Truth or Myth . . .

As with anything in life Diabetes comes with its own myths. If you are uneducated in regards to this disease, then what you think you may know might not be correct. There are many misconceptions surrounding diabetes and I am going to explore a couple of these with the help of the following two articles: Diabetes myths & 10 Diabetes diet myths.

I think one of the biggest myths regarding the disease has to so with sugar and sweets. While diabetics have to watch the foods they eat more closely, they can still eat what they want, including sweets. The key is moderation. As long as you don't overdo it, you can still have your sweet treats. Exercise is also key when adding sweets into your diet as it helps lower your blood sugar. So just remember, being diagnosed as a diabetic does not mean you have to give up all your favorite candy and desserts. Eating too many sweets does not cause diabetes.

Another myth surrounding diabetes is that if you are overweight, then you will develop diabetes. This just isn't true. Yes being overweight adds to the risk of developing the disease, but so do other things such as family history and age. You are just as likely to develop diabetes if you are fat or skinny.

I think these are the two biggest myths that revolve around in one's mind when you think of diabetes. Just because something sounds logical and true doesn't mean that it is. So please, if you are not sure of something, look it up before you spread more myths rather than truths.


Me and Hannah Montana

So I was sitting here today watching Hannah Montana (yes it is a guilty pleasure for me) and it was the first time I had seen this specific episode. It was the one where Miley and Lilly learn Oliver has Type 1 Diabetes. While watching it it made me think of the knowledge, or lack thereof, that I had when I was diagnosed. I remember when I had the appointment to have my blood drawn just prior to my diagnosis I had the thought I better not eat anything too sugary the day before because I didn't want it to skew my blood work. Little did i know that it really wouldn't since the blood test measured a 2 to 3 month average of my blood sugar. I think i can honestly say I really didn't know anything about the disease prior to being diagnosed. Of course I had heard of it, but i really didn't know how it worked, or rather didn't work.

It is things like this that make me really want to spread the word and help educate those who do not know!


The Holidays, Treats, & Parties

Things have been busy here these last couple of weeks, so i have not really had time to post. But i was recently asked the following question and thought I would share it all with you:
So do the holiday treats and office parties have any impact on your diabetes?

I have to say I am lucky in this regard because we don't really have office parties. So I do not need to worry about all the treats and food. At most my department has a holiday luncheon, but it is a voluntary thing and you don't have to participate if you don't want to. I usually don't; because i am usually such a picky eater and a lot of times we don't know what there will be for food. So it is just safer for me to bring my own lunch. And these luncheons are not the kind where everyone just sits down together and eats. Most people just take the food back to their desks and keep working, so i am not really missing out on much.

Usually the only holiday treats I see at work are when someone might give me a card that has a candy cane attached. As this happens rarely i don't have to worry about it. The only time i really have to be careful is when i go home to my mother's for the holiday. There is always so much good food there for our Christmas meal I have to be careful how much i eat. And if i am not, then i just need to make a point to get in more exercise to counteract all the carbs I ate.


Bonus Days: December 1 - What’s next?

Even though American Diabetes Month is over, diabetes continues to be a 24/7/365 disease. What will you do to keep America’s focus on diabetes?

I know, this is a day late because i just did not a chance to post it yesterday. Better late than never!

I know that the odds of just one person being able to keep America's focus on diabetes is slim, but I can certainly do my best to keep informing my friends, family, and blog readers about Diabetes and the things they can do to help. Even though American Diabetes Month is over, I plan to do my best to keep blogging about diabetes. As stated, this is not just a month ling disease, but something that requires constant attention. So that means we should always be looking to spread the word about diabetes.

As I mentioned before, I added a red streak in my hair in honor of American Diabetes Month. Well that month is over, but the red streak lives on in my hair. I plan on keeping it indefinitely in honor of all of us who have to live with diabetes. Any time I get asked about it, i will gladly explain what it is all about. I feel it is one little way that I can keep the focus on diabetes. I also plan to do whatever I can to help the cause. This year i had participated in my first Step Out event and I plan to do it again next year. I have even already started a change jar to start raising my own donation for next year and have passed the amount i donated this year already. I am even hoping to try to put together a team next year. So far my husband is on board with this and will be participating in next year's event with me.

I also plan to start looking for other events in my area that i can participate in. I have decided it is time for me to become more involved and plan on taking the steps necessary to do this. Odds are I am going to have to live with this the rest of my life and I don't plan on sitting around doing nothing about it. Every person I can help educate means they can then pass that information along. I can end up informing lots of people this way. So that is my goal, to bring awareness one person at a time.

Diabetes Fact: Among adults with diagnosed diabetes (type 1 or type 2), 14% take insulin only, 13% take both insulin and oral medication, 57% take oral medication only, and 16% do not take either insulin or oral medication.


Bonus Days: Day 30 - Wrap Up

It’s the last day of American Diabetes Month 2010!  If you had to leave one lasting impression on people about diabetes, what would you say?
There are so many things I could say to people about diabetes. The topics are endless. But if I had to impress one thing on people it would be that Diabetes doe not mean the end of the world. As long as you take care of yourself with the right diet and exercise, you could manage your diabetes control for some time. People can go many years without having to be on medications for this disease as long as they are taking care of themselves. While there is not a cure for this disease, it doesn't have to be the killer that it is. Until there is a cure, all of us diabetics just ned to learn the facts and take care of our bodies. And in the meantime, spread the word to more people know!

Diabetes Fact: People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.


Bonus Days: Day 29 - “Mouthwatering Monday”

How long did those Thanksgiving Day leftovers last? Leftovers can be a useful strategy in saving money and making your portions smaller, but many people don’t like them. How do you feel about leftovers?

