Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeling Dainty with my Fashion-Forward Medical Alert Bracelet

I searched for a long time before I found the perfect medical alert bracelet.

Some people don't wear them and physicians don't mandate that we where them, so the decision is really up to each individual.  I chose to wear one because I figure, you never know when it can come in handy.  I could be at the gym one day and suffer from low blood sugar before I realize it, but if I'm wearing a bracelet someone can help me--and I feel better knowing that.

The first one I bought was a unisex black bracelet.  I thought I would like it, but it drew too much attention, was a little too masculine, and it didn't mesh well with my attire.  So, I went back to the internet searching and I came across Beadin' Beagle's website.  It didn't take me long to know that this was the right store for me.  I purchased an elegant "Tri-Color Swarovski Pearl Medical Identification Bracelet" with claps on both ends.

I am EXTREMELY happy with my purchase! This is the perfect feminine, everyday medical alert bracelet.  I admit that the price is a bit pricey, but the feeling that I have when I look at my bracelet makes it worth it.  I'm not embarrassed to wear it in the classroom, at church, or formal gatherings.  I turn the "Diabetic" ID inward, so that it isn't immediately noticeable to others.

As a new diabetic, I find that a medical alert bracelet also reminds me of my condition.  It's not as easy to ignore diabetes when I'm wearing my bracelet (that doesn't mean that it never happens, it just happens less). Additionally, it's like a permission slip.  It gives me the permission to let others know that I have a special condition.  When it's time to eat, I'm not just an average person wanting to eat, I'm a diabetic on a schedule who has a vital organ (pancreas) gone haywire.  See, my bracelet says so. :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Byetta

On Thursday, I went to my specialist and got the news that I've been waiting all summer to hear...You no longer have to take Byetta.   I've been working really hard (eating right, exercising, and taking my medication) so that by the end of summer my close relationship with Byetta would be over.  My Endocrinologist, whom I was seeing for the first time since summer vacation, informed me that due to my 38-pound weight lost and good numbers that he was canceling my Byetta regiment.  This news was awesome to hear. I could have shouted all the way out his office.

When I think about the ways the shot has impeded upon my life, I feel like a ton of weight has been lifted.  Life with the injection was something like this:
I was nauseous most of the time,
It cut my appetite in half (which was a good thing since I lacked portion control),
I would frequently find myself at dinner unable to eat when everyone else is eating because I had to wait at least 15 minutes before eating after giving myself the shot,
I had to take a cool pack on the airplane to ensure that my Byetta stayed cool until the first usage,
I experimented with at least three different needle sizes, brands, and lengths before finding the "perfect" one for me,
I had to disclose my illness to people or at times that I didn't want to because they would see the needles in my bag or see me administering the shot.

When I think about all the tears I've shed around issues of having to give myself a shot twice a day or how the psychological pain begins long before and lingers long after the pain of the needle has pierced my skin or how complicated my life has been because I had to give myself a shot twice a day and make sure the timing was accurate or risk a diabetic attack.  (And my earlier entry on diabetic attacks explains just how much I hate those).

This picture represents my OLD life and I'm praying that it remains that way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will you offer me your legs this easily in 30 years?

My first summer as a diabetic taught me a lot about the pressure other people put on diabetics to eat incorrectly.  I found myself at more than a few occasions where people offered me food or portions that are outside of my diet AND THEY WERE INSISTENT.

Perhaps, the most common people were diabetics themselves (who eat horribly) or close relatives of diabetics (who watch their diabetic relatives eat horribly).

"Taste a little bit of this cake." "My mom has diabetes and she eats like this all the time." "Eat some more of that." "Girl, God will take care of you, you better eat all you can." "Them doctors don't know what they talking about half the time no way." "You should eat all your food."  "Is that all you're going to eat?"  "Come on, you have to have some of this dessert, I made it."  "You can eat whatever you want, diabetes ain't affecting you yet."  "It's okay to eat this today, just don't eat it everyday"  "It's okay, I got a diabetes too and I'm eating it"

Sure, as a diabetic, no food is off limits.  If I want ice cream-I can eat it.  If I want sweet potato pie-I can eat it.  But what I can't do is eat a plate of chicken, macaroni & cheese, rice and peas, yams, corn, and 2 slices of cake washed down with sweet tea all in one sitting.  And, my decision to eat only 3 carb choices at once (which means I have to make a decision between the mac&cheese, the rice, the corn, the cake, and sweet tea) seems to rub other people the wrong way.

I'm reminded of house parties.  I use to walk around with a cup of Sprite soda in my hand sipping on it like it was alcohol just to avoid people constantly saying "You're not gonna drink?" or "Have a little" or "Just taste it." 

I'm also reminded of the hostility I've gotten from some people when I say, "I don't eat pork."  Rather than accept the fact that I'm perfectly fine with them eating pork they want to convince me that it's okay to eat pork.  Once, at a dinner, my decision to not explain why I no longer eat pork was the center of discussion for about 20 minutes.  I refused to explain why I stopped eating pork and one dinner guest refused to give up on asking until it was certain that I would not budge. 

So, I've learned that when you don't drink alcohol in a setting where people drink-they pressure you to drink.  When you don't eat pork around people who are eat swine-they pressure you. And now I know that when you're diabetic and you refuse to eat too many carbs-people pressure you.

I never lose sight of the fact that my pancreas is out of whack and what I eat today determines if I'll have working kidneys, eyes, heart, and legs in 30 years.  I wonder if those same people who are pressuring me to eat improperly now will offer me their organs or limbs as easily if I needed them in 30 years?  Would they so easily say in 50 years, "I'm partly responsible for you being this sick in your old age and I want to offer you one of my kidneys."  If the sugar they offer me today ends up being the cause of fading eyesight, will they be my guide?  Will they be just as angry at the amount of medication I have to take to stay alive as they are when I deny their large glasses of sweet tea, soda, or kool-aid?

Living with diabetes means that I never forget that I am what I eat...and I choose to eat healthy.