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Whoa! Woe.

First this:

Then this:

So whoa!  Much woe.

A Human’s Resilient, One Hundred Percent!

Sighed Panky, a lazy panc deep in the gut
“I’m tired and I’m bored
And I’m stuck in a rut
From making, just making insulin every day.
It’s work! How I hate it!
I’d much rather play!
I’d take a vacation, or a long nap
If I could find someone to do all this crap!

If I could find someone, I’d kick back and chill …”

Then Panky thought, “Could Kerri be up for the thrill?”

“Hello!” called the lazy panc, smiling her best,
“You’ve nothing to do.  Does this sound too strange …
Would you like do the work I do for a change?”

Kerri laughed.
“Why of all silly things?
I haven’t islets or enzymes or things.
ME do your job?  Why that doesn’t make sense!
Your job is make insulin!  The thought makes me tense.”

“Tut, tut,” answered Panky.  “I know you’re not me
But I know you can do this.  Won’t you hear my plea?
Just pick up that needle and draw up the dose.
Once insulin’s flowing you won’t feel morose.”

“I can’t,” said the Kerri.
“PL-E-ASE!!” begged her panc.
“It won’t be too hard, kid.  Sorry to pull rank.
But I’m leaving regardless if you raise your voice.”

“You’re a jerkface,” said Kerri.  “Not to give me a choice.

I’m unsure how to do this. Details are the devils!
How do I keep steady my blood sugar levels?
What do I do? Can you leave me instructed?”

“You’ll figure it out,” and the panc self-destructed.

“The first thing to do,” murmured Kerri,
“Let’s see.
The first thing to do is to prop up this Me
And to make ME much stronger.  This has to be done
Because diabetes can weigh an emotional ton.”

So carefully,
Hopefully,
She searched, unimpeded
For the resources, tools, and support that she needed.

“I know that there’s life found after diagnosis.
It’s good and it’s worth it. That’s the prognosis.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient,
One hundred percent!”

Then Kerri, with peers and insulin by her side,
Well she tried
and she tried
and she tried
and she tried.

She kept at it for decades
Despite feeling perplexed.
It requires work one day,
Again on the next.
It sucks! Then it doesn’t!
But Kerri remained sure,
“My life’s worth this effort,
(Though I’d still love a cure.)
I wish Panky’d come back
‘Cause some days I’m so burnt.
I hope that my body thrives on the things that I’ve learnt.”

But Panky, by this time, was far beyond near,
And was dormant for good now. Diabetes was here
And was staying, so Kerri, for better or worse,
Had a pump on her hip, glucose tabs in her purse.

Diabetes is constant, day after day.
But the life in its wake is still good, plenty yay.
And even on days when the Stuff is Way Blah,
Life with disease is not life without Awe.
“It’s not always easy. Diabetes might test me.
“But I’ll stay on task and I won’t let it best me.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient
One hundred percent!”

Some days it is simple. Some months are real hard.
Diabetes is something you can’t disregard.
But a panc on vacation doesn’t mean that you’re broken.
“You can still do this.”

Truer words never spoken.

 

[With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss,  this is in homage to Horton Hatches the Egg.]

 

BOLUS: Beware Of Loose, Unsupervised Snacks.

I graze.  I’m a grazer.  Visually speaking, my food choices are spread out over a gigantic field and I run through, grabbing bites here and there and never properly taking amounts or serving sizes into account.

“How many grapes did I just eat,” is a common, whispered question.  “Did I bolus for that protein bar?” is another one.  “Hey, I only had eggs and not toast – how many carbs did I bolus for, and what needs to be consumed now so I don’t hit the deck?”

I am good at going through the motions of diabetes management, but I have been slacking on minding the minutiae of late.  I don’t sit down to formal meals throughout the day (schedules are nonexistent at the moment), so keeping track of the food I’m eating has been a challenge.  Grazing makes for dodgy carb counting.

I need to mind my B.O.L.U.S:

Must Beware of Loose, Unsupervised Snacks!  When carbs are roaming around unsupervised and unbolused-for (terrible grammar, worse when spellcheck changes it to “unbloused-for”), blood sugars go high and stay there because I’m chasing my insulin-tail or I go low because I’m over-estimating.  Insulin is potent stuff, and SWAG’ing it makes for Ms and Ws on my Dexcom graph.  If I can just pay-the-fuck-attention to what I’m eating, I’ll have fewer frustrating results.  Right? RIGHT??

The more I mind what I’m eating, the more even my blood sugars will be.

Now let’s see how that theory shakes out, as I attempt it for the 10,000th time since diagnosis.

Itch, Please.

I’m allergic to this poison sumac stuff.  Highly.  While Chris can walk around in the woods out back and pick bouquets of poison sumac without issue, I end up with an itchy plague just thinking about it.  Even if I have a full hazmat suit on, I can’t go near the stuff without catching hell.