 I absolutely LOVE leftovers! I tend to be a lot lazy when it comes to cooking, so i usually plan a lot of my meals with leftovers in mind. i know on some level this is not good because I am making so much extra food, but if I just eat the planned amount, then it is not a problem. Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of my favorite times to have leftovers. I just love frying up the turkey meal leftovers all in one pan, so good!!

You can get really creative with leftovers as well. You can cook them over again in new ways and end up with even better meals! Plus some meals are just plain better the second time around. I have always been a fan and supporter of leftovers and will continue to be so!

Diabetes Fact: Data from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet indicates there are 5.7 million people who are undiagnosed.


Week 4: Day 28 - Storing Supplies

Sometimes having diabetes means you have to carry a lot of supplies or organize different types of medications. Pockets, purses, glove compartments, hands – what do you use to be sure you’re prepared?

 I consider myself very lucky: I only have my oral meds and my meter to carry around. The meter is easy because I am the type of person who carries a messenger bag around, so the meter just stays in its case and goes in the bag. Easy peasy. So my main concern is my meds. But I made that easy too as i use a 7 day pill holder. Not only does it hold pills for a week, it is also divided into AM and PM for each day. Also each "day" snaps out so if i want to just grab Mondays pills I can do that. It makes things so much easier. I keep all the bottles of my pills in a plastic bag so I know where all of them are.

Diabetes Fact: According to death certificate reports, diabetes contributed to a total of 233,619 deaths in 2005, the latest year for which data on contributing causes of death are available.


Week 4: Day 27 - The Best Thing

Yesterday was “Black Friday” when many Americans shopped till they dropped, looking for the best possible gifts. What’s the best diabetes gadget, phone app, book, or other tool you have?

 I have to say that the best gadget that I have as a tool for my fight against diabetes is my iPod Touch. When it comes to managing things, the iPod touch is so versatile. I have multiple apps that help me manage all aspects of my life. I have one app called Glucose buddy that allows me to log my blood glucose readings and medications. I can then look at graphs of my readings.

I also have the app for Weight Watchers online, which makes it much easier to track my foods everyday. It is very easy and handy to just have to pull my iPod out and plug in information, rather than having to log into a website each day. There are just so many apps available for the iPod touch, that it makes it easy to manage just about every aspect pf my life. Which in turns makes it easier to manage my diabetes.

Diabetes Fact: The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.


Week 4: Day 26 - “Friends & Family Friday”

Interview someone to learn how they feel about your diabetes, or let them write a “guest post” on your blog! Don’t know who to work with? Try looking at the other blogs in our community and reach out to another blogger who wrote something you liked.

Today's blog post is hosted by a good friend of mine, Kris.  I met her years ago and we found that we just had so much in common, we are like sisters!! Enjoy!

Greetings Everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and took time to talk with their loved ones about the past year. As some of you know my name is Kris and I met Traci a few years ago. We became fast friends indulging in movies and dinner and late night frolics to Walmart for junk-food. We had a lot in common, and quickly became friends. I was sad to hear that Traci had been diagnosed with diabetes, but not surprised. It seems we will all have someone (or many) people in our lives be touched with this disease.

When I was younger my little brother was diagnosed as a Type 1 Juvenile Diabetic. I think he was about 9 at the time. The day he was diagnosed at the doctors office we was sent directly to the emergency room at the hospital for admission. It was a scary time, especially for a child but he was brave. There was a LOT of information given to all of us at that time. More information than you can even process. Highs and lows, two types of insulin, meters that used by today's standards tons of blood, special diet requirements. We all did our part, everyone had to learn how to give an injection, not that anyone other than my brother would be giving himself his insulin but in case of a low we needed to know how to prep the glucagon syringe and give it to him. So there I was in the hospital learning how to give a shot that I prayed I would never need to give.

When he left that hospital he went to another hospital thankfully to learn a bit more about his new disease. It became a family learning experience. Having diabetes is not the end of the world. We learned a lot about nutrition. I still keep up on nutrition even though I don't cook for my brother anymore. I still know a lot about different effects of carbohydrates, and what to eat to keep you full and what will spike your blood sugar, the types of fats etc.

I wanted to do more! As soon as I found out about the JDRF (http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm) I knew I had to get involved. They had a walk to cure diabetes and I signed up. I was so enthused about getting people to sponsor me, or walk, or just get people to know more about the disease I would hand out information to anyone that would listen. This was not enough for me, there were clinical trials to see if there were genetic markers linking to Type 1 diabetes, and if insulin therapy would prevent diabetes. I wanted in on the trial, they tested my blood, at that point I was missing the markers, and have been retested twice. Still not enough! I headed to DC on more than a few occasions to petition for more diabetes funding. When I got to high school I helped organize a dance marathon with the Lions Club to raise money for diabetes research.

I reached my highest weight just over a year ago tipping over the scales at 428 pounds or so. I knew I was risking my life and would secretly test my glucose levels once a month on a meter that I had tucked away just to monitor myself. I was always told by my parents since I have been heavy my whole life that I would develop diabetes, so it is just a waiting game. Last time I went to the doctors for a physical (October 2009) my A1C was inside the normal range, but on the higher end of the range. So I am sure once my weight gets under control more my risk level for Type 2 will go down. I have taken off more than 130 pounds in the last year to reduce my risk.

I have in my adult life sent a few people off to the doctors office to be checked for diabetes, and sadly they have come back with a diagnosis they did not want to hear. I have even just done a quick stick on someone just to check out their sugar levels. It is only fair for those who don't understand what a prick is, and how much it sucks to do it every day several times a day to do it every once in a while. Remember to keep the symptoms of diabetes in the back of your mind.
Just a refresher in case you have forgotten...
Type 1 Diabetes
Frequent urination
Unusual thirst
Extreme hunger
Unusual weight loss
Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Type 2 Diabetes
Any of the type 1 symptoms
Frequent infections
Blurred vision
Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
But please keep in mind you can have Type 2 Diabetes and have none of these symptoms. Diabetes is a silent killer. Talk to your doctor when you go in. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Thanks for giving me a chance to share a bit of my story. If you would like to know anything more, or have any questions please feel free to ask.

