Four Hours, Just Four Hours

Diabetes Blog Week

Yesterday we opened up about how diabetes can bring us down. Today let’s share what gets us through a hard day.  Or more specifically, a hard diabetes day.  Is there something positive you tell yourself?  Are there mantras that you fall back on to get you through?  Is there something specific you do when your mood needs a boost?  Maybe we’ve done that and we can help others do it too? (Thanks to Meri of Our Diabetic Life for suggesting this topic.)

My diabetes mantra

4 hours at a time Diabetes Advocacy

Is there a mantra that I fall back on to get me through a hard diabetes day? Absolutely! It is one that I share with newly diagnosed adults and parents who are struggling to get through. I remind them to look at life in four-hour blocks. If you take everything in four-hour strides, you can ride through anything.

Breakdown your day into bite-sized pieces

When diabetes seems to be kicking your butt every morning, look at how things are going between lunch and supper. Are things okay? Give yourself a mental high-five and celebrate that victory rather than dwelling on the post-breakfast spike that this threatening to drive you over the edge.

Do overnights seem overwhelming? Again, break it down.  How are things from snack until 12 or 1am? What is life like in the deepest part of the night? Are things settled before breakfast or has chaos been awakened in those four hours? If you break it down into six four-hour periods, life becomes a bit more manageable and instead of seeing all of the bad, you can savor some of the good.

Why four hours?

Why do I have a four-hour mantra? Because early on I learned that my son’s Humalog was supposed to last about 4 hours.  He was injected at 8am for breakfast, then at noon for lunch, around 5pm for supper and then again at 9pm for his nighttime snack. 

I was going crazy trying to see a perfect 24 hour day. I realized that looking at a complete day was never going to make me happy. The only way to see success was to look at small chunks of time.  Coincidentally, that was also how we would make changes to his regimen. 

Was his breakfast ratio of carbs to insulin off? How about at bedtime? Life was naturally being broken down into 4-hour chunks for me so why not work with that?

Now I know some of you will say, but we are using an insulin pump so that won’t work for me.  Yes it will!  Chances are high that you are still doing things like having breakfast, lunch and supper.  I am quite certain that you are going to bed at one point as well. All of these events can be broken down and again my four-hour mantra applied. 

Was I a successful pancreas this afternoon? Yes? AWESOME!! Let’s break out the happy dance!!! Did I have an issue after supper? Okay, let’s look at what can be done.

via GIPHY

Life is less overwhelming in four-hour shots. It can be applied it outside of diabetes as well.  Are you wanting to change your eating habits? Did you have a great breakfast? Pat yourself on the back. Over did it at lunch? Do better tomorrow. Can you see how easily this works?

Life can be overwhelming.  As we discussed yesterday, life with diabetes can make it worse.  Taking life four hours at a time has allowed me to focus on what I need to change and to praise myself when I get it right…and we all need a lot more praise in our lives.

Make your day a little easier with a 4 hours at a time download.

Blog Week LOVE!

Spread the Love – Sunday 5/19 Link List

Wow Day 7 of Diabetes Blog week already! I apologize for missing out on yesterday’s Art Day.  Its a long weekend here in Canada and honestly…I am enjoying a country weekend with limited internet access and creative supplies. I did not want to miss sharing some of my favorite new blog finds however.

I have always enjoyed the honestly and talents of Diabetes Blog Week founder and organizer Karen Graffeo.  After reading Scott Benner’s new book “Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal”, I have also taken the opportunity to look at his blog “Arden’s Day“.   

This week I made sure to check in on many of these and other great diabetes bloggers. I was touched by Scott of “Rolling in the D”s day 4 post on “coming out of hiding“.  I was so happy when reading about the favorite D-memory on Nacho Blog.  I hope my son will have such an amazing employer!

Finally, I got the chance to sit and read posts by Mike of “My Diabetic Heart”.  While I have followed his tweet for some time, I don’t often have a chance to click on his posts but after reading this wonderful post from Day 2, I definitely will make the effort to do so in the future!

Thank you everyone who shared this week and I am looking forward more amazing reads!

