometime real soon! (Featuring friends that come/came to visit the big Citayyyyy)

Stay classy and don’t forget that sunscreen you beautiful people!

XOXO