Diabetes Fact: In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.


Week 4: Day 25 - Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is often a busy day, so you can keep it simple: What did you enjoy for your thanksgiving dinner?

Thanksgiving wasn't too much of a busy day for me since i really didn't have to do any thing. I did not have to help with any cooking or anything. The most I did was help set up a few chairs and a table. So i had plenty of time to just enjoy the day and the feast!! And what a feast it was! We had all the usual nibbles: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, butternut squash, stuffing, rolls; and we had some other great things too: ham, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, pasta salad, cabbage salad, sweet potatoes, olives, and pickles. And this does not include the desserts: apple pies, pumpkin pies, raspberry pie, brownie pizza, and rice pudding! It was a full hour with both family and food! Of course i did not go overboard and eat everything! I just stuck to a few key foods for hte main course: turkey, ham, corn, mashed potatoes & gravy, squash, rolls, and stuffing. And then i made sure i did not take huge portions of each. And I kept it to just one plate! Any i had a small piece of raspberry pie, brownie pizza, and a little rice pudding for dessert. I did't go back for seconds on the desserts either.

I know my carb count was way high, i am not sure of the exact count. I did get a lot of walking in today to try to make up for some of the excess I did have yesterday. and I will try to take some long walks this weekend to combat things as well! I wish now i had taken some pictures of the spread as it was wonderful!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday!!!

Diabetes Fact: In 2004, about 71,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.


Week 4: Day 24 - “Wordless Wednesday”

This is a good representation of our holiday. We go to my mother's where there are four other dogs and by the end our dog is ready to head home!

Diabetes Fact - Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2006. This ranking is based on the 72,507 death certificates in 2006 in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death.

Week 4: Day 23 - Holiday Travel

The pilgrims traveled for 66 days to make it to the “new world.”  Do you travel for Thanksgiving or other holidays?  What tricks or tips do you use to navigate airport crowds, traffic-filled highways and blood glucose fluctuations?

I was so busy packing and getting ready to travel yesterday that I just did not have time to post this blog. So time to make up for it now! I do not always travel for turkey day, but this year I did and am.  I feel I am rather fortunate in my travels as I do not have to deal with the crowds of airports. I spend my time travelling in the car for about a five hour drive from Pennsylvania to upstate New York. We do this same trip in December for Christmas as well. We always make sure we leave early enough so that we do not have to deal with much traffic.  Usually we only have the usual rush hour traffic to put up with.

I am not on the road long enough to have to worry about fluctuations in my blood sugar. And regardless of that we usually have some sort of snack and plenty of water in the car with us, so I really do not have to worry. The only worry I have when it comes to any holiday travel is to make sure that I pack my medications. As long as I remember to have them packed, my trips are uneventful.

Diabetes Fact:
After adjusting for population age differences, 2004-2006 national survey data for people diagnosed with diabetes, aged 20 years or older include the following prevalence by race/ethnicity:
  • 6.6% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 7.5% of Asian Americans
  • 11.8% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 10.4% of Hispanic


Week 4: Day 22 - “Mouthwatering Monday”

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving Day recipe?

I can honestly say that i do not have a favorite turkey day recipe. I am more of a simple person, so I just love the basics. I am happiest with just a plate full of turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls. I don't need a lot of involved recipes to make my turkey day. As long as i am surrounded by my family and have some good food eat then i am more than satisfied. Yes, on one hand the day is all about the food, but on the other it really doesn't matter what you eat, as long as you have some loved ones to share it with!

Update - I went out Friday and picked up two smaller Sharps containers, so now I will be disposing of my lancets and test strips the way I should be!

Diabetes Fact - Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.


Week 3: Day 21 - Being Thankful

I think first and foremost i am thankful that i am as healthy as I am. I know that having diabetes means that my health could be a lot worse, so I am glad that for the most part things are under control. My family and friends is something i am also very thankful for. They are there fore me and help support me when i need it. Of course i am also thankful at these times to have a good paying job and a roof over my head. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am.

I have to admit in some ways i am thankful for my diabetes. Without it i am not sure i would have finally taken the initiative to get myself healthy. Without having to worry about diabetes i might still not be getting exercise and eating whatever i wanted. So I have this disease to be thankful for because it has prompted me to get my health in order!!

Diabetes Fact: About 1 in every 400 to 600 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes.


Week 3: Day 20 - Short Cuts

Are there any diabetes short cuts you have learned over the years?

Well I am not really sure about using the name short cuts for anything to do with diabetes. This disease is not to be taken lightly, so you really don't want to take short cuts, especially with your health! One of the  things i have learned to do over the years though is to change who I buy my food. I used to just grab whatever size of things i wanted, but know I am always looking at the serving sizes and the nutritional information before i buy. I find with some things it is easier to get them in smaller packages because it is easier to count what i am having. Individual serving size containers of anything are much easier to manage that bigger, bulkier things.

Other than things like that I really don't take any short cuts where my diabetes is concerned.

Diabetes Fact: 12.2 million, or 23.1% of all people age 60 or older have diabetes.


Week 3: Day 19 - “Friends & Family Friday”

The idea behind this post if if I could say anything, what would i tell my loved ones about my diabetes. Seeing as the people who matter the most to me have access to this blog there really isn't much else to say to them. There is nothing crazy or out of the ordinary about me and my diabetes. I hear stories all the time about people having highs and low and all the other issues in between, but i have never experienced anything like that. The only other thing I have had to deal with is the Urinary Tract Infections. I have never experienced highs or lows. I guess all-in-all I am a downright boring diabetic, and that is probably a good thing.

