Although I have a few months to go before I hit the anniversary, when I hit it it’ll be 20 years since I was first diagnosed. Since this is still my most popular blog, I thought it would be the right place to write this particular article about what’s going on these days because I’m a much different person now physically than I was the first time I wrote about diabetes back in 2007. Since diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world, I wanted to share my own journey in all these years. Continue reading →
Today is World Diabetes Day and it’s the 4th time I’ve written something specific for this day. That those years were 2008, 2009 and 2010 are somewhat disappointing, along with the fact that out of the previous 21 times I’ve even mentioned the subject only 6 of them have been since the 2010 post, either means that I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’m diabetic or that I haven’t had enough incidences to even think about mentioning it.
Of course that’s not true at all. The thing about diabetes is that even things like being in the sun for just 10 minutes can have a great effect on you if you’re not careful or paying attention. Eating properly or badly have effects on you that you’re never quite sure which way things will go. For instance, as I said in one of my recent videos, I ate lots of pretzels during my 2 weeks of low fat eating because they had no fat in them and had some of the lowest glucose readings ever, only to discover that what they actually do is make your glucose shoot way up and then drop way far down quickly, as there’s more carbohydrates in a serving of pretzels than there is in a serving of pasta; that’s not good.
Why is this such a big thing? Because it’s the fastest growing disease we have in the United States. There are more than 25 million people in the country who have been diagnosed as being diabetic, and another 79 million diagnosed as pre-diabetic; that’s not good at all. The FDA or EPA (I can’t remember who) is on the verge of banning trans fats from our food, and I’m betting most of you are like me in not even knowing just how prevalent this stuff was.
Diabetics have to worry about stuff like liver disease, heart attacks, kidney failure, neuropathy, amputations, nerve damage… let’s just face it, there’s a lot of complications possible. Most of the pharmaceuticals aren’t overly expensive but they still end up being a lot over time. Doctors want us tested more often, we’re put on medication even when we test normal because the standards change when you’re diabetic.
Then we have to deal with people who know that we’re diabetic and utter stuff like “should you be eating dessert” and “you should eat more vegetables” and “isn’t that fat going to kill you”, while pounding on us with stuff like “you know that Equal will give you cancer” and “don’t you care about yourself to eat better?”
Here’s the thing; of course we care. However, like most cancer patients who continue to smoke or patients who have heart attacks who go back to eating high fat diets, changing a behavior you’ve had for a lifetime isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. For me, I at least get some exercise in here and there, but I’ve never met a dessert I like that I can stay totally away from. I find that I eat less than I used to but I’ll binge here and there. I’ve also found that the healthy foods I sometimes eat aren’t always so healthy; that’s disappointing.
Nope, this isn’t a typical World Diabetes Day post. I’m not really out to make us seem like victims. Truthfully, most of us brought it upon ourselves, even if we didn’t really know better. I have so many relatives on my dad’s side of the family who are diabetic that I knew my day was coming, and yet I still let some of my binging make it come faster. I have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and the best thing I can say about myself is that I don’t have any of the permanent symptoms yet.
I write this because I hope those of you who aren’t diabetic take care not to get there. I write this because I hope those of you who think you might be but don’t want to go to the doctors to confirm it will go; better to know and have the chance to take care of it than one day suffering something you can’t overcome because you didn’t want to know.
And I write this because I want you to know that if you’re diagnosed, it’s not a death sentence like it was in the past if you at least take some precautions and so some of the things you should do. I’m not perfect, but in many ways I take care of myself a bit better than my dad did. In “some” ways that it. 🙂
What I’ve never done is related any of the diabetes stuff, especially injections and the like, to blogging. Those who have been around understand how this works. I find that there are lessons one can learn in life that relate to other things. I’ve related blogging to quite a few things over the years including how blogging is like poker, chess, and visiting new stores. Now it’s time to make the connection to blogging, diabetes and insulin.
Before I begin, I’m going to explain why posts like this can work and why they might not. People love stories and don’t always like learning new things. But if you couch your points within a story, even if people don’t understand the full frame of reference, they’ll usually learn the lessons better. And with posts like this one, there are multiple lessons to learn about both blogging and diabetes and insulin. It’s all good! And here we go:
1. As you can see in the image above, there are two different ways of delivering insulin through a needle. I had to switch from the one on the left to the one on the right because of costs; I save more than 80% with the one on the right. I didn’t want to switch, but I did what was economical, ergo correct, because insulin can be expensive and going with a delivery method that was easier to manage rather than saving money on it so I could roll it over to something else just didn’t make sense.
When it comes to blogging, the switch kind of goes the other way if you’re serious about it, depending on what it is you’re looking to do. As both Blogspot and WordPress.com start coming down on more people who try to make money or write controversial posts through those platforms, and now that Yahoo has purchased Tumblr, more people are going to find themselves feeling squeezed by a presence that has the ability to not only censor but block you. Self hosting may not be free but it’s not expensive on a yearly basis and gives you much more freedom and way more choices of things you can choose from. It’s scary to switch from one thing to another; I get it. But sometimes you have to think about the benefit of doing so.