Better the Devil I know

 
Day 5 and today’s prompt..Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?
This may seem weird, but I would not trade for any other chronic disease.  Each one has its challenges and struggles.  I think of people I know with asthma–they have to carry inhalers at all times and never know when an attack could strike.  They do not always occur during the day.  If an attack happened at night, would someone be there to help?
There is epilepsy.  My aunt and uncle both live with this disease.  My uncle has been seizure free for enough years now to be able to drive and live a “normal” life but the fear of never knowing when one could hit? The embarrassment they sometimes feel afterwards? No thank you.
There is celiac.  That would be easy right? Wrong.  I have considered trying a gluten free diet and then I looked at all of the “stuff” that you have to stay away from.  Its bad enough reading carb counts, watching fat and dealing with fiber and protein but looking for hidden ingredients in food? Add to that the high cost of those foods without gluten  No, I think diabetes will do. Granted with celiacs, you don’t have to carry around “stuff” but you have to be on your toes with every ingredient in every piece of food you think about eating.
Diabetes sucks. I hate dealing with it. I would love a cure but as they say “better the devil you know”! Has this devil given me a new respect for other chronic diseases? Absolutely! Before life with diabetes, I know I took things for granted.  Now when I sit down to a meal with someone and we don’t have to count the carbs or deal with bg levels, I almost feel like something is wrong! Its not normal to do that–not to test or calculate!
I better understand parents who struggle for school supports for their children.  I “get” adults who need time off work for health related issues. I hurt for those who have to struggle to get medications and medical devices paid for by insurance or public health care systems. I value my health in a new light. I appreciate each day in a way that I did not before diabetes.  We are all (usually) happy to be alive but knowing how fickle diabetes can be, brings that happiness and gratitude to a new level.
Do I attribute this empathy with the DOC? Honestly, probably not.  It comes from life experience–watching my son nearly die.  The diabetes online community has brought people into my life who have situations that have made me work harder as an advocate.  It has brought stories that keep me aware of how deadly this disease is.  Most importantly, it has brought me friends and people who also have learned greater empathy and strength because of this beast. Florida Vacation July 2007 110

Memorable diabetes Memories

 

Its Day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week and today’s prompt asks us to revisit our most memorable diabetes day. I really had to think about this one.  The most obvious, and seared in my brain diabetes day is of course the day my son was diagnosed but I have written about that one on numerous times. I then thought of the day that I found out that I had one my battle and the Disability Tax Credit was legislatively changed to be fairly applied to all people living with diabetes. Once again, I had written about that one too. (Actually I chronicled it while it was going on) .

That left me to come up with another diabetes memory of significance to me.  I then remembered a picture that I had seen on my mom’s Facebook wall. It was of me and my children on the evening that I won the Jeff Hitchcock Award at the Friends for Life Conference.  That was pretty darn memorable and incredibly surreal. It was definitely worth reliving….

It was 2007 and I had been invited to attend the upcoming Friends for Life Conference in Orlando.  I was beyond excited.  Not only was I going to get to take my children to Disneyland after a particularly trying year but I was going to get to spend time with my amazing online family!  I am not sure who was more excited.

As we checked into the hotel, we were surrounded by people we knew who quickly showed us the ropes.  I needed an extra key for my oldest son because he would be hanging out with other kids and coming and going at different times.  The rest of our time was a blurr. It went quickly as I attended sessions and dealt with a pump failure but as anyone can tell you, there is no better place on earth for a pump to fail than a CWD FFL conference! Within less than an hour, we had a loaner pump on my son and a new one being delivered to the registration desk the next day.

I enjoyed time with friends, a drink by the pond, watching the alligators and simply being with people who understood my life. I was talking to the best diabetes experts in the world.  There were researchers, doctors, nurses, and parents who had been there (and were still there).  Nothing could be better—or so I thought!

The evening of the banquet arrived and my children and I sat with another family that I knew from the parents email list.  Speeches were made.  Awards were handed out and then they mentioned something called the Jeff Hitchcock award.  For those who don’t know, Jeff is the founder of the children with diabetes website, a father, husband, and all round amazing person. This award was first given to him and is now given to people who have done outstanding work in the diabetes world. Recipients include people like lawyer Michelle Rago, Tom Karlya  the Diabetes Dad, Joe Solowiejczyk, Audrey Greenfield, Dr. David Harlan and the list goes on!

Imagine my surprise on that July evening, when it was announced that the 2007 winner was me! I was not a world traveller. I was not the face of diabetes. I was just a mom who would now forever be in the company of some of the most amazing people the diabetes community is privileged to have. I was stunned and honoured.