Diabetes Fact: Cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50% and 80% of deaths in people with diabetes.


Week 3: Day 18 - Holiday Survival

Seeing as i have never really tried to watch what i have been eating during the holidays, I don't really have any survival tips. I am going to try to keep things in moderation this year though. I am going to try to enjoy all the foods that i want to, but within reason. And of course I am going to make sure i get plenty of exercise, since that is the key.

As long as i get enough exercise, i should be just fine this holiday season. This is one topic i will have to revisit at some point to see what things i might have learned that work and don't work.

Diabetes Fact: In 2005, a total of 178,689 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the United States and Puerto Rico.


Week 3: Day 17 - Wordless Wednesday

One of the first things I learned about Diabetes was how to check my blood sugar.

Diabetes Fact: Around 3.2 million deaths every year are attributable to complications of diabetes; six deaths every minute.


Week 3: Day 16 - FAQ

So the theme of the day today is frequently asked questions. To deal with this one I asked my friends and family to ask me some questions about diabetes and me. I ended up getting a few questions and i will answer them here.

#1 - How do you deal with exercise and your diabetes? Over the last couple of years i have learned through research and personal knowledge that the more exercise I get, the better. Exercise helps to lower my blood glucose level. So obviously the more of it I get, the lower my blood glucose numbers are going to get. I have certainly noticed it this year as I have started getting a minimum of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week. My a1C (three month average of my blood sugar level) has been steadily going down. At my last appointment it was down to 7.3. Soon I should be able to start talking to my doctor about the possibility of reducing the amount of medications I take.

#2 - How about alcohol consumption does that factor into type 2? I actually had to do a little research on this question. Before that I knew that alcohol could have a negative impact, just like carbs, but the exact impact I didn't know. The first thing i learned was that alcohol can cause hypoglycemia shortly after and for 8 to 12 hours after drinking. So it is very important to be aware of what your blood sugar is before, during, and after drinking. If it is low before you start drinking, you need to make sure that you eat some food before you start drinking anything alcoholic. Also the symptoms of of too much alcohol and hypoglycemia are very similar: sleepiness, dizziness, and disorientation.So you need to be aware of things so you do not confuse the two. And always make sure you have an ID alert bracelet showing you are diabetic should anything ever happen. Luckily i don't worry about it too much as I rarely drink, and then if i do it is not very much.

#3 - Do you red bag your medical waste?This one actually made me do some thinking and some research. I never really thought as my testing byproducts as medical waste before. To me the things that needed to be treated different were things like syringes. I just never thought of the lancets as being labeled as sharps. However after a bit more of research I realized that these need to be treated differently too! This is not to say I was just throwing things out all willy-nilly before. I always made sure the ends of the lancets were not exposed and that any test strips or tissues with blood n them were wrapped up so if someone did touch them,  they wouldn't be exposed to the blood. However after my reading i realize i need to start keeping a proper waste container both here and at home to better guarantee that no one can be exposed!!

#4 - Have you ever calculated the out of pocket costs of your diabetes supplies/meds? I have done this in the past because I have been using a flexible health spending account through work these last few years. And i know it is a lot. I have two diabetic med where there are no generics available so these cost me $35 each a month (unless I get them through the mail, then it is $70 each for three months worth). The testing strips are also the same price. Luckily the lancets cost a lot less and my third med is available in generic and is considered one of the frequently prescribed meds at the pharmacy, so it only costs $4 per script (I take it twice a day so it is $8 a month). So if you add that all up it is roughly around $125 a month! And that is not even factoring in the other medications or supplements i take! It is scary to think about. Nor does it factor in my gym membership, which is like a medication in some ways as it helps to lower my blood sugar levels.

Some of these questions really made me think. And realize that it it a good thing that i had already decided to alter my ways and make a healthier me. It is good to know that if i work now to get myself healthier that it will take a financial burden away from me and be worth all the hard work now!

Good Questions!!

When I first saw the topic idea for today's blog it made me think of a tattoo that i have in my ear. When people notice it they all seem to ask the same question "Did that hurt?". About 99.9% of the time i have been asked about this tattoo that has been the first thing said.

The first thing that most people ask me about my disease is how am I doing, meaning how are my numbers. It is always the same thing, which is why this made me think of my tattoo. So I am glad that I got some different questions when I asked. I would have loved more, but the ones i did get really made me think.

Diabetes Fact - The top 10 countries, in numbers of sufferers, are India, China, USA, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil Italy and Bangladesh.


Week 3: Day 15 - “Mouthwatering Monday”

It used to be that I would sit around and snack on just about anything from candy to chips. All the really unhealthy snacks. Not so much any more. I still do eat some of the more unhealthy snacks, just not as much.

As i said before I went on weight watchers weeks ago and that is a real eye opener. Since then I have found that i try to find more healthy items to snack on since they would be of a lower point value for me. So now i find i am eating more fruit and veggies. I also try to find healthier versions of the bad snacks. For instance, a friend of mine turned me on to a new snack months ago called popchips. They are a healthier version of potato chips and they are very good!  So when I feel the need for a salty, crunchy snack I turn to these. Lately though i find myself snacking on Golden delicious apples a lot. In fact i just bought a sack of them at the store tonight. They are small ones, so they are perfect to take along a few to work to snack on throughout the day. They are sweet and crunchy, and just right to satisfy that snack craving.