2. It took me about a week to get used to the new syringes as opposed to the big needle. That’s because the process totally changed. I went from screwing a needle on, turning the thing on the bottom to the proper dosage, pushing it into my abdomen somewhere and pushing the thing at the bottom to an alcohol swab on top of the bottle of insulin each time, unsheathing the syringe at the top and bottom, having to work the plunger around so I could do something with it, plunging it into the bottle, turning it upside down, having to try to balance it without bending the needle while pushing air into the bottle, then withdrawing the dose I need, and then having to figure out how to handle this little thing so I could push it into my abdomen and push this plunger.
You know what? After a week I started to prefer the syringe. The thing is that as tiny as it is it’s set up for more stability when it’s time to inject myself. Whereas I was hurting myself at least 3 times a week with the big pen, I only hurt myself once every 2 or 3 weeks now; I never saw that coming.
My impression of syringe needles was so far off that I had built up this major fear factor without any real history or research to base it on and it turned out to be nonsense. Not that I want to inject myself at all but with the lack of pain, I’m more inclined to make sure I take care of my personal business every night.
Something that stymies many bloggers is this sense that they’re stuck in a rut and have to do things one way and one way only, otherwise they have to shut things down, intentionally or not. When I started this blog, even though I had another one, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, how to write it, or really what I wanted to say. I only knew I was going to say what I wanted to say, whenever I wanted to say it.
Within a few months I’d pretty much found my voice, but I did keep changing things up here and there. Now, even though I’ve found my voice, I doubt anyone can say that they always know what to expect when they read a post from here. For instance, did any of you even dare to believe one could tie in blogging with the other topic from today?
It’s okay to take chances with your blog, to shake things up, to go off topic here and there. It’s what makes you interesting and keeps people coming back to see what you’re going to do next time.
3.You know what? It’s possible that half of you reading this post right now are diabetic; isn’t that scary? What’s even more scary is that some of you know it, or know that you’re possibly pre-diabetic, yet you won’t go to the doctor because you don’t want to know.
Here’s the truth; whether you have diabetes, cancer, MS, or bad breath, nothing goes away until you know you have it and can start to do something about it. I may not always be the best diabetic, but I know the rules, know what I have to do to be good and feel better, and I know medication helps. If my wife hadn’t encouraged me, with help from my dad, I might not have gone to check things out, but I should have been more willing to do what was best for myself to begin with. It’s a major lesson to learn, as Beverly reminded me days ago about a review of her book I wrote in 2011 that contained a quote by yours truly; check out the link because it’s a very good book.
With blogging, you never know how far you can go until you give it a try. Yes, I’ve asked if you’re ready to be controversial but I’m not saying you have to go quite that far. If you think your blog writing is boring spice it up. Look through a thesaurus and use some different words. Try being funny, try using images or different images if you’re already doing it. Try adding a video, whether it’s yours or one on YouTube that you like.
Most fear is when you’re scared of things you don’t know about, but some fears can be conquered. Some can’t, such as my fear of bugs (ick), yet I’m never afraid to take a chance on things where I have to make a decision one way or another. You shouldn’t be either; why?
4.Even though I said earlier that I’m more inclined to take care of myself at night, it doesn’t mean I’m perfect at doing it. Some nights I just don’t get around to taking all of my medication. Some nights I don’t remember if I’ve taken it. I have a pill box that maybe once every 3 weeks I remember to put pills into so I can remember.
I’m also kind of a reactionary eater. If I want dessert I’m eating it. I’m good at staying away from pasta most of the time, as it’s worse than desserts, but I’m not as good up front as denying myself other foods when I have a craving that, later on, I remember are high in carbs, thus bad for diabetics (contrary to popular belief sweets aren’t the worst things for diabetics).
In other words, sometimes I make mistakes in my care and in taking care of myself. However, I always make up for it the next day and usually for a few days afterwards. Actually, I’m pretty good probably 90% of the time I’d have to say. I think my mother is the only person I know who’s perfect at taking care of herself, when she eats, how much she eats, when she takes medication, when she brushes her teeth… on and on. She actually has a written schedule. The only thing she’s bad at, which I inherited, is having a specific time to go to bed every night; no one’s perfect.
When it comes to blogging sometimes you’re going to make a mistake, even if you didn’t know it at the time. Hey, it happens. Typos, misspellings, not getting facts totally straight, merging lines… we all do it. Don’t ever be afraid to take a chance at doing something out of the norm, or even in the norm that you’re worried you might be making a mistake on. For some backup, check out this Google Hangout video that I led:
5.Over the 16 years since I was first told I was diabetic I’ve learned a lot. I don’t always apply it; sometimes it’s my fault, sometimes I don’t work as hard in overcoming some of the challenges that make it hard to keep up with, such as when I’m on the road and trying to follow all the proper rules, which includes exercise. What I have learned though is that when I’m good and apply everything I know and stick to the plan, things always end up better for me. If feel healthier overall, my glucose numbers (these days they call it blood sugar but I just don’t like that term) are better, my outlook on life is better (and my outlook on life is usually pretty good so having it be better is miraculous)… life is good.
