Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Diabetes Blog Week: The Healthcare Experience

Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare.  How would you improve or change your healthcare experience?  What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team?  How about when dealing with your health insurance companies?  What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration?  Today is the day to share it all.

(Yes.. this prompt was supposed to be yesterday's but life got hectic and I didn't get anything written.  My goal is to catch up by tonight.  We'll call it #BlogGoals.)

This is a LOADED question and I'm sure many have sounded off on insurance issues, physicians not listening issues, being rushed issues, and a number of other issues that just add to the frustration of living with a basically invisible disease.

How would I improve my healthcare experience?  Other than not having to go ALL THE TIME, I would like to see more personal interaction.  My endo's office is the perfect example.  They all know me there... true, I'm there every three months for an appointment, and additionally once a month for our local networking group, but still.  I feel welcomed, at home, and totally heard on everything.  My doctor, herself, is always checking on me.  Her first question each time is "How are YOU doing?".  She doesn't ask about numbers, or insulin, or test strips, or anything traditionally diabetes related.  She asks about ME.  If there is even the slightest "eh" in my voice she puts everything down and we talk first.  THAT, in and of itself, is huge in my book.  It reminds me that I'm still human.  I'm still a person.  I'm not a disease.

Dealing with health insurance companies?  That is a headache and a half.  I've been blessed to have very good insurance coverage, but that doesn't mean there haven't been problems.  Some of the carries I've had people have had MAJOR issues with, but mine seem to minor when looked at in comparison.  I've had the "limiting test strips" battle and the "must switch insulin" battle.  I've dealt with having to switch supply companies because the one I loved wasn't on the preferred panel of my new insurance.  I've had supply companies be bought by someone else, and therefore their services and how they bill items change, which caused denials by my insurance.  That was a battle that thankfully ended in my favor and not out of my wallet.

My Healthcare Wish List:  my own parking spot (I'm there often enough), a prepaid Starbucks card for reward after my A1C is checked, and to be able to get what I need when I need it without any extra battles or exceptions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Diabetes Blog Week: Language and Diabetes

There is an old saying that states "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me".  I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes.  Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes.  For some, they don't care, others care passionately.  Where do you stand when it comes to "person with diabetes" versus "diabetic", or "checking" blood sugar versus "testing", or any of the tons of other examples?  Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.


We have all been hurt by words and we have all hurt others with our words.

Words, and how we use them, are very important.

When I was growing up I was always reminded to say "Please" "Thank You" and "Excuse Me" or whatever other polite phrase was appropriate at the time.  I have raised my daughter to do the same, with a few  At meal times, especially when eating out or at someone's home, she learned to say "I'm not very fond of that" or "It's not my favourite" if there is a dish she didn't like.

Words can do a lot of harm.. and a lot of help.

Hearing someone call you and idiot or incompetent can lead to you doubting your own abilities or second guessing your choices.  However, hearing someone say "ME TOO" can heal so many wounds and remind you that you're not alone.

Labels can be just as bad...if you let them be.
I have diabetes.
I am a person with diabetes.
I am a diabetic.
Let's face it.. no matter how it is said it hurts.  It reminds me that a part of me doesn't work like it originally did.  A part of me broke another part of me.  I now have more check boxes to mark with each new doctor I see.  I see my doctors more often that I see many of my family (talk about things being upside down!).

For the most part, I'm okay with the above statements.  I'm not fond of any of them, but I understand that no matter how it is said the fact is that diabetes is a part of my life forever remains.  I will continue to care for myself and educate those around me and not concern myself too much with wording..until there is a cure.  Then I will INSIST on these words instead:
I HAD diabetes.
I am a person who HAD diabetes.
I WAS diabetic. 
Those are the words I can't wait to hear.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Diabetes Blog Week: The Other Half of Diabetes

Today's Diabetes Blog Week prompt is:

We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant.  How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally?  How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition?  Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or idea to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? 

If I were to have answered this question a few years ago, it would have been a different answer than I'm going to give today.

As time has progressed, and I've gotten more in tune with my diabetes, I have a better sense of when a low or high blood sugar is going to effect my mood and attitude.  Not every time do I get grumpy when I'm high.  Sometimes those nasty highs sneak up on me and I don't know a problem until it's time to eat and when I check, my meter says 356.

The emotional impact that I didn't have then, but have now (and should have expected) is the "I just can't do this another day" feeling.  And the "I try and I try and I still fail" thoughts.  Or the "Maybe if I had just been a little more diligent" guilt.

All of these, and more, play out, and quite often when one hits, the others hit at the same time.

So what do I do to pull myself back and keep going?

  • I have allowed myself that ugly cry.  It's amazing how cleansing to the soul tears can be.
  • I warn my husband that I'm about to go off and it isn't his fault and he can't fix it... then I go off.
  • I do something that I KNOW I have more control over.  Weed pulling is one.  Now before you say, "How do you control weeds from growing?" I can't.  But what I CAN do is clear a section of my yard and feel the success of personally making something look better.
  • I also get together with others who get it.  I have attended every Diabetes UnConference so far and the emotional renewal I have after each one is incomparable to anything else.
I believe that the mental and emotional aspect of diabetes is way too often overlooked, even by those who have it.  I know I did.

I'm working to fix that now.  

I tell myself that it's okay to be angry, hurt, sad, happy, goofy, and most of all... it's okay to be ME.

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Diabetes Blog Week: Message Monday

Hey everyone, remember me?

Ya.. I'm not too sure who I am myself, some days.

Today is the kickoff of the 7th Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  We have to thank Karen for her amazing talent in putting this together and keeping us connected.  I know without her, I would probably forget I had a blog.

Life has been busy and sometimes the longer I put something off, the easier it is to not do it at all.  Have you ever had that problem?  Well, I'm hoping that by participating in this year's Diabetes Blog Week, that I'll get back into a more consistent blogging rhythm.  So without further ado...

"Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space.  What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you?  Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog"

So, why am I here?

I'm here so that I can perhaps share my story and someone else will see it and realize that they're not alone.  Yes, I'm sure you will read that quite a bit today, but that, in itself, is the point.  We are NOT alone in this journey we have with diabetes.

I haven't always, and still don't always, feel that way.

There are times when the blood sugars are the most misbehaving thing since a two year old hyped out on Mountain Dew and Chocolate Cake, and I feel that there isn't a soul around that gets my frustration, my anger, my defeat.  That's where the blog-o-sphere is a great place to retreat to.  I can reach how someone else is trying to tame that two year old (my diabetes is actually 11 years old).  It reminds me that I really truly am NOT alone, and others "get it" too.

Or I can read about some one's vacation to the islands and it reminds me that life will go on.  This is just a blip on the radar of life, and there are other... and much better... days ahead.

Not being alone.

Even for those people who don't like to "people" much, knowing you're not alone huge.
Knowing that someone understands, gives you comfort.
Knowing that you're not crazy, gives you peace of mind.

That is what I've tried.. and will pick up and try again.. to accomplish.  Even if it is just one person, I will consider it a success.