Another thing that I find I have been snacking on more is no sugar added pickles. There is a company that sells some called Mt. Olive Pickles and they have my favorite kinds of pickles in their no sugar added varieties. These are a great option for me as they have no calories and therefore count a 0 points for weight watchers. So if i find myself tight on points, i can just snack on some of these and not have to worry.

I have really seen a change in the way I eat since i started weight watchers and snacking is one of the biggest changes. I still have some bad snacks, I just don't have them as often or as much of them anymore.

Diabetes Fact: At least 171 million people worldwide have diabetes; this figure is likely to be more than double by 2030.


Week 2: Day 14 - World Diabetes Day

Since 1991 the world has been celebrating World Diabetes Day on November 14. World Diabetes Day was created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. In 2007 World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day. The idea behind the campaign of World Diabetes Day is to bring more awareness to the disease since Diabetes is becoming one of the biggest threats to the health of millions of people all over the world. The goal is to bring more promote more awareness and education of the disease.

I have only recently begun to spread the word about diabetes. I decided this year that i needed to take more of a role in dealing with this disease that is trying to take over my life. I started out by participating in my first ever organized walk in October when I joined almost 1200 others in the Harrisburg, PA Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes. I spent time doing fundraising for this and managed to surpass the goal I had set for myself. I was very proud that i had managed to raise more than my goal my first time out. My husband signed on as a walk-on participant and walked with me. Next year the two of us (and anyone else i might be able to talk into it) will join and walk as a team. I hope to raise even more money next year.

Of course i have also started this blog to bring awareness to people, including my friends and family. I know if i can reach at least one person, then it is a success because that one person then has the ability to go out and inform another person and so on. It only takes one person to make a difference. And i know i have had several people comment to me that they have learned something from this blog, so I know i am successful in my goal here.

Another thing that i have done in my own way was to put a red streak in my hair for American Diabetes Month. I had heard of people doing this for Breast Cancer Awareness and thought i would change and adapt it for my cause. So on October 31st, the day before American Diabetes Month started, I dyed a red streak in my hair. Unlike others who had done this for other causes, I am not just keeping it in for the month. I plan to keep this red streak alive for as long as I can because people need to be aware of the disease all the time, just not during November. This is a disease that is always there and will always be there as long as there is no cure.

As time goes on, I hope to have the opportunity to do more for my cause and educate more people. This is a very serious disease and the world needs to learn about it.

Diabetes Fact: 1 in 3 children in the United States faces a future with Diabetes

World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day, please visit this site to learn more about it and to get more informed.


Week 2: Day 13 - Unexpected Exercise

Exercise is a very important step in managing diabetes. It control blood sugar levels, increases energy levels, improves heart health, and promotes emotional well-being. Getting active helps you manage this disease so it does not control your life. A person can benefit from as little as 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

When you think of exercise, it doesn't have to be the normal activities one usually thinks of first, like going to the gym. It can be any number of things, like playing with your kids or pets, raking the leaves in the fall, or shoveling the snow in the winter. And now a days there are even thins like video games that can help you get the exercise you need and make it fun for you! Some of the best exercise is the little bits that you can sneak in here and there. Just last night I ended up getting in an extra 20 minute walk since we had to drop of car off at the garage to get it inspected today. After we dropped it off, we walked home, which took 20 minutes. And today when we go pick it up, that will be another 20 minutes that i had not planned on getting.

Another thing about exercise is that you don't need to get it all in at once. You can break it up into smaller 10 minute blocks through out the day. It all adds up. So keep that in mind. It can really help you find extra time to sneak in some exercise. The next time you are watching tv, get up and walk during the commercials rather than just sitting on the couch snacking. While you are cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, dance around some. Get your body moving. You can also benefit from parking farther away from the stores when you go shopping or when you go to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just remember, it all adds up and in the end you will be a healthier person for it!!

Diabetes Fact: 11.5 million, or 10.2% of all women aged 20 years or older have diabetes


Week 2: Day 12 - “Friends & Family Friday”

Sometimes it can be hard and draining having to deal day in and day out with diabetes. Having the right support system is key in managing the disease. Not having the support of the people around you can make life harder on you as you try to deal with things. I am glad I have all the support I do. I have a lot of friends and family who help support and encourage me. My husband is the biggest help of all. When i have a moment of weakness he is right there to push me towards the right choices, usually. i have to admit that sometimes I am just too stubborn to listen to him. But for the most part he is right beside me encouraging me to do what is best for me. And in a round about way he has actually influenced himself to do better as well. As he supports me to make changes in my life, it trickles right back over to him. For instance, almost 7 weeks ago I decided to start Weight Watchers and give it a try, well in these last few week my husband has seen how i have change for the better and has started to follow along and make the same changes in his, so we are both improving our lives!

I also have a great friend at work, Alyssa, who finally convinced me to start walking with her during our lunch breaks at work. So now i am getting a guaranteed workout of at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. I can count on her not to let me skip out on walking. She pushes me because she knows in the end I will benefit greatly from our walks. She recently lost some weight, so she is a bit if inspiration to me as well. I am grateful to have her for a friend!

Not only do i have those two people supporting me everyday, but i have many friends and family who help spread the support as well. While it may not be in person, it is there every time I read a comment or see that one of them "likes" something on Facebook, or on here. I have a wonderful support network on-line and I am very grateful for it. It ranges from family members like my mother to friends I haven't seen in years all the way down to people I have not actually met in person, but they are encouraging me to do better! I am so very lucky to have all these people in my life who want to see me succeed in getting healthier and having a better life! It would be very hard to do this otherwise. Their support and encouragement helps me get through so many days!

So i just want to say thank you to all my friends and family out there who support me. Thanks to my mom, step-father, father-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Even if we have not spoken in person for a long time, you are still there for me, so I THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Diabetes Fact: An estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4% of the world's adult population, will live with diabetes in 2010. The number is expected to grow to 438 million by 2030, corresponding to 7.8% of the adult population.


Week 2: Day 11 - Veterans Day

As we all know Veterans Day marks the anniversary of Armistice Day which was the end of World War 1 in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. We all know that timing can be very important in some regards. It can be especially important to diabetics. Diabetes is a very complex disease that requires a lot of monitoring. Type 1 diabetics have more to worry, especially if they have to wear an insulin pump. Quite honestly i really don't know all that is involved for Type 1 diabetics since I am not one of them.

I personally don't do things at the same exact time every day for my disease, but I do some things generally around the same time. Each morning I take my meds about the same time. Hopefully with the work I am doing on my diet and exercise I can eliminate this from my routine in months to come since i am trying to get off medications. I also have to test my blood sugar every morning before I eat. Another factor involving time is testing blood sugar after meals. This is generally done about 2 hours after you eat. In general diabetics test their blood sugar multiple times a day.

There can be a lot of time sensitive issues involved with this disease. It is not something that is easy and simple to incorporate the management of into your life. It is a lot of work, but it is necessary.

Diabetic Fact: In 2005, 46,739 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the United States and Puerto Rico.


Week 2: Day 10 - Wordless Wednesday

This is me and this is why i am doing all this!

Diabetic Fact: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2005.


Week 2: Day 9 - News

Since November is American Diabetes Month and November 14 is World Diabetes day, you can find that stories on diabetes in the news is plentiful. As I sit here and look up what articles are topping the list that relate to diabetes, I seem to keep seeing the same kind of articles. They all seem to just be focused on how many people have diabetes and how many will end up having diabetes. They all talk about how diabetes, particularly Type 2, is more prevalent in overweight people.

There is so much information that is important to know about diabetes, but you don't see it. It is all about how you are mire likely to get it if you are fat! Yes i understand that in writing about the symptoms of diabetes that you might be writing about how overweight people are more prone, but go in depth about other aspects. I would love to see more information articles relating to diabetes. Write more articles about managing diabetes and don't just focus on losing weight. There are other ways to help manage the disease. It takes more then just losing weight to control your diabetes.

I would also like to see more articles about what is being done to bring more awareness to the disease, including what is and could be done to help find a cure. It is encouraging to hear about how people are out there helping to promote awareness. It is nice to know that you are not the only one out there trying to bring out the good in diabetes.

I just don't like hearing the same old recycled stories. There is a wealth of information out there, so it would be nice to hear something different every now and then.

Various news articles:
 Diabetes and the health of your gums
 Irish researchers make discovery that will help combat diabetes
Artificial pancreas?
5 diabetes myths

Diabetes Fact: About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.


Week 2: Day 8 - Mouthwatering Monday

I think the biggest challenge for me since I have diagnosed as as diabetic is dealing with what foods to eat. As a diabetic I have to watch the amount of carbs that i eat. And therein lies my problem: I am a carb-oholic. My favorite foods are just full of carbs. I absolutely love bread, potatoes, pasta . . . all the foods that are the worst for me.

For those who don't know carbs = sugar, so the more carbs I eat the higher my blood sugar will be. So this is why I need to watch the amount of carbs i eat. And it is not that easy, let me tell you! Carbs are my weakness!

Diabetes Fact: In 2003–2004, 75% of adults with self-reported diabetes had blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 mmHg, or used prescription medications for hypertension.


Week 1: Day 7 - Daylight Savings

Well i have made it through a week straight of blogging. Today marked not only the last day of wee k1, but also the end of Daylight savings time. Pretty much just another day for me. The time change really has no impact on my diabetes management. It really doesn't even have an effect on my sleep since i am a night owl and am usually still up when the clock hits 2am and it is officially time to turn it back an hour. Which was the case last night. I am fortunate in that I am a type 2 diabetic (if one can consider them lucky to be a type 2 diabetic) so I don't have things like an insulin pump to worry about. Obviously if i did then the time change would definitely impact my life.

So I have been posting for a week now and ending my posts with some Diabetic facts and i would like to think that i have helped educate some people in my world of friends. I hope that I have informed and inspired at least one person so far . . .

Diabetic Fact: More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.


Week 1: Day 6 - Check Up Check List

I really have to say that I feel like I certainly have more than my fair share of doctors appointments, even for a diabetic. Since i was diagnosed I have been very prone to Urinary Tract Infections. So not very fun! For a while it seemed like I was always going to one doctor or another and i just got so sick and tired of doctors! If I wasn't seeing my regular doctor, i was going to my urologist. It was a never ending loop. And i have to say I really didn't like my urologist. First of all it was a man. I am not comfortable with male doctors. And i was even more so after one particular appointment. It was determined that he needed to check my bladder to see if there was anything wrong there that was causing all the UTIs to develop. So of course I had to strip down since it involved inserting a tube with a camera up to my bladder. Well I get stripped down and the nurse gets me on the table and in the stirrups (oh so much fun) and then just leaves the room. Normally not so bad. But she didn't cover me up at all and the damn door was still open! Granted I was around a corner and facing away from it, but i was so extremely uncomfortable! I never really went back to that doctor much after that. Especially since he changed offices and i was not going to drive farther away to see him!

I just get so tired of all the doctors visits sometimes and my job doesn't help at all (I process health insurance claims). Luckily i am getting fewer UTIs now and my doctor i see now has given me a refillable script for antibiotics, so that means less appointments for that!

I am currently literally between check ups now. My last appointment was in September, where surprisingly my a1C had gone down (I really thought it would have gone up). It was down to 7.3 then, so since i started seeing my new doctor in October of 2009 my a1C has gone from 9.6 down to 7.3. I am slowly but surely working on getting down where it should be. I have recently started Weight Watchers to help get in shape. i have lost 5 pounds in 5 weeks on it. So i am expected a decent weight loss at my next appointment in January. And hoping to have another drop in my a1C. I really want to get it down so i can try getting off some of the medications i am on. I currently take 3 different oral meds for the diabetes, plus 2 for my blood pressure, 1 for acid reflux, birth control, and an aspirin a day! Plus a vitamin, cranberry pill, and cinnamon pills! So yeah, i am a little sick of taking all these pills. I want to get down to the bare minimum, which would be the birth control and acid reflux, plus the vitamins and supplements. I could really do without all the rest.

So that is my goal: to get myself in a much healthier position and be able to get rid of a lot of the medications i am on!! It is certainly doable, i just really need to push myself!  I can do this!!!

Diabetes Fact:
$174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007
  • $116 billion for direct medical costs
  • $58 billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality)


Week 1: Day 5 - “Friends & Family Friday”

This is my mom, she is also a Type 2 Diabetic.

 Diabetes Fact - About 2 million adolescents aged 12-19 have pre-diabetes


Week 1: Day 4 - Diabetes Celebrities

You know, I don't think I was aware of just how many famous people that I have heard of who have some type of Diabetes. I knew of a handful: Bret Michaels, Halle Berry, Jay Cutler, Nick Jonas, and of course Wilford Brimley. I don't think there is a a single out there who has access to the internet who didn't know about Wilford Brimley. We all know how he pronounces and he is famous for "the beetis."

I really was surprised to see so many names that i knew. Celebrities with diabetes is not really something I ever thought of before. I had to actually do a search to find out more names of celebrities who share the same struggles as I do. If interested, you can go check out this site to see their list celebrities with diabetes. It just might surprise you.

I can't say I really have a favorite diabetes celebrity. I am all in favor of a celebrity using their status to bring more awareness to this disease. If they can do their best to help educate more people about the reality of life with diabetes, then I really don't care what they are like in other regards. What is really important is bringing more awareness to the disease and in turn taking actions to get closer to one day finding a  cure. It doesn't matter what kind of person they are otherwise.

Diabetes Fact: Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.


Week 1: Day 3 - Wordless Wednesday

Diabetes fact:  12.0 million, or 11.2% of all men aged 20 years or older have diabetes.


Week 1: Day 2 - Election day

I have found that I have never really been that into politics. I mean sure, I go and vote for each election. But I never really go out of my way to find out as much as I can about all the candidates. Sometimes it seems like voting is more of a chore than a right. Especially nowadays when all you hear and see is ads that focus on bashing the opponents. A person can get so tired of hearing and seeing all that. I know, personally, that these ads have a negative impact. They make me want to not vote for the person who is supporting the ad just on the principle of it. I mean they have no real problem spending their money on ads meant to trash someone else's reputation. How can that be a practical way of spending money? Or responsible? I don't understand why all we hear is opponent bashing when what really matters is how a candidate stands on issues. That is what matters to me. That is all that should matter to anyone. So much more could get done if these candidates thought only of pushing the idea of their stances, not slinging mud at other people.

These days, it is just hard to want to get out and vote. But vote, i did. Now if i had the chance to to talk to any of my representatives I would tell them how important it is not to cut funding for diabetes. There are so many people out there who are either diagnosed undiagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. I am talking millions of people, about 2 million people in Pennsylvania alone. Now, more than ever, do we need to make sure people are being educated about this disease. It is not some small disease, it is a leading killer among the top diseases. We can't have the government cutting the funding year after year when the number of people effected  increases each year. That funding is vital to millions of people. More people need to stand up and take action and visit this site today and see what they can do to help with diabetes funding at the state or federal level. I have started taking action, now it is your turn!!

Diabetes fact: 23.6 million children and adults in the United States—7.8% of the population—have diabetes and there are another 57 million people with pre-diabetes.


Week 1: Day 1 - Introduction

September 13, 2006. That was the day that it all started for me. I went to the doctor's that afternoon and left with the new knowledge that I was a Type 2 Diabetic. I was really shocked and couldn't believe it. Up to that point I didn't even know that anyone in my family had had it previously. I ended up going home and calling my mother and talking to her about it and as far as she knew only my maternal great-grandmother had been a diabetic. Things have certainly change. I have since learned that my paternal grandfather was also a diabetic. And my mother has since been diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic as well.

I have learned a lot over the past four years. I didn't even know that type 2 diabetes was something that took years to manifest and not show up over night. I also didn't really know that it is carbohydrates that affect your blood sugar. For those who really don't know about diabetes, there is a lot to digest. I still have a ways to go where my education is involved.

By no means am I a "good little diabetic." I have been struggling over these last four years to get on track and currently take 3 oral medications to  keep my diabetes in check. But I decided I am not getting any younger and need to get myself in a better position, health-wise. I am working on getting more exercise in my life as well as altering my diet so it is much more healthy for me. I am trying to get more involved with the fight for Diabetes as it directly, and indirectly, effects my life. This year I participated in the Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes for the first time and it was a very good experience for me. This blog is just another tool to help me get in track and to try to educate a few people along the way.

Diabetes fact: 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older each year.


30 days of Diabetes in November

Since i will be participating in this for the next month, I thought i would give you a heads up on what you might see. I really like their suggestions, so I am mostly going to follow it. I think it is a great starting point for me and this blog.