DSC_1309As I left the banquet hall, people were congratulating me.  Some where strangers, many were people whose work I had admired for years.  I was in a cloud.  I was in the best place on earth, with the most incredibly family ever and I had just received one of the highest honours I could ever receive.  That was definitely a very, very memorable moment in our life with diabetes.

My Petition to Mankind

Today’s blog week prompt challenges us to come up with our own online petition. There have been a few petitions circulating lately so if I had my choice, what would I petition for?

That is a real challenge.  I have read a few posts asking for greater meter accuracy and even petitioning test strips to find their way to the garbage can. I would of course love to see both of those things happen! I would also love protection for all children with diabetes in schools. I would love for cheaper air fares that would allow families to travel with greater ease to diabetes related events.

I think the thing that I truly want more than anything else is access to devices and supplies for EVERYONE!  I don’t care where you live in the world, you should have access to enough insulin, syringes, test strips, pumps, and CGMs. I cringe when I hear of anyone who can only test once a day (or less).  I cry when I hear of people barely able to afford insulin. My heart breaks when people have to choose which child will have an insulin pump because both children have diabetes but they can’t afford a pump and supplies for two children. That just should not be.

So pharmaceutical companies, governments of the world, humanity, I am begging of you…

  • Please ensure that everyone who needs insulin has access to  the best available insulin no matter where they live.
  • Please make sure that everyone, no matter where they live, have clean and sterile syringes.
  • Please ensure that all people living with diabetes have adequate access to the most effective glucometers and as many test strips as they need to manage their diabetes care to the best of their abilities. 
  • Please ensure that the most innovative insulin pumps are available to anyone with diabetes, anywhere in the world, who wants to use them.
  • Please ensure that Continuous Glucose Monitors are available to everyone who wants to use them as another management tool no matter where they live or how much insurance they have.
  • Please ensure that all people living with diabetes have access to the best possible tools, education, and devices regardless of insurance, race, financial background, or geographical location.

No one should have to make the choice between food and life, between electricity and insulin.  Let us become a humane and just society offering the best possible healthcare to all of the Earth’s citizens not just a select few.

Signed,

A mother who cares.

petition

Psst, You Need To Know This…not that!

It is day one of the fourth annual Diabetes Blog Week and my brain is challenged already! The prompt asks us to write about what you wish your diabetes team could see and what you don’t want them to see about your daily life with diabetes.

This is a real challenge for me because we are very independent in our diabetes care.  Our team seems to rotate players each time we go back.  Many of them are now well aware of the fact that we are confident and knowledgeable about diabetes and I like that. It’s not like we are new to this.  It’s not like I am guessing. I have been following the wisdom and guidance of some of the top diabetes people in the world for years–many of them are friends.

I would love for them to see those interactions. I think it may help them to understand the many connections we make and the great learning tools out there for people living with diabetes.  I would want them to see the amazing books sent to me and the questions I receive from others living with diabetes–this is what your patients need to know.

I would also want them to see that despite this knowledge and confidence, diabetes does not consume every waking hour of our lives.We behave as a normal family would and enjoy life, bringing diabetes along in everything we do only because we have to.

Diabetes does consume my nights and it has for over 13 years.  This is not something to be brushed off and I would love for all diabetes teams to remember that when they tell a parent that they are overreacting. This past weekend was my birthday and Mothers Day.  We celebrated with food and friends.  I tested my son at 3am on Sunday morning, found him high and corrected with his pump.

As I lay in my bed a few hours later, I began to panic.  My son had sat down to a movie with a tray of fruit in front of him. (I wouldn’t want our team to see that he weighed and measured none of that food) I began to wonder if he had properly washed his hands before going to bed? Did he had fruit juices on his hands? I never considered that at 3am but by 5am the thought was front and center in my mind. What if he was actually in range and I gave him all of that insulin to correct a non-existent low? I was scared to check him.  The joy of the evening before had disappeared. What if I had killed him? What if I had slept through a seizure and I had killed my son trying to help him?

By 6am, I forced myself to check him.  He had moved. His body was warm.  He was still high. He was fine.  I could breathe again.

This is something I would like my diabetes team to fully understand.  We, as parents and caregivers, live with this disease on a different level from many in the medical community. Living in the trenches is more than A1cs and following the Canada Food Guide.  We work to balance living life fully with diabetes and living life.  Please do not judge or trivialize this.  Please support us with the best possible tools and education.

To read how other bloggers answered this question, please click on the following link: http://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dblogweek&postid=02May2013h