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 →
Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.
As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.
One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.
Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.
As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.
As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.
Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.
Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.
My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.
The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.
After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? 😀 This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.
Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.
The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.
I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.
To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
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.