So I can’t remove it from our yard, but I can’t entirely avoid it because it’s invaded our way-backyard to the point of no return.

I have to approach it with care.

It’s not a huge deal unless I forget it’s there.  When I ignore it or forget about it, I end up covered in the oozing, itchy hives that last for days and cause significant discomfort.  If I go into the woods without thinking ahead, I don’t regret it right away, but a few hours later, I’m riddled with a rash of regret.

… kind of like diabetes.

Which would make my endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator kind of like a landscaper.  They’ve really grown on me, though.  They do so mulch for me, especially when diabetes burnout is in full bloom.  I really dig them.

 

The Baby-Sitters Club: Graphic Novel Review.

Stacey McGill had diabetes and – holy islets – she was cool.

She was one of the lead characters in Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club series, acting as treasurer of the club.  You can go deep in this wiki, where Stacey is described as having “a very sophisticated style, which comes from having lived in New York. She loves wearing flashy clothes and jewelry and doing different things with her hair, which she keeps looking fabulous.”  FABULOUS!  Some of Stacey’s likes are cited:  “babysitting, math, money, shopping, pigs, Mary Poppins, and fashion” as well as some of her dislikes:  “having diabetes, hospitals, people throwing up, other people seeing her give herself insulin injections, and barf buckets.”  (I will admit to reading the whole wiki and loving the hell out of it.)

I can’t disagree with those dislikes, because I also am not a fan of barf buckets.  Or diabetes.

While Claudia was my favorite BSC member to read descriptions of (read What Claudia Wore for why), Stacey was my favorite overall because of the shared diabetes connection.  According to BSC lore, Stacey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before she started seventh grade and her diagnosis was chaotic because it pulled her out of school and caused some riffs between Stacey and her friend Laine Cummings.  (Yes, I am switching over to my most Punky Brewster of outfits right now, as I type this, transporting myself back to 1986.)

tl;dr – Stacey was awesome because, at the time, my friends were reading The Baby-Sitters Club and it made my diabetes seem mainstream and almost cool.

Which is exactly why I jumped at the chance to review the graphic novel version of The Truth About Stacey for Graphic Medicine (thanks, MK Czerwiec, for this opportunity!)

The original book is described by the Scholastic website as: “Poor Stacey. She’s moved to a new town. She’s still coming to terms with her diabetes. She’s facing baby-sitting problems left and right. And her parents are no help. Luckily, Stacey has three new, true friends — Kristy, Claudia, and Mary Anne. Together they’re the BSC — and they will deal with whatever’s thrown their way . . . even if it’s a rival baby-sitting club!”

I remember reading the text book cover-to-cover and feeling that kindred spirit thing, and I wondered if a graphic novel would have the same appeal decades later.

It did.

The focus of the book is NOT on Stacey’s diabetes but MWD (moments with diabetes) are sprinkled throughout.  There is something so comforting, so normalizing, about seeing a character living with diabetes not as the focus of their life, but as part of what their character goes through.  The crux of the story in this book is about a rival babysitting club, but diabetes moments are woven in to illustrate (pun intended) how diabetes isn’t something you can assign to a character and then forget about.  You have to commit.  Diabetes is as ever-present as the ink on the page, and it’s refreshing to have a visual aid for an oftentimes invisible disease.

Stacey’s dinner plate – with throwback mentions of the ADA exchange system!

I’m sure it happens all the time, that you and your friends are reading the same book for the same reason (because it’s a good story/popular/on sale from Weekly Reader or the airport).  But how often do you, as a person with diabetes, get to have a sneaky, secret, awesome reason to enjoy a book?

The truth about Stacey is that even though she’s a fictional voice, the diabetes is real, and it gives a little, “Hey, me too!” moment for kids and adults alike.

Bike Ride.

In one, frantic breath as we prepared to go for a bike ride, Birdy proclaims:

“We need to put a bottle of water in the bike basket and a snack in case I get hungry and a snack in case you get hungry or if you have a low blood sugar and your glucose meter and the glucose tabs in case you have a low blood sugar for real and in case I want to have one – that’s a joke, Mom, but really I can have a teeny, teeny bite if I want one, right? – and I will wear my helmet and you can walk while I ride on my bike and I’ll keep my eyes forward so I don’t fall off.”

Our version of “going for a bike ride” might sound complicated, but we do our thing and we do it well.

Advocacy: Do It with Flair.

From @sixuntilme, after watching some of DarthSkeptic’s Tweets correcting diabetes misinformation fly by in my feed (thanks to @txtingmypancreas for highlighting):  “Why did you decide to take this wickedly funny high road?”

From @darthskeptic:  “It was partially based on frustration and partially based on ‘TheoryFail’ and ‘TakeThatDarwin‘ addressing and mocking people ignorant about basic science.”

Whatever the reason, I love seeing people who are tagging their desserts as #diabetes on Twitter being served up some education by @darthskeptic. Some examples:

And my favorite:

Carry on, @darthskeptic. Carry on.

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