Week 1: Share

Monday, November 1 Introduction – Tell us about yourself! Why did you decide to start a blog or share your blog with us?
Tuesday, November 2 Election Day – What issues are important to you? If you could tell your representatives one thing about diabetes, what would it be?
Wednesday, November 3 “Wordless Wednesday” – Share a picture or video on your blog! (need ideas for subject matter? What are the three most important things – in your opinion – that help with your diabetes management? A glucose meter? A phone app? A friend? A superhero band-aid? Show us!)
Thursday, November 4 Diabetes Celebrities – From rock stars like Bret Michaels to professional athletes like Jay Cutler, people with diabetes are showing how diabetes has not stopped them. Who’s your favorite diabetes celebrity?
Friday, November 5 “Friends & Family Friday” – Research shows that diabetes has a genetic component: Who in your family or circle of friends has diabetes?
Saturday, November 6 Check Up Check List – Very few people enjoy doctor appointments, but if you have diabetes, you’ve probably had your share of these! Share your doctor appointment stories – funny, frustrating, embarrassing or inspiring – or what appointments you need to catch up on
Sunday, November 7 Daylight Savings – Daylight Savings ended today, so you got an extra hour of sleep! Some people will need to adjust their insulin pump clocks, others may simply change the clocks on their wall. Does an hour change affect your diabetes management?

Week 2: Act

Monday, November 8 “Mouthwatering Monday” – What’s your favorite entree? How does it affect your blood glucose?
Tuesday, November 9 News – Thanks to American Diabetes Month®, diabetes has been in the headlines this week.  Did you see any diabetes articles that were interesting? Inspiring? Frustrating? While there’s no controlling what the media says, what topics would you cover if you were a reporter?
Wednesday, November 10 “Wordless Wednesday” – Share a picture or video on your blog! (need ideas for subject matter? What’s your biggest inspiration in taking action in the movement to stop diabetes? Show us! Or if you haven’t joined the movement yet, Share, Act, Learn or Give to get started now!)
Thursday, November 11 Veteran’s Day – Veterans Day marks end of World War 1 in 1918 on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Is there something you do every day at the same time to help with your diabetes routine?
Friday, November 12 “Friends & Family Friday” – Who is your biggest support and how do they help you in managing your diabetes?
Saturday, November 13 Unexpected Exercise – Raking leaves can be such a chore, but it can also be a great way to sneak in some exercise. What are some ways you sneak in some exercise? (And no, we don’t think “Jedi mind tricks” count!)
Sunday, November 14 World Diabetes Day – Today is World Diabetes Day, recognized by the United Nations, so across the globe people are taking an action to raise diabetes awareness. What about you?

Week 3: Learn

Monday, November 15 “Mouthwatering Monday” – Carrot sticks and potato chips have a similar crunch, but the similarities end there. What’s your favorite snack?
Tuesday, November 16 FAQ – What question do you get asked the most when you tell someone you have diabetes? Do you use any of these opportunities to help teach about diabetes, or do they get annoying? Or both?
Wednesday, November 17 “Wordless Wednesday” – Share a picture or video on your blog! (need ideas for subject matter? What’s the first thing you remember learning about diabetes? Who did you learn it from?)
Thursday, November 18 Holiday Survival – Here’s our guide to surviving the holidays (PDF). What’s your survival tip? Do you avoid carbs, fats, or family members?
Friday, November 19 “Friends & Family Friday” – As the holidays approach, social events and family gatherings are bound to occur. If you could say anything, what would you tell your loved ones about your diabetes?
Saturday, November 20 Short Cuts – Are there any diabetes short cuts you have learned over the years?
Sunday, November 21 Being Thankful – It’s almost Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for? Has diabetes helped you realize your appreciation for anything?

Week 4: Give

Monday, November 22 “Mouthwatering Monday”   – What’s your favorite Thanksgiving Day recipe? Share it here (don’t worry, we won’t tell Great Aunt Doris you’re sharing her secret!)
Tuesday, November 23 Holiday Travel – The pilgrims traveled for 66 days to make it to the “new world.”  Do you travel for Thanksgiving or other holidays?  What tricks or tips do you use to navigate airport crowds, traffic-filled highways and blood glucose fluctuations?
Wednesday, November 24 “Wordless Wednesday” – Share a picture or video on your blog! (need ideas for subject matter? How are you getting ready for the Thanksgiving festivities? Baking in advance? Adding some extra exercise to your schedule? Cleaning to prepare for company? Show us!)
Thursday, November 25 Happy Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is often a busy day, so you can keep it simple: What did you enjoy for your thanksgiving dinner? (And what was the carb count)? Photos are always welcome!
Friday, November 26
Saturday, November 27 The Best Thing – Yesterday was “Black Friday” when many Americans shopped till they dropped, looking for the best possible gifts. What’s the best diabetes gadget, phone app, book, or other tool you have?
Sunday, November 28 Storing Supplies – Sometimes having diabetes means you have to carry a lot of supplies or organize different types of medications. Pockets, purses, glove compartments, hands – what do you use to be sure you’re prepared?

Bonus Days!

Monday, November 29 “Mouthwatering Monday” – How long did those Thanksgiving Day leftovers last? Leftovers can be a useful strategy in saving money and making your portions smaller, but many people don’t like them. How do you feel about leftovers?
Tuesday, November 30 Wrap Up – It’s the last day of American Diabetes Month 2010!  If you had to leave one lasting impression on people about diabetes, what would you say?
Wednesday, December 1 What’s next? – Even though American Diabetes Month is over, diabetes continues to be a 24/7/365 disease. What will you do to keep America’s focus on diabetes?


I have found myself wanting to get more involved with helping fight Diabetes and bringing more awareness to it. I found this idea the American Diabetes Association website and really liked it. So I decided to start with it and will be posting about Diabetes for the entire month of November (American Diabetes Month) and more. I am going to start writing about my life and how it has been affected by Diabetes. I hope to spread some great information along the way and help educate those who do not know as much about the disease. So be ready for the fun to start tomorrow!