When it comes to blogging, it’s great to find a routine and pattern that works for you and then try to stick to it unless you can improve it. Routine doesn’t mean if you’re boring stay boring. What it means is that if you need to set a schedule for yourself to make sure you write a blog post a week, then do it. If you have to give yourself an hour to write a post, do it. Sure, you’ll slip every once in awhile, but consistency is the key to not only great blogging but great participation from others. When you do the things you should be doing for your blog you’ll feel better, it’ll perform better, and you’ll be a happy and positive person.
There you are; I’m betting you didn’t think I could do it. I hope you’ve learned lessons about both and are not only willing to try it yourself but to give me a good comment below on your thoughts of this venture. Come on, don’t be afraid; didn’t I cover fear above? 😉
Two weeks ago I put out my post on the dream I’m going to complete by next September 1st. I wrote out 10 things to consider while going for one’s dream, but I want to concentrate on this one for the moment:
don’t eat this
4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.
I put this one in because there are a lot of motivational business books on the market that say if you want to be successful in business you have to be willing to put in more hours than anyone else. Some books actually advocate working 16-hour days even on weekends. Foolishness!
Sure, you have to work hard, and you have to be willing to commit to putting in more time if your goals are really that important. But if you work yourself sick then you’ll have to shut down, and at that point there’s nothing you can do to move forward.
There has to be points where you rest your mind and take care of your body. It’s also especially important to know yourself and be honest with yourself about your patterns.
Here’s my tale.
Many of you know that I’m diabetic. This means that when I’m not in good control of my glucose, I can have bad days and sometimes I can go into a depression if it stays high for a long period of time.
What this means is that I need to try to make sure I eat when I should, watch what I eat, and watch what I eat at certain times. This one is strange to some people so let me explain.
I’m not a morning person. This means that I don’t do my best work most mornings. I’m also not one of those people who can eat when I first wake up; often I’ll wait 4 or 5 hours before eating my first meal of the day, or anything for that matter. That includes even drinking anything; not good.
I also can’t eat certain foods early in the day, and that includes either breakfast time or lunch time. And I can’t overeat either, which is a misnomer because I don’t always eat until I’m full. If I do any of these things, I tire quickly and need a nap, otherwise my head is fuzzy. And sometimes, if I eat the wrong stuff without thinking about it, I’ll nap for hours and wake up feeling horrible, if I can move at all; that’s not good either.
But I can eat anything after 5PM or so, including late into the night, and it doesn’t make me tired at all, unless I stuff myself. Also, my best time of working if I need to produce things is between 9PM and 11PM: go figure.
Add to that this leg problem I have, called sciatica, which is supposedly related to my back. This means I have to do at least stretching exercises to help my leg feel a little better, and when it gets cooler again I’ll go to the gym & do strengthening exercises as well.
I gave you all of that to show that you have to know yourself well so you can plan your time to fit everything in, including the time to take care of yourself. On September 4th I started scheduling my work days, which includes evening hours. I start my mornings with the back exercises because I know that if I don’t do it then I probably won’t do it later.
I give myself the first 45 minutes in the day to get that done, get online to check email & social media, and then it’s time to get into the work day, no matter what I’ve planned. Then I break at noon to see what’s going on in the news and, once again, to tell myself to eat. I do this because I know I probably haven’t eaten earlier, but now it’s around 2 or 3 hours, depending on when I’ve told myself to get up, and at least I’ll be feeling the stirrings of hunger. The thing is I can’t take any medication until I eat, so that’s important.
this is much healthier
I plan breaks during the day. I diversify the projects I work on during the day. If I finish something and have time left over before the alarm goes off, it’s fun time!
Yes, I do have evening hours as well. But I work for myself, so since I’m home, that’s fine. The past 2 weeks have been amazing for me because of the scheduling. I know some people say they can’t work that way, but for me it’s perfect.
And because I feel better, my mind works better and helps me stay on the path towards my dream. Of course, my little vision board doesn’t hurt either, and maybe one day I’ll show you that.
Make your health as much of a priority as you make everything else. You don’t have to overdo it; just be cognizant of it and don’t hurt yourself. Be honest with yourself; you deserve it.
Some of you might remember that last week I helped my friend Beverly Mahone promote the free download of her book Don’t Ask & I Won’t Have To Lie. Since that day I started thinking about some things that I’d been keeping to myself, and then a brief encounter with my mother on Thursday got me thinking even more about my silence as it pertains to my health. I decided that I needed to finally come clean, and last night I decided to record the video below explaining myself while hoping that you listen to what I have to say and start thinking about your own health. First, the video:
There you are. By the way, I’m now down 14 pounds and with the doctor reducing the amount of insulin I inject twice a day, we’re both hoping it helps my weight loss goals. So, now that you’ve heard my tale, I hope you do the right thing for the right reason for yourself, your family, and of course